Pokemon Sword and Shield - Single Battles Tier List (First Edition)

A rating list of the strength of Pokémon in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield's Single Battles. This includes a list of best moves, abilities, and held items.

Pokemon Sword and Shield - Single Battles Tier List (Battle Stadium)

Tier List for Single Battles (Battle Stadium)

Currently, the list shown below sums up the Pokemon that are viable in Singles, particularly in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield’s Battle Stadium.

Below are the criteria used to evaluate each of the Pokemon:

  • Usage – Given the lack of resources for the new format, the usage is loosely based on Pokesol‘s stats captured between December 1 to 13, 2019.
  • Tools – Simply put, these consist of the combination of types, moves, abilities, possible held items, and recommended teammates. Some of the combination of tools are based on smogon and Pokesol.

Tier S

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - DragapultDragapult Dragon Darts, Fire blast, Phantom Force Clear Body, Cursed Body Focus Sash, Weakness Policy A versatile dragon/ghost type Pokemon that learns many moves, making it a tough opponent to predict.
Having a high speed stat coupled with offensive stats makes Dragapult deal a hefty amount of damage. With a vast movepool, it can be tough to read whether it’s going for a physical or special move. Foes that fail to figure out Dragapult’s set early in the game can end up wasting turns getting punished by its powerful attacks. Depending on the set, it can either go for Clear Body to resist Intimidates or Cursed Body to negate a foe’s attack even when behind a Substitute.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - ExcadrillExcadrill Iron Head, Rock Slide Mold Breaker, Sand Rush Focus Sash A strong ground/steel type Pokemon that can sweep through foes or owing to its good typing and attacks.
When in a favorable matchup, Excadrill is free to select a move of choice and one of these is laying entry hazards. With a similar set to Mamoswine, it can use Focus Sash to withstand attacks even when facing mirrors. After throwing stones on the opposite side, Excadrill is free to strike whichever comes in on the field. It can opt to run Rock Tomb to potentially cripple incoming threats like max speed choice scarf base 88 speed foes and below. With Dynamax, Excadrill can use Max Rockfall to
Pokemon Sword and Shield - MimikyuMimikyu Shadow Sneak, Swords Dance Disguise Life Orb A fairy/ghost physical sweeper with a fantastic ability that can buy at least on turn to set up. In the late-game, Mimikyu can also opt for Shadow Sneak to pick off weakened opponents.
Mimikyu’s type and ability acts as an insurance to get a buff off. While it still takes hits from entry hazards, it keeps the disguise intact which makes it great for coming in on foes that it resists or is immune to. After deploying Mimikyu for free, you can have it use Swords Dance which works well even against foes that pressure with Intimidate. Mimikyu can then get a boosted attack off and even has the option to launch max moves when given the chance. When you anticipate that a status condition is about to happen, you can have Mimikyu use Max Starfall to stop it cold.

Tier A+

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - CorviknightCorviknight Body Press, Iron Defense, Iron Head Mirror Armor Rocky Helmet A flying/steel physical wall which can turn debuffs back to the opponent.
Corviknight shines due to its high defense stat unlike the other Pokemon that occupy the upper tier. It can use Iron Defense to toughen up, and then fire off boosted Body Presses to chip off foes. It can pick up knock outs when left unchecked and becomes sturdy on its own. Corviknight doesn’t mind taking debuffs either since it comes with Mirror Armor, an ability that reflects debuffs. With proper set up, Corviknight can stand tall against physical max moves and can even reflect their debuff back. Depending on how its trained, Corviknight can also have some speed investment to move faster than some standard sets to ensure that it gets the defense up before they go for an attack. With speed control on its side, Corviknight can also give up defense boosting moves to afford a relatively fast set with Brave Bird and Iron Head. In addition, it can use U-turn to get some chip damage to preserve it for later. Corviknight fares well against some fast threats as well like Excadrill due to its immunity to Mold Breaker and can potentially get an attack off on whichever comes in if it decides to back out.

Tier A

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - GrimmsnarlGrimmsnarl Darkest Lariat, Spirit Break Prankster Focus Sash A dark/fairy type that acts as a wallbreaker with moves like Darkest Lariat to bypass defense boosts. It can also play around foes with priority-boosted status moves.
Grimmsnarl gets Prankster which stops opponents from setting up with a priority-boosted Taunt. It makes great use of Focus Sash to take a hit that would otherwise knock it out. Being the only Pokemon to learn Spirit Break, it can punish foes that have boosted their special attacks. Grimmsnarl also gets a chance to fight back with Darkest Lariat due to its defense-ignoring effect.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Rotom WashRotom-Wash Volt Switch Levitate Choice Scarf, Choice Specs An electric/water type that functions as a great utility. It can come in on ground type moves not boosted by Mold Breaker and strike them down or use Volt Switch to pivot out of battle.
Rotom-Wash can equip one of the choice items to boost its special attack or speed. In addition,Rotom-Wash can pass the burden to a foe with Trick to lock them into a move. While they can break free with dynamax for a few turns, they become, to some extent, deadweight otherwise after their ally has already burned some turns with dyanamax. After losing its choice item, Rotom-Wash loses some speed in favor of choosing different moves each turn. It can then use other moves to pivot out like Volt Switch, or blast an opponent with any of its STAB moves until they faint.

Tier A-

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - CloysterCloyster Icicle Spear, Shell Smash, Rock Blast Skill Link Focus Sash A water/ice type physical sweeper which can poke through substitute and Focus Sash after setting up.
A Pokemon blessed with great moves and ability, Cloyster can launch a volley of hits to foes after buying a turn. If it can force a switch in or takes a resisted hit, Cloyster can safely use Shell Smash to trade its defenses for offense and speed boosts. Cloyster can then whittle down foes with boosted multi-hitting moves with its Skill Link ability. Given its unique tools, Cloyster can fare well against opposing Mimikyu by breaking its Disguise while it connects a combo of attacks.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - GyaradosGyarados Bounce, Dragon Dance, Waterfall Moxie Lum Berry A water/flying type Pokemon that serves as a physical sweeper. Gyarados can pick off weakened threats or scare enemies away to buy time for a free turn to set up.
Gyarados is best known for its sweeping potential. Having a great ability in Moxie in tandem with Dragon Dance and solid coverage moves helps it plow through unprepared teams. After attaining a Dragon Dance, Gyarados can outspeed certain threats and knock them out with a boosted attack. With Moxie, it earns an extra attack boost after knocking its opponent out. In addition, it can even go for dynamax to earn a speed boost or two with Max Airstream to complement its boosts. Despite its strengths, Gyarados needs to rely on its allies’ support to come in safely. Since entry hazards like Stealth Rock robs a decent chunk of its health, Gyarados appreciates allies that can prevent or remove them. After Dynamax, Gyarados may struggle in exerting offensive pressure because of its reduced firepower.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - HydreigonHydreigon Dark Pulse, Draco Meteor, Flamethrower Levitate Choice Scarf A powerful dark/dragon type that can revenge kill certain foes. When armed with a Choice Scarf, Hydreigon can outspeed and knock out foes after a safe switch in.
Hydreigon’s stellar special attack stat and great speed gives it enough tools to play with. Having STAB moves with its dual type in tandem with fire type moves ensures that it keeps dealing maximum damage. Depending on the set, Hydreigon can run a defensive one with Nasty Plot or a revenge killer with a choice item. It can come in on ground types that rely on earthquake to set up, or as a great switch in after an ally has fainted to finish off a weakened opponent.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Rotom HeatRotom-Heat Overheat, Volt Switch Levitate Choice Scarf Similar to other Choice Scarf users, Rotom-Heat takes on the role of a revenge killer. It can score a knock outs or deal some chip damage with Volt Switch.
Like Rotom-Wash, Rotom-Heat can make great use of the Choice Scarf to break free from a bad matchup or pick off weakened foes. Unlike faster Hydreigon, Rotom-Heat gets lower speed at the cost of having hard-hitting fire type moves. It can also make use of Trick to pass its scarf on slow foes to make them nearly deadweight.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - TogekissTogekiss Air Slash Serene Grace Sitrus Berry A bulky fairy/flying type Pokemon that can safely switch in on foes locked into ground type moves. It can make use of the popular ParaFlinch set because of its secondary-effect boosting ability.
Togekiss has great typing and coverage moves at its disposal. It can learn fire type moves like Flamethrower or Mystical Fire which can potentially burn opponents through the boost from Serene Grace. Togekiss can also grab some turns with dynamax to fire off Max Airstreams when foes least expect it. Despite having physical threats just around the corner, Togekiss along with Sylveon are few examples of just how strong special fairy types can be.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - TyranitarTyranitar Crunch, Rock Slide Sand Stream Weakness Policy Despite losing its trapping role, Tyranitar acts as a potent wallbreaker because of its access to many types of moves. It can force switches to get a Stealth Rock safely. In addition, Tyranitar is a reliable tank which takes special hits pretty well after getting the special defense boost from its ability.
Tyranitar acts as a great lead because of its tools. With the ability Sand Stream and moves like Stealth Rock, it can set up for allies like Excadrill to sweep later on with boosted speed and chip damage. Tyranitar also helps itself mitigate common special attacks like water, grass, and ground through the special defense boost that its active weather grants. It has a variety of tools for coverage such as STAB moves like Crunch and Rock Slide, and other moves depending on its role. While it can take special hits, Tyranitar shies away from physical moves especially opposing fighting moves. To make up for it, Tyranitar goes well with flying Pokemon or those with levitate and ghost type teammates. Owing to its held item, it often sticks around for a while because its bulk ensures that it survives a super effective attack and fight back with tons of damage when its held item procs.

Tier B+

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - AegislashAegislash King’s Shield Stance Change Weakness Policy Aegislash gets a relatively safe turn to come in on the fly because of its default stance. It doesn’t mind swapping in on poison type moves.
The usage for Aegislash has gone down due to the changes made to its base stats. Aegislash may not be as great as it was before, its signature ability fares decently against other Pokemon for so long as they don’t use dynamax.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - CharizardCharizard Air Slash, Flamethrower Solar Power Life Orb While it doesn’t take Stealth Rocks well, Charizard can be a great offensive lead when given a favorable matchup.
Owing to its base speed stat and typing, Charizard doesn’t mind switching in on most of Mimikyu’s attacks. Without any speed control present on the field, it can outspeed Mimikyu and easily break its Disguise. Charizard’s max moves also come in handy. With Max Flare it can get the sun up next turn to deal a ton of damage. Meanwhile, Charizard can also opt for Max Airstream if it needs to grab a quick speed boost when anticipating for certain foes.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - DracovishDracovish Fishious Rend Strong Jaw Choice Band, Choice Scarf A water/dragon type trapper that can poke holes with its boosted attack Fishious Rend.
Unlike Barraskewda in the rain, Dracovish appreciates having speed control from allies when going against fast foes. With speed control from moves like Sticky Web, Dracovish can also render some foes helpeless with its signature move Fishious Rend. Dracovish can pick between Choice Band or Choice Scarf depending on how it is intended to work on the team. It can also make great use of other moves like elemental fangs which are also boosted by Strong Jaw.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - Galarian DarmanitanGalarian Darmanitan U-turn Gorilla Tactics Choice Band, Choice Scarf An ice type Pokemon that can serve as a utility or an offensive pivot owing to its unique ability.
Similar to battle stadium doubles, Galarian Darmanitan uses the same set of moves at the expense of running u-turn over protect. When met with an unfavorable matchup, Galarian Darmanitan can safely exit the field with U-turn. In addition, it can get an ally to take a hit which would otherwise knock Darmanitan out. Having u-turn helps Darmanitan scout the foe’s attack which helps identify its threats. It can then come back and stick around when its threats have been knocked out. If you want to trade speed for extra power, you can also run Darmanitan with Choice Band. The downside to using Choice Band is that it makes Darmanitan prone to fast threats. To remedy its speed, you can commit an ally to use thunder wave to slow them down, scatter some Sticky Web, or play around them until they faint.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - GlalieGlalie Substitute Moody Pinch berries, Sitrus Berry An ice type Pokemon which can abuse Moody boosts using moves to stall out opponents.
Even with the change in abilities, Glalie can still make use of Moody to get a random boost. Similar to Speed Boost Pokemon, Glalie excels in using moves like Protect which scouts a foe’s move. After blocking the foe, Glalie can choose to pivot out to come in safely later, or continue to get boosts with Moody. One of its useful offensive moves is Freeze-Dry which gets STAB and can even punish water types that expect to take a regular ice type move.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - SylveonSylveon Hyper Voice Pixilate Choice Scarf A specially-oriented fairy type Pokemon that can sweep through foes with its STAB fairy type moves.
Sylveon is a fairy type Pokemon that fares well against foes that have weak special defense. While it doesn’t have the most attractive speed stat, it can take hits from most dragons especially hydreigon. After a free turn, it can opt to fight back with its own moves like Hyper Voice. It also learns fire and psychic type moves to punish steel types like Ferrothorn or Poison types like Toxapex for some big damage. To boost Sylveon’s relatively poor speed, it can opt to use Choice Scarf to pick up a knockout against common threats like Hydreigon.

Tier B

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Pokemon Sword and Shield - ArcanineArcanine Flamethrower Flash Fire Life Orb One of the few fire types that faces a stiff competition with Charizard. Unlike the lizard, Arcanine can opt for Flash Fire and absorb fire attacks for an ally. It can break walls with strong physical STAB moves.
Fire types are hard to come by in the format and Arcanine is among the few ones that work well. Having STAB fire attacks allow it to put a dent on common steel types like Corviknight. With Intimidate, it can drop the attack of hard-hitters especially when it comes in safely after an ally goes down.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - BarraskewdaBarraskewda Liquidation Swift Swim Life Orb A fast water type physical sweeper. With support from entry hazards, Barraskweda can have an ally get the rain up for it or set it up on its own to plow through the opposition.
A fast water type that gets access to Swift Swim. After an ally has set up the rain, Barraskewda’s ability procs to boost its already massive base speed stat. Coupled with 123 base attack power, it can come in on anything that doesn’t resist it and use a move of choice. It gains great coverage moves such as Psychic Fangs to punish Toxapex that expects to take a boosted water type attack. Other staple moves include Waterfall which is already boosted by STAB and the rain. Great items include those that add extra damage output such as a Life Orb.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - CharizardCharizard Air Slash, Flamethrower Solar Power Life Orb Although it lost the mega stones, the fire/flying type fares well as special sweeper when the sun is up. It is one of the prime candidates for dynamax which can pick between offense with Max Flare or speed control with Max Airstream.
Owing to its base speed stat and typing, Charizard doesn’t mind switching in on most of Mimikyu’s attacks. Without any speed control present on the field, it can outspeed Mimikyu and easily break its Disguise. Charizard’s max moves also come in handy. With Max Flare it can get the sun up next turn to deal a ton of damage. Meanwhile, Charizard can also opt for Max Airstream if it needs to grab a quick speed boost when anticipating for certain foes.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - SnorlaxSnorlax Curse, Recycle Gluttony Sitrus Berry A tanky normal type that can wall foes with Curse, Recycle and Gluttony. Despite the reduced effect of pinch berries, it can commit to having moves to weave through the foes’ team with entry hazard support. Snorlax can also patch up its defense after pulling off some Curses.
Snorlax is a normal type that can afford to hard switch on ghost types. It also has great special defense to come in on special attacks and start setting up. While its defense isn’t the best, Snorlax learns Curse to offset it. With Gluttony, Snorlax can make use of Sitrus berries or even pinch berries efficiently. On top of that, it can opt for Recycle to get back its consumed berry.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - ToxapexToxapex Baneful Bunker Regenerator Black Sludge, Eject Button A common water/poison type wall that can take most resisted physical attacks. It also doubles as a status absorber to remove toxic spikes from its side of the field.
Having sky high defensive stats, Toxapex retains its role in soaking attacks on the new format. Toxapex excels in taking hits from foes that dish out physical attacks like Galarian-Darmanitan and can fish for a burn. It can also stop some sweepers with Haze to help the team gain momentum. Toxapex also has a signature move, Baneful Bunker, which allows it to scout and punish some foes. The move pairs well with recovery items to give Toxapex some longevity. On top of that, with the ability Regenerator, Toxapex serves to stall out foes without having to worry much about its health.

Tier B-

Pokemon Best Moves Best Abilities Held Item Description
Ditto Imposter Choice Scarf Can take the role of a revenge killer against frail Pokemon.
Ditto is a bizarre Pokemon which was plagued in the past formats due to being locked into using a single move each time it pivots in. That being said, the Choice Scarf remains one of its trusty held items due to the fact that it allows it to revenge kill certain threats that it outspeeds. In exchange for bulk and a few turns to switch up moves, Ditto can also forego being locked into a move by using dynamax.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - DuralodonDuraludon Flash Cannon, Light Screen Light Metal Assault Vest, Light Clay A utility Pokemon with a formidable type combination. It can either serve as a dual screener or offensive lead.
Duraludon behaves differently on single format because of the absence of redirection. Blessed with great typing and high defense, Duraludon can take hits from different types of physical moves. However, special defense is not its strong suit and must be careful against fighting and ground type moves namely Aura Sphere and Earth Power. To make up for its lackluster special defense, Duraludon can capitalize on HP and Special Defense EVs to survive them. With proper EV investments, it can function as a dual screener with reflect and light screen to soak attacks efficiently. It can opt to have Stealth Rock to assist sweepers on the team. In order to avoid being prone to Taunt, Duraludon can learn one offensive move like Steel Beam to punish some foes. Other moves include Thunder Wave to cripple fast threats, and other special moves like Draco Meteor or Flash Cannon. With Dynamax, Duraludon can also forego EVs that promote bulk in exchange for special attack and speed. Pair it with an Assault Vest to nuke foes that normally expect it to faint in one hit.
Durant First Impression Hustle Life Orb A bug/steel type Pokemon that can serve as the team’s physical sweeper. It can also take advantage of dyanamax well because of its naturally high attack and speed stats.
Owing to its high attack and speed stats, Durant can run a physical sweeper set with Hustle and Life Orb at the expense of lowered accuracy. It gets a powerful priority-boosted First Impression which hits a foe at the start of battle. Like Duraludon, it resists many types thanks to being part steel and can use Dynamax efficiently against many foes that don’t have special moves and fire type moves. Durant can go for Max Knuckle to knock out Tyranitar and gain a free attack boost. It can also opt to have Max Steelspike to raise its defense as well as knockout fairy types like Togekiss. Some coverage moves to pair it with are Thunder Fang for Gyarados, and Max Rockfall for opposing fire types like Rotom-Heat.
Galarian Corsola Stealth Rock, Will-o-Wisp Cursed Body Eviolite A sturdy ghost type wall that also doubles as a spin blocker. Galarian Corsola can punish physical sweepers with Strength Sap and Will-o-Wisp, while aiding allies with Stealth Rock. It can also scare foes away as a shuffler with its ability to disable attacks.
Getting a new type and having decent stats while unevolved, Galarian Corsola becomes a viable option for players that depend on entry hazards. It can be used as a lead to scatter rocks on the foe’s side of the field. When a foe wishes to swap out for another Pokemon, Corsola can punish it with Will-o-Wisp. It can take hits left and right and regain lost health using Strength Sap.
Pokemon Sword and Shield - MamoswineMamoswine Stealth Rock Oblivious Focus Sash An ice/ground type suicide lead. It can commit to using Stealth Rock and fire off strong STAB moves with Icicle Crash and Earthquake. When preserved, Mamoswine can also revenge kill some opponents with Ice Shard.
Despite its appearance, Mamoswine doesn’t have the best defensive stats to take hits. However, it hits hard with ground and ice type moves and can also commit to using entry hazards on the first turn. With its poor defenses, it can use Focus Sash pretty well to buy an extra turn especially when faced with a foe it’s weak to. After getting stones on the foe’s side for free, Mamoswine can use a move of choice like Icicle Crash to potentially knock out some foes before it gets sacrificed
Quagsire Recover, Toxic Unaware Rindo Berry A water/ground type Pokemon that can come in against boosted foes because of its ability when grass types are out of the way. Quagsire can then force them to switch with moves like Toxic or Yawn to disrupt their set up.
Quagsire acts as a wall against foes that have garnered stat boosts with Unaware. It can opt to use Toxic or Haze to put foes on a timer or stop them from snowballing its allies. When paired with Recover, it can stall out opponents that have plenty of health while their health diminishes from the poison.
Umbreon Foul Play, Toxic, Wish Synchronize Leftovers A special defense oriented dark type supporter that can pass heals and wall special moves.
Umbreon can commit to a bulky set to wall special attacks. With moves like Toxic and Protect, it can take cycle through its status moves to put foes on a timer and force switches. Having allies with entry hazards helps Umbreon gradually weaken foes to give sweepers an opening. Apart from healing itself, it can also pass recovery with Wish to an ally that can come in safely the next turn.

Let Us Know What You Think!

Do you agree with our list? If not, let us know which areas you disagree on in the comments below. Also, let us know if you want us to give placements and inputs to other Pokemon in the game.

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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