One of the greatest aspects of the Pokémon series is that fans can approach it with different goals. Some fans play for the sense of adventure and story. Other fans play to “catch ’em all” and build an impressive shiny Pokémon collection. There are also fans who enjoy the thrill of competition and have worked tirelessly to build the perfect team. The competitive side of Pokémon can be incredibly daunting, especially for those who don’t know which Pokémon are good in a competitive setting.
There are a handful of Pokémon that stand tall among the competition. However, It’s worth noting that building the perfect Pokémon team isn’t as simple as loading up on the best of the best. There are other great Pokémon that are worth using for their skillset and can complement specific Pokémon well. Also, the competitive landscape is always changing, meaning certain Pokémon can be nerfed or banned depending on the format. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield will be used as the basis for this list as they are the go-to Pokémon titles for competitive play due to the number of Pokémon, Pokémon training options, and greater online options compared to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl.
10Garchomp Can Fit Many Niches Within A Team
Garchomp is a Dragon and Ground-type Pokémon from Generation IV, which is also a pseudo-legendary Pokémon (giving it higher stats than other non-legendary Pokémon). More than anything, it’s that typing that allows Garchomp to excel in the competitive scene. This is because its Ground-typing gives it an immunity to Electric-type moves, while its Dragon-typing gives it resistance to Poison, Fire, and Rock-typings.
Garchomp’s typing also gives it access to a stellar list of STAB (same-type attack bonus) moves such as Earthquake, while also giving it access to Stealth Rock. This makes Garchomp a Pokémon that can suit many different roles on a team. Garchomp can also have the Rough Skin ability, making Garchomp pesky to take out. This is because Rough Skin does damage to the opposing Pokémon if that Pokémon makes contact with Garchomp.
9Wash Rotom Is Perfect For Removing Hazards
Rotom is a Ghost and Electric-type Pokémon from Generation IV. What makes Rotom special is its ability to possess appliances to gain different forms and typing. These possessions are not done in battle and must be done outside of it.
The most prominent version of Rotom is Wash Rotom (Rotom-W), which ditches its Ghost-typing for Water-typing. Rotom-W is a useful Pokémon for removing hazards (using Defog) as well as handling pesky Flying-types. Rotom-W’s ability to utilize Volt Switch gives it an Electric move that allows it to switch out for another Pokémon. Rotom-W’s Levitate ability also makes it immune to Ground attacks that would otherwise be super effective against Electric-types. This leaves Rotom-W’s lone vulnerability to Grass-type moves.
8Heatran Is One Of The Premier Wallbreakers
Heatran is a Fire and Steel-type Pokémon from Generation IV and is also a legendary Pokémon. Heatran is known as being one of the best “wallbreakers” in competitive Pokémon. For a Pokémon to be considered a wallbreaker, it has to have the abilities and movesets to handle highly defensive Pokémon. Without wallbreakers, defense would be the name of the game and the competitive Pokémon metagame would be defined by high defense.
What makes Heatran a great wallbreaker is both its typing and ability to obtain moves such as Toxic and Magma Storm that help whittle away the opposing Pokémon’s HP.
7Tapu Fini Defensive Capabilities Makes It Tough To Knock Out
Tapu Fini is a Water and Fairy-type Pokémon from Generation VII that is also a legendary Pokémon. Tapu Fini is a good example of a defensive Pokémon as not only does it have high Defense and Special Defense stats, but Tapu Fini also gains access to removal moves similar to Wash Rotom.
Tapu Fini can also learn Taunt, which prevents opposing Pokémon from using status effect moves for three turns. This works well in combination with a defensive Pokémon as it forces opposing Pokémon that rely on status effect moves to shift to damaging moves, which Tapu Fini can handle thanks to its defense.
6Excadrill Is A Menance In Sandstorm Teams
Excadrill is a Ground and Steel-type Pokémon from Generation V. Excadrill is a great choice to fill the role of “sweeper,” meaning it’s capable of knocking out a significant portion, if not every member, of an opposing team.
What makes Excadrill a good sweeper is its Sand Force and Sand Rush abilities. During a Sandstorm area effect, Excadrill gains a boost to its Ground, Rock, and Steel moves with Sand Force, or a boost of Speed with Sand Rush. However, these require setup – likely through another Pokémon using Sandstorm. Excadrill could also utilize the Mold Breaker ability, which bypasses an opposing Pokémon’s own abilities.
5Tyranitar Utilizes Its Typing And Attack To Remain A Competitive Force
Tyranitar is a Rock and Dark-type Pokémon from Generation II that is also a pseudo-legendary Pokémon. Tyranitar comes equipped with very good Attack, Defense, and Special Defense stats, which make it one of the strongest Pokémon competitively. Tyranitar’s typing gives it immunity to Psychic attacks as well as resistance to Dark, Fire, Flying, Ghost, Normal, and Poison-types. However, that comes with a multitude of weaknesses including Fairy, Ground, and Water.
Tyranitar works incredibly well in Sandstorm-based strategies, such as with Excadrill, as Tyranitar’s Sand Stream ability can initiate a Sandstorm when it enters battle, which compliments Excadrill’s own abilities.
4Serene Grace Makes Togekiss Difficult To Deal With
Togekiss is a Fairy and Flying-type Pokémon from Generation IV. Much of Togekiss’ value centers around its Serene Grace ability. Serene Grace doubles the odds of a secondary effect going through. This is often paired with Air Slash, which normally has a 30% chance of causing the opposing Pokémon to flinch. With Serene Grace, those odds become 60%, making Togekiss a pesky Pokémon to deal with.
Togekiss also has a high defense and has access to the recovery moves such as Roost, which allows Togekiss to recover 50% HP while losing its Flying-type until the end of the turn. Togekiss also has access to Wish, which heals 50% HP the following turn it’s used.
3Dragapult Can Get Around Defenses For Huge Damage
Dragapult is a Dragon and Ghost-type Pokémon from Generation VIII that is also a pseudo-legendary Pokémon. The first Generation VIII Pokémon on this list, Dragapult made a very big first impression when it debuted in the competitive scene. Dragapult’s access to STAB bonuses from moves such as Draco Meteor and Shadow Ball make it one of the best wallbreakers in competitive Pokémon. Having access to U-Turn also allows Dragapult to make a quick exit when in an unfavorable matchup.
Dragapult can also utilize the Infiltrator ability that allows it to bypass any team stat boost move, such as Reflect or Light Screen, leaving no protection for Dragapult’s strong attacks.
2Zacian Is Incredibly Fast And Hits Even Harder
Zacian is a Fairy-type Pokémon from Generation VIII and also a legendary Pokémon. Zacian brings with it incredibly high Attack and Speed stats that can make it an absolute force to be reckoned with. Zacian is at its best when holding Choice Scarf, which increases its speed by 50%, but it can only use the first move selected.
Choice Scarf works well when paired with Zacian’s Intrepid Sword ability, which boosts its Attack when it enters the battle. Combining Choice Scarf and Intrepid Sword can mean powerful attacks such as Play Rough, which can yield massive damage and can even knock some Pokémon out in one hit.
1Landorus Continues To Terrorize The Competitive Landscape
Landorus is a Ground and Flying-type Pokémon that is also a legendary Pokémon. When Game Freak controversially announced in 2018 that not all Pokémon would be available in Sword and Shield (in what would later be commonly known as “Dexit”), one of the reasons given was to improve competitive balance. Many competitive players were relieved to no longer have to worry about Landorus dominating competitive play. That changed when Landorus was later added back in through the “Crown Tundra” expansion.
While both Landorus forms are viable in competition, it’s Landorus’ animalistic Therian form (Landorus-T) that has been the bane of many players’ existence. This is because it boasts an incredibly high Attack with access to a wide range of moves such as Stealth Rock, U-Turn, and Toxic. Landorus-T also utilizes the Intimidate ability that, when Landorus-T enters battle, it lowers the Attack of the opposing Pokémon.