All the Best Pokemon Moves in Pokemon Sword & Shield

Learn what to keep and what to skip in our list of the best Pokemon moves in Sword & Shield.

It’s been a full week since Pokemon Sword & Shield launched, and many players are starting to think about their online competitive teams. The choices that players make about Pokemon, items, abilities, and more can determine who will emerge victorious; and Game Freak chose to switch things up this generation by removing several older, obsolete moves from the pool. That’s a no-brainer for things like Heal Order (a recovery exclusive move for Vespiquen, who also gets Recover, which does the same thing). However, many other moves held a specific purpose for competitive battling, and so their exclusion changes things up quite a bit (looking at you, Return).

That’s why we’re examining the best moves confirmed to be in Sword and Shield — including what they do and where to find them in the game world. The moves are sorted by type of attack (damaging and non-damaging), so if you’re looking for a specific counter to something that’s giving you trouble, give this list a browse to beef up your party! Now on to the best moves in Pokemon Sword & Shield!

Physical Damage – Pokemon Best Moves

Move Name / Type Location Effect
Giga Impact Wyndon (Pokemon Center Mart) 150 Base Power (Skips next turn.)
Solar Blade Wyndon (Pokemon Center Mart) 125 Base Power (Takes two turns to fire, one turn in Harsh Sunlight.)
Rock Slide Route 9 (Requires Surf Upgrade – South West) 75 Base Power (Strikes all opponents, 30% flinch chance.)
Brick Break Route 8 (Left of the North Exit) 75 Base Power (Breaks barriers like Reflect and Light Screen.)
Bounce Battle Tower (TM Shop) 85 Base Power (Invulnerable first turn, damage second turn. Chance to paralyze.) 
U-Turn Glimwood Tangle (Left Side) 70 Base Power (Deals damage, then swaps to different party Pokemon.)
Razor Shell Battle Tower (TM Shop) 75 Base Power (Chance to lower target’s Defense.)
Phantom Force Slumbering Weald (Far North near exit to Shrine) 90 Base Power (Invulnerable first turn, damage second turn. Strikes through Protect.) 
Smart Strike Route 8 (West Side) 70 Base Power (Attack never misses.)
Breaking Swipe Hammerlocke (Defeat Gym Leader) 60 Base Power (Strikes all enemies, lowers their Attack.)
Leech Life Random Drop (Bug Max Raids) 80 Base Power (Restores HP equal to 50% of damage dealt.)
Blaze Kick Random Drop (Fire Max Raids) 85 Base Power (Can critical more easily. Chance to burn.)
Leaf Blade Random Drop (Grass Max Raids) 90 Base Power (Can critical more easily.)
Close Combat Random Drop (Fighting Max Raids) 120 Base Power (Lowers user’s Defense and Special Defense.)
Gunk Shot Random Drop (Poison Max Raids) 120 Base Power (Can poison the target.)
Stone Edge Random Drop (Rock Max Raids) 100 Base Power (Can critical more easily.)

Special Damage – Pokemon Best Moves

Move Name / Type Location Effect
Hyper Beam Wyndon (Pokemon Center Mart) 150 Base Power (Skips next turn.)
Solar Beam Turffield (River on the right — requires Surf Upgrade) 120 Base Power (Takes two turns to fire, one turn in Harsh Sunlight.)
Giga Drain Battle Tower (TM Shop) 75 Base Power ( (Restores HP equal to 50% of damage dealt.)
Weather Ball () Hammerlocke (Eastern Pokemon Center Shop) 50 Base Power (Power doubles to 100 and changes type based on weather — Fire (Sunny), Water (Rain), Ice (Hail), Rock (Sandstorm.))
Hex Ballonlea (Second House) 65 Base Power (Power doubles to 130 if target is afflicted with Burn, Freeze, Paralysis, Poison, or Sleep).
Volt Switch Wild Area (20,000 Points in Rotom Rally) 70 Base Power (Deals damage, then swaps to different party Pokemon.)
Mystical Fire Battle Tower (TM Shop) 75 Base Power (Also lowers target’s Special Attack.)
Air Slash Wild Area (Axew’s Eye) 75 Base Power (Chance to flinch opponent.)
Overheat Random Drop (Fire Max Raids) 130 Base Power (Lower’s user’s Special Attack harshly.)
Muddy Water Random Drop (Water Max Raids) 90 Base Power (Strikes all opponents, may lower accuracy.)
Dark Pulse Random Drop (Dark Max Raids) 80 Base Power (Chance to flinch opponent.)
Bug Buzz Random Drop (Bug Max Raids) 90 Base Power (May lower target’s Special Defense.)
Earth Power Random Drop (Ground Max Raids) 90 Base Power (May lower target’s Special Defense.)
Sludge Wave Random Drop (Poison Max Raids) 95 Base Power (Strikes all other targets, may poison.)
Electro Ball Random Drop (Poison Max Raids) Base Power based on speed difference (The faster the user is than the target, the more damage it deals.)
Scald Random Drop (Water Max Raids) 80 Base Power (May Burn the target.)
Pollen Puff Random Drop (Bug Max Raids) 90 Base Power (Deals damage to enemies, heals allies.)

Non-Damaging – Pokemon Best Moves

Move Name / Type Location Effect
Thunder Wave Wild Area (Rotom Rally) Paralyzes the target.
Light Screen Motostoke (Pokemon Center) Creates a barrier that reduces damage from Special attacks by 50%.
Reflect Motostoke (Pokemon Center) Creates a barrier that reduces damage from Physical attacks by 50%.
Protect Motostoke (Pokemon Center) Nullifies all damage and effects for one turn. Reduces damage from a Dynamax’d attack to 25%.
Weather Generators 

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Hammerlocke (Western Pokemon Center) Creates Harsh Sunlight, Rain, Hail, or a Sandstorm for 2 to 5 turns.
Will-O-Wisp Motostoke (Pokemon Center) Burns the target.
Trick Room Battle Tower (TM Shop) Slower Pokemon move first, faster Pokemon move second for 5 turns.
Grassy Terrain Hammerlocke (Eastern Pokemon Center) Boosts Grass-type attacks by 50%, heals all Pokemon touching the ground by 1/16th their HP every turn for 5 turns.
Misty Terrain Hammerlocke (Eastern Pokemon Center) Reduces Dragon-type damage by 50%, prevents status conditions for 5 turns.
Electric Terrain Hammerlocke (Eastern Pokemon Center) Boosts Electric-type attacks by 50%, prevents Pokemon from falling asleep for 5 turns.
Psychic Terrain Hammerlocke (Eastern Pokemon Center) Boosts Psychic-type attacks by 50%, prevents moves with Priority (Quick Attack, for example) from working for 5 turns.
Swords Dance Random Drop (Normal Max Raids) Boosts users Attack sharply.
Substitute Random Drop (Normal Max Raids) Sacrifices 25% HP for a decoy. Decoy health is equal to HP sacrificed.
Spikes Random Drop (Normal Max Raids) Layers Spikes to deal damage to Pokemon upon entry into battle. 1 layer = 12.5% HP, 2 layers = 16.67% HP, 3 layers = 25%.
Baton Pass Random Drop (Normal Max Raids) Swaps with a party Pokemon, passing along any stat boosts.
Taunt Random Drop (Dark Max Raids) Target may only use attack moves for 3 turns.
Trick Random Drop (Psychic Max Raids) Swaps held items with target Pokemon.
Toxic Spikes Random Drop (Poison Max Raids) Layers Toxic Spikes to poison Pokemon upon entry to battle. 1 layer = Poison, 2 layers = Toxic
Stealth Rock Random Drop (Rock Max Raids) Deals damage to Pokemon upon entry to battle. Based on type weaknesses (1x = 12.5%, 2x = 25%, 4x = 50%)

While you may have to work a little harder to get some of the rarer ones on this list (Technical Records in particular from the Max Raids), the reward is well worth the effort. Which of these moves are you planning to add to your arsenal? Are you going to build a specific type of team? Let us know below!

Credit to Smogon, Bulbapedia, and Serebii for the reference materials.

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James Upton

James is an avid fan of dead series. Ask him how many hours he spent in Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, or how many times he's platinumed the .hack// HD remake (two). You can make fun of him over at @surtrz on twitter.

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