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Screenshot of Dendra the instructor challenging the player character in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

10 Best Competitive Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet Ranked

10 fantastic ways to ruin your friendships and humiliate strangers in the Poke Portal

Pokemon games have a long history of strong competition within the community, and Scarlet and Violet are no exception. Here are the 10 best competitive Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet ranked.

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Best Competitive Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet Ranked

Screenshot of Flutter Mane Pokedex entry in Pokemon Scarlet and VIolet.
Screenshot by Prima Games

We saw the first Video Game Championships (VGC) Pokemon tournaments for Scarlet and Violet held in 2023, with the World Championship winning teams announced in August, so the Pokemon ranked below will reflect the top contending Pokemon used by top competitors in the most recent tournaments.

The below list will also follow the rules set by the VGC. This means any Pokemon banned by the official tournament have been excluded from this list (including many legendary Pokemon, mythical Pokemon, and any Pokemon that are not available in or cannot by transferred into Scarlet and Violet.

10. Amoonguss

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.  

9. Rillaboom

Rillaboom was a deadly beast in the Sword and Shield competitive scene, and its commanding attention yet again in Scarlet and Violet, with its beefy 125 base attack and decent bulk. It also provides some unique utility with its Grassy Surge ability, which will summon Grassy Terrain when Rillaboom is switched in. Grassy Terrain boosts Grass-type moves by 30%, restores 1/16 HP of all Pokemon on the field, and halves the power of Bulldoze, Earthquake, and Magnitude, so it’s a great way to passively buff both offense and defense.

There’s a lot of interesting things that can be done with Rillaboom thanks to its versatility in offense and defense, but Wood Hammer is always a good move to have on this fella for its high damage output. Leech Seed is a fun option that plays nicely with Grassy Terrain to keep Rillaboom at decent health and in the game longer.

Fake Out is another great option for its guaranteed ability to make your target flinch. As with most Pokemon, Protect is almost always a given. Also consider Stomping Tantrum as a damager for its increased power after missing and U-turn to take advantage of Grassy Surge.

8. Cresselia

Somewhat surprisingly, Cresselia is a supremely bulky Pokemon. Her stats have dropped a little as of the ninth generation, but she still boasts some incredible stats with 120 HP, 110 defense, and 120 special defense. This makes Cresselia one of the biggest damage-soakers in the current meta game.

What’s more, Cresselia’s signature move Lunar Blessing heals her of status conditions and restores 50% of her HP. This move alone will keep Cresselia in the game for quite a few turns and will allow you to support the rest of your team with moves like Trick Room and Helping Hand.

You can also throw a couple damaging moves onto Cresselia for good measure as she’ll likely be on the field for a while. Moonblast is a good choice here as a Fairy type move with 95 attack power. Ice Beam is another solid choice to deal with any major grass-types like Rillaboom. Or you can go with Psychic for the STAB boost and stack up against the likes of Iron Hands.

7. Urshifu

Urshifu has two forms, Rapid Strike and Single Strike, and both are used to great effect in competitive Pokemon. What makes Urshifu great is its speed in combination with the amount of damage it can dish out with STAB boosted moves. Rapid Strike Urshifu with a Water Tera type can do some massive damage with the moves Surging Strikes and Aqua Jet, especially when given the Mystic Water held item. The Dark-type Single Strike Urshifu does best with the move Wicked Blow and the priority move Sucker Punch, which will always hit first as long as your opponent is readying a special or physical move.

Both types of Urshifu can learn the moves Protect (or Detect) and Taunt which are majorly helpful in competitive fights. Protect and detect will both protect Urshifu from attacks which allows you to stay in the game longer, and Taunt prevents your opponent from using status moves, which will keep them from buffing themselves and debuffing you. These defensive moves will give you a great advantage while you deliver the smack-down with Urshifu’s high attack power.

6. Tornadus

Tornadus is a go-to utility Pokemon for its ability to manipulate speed on both sides of the battlefield, and as any competitive veteran knows, the meta game is all about speed. If you don’t find a way to hit your opponent first, you’ll be at a major disadvantage.

What makes Tornadus really special is its signature move, Bleakwind Storm. Bleakwind Storm is not only a hard-hitting move with 100 attack power but it also has a 30% chance to lower the speed of all adjacent targets on the field. And if you have rainy weather (which Tornadus can instigate with Rain Dance), then Bleakwind Storm bypasses accuracy to become a guaranteed hit.

On top of Bleakwind Storm, you also have Tailwind, which will double the speed stat of every Pokemon in your party. So not only is Tornadus likely decreasing the opposing team’s speed while simultaneously doing damage, but it’s also greatly increasing your own speed. It can’t be stressed enough how big of a boon this is in the competitive scene. And slapping on Rain Dance will not only bolster Bleakwind Storm but also pair quite well with water-type Urshifu to deliver massive damage.

5. Heatran

Heatran has been quite prominent in the competitive scene thanks to its fantastic stat spread that makes it quite versatile as both an attacking and defensive Pokemon. Its ability Flash Fire will absorb any fire-type moves coming its way and uses them to power up its own fire-type moves, and the hidden ability Flame Body can burn the opposing Pokemon when hit by any physical move. This legendary Pokemon also has more resistances than not, including Normal, Flying, Bug, Steel, Grass, Psychic, Ice, Dragon, and Fairy, and an immunity to Poison. Add the move Protect onto Heatran, and you’ve got a decent wall here.

Heatran’s 130 special attack stat also makes it a heavy hitter with devastating moves like Heat Wave, Magma Storm, Earth Power, and Flash Cannon. You’ll also see many competitive Heatran with a Fairy Tera type using the move Tera Blast, which takes advantage of the Fairy typing to deal increased STAB damage while terrastalized. The Fairy typing gives Heatran extra resistances to Fighting (which it’s normally weak to) and Dark types, covering all but five of the 18 elemental types in the game.

4. Chien-Pao

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 Protect, 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.

3. Chi-Yu

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 HP in half, and lava plume is powerful and can deliver a burn, lowering an opponent’s physical damage by 50%. Its chip and offensive damage are devastating.

2. Iron Hands

The 6-Star Tera Raid sweeper has found itself as number two 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 play 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.

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.


Flutter Mane is only available in Pokemon Scarlet’s post-game content. You’ll need to go back to Area Zero at night, only after beating the final boss. You’ll need to wait 72 in-game minutes until the area turns to night, as it’s difficult to determine otherwise. Once nightfall hits, go to Research Station No.4 and walk around until Flutter Mane spawns.

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.

Honorable Mentions

The following Pokemon are some wonderful, strong creatures but, for whatever reason, have either received less attention as of late or are just edged out by the above top ten. These Pokemon are still viable, however, and can make great additions to your team. Keep in mind there’s no singular winning Pokemon.

Your team relies on synergy, and these honorable mentions can fill the same role as many of the Pokemon above. Use whatever Pokemon you think is fun and makes for a well-balanced team.

A Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask screenshot of regular and Bloodmoon Ursaluna in a picnic.
Screenshot by Prima Games


Ursaluna has an impressive base attack stat of 140. Throw Swords Dance into the mix to increase its attack further, and you have yourself a very useful battering ram. Earthquake should be your go-to move as it damages everything on the battlefield with 100 attack power. You’ll also see Facade on many competitive Ursalunas, doing upwards of 140 attack power if you’re afflicted with a status condition.

Ursaluna runs into a bit of a problem with defense. It’s not exactly a glass cannon given its 120 base defense and 80 base special defense, but it’s weak to Fighting, Water, Grass, and Ice types, which are all extremely prominent types you’ll come up against in competitive battles. Ursaluna does have an immunity to Ghost and Electric, which is nice, but it still isn’t protected from the scene’s heaviest hitters like Flutter Mane, Iron Hands, Chien-Pao, and Water-type Urshifu. You’ll definitely want to use Protect to keep Ursaluna in the game longer. Ursaluna’s speed also rests at an abysmal base 50, so you’ll want to make sure you have a Trick Room set up somewhere on your team.

Ursaluna’s Bloodmoon form is newly legal as of VGC’s Regulation Set E, and you can count on it becoming the next big thing, trading attack for special attack and HP for defense. Its signature move, Blood Moon, has a devastating 140 attack power that’s sure to decimate everything in its path. So look forward to seeing that in upcoming tournaments.


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.

If you choose the Hisuian Arcanine variant (which we highly recommend you do), you also get the added Rock type advantage. The Fire/Rock duo type is a strong combination that can give you a much needed counter against many of the top contending Pokemon like Flutter Mane, Chien-Pao, Cresselia, and Tornadus. Hisuian Arcanine has slightly less speed, but it trades it for higher attack and HP, making it a good option for a physical move set.


Gholdengo’s ability, Good as Gold, is the star of the show on many teams. Good as Gold makes Gholdengo immune to all status moves including poison, paralysis, sleep, burn, and even the odd moves like Momento, Curse, and Strength Sap. This can put a serious hitch in your opponent’s plans if they’re relying on debuffs to get the drop on you.

On top of its status immunity, Gholdengo also has a Steel/Ghost duo type that makes it resistant to eight types and immune to three. That’s more than half of all types in the game. It also sports a base defense of 95 and special defense of 91, which are decent for a good wall. Needless to say, Gholdengo can tank most hits (although it is particularly susceptible to some powerhouses like Flutter Mane). And it can learn the move Recover to keep it in good health.

In addition to Recover, the moves Nasty Plot, Make It Rain, and Shadow Ball are also recommended, which will make Gholdengo a great wallbreaker. Despite all the defensive capabilities, Gholdengo’s highest stat is actually its special attack, which can increase further with Nasty Plot. Make it Rain is a solid Steel-type move with 120 base power that will attack all adjacent opponents and lower their special attack by one stage.


Houndstone, at first glance, doesn’t look like a Pokemon that would ever get 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.


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.

Iron Bundle

Smogon might have banned Iron Bundle but they’re not officially banned, 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 cannon 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.

Roaring Moon

Roaring Moon has an excellent stat spread and the potential to do high damage. 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, which you’ll undoubtedly come across.

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 one 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.

Competitive Pokemon is such a fantastic arena because of the sheer versatility the 1,000+ Pokemon provide. Even if these Pokemon 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!

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