Pokémon Sword Shield march

Several new Pokémon are coming to competitive formats in Pokémon Sword and Shield in March. This will undoubtedly cause some changes in the current metagame, and here are the Pokémon that could shake things up.

1. Incineroar

Anyone who’s been around VGC and competitive Pokémon for a while knows how dominant Incineroar was in the Pokémon Sun and Moon series once it got its Hidden Ability. It returns this March, and there have already been complaints from the community and professional players.

Incineroar combines a great stat spread with a great ability in Intimidate. This, along with moves like Fake Out, Snarl, U-Turn, and now Parting Shot, make it a looming threat to the current meta. Expect Incineroar to be a top pick again in VGC 2020 and ranked doubles battles.

2. Venusaur

Venusaur hasn’t seen too much competitive play in VGC and doubles formats in the past few years, only boasting a 1.41% usage rate in VGC 2019. With a far more limited pool of Pokémon in 2020, however, it might be able to find more success.

Venusaur has the ability Chlorophyll, which boosts its speed in the Sun. This could work exceptionally well on teams with Sunny Day Whimsicott and Solar Power Charizard. Torkoal and Ninetales are also reasonable options to set up Sunny weather.

3. Blastoise

Blastoise is getting a big buff in Pokémon Sword and Shield by gaining access to the move Shell Smash. In the past, Blastoise has easily been the worst Kanto starter, but this move might just make it a viable option here in 2020.

Shell Smash drops Defense and Special Defense by one stage and increases Attack, Special Attack, and Speed by two stages. If Blastoise holds a White Herb, it won’t suffer any losses to its defenses. It could be played alongside Togekiss, who can use Follow Me on the first turn so it can safely get Shell Smash off.

4. Primarina

Primarina has never been overly popular in competitive play, but like Venusaur, it stands to gain from a far more limited format. It may also see a decent amount of play as a potential counter to Incineroar.

This Water/Fairy-type Pokémon has an excellent 126 Special Attack and solid defenses. It also has some excellent coverage moves, such as Energy Ball and Psychic, which can help it deal with a variety of threats.

5. Alolan Ninetales

Alolan Ninetales has been used in the past because it can set up Hail and Aurora Veil for its teammates. It might serve as a suitable partner or replacement for Vanilluxe, who has seen some use in this format.

Ninetales doesn’t have the best stats, but it could see a small amount of play in Hail-based team compositions. It may work well by setting up Aurora Veil and then spamming Blizzard alongside Vanilluxe or Inteleon.

6. Alolan Persian

Alolan Persian has good Speed and can get a big defense boost with its Fur Coat ability. Its attacking stats are awful, however, so it needs to be used as a support. It doesn’t do anything that Grimmsnarl or Incineroar can’t do better, but it might get picked now and then.

Any Pokémon with access to moves like Fake Out, Snarl, and Parting Shot is bound to see some usage. Alolan Persian can be a niche support that might offer the element of surprise over more common meta picks.

7. Decidueye

Unfortunately for Decidueye, it has a low base speed stat that doesn’t do it too many favors. Its Grass/Ghost typing has five weaknesses, and it isn’t incredibly bulky. It does have a solid move pool, however, so it might get a small amount of play. But don’t expect to see this one very often.

Others are coming to the Sword and Shield competitive format, such as Galarian Slowpoke and Rapidash, but they probably won’t see much, if any, play. Be sure to stay tuned for more Pokémon news and guides in the future!

Nate Searl
Nate is a college graduate with a B.A. in Journalism who loves gaming and esports. He has reached Legend rank in Hearthstone, Master Ball tier in Pokémon Sword, and pretends to be good at League of Legends and Overwatch.

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