8 Pokémon I've loved playing with in Sword/Shield

As I tweeted earlier tonight, playing Pokémon Sword and Shield has been an amazing experience and proof—to me at least—that the series hasn’t fallen off (even if I didn’t enjoy Sun/Moon/Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, although I am warming to it now). So I wanted to compile a list of my favourite 8 Pokémon I’ve used during Generation VIII.

The criteria for this list is simple: they’re Pokémon I’ve used for the first time in Sword/Shield and played with for more than one VGC battle.

#186: Politoed

It only took 20 years but I finally got a Politoed! I had to do the date skip exploit to find it in a Max Raid den with its Hidden Ability (Drizzle, which makes it rain) but it was worth it and allowed me to have a mini rain team for most of the 2020/21 meta alongside a few Water types such as Blastoise and Rotom-Wash.

It came in clutch both from a bulk perspective and with its support moves like Helping Hand. I ran a number of attacking moves but settled on Muddy Water in the end just for the spread damage and accuracy drops. And I played a few Perish Songs to win games but that was inconsistent because I’m not a great VGC player.

#197: Umbreon

Umbreon has been a favourite of mine for years but I’d never got one or played one in any format, in-game or VGC. That changed for Gen VIII and I like to think I used it before it was cool. Why? Because it’s SO BULKY! I can count how many times it has been OHKO’d on one hand, which isn’t something I can say for my other Pokémon. Its moveset has changed a fair bit over the last year and a half but it currently runs Snarl, Helping Hand, Yawn, and Foul Play.

I’ll never forget the time I nearly OHKO’d a G-Max Belly Drum Snorlax with Foul Play, 1v1, didn’t, and then lost. That happened last summer and I’m still not over it. THAT SHOULD HAVE KO’D! But Umbreon has been clutch through VGC 2020/21 and I’ll always have it in my team.

#479: Rotom-Wash

I’ve got to give props to Aaron ‘Cybertron’ Zheng for the inspiration here. Previously, I used Blastoise when it was added to the game last year but I couldn’t get it to work (I have now thanks to a Pokémon further down this list). It was bulky and a great special attack, along with a helpful Water/Electric typing and access to powerful moves.

For a while it was my primary Dynamax Pokémon and with Politoed giving it Rain and Helping Hand and running Life Orb, it hit HARD. I’ve dropped it for now as Blastoise has carved out a space on my team again but I am forever grateful for Rotom-Wash’s efforts. And it’s so cute! I recently bought a Rotom-Wash TCG card and hope I can get the plush one day.

#729: Decidueye

Decidueye was the catalyst for this post and the most recent addition to my current team. I was going through a slump and stuck on what to try when Series 9 came around in May. And then I watched a Cybertron video where he ran a team built by Sejun Park:

Before anything else, I noticed its shiny colours. Stunning! It reminded me of my football team’s colours (Sporting CP) and seeing it in action, I had to have it. And so I transferred one over from Pokémon Sun (which I made shiny but don’t tell anyone), levelled it up to Lv 100, hyper trained it, used Sejun’s moveset bar one move (I kept in Sucker Punch for priority), and set it out into the new world.

So far, it has a winning record when used in battle and has decimated the likes of Kyogre, Urshifu, and Thunderus with OHKO’s. Beastly strats. That ghostly cloaked owl is now my favourite Grass type (sorry Tangrowth and Venusaur).

#791: Solgaleo

I haven’t finished Pokémon Sun yet so I hadn’t caught or used a Solgaleo before now. Then I decided to try it in my team and in February-March, it was the MVP. Another bulky Pokémon who could hit hard and a nice dual typing with speed, unlike Metagross and Bronzong. I ran a Weakness Policy set and it worked so well, even if it wasn’t activated.

When I found out Series 9 would ban Restricted Pokémon again, I was gutted. I’d just grown attached to it! I didn’t want to run Metagross in replacement due to the loss of speed so that was the end of an era for me. But I’m glad I met you, Solange (my nickname for it).

#851: Centiskorch

Firstly, how cool is this Pokémon’s design?

Centiskorch appears to be based on radiator coils and centipedes like Orphaneus brevilabiatus, also known as fire centipede due to its bioluminescence. It may also be inspired by millipedes with the same ability, like the Sierra luminous millipedes. Additionally, It might also be based on the Ōmukade, a colossal centipede of Japanese myth, the creature’s legs are described as resembling thousands of torches. Its fire “mustache” could be inspired by Kabuto, a style of Japanese helmet.

Via the Origin section of its Bulbapedia page

So cool! And then it got a G-Max version and I had to run that. When it was in my team, I ran an Assault Vest set with Fire Lash, Crunch, Leech Life, and Power Whip. The downside was its weaknesses to Water (x2), Flying (x2), and Rock (x4) but if it could survive, it was so good. Just a shame it didn’t survive enough. Still a brilliant design and a great movepool. Thanks, Firecracker!

#871: Pincurchin


I want to hug it and if it shocks me, so be it. I want to make it happy. I ran it for a period at the start of 2021 with Rising Voltage and Indeedee-F to redirect. It was painfully slow but with Electric Seed, it could withstand attacks. I didn’t have a Trick Room setter at the time (and when I did, I dropped it) but it had a brief partnership with Rotom-Wash as a pair of Rising Voltage champs.

And Wolfey managed to bring out its best because of course he did.

#876: Indeedee-F

The final Pokémon in the list is one I never expected to run because I hated facing it (not as much as Whimsicott though, I hate that Pokémon with its Tailwind, Prankster ability, and smug face). But I liked its Hidden Ability, Psychic Surge. So I painstakingly tried to find one and I nearly got a Shiny one but it broke out of its ball in a Max Raid. So I settled for a regular one I found soon after.

Since then, it has been a staple in my team and works so well with all my Pokémon. It also allowed something special: for Blastoise to re-enter my team. Another Cybertron video inspired its inclusion where Indeedee allowed it to set up with Shell Smash and use Water Spout or G-Max Cannonade. It also helped my Swords Dance Decidueye to set up. And my Registeel. And my Entei (which has yet to capitalise on that but I’m working on it). Even paired with Umbreon, it could stall out Dynamaxes or set up screens and stat drops. So versatile and also cute. AND it resists Ghost moves and takes Dark moves like a champ.

Honourable mentions

Pokémon that didn’t make the cut that I used and briefly enjoyed include Trick Room Mr. Rime (for the meme), Technician Scizor, Moody Octillery (for the double meme), Galarian Articuno, and Alakazam.