Pokemon Sword and Shield - Recommended Pokemon for Early, Mid, and Late Game

A list of recommended pokemon for early, mid, and late game in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Included are their characteristics and where to catch them.

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Recommended Pokemon

Recommended Pokemon

Besides your starter pokemon, you will need to catch other pokemon to gain an advantage against a variety of opponents while going through the main story.

Which Starter Pokemon Should You Choose?

Early Game


Rookidee is likely the first flying type pokemon that you will encounter in the game. It evolves into Corvisquire and Corviknight and will give you an advantage when taking on the first gym challenge. Rookidee can be commonly found on route 2.


Nickit is a dark type pokemon that is also encountered on route 2. Nickit evolves into Thievul and has good speed to outpace opponents. It will be especially useful against Bede, a recurring rival who mostly uses psychic type pokemon.


Yamper is an electric type pokemon that evolves into Boltund. Catching it early in the story is mainly for dealing with Hop’s Rookidee in your second battle. Yamper will also be a good choice for when you take on the second gym challenge since the gym trainers and leader there use water type pokemon. Yamper can be found on route 2.


The water type pokemon Magikarp can be caught in the lake near Prof. Magnolia’s house on route 2. It is mainly acquired to evolve it into Gyarados. It boasts a high physical attack and a powerful ability called intimidate. This causes the attack of its opponent to drop by one when it enters battle, allowing it to out damage and outlast them.


Eevee, a normal type pokemon, should also be acquired when encountered on route 4. Catching Eevee early will give you time to level it up and raise its happiness after learning a fairy type move. It will evolve into Sylveon, its fairy type variant, which will give you an edge against trainers in the eighth and final gym challenge.

Mid Game

After defeating Kabu, you’ll face tougher gyms and trainers that carry strong dual-type Pokemon. Other than stockpiling recovery items, you need to train your Pokemon to raise their level to keep up with the enemy Pokemon.

Corvisquire and Corviknight

After evolving Rookiedee, you’ll get Corvisquire, another flying type Pokemon with higher stats. Corvisquire gives you a clear advantage against Bea because of its super effective attacks. Raise it well and its next and final evolution will pay in dividends in future matches.


Nickit’s evolution learns plenty of useful disruptive moves to annoy foes. When it comes to Allister’s gym challenge, Thievul’s type and moves can soften the gym’s ghost Pokemon’s attacks. Thievul can also mess up Bede’s strategy after earning some stat buffs and is a great support Pokemon that can weaken Hop’s team when used at the right times.


If you caught a Pancham, a well-raised Pangoro can dish out some strong attacks against most trainers and gym leaders. Its dual dark and fighting type is useful in various situations. While Sword players may not use it against Bea, they can bring it against the rock and dark type challenges. Meanwhile, Shield users will have a relatively easy time taking on Allister, Melony, and Piers due to its unique typing.

Machoke or Gurdurr

If the four times weakness to fairy is an issue, Machoke and Gurdurr are great fighting type alternatives. The two Pokemon are grouped together because both share the same evolution method. While they are better off used by players that have access to trade, they aren’t too bad either when given an Eviolite.


Sword players who didn’t pick Sobble need a strong water type to overcome fire, rock, and ground types on their journey. Gyarados is a great water type not only for its ability but also for its secondary flying type. Gyarados eventually learns Dragon Dance to rack up some buffs to prepare for battles that come much later.


Growlithe and Arcanine are similar to Gyarados due to their Intimidate ability. It has high stats and gets the job done as a solid fire type Pokemon for players who didn’t pick Scorbunny. Later, it learns Will-o-Wisp, a status move that effectively cuts the foe’s attack stat. In addition, it resists the fairy Pokemon in Ballonlea’s gym challenge and can fight back with strong fire type moves. Players who chose Shield can also rely on Arcanine to pummel the majority of Pokemon in Circhester’s gym challenge.


A strong fairy type like Sylveon serves as an asset against the fighting gym for Sword players and a good investment to prepare for the late game.

Late Game

Raihan’s gym challenge and the Wyndon champion cup serve as the ultimate test as you cross to the finish line. These challenges require a somewhat deep familiarity with the type matchups since they’ll pit you against many dual-type Pokemon.


Strong steel type Pokemon are strong and bulky, Corviknight being no exception. It learns Brave Bird, a strong flying attack that knocks out frail fighting types. Corviknight also gains the steel type, which allows it to shrug off poison types and gives it some longevity against rock and ice types.


Players without a Cinderace will appreciate Arcanine’s strong attacks and great ability. Arcanine’s fire attacks are vital in surpassing late-game hurdles. If your powerhouse doesn’t have the best defense, lead the party with Arcanine and switch it out to soften the enemy’s attack. Switch out to your strong attacker and stack buffs with moves like Dragon Dance or Hone Claws, or keep switching to lower your opponent’s attack further. When their attacks are nearly negligible, focus on buffs and to sweep through their team with ease. While Arcanine’s intimidate ability is quite versatile, it shines in the late game because of the advent of many steel types.


The water type equivalent of Arcanine because of their shared ability. While Gyarados may not have resistance to rock type attacks, its ability helps it stay longer thanks to the debuff. Have it cycle Intimidates to lower your foes’ attack. After weakening the enemy, use Dragon Dance to raise your attack while sustaining weak attacks. If it happens to withstand a critical hit, spare a hyper potion and proceed to unload powerful physical attacks.

Sylveon, Gardevoir, or Galarian Rapidash

Great fairy types are powerful because there are not many you’ll encounter that resist it. These Pokemon can make quick work of Marnie’s team at the Champion cup with their fairy moves. In addition, these Pokemon have great synergy with a fighting type when taking on Raihan’s gym challenge. Those who chose Sword are also in a favorable position when facing against Bea and some of Raihan’s Pokemon.

Pangoro, Machamp, or Conkeldurr

The dark and fighting type Pokemon can handle the late game roster as well because of the abundance of dark, rock, and steel type Pokemon. While Pangoro is immune to psychic, it is frail against fairy types. On the other hand, the other two fighting types don’t have immunity and take two times the damage from both types.


For those who kept their Yamper in the early game, they’ll appreciate Boltund’s type in the late game. Boltund comes off a bit situational when facing the mid-game gym challenges because not many Pokemon are weak to it. However, when you face off once again with Nessa, Boltund will have a field day zapping the Pokemon she sends out. It also fares well against other Pokemon such as Hop’s Corviknight, Oleana’s Milotic, and Bea’s Hawlucha to name a few.

Thievul or Obstagoon

Two fantastic support Pokemon when raised enough. Send out Thievul to use Snarl or Parting Shot to those that don’t resist it. These moves can help Thievul power itself up or aid an ally to snowball the enemy’s entire team. Obstagoon can replace Thievul to some extent with the exception of favoring attack over special attack.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Recommended Article List

▼Pokemon Sword and Shield Recommended Articles
Expansion Pass All Diglett Locations Gen 8 Starters
Galar Dex Pokemon Battles Walkthroughs
Beginner Guides Strategy Guides Game Database
Strategy Guides Post-Game TM Locations
TR List Evolution Stones Evolution Methods

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