Pokémon Sword and Shield ranked battles pits players against one another to earn points, achieve various ranks, and rake in rewards like Gold Bottle Caps. Becoming the Galarian Champion might be a cake walk, but dominating ranked battles will take careful planning and a fair bit of luck. Sword and Shield might have just hit shelves a month ago, but its fans have already identified some of the games’ best Pokémon.
Here are six more Pokémon considered to be the best-of-the-best by the competitive Sword and Shield community. Mix and match any of these picks to bolster your team against specific compositions to decimate the competition.
Gyarados was a member of the original Generation 1, and the sea serpent remains a forced to be reckoned with years later. The Water-Flying type can effortlessly sweep whole teams with its hidden ability Moxie, which boosts its physical Attack stat by one stage every time Gyarados KOs an opponent.
Gyarados’ recommended Nature is Jolly, to boost its speed at the cost of lowering its special attack, which you won’t use anyway. Its physical Attack is its highest base stat. With the help of Moxie, plus a move set stacked with physical attacks, Gyarados will make quick work of any unprepared team.
Give it a Lum Berry so it can recover from any status condition (Paralyze, Poison, Burn, etc.) in the heat of battle. Teach Gyarados Waterfall, Bounce, Power Whip, and Dragon Dance.
5. Wash Rotom
Wash Rotom was introduced to the franchise in Gen 4 and remains a beastly pick with its powerful Water-Electric typing and the Levitate ability, which makes it immune to all Ground attacks. There are multiple builds that make this sentient washing machine competitively viable. One turns it into a stonewall tank, thanks to its solid physical and Special Defense stats.
The recommended Nature for a tanky Wash Rotom to deal with sweepers like Gyarados and Dragapult is Bold. This will increase its physical Defense and lower its physical Attack.
Give it a Sitrus Berry to let it restore 25 percent of its health in a battle for added endurance. Teach it Hydro Pump, Thunderbolt, Volt Switch, and Will-o-Wisp.
You’ll undoubtedly run into teams running Gyarados or Wash Rotom in online ranked battles, but Ferrothorn counters them both. The Gen 5 Pokémon’s Grass-Steel type makes it a crucial, defensive counter pick if you keep getting massacred by top-tier Water-types.
Its recommended Nature is Relaxed, which will up its already monstrous physical Defense at the cost of its Speed. Its Iron Barbs also deal 1/8 of its own HP in damage to a Pokémon that attacks with any move that makes contact with Ferrothorn. This lets Ferrothorn chip away at opponents’ health the longer he stays out.
Give it Leftovers to gradually increase its HP in battle and make it even more tanky. Teach Ferrothorn Gyro Ball, Bullet Seed, Leech Seed, and Protect.
Excadrill is yet another Gen 5 Pokémon that makes a top-tier attacker in Sword and Shield. Its powerful base physical Attack and its Ground-Steel typing makes it a natural sweeper. All it needs are some speed boosts.
Its recommended Nature is Jolly, which will increase its Speed and reduce its Special Attack. This will improve Excadrill’s chances to attack first. Its Mold Breaker hidden ability lets it ignore enemies’ ability effects, like Wash Rotom’s Levitate, so Excadrill can hit it with Earthquake.
Give it an Assault Vest to improve its Special Defense against moves like Hydro Pump, which would otherwise be devastating. Teach it Earthquake, Iron Head, Rock Slide, and Fissure.
2. Galarian Corsola
Galarian Corsola might be a newcomer to the Pokémon series, but it has already proven to be a formidable defensive anchor in ranked battles. The Ghost-type can lock down opponents with its Cursed Body ability, which as a 30 percent chance to disable the move an attacking Pokémon just hit it with.
Its recommended Nature is Bold to increase its physical Defense and lower its physical Attack. Boosting its already strong defensive stats can make it annoyingly difficult to KO, making it one of the most potent tanks in the game.
Give it a Eviolite to boost its physical Defense and Special Defense by 50 percent. Teach it Will-o-Wisp, Strength Sap, Night Shade, Curse.
The Fairy-Flying type might be the biggest nuisance out of of all of the Pokémon in the list because of its ability to cause flinching with a 60 percent success rate, making an enemy unable to attack for one turn. That’s thanks to its ability Serene Grace (doubles the chance of a move having an additional effect) used in combination with Air Slash (30 percent chance to cause an enemy to Flinch). This strategy can be abused to lock down an entire team by boosting Togekiss’ Speed.
Its recommended nature is Timid to increase its Speed at the cost of lowering its physical attack. As long as Togekiss is faster than its opponents, there’s a high chance you’ll completely nullify their turn.
Give it a Weakness Policy, which will raise Togekiss’ physical Attack and Special Attack by two stages if it’s hit by a super effective move. Teach it Air Slash, Fire Blast, Dazzling Gleam, and Nasty Plot to make it an extremely difficult to take out.
Pokémon Sword and Shield is out now for the Nintendo Switch.