So there’s a new Pokemon game in town. This time it’s Sword and Shield. So many Pokemon to catch and raise, but which ones are actually worth your time? These are the best sword & shield Pokemon for a general playthrough.
This isn’t a “best pokemon ever” article or one that’s intended to help you compose a team for competitive play. This is an article just letting you know, as you play through the game, which pokemon are worth picking up, sticking on your squad and leveling. This could be a few bench warming Pokemon who just help you have a full party for a while or Pokemon who might end up on your final squad.
First, the starters. Your starter is going to be decent throughout the game. In Pokemon I generally recommend resetting until you get a female one with a good nature and, at the very least, a good IV in its main attack stat (Attack for Grookey/Scorbunny, SpAtk for Sobble). This will take forever, so maybe don’t do it. It’s annoying that Pokemon starts perfectionists like me off with a two hour save-scumming challenge.
Anyhow, following that, here are some good gets:
This thing may not potentially end up on your endgame wrecking crew, but you can certainly get utility out of it for most, if not all, of the main game. It’s surprisingly strong and durable and learns a number of good dark and normal moves, in addition to some seriously good stall moves. Recommend reserving a spot for this guy. Here’s the best build for Obstagoon.
If you didn’t start with Inteleon and you’re in need of a water type, Gyarados is probably your best option, and it’s available super early, basically as soon as you hit level 20. In this game it can also learn Power Whip, which is an extremely strong physical grass move, so not only is this a good early game pickup, it’s a top tier physical sweeper. Highly recommended. Here’s the best build for Gyarados.
This new fire/bug type is surprisingly strong. If you didn’t start with Scorbunny, this is what I’d recommend for your go-to fire type. It’s a physical attacker that naturally learns Crunch (Dark), Fire Lash (Fire) and Lunge (Bug), so it has decent coverage, and additionally learns some good buff/debuff moves in Coil (Attack/Defense/Accuracy buff) and Smokescreen (Accuracy debuff). Not a top, top tier Pokemon, but like Obstagoon, it’ll probably carry you through the main game. Here’s the best build for Centiskorch.
This steel/ground pokemon is an absolute beast. This thing crushes. It’s available in the Wild Area fairly early on, and it’s a top tier endgame pokemon. Its strength is stupidly high, it’s fast, and it has a very strong typing. Highly recommend for your team. Easily one of the best pokemon in sword and shield. Here’s the best build for Excadrill.
This fairy/dark type has two awesome looking early evolutions and then evolves into something that looks like a twisted up tree stump with a head, but nevertheless it’s very powerful. It has a high attack stack and a good typing. If you’re using Obstagoon, you may want to replace him with Grimmsnarl when he becomes available around the fairy type gym. Here’s the best build for Grimmsnarl.
This new Electric/Poison type is very strong and is a great candidate for an endgame party. In addition to moderately high stats, it gets an ability called Punk Rock, which increases the damage of sound-based moves and, lucky for it, it learns a sound based electric move and Boomburst, a sound-based normal move with 140 attack power. Electric/Poison is also a great typing and the poison moves give him a fallback option for things resistant/immune to electricity. One of the best new Pokemon in Sword & Shield. Here’s the best build for Toxtricity.
You can pick a Doublade up in the Wild Area right after the first gym and this thing is for sure a strong candidate for any final party. It has insane defense and an ability called Stance Change, which swaps its attack stats for its defense stats when it attacks. With a ghost/steel typing, it’s got a ton of resistances, and its attack stats with Stance Change are busted. Here’s the best build for Aegislash.
Only available in Sword so… get Sword, this weird looking Ice-type ape has an absolutely insane attack stat and a fast speed stat. It’s sort of like an Ice version of Excadrill, but probably even better. It learns a skill called Icicle Crash which is a strong physical ice attack that causes flinching and can learn fighting/dark/fire moves through TM. The main thing, though, is his ability, Sheer Force, increases damage output by 30%, improving him even beyond his busted attack stat. Here’s the best build for Darmanitan.
This is the special attack sweeper of note in this game. Also only available in sword. So… get sword. Dark/Dragon typing, all around great stats, and fantastic coverage with Nasty Plot, Dragon Pulse, Dark Pulse, and most notable Fire/Water/Steel TMs. Here’s the best build for Hydreigon.
This is the new pseudo-legendary for Sword/Shield. It has a visual design that’s both really bizarre and kind of cool. It’s modeled after a stealth jet, for some reason, and I kind of wish they had kept every aspect of this design except the stealth jet part, but nevertheless, it is a kickass pokemon. Ghost/Dragon type, high physical attack, extremely high speed, dragon dance, a unique physical dragon move. It’s a beast, definitely a contender for any endgame party. Here’s the best build for Dragapult.