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Best Pokémon for Sword and Shield competitive teams in 2020

As the Pokémon Sword and Shield meta continues to develop, here’s the essential monsters dominating the competitive circuit.

Since the beginning of the 2020 competitive season, Pokémon Sword and Shield’s meta has changed significantly - with new monsters and Gigantamax forms added under the Video Game Championship (VGC) rules.

The suspension of the 2020 Pokémon competitive circuit might have slowed down VGC momentum, but there’s still plenty of places to test your competitive might - from ranked battles online to community tournaments by fans. 

But what Pokémon should be on your radar if you’re looking for a fighting chance in tournaments? Here’s some of the essential monsters you should consider for your roster. 

 

Togekiss

Togekiss Pokemon
Togekiss is arguably the strongest Pokemon in the current meta (Picture: Nintendo) 

Togekiss has become the dominating Pokémon in Sword and Shield’s competitive meta, with an impressive breadth of stats which make it incredibly versatile for numerous play-styles. 

The fairy/flying type Pokémon can work as an offensive attacker, with a high 120 Special Attack and 80 Speed stats. It can also use the ability Super Luck, which raises a player’s chance of a critical hit.

Togekiss is also very strong as a supporting Pokémon - with moves like Follow Me, which directs all attacks to the Pokémon, or Yawn which puts opponents to sleep, making it practically essential on many top teams. 

 

Lapras

Pokemon Lapras
Lapras has become a G-max monster (Picture: Nintendo) 

After being introduced in VGC series 3, ice/water type Lapras now frequently appears in VGC competitive teams due to its very powerful Gigantamax form. 

G-max Lapras can utilise exclusive move G-max Resonance, which inflicts damage and sets up Aurora Veil, reducing damage by half for your team over five turns. 

While it doesn’t have the highest attack stats, Lapras’s high HP and powerful G-max capabilities make it a great base to form a team around. 

 

Excadrill

Excadrill Pokemon
Excadrill is incredibly versatile (Picture: Nintendo)

This ground/steel type Pokémon, similarly to Togekiss, is also very flexible on the battlefield. It works very well offensively with abilities like Sand Rush, which doubles the Pokémon’s speed within a sandstorm. 

It can also nullify effects of opponent Pokémon’s abilities with Mold Breaker, especially useful against Rotom-orientated teams. It’s also immune to electric, poison and is resistant to a huge number of types. 

Coupled with a Life Orb, Excadrill’s Dynamaxed form is also incredibly powerful, with Max Quake and Max Steel Spike only further boosting the Pokémon’s defences. 

 

 

Incineroar


Incineroar is back in the mix (Picture: Nintendo)

Incineroar is a controversial issue within the VGC community, mostly because of his dominance throughout the 2019 season with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. 

While the Pokémon isn’t quite as essential in the 2020 format following his introduction in series three, Incineroar is still a mighty defensive force. It can learn Fake Out, which while not effective against Dynamax Pokémon, always attacks first and causes foe’s to flinch. 

It also has the Intimidate ability which lowers the opponent’s stats upon entering the field. It’s important to note this ability has been lessened by potential counter moves Inner Focus and Own Tempo. 

 

Dusclops

Dusclops Pokemon
Dusclops is pushing the Trick Room meta (Picture: Nintendo) 

This ghost type Pokémon has led the way for Trick Room teams in the competitive meta, a move which twists stats around so Pokémon with lower speed move first. 

While Dusclops isn’t the only user of Trick Room (Jellicent, Hatterene are alternatives), he’s considered one of the best with his added bulk and support moves. 

If you’re going to utilise a Trick Room setup, ensure you have a Trick Room sweeper like Conkeldurr or Rhyperior to ensure maximum damage before the move wears off. 

 

Dragapult

Dragapult Pokemon
Dragapult is still a significant threat (Picture: Nintendo) 

The only Pokémon carrying over from our original competitive recommendations, Dragapult has continued to be a useful force on VGC teams. 

The dragon and ghost type Pokémon is resistant to many types of moves (poison, bug, fire, water, grass and electric), and has an incredibly high base speed stat of 142. 

It’s most commonly used to execute high damage on foes, while it can also use Protect and Phantom Force to avoid damage too. 

Other notable mentions

  • Whimsicott
  • Venosaur
  • Conkeldurr
  • Duraludon
  • Tyranitar
  • Arcanine

Read more: How Pokemon pros are taking competitive Sword and Shield into their own hands

Read more: Pokemon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor expansion - everything you need to know

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