Choosing your Pokémon team is one of the hardest decisions to make in any Pokémon game. I assume the average player is like me and choose the Pokémon they find most aesthetically pleasing. Decidueye was slow as hell Pokémon Sun and Moon, yet I kept it in my group for the duration of my Moon game.
However, not all Pokémon are the same; some are undoubtedly better than others; few have better individual worth (AKA IV), effort value (AKA EV), nature and general statistics. For example, a Charizard with cool EVs and IVs is superior to that of a regular Shuckle. Let's go into detail about what IVs are and even break down how to get Pokémon with perfect IVs.
Pokémon Sword and Shield has made the leveling process of IVs and EVs much more convenient. Medicine that increases specific EVs in a Pokémon has become much cheaper. You can now send Pokémon out to do jobs that will improve a particular stat for any group of Pokémon you choose. Games have made your perfect Pokémon even more convenient.
Despite how simple EV and IV training has become, there is still a disparity between some Pokémon selections and the vast majority of them. You can maximize your personal Shuckle, but no matter how hard you try, your perfect Shuckle will never beat a Tyranitar that has the precise nature and stats. Which leads to the question: what are the best Pokémon in Sword and Shield?
The 10 best Sword and Shield Pokémon
Determining which Pokémon is best to use generally depends on your preferences, so take this list however you like. Overall the Pokémon listed below are considered the best due to their high average stats and high potential with EV training.
Related: How to Get Bonsly, Munchlax, Mime Jr., Mantyke and Wynaut in Pokémon Sword and Shield
Gyarados has a base stat of over 540, with high attack and special defense, making Gyarados a tremendous offensive fighter. He can learn many moves that can cause a great deal of physical damage. He has Moxie's hidden ability, which increases his attack stats whenever he KOs an opponent. If you teach Gyarados Dragon Dance, a move that also boosts attack stats, Gyarados can cause some of the most damaging physical attacks in all games. If you train EV for maximum speed, Gyarados can be unstoppable.
Snorlax is the definitive tank Pokémon in the series. With one of the highest base HP in the games, along with maximum special defense, Snorlax can take a lot of hits before going down. The real downside to Snorlax is the low stats in everything else besides the attack. Despite this, Snorlax can learn a variety of right moves that help overcome impressive ones. It may also know moves that are not of the type, such as High Horsepower and Hammer Arm.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the base stats for novice final evolutions were incorrect. All three newbies in those games had terrible speed and other problems. In the Sword and Shield, however, the final evolutions for the three beginners are pretty good. It's hard to say if Cinderella, the final evolution of Scorbunny, is truly one of the "best" Pokémon in the games. But there is something special about having your first Pokémon in the most powerful category. Cinderella's high attack and speed make him a formable opponent, and with the right training, he can potentially become one of the fastest single-hit forwards on your team.
He may not be as fast as Cinderella, but he's more of a heavy hitter. Rillaboom, the final evolution of the Grookey appetizer, has high base attack stats. It's best if you train EV to have higher special attack and special defense to make Rillaboom stronger. It's a signature move, Drum Beating, a vital asset to have in his move pool. It may not be a powerful move, but Drum Beating reduces the speed of the affected Pokémon, which helps Rillaboom overcome its slow speed.
Toxicity is mainly on this list due to its unique typing. Electric and poisonous toxtricity, he is able to learn a variety of great moves that are very useful. His poisoned moves make him an essential asset against fairy typing, and his electric moves allow him to paralyze his enemies. He has very high special attack stats, which is good because many of the best electric and poison moves are special moves. The downside to Toxtricity is that he is extremely vulnerable to ground moves, which can be the remedy if he trains his defense and special defense.
Chandelure is a truly amazing Pokémon. It's a ghost Pokémon that owns a chandelier - what's not to love? A stunning combination of ghost and fire types and impressive special attack stats. The special combination type allows Chandelure to learn many special moves such as Flamethrower, Overheat and Shadow Orb. You can train him in EV to overcome his weaknesses, such as his low HP and attack stats. You can also maximize the stats he already specializes in, such as his special attack.
Pseudo-legendary Pokémon are Pokémon evolution lines in which the final evolution has a base stat of 600. They are generally the strongest non-legendary Pokémon in the games, and each generation at least introduces a new pseudo-line. Dragapult is the newest pseudo, debuting in a big Sword and Shield style. It has high speed and attack stats and its unique typing makes it effective against opponents. Dragon and ghost type, Dragapult is immune to all combat and normal moves. He can also learn many effective moves, such as Dragon Dance and Phantom Force.
Tyranitar is a Dark-type rock and pseudo-legendary Pokémon first introduced in Pokémon Gold and Silver. It has excellent offense and special defense stats. He can learn great moves like Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Crunch. Its Sandstorm ability summons a sandstorm, which damages all Pokémon on the battlefield that are not earth or rock-type. If you train him for the maximum speed he can have, then Tyranitar can be one of the best heavy hitters to use in battles. Unfortunately, the Tyranitar evolution line is only available in Pokémon Shield. Thankfully, Pokémon Sword earns the Pokémon directly below.
Hydreigon is another pseudo, this time a dark type and dragon type. He has very high attack and special attack stats, with decent stats in everything else. He is perhaps the most balanced pseudo in the two games. He suffers from his kind of weakness as he is four times weak against the fairy. But its large move pool and incredible stats make it a Pokémon worth owning. EV train to get maximum speed to start first in most battles and hit hard with everything you have.
Zacian and Zamazenta
It may seem cheap to include Legendaries on this list, as they are supposed to be very stinging Pokémon, but that's not always the case. Regigigas, a Generation IV legendary, is terrifying because his ability halves his attack and speed for the first five turns.
Zacian and Zamazenta are useful, however, with amazing stats and good moves making them useful. Their signature moves, Behemoth Blade and Behemoth Bash, do extra damage to Pokémon Dynamax. These become valuable moves during raid battles, where you have to face off against Dynamax Pokémon with a group of other trainers. Both have very few weaknesses and can be trained in EV to have even higher stats that go beyond their base stats. Their abilities increase stats and defense at the start of each battle, respectively. Zacian and Zamazenta are perhaps two of the most useful legendaries of the entire series.