Which new Pokémon are even worth using?

A breakdown of the best and worst Pokémon from Generation VIII.


logos found on Pokemon.com; combined in photoshop

The author rates the new Pokemon available in the new Generation VIII series – Sword and Shield.

Pokémon developer Game Freak recently released a brand new generation, Pokémon Sword and Shield, meaning that many never-before-seen Pokémon were finally revealed. Some of them certainly live up to the standard we have come to expect from previous generations, but many of them are very bizarre or just downright terrible. This list will go over the best and worst Pokémon from Generation Eight and what makes them so. For more information on statistics and the actual data and moves of these Pokémon, serebii and bulbapedia are great resources for anything to do with Pokémon and are providing me with much of the background information seen here, adding to my own gameplay experience.


10. Arrokuda

As expected, the Galar region has many similarities to the other generations, especially early on in the story. Like every generation, many very similar, bland Pokémon keep popping up, including the regional bird, rodent, and most annoyingly, fish. In the early watery areas of the game are many fishing spots where players may encounter some of their very first Pokémon. One catch that players may reel in, besides countless Magikarp, are Arrokuda. Though this Pokémon may provide some use, especially by providing a water type early on for people who went for non-water starters, it is terrible for the long-term. For new players, and especially for children, giving them such Pokémon to start out with is almost guaranteeing them for failure. However, this also can provide a learning opportunity on how to improve and expand your team as you progress.

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9. Wooloo

Though this Pokémon may be very adorable, it is also almost completely useless for competitive battles, which is really what the majority of Pokémon is all about. What is even worse about Wooloo is that your rival uses it throughout the entirety of the story. Instead of the developers giving us a challenge against our main protagonist, they throw us a softball by giving our rival a generic, weak normal type. Had they given Wooloo or its evolution a secondary typing or some special ability, it may be worth using, but using Wooloo provides no type advantages or strengths, making it almost useless. On top of this, Pokémon already has a better version of this Pokémon that many fans already loved: Mareep. Wooloo is evidently the worse version of Mareep, and yet the developers add it to what should be one of the most challenging teams to face off against in the game.

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8. Gossifluer

Gossifluer could have been a much stronger Pokémon if it had just a little more development. A secondary type or a third evolution would have given this Pokémon much more of a competitive edge. However, it makes a lot of sense for an early Pokémon to collect, providing decent type coverage and giving players with the fire and water type starters a grass type. However, though this Pokémon could have been very useful early on, it may lead to a bit of trouble upon reaching the first gym. A grass type gym, many of the Pokémon there are resistant to much of the damage that Gossifluer outputs. Its evolution, Eldegoss, is much in the same boat in that it does not hinder nor help players’ teams in many situations. It just isn’t very strong in any area, and in the long run it is not a great investment, as better alternatives will pop up to use grass-types. In Sword, seedot and its evolutions are the better version, and Shield players can use Lotad’s line.

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7. Nicket

If you were planning on using a dark type for your Pokémon journey, Nicket is not the way to go. Though it can be found very early on and may be among your first Pokémon caught, it will not provide many benefits down the line. It doesn’t learn many moves to cover its weaknesses and while it may be able to stick around on your team for a while, it may be better just to get some Pokémon who can just learn dark-type moves instead. For instance, many early Pokémon are able to use the dark move Bite, and later Assurance, as some alternative moves, but for Nicket, these are some of its strongest moves.

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6. Skwovet

Like every generation, Pokémon seems to find it necessary to include yet another bland, squirrel-like creature. Like patrat, bidoof, or zigzagoon, such Pokémon only serve to infuriate the player in the early game, as players are bombarded by weak, yet annoying Pokémon for a very long time. Even after you progress in the game, Skwovet and similar Pokémon make it nearly impossible to run through grass without encountering at least one, and the only drop an abysmal amount of experience points (xp). Its normal typing is nothing impressive and overall it is such a weak Pokémon that it is certainly worth overlooking, as long as you are doing your best to avoid running into them every few steps in the tall grass.

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5. Stonjourner

Stonjourner had so much potential to become a very cool Pokémon, but it seems very underwhelming, especially for the conditions in which players find it. Late game, exclusive to Sword, and surrounded by other very scary Pokémon, Stonjourner might have been made into a competitive Pokémon. However, being monotype and having no evolution really brings it down a few notches. On top of that, the Pokémon is quite rare too, so it is likely that players may never even encounter this Pokémon across their whole journey. It doesn’t gain many points for either coolness or cuteness, and doesn’t offer much for players who have gotten that far except one more slot in the Pokedex.

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4. Pincurchin

This is not the first time that we have seen an urchin Pokémon, and this one is about just as exciting as its previous clones. However, it comes to a very similar fate as Wooloo, except without the cute factor. Our great rival, in the final championship match to determine the Champion of the Galar region, brings this creature to battle. Strangely lacking a water typing, this mono-electric Pokémon is not very strong and really ruins the epic battles that you might have been able to get from your rival. Though it does have very few weaknesses thanks to its electric typing, there are better electric types to be used, especially when compared to Toxtricity.

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3. Cramorant

Cramorant may have some silly abilities, but that is about it. It is just a simple water-flying type with no evolution and measly stats. It is practically useless for being outshined by Pelipper, and proves to be nothing more than a nuisance. It simply does not have enough going for it to make it a viable option when compared to very similar Pokémon. There are plenty of water-flying type Pokémon and many Pokémon that can use both types of moves to greater effect. Even its ability, Gulp Missile, that makes it somewhat special is useless a majority of the time, as it does not typically live long enough for the Pokémon spitting event to occur (after using Surf or Dive, Cramorant will do some damage after it gets hit).

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2. The Fossil Pokémon

In many other generations, the fossil Pokémon were strong, fearsome, and attainable. However, the Galar fossil Pokémon are nothing like those, and turn out to be just some goofy hodgepodge of sad Pokémon pieces. Though typically I would say appearance does not matter for Pokémon, it may be a struggle for players to want to use these Pokémon. Though their types are decent and they could be usable in battle, players get them far too late in the game for them to offer any help.

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1. Eiscue

The worst Pokémon of this generation by far, Eiscue is just bad in nearly every way. To begin with, the design is not great, just a generic penguin with a block of ice for a head. It is in a similar situation to Stonjourner, in that by the time the player gets to the point in the game where they can actually catch it, there is no reason to choose this Pokémon over the myriad of other ice types around. Compared to surrounding Pokémon like Beartic, Avalugg, and even Mr. Rime, this Pokémon seems like a joke, only included to make it more painful to complete the Pokedex. This seems especially likely since Eiscue is only attainable in the Pokémon Shield version of the game naturally, and the only way to get it otherwise is to trade. Adding to the list of annoyances that this Pokémon provides, its ability prevents a one-hit KO and even unexpectedly blocks any damage for a full turn. The ability regenerates in hail, too, which means that in its natural habitat or with weather moves that it may know, this Pokémon can become painfully annoying very quickly. Subjectively, this may be one of my least favorite Pokémon ever created because of the many frustrations it has caused me.

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10. The Starter Pokémon

Though the starters are pretty much what fans would expect at this point, being the same fire, grass, water typings as they were in Generation One, they still certainly were no disappointment. Generation Eight’s starters, Scorbunny (fire), Grookey (grass), and Sobble (water) were revealed much sooner than the game came out, so fans knew what to expect for the most part with their starter Pokémon. They may not have had the additional type that the previous generation provided, but they still had decent movesets and good stats. These Pokémon, as always, are certainly reliable enough to stick with the player from beginning to end, and provide a good partner Pokémon to rely on. As far as their designs go, once again they are pretty generic, but progressing through the evolutions leads to some really awesome designs, especially for Rillaboom. Each evolution revealed a little more about the overall theme of the Pokémon, and they were certainly on par with many of the previous generations.

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9. Hatterene

This Pokémon is actually really good, but the only issue with it is that there is another almost completely identical Pokémon that was brought in from an older Generation to serve the same purpose: Gardevoir. Hatterene is practically the same as Gardevoir, with the same typing, moves, and similar stats. Still a very strong Pokémon in its own right, Hatterene is definitely still a very good Pokémon. It is a pretty generic psychic-type, but the fairy moves are where she can really come into play. These types really play up her strengths and make her a viable option to take down many of the strongest types, from Fighting to Dragon. She didn’t really show up much on my personal playthrough, but I understand that Hatterene definitely could have boosted my team if I had used it.

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8. Centiskorch

Centiskorch turned out to be a much stronger Pokémon than I originally expected. Its Bug/Fire typing made it ideal for a prime fire-type user on the team. Additionally, Bug type makes it a very good candidate for a Fighting type stopper. Many Pokémon have a weakness to fighting, but with this Pokémon on the team, that weakness could be covered and taken advantage of. While there may be stronger fire types available, Centiskorch has a lot going for it that many other Pokémon may not.

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7. Drednaw

A very strong choice for players looking to get their hands on a water type, Drednaw is a perfect fit for many teams. Though Seismitoad outshines it on a few levels, Drednaw provides a study Pokémon that can really help in a pinch. Any well-rounded team requires a decent water type, and Drednaw will certainly come through. Additionally, this is one Pokémon that be obtained early on and carried with the player throughout the whole game.

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6. Zacian and Zamazenta

These legendary Pokémon are certainly nothing to scoff at: they are both incredibly strong and provide incredible support to any team. However, the one glaring issue with these Pokémon is that they are unobtainable until after you complete the game, effectively making them useless for the majority of the playthrough. Their addition to the post-game story really ties together much of the narrative the game had been leading up to and their inclusion was vital to the success of the theme. After the most recent game with the multitude of ultra beast legendries post-game, it was a little disappointing to see such a short post-game, even if it did work out quite well. The game certainly could have done with more than three legendries (the third being Eternatus, who is on a very similar level as these legendaries), as legendries require a backstory that develops the rest of the game out even further. However, in their own right they have the same strengths and weaknesses as many other Pokémon and have some very powerful signature moves that could devastate many foes.

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5. Coalossal

Like Drednaw, this rock-type has both its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to its typing. However, this is one Pokémon that really shows trainers how to evolve and level up a Pokémon from its beginnings. Its first form shows up somewhat early on, so beginners can pick up a simple rock Pokémon to aid them on their journey. As they progress, however, it becomes much more and offers a lot of options for development. However, without seeing it much on my own journey and not using it much myself, I have only seen it from the opposing perspective. I know, however, that it can certainly do some serious damage if left unchecked for too long. Its two types cover each other well and help to reduce its weaknesses, and both types have some quite strong moves to choose from.

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4. Corviknight

This is a Pokémon that fans already knew a lot about coming into the game, as it was revealed quite early on before we knew much else. What we did know was that this Steel/Flying would be quite a tank, and it turned out to be quite well-rounded and well-equipped for battle. Unlike many of the other generational birds who turned out to be nothing special, Corviknight really offered players a chance to use a very early Pokémon all the way to the end. This Pokémon will never fail to be useful, as both types provide ample coverage for many situations.

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3. Toxtricity

Introducing a never-before-seen type combination of poison/electric, Toxtricity shows the real potential that many Pokémon could have if just as much time and effort were put into them. Along with the unique typing, its alternate forms and strong moveset (including fire punch through TM) provides players with a Pokémon worthy of taking on the gym challenges. Along with this, the ease with which you aquire this Pokémon would make it almost laughable not to use it: Toxel (its pre-evolution) is given to the player freely on a very early route. It is very adaptable to any situation and will destroy some of the strongest Pokémon, including Gyrados, in just one hit. This Pokémon is just all around satisfying to use, and has very few types that hinder it.

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2. Grimmsnarl

Another unique type combination, the dark/fairy type Grimmsnarl gives the player to use the somewhat underused fairy type. Previously to this addition, Clefairy and Gardevoir were some of the only viable options for fairy-type Pokémon, but fortunately this Pokémon is on par with or might even outshine its predecessors. Though this is one Pokémon that players will pick up later on in the game, it still turns out to be relatively easy to get up to the same standards as the rest of your team. Though it can be a little slower and weaker than some other Pokémon on your team at the point you get it, Grimmsnarl’s type advantage and stab bonuses can be very useful against many Pokémon as long as you know your strengths. One big reason to take this Pokémon with you is because it is quite strong against Dragon Pokémon, and only has two weaknesses in poison and steel. Though it may not be one of your primary Pokémon, Grimmsnarl is always useful to have in your back pocket if thinks start looking bad.

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Dragapult was the inevitable pseudo-legendary that each generation has released since early on. Once again with the incredible typing, this dragon/ghost Pokémon is quite the fearsome foe, but such an amazing addition to the team if the player can find one. The only bad word to say about this Pokémon is about how difficult it can be to get, since it is a rare spawn, late-game, even under perfect conditions, but it makes its capture all the more rewarding. Taking this Pokémon to the final battles will not only make your player look that much cooler, but will also make them much stronger. Dragons are known for being some of the strongest Pokémon there are, and Dragapult holds up that reputation. With the additional bonus coverage that ghost provides, most notably completely nullifying Fighting and Normal, this Pokémon is a force to be reckoned with.

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Overall, this generation brought in a pretty good haul of Pokémon, and the really good ones far outshine the few bad ones. This list certainly isn’t concrete, and different experiences throughout the game will certainly result in bias towards Pokemon that I preferred. With that said, I am not sure that this game is much different at all to all of the prior ones. In my opinion, the previous generation in Alola was better, despite it being created for the 3DS, a very limited platform, but Sword and Shield still offer what the previous generations did for the first time on a home console. Seeing these Pokémon in full detail on a big screen really shows off exactly what we are getting into with each and every Pokémon. I was a little disappointed, too, in the very few technological changes that came from the shift of portable device to console, but in the end it is still a Pokémon game that can be enjoyed by fans of any age or group.