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News video games 01 December 2022, 17:19

author: Matt Buckley

Top 10 Strongest New Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet is bursting at the seams with strong new Pokemon. This list narrows it down to the top 10 strongest, but the competition is fierce.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet have been out for just over a week now, and many players will be wondering which Pokemon they can use to create the strongest team. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong. There are a lot of very strong Pokemon in these games and everyone starts off with one of the three strongest too.

So considering that fact, this list will exclude the starters and any Pokemon that are only attainable towards the end of the game since they won’t be very relevant to most of the average playthrough. Rest assured that no matter which starter you pick, you have chosen a strong Pokemon.

Now, this was a very difficult list to narrow down. There really are a lot of noteworthy Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet. So if your favorite isn’t on the list, don’t worry about it. You could have a whole team of Pokemon not on this list and still make it through the game with flying colors. But of course, it’s always good to know what to look out for, whether you want it on your team, or if you are up against it yourself.

Of course, it goes without saying, but there will be spoilers ahead.

Honorable Mentions

Because this was such a difficult list to narrow down, it's worth mentioning some Pokemon that were highly considered but didn’t quite make the cut. If this was a list of the fifteen strongest Pokemon, they might have made it.

  1. Pawmot - It’s always amazing when one of the cute Pokemon from the first route ends up being really good. Pawmot has great speed and attack, but because it takes too long to learn a good Electric-type move, it just barely misses the cut.
  2. Espathra - The Psychic-type ostrich Pokemon is most notable for its signature move, Lumina Crash, which lowers the target’s special defense with each hit. This attack alone is very strong, but with such rigorous competition, it was tough to include it on the full list.
  3. Garganacl - The unassuming Rock-type, Nacli, ends up evolving into a very strong and very defensive Pokemon. Garganacl’s signature ability, Purifying Salt, and move, Salt Cure, are also incredibly useful. Of the honorable mentions, Garganacl might have been the closest to making the top ten.

Without further ado, here is the list of the ten strongest Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet, in no particular order.

Clodsire - Old Reliable

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First on the list is one of the strongest Pokemon whose pre-evolution can be found on one of the earliest routes: Clodsire. The new evolution to Scarlet & Violet’s regional form of Wooper is a Ground and Poison-type, which is the first time that type combination has been seen since Nidoking and Nidoqueen.

While Clodsire might not have the strongest offensive capabilities, it makes up for that in defensive qualities. It has a very high HP stat along with solid Special Defense, and its typing matches well with any starter you choose. As a Ground-type, it is immune to Electric-type attacks that would threaten the Water-type starter. It can also have the ability Water Absorb, making it immune to Water-type attacks, something your Fire-type would certainly appreciate. The type combination also packs a number of useful resistances from Bug, Poison, Rock, Fighting, and Fairy.

It is important to mention that Paldean Wooper evolves into Clodsire at level 20, which is one of the earliest evolutions available. So Clodsire’s strength can be put to use very early on. It is great against some of the first few gyms, including Bug, Grass, and Electric. Clodsire also learns the very useful move Toxic Spikes, which can wreak havoc against any opponent with more than one Pokemon on their team.

Houndstone - One Strong Move

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At first glance, this creepy skeleton dog Pokemon can be somewhat unassuming. All around its stats are ok, but there is one thing in particular that makes this Ghost-type so powerful. Upon evolving at level 30, Houndstone learns the move Last Respects. This is a somewhat weak Ghost-type attack, but for every Pokemon on your team that has fainted, it gains power. It starts at base 50 power and goes up by 50 for each fainted Pokemon. This means if you have six Pokemon on your team and Houndstone is the last one standing, this attack will have 300 base power. For comparison, Hyper Beam (a move so strong it forces the user to skip their next turn) is only half that, at 150 base power.

There isn’t too much else to say about this Pokemon’s strengths. It has Sand Rush as an ability, which doubles its speed in a sandstorm, shoring up what would be one of its only weaknesses. It also can learn Body Press by TM, which can allow it to hit Dark and Normal-types, which are the only two types that either resist or are immune to Ghost-type attacks like Last Respects.

Houndstone’s major drawback is that its teammates have to have fainted for it to reach its full potential. But even if just a few teammates have gone down, Last Respects still rivals some of the strongest moves in the game, so it can often be worth it. When a tough opponent starts knocking out some of your Pokemon, it doesn’t get much better than a swift comeback with Houndstone.

Tinkaton - Offense and Defense

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The giant-hammer wielding Tinkaton brings the best of both offense and defense to the table. Fairy and Steel are undoubtedly one of the best defensive combinations in the game, racking up nine resistance and two immunities. This combination can take hits from over half the entire type chart. That alone is enough to bring Tinkaton onto this list, but that’s not all.

While Tinkaton’s offensive stats aren’t the highest, it does boast one of the strongest signature moves: Gigaton Hammer. This base 160-power Steel-type move is so strong that its stipulation is that the move can’t be used twice in a row. But that’s not a huge deal when the other options for attacks are the strong Fairy-type move Play Rough and coverage moves like Stone Edge and Ice Hammer.

Tinkaton’s incredible defensive capabilities combine beautifully with its strong attacks, which easily reserve it a spot on this list. Tinkaton also pairs well with all of the starter Pokemon. Being resistant to nine types and immune to two more makes Tinkaton an excellent partner for just about any other Pokemon you can find in Paldea.

Cetitan - The Perfect Snowstorm

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Normally, Ice-types are not the most reliable type in the game. They are solid offensively, being one of only two types to hit Dragons super effectively. But because their only resistance is to Ice-type attacks, they don’t always have the best defensive qualities.

Thankfully, Scarlet & Violet has made some slight changes to improve the Ice-type. What was once the Hail weather effect is now called Snowstorm, and while in effect, it boosts the defense of all Ice-types on the field. Combine this with Cetitan’s monstrous HP stat and suddenly this Pokemon becomes a defensive powerhouse. Cetitan’s ability, Slush Rush, doubles its speed while Snowstorm is active, greatly improving what would usually be a weakness.

Cetitan also gets access to the move Belly Drum, an attack that halves the user's HP while maximizing its attack stat. This is a threatening move on any Pokemon, but Cetitan in a Snowstorm simply cannot be stopped. With coverage moves like Earthquake, Superpower, and Play Rough, resisting Ice-type attacks is not enough to parry this powerhouse.

Palafin - Zero To Hero

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Palafin is a unique Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet. When evolved it appears to barely change at all. But this is by design. Palafin has two distinct forms, its Zero Form, which looks a lot like its pre-evolution, Finizen. But what really makes this Pokemon strong is its Hero Form. The way this ability works is that Palafin always starts out a battle in its Zero Form, but upon switching out, it ascends to Hero Form and remains in that form for the remainder of the battle.

When changing forms, Palafin’s Attack, Defense, Special Attack, and Special Defense all increase, with its Attack being one of the highest in the game outside of legendary Pokemon. This, combined with strong attacks like Wave Crash, and its signature move Jet Punch, which has priority, will give any opponent trouble.

Palafin’s unique ability to change forms does make it a little strange to use. For example, in a battle against a singular Pokemon, it might not be worth it to switch out and then back in. It would be faster just to have something with immediate power against the opponent. But, in more drawn-out battles with Gym Leaders, for example, there is ample opportunity for this Pokemon to show its strength.

Annihilape - Rage Incarnate

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The brand new evolution for an old Pokemon, Annihilape breathes new strength into Primeape, which has fallen off somewhat since the original Pokemon games. Upon evolution, Annihilape adds Ghost to its pre-existing Fighting-type, a combination that was only seen previously on the mythical Pokemon Marshadow. While Annihilape loses a little speed compared to its pre-evolution, it makes up for that loss with an increase to every other stat.

What really sets Annihilape apart is its signature move: Rage Fist. This move is similar to Houndstone’s Last Respects in that it starts out as a 50 base power Ghost-type move, but increases in power by 50 each time Annihilape is hit with an attack. While it is nice that this doesn’t require any teammates to faint, it does require Annihilape to be able to take some hits. But even just one or two hits makes Rage Fist into a 100 or 150-base power attack, which is quite strong.

Last Respects might put less pressure on the user, but it is nice that Annihilape doesn’t have to sacrifice its teammates to become stronger. Plus, even without this attack, Annihilape still has strong Fighting-type moves like Close Combat and coverage moves like Earthquake, U-Turn, Stone Edge, and Gunk Shot to give it plenty of great options.

Glimmora - Beautiful Destruction

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Glimmora’s previous evolution, Glimmet, is difficult to find. It only appears rarely in a few caves scattered across Paldea. But if you get lucky or have the patience to hunt one down, you are in for a treat. The combination of Rock and Poison-type doesn’t sound great at first. It does make Glimmora doubly weak to Ground-type moves. However, Glimmora also provides useful resistances to Fairy, Fire, Flying, and Normal.

This strange cave flower Pokemon has an incredibly high special attack stat and solid speed, making it a potent offensive threat. Power Gem and Sludge Wave are great moves of its same type, and it gets excellent coverage with Earth Power, Energy Ball, and Dazzling Gleam.

What really makes Glimmora stand out though, is its ability to poison the opponent. Not only can it do so with attacks like Sludge Wave or Sludge Bomb, but it also has the signature move Mortal Spin, which, while weak, will Poison the target guaranteed. Combine this with the ability Toxic Debris, which sets up Toxic Spikes on the opponent's side of the field whenever Glimmora is hit with a physical attack, and soon the entire opposing team will be poisoned. Glimmora, using the move Venoshock, which doubles damage if the target is poisoned, will make quick work of most enemy teams.

Dondozo - The Biggest Fish

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Many of the Pokemon on this list are notable for their offenses. Dondozo, the giant catfish Pokemon, certainly packs a punch, but what really makes it stand out is its defenses. Dondozo’s HP stat is only outdone by Cetitan, but Dondozo has the benefit of being a Water-type instead of an Ice-Type. Ice only has one resistance, itself, making it tough to use defensively. Water, on the other hand, has four resistances: Water, Fire, Ice, and Steel. So even though Dondozo doesn’t have as high defensive stats as Cetitan, it still functions better as a defensive Pokemon.

But Dondozo still has a solid attack stat, and can hit hard with moves like Wave Crash, Earthquake, Heavy Slam, and Zen Headbutt. Dondozo also gets access to the ability Unaware, which means that an opponent’s stat boosts won’t factor into damage. This makes Dondozo a great way to check opposing Pokemon that are using moves like Swords Dance or Calm Mind.

Dondozo also has a unique connection with another fish Pokemon, Tastsugiri. When these two Pokemon are on the field in a double battle, Tatsugiri will go inside Dondozo’s mouth and become immune to attacks. In return, Dondozo gets a major boost to every one of its stats. This won’t come up much when playing through Scarlet & Violet as only one of the gyms features double battling. But it is still a powerful combo.

Kingambit – Checkmate

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Scarlet & Violet introduced a new evolution to Bisharp in Kingambit. Bisharp was already a strong Pokemon, but Kingambit takes this to the next level. Kingambit loses some speed in the evolution but gains an incredibly high attack stat, as well as great defenses. Kingambit will make even better use of the same moves Bisharp has, moves like Iron Head, Sucker Punch, and Night Slash.

All of this seems like enough change to make Kingambit noteworthy, but that is not all. Kingambit has a new ability called Supreme Overlord that slightly boosts its attack and special attack for every ally that has fainted so far in the battle. While this boost is minimal, when boosting on top of an already high attack stat, it can get out of control fast.

Offenses aside, being a Dark and Steel-type also gives Kingambit a plethora of useful resistances alongside immunities to Psychic and Poison. While certainly not Kingambit’s forte, it’s still excellent to have some defenses to fall back on.

Baxcalibur - Pseudo-Legend Status

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Pokemon Scarlet & Violet’s pseudo-legendary Pokemon is Baxcalibur, the Dragon and Ice-type menace. Pseudo-legendary Pokemon are so-called because they have higher stats than the average Pokemon, but are still not on the same level as legendary Pokemon. Having a strong Dragon-type is a huge boon to any team. Fairy-types are immune to Dragon attacks and Steel-types resist them, but that’s it. So if the opponent doesn’t have one of those two, the Dragon-type attacks are going to be hitting where it hurts.

Baxcalibur’s signature ability Thermal Exchange boosts its already high attack stat when it is hit with a Fire-type move. This ability also makes Baxcalibur immune to burns, which are usually a huge concern for Pokemon that rely on their physical attack. Baxcalibur’s threat level can be further increased by utilizing Dragon Dance or Swords Dance.

At 120 base power, Baxcalibur’s signature attack, Glaive Rush, is just as strong as other popular moves like Close Combat, Flare Blitz, and Outrage. It just has one small caveat that on the next turn the target will deal double damage and cannot miss. However, with Baxcalibur’s enormous attack stat, not much will be left standing anyway.

So that is the list! What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Which Pokemon will you be adding to your team? Let us know in the comments below!

Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

After studying creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, Matt published a travel blog based on a two-month solo journey around the world, wrote for SmarterTravel, and worked on an Antarctic documentary series for NOVA, Antarctic Extremes. Today, for Gamepressure, Matt covers Nintendo news and writes reviews for Switch and PC titles. Matt enjoys RPGs like Pokemon and Breath of the Wild, as well as fighting games like Super Smash Bros., and the occasional action game like Ghostwire Tokyo or Gods Will Fall. Outside of video games, Matt is also a huge Dungeons & Dragons nerd, a fan of board games like Wingspan, an avid hiker, and after recently moving to California, an amateur surfer.


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