Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have been out for two weeks now and the competitive scene is still in a state of flux as trainers experiment with the host of new Pokemon, moves, and abilities brought to this new generation. It’s still too early to know what the rules will be for the Video Game Championships (VGC) Pokemon tournaments, so the Pokemon ranked below will still include Legendaries (with the exception of Miraidon and Koraidon, who are restricted) and Pokemon who have been banned by unofficial tournaments.
Best Competitive Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet Ranked
Starting off strong with a Pokemon that should always be the last one standing. Houndstone, at first glance, doesn’t look like a Pokemon that would ever into the competitive scene. Its stats are fine, with a base attack of 101, 100 defense, and a respectable 97 speed. But what makes this Pokemon devastating is its trademark move: Last Respects.
Last Respects is a brutal Ghost-type move with a 50-base power, 100% accuracy, and a unique mechanic. This attack increases its base power based on the amount of fainted Pokemon in your party. For each Pokemon fainted, Last Respects gains 50 base power. You likely can see where this is going. If Houndstone is the last Pokemon in your party, Last Respects reaches 300 base power, ensuring that it can sweep an entire opposing team, assuming it faces no Normal-type Pokemon.
With Sand Rush, an ability that doubles Houndstone speed when there’s a sandstorm, and Choice Scarf, a hold item that boosts speed but only allows a Pokemon to use one move, Houndstone is faster than Flutter Mane and even Dragapult.
To use this build, run Houndstone with Adamant Nature, Last Respects (I could end the list of moves here), Body Press, Will-O-Wisp, and Trick. The Tera Type should be Ghost for an added bonus to Last Respects. Then add your opposing Pokemon to the list of the dead.
Related: How to Get Greavard in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
Arcanine is a utility fire-type that brings Intimidate and a wide move pool of support moves to the table, including Will-O-Wisp and Helping Hand, making it good for duos. Arcanine performs well as a debuffer but with 110 base attacks, it’s also capable of chipping away at an opponent and can use Flare Blitz to good effect in certain circumstances.
Another option is for trainers to run a physical move set with Assault Vest, Wild Charge, and Close Combat. Its bulk and speed also allow it to stay on the field and sustain damage or outspeed its opponent, though not to the same effect as others on the list. Arcanine’s bulk even allows it to tank a Shadow Ball from Flutter Mane.
Are you surprised to see this mushroom here? Probably not. If you’re playing competitively with duos, Amoonguss has significant value as a set-up Pokemon. It’s excellent for helping set up Dragon Dance Roaring Moon or Calm Mind Flutter Mane, letting them sweep.
Amoonguss’ Bulk is excellent with 114 base HP and decent with 70 defense and 80 special defenses. It further benefits from its ability, Regenerator, which allows it to restore 33.3% of its health if it’s switched out, giving it long-term sustainability.
Competitive veterans will know to look out for Trick Room, which allows slower Pokemon to go first for 5 turns. And since Amoongus has 30 speed, it’s very likely to go first. Spore is also a given on this Pokemon, as it’s a 100% accurate sleep move. Let this Pokemon soak up hits and support the rest of your team, then have your real damage dealers pivot seamlessly in.
Related: How Ancient Mythology Inspired Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s Legendary Quartet
A Dark/Ground-type and, visually, the best of the Ruinous Quartet. In terms of stats, Ting-Lu is supremely bulky. It has 155 base HP, 125, defense, and a great attack that comes in at 110. This is balanced by its low special defense and even lower speed. It mitigates some of the vulnerability of its low special defense with its ability, Vessel of Ruin, which reduces the special attack of all other Pokemon by 25%.
Because of its base stats and ability, this Pokemon is a tank, capable of absorbing most attacks. One reason why it’s not higher is that it has no recovery moves, meaning that its sustainability is affected by its inability to deal with chip damage. For that reason, it does well with Leftovers, a held item that will passively regenerate 1/16 of Ting-Lu’s maximum health per round.
Before Ting-Lu is taken down, it can deal decent damage with moves like Body Press, Stone Edge, and Heavy Slam. Its access to Stealth Rock and Spikes also makes it viable as a hazard Pokemon, giving it decent versatility.
As a legendary Pokemon, it’s a given that Chien-Pao has a great stat spread, with an exceptional base attack of 130 and speed of 135. Its special defense is rather low at 65, and it’s particularly susceptible to one of the higher-ranked competitive Pokemon, Iron Hands, with its 4x Fighting weakness. But if you open with Chien-Pao, you’ll find that it has great utility.
Its ability Sword of Ruin lowers the defense of all Pokemon, other than itself, by 25%. This allows it to set up some devastating STAB moves that deal physical damage, like Ice Spinner, which also has the benefit of destroying the terrain if one is present. Another attack option is Crunch.
Chien-Pao performs best with a Jolly Nature (which further reduces its special attack in order to boost its speed), and the moves Swords Dance, Ice Spinner, Crunch, and Sucker Punch. It should set up with Sword Dance and deal as much damage as it can before it’s taken out.
Chi-Yu leaves the gates strong with great typing in Fire and Dark. Like Flutter Mane, it’s a little delicate, with only 55 base HP and 80 defense, but it makes up for that with its high special stats.
Beads of Ruin, Chi-Yu’s ability, is this Pokemon’s primary draw. Beads of Ruin lowers the special defense of all Pokemon (except Chi-Yu) by 25%. This makes Chi-Yu a great wall breaker. A good setup for Chi-Yu is Choice Specs as its hold item, then Heat Wave, Dark Pulse, Psychic, and Snarl as its move set. Choice Scarf is a good alternative to Choice Specs, or Assault Vest with Ruination.
Ruination cuts its opponent’s EXP in half, and lava plume is powerful and can lower burn, lowering an opponent’s physical damage by 50%. Its chip and offensive damage are devastating, earning this fish the 5th place spot.
Related: How to Get Iron Hands in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
4. Iron Bundle
Smogon might have banned Iron Bundle but they’re not official, so why not have some fun with this Pokemon while we can? Iron Bundle is the Delibird we’ve always wanted. It’s a glass canon with only 56 base HP but good defense at 114, great special attack at 124, and fantastic speed at 136.
Hand it a Booster Energy to activate its Quark Drive ability, which boosts its highest stat by 30%, then take advantage of its STAB moves like Hydro Pump and Freeze-Dry. It’s hard to emphasize how hard these moves hit, but they hit hard enough that they’re the reason this bird was banned. Its intense speed is also enough to rival the fastest Pokemon in the metagame – Dragapult, but with its special attack, Iron Bundle is a vicious offensive Pokemon.
3. Iron Hands
The 6-Star Tera Raid sweeper has found itself as number 3 on this list. Iron Hands is tanky with fantastic defense, a large health pool, and great attack. Its duo typing of Fighting and Electric are also powerful, allowing Iron Hands to play offensively.
It has a fairly decent range of moves that it can be played with. Popular meta options are Wild Charge, Thunder Punch, Close Combat, and Drain Punch. All moves that take advantage of Iron Hands STAB while doing fantastic damage. Drain Punch is particularly potent as it allows it to take advantage of its high attack and allows Iron Hand to sustain itself.
Alternative ideas are to put Assault Vest on it, then run Wild Charge, Close Combat, Heavy Slam, and Fake Out with an Adamant Nature and it has great coverage and can eat most attacks. You can even use Heavy Slam and Iron Head if you want to move your Iron Hands into a Steel Tera Typing, giving it the resistance of Steel and the ability to go toe-to-toe with Fairy Type Pokemon that would otherwise cut it down to size.
Related: How to Catch Roaring Moon in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
2. Roaring Moon
Roaring Moon has an excellent stat spread and the potential to do high damage, which has earned it a place as number 2 on this list. Versatility and flexibility are the names of the game with this Pokemon, as it has a unique move pool and plenty of potential as either a Dark or Steel Tera Type.
By taking advantage of Dark Tera Typing, Roaring Moon’s Throat Chop and Crunch become devastating. If you opt for Steel Tera Type, used with Iron Head, you’ll be able to shore up Roaring Moon’s relatively low defense and weaknesses while still providing offensive moves. Steel Tera Typing will also allow Roaring Moon to take on Flutter Mane and other Dragon-type Pokemon, both of which you’re likely to see in competitive.
The Hold Items that seem ideal on Roaring Moon are Life Orb, which boosts its attack by 30% but sacrifices 10% of its maximum health per turn, or Choice Band. Choice Band will boost Roaring Moon’s attack by 50% but limits it to using only on move. Another option is to use Booster Energy, which ups the damage of Pokemon with abilities like Protosynthesis or Quark Drive, and combo it with the move Acrobatics. This functions because Booster Energy will be used up, but Roaring Moon will still get the boost, and Acrobatics increases damage by 100% if the Pokemon is not holding an item. The damage potential is unreal.
1. Flutter Mane
Here she is. Our queen. La prima donna.
Flutter Mane came into the game with incredibly high potential. Its stats are min-maxed to best reflect its strengths, with its attack, HP, and defense being on-the-floor low. But that doesn’t matter for Flutter Mane, as its special attack, special defense, and speed are especially high. Flutter Mane’s base stats for special attack, special defense, and speed are all 135. Yes, you read that right.
Its duo typing (Ghost and Fairy) also means that it takes no damage from Normal, Fighting, or Dragon, and only a quarter damage from Bug. It has only two weaknesses in the form of Ghost and Dragon. But its typing also gives it a diverse array of moves to toy with, most notable being Shadow Ball, Moonblast, Dazzling Gleam, and Trick Room. No matter the situation Flutter Mane is in, there’s a move that will help provide coverage.
But a potent move-and-hold item combination is Booster Energy with Calm Mind, as Calm Mind works well with Protosynthesis, allowing Flutter Mane to outspeed anything in front of it. She might not be as tanky as other Pokemon on the list, but her versatility, insane speed, and high special attack puts her at the front of the pack.
Competitive Pokemon is such a fantastic arena because of the sheer versatility its 1,008 Pokemon provides. Even if these are meta, many more Pokemon have viability and can take down any Pokemon on this list. It all boils down to preference, play style, and strategy.
Good luck building the perfect team for you, Trainer!