Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Top Pokémon: Single Battles, Double Battles, Any Battles

The Galar region in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is full of all sorts of Pokémon—some are cute, some are quirky, some are mysterious, and some are powerful. As you build your collection, you'll learn about lots of different Pokémon and see how differently they perform in battle. If you're looking for the Pokémon that perform best for your next battle—whether through sheer power or tricky tactics—take a look at these Galarian greats. We've broken them down into three groups: Pokémon that are particularly impactful in Single Battles, Pokémon that excel Double Battles, and those that have had an undeniable presence in both.


Top Galar Region Pokémon for Single Battles

If you're assembling a team of Pokémon to carry your next Single Battle against your friends, try out some of these standouts debuting in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. None of them are slouches in Double Battles, either, but each have qualities that make them particularly well suited to Single Battles.


Galarian Darmanitan

The Darmanitan of the Galar region have proven so effective in Single Battles that they're likely to send a chill up their opponent's spine when they're sent out into battle—and that's before they start using their Ice-type attacks!

The key to Galarian Darmanitan's success is the Gorilla Tactics Ability, which increases its Attack stat while only allowing it to use the first move it selects in battle—the same effect as the item Choice Band. What makes Galarian Darmanitan so devastating is that since it's locked into one move anyway, there's no additional drawback to giving it a Choice Band to boost its Attack even further or a Choice Scarf to boost its Speed in addition to its Attack.

Even if the only attack Galarian Darmanitan could learn was Icicle Crash, Gorilla Tactics would probably be enough to make it a pretty powerful Pokémon. Unfortunately for its opponents, Galarian Darmanitan also has access to the Flare Blitz attack through TR55, allowing it to counter most Ice- or Steel-type Pokémon that would otherwise have been a solid answer to Icicle Crash. Add in U-turn to dish out some damage without much risk and another powerful physical attack like Superpower or Earthquake, and you've got yourself a truly fearsome Pokémon. Just be careful about Dynamaxing Darmanitan—the effects of Choice Band, Choice Scarf, and Gorilla Tactics will all temporarily stop during Dynamax.


Corviknight

Corviknight is a fascinating Pokémon in Single Battles because it combines many desirable defensive qualities for Single Battles into one package.

As a Steel type, Corviknight can slow down many of the preeminent attackers available, especially powerful Dragon types and Fairy types. And perhaps owing to the Flying-type part of its heritage, Corviknight also has access to Defog as an Egg Move, making it a great choice to protect its teammates from the harmful effects of Stealth Rock and similar moves in full six-on-six Single Battles. Thanks to its stout defensive stats, it can easily switch into battle, remove the effects of Stealth Rock or Toxic Spikes, and restore its own lost HP with Roost so it remains healthy enough to repeat the cycle again.

If you're wanting a less passive approach—which better fits the three-on-three format of Battle Stadium matches—try teaching Corviknight Bulk Up instead of Defog. You'll typically see fewer spikes and pointed rocks in this format, and Corviknight can prove itself to be quite the problem when your opponent only has three Pokémon to deal with it. With strong Sp. Def and a Bulk Up or two to power up Brave Bird or Body Press, Corviknight can often take down teams lacking special Fire- or Electric-type attacks solo.


Cinderace

It seems like Fire-type first partner Pokémon always wind up a step ahead of their rivals in competitive battles, and the offensive-oriented Cinderace is again no slouch. The Striker Pokémon has two fun elements working in its favor—its stats and a unique move.

Like many Pokémon that are successful in Single Battles, Cinderace is very quick and can dish out a lot of damage with powerful attacks like Pyro Ball and High Jump Kick. And like many of the popular offensive Pokémon discovered recently, it makes great use of U-turn to do a little damage and escape battle, helping its Trainer get a leg up on the opponent with a mid-turn Pokémon swap. If you're planning to use Cinderace in the Battle Stadium, these are great strengths to focus on.

Cinderace's other interesting quality is Court Change, a quirky move that only it can learn. This move swaps the lingering effects of moves like Reflect, Stealth Rock, and Tailwind from one team to the other. Moves like Stealth Rock and Spikes are a huge part of many Trainers' strategies for full six-on-six Single Battles, enabling Cinderace to undo turns of work with a single action. Consider giving Cinderace the new item Heavy-Duty Boots to hold—this will prevent it from taking damage from entry hazards like Stealth Rock when it switches into battle, allowing it to Court Change them away more safely.


Top Galar Region Pokémon for Double Battles

The Galar region is also rich with Pokémon that are particularly powerful in the Double Battle format, either by supporting their teammates or by preventing their opponents from doing the same.


Indeedee

The helpful Indeedee is a quintessential supportive Pokémon in Double Battles, particularly if your Indeedee is female. Each gender of Indeedee acts as a different form that can learn slightly different moves, and the crucial Follow Me is exclusive to the female version of this species.

With so many players opting to use Togekiss to support their team by defeating their enemies instead of by protecting its allies directly, there's been a real need for a reliable Pokémon to protect vulnerable Pokémon with Follow Me. Indeedee fits the role nicely—it's naturally sturdy, and on top of Follow Me the female version of Indeedee has access to a number of other excellent supportive moves, most notably Heal Pulse as an Egg Move and Helping Hand.

Indeedee's Hidden Ability, Psychic Surge, is a great boon to the role it plays in Double Battles. Psychic Surge makes it very difficult for the opponent to use Fake Out successfully, and since many of the Pokémon that are typically taught Taunt also have the Prankster Ability, the Psychic Terrain that Indeedee creates blocks that, too. Indeedee is an indispensable ally to teams that desperately need Trick Room to be activated, as well as to frailer attacking Pokémon.


Duraludon

Duraludon has been a powerful choice in Double Battles because of its Hidden Ability, Stalwart, particularly in those battles taking place at Video Game Championships events. Stalwart makes Duraludon's moves ignore the effects of opposing Pokémon's Abilities and moves that draw in opposing Pokémon's moves.

Many Trainers devise Double Battle strategies in which one sturdy defensive Pokémon like Indeedee uses a move that redirects attacks to defend a Pokémon that plays a core role in their strategy. Thanks to Stalwart, Duraludon doesn't have to waste time knocking out the Pokémon trying to sacrifice itself before it can get to the higher value target—it simply ignores moves like Follow Me or Rage Powder completely and damages the target it selects.

Duraludon's stats and moves aren't too shabby, either. Its Sp. Atk stat is quite high, and a wide array of attacks like Thunderbolt, Draco Meteor, Solar Beam, and Flash Cannon make it a tricky foe. If you thought the lore about its rivalry with the mighty Tyranitar seemed a little farfetched, you might be surprised to learn they've produced nearly the same number of Championship Points this season!


Alcremie

While Alcremie might be best known for its stirring Evolution method, it's a really fun and unique Pokémon to deploy in Double Battles with a powerful supportive move no other Pokémon can learn, as well as an outrageous Gigantamax form.

Alcremie's secret ingredient is the move Decorate, which raises the target's Attack and Sp. Atk by two stages. This neat trick harkens back to the early days of the Video Game World Championships, where players often had a Pokémon like Cresselia use Swagger on a partner holding a Lum or Persim Berry to gain two levels of Attack. Not only does Decorate offer the flexibility of boosting Attack or Sp. Atk without the hoops Swagger required, but Decorate also goes through the target's Protect or Detect, allowing them to power up in relative safety.

Of course, Decorate isn't all Alcremie can do. You probably shouldn't make a habit of Dynamaxing your support Pokémon, but Gigantamax Alcremie's G-Max Finale has a unique effect that, contrary to its name, extends the battle by healing Alcremie and its partner for 1/6 their maximum HP. More practically, the regular-sized Alcremie can use Fake Tears to lower an opponent's Sp. Def by two stages as an alternative means of boosting its partner's damage.


Top Galar Region Pokémon for Battling Wherever They Darn Well Please

Some Pokémon are so strong they seem to transcend the rules of a specific battling format to be excellent no matter where you deploy them. If you're looking for the best all-arounds from the Galar region, you'll be happy training these Pokémon.


Dragapult

The charming Dragapult has been a popular choice among fans since they started adventuring in the Galar region. The versatile Dragon- and Ghost-type Pokémon will delight its following by making almost any team it's included on better.

Quality typing and great stats highlighted by its blazing Speed give Dragapult plenty of options in both Single and Double Battles. In both formats, it's effective as a strong special attacker with a variety of useful moves while holding Choice Specs, Life Orb, or Choice Scarf. It's plenty viable as a physical attacker in Double Battles, as well. And in Single Battles it can effectively run a more supportive set playing off its Ghost-type tricks with Hex and Will-O-Wisp.

While you can teach Dragapult almost whatever moves you want and be successful, its adeptness at playing off Dynamax perhaps make it the strongest representative of competitive battling in Galar. Dragapult lacks a Gigantamax form of its own, but it can help out several Gigantamax Pokémon as they try to execute niche strategies, such as using Surf to activate Gigantamax Coalossal's Steam Engine Ability. Dynamaxing Dragapult itself is also a fantastic strategy. Try giving it a Weakness Policy to hold and enjoy the results if your opponent gets a little too aggressive towards Dragapult, or activate it yourself with a weak attack like Shadow Sneak and watch Dragapult tear it up.


Grimmsnarl

The tricky Grimmsnarl is an interesting Pokémon because it's powerful in both Single and Double Battles by doing slightly different things. While typically players in both formats opt to take advantage of the powerful Prankster Ability, what happens next is a little different in each format.

The strategy of giving Grimmsnarl Light Clay and combining it with Reflect and Light Screen has remained more popular in Single Battles than in Double Battles, where Grimmsnarl has largely been replaced by Gigantamax Lapras. This strategy uses Grimmsnarl to reduce the damage of all incoming attacks for its teammates, and its significant Attack stat helps it pack a punch when a defensive tactic isn't needed.

While some players use it the same way in Double Battles, it's really the combination of Fake Out and a Prankster-boosted Fake Tears that has kept Grimmsnarl in the forefront of the metagame. Fake Out gives Grimmsnarl's teammates options against opposing Whimsicott that otherwise wouldn't work because of the common Focus Sash item. That one move almost single-handedly prevents Grimmsnarl from simply being an inferior source of Fake Tears to Whimsicott itself. The thematically appropriate Scary Face also provides Grimmsnarl a reliable method of Speed control, reducing the target's Speed with perfect accuracy that the dodgier Thunder Wave can't match.


Dracovish

Dracovish is a bit fascinating in that it's very much the same Pokémon in both Double Battles and Single Battles. If Galarian Darmanitan owes most of its power to its Ability, then Dracovish takes this concept a step further by owing its power to a single move—Fishious Rend.

This already powerful Water-type attack doubles in power if the target attacks after the user (or if the target switched during the turn), essentially giving a speedy Dracovish a 100% accurate 170 base power attack. That 170 power is further increased by Dracovish's same type attack bonus as a Water type and again by the Ability Strong Jaw, should your Dracovish have it (and hopefully it does!). Perhaps the strangest part of using Dracovish is that you should think long and hard every time you don't have it attack with Fishious Rend. Thanks to all those boosts, even a resisted Fishious Rend is almost always stronger than the other attacks Dracovish might know.

As you might imagine, strategies for Dracovish are built around ensuring it moves before its target does to maximize the damage from Fishious Rend. Many Trainers opt to give Dracovish the Speed-boosting Choice Scarf to hold, ensuring it will outpace almost every Pokémon that lacks a Speed increase of its own. For Trainers opting for maximum power, giving Dracovish a Choice Band and supporting it with moves like Sticky Web in Single Battles or Tailwind in Double Battles makes for a higher risk, higher reward strategy.





Have you been battling with these Pokémon, Trainers? Whether you're looking to climb to the top of the standings in the Battle Stadium or just have fun with your friends, we hope you enjoy battling with all of the Pokémon the Galar region has to offer. Enjoy your battles in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, and remember to check back to Pokemon.com/Strategy for more Pokémon TCG and video game strategy, tournament coverage, and analysis.

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