With the recent release of its first Expansion Pass, Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s competitive landscape has begun to change. We recently learned that players can use powerful Pokémon like Urshifu and Terrakion in upcoming VGC tournaments. In addition, the Isle of Armor has introduced some of the best new moves in the format.
In the Master Dojo, trainers can exchange Armorite Ore in order to learn new moves from a Move Tutor. There are 18 new moves, one for each type. Of course, some moves lack the utility to see significant use in VGC. Others, like Grassy Glide and Poltergeist, are good in theory but lack widespread distribution. As a result, few good Pokémon that could benefit from these moves actually learn them.
That all said, here are some of the best new moves introduced in Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s Isle of Armor.
Isle of Armor’s best new moves
Lash Out is a 75 base power physical Dark-type move that doubles in power if the opponent has lowered any of the user’s stats that turn. Under normal circumstances, having one’s stats lowered is incredibly threatening. It can completely eliminate the viability of some Pokémon. However, this move rewards Pokémon that have their stats lowered, thereby discouraging enemies from lowering the user’s stats.
With Intimidate as a common Ability and many Max Moves lowering enemy stats, it is not uncommon for Pokémon to experience stat drops. As a result, Pokémon can frequently take advantage of this to dish out a 140-power attack. Lash Out is best for relatively slow, Dark-type physical attackers, like Tyranitar, Krookodile, and Incineroar.
Burning Jealousy is a 70 base power special Fire-type move that hits both Pokémon on the opponent’s side. Notably, it also burns any Pokémon that has increased its stats. Many Pokémon rely on set-up moves to be viable, or they might increase their stats with Max Moves. Burning Jealousy inflicts these Pokémon with a devastating burn, lowering their physical damage output and dealing residual damage. As a result, it’s likely more useful as a support move than as an outright damaging attack.
Despite being new in the Isle of Armor, Scorching Sands has the same effect as an existing move. Scorching Sands is a 70 base power special Ground-type move with a 30% chance to burn the opponent. Therefore, it is exactly the same as Scald, just slightly weaker.
Since it is a special move, Scorching Sands will not be useful for most physically offensive Ground-type Pokémon. However, many specially-offensive Fire-type Pokémon can learn it, including Charizard, Ninetales, and Torkoal. These Pokémon can use Scorching Sands to challenge opposing Fire- and Rock-types. It can also continue to threaten burns on non-Fire-type Pokémon.
Expanding Force is an 80 base power special Psychic-type move that jumps up to 160 power in Psychic Terrain. In addition, it damages all Pokémon on the opponent’s side of the field. Under Psychic Terrain, it is a powerful STAB move for any Psychic-type Pokémon, with Hatterene being a notable example. Such a Pokémon should be partnered with Indeedee, as it can summon Psychic Terrain instantly with its Psychic Surge Ability.
Like Scorching Sands, Flip Turn is a new move from the Isle of Armor with a familiar effect. Flip Turn is a 60 base power physical Water-type move that causes the user to switch out after attacking. In this way, it is a slightly weaker Water-type variant of U-turn.
With U-turn being among the most commonly used moves in VGC, Flip Turn will no doubt become a great addition for many Water-type Pokémon. Unfortunately, Flip Turn is not distributed to nearly as many Pokémon as U-turn is. Still, it has potential as an excellent utility move for dealing chip damage before bringing in a different Pokémon.
Coaching is one of the Isle of Armor’s two new status moves, with the other being the Poison-type Corrosive Gas. This Fighting-type move boosts the Attack and Defense stats of the target. With it, Pokémon can increase the strength and durability of their allies. Coaching is best-suited for Pokémon that already fill a support role, like Hitmontop.
With no terrain in effect, Terrain Pulse seems a rather unimpressive move. It’s a special Normal-type attack with a paltry 50 base power. But under some kind of terrain, it becomes one of the most versatile coverage options in the game. Terrain Pulse doubles to 100 power in any terrain, and it changes types to match the current terrain. Because of this, it can change to an Electric-, Grass-, Fairy-, or Psychic-type attack.
The distribution of Terrain Pulse is, unfortunately, rather limited. However, Pokémon like Venusaur and Blastoise can use this one attack to gain access to strong coverage of different types. Of course, these Pokémon will want to partner with Pinchurchin, Rillaboom, Galarian Weezing, or Indeedee. All of these Pokémon set up a different terrain with their Abilities.