SPOILERS! Sword and Shield in-game team discussion thread

How early is the wild area? It’d be awkward to have only my starter of those four until the fifth gym And oh no? Are we back to that annoying finding a random tile thing?
Wild Area is available after the second route of the game, before you even touch the first gym. Ralts is actually available at a standard level for the area, which is goood since there's level caps for capturing, but the problem is it is only available if it is Foggy (which is post-game only i think) or Overcast. If it's overcast you can find one at a 2% encounter, though this isn't terrible as it sounds since it's an overworld encounter and you can attempt to shuffle those off a little faster.


and started walking.
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The Wild Area is well before the first gym; though still after the initial earlygame stuff. I guess think of it in terms of Jubilife or Petalburg?

As it turns out I was actually misinformed about Feebas. It's available by fishing in route 2... at a 1% chance in a specific area that you can only access 6 badges into the game.
Oh awesome! So I could potentially get Scorbunny and then Ralts early game and then Rapidash mid game? Too bad about Feebas though. I might want to get an egg after all lmao
Oh awesome! So I could potentially get Scorbunny and then Ralts early game and then Rapidash mid game? Too bad about Feebas though. I might want to get an egg after all lmao
Tecnically it's possible to run into wild Milotic eventually in the wild area, but I am unsure if they account for "hard monsters" thus not able to be caught until post game...
Tecnically it's possible to run into wild Milotic eventually in the wild area, but I am unsure if they account for "hard monsters" thus not able to be caught until post game...
Wild Milotic only show up in Lake of Outrage (so you need the water bike minimum) in Fog, which I beleive is post-game only. Or maybe it was just late game?

serebii does claim they also show up at a different lake at a lower level, but still limited to fog and still require the bike.

Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
i beat the game like 2 weeks ago and haven't posted my team yet? kinda cringe tbh

Rillaboom honestly felt like one of the weaker links of the squad. He has some pretty bad match-ups VS important opponents like Kabu, Leon, Chairman Rose and so on. Still cool though, Wood Hammer did big damage when I got that and Drum Beating is very reliable and helpful.

Orbeetle was my first real catch and it did decently the whole way through. Even as Blipbug it did surprisingly well with Struggle Bug spam, and when it evolved and learned cool moves like Psychic, Bug Buzz and dual Screens it continued to pull its weight.

Skuntank is a bit of an oddball choice, but I made it work and he did pretty good. Not the heaviest hitter, but its bulk along with Poison/Dark made sure it could outlast foes. It even gets Toxic + Venoshock via level-up which is pretty nifty, as well as Flamethrower to make the Steel match-up less iffy.

Perrserker was just about the only pick other than Rillaboom that was part of my initial plan and in spite of a Modest nature it did big huge damage. It originally kinda was weak because of that when it was still Meowth, but I was able to get it to learn Metal Claw AND a Play Rough TR very quickly. It's also worth noting that the Steel type kinda breaks the early game in half.

Gallade was more underwhelming than I expected early-game: Yes I got it before 2nd gym via scouring the Wild Area, and while it didn't quite shred like I expected it to due to no STAB it still did pretty good and kept up the good work through the very end.

Crawdaunt was one of my MVPs. He basically saved my ass VS Kabu AND Leon. I actually got him via a Max Raid Battle as a Corphish, taught him Waterfall and added him to the team pretty much right away.

This is definitely one of the more fun and memorable in-game teams I've used, I probably like how it turned out about as much as my BW2 team.
Inteleon: My starter, and it pulled its weight throughout the game. Shallow movepool -- it basically used nothing but Water STAB until I gave it Ice Beam and Shadow Ball via TR -- but its SpA was high enough to blow holes in anything that didn't resist it anyway.

Toxtricity: My surprise hit of this generation. I added it for coverage and a cool design (Amped Form), but it put in loads of work, to the point that it started to outlevel Inteleon because I was using it so damn much. Punk Rock + Boomburst/Overdrive simply murdered everything.

Centiskorch: This one was a pain to catch because I didn't know there was a guaranteed one in Kabu's gym, so I farmed the 1% random encounter on Route 3. Then I had to catch another because I wanted one with Flash Fire. Then I proceeded to forget it had Flash Fire for most of the game. Regardless, it was a solid Pokemon that I never regretted using.

Hatterene: This one, on the other hand, was the cause of some mild regret. While powerful, its low speed did it no favors. It kept taking hits before it had a chance to retaliate with its own attack, resulting in me having to switch it out from a Pokemon I knew it could kill because I also knew it wouldn't actually survive to do so. If I ever do another playthrough, I won't use it again.

Runerigus: I caught mine in a raid early on but didn't actually add it to my team for a while. I think I decided I needed the ground coverage and had no other immediately appealing options? Evolution was a PITA but after that it became a goddamn tank that only ever died to Hop's Zacian at the end of the postgame. (And only because Will-o-Wisp missed, at that.)

Duraludon: A lategame catch, obviously, but a fun one to use. Nothing really unexpected about it either way, it did what I wanted it to. Amusingly, I checked and despite catching it before Raihan's gym and using it for the rest of the game + postgame, it's still not maxed out on EVs.
My Friend and I decided to mess around a bit, we wanted to do a random battle. We set up a number generator 1-400 to see what we get. I ended up with:
He got:
..............Am I safe to say I am screwed? Or is there a way to beat him?
We have until March 31.
I have put together a team of Pokémon from ones I like the look and story of.
I have a few ideas of moves but nothing set in stone yet.

My team is made of 4 so far but not sure what to Put in the last 2 slots. Can you suggest Pokémon please?

Current team;

Maybe Mimikyu as 5th?

What do you suggest 5th and 6th. What am I lacking?
I did a 12 mon rotation for my Sword team, and while I completed the game almost a month ago, I still haven't talked about my squad. In general, most of the team did well, possibly a consequence of my team being overleveled due to me spending a lot of time in the wild area when the story sent me there.

Luneth the Cinderace: Named for the protagonist of Final Fantasy 3, (my first non-Pokemon RPG) and as a play on the lunar rabbit. He started off underwhelming due to a lack of strong physical STAB, but quickly rose to the occasion when I was able to procure a Blaze Kick TR when the game sent me to Bridge Field after the third gym. The Low Kick TR helped too, for coverage. Once he evolved into Cinderace and got Pyro Ball, he was extremely strong. However, the first time I tested out Pyro Ball, it missed 3 out of 5 times, so I slapped a wide lens on him ASAP.

Newton the Corviknight: Named for Sir Isaac Newton. He gained EXP quite fast, which meant I used him less frequently for most of the run than other mons who needed the EXP more. But he was reliable and powerful, easily transitioning from a sweeper earlygame to a tank lategame. Leon's Haxorus proved to be too much for him, which sucked, but aside from that, no complaints.

Yahtzee the Boltund: Named for Zero Punctuation's Yahtzee Croshaw. As a Yamper, he was absolute dogshit. Completely useless until he got Spark at level 20, and even then he was slow and weak. AFTER evolution, however... he was a beast. He easily solo'd Nessa's gym and became my ace for a long time. His stats should have gotten the better of him, but he got access to the Elemental Fangs at the exact moment he needed them, so he didn't really fall off until endgame. Even then, he did OHKO Leon's Inteleon and swept Nessa's team again during the rematch. Who's a Good Boy? Yahtzee is!!

Sadiq the Araquanid: Named for London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and caught in a Max Raid battle in the beginning of the game. He was very powerful right from the get-go, even if for some reason he never got Bubblebeam until I took him to a move tutor before Galar Mine No.2. I still don't know why that happened, but even with Water Gun, he was a beast. Especially after his Level 22 evolution, at which point he basically made the entire game into his plaything for a good half of the run. Once he got Waterfall? Yikes. He did fall off a bit towards the end, but I can't hold it against him considering he was THE star of the earlygame and still held his own at the end.

Henry the Obstagoon: Named for King Henry VIII, and my childhood dog, Henry. He was also caught early on in a max raid battle. He was strong as a Zigzagoon, evolved into Linoone and did well. He did live in Sadiq's shadow the whole time, and fell off a bit until his evolution into Obstagoon. The evolution, with a higher attack stat and Reckless and solid STAB moves paired with Submission, made him stand out for a while, but... eventually his base 95 Atk stat caught up with him. His best move, Take Down, was woefully inaccurate and missed when I really needed it not to, Submission was the same story, and Throat Chop was pretty weak. He would have done much better if he got Double-Edge, but alas, he didn't get it until after Leon fell. Obstagoon may be broken in UU and will almost certainly make OU next month, but in-game, he was easily the weakest member of my entire team.

Big Ben the Golurk: Named for, well, Big Ben, and caught in Watchtower Ruins early on. His name was Little Ben before evolution. I was lucky enough to get one with Iron Fist, which made him really strong with Shadow Punch early on. However, he was slow, and his power became less and less impressive as the game went on. He was stuck with BP 72 Shadow Punch and BP 75 Stomping Tantrum for a long time, with only Mega Punch for help. I knew what I was getting into, but going into Balloonlea, he really wasn't pulling his weight. Then I got the Choice Scarf, and everything changed. Little Ben did not mind being choice-locked, but he loved the extra speed, and that one item completely turned him around. I delayed his evolution for one level to get Phantom Force early, and after that, between Phantom Force, High Horsepower, Hammer Arm, and Shadow Punch, Big Ben was set to kick ass and take names. The mid-game slog sucked, but the end result was absolutely worth it, resulting in a mon able to easily dispatch Leon's Aegislash (paired with a hard-ass read on my end) to set the tone for the rest of the battle.

Suzi the Toxtricity-Amped: Named for Suzi Quatro, a major figure in early British punk. Received at the Route 5 daycare. Yes, I SR'd for Amped form and for the ability that would become Punk Rock. I gave her a couple small XP candies but after that, I left her in the party to soak up EXP while everyone else fought. She ended up hitting level 30 and evolving pretty early into my trek through the Bridge Field/Hammerlock Hills half of the wild area. She quickly proved herself to be a competent team member, with Shock Wave and Venoshock at her disposal, (this is why you want Amped form, BTW) but she was nothing special. Then she got Overdrive, Boomburst, and Sludge Wave. By the end she was a legitimate candidate for my best team member with her strong attacks and stats, and between that and her rockin' design, she was probably my favorite overall.

Hannah the Hatterene: Named for a close friend of mine from when I studied abroad in Leeds, UK. This Pokemon was, frankly, a useless burden until Level 42. She did make up for it, especially with the Shell Bell to make up for her bad speed, (and Magical Lead for coverage) but damn her earlygame was horrible. I would not recommend using her unless you have other mons to carry her until basically the 6th gym. She did get the ultimate redemption later on, as she was the one to defeat Leon's Gigantimax Charizard. He just kept using Max Overgrow to remove the psychic terrain from her Max Mindstorm instead of, you know, actually trying to do damage. How did Leon become champion again?

Blair the Centiskorch: Named for Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, and caught in the fire-type gym, He was abysmal and useless and trash... for 3 levels. Upon evolution he immediately started wrecking shit with his incredible attack stat and dual STABs. Yes, he doesn't get Fire Lash until Level 53, and yes, base 60 BP stabs at that point suck. However, Blair was not stuck with them alone. TRs from randomly occurring Max Raid battles and Watt shops gave him Heat Crash and Leech Life, which were great helps. Having said that, when he did get Fire Lash, it was incredibly satisfying, and it came just in time to solo Chairman Rose's entire team, and cameod in the battle against Leon where he thanos snapped his Mr. Rime out of existence.

William the Mr. Rime: Named for William Shakespeare, and caught in a Max Raid battle almost immediately after entering the Bridge Field half (post third gym) of the Wild Area. He was decent upon being first captured, in part thanks to an Ice Beam TR, and decent at the end in the Champion's Cup. Admittedly he was pretty underwhelming overall. His poor speed and bulk really hurt, and his damage output, especially at the end, just was not enough to compensate. His animations are hilarious, though. No regrets!

Valerie the Kommo-o: Named because I caught her in a Level Ball, there's a "V" on that ball, and I needed a female name that started with "V". And Victoria didn't fit for some reason. After getting the fourth gym badge I went back into the Wild Area and caught her in a 4 star raid as a Hakamo-o. Afterward, I traded her to a friend's game so he could teach her Brick Break, at which point he sent her back. I figured I'd rather do that than try for a close combat TR. With Dual Stab (let's go Dragon Claw), Valerie was initially pretty good, but underwhelming. Then she evolved right before the 7th Gym, and everything changed. She roflstomped the Dark gym, cleaved through a ton of other teams, and when she did take damage, refused to die. Dragon Dance was a huge help in that. Post-game, she was easily the best member of my team, because she knew how to use False Swipe!!

PLUS: She ended up with an x/30/31/x/31/31 IV spread, so I farmed EV-reducing berries and enough BP for an Impish Mint to re-train her into a physically defensive SR set.

Josie the Galarian Darmanitan: Named for another friend I made in Leeds, and caught at the end of Route 8. I just needed a dumb strong Pokemon to fill the final team slot at the end of the game, and Josie filled that role to a T. Enemy Pokemon were obliterated by Icicle Crash and Ice Punch, though not to the extent that I was perhaps expecting. Fire Fang (later Punch) and EQ also proved helpful for coverage, by which I mean increasing the number of things that would instantly die to her. She was perhaps a little underwhelming, but I wasn't expecting the world, and she gave me what I wanted. Plus, she dealt easily with Leon's Dragapult and was able to revenge kill his Haxorus when he narrowly defeated Newton.


It's Vince, friend
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My Friend and I decided to mess around a bit, we wanted to do a random battle. We set up a number generator 1-400 to see what we get. I ended up with:
He got:
..............Am I safe to say I am screwed? Or is there a way to beat him?
We have until March 31.
What's up with Dugnonet

I like your team way more, like one hundred time more. He is screwed. Dragapult stomps its team. Sableye annoys every member of its team. Vileplume is the only Pokémon that can be annoying with Sleep Powder (do you play with sleep clause?) but that's it and you can manage it.
What's up with Dugnonet

I like your team way more, like one hundred time more. He is screwed. Dragapult stomps its team. Sableye annoys every member of its team. Vileplume is the only Pokémon that can be annoying with Sleep Powder (do you play with sleep clause?) but that's it and you can manage it.
he has nothing against corviknight except clef and special dragapult (both which are very shaky) so corvi will tear through anything minus sable with brave bird / iron head / roost / bulk up
What's up with Dugnonet

I like your team way more, like one hundred time more. He is screwed. Dragapult stomps its team. Sableye annoys every member of its team. Vileplume is the only Pokémon that can be annoying with Sleep Powder (do you play with sleep clause?) but that's it and you can manage it.
Its a randomizer. He ended up with 2 and I with one. We have no sleep clause. I was worried about the spritzee and stonejourner. But I think ill manage now XD.

Jerry the great

Banned deucer.
Here is my team I beat Shield version with!

Inteleon: It was pretty good actually. It's what allowed me to not struggle with kabu. It also gave me a great advantage against the many fire types and fire moves seen in galar. It also tanked the ice gym leader's hits and dealed solid damage of it's own thanks to decent offensive prowess. And it was my highest leveled Mon until after Piers so that also gave it some advantages. And it's what made beating Raihan possible for me, thanks to max geyser. It wasn't the superstar of the team, but it did it's job finely.
Lucario: This thing was a beast for until after Raihan, where a member not too far away from being mentioned gets mentioned takes it's spot as the beast. It did fare well though... It did great defeating what was the scariest thing ever in the other version thanks to me having no fighting mons in the Hop battles: Snorlax. The fighting/steel type made Snorlax look like a pushover in the battle after the fairy gym, and after that, it had fighting moves to easily smash it for the next two fights main game with him. It also immensely helped against the ice gym thanks to the steel typing. It along with Inteleon allowed me to beat the ice gym without too many troubles. It also did too well vs Pier's Skuntank, and same goes for obstagoon. Lastly, it made beating Raihan's Durladon actually possible for me. Let me tell you, I would've had to grind my team to level 55 to take him on just because of Durladon had it not been for this.
Tyranitar: Found this thing in Dusty bowl after getting all badges. Let me tell you, this thing was the BEAST for the rest of the game. And all it took was watts and the move relearner. It destroyed EVERYTHING up until Leon, where it still did a fine job at taking down dragapult and Charizard. Before that though, thanks to the massive level advantage and moveset, this thing singlehandedly took down everyone. Even Enternatus stood no chance against it, compared to the other version where it took 4 of my whole team just to beat it (yes I mean standard form not enternamax form). Tyranitar? Oh it was just more stuff for it to destroy. No extra mons were needed. Normally I'd hate to destroy everyone so easily, but since this is the Pokemon equivalent of Godzilla, it felt awesome.
Bisharp: Got it after beating piers at level 52. It was my 2nd most useless member to be honest. It took on some trainers after my Tyranitar got worn out on the snow route after getting all 8 badges, and took out the final main game battle with Bede since Tyranitar did get an out thanks to all the fairy moves, but that's about it. I only really got it because it's my second favorite Pokemon.
Durladon: I got this thing because I loved it's design on the snowy route and it did a couple of things vs Leon, but that's about it. Most useless member of em all. Would've been terrifying if I could have it early game though.
Gengar: Found a wild level 60 one. It took out Leon's Aegislash no sweat, and swept Allister's entire team no problem with shadow ball in the rematch with him. It was good, but not beast material like Tyranitar was.

And that is my team. My team I beat the game with. Gotta admit though, it was fun playing the game. I was glad to bring in my own team for you folks to see. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of my members or team overall!
Here's the team I used on Sword.

I registered just to say, as an incredibly green newbie, thank you for this detailed post! Learning about ideal movesets and alternative moves for different situations has been really interesting and I love your reasoning for picking certain Pokemon.

So I’m planing on breeding all the eeveelutions for my copy of shield and I was wondering what would be the best movesets for each eeveelution to go up against the galar region and online.
I am in the middle of breeding some up for this (this is the first Pokemon game I've gotten to "end-game" with since R/B), and would love some pointers for stats for each eeveelution.
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Mimikyu ghost-fairy
Appletun grass-dragon
Corviknight fly-steel
Gastrodon water ground
Grimmsnarl fairy-dark
Cinderace fire

What do you guys think of this team?
Did another run through of SW so some thoughts on mons:

- :cloyster: was somewhat excited to try this out once I realised you could get Water Stone before the first gym (it's a bit deep into the part of Wild area you technically aren't supposed to be touching but it's not like anything's stopping you...). Had to fish for a Skill Link one for obvious reasons, but Cloyster's ability to immediately nuke shit is apparent; skill link icicle spear earlygame is that disgusting, especially when you also get access to shell smash and later rock blast shortly before gym 1, and pin missile after (though it's shit, cloyster kills enough with spear). Cloyster sadly falls off hard lategame since his attacks barely scratch DMax'd shit even after a shell smash and obviously he just lolfolds to any special attack ever.

- :ninjask: a level 15 one is available in wild area so he gets some use without having to do the stupid nincada stage (also means no sheddy but lol). unfortunately ninjask is also pretty bad and nothing to write home about, i guess baton passing speed and evasion boosts is nice? seriously he'd be so much better if swords dance was relearnable and not at literally the end of the fucking game :mad:

- :cinderace: I know I used him already and I'll use him again. cinderace's performance when dmax is actually really nice because he gets access to max fighting+flying naturally (though using acrobatics instead of bounce is an option) which lets him setup pseudo dragon dances to eat shit with pyro ball.

- :roserade: caught the level 15 Roselia in wild area and managed to get a shiny stone from Digging Duo (again, something you technically shouldn't be doing early but whatever), since you get enough watts for a couple of digs off the bat. Roserade's interesting since you can relearn stab petal dance immediately but you're kinda starved for coverage, since you have to get sludge bomb via TRs. A bit ew, but workable.

- :sirfetchd: Promotion is kinda wack to get for this dude on paper but then here's the fun bit: you actually get one TR for free in the whole game - TR13, which comes with Focus Energy. Slap that on Farfetch'd, have him solo a Wobbuffet or something, and you can immediately get your free 125 attack monster. Except Sirfetch'd isn't exactly as monstrous as one would've liked since most of your moves earlygame are low on power except for First Impression, but there's more issues with that move than I could count. Somewhat ew choice but still usable for dem crits. Also because of free exp share you can just let him rot on the back until he gets all of his good moves later; Brave Bird, Leaf Blade, SD, Brick Break, etc...

- :excadrill: I tried to use him but I got mad when I found out he doesn't get Earthquake early anymore and dumped him. :mad:

- :durant: this one was a surprise. I didn't expect Durant to be this good, but Hustle is very woke and you can buy X accuracies before you catch him anyway. Unfortunately he's meh for lategame steel spam (like almost everything) so unless you get him the Superpower TR (easier to get than you think, there's a den that literally only has Fighting types in it so all it costs is 1 wishing piece*) he's not going to do much there (Stomping Tantrum is also available as an alternative, but it's way weaker than Superpower). He also eats a lot of midgame hard so that's also something he has going for it (like metal claw is legit enough to roll through most of ballonlea gym i'm serious)

- :gengar: picked him up at the end at level 60 and only used him cuz he had like max SpAtk and SpDef IVs so :wynaut:. Choice Specs shadow ball is nice as a quick nuke but frail.

As a note, some TRs are incredibly easy to get if you know which den to toss wishing pieces into. The fighting den I mentioned basically has a 100% chance of dropping superpower and close combat (iirc) if the raid is at least 3* and I believe this also applies to some other dumb shit that can be used for coverage like play rough, sludge bomb etc. obviously the problem comes with knowing which den so yeah, that's another can of worms.

Final Leon team on this file was Cinderace/Gyarados/Gengar/Durant/Roserade/Togekiss, caught the last one as a Togepi from a raid before first gym and didnt feel like talking too much about him, just that Togetic stage is meh. At least this team is a bit more varied than when I gave up on my first run and just caught 3 Kommo-Os to beat Leon with lmao
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Shame; those were always some of my favorite threads to read.
I can see the skeleton of an In-Game List coming from maybe just doing the Routes and ignoring the Wild Area at first. However, that would also call into question how often you can do Raid's, use EXP Candy, use Wild Area items, use the Digging Duo ect. It's definitely messier than prior Gen's in this respect.
I can see the skeleton of an In-Game List coming from maybe just doing the Routes and ignoring the Wild Area at first. However, that would also call into question how often you can do Raid's, use EXP Candy, use Wild Area items, use the Digging Duo ect. It's definitely messier than prior Gen's in this respect.
Agree, however, I do think it's a good thing.

I would say SwSh for first time literally allows you to use whatever. Any pokemon can work out ... ok, maybe Butterfree can't.

The only Pokemon that are kinda "screwed" are those relegated as super rare or late game encounters (say, Eiscue or Dragapult)
Agree, however, I do think it's a good thing.

I would say SwSh for first time literally allows you to use whatever. Any pokemon can work out ... ok, maybe Butterfree can't.

The only Pokemon that are kinda "screwed" are those relegated as super rare or late game encounters (say, Eiscue or Dragapult)
Yeah, the openness of the Wild Area does allow a ton of things to be viable and TR's let you access excellent moves very early if you know where to drop Wishing Pieces. I do think the prospect of trying an In-Game list for S/S is interesting, but it'd be a VERY long term commitment and it would come down to splitting a lot of hairs.
My first game since Emerald. Really enjoyed it and love some of the quality of life changes they’ve made since then. Having missed a few gens there were plenty of Pokemon I wanted to try.

Very much a casual player but I’ve enjoyed reading the in game tiering threads on here despite never playing a lot of the games. I can see the challenge of doing one for these games but would love to see it. Here was my final team:


I tried a bunch of different Pokemon across my play through and used that rotation to keep parts of the game a bit more challenging, as it felt pretty easy. Some of my thoughts:

I’m a sucker for the water starter and I couldn’t resist picking Sobble. Not a huge fan of any of the starter designs for a while now but I grew to like Inteleon and thought he was very useful in-game. Inteleon is really frail but fast and Snipe Shot and Ice Beam hit most things pretty hard, and he stayed in my team from beginning to end. I hope we get a chance to give our starters the secret abilities and gigantamax forms because the Sniper ability looks like it will suit him well.

Absolutely love the concept and design, probably my favourite this gen. He was the first mon I caught after Sobble and served me well for a while. He was useful in the early game and good for soaking up a few hits once fully evolved but as I got through the game I felt he got less and less useful, and eventually he got replaced by Copperajah who just hit a lot harder.

Pretty good. Surprisingly bulky and useful against lots of types I needed coverage for. Pretty good from early on (I found mine surprisingly easily thanks to my Growlithe which unknowingly made more appear with flash fire). Arcanine was an old favourite and I felt he was pretty much guaranteed to be good but I decided to go for something different in Centiskorch as my fire type and he didn’t let me down. Only real downside was he seemed to take ages to learn his really good moves. Eventually replaced by Togekiss.

As soon as I saw this guy I knew I wanted one for my team. Toxel was completely useless for ages, but once evolved he was great. Mine had Punk Rock so he hits like an absolute freight train with Overdrive and Boomburst. Gets absolutely ruined by any ground move though, and those are pretty common. My original amped up version was raised from the daycare one but was ruthlessly replaced in the end game for a low key gigantamax version - definitely prefer the low key variant’s design.

I liked the sound of a steel elephant Pokemon so went looking for one as soon as I could, and he replaced my recently evolved Corviknight. With Sheer Force he hit most things really hard. He wasn’t as bulky as he looks and he was annoyingly slow at times, but when I got a Life Orb surprisingly early and worked out how well it worked with his ability, he was an absolute beast.

Love the inspiration, love the design, love the special attack, hate how absolutely terrible she was in game. Sadly the defence and ability render it completely unusable in a casual play through.

Picked one of these up towards the end of my play through. Pretty good, with some powerful moves, but with so many strong options late on he didn’t last that long in the team.

I’d never used one of these before but I fell in love with the dumb huge teddy bear design. Typing was weird but ended up being really useful, fighting in particularly towards the end of the game with all the steel types. The Fluffy ability also seemed to be quite good for letting him take some hits.

Caught one of these fairly late and she was pretty good, but Bewear felt like the better fighting type so I ended up sticking with him.

Looked like the easiest dragon to get hold of before the end of the game so I picked an Axew up as soon as I got the water bike and wow he did not disappoint. One of my new favourites. Probably stronger than any Pokemon I’ve had in any other game and while he can’t take many hits, he rarely seemed to need to. Found myself leading with him and his Outrage a lot, and just switching out as soon as he got confused. If I’d known I could have just given him a berry for that at the time he would have caused even more carnage. Absolute monster.

Who would have thought that useless Togepi I got in Silver could have eventually evolved into this beast? I went looking for one of these once I realised I could and it never left the team after that. Naturally terrible until it’s evolved twice but I had a few XP items to use by that point and quickly levelled it up. Great all round stats and plenty of good moves to play with, even if most of them required a TR. Air Slash, Dazzling Gleam and Flamethrower took me a long way. The only bad thing I can say is that it doesn’t learn a good fairy move from levelling.

My all time favourite and the main reason I picked Shield over Sword. I had an amazing one in Silver who is probably long gone now but this guy is the same absolute unit I remember from when I was a kid. Can take so many hits, particularly with his sandstorm up, and with that massive attack stat he kills most things in one hit. Still wrecking anything without a fighting move in the Battle Tower with the help of his Choice Band.

I’d have picked one of these up if I could have over the course of my play through, but couldn’t on Shield. I was lucky enough to get one from a Max Raid post game though and absolutely love this yeti/ape/wherever he is. Can’t really speak for his usefulness in game other than the fact he’s stupidly good in the Battle Tower with a Choice Scarf. In the end it was was him rather than Copperajah who I levelled up to 100 for my final maxed out IV/EV team.

All in all, a brilliant game for someone like me coming back to the franchise after many years. People love complaining about games and it’s a shame we lost a bunch of Pokémon but I’m looking forward to the DLC and by the looks of it we might be getting most of them back anyway!
Started a new run when the DLC hit because I was curious about how it integrated into main story progression and the eventual process of trying to do in-game tiers for SW/SH. Answer: somehow Isle of Armor makes the process of tiering Sword/Shield even hairier!

Some notes on the team I've been playing with, up to Route 8 atm:

Cinderace: it's fast, it's strong, it's a starter. Hasn't really shined so far but that's mostly just because it's been upstaged by the sillier parts of my party. Still, it puts in solid work vs. route Trainers, and it dealt w/ Route 7 Hop pretty handily. Pyro Ball is an incredible tool to have access to.

Corviknight: this thing is a monster, and while tiering SW/SH is a hairy prospect, Rookidee is the S-Tier mon when it happens. Available on the first route of the game, good typing, good stat line, more or less immediate access to Hone Claws + Power Trip for snowballing through major fights. Anything that can't punch you out immediately is setup bait. Obnoxiously good at exploiting Dynamax boosts to smash through gyms, with Flying/Steel STAB and access to Fighting coverage. The DLC somehow makes it even better by giving you access to Dual Wingbeat to give Rookisquire/Corvidee access to strong STAB when you'd otherwise be stuck Plucking things.

Magnezone: reliably obtainable as soon as you get access to Isle of Armor. It's Magnezone and we all know what that does, right? Electric/Steel is as solid a typing as ever and gives you favorable matchups vs. most major fights, you're bulky, you hit hard, you have Sturdy but you don't really even need it. Magneton just evolves with a Thunder Stone now, which means you're somehow even more low-maintenance than ever. Needs the Thunderbolt TR to perform optimally ASAP but getting TRs before the credits roll is quick, consistent, and easy in a world with the Cram-o-Matic and Digging Pa, so you can just give it that.

Starmie: like Magnemite, you can just catch a Staryu ASAP when you get to Isle of Armor. It's fast, it's strong, and its movepool is nuts. Give it Expert Belt and Surf/Thunderbolt/Ice Beam and you can basically punch through anything; you can do whatever you want with your fourth moveslot, but I like Flip Turn just b/c it's free chip damage if you ever need to go out. Needing a Water Stone is annoying (you can't get a guaranteed one until after you get the water bike...) but it's not really a big deal b/c you have a bunch of watts from Digging Pa to feed to the digging duo. You get an Expert Belt at the very start of Isle of Armor and Starmie is a perfect user for it. Notably tears through Kabu, who can otherwise be kind of a jerk, even before it evolves. Slow exp. group kinda bites but you don't really care because you can still do your job even if you lag a little bit.

Axew: got it early as a raid, but it really hasn't impressed so far. Dragon Dance is cool, and SW/SH are games that reward snowball sweeps, so it sounds appealing, but so far the amount of time you spend as Axew has just really stunk. Late evolutions feel really bad in Sword/Shield because these games are full of really, really explosive things and Axew just... isn't. Still going to keep it around for endgame, since it's easy to babysit things in these games and most of the harder stuff is backloaded anyway, so Haxorus might prove useful yet... but it's definitely the weak link right now.

Urshifu (Single-Strike): this thing is nuts. Super strong, fast, surprisingly durable. Wicked Blow's auto-crit is nifty b/c you don't care about attack drops or defense buffs; you just punch through everything. You don't even really care about matchups that should be bad for you; yeah, you're quad Fairy weak, but your stat line is ridiculous and you have easy access to Poison/Steel coverage options. Kubfu is really solid when you get it, but after evolving, it feels kinda gamebreaking. You're on the slow curve but you don't even fall behind the party in terms of levels because following the questline to evolve Kubfu gives it a bunch of affection anyway.

The Kubfu/Urshifu questline is super short, too, so it doesn't really feel like a big impact on its availability. The only awkward thing is dealing w/ Klara/Avery 3 to get it; that fight is really scary with a weaker party. I went in w/ level 18-ish mons, and it was doable, but setting up to punch through Slowbro w/ unevolved mons is a Project, and you can't even set up on Skorupi b/c you have to kill Weezing first or you just get hit with Clear Smog. I think you generally do wanna do that fight as early as you can if you want to run Kubfu, though, just b/c if you get Kubfu earlier you don't need to grind it or feed it candy to get it ready for the towers.

Performance-wise, it competes w/ Corviknight and maybe even eclipses it, but it takes at least a little bit of work to get Urshifu online and SW/SH give you this embarassment of super-powerful super-easy-to-obtain early mons so I feel like it's probably a notch lower than things like Corviknight/Magnezone? It's absolutely competitive with them (and you want to do most of the Isle of Armor quest anyway just because it's super brief and easy until Klara/Avery 3 and the Expert Belt, the Exp. Charm, and the Cram-o-Matic are all more than going to pay for that time investment) but it feels less effortless than other similarly strong mons.

Probably the way I'd put it: so far, it feels like 20 minutes of work for a mon as dominant as Urshifu is would be a shoo-in for S-tier in prior games, but SW/SH has so many comparably powerful things that are obtainable w/ virtually no work that it doesn't feel as Worth It as it otherwise would. It's still really good, though.
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