The Galar Newcomers tournament in Pokémon Sword and Shield is just a few days away, and that means it’s time for participants to plan out their party. Here are some of the top competitive Pokémon that will be allowed in the tournament.
Dragapult is by far the strongest non-legendary Pokémon released in Sword and Shield. Its incredible 142 Speed stat along with a great 120 Attack stat and 100 Special Attack stat give it a number of build options. A Ghost/Dragon typing along with a solid move pool provides it with great coverage as well, letting it deal with many threats that will appear in Galar Newcomers.
Duraludon is a Dragon/Steel-type Pokémon that is almost mandatory to deal with Hatterene and Indeedee Trick Room comps. Its unique hidden ability, Stalwart, gives it the ability to ignore Indeedee’s Follow Me and attack Hatterene directly with a super-effective Steel-type attack. Even outside of this niche, Duraludon remains a strong special attacker with good coverage and decent bulk. It will surely appear in almost every team comp, especially without Excadrill being available to counter it.
With its Gorilla Tactics ability, Darmanitan becomes a formidable force that can serve as a viable counter to Dragapult, Duraludon, and Corviknight. It has a huge move pool that offers coverage for almost every top-tier Pokémon, including itself. If given a Choice Scarf to hold, it can even outspeed a Jolly Dragapult, unless the Dragapult is holding that item as well. Darmanitan’s one major drawback is that it will get locked into whatever move it uses first.
Grimmsnarl can play a number of different roles on a team but generally functions as a support Pokémon. It has access to the Prankster ability, which increases the priority of status moves by one. This allows it to efficiently set up screens for its team or inflict status conditions on opposing Pokémon. Grimmsnarl’s Dark/Fairy typing may hurt it against the abundance of Duraludon that are bound to appear in the tournament, but it will make for a great support Pokémon.
This Flying/Steel-type Pokémon is another great support option. With the absence of Braviary and Whimsicott, Corviknight will be the best Tailwind setter for Pokémon like Dracovish. Corviknight can also defog or Gigantamax and use its G-Max Wind Rage to clear away Grimmsnarl’s screens. It can run Iron Head and Brave Bird to help dish out damage as well.
Without Whimsicott to give it an instant Tailwind boost, Dracovish won’t be as menacing. This being said, it will remain a great option for revenge kills, especially when paired with Corviknight. Combining its Strong Jaw ability with its Fishious Rend attack will still let it one-hit-KO quite a few Pokémon in the tournament. However, Dracovish players must be very careful when going up against Dragapult or Duraludon, who will both one-hit-KO it.
This is a great option for setting up Trick Room. This Ground/Ghost-type Pokémon is very bulky and far more reliable than Hatterene for getting the move off. Its typing and move pool are very effective for dealing with top-tier threats like Dragapult and Duraludon. With very few Ground-type options, this Pokémon will probably appear outside of Trick Room comps as well.
Indeedee is another decent option for a support Pokémon. She is especially useful with Hatterene in Trick Room comps. Indeedee’s access to Follow Me, Helping Hand, and the Psychic Surge ability allow for Hatterene to set up Trick Room uninterrupted, unless you’re facing Duraludon or Barraskewda. Indeedee can also prove useful outside of Trick Room to help take the focus off of a sweeper or boost its damage.
While it isn’t as bulky as Runerigus, this is far more of an offensive Trick Room setter. When paired with Indeedee and given a Babiri Berry, Hatterene can even survive a Max Steelspike from Duraludon. Unfortunately for her, losing access to key Trick Room Pokémon like Torkoal and Rhyperior will make it more difficult for these comps to succeed.
This Pokémon could be a savior to Trick Room users in Galar Newcomers. The Steel-type elephant has access to a Gigantamax form and a number of useful moves. It has great Attack and HP stats and a worthwhile ability in Sheer Force. Don’t sleep on this Pokémon, as it will be very difficult to bring down without access to strong Fighting or Ground Pokémon.
Weezing’s new ability, Neutralizing Gas, could serve as a great way to help deal with top-tier threats. Its access to Will-O-Wisp and a great defensive typing make it a solid support option. Weezing’s biggest threat will be Duraludon, who doesn’t care about Will-O-Wisp and will take advantage of Weezing’s lower Special Defense stat.
This little Pokémon is a great check for any physical attacker. Its access to Strength Sap and Cursed Body help it stay healthy and sabotage the opponent. Eviolite makes it very tough to KO, too. Corsola will need to watch out for Duraludon, however, as it usually runs Dark Pulse.
Greedent could serve a similar role to Snorlax in Galar Newcomers. It has similar stats as well as access to Belly Drum. Greedent can also force itself to eat a berry while increasing its defense. This Pokémon could work well in Trick Room comps.
Sandaconda is a Ground type, which will be useful in Galar Newcomers. It can also Gigantamax and gain access to G-Max Sandblast, which inflicts damage and traps Pokémon for four-to-five turns. This Pokémon should be a good check to Steel-types, but it needs to beware of Dracovish.
Another Pokémon with access to a Gigantamax form, Centiskorch can also trap Pokémon with Fire damage for four-to-five turns. Fire-type moves will be useful against major threats like Darmanitan and Corviknight. Like with Sandaconda, though, Centiskorch must be careful if the opponent has a Dracovish.
Obstagoon has access to some decent moves, but its stats aren’t the greatest. It does have access to Guts and a great move in Obstruct, however, so players who have Flame Orb can make use of it. It’s Dark/Normal typing is good against Dragapult, and it has access to Close Combat to help against Duraludon.
Appletun could find use in Trick Room comps due to a decent Special Attack stat and low Speed, but it has poor coverage and will get obliterated by any Ice-Type move. If it is able to get set up properly, however, it might be able to sweep.
Anyone hoping to run a successful Trick Room party in Galar Newcomers needs to check this Pokémon out. It has a pretty solid 110 Attack along with a low 50 Speed. Tough Claws is a good ability, and it has decent potential as a Trick Room sweeper.
The Grass-type starter has some potential in this tournament. Access to Fake Out and Knock Off give it some utility, and it has solid stats across the board. The worst thing about this Pokémon is that Grass moves aren’t going to excel against any of the top-tier Pokémon.
Cursola has been overshadowed by other Trick Room users so far, but Galar Newcomers could be its time to shine. Its 30 Speed and 145 Special Attack make it a perfect candidate to be a special sweeper in the right comp.
Similar to Dracovish, Dracozolt suffers from the loss of Whimsicott. It relies on attacking first but won’t be able to do so as easily without the priority Tailwind Whimsicott offers. Hustle is also not nearly as good as Dracovish’s Strong Jaw. This Pokémon could serve as a decent counter to Corviknight.
Arctozolt would function similarly to Dracozolt, but in Trick Room comps due to its poor Speed stat. Trick Room users will likely look to it or Arctovish for more type coverage. It probably won’t be useful outside of Trick Room.
Alcremie’s stats don’t look as tasty as its G-Max form. That being said, access to Decorate and G-Max Finale might make it competitive. It can be built as a fast special attacker with options to buff an ally or attack opponents.
Similar to Greedent, Eiscue functions as a Belly Drum user. It doesn’t have the most impressive stats, but its Ice Face ability gives it an opportunity to set up Belly Drum to sweep. It can be used in Trick Room or outside of it with a support Pokémon.
The Water-type starter has seen some success when paired with Vanilluxe, but unfortunately, it won’t have its partner in crime for Galar Newcomers. Inteleon does have great Special Attack and Speed stats, but nothing in its move pool threatens many top-tier Pokémon. Its access to Ice Beam helps it against Dragapult, but Dragapult will out-speed it and one-hit-KO it due to its terrible defensive stats.
The Fire-type starter is in a similar boat as the Water-type starter. Cinderace’s access to Court Change could be useful for swapping screens against Grimmsnarl. Outside of this, however, Cinderace is simply outclassed by other Pokémon in the tournament.
Sirfetch’d could serve as an option against Duraludon and Darmanitan. Those Pokémon will appear very often, and they lack an effective move against Sirfetch’d. Unfortunately, Sirfetch’d gets outsped by both of them, so it could die without getting an attack off. If it can attack successfully, however, it could easily KO either of them.
Flapple is a fan favorite from Galar, but it hasn’t proved to be a very useful competitive Pokémon. It needs time to get off at least one Dragon Dance to up its Speed and Attack, which is difficult to pull off in doubles battles. It also relies on Hustle for additional damage, which hurts its accuracy. If paired with Indeedee or Grimmsnarl, it could find some success.
Power Spot seems like a great ability, but its abysmal Special Defense stat and poor Speed don’t do it any favors. It has decent coverage, but it is outclassed by many other Pokémon in Galar Newcomers.
While there are plenty of other Pokémon allowed in Galar Newcomers, most of them won’t stand a chance in the tournament. Any Pokémon not listed above belongs in this tier. There are bound to be players who try them and make them work, but they are generally not going to be competitive picks.
That being said, don’t be afraid to try something different. The element of surprise is always advantageous in Pokémon battles.
Be sure to register for the tournament before the cut-off date and get your party together!