Pokémon February International Challenge competitive

Last week, the Pokémon Company announced the next big in-game tournament for Pokémon Sword and Shield: the February International Challenge. This challenge will give players an opportunity to earn valuable Championship Points towards getting an invite to the Pokémon World Championships.

When entering the February International Challenge, players will have to register a party of six Pokémon – and they cannot edit this party after submitting it. With high stakes for competitive Pokémon players, it’s important to have the best possible party ready to go. So, here are some of the top Pokémon in the VGC 2020 metagame thus far.

Togekiss

Togekiss is the strongest and most-used Pokémon in the current VGC 2020 meta. This Flying/Fairy-type can fill a wide variety of roles and works well with any team. It is typically run as a support with the move Follow Me, which forces opposing Pokémon to attack it instead of its partner. This makes Togekiss a great partner for frail damage dealers.

Whimsicott

Like Togekiss, Whimsicott serves as a support in the VGC format. Whimsicott’s ability, Prankster, allows it to use status moves like Tailwind and Sunny Day with priority and works well with Pokémon who appreciate the speed boost and/or weather. It also deals decent damage with moves like Energy Ball and Moonblast.

Excadrill

Excadrill has access to two great abilities in Mold Breaker and Sand Rush along with a great offensive typing. Steel-type moves, in particular, are great against popular picks like Togekiss and Whimsicott. Excadrill is fairly predictable, but that doesn’t stop it from being a force to be reckoned with.

Dragapult

This Dragon/Ghost-type pseudo-legendary Pokémon isn’t quite as popular as it was when the games first released, but it still remains a great pick. Dragapult is the fastest Pokémon worth mentioning in VGC 2020 and can be used as a physical or special attacker.

Arcanine

The Fire-type doggo is the best Intimidate Pokémon in the meta (at least until Incineroar becomes legal in March). On top of just having Intimidate as its ability, Arcanine excels at disrupting opposing Pokémon with moves like Will-O-Wisp and Snarl. It has decent bulk and it can also put out a significant amount of damage with certain builds.

Other popular picks

pokemon sword shield mimikyu

While the above Pokémon are generally great with any team, there are plenty of other strong picks out there worth mentioning. Specific team compositions will feature less popular picks as well, such as Trick Room or Weather teams.

Here are some other strong picks

  • Duraludon
  • Mimikyu
  • Rhyperior
  • Conkeldurr
  • Gyarados
  • Grimmsnarl
  • Dusclops
  • Dracovish
  • Snorlax
  • Inteleon
  • Charizard
  • Jellicent
  • Milotic
  • Braviary

Remember that there are a lot of competitive Pokémon available in the VGC metagame. Sometimes the element of surprise is just as valuable as using the “best” picks. Knowledge is power when it comes to competitive Pokémon battles, so be sure to have a strategy and know what to do against the top tier picks.

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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