With every new addition to the mainline Pokémon series comes a new wave of powerful Pokémon. Those who seek to conquer the game and then the online scene are forever working with new combinations of Pokémon to create the best team.
Of course, to create the best team, you’ll need to strongest Pokémon.
In this article, we shan’t be including the legendary Pokémon as they are, as you would assume, the most powerful in the game. This list concerns the strongest Pokémon from the rest of the Galarian Pokédex. From those listed, you’ll then have a great starting point for creating your best team.
Our suggestion for the best team on Pokémon Sword and Shield is at the base, but it’s always best to build your team according to your preferred style of battling.
1. Galarian Darmanitan, Base Stats Total: 480
Special Attack: 30
Special Defence: 55
As an ice-type Pokémon with a massive base stats line in attack (140), Galarian Darmanitan has already become a must-have for the best Pokémon team. What makes the Pokémon so powerful is its ability Gorilla Tactics, which boosts the Pokémon’s attack stat but only allows the use of the first selected move.
Combine its ability with the massive attack stat line, the ice-type physical move Icicle Crash – which has 85 power and 90 accuracy – and its healthy base stat line of 95 speed, Galarian Darmanitan becomes one of the strongest Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Unfortunately for Pokémon Shield players, Galarian Darmanitan is a Pokémon Sword exclusive. Galarian Darmanitan’s pre-evolution – Galarian Darumaka – can be found on Route 8 and Route 10. If you’re a Pokémon Shield player, you’ll need to trade for Galarian Darumaka or Darmanitan.
2. Dragapult, Base Stats Total: 600
Special Attack: 100
Special Defence: 75
In every Pokémon instalment, there’s a new pseudo-legendary Pokémon, with Dragapult the latest to join the ranks of Pokémon like of Dragonite and Salamence. They are also notoriously troublesome to find.
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, you can find its first form, Dreepy, by riding on the water in the Wild Area to the isle on the other side of the Lake of Outrage. Here, you’ll have an increased chance of finding Dreepy in a random encounter in heavy fog and thunderstorms. You can also find the middle evolution of the Dragapult chain, Drakloak, roaming around in overcast, rain, thunderstorms, and heavy fog.
Not only does Dragapult boast an ungodly speed stat of 142, but it also has an extremely powerful attack line of 120 and a rating of 100 for its base special attack stat. As a dragon-ghost type, Dragpult has access to a very fun move set, with the all-important U-turn being learned at level 36.
Another helpful aspect of some Dragapult individuals is that it can come with the ability Infiltrator. This allows it to ignore the stat boosts provided by moves like Reflect, Safeguard, Light Screen, and Substitute.
3. Dracovish, Base Stats Total: 505
Special Attack: 70
Special Defence: 80
Dracovish has already become famous among Pokémon Sword and Shield players as one of the strongest Pokémon in the game. Its base stats are quite balanced, leaning slightly in favour of physical attacks and defence, but when deployed with the right move set, it’s possible to take down heavy-set tanks in one shot.
At level 63, Dracovish learns Fishious Rend, which boasts 85 power, 100 accuracy, and does double damage if Dracovish attacks before the target. That crazy physical attack, however, is further supported by its other attacks and its ability Strong Jaw.
Strong Jaw boosts the power of biting moves, and Dracovish just so happens to learn Crunch (80 power, 100 accuracy) and can learn Psychic Fangs (85 power, 100 accuracy) and Ice Fang (65 power, 95 accuracy).
Dracovish is one of the four fossil combination Pokémon which can be attained by taking fossils – likely found by the Digging Duo in the Wild Area’s Bridge Field – to the researcher on Route 6, to the left of the camp. Dracovish requires the combination of Fossilised Fish and Fossilised Drake. Those two fossils are much more common in Pokémon Shield, but are found in Pokémon Sword rarely.
4. Corviknight, Base Stats Total: 495
Special Attack: 53
Special Defence: 85
Not only is this one of the great new British-themed Pokémon in the game, but Corviknight is also a bulky defensive selection while also boasting a decent base attack stat line of 87.
While the abilities Pressure and Unnerve can come in handy, its hidden ability, Mirror Armour, reflects any stat-lowering effects, making Corviknight even better to have on your best team.
The flying-steel type Pokémon learns great moves like Brave Bird, Steel Wing, and Drill Peck. Corviknight can also be taught the much-loved U-turn and Body Press, with which the higher the user’s defence, the stronger the attack becomes.
Corviknight’s first form, Rookidee, can be encountered from the start of the game, on Route 1, Route 2, and Route 3. Corvisquire, which evolves from Rookidee at level 18, can be seen in the overworld of the Wild Area’s Hammerlocke Hills and Giant’s Mirror in all weather types.
Corviknight itself can be found in random encounters along Route 7 and the Slumbering Weald as well as in the overworld of Giant’s Cap, Hammerlocke Hills, and North Lake Miloch in all weather conditions.
5. Aegislash, Base Stats Total: 520
HP: 60 (60)
Attack: 150 (50)
Defence: 50 (150)
Special Attack: 150 (50)
Special Defence: 50 (150)
Speed: 60 (60)
This steel-ghost Pokémon has been a favourite among trainers for some time and was even banned from online competitions in previous games.
Aegislash is said to have been made a bit fairer now, but there’s no denying its tremendous base stat lines of 150 attack and 150 special attack when in its Blade Forme and 150 defence and 150 special defence when in its Shield Forme – activated by using the move King’s Shield.
The mighty Pokémon’s first form, Honedge, can be found in Hammerlocke Hills in the Wild Area when there’s heavy fog. The second form in the evolution of Aegislash, Doublade, can be seen wandering the Wild Area location of Giant’s Cap in any weather conditions bar heavy fog.
Or, of course, you could just catch Aegislash, which is found in the overworld of Giant’s Cap during heavy fog.
6. Ferrothorn, Base Stats Total: 489
Special Attack: 54
Special Defence: 116
The first proper tank on this list, Ferrothorn is the go-to defensive selection for most players. Not only does it boast base stats of 131 defence and 116 special defence, it also has the ability Iron Barbs, which inflict damage to opponents on contact.
Ferrothorn boasts some rather powerful moves too, with Power Whip having 120 power and Flash Cannon having 80 power. However, if timed well, the 250 power and 100 accuracy move Explosion can make a low-HP Ferrothorn a very dangerous Pokémon.
Ferrothorn’s first stage, Ferroseed, can be found in the Wild Area. It can be seen in the overworld of Stony Wilderness during a snowstorm or at Motostoke Riverbank in random encounters during snowstorms. Ferrothorn itself can be seen roaming in the overworld in any weather at Bridge Field in the Wild Area.
7. Hydreigon, Base Stats Total: 600
Special Attack: 125
Special Defence: 90
Hydreigon is very well-balanced across the board, boasting a rating no lower than 90 in all base stats. To play to its strengths, it’s all about utilising special attacks.
While Hydreigon doesn’t learn too many great special attacks, with Dragon Pulse and Hyper Voice being the pick of the set, it can be taught Fire Blast, Hydro Pump, Zen Headbutt, Focus Blast, Stone Edge, and Earth Power.
Hydreigon’s earlier stages, much like with Dragapult, are low-percentage spawns that are found at the Lake of Outrage in the Wild Area. However, the Pokémon are exclusively found in Pokémon Sword.
The first stage, Deino, can only be found via a random encounter in the rain. Zweilous, the second stage, is a little easier to encounter, being visible in the overworld in the same area during sandstorms.
8. Gyarados, Base Stats Total: 540
Special Attack: 60
Special Defence: 100
A favourite since Generation I, the great beast that comes from the flopping fish Magikarp remains one of the strongest Pokémon in this new generation. Gyarados’ water-flying typing with access to powerful dark, dragon, ice, water, and flying moves makes it a grand selection for your best team.
The key to Gyarados is avoiding electric-type moves while enforcing powerful physical attacks to utilise the 125 attack base stat line. Optimum moves to learn include Aqua Tail (90 power, 90 accuracy), Crunch (80 power, 100 accuracy), Ice Fang (65 power, 95 accuracy), and Thrash (120 power, 100 accuracy) if used in tandem with Substitute (TR20) as Pokémon behind a substitute cannot get confused.
Magikarp can be caught at many fishing holes in Pokémon Sword and Shield including the one down the left side of Professor Magnolia’s house on Route 2. Gyarados can also be seen swimming around the Wild Area, specifically in Bridge Field and Dusty Bowl.
9. Hatterene, Base Stats Total: 510
Special Attack: 136
Special Defence: 103
Hatterene may be low in HP and absurdly low in speed, but with the right move set, its 90 attack, 95 defence, 136 special attack, and 103 special defence more than make up for these frailties.
Hatterene boasts lofty base defence and special defence stats and only poison, ghost, and steel moves are super effective against the psychic-fairy type Pokémon. The fact that dragon-type moves don’t affect Hatterene is also very useful given the popularity of dragon-type Pokémon.
So, Hatterene can eat up an attack or two, especially with the right berry equipped – Sitrus Berry restores half of the Pokémon’s maximum HP when its HP falls to below 25 per cent. Use TM70 Trick Room as it allows slower Pokémon to move first for the next five turns. After that, make full use of Hatterene’s mighty 136 special attack.
Hatterene can be found roaming around the Lake of Outrage during heavy fog, by the cliff edge that overlooks the lake. But if you need to fill the Pokedex, you can find Hatenna in any weather at Motostoke Outskirts in the Wild Area, or Hattrem in Glimwood Tangle.
10. Excadrill, Base Stats Total: 508
Special Attack: 50
Special Defence: 65
It’s got decent speed, but Excadrill’s primary perks come from its massive 135 attack, lofty 110 HP, and the effectiveness of moves against the ground-steel type.
Fire, water, fighting, and ground are super effective against Excadrill, and grass, ice, ghost, and dark-type attacks do regular damage. The other ten types, however, do half damage, quarter damage, or don’t harm the Pokémon in the case of electric and poison moves.
On top of the wholly physical attack-focussed move set that Excadrill learns, the move Rapid Spin is very helpful in battle. Many trainers use trap moves, but Rapid Spin removes Bind, Wrap, Clamp, Fire Spin, Toxic Spikes, Leech Seed, Stealth Rock, Magma Storm, Spikes, and Sand Tomb.
Drilbur, the tiny ground-type mole Pokémon, can be found in the Galar Mine as well as in the overworld of Giant’s Mirror in the Wild Area during sandstorms. Excadrill can also be encountered in the Wild Area, during sandstorms at the Lake of Outrage and during normal, overcast, raining, snowing, sandstorm, snowstorm, heavy fog, and intense sun conditions at Giant’s Mirror.
11. Tyranitar, Base Stats Total: 600
Special Attack: 95
Special Defence: 100
The pseudo-legendary Pokémon of Generation II, Tyranitar remains a strong choice for battles in Pokémon Sword and Shield. The rock-dark type Pokemon is heavy in attack, defence, and HP, which is compensated for by its 61 speed.
Tyrantiar is a decent tank option, with its main benefit, naturally, being its 134 attack stat. The bulky armoured Pokémon has access to many different type moves, including fire, ice, dark, rock, electric, ground, fighting, ghost, and dragon physical attacks, so its use can be quite diverse.
Larvitar, the first form in the Tyranitar evolution line, is a Pokemon Shield exclusive, but can only be found via random encounters at the Lake of Outrage in the Wild Area in overcast or intense sun weather conditions. Those who pre-ordered the double-pack game can also gain access to it in a Max Raid Battle by redeeming the pre-order code.
Pupitar roams the Lake of Outrage overworld when there’s a sandstorm. Tyranitar is said to be a special spawn in the Wild Area’s Dusty Bowl. It can be seen roaming around the overworld during sandstorms, snowstorms, snow, heavy fog, and normal weather, but it will only appear once every 24 hours.
12. Toxapex, Base Stats Total: 495
Special Attack: 53
Special Defence: 142
Toxapex is, per its stats, one of the greatest shields in Pokémon Sword and Shield. The Pokemon’s 152 defence and 142 special defence speak for themselves, marking Toxapex as one of the strongest Pokemon if you need a defensive addition to your best team.
On top of its grand defence, Toxapex also learns some rather nasty attacks, including Toxic Spikes, Toxic, and Poison Sting. To increase its longevity, Toxapex can also learn Wide Guard, which activates before most other moves, and Recover, which restores up to half of the user’s maximum HP.
Toxapex evolves from Mareanie, which can be found on Route 9, by the Motostoke Riverbank, and at Giant’s Mirror via fishing in the Wild Area location. Or, of course, you could just venture down to Route 9 – Circhester Bay or Outer Spikemuth – to encounter Toxapex.
13. Whimsicott, Base Stats Total: 480
Special Attack: 77
Special Defence: 75
Whimsicott isn’t a particularly brilliant Pokémon on the surface or in its base stats, but it’s one of the best choices for a status-inducing addition to your best team on Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.
The strong speed stat of 116 gives Whimsicott an edge as it can get an irritating move out before many other Pokemon get the chance to attack. It can learn Charm (lowers attack), Cotton Spore (lowers speed), Endeavour (cuts opponents HP to equal the user’s HP), Memento (sharply lowers opponent’s special attack and attack), Poison Powder (induces poisoning), Stun Spore (induces paralysis), and Tailwind (doubles the speed of all user party Pokémon).
Through TMs and TRs, Whimsicott can also learn many more irritating and status-inducing moves which can play a big role within a tricky battle. It may not be one of the strongest Pokémon per its base stats, but it can be a great choice if you want to stifle your foe early.
To get Whimsicott, you must start by finding Cottonee via a random encounter in the Wild Area’s Stony Wilderness during overcast weather. Then, you can evolve it with a Sun Stone to get Whimsicott. Or, you can trade for Cottonee from a trainer in the Hulbury market, sending away a Minccino to get the one nicknamed ‘Candyfloss.’
14. Ditto, Base Stats Total: 288
Special Attack: 48
Special Defence: 48
Ditto is on this list of the strongest Pokémon to use in the best team on Pokémon Sword and Shield purely for its ability to counter Dynamaxing. Facing a Dynamax Pokémon in a battle can be a menacing task, especially if your type doesn’t match up well against the gigantic monster.
So, many trainers in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield have turned to counter a Dynamax by bringing out Ditto and transforming it into that same Pokémon. It’s an effective play that neutralises the power of a Dynamaxed or even a Gigantamaxed Pokemon.
You can find Ditto wiggling around the Lake of Outrage in the Wild Area in any weather conditions. You likely won’t see it when approaching the grass, but you’ll probably run your bike over one before catching it and making it breed with your other Pokémon.
How to build the best team in Pokémon Sword and Shield
To build the best team, you’ll want to pick some from the list of the strongest Pokémon to make-up your selected six. Some rules to follow, though, are that you’ll want to cover several Pokémon types, know what types are super effective against others, and have a strategy.
Many trainers like to go for teams of Pokémon where they’re all strong physical attackers, others prefer defensive and slow-burning Pokémon, and barrier-centric teams often become quite popular. Your team will come down to your preference of Pokémon and how you want to battle.
To make use of the strongest Pokémon while having quite a well-balanced team of defensive, offensive, and counter Pokémon. To start with, this is the best team in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Try out the team above and then, whichever ones don’t work for your playing style, take them out and put in ones that work for you or are your favourites. As there are so many Pokémon in Sword and Shield, despite the condensed Pokédex, there are many other combinations that you can try out.
Give a selection of the strongest Pokémon a go in your team, and be sure to build their move sets to their strengths and catch ones with the optimum abilities.
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