It’s time to welcome the new generation of Pokémon with the latest addition to the franchise, Pokémon Sword and Shield. In the Galar Region, we travel meeting new faces from Gen. 8 alongside a mix of familiar Pokémon from all previous generations. Training new Pokémon can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming trying to figure out which would be the best to invest your time in while you play the story. For this reason, we created a list of Gen. 8 Pokémon you’ll want to catch right away, so you can get an insight into what Pokémon will be worth your time before you reach the final Gym Challenge.
Keep in mind this selection is targeted at Pokémon you can catch, train and evolve before you beat the last Gym Challenge, with no after story completion required. With that said, enjoy catching, evolving and training your future 8th generation Pokémon champions!
A good Pokémon to have on your team could be Grapploct because of its high attack, HP and special defense. Unlike other Pokémon in the list, we chose Grapploct, the evolution of Clobbopus, because this second evolution is widely available in the wild. To catch Grapploct you will need to make it to Route 9 after getting your Rotom Bike updated to run in water. Grapploct comes with two handy traits, one is Limber, an Ability that will prevent it from getting Paralyzed, and the other is a special attack called Octolock, which lowers the Defense and Special Defense of your opponent in every turn. Grapploct will be your must go to Pokémon when you’re looking to break the defenses of your rival’s sturdiest tank Pokémon.
Morpeko is introduced as the cute companion of Marnie, one of the rival Gym Challengers in Pokémon Sword and Shield. If you liked the adorable goth-looking Pikachu, Morpeko, you don't have to wait too long to catch one of your own. It roams around Route 7 and Route 9, and if you’re looking for it, you don't need to catch more than one, as its Ability will always be “Hunger Switch”. This Ability is unique to Morpeko, and what it does is that at the end of every turn, it will make him switch between Full Belly Mode and Hangry Mode. But… What exactly does that mean? Well… Initially, the change is purely aesthetical, however, this changes at level 55, when Morpeko learns its signature move “Aura Wheel”. With Aura Wheel, Morpeko’s Hunger Switch to Hangry Mode makes the attack hit as a Dark-type, as for in Fully Belly Mode, the attack will hit as an Electric-type. Dark and hangry… Full and energized… Ha... Haha... Get it...?
Falinks is a cute bunch of Fighting-type Pokémon you can encounter marching from wall to wall in the ruins in Route 8. Because of the way the game presents it inside the mini-maze, it’s impossible to not notice it, but Falinks has more to offer than how it looks. Falinks has well-rounded stats, two of which reach 100 base points, them being Attack and Defense, making it a good addition to the team as an offensive or defensive party member. Falinks doesn’t evolve, but it naturally appears in the wild with the Ability Battle Armor, compensating its lack of evolution with guaranteed 0 critical hits done to it. Being a pure Fighting-type, Falinks is only weak to 3 types, one of them being Fairy-type to which you’ll be super effective against, so technically you’ll have pretty good odds to win any fight with a Falinks on your team.
It’s easy to tell that Applin is a Grass-type Pokémon, however, within itself, it hides the fact that it’s also a Dragon-type Pokémon, one of the strongest types of the franchise. We recommend you go right away to Route 5 and catch yourself an Applin, not because of its types, but because early on in the game inside the Wild Area you will easily find either a Sweet Apple or a Tart Apple, items that will make this Pokémon evolve into one of two versions of a fierce and delicious looking dragon Pokémon. Before you evolve it, go ahead and explore Hammerlocke with your Applin, there, you will find a character that is desperately looking for an Applin, if you trade him your Applin, you’ll unlock a cute and romantic cutscene, and best of all, you get your Pokémon back! Now, before evolving your Applin, you must decide if you want to go for attack or defense. If you choose to attack, you must give your Applin a Tart Apple, and it will evolve into Flapple. If you want defense, give your Applin a Sweet Apple, making it evolve into Appletun. If you think Applin’s evolutions look adorably delicious, just wait until you see its special transformation during Dynamax battles!
To be fair, the 6th spot could have been split between all the fossil Pokémon: Arctozolt, Dracovish or Arctovish. They all have similar base stats and they are all unlocked the same way: find two different types of fossils in the Wild Area by either stumbling upon them or digging for them, then going to Route 6 and having them combined and restored to obtain an ancient Pokémon. Now, we chose Dracozolt because of its dual types, Electric and Dragon. The last time we saw a mix of Electric/Dragon-types was back in Gen. 5 with Zekrom, and we all know how well that combination worked out. If you’re lucky, your Dracozolt will have the Ability Volt Absorb, which will make it absorb any Electric-type attacks as HP. Can’t wait to get your hands on one of the coolest dragons of Gen. 8? Better save up and dig for the items Fossilized Bird & Fossilized Drake!
Ok, hear us out with this one… It surely does not look like a menacing Pokémon, we know, but have you tried attacking one of these? It sure looks fragile, but it’s amazingly sturdy for a Psychic-type. This little sleepy time Kirby-looking Pokémon is good in Dual Battles, as it can heal your allies or easily become annoying for the opponent with its parade of buffs and status inflicting abilities. Once you Confuse, Paralyze or Charm your opponent, you can easily take it down with Dazzling Gleam, good ole Psychic or help your team by... sacrificing yourself with a Healing Wish?
Hatenna will evolve twice, once into Hattrem at level 32 then into Hatterene at level 42, becoming part of the Fairy-type family. By the time your Hatenna evolves into Hatterene, you’ll notice it’s strong fort is Special Attacks, especially the witch theme suiting attacks like Future Sight. Next time you’re adventuring around the Wild Area, keep an eye out for that tiny pink hat running around the grass! You won’t regret catching one!
Cufant is the first 8th generation Pokémon we see when starting the game. You can find the pure steel Pokémon, Cufant, near Bridge Field in the Wild Area. For being a Steel-type, it does not learn too many Steel moves on its own by leveling up, however, its incredibly high base attack of 80 points makes any of its physical attacks a brutal blow. Cufant evolves into Copperajah at just level 33, giving it over hundred-twenty points in both base HP and Attack, making it your go-to offensive war machine. At this point, a Copperajah with the ability Heavy Metal would make it the heaviest Pokémon in the game, making the attack Heavy Slam a deadly move against any opponent.
Toxel is as adorable as it is strong. You can catch it starting from Route 7, and when you do, make sure you get one with the ability Static, a handy way to inflict the Paralysis status on your opponent’s Pokémon. Toxel’s greatest strength is it’s base Special Attack, starting at 54 points. With this in mind, your best bet is teaching it attacks like Acid, Belch or Round until you can evolve it into Toxtricity at level 30.
As it evolves, it keeps it’s Electric/Poison-types, but can now learn a wider range of strong attacks by leveling up, like Poison Jab, Boomburst, and Overdrive. Toxel’s evolution has one of the coolest looking Dynamax transformations, but outside of the Raid Battles, Toxel can evolve into two different looks: Amped Form and Low Key Form. Which Toxtricity form did you end up adding to your party?
If you didn’t catch a Chewtle back in Route 2, we strongly recommend to go back and get one. This Pokémon will be the strongest you’ll catch right at the beginning of the game. It starts with really high base defense and attack (50 and 64 respectively), the same, if not better base stats than your 8th Gen starters. Wild Chewtles come with really useful abilities, those being Shell Armor - which makes it impossible to land a critical hit on Chewtle, or Strong Jaw - 50% more power for your biting moves.
Chewtle and its evolution are available in the wild in a lot of places, but it’s fairly easy to evolve it to Drednaw at level 22. Getting yourself a Drednaw early on in the game will be essential, as technically it’s only real weakness will be x4 versus Grass-types, and everything else is just a tickle to its massive HP and defense base stats of 90. Oh, did we mention it has one of the coolest looking Dynamax transformations? Be sure to check it out!
Dreepy is a cute little Ghost/Dragon Pokémon that reminds us of Rayquaza. Although it’s certainly a dragon, it’s nowhere near a legendary Pokémon, however, it’s designed for greatness. You can find Dreepy early on in the game, roaming around the Wild Area near Route 5. Once you encounter it, make sure to catch it, as this little guy is versatile and strong. It starts with low HP, but with a base attack of 60 and a speed of 82, you’ll start to notice why we placed Dreepy first on our list. From the wild, Dreepy has Ghost, Normal, Bug and Dark-type attacks, but you can teach it the powerful Draco Meteor from the Move Tutor right away.
Leveling up Dreepy might be challenging - but worth it - as it’s second evolution, Drakloak, is at level 50, then it’s last stage, Dragapult, evolves at level 60. On its last evolution, it will be able to learn a variety of powerful attacks like Giga Impact, Hydro Pump, Thunderbolt and many others. Don’t miss out on training the best Dragon Pokémon of the 8th generation!
A lot of Pokéfans are distracted by the lacking features of Pokémon Sword and Shield, so after a week or two from the game’s release date, it’s rare to see any outstanding 8th Gen. Pokémon being used in online Link Battles, let alone worthy enough mentions to claim a top 10 strongest list; unfortunately, Gen. 8 Pokémon just fall really short compared to previous generations. With that aside, we hope this list shines a light on those trainers out there that are yet to settle on 8th Gen. members for their competitive fights team. We hope to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Good day, gamers!