10 Best Pokémon For Competitive Play, Ranked (2023)

One of the greatest aspects of Pokémon is that fans can approach it with different goals. Some play for the sense of adventure and story, while others play to catch 'em all and build an impressive shiny Pokémon collection. There are also fans who enjoy the thrill of competition and have worked tirelessly to build the perfect team

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The competitive side of Pokémon can be incredibly daunting, especially for those who don't know which Pokémon are good in a competitive setting. However, it's worth noting that building the perfect Pokémon team isn't as simple as loading up on the best of the best. There are other great Pokémon that are worth using for their skill-set and how well they complement others in battle.

Updated on December 11th, 2022 by Tom Steel: The landscape for competitive Pokémon is forever changing, with a new meta arising numerous times per generation. Different combinations and specific Pokémon rise and fall as they are discovered and subsequently countered with new teams. This list has been overhauled to welcome a new era of competitive Pokémon with the Gen IX Scarlet & Violet games, showcasing which Pokémon have quickly found their feet and place in the competitive scene.


10 Garchomp Can Fit Many Niches Within A Team

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Garchomp is a Dragon/Ground-type pseudo-legendary Pokémon from Generation IV, with higher stats than other non-Legendary Pokémon. Garchomp's typing allows it to excel in the competitive scene. This is because its Ground-typing gives it an immunity to Electric-type moves and resistances to Poison-, Fire-, and Rock-types, leaving just the standard Dragon weaknesses.

Garchomp's typing also gives it access to a stellar list of STAB moves such as Earthquake, while also giving it access to Stealth Rock. Stealth Rock isn't relied upon as much in the new meta as it was in the past, but Garchomp still has value for its sheer offensive output. Garchomp is still a formidable foe for anyone to face in unless they have Ice, Fairy, or Dragon moves.

9 Tyranitar Utilizes Its Typing & Attack To Remain A Competitive Force

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Tyranitar is a Rock/Dark-type pseudo-legendary Pokémon from Generation II. Tyranitar comes equipped with very good Attack, Defense, and Special Defense stats, which makes it one of the strongest Pokémon competitively. Tyranitar's typing gives it immunity to Psychic attacks and a few resistances, but the Dark/Rock combination is problematic in its own weaknesses, totaling seven.

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Tyranitar has always worked incredibly well in Sandstorm-based strategies, as it is normally the instigator with its Ability, Sand Stream. Houndstone is but one of many Gen IX Pokémon that can combine well with Tyranitar, keeping it relevant in the competitive scene.

8 Hydreigon Is Still Relevant With Its Various Uses

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Ever since it was introduced back in Gen V, Hydreigon has been on a roller-coaster journey in terms of its involvement in competitive Pokémon. The Dark/Dragon-type faces five overwhelming type weaknesses that can often counter it with relative ease, but in the Gen IX meta, Hydreigon seems to belong once again.

The introduction of the Terastal phenomenon in Gen IX means that Pokémon can change their typing, either in an attacking or defensive sense. There are many different types that can suit Hydreigon, from the solid Steel type to Electric pairing nicely with its Levitate Ability to negate all weaknesses. Tailwind and Reflect can round out its usefulness beyond full-on offense.

7 Palafin Brings A Creatively Terrifying Offense

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Palafin is one of the more unique designs and concepts of the new Pokémon introduced in Gen IX. Palafin starts the battle as a seemingly mediocre battler, but if it switches out at any point, it returns in its Hero Form appears, which has almost 200 more in total base stats.

The move Flip Turn can seamlessly get Palafin out of battle and trigger this miraculous transformation, while Aqua Jet and Jet Punch are priority moves that can show off its newfound power. Everybody who has tried competitive Pokémon in Gen IX knows about this transformation and can try to prevent it, but regardless, Hero Palafin hits extremely hard and will always be a threat.

6 Murkrow Is The Unlikely Inclusion On Many Competitive Teams

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Murkrow is a surprising name that appears to be popping up on many teams in Gen IX competitive play. The Gen II Darkness Pokémon has always been a tricky encounter either in the wild or in Trainer battles, but its inclusion in the Gen IX meta is unprecedented. Murkrow's Hidden Ability Prankster allows status moves to take priority. The importance of this Ability cannot be overstated.

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Many Pokémon rely on boosting stats, but Murkrow poses the threat of Haze, which simply eliminates any stat changes. Murkrow can also double up as a Tailwind instigator, boosting its team's Speed. Moves like Foul Play, Brave Bird, and even the likes of Flatter can round out a surprisingly handy Pokémon to take into competitive play.

5 Grimmsnarl Returns As The Jack Of All Trades

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Grimmsnarl has been a favorite and commonly-used Pokémon in competitive battling for the past few generations. Luckily, Grimmsnarl also retains its worth going into Gen IX. There are various ways to set up a Grimmsnarl in terms of items, Tera type, and moveset, but many players are using Grimmsnarl as a utility Pokémon.

Grimmsnarl has various moves to start off a battle, with Fake Out, Light Screen, and Reflect all being commonly used. It boasts a frustrating pool of Fairy, Dark, and Fighting moves, with Drain Punch and Draining Kiss even earning back HP. Grimmsnarl can fit numerous play styles and is a perfect Pokémon for many competitive teams.

4 Maushold Has Quickly Become An Amoonguss Alternative

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Amoonguss has been a handy support Pokémon on the competitive scene for the past few generations. While Amoonguss still finds itself on many teams in Scarlet & Violet, there is a new support Pokémon in town, named Maushold. The adorable Family Pokémon is made up of three or four mice acting together that shouldn't be underestimated.

Maushold can be set up with its Friend Guard Ability protecting its team in the doubles format, with moves like Encore, Helping Hand, Follow Me, and Tidy Up helping its team. However, if Maushold is set up with its Technician Ability, its signature move Population Bomb can hit up to 10 times and can only be halted if it misses at any point.

3 Dondozo & Tatsugiri Offer A Unique Dynamic

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Scarlet & Violet have introduced some cool and creative Pokémon in design and concept, and Dondozo and Tatsugiri rank among their wackiest. The Big Catfish Pokémon Dondozo is a tank by itself, but in competitive doubles, it can pair up with the tricky Tatsugiri to become even stronger.


Tatsugiri can jump inside Dondozo's mouth thanks to the Commander Ability, hiding it from harm's way while boosting each of Dondozo's stats by two stages. There are creative ways to take this even further, such as having Tatsugiri die while in Dondozo, giving it a boost but also allowing another Pokémon to take the field. The concept is inventive and destructive, making Dondozo one of the best competitive Pokémon.

2 Gholdengo Is A Tricky & Surprisingly Deadly Foe

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Not only is Gholdengo one of the more bizarre ideas and designs in the new Gen IX roster, but it also has quickly become a staple on the competitive scene. The Coin Entity Pokémon brings the exceptional Steel/Ghost-type combination with all its resistances and immunities while also boasting a formidable Special Attack stat.

Gholdengo's signature move, Make It Rain, is essentially a Steel-type version of Overheat that packs a heavy punch on both opposing slots in the doubles format. Nasty Plot, Recover, and Shadow Ball flesh out an exceptional moveset that makes Gholdengo a menace and one of the best competitive Pokémon out there.

1 Annihilape Brings Unrelenting Rage & Coverage

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Annihilape is the long-awaited evolution for Primeape, and it does not disappoint. Annihilape brings the mysterious yet formidable Fighting/Ghost-type combination and adds some serious bulk to its previous form. Annihilape's interesting movepool throws up some intriguing possibilities and combinations, from Rage Fist, Shadow Claw, and Close Combat, to the various coverage moves.

Final Gambit is a terrific addition, as it causes the user to faint but deals damage to its opponent equal to its substantial total HP. To cement Annihilape as the best competitive Pokémon out there, it also has the Hidden Ability Defiant, an instant counter to Intimidate Pokémon or anything that tries to reduce the Rage Monkey Pokémon's Attack.


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