Top 10 Best Pokémon in Generation 8

The Gigantamax feature allows Pokemon to take massive new forms.

Top 10 Best Pokémon in Generation 8

The Pokémon franchise ushered in its eighth generation with Pokémon Sword & Shield, which debuted on the Switch in 2019. These games brought players to the Galar region, a new area of the Pokémon world inspired by Great Britain. They were also the first main series Pokémon games to appear on the Nintendo Switch, discounting the spinoffs Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. Sword & Shield introduced some striking new features to the Pokémon formula. Most prominent was the addition of Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing. These special temporary powers allow Generation 8 Pokémon to briefly grow to tremendous size in the middle of a fight. The games also introduced a new open world area, another franchise first.

Unfortunately, not all the changes introduced by Sword & Shield were received well. The new games severely restricted the number of Pokémon players could use. Previously, you could import any Pokémon you’d caught in a different game using the Pokémon Home feature. Sword & Shield limited this functionality exclusively to Pokémon that could already be encountered in Galar. This feature was received with outrage by the Pokémon community. The controversy had a considerably negative effect on the reception of the games when they launched. However, while previous generations’ Pokémon were restricted, Generation 8 did still introduce some excellent new faces to the roster. Here are the best Pokémon you can encounter in Sword & Shield and other Gen 8 games.

#10: Obstagoon

Obstagoon uses its defensive Obstruct move to intercept an incoming attack.
Obstagoon uses its defensive Obstruct move to intercept an incoming attack.

Like Sun & Moon before them, Pokémon Sword & Shield introduced regional forms of some of the roster’s classic Pokémon. One alteration the games made was to beloved Generation III Normal-type Zigzagoon. The raccoon dog-like Pokémon was given a Dark/Normal regional variant, and this variation carried into its evolution Linoone. While the evolutionary line previously ended here, Sword & Shield also introduced a brand new stage 3 evolution in the form of the imposing Obstagoon. This Generation 8 Pokémon became a fan favorite due to its striking appearance. The creature takes clear inspiration from the glam rock bands associated with Britain’s rich music history.

In terms of combat, Obstagoon’s Dark/Normal typing gives it a decent spread of defense, with immunity to Ghost and Psychic damage and resistance to Dark. Its solid defense and speed make it a reliable Pokémon to slot into your team. Furthermore, its distinct appearance makes it a good way for you to represent what makes Galar unique as you journey through it and take down gyms.

#9: Centiskorch

Centiskorch is an intimidating and distinctive insectoid foe.
Centiskorch is an intimidating and distinctive insectoid foe.

Centiskorch is a rarity in the Pokémon franchise as one of only a few Bug/Fire types. This remarkable flaming centipede’s intimidating appearance makes it a striking addition to the team of any fan who favors aesthetics. While its typing makes it unfortunately extremely susceptible to Rock-type damage, it has a considerable number of advantages to make up for it. The creature’s high attack stat makes it an incredible threat. Additionally, its Flame Body ability means other Pokémon who go toe to toe with it are liable to get burned.

Another thing that sets Centiskorch apart is its Gigantamax form. While Gigantamaxed, this Generation 8 Pokémon can exceed 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and disturb local air currents enough to cause storms. While this is plenty intimidating from a lore perspective, a Gigantamaxed Centiskorch is terrifyingly powerful in-game too. The creature’s signature move, G-Max Centiferno, dishes out considerable damage across four or five turns, and will bind its target to boot. This potent ability makes the frightful Centiskorch a very dangerous creature.

#8: Urshifu

Gigantamax Single Strike Urshifu unleashes its powerful signature move, One Blow.
Gigantamax Single Strike Urshifu unleashes its powerful signature move, One Blow.

This powerful Generation 8 Pokémon was introduced in the Isle of Armor DLC as the expansion’s mascot. By embarking on the DLC and obtaining a mystical scroll, you can evolve your legendary bear cub Kubfu into one of two variants for Urshifu, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Single Strike Style Urshifu is a dual-type Fighting/Dark Pokémon, while Rapid Strike Style is Fighting/Water. As the names suggest, Single Strike style focuses on dishing out slower, heavier blows, while Rapid Strike overwhelms opponents with a swift rush of speedy attacks. Both forms get considerable offensive bonuses from their typing, and like most legendary creatures, both have exceptional base stats.

Urshifu also benefits from a very potent Gigantamax form, which also changes depending on which type the base Urshifu is. Gigantamax Single Strike Urshifu knows the powerful attack move G-Max One Blow, which can blast through an opponent’s guard to deal massive damage. Its counterpart, Gigantamax Rapid Strike Urshifu, uses G-Max Rapid Flow, which is a similarly potent attack that overwhelms opponents with all the fury of a rushing river. The DLC makes the real-world cost for obtaining Urshifu a bit steep, but its stats are definitely worth the cost.

#7: Sirfetch’d

Pokemon Sword's exclusive creature Sirfetch'd uses its signature move Meteor Assault.
Pokémon Sword’s exclusive creature Sirfetch’d uses its signature move Meteor Assault.

Like the aforementioned Obstagoon, this Generation 8 Pokémon is a new evolution for a regional form of a pre-existing creature. The original Farfetch’d was a Normal/Flying bird introduced in Generation 1, but its Galarian variant is a pure Fighting type. The requirements for evolving this new variant are very steep. Galarian Farfetch’d will only evolve when it lands three critical hits in a single fight. The rewards are more than worthwhile, though. 

Sirfetch’d is a potent fighter which, despite its Fighting type, can learn some potent Flying-type moves like Peck and Brave Bird. Its emphasis on critical hits makes it capable of dishing out some serious punishment. This is especially true when it hits level 70, at which point it will learn the signature move Meteor Assault. This move strikes with intense force, with the downside that once used, Sirfetch’d must take a turn to recharge. This drawback makes it an ideal finisher and a very memorable way to end a fight. Sirfetch’d fans should be aware that this noble creature is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, and cannot be encountered in Pokémon Shield.

#6: Cinderace

Cinderace attacks using a distinctive flaming ball.
Cinderace attacks using a distinctive flaming ball.

Whenever a new Pokémon generation comes out, the question of which new starter is best is always a contentious issue. While there’s no accounting for personal taste or preferred playstyles, Generation 8’s Cinderace is an especially beloved choice. This is the final form of the adorable Fire-type rabbit Scorbunny, and its potent combat prowess has made it a strong contender for best starter. Cinderace boasts incredible speed, allowing it to strike fast and hard when it enters the fray. It also has a surprising degree of versatility due to its special ability Libero, which allows it to change its type to that of whichever move it’s about to use.

Cinderace’s signature move Pyro Ball allows it to dish out some heavy damage while paying homage to its clear inspirations from the world of soccer. The Isle of Armor DLC expanded this Pokémon’s powers by introducing a new Gigantamax form with even more explosive moves. The creature’s combat prowess is considerable enough that it even featured in Pokémon UNITE, the franchise’s MOBA spinoff, as a playable character.

#5: Zamazenta

Zamazenta stands in the aftermath of its Behemoth Bash ability.
Zamazenta stands in the aftermath of its Behemoth Bash ability.

This Generation 8 Pokémon is the mascot of Pokémon Shield, and the game’s namesake is evident in its bulky design. This shield-themed legendary dog is a pure Fighting type with two forms. When first encountered, Zamazenta will be seen in its Hero of Many Battles form, which is a comparatively modest display. When presented with the Rusted Shield item, however, Zamazenta will develop into its Crowned Shield form, the more resplendent and heavily armored beast shown on the box.

Zamazenta’s unique Dauntless Shield Ability gives it a Defense buff as it enters a fight, and since its base Defense is already exceptional, this is one tanky Pokémon. If you grant the creature its Rusted Shield, it gains the signature move Behemoth Bash, which is a potent finisher. Behemoth Bash deals double damage to Dynamaxed and Gigantamaxed Pokémon, allowing Zamazenta to go toe to toe with these titans despite not being able to Dynamax itself.

#4: Zacian

Zacian's signature move Behemoth Blade puts its distinctive sword to good use.
Zacian’s signature move Behemoth Blade puts its distinctive sword to good use.

Zacian is Zamazenta’s counterpart, serving as the mascot of Pokémon Sword. Like Zamazenta, Zacian first appears in a weathered Hero of Many Battles form. Giving Zacian a Rusted Sword evolves it into its Crowned Sword version, giving it a much more impressive appearance, as well as an impressive sword held in its mouth. As you might expect, this creature is the inverse of its bulked-up counterpart, focusing on dealing out considerable damage with its mighty blade. Its innate Ability Intrepid Sword is the inverse of Zamazenta’s Dauntless Shield, pumping Zacian’s Attack stat as it enters the field.

Zacian’s Crowned Sword move is no slouch either. Behemoth Blade is the creature’s signature move, and it is said to be powerful enough to cleave the ocean in two. In battle, it also benefits from the same effect as Behemoth Bash, doubling damage against Dynamaxed and Gigantamaxed Pokémon. This Pokémon is a true powerhouse, and its resemblance to a certain Dark Souls boss might make fans of that franchise happy as well.

#3: Toxtricity

Toxtricity's amped up form is a high-energy punk rocker in Pokemon form.
Toxtricity’s amped up form is a high-energy punk rocker in Pokemon form.

This Generation 8 Pokémon is unique across the entire history of the franchise. At the time of this writing, there is no other Pokémon that possesses the same dual Electric/Poison typing as Toxtricity, with the exception of its pre-evolved form Toxel. This distinction gives Toxtricity an edge of unpredictability in combat, as its unique typing makes it hard to counter. It also boasts two forms, one of which it will take upon reaching level 30 depending on its nature. Its amped form is more proactive and imposing, while the low key form is calmer and more subdued. Both forms have the same base stats, but they can learn different moves and abilities.

With considerable attack power and the ability to both poison and paralyze foes, Toxtricity should not be underestimated. When battles really heat up, the creature can even rely on its Gigantamax form, unleashing G-Max Stun Shock on its opponents. While the variety delivered by this creature’s dual forms can be engaging, both types have the same Gigantamax form, giving you a reliable source of heavy damage when you need it.

#2: Corviknight

Corviknight is a powerful and imposing bird with a valuable role in Galar's infrastructure.
Corviknight is a powerful and imposing bird with a valuable role in Galar’s infrastructure.

This Generation 8 Pokémon is a particularly potent Flying/Steel type. Its imposing size and beefy stats make it a contender for the strongest bird in the region. Its well-rounded stat pool and high defense make it an excellent tank, as does its unique Mirror Armor ability, which reflects stat-lowering moves and makes them target the creature who used them instead. The creature’s Gigantamax form lets it dish out considerable punishment in a pinch. Gigantamax Corviknight’s signature move, G-Max Wind Rage, not only dishes out heavy damage but clears screen-creating moves and entry hazards as well, making the battlefield safe for its allies.

Outside of combat, Corviknight serves a valuable purpose as a flying taxi in the Galar region. This effectively allows the player to fast travel to any location they’ve already discovered. Between this Pokémon’s impressive physique, effectiveness in combat, and handy out-of-combat utility, it’s no wonder it’s such a fan favorite.

#1: Dragapult

Dragapult's unconventional fighter jet design makes it a unique Pokemon, as well as a powerful one.
Dragapult’s unconventional fighter jet design makes it a unique Pokémon, as well as a powerful one.

This pseudo-legendary Generation 8 Pokémon is a particularly strange sight, combining visual elements of dragons, ghosts, and, of all things, fighter jets. The creature is a Dragon/Ghost type that comes at the end of a long three-stage evolution chain, and since it levels up slowly it’ll be a considerable time investment before you can make use of Dragapult’s best features. It’s more than worth the effort, though. Dragapult boasts a nigh-unparalleled Speed stat, allowing it to strike with blinding speed and act first in combat almost every time. Its hefty attack stat means that in a lot of situations it won’t have to attack a second time. With potent abilities like Clear Body and Infiltrator letting it shrug off debuffs and power through defensive moves, Dragapult is an absolute powerhouse and a solid addition to any good Pokémon team.

To top