Pokemon Sword and Shield

How to Build a Defensive Team

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This page explains everything you need to know about defensive teams in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Read on to learn what a defensive team is, what strategies to use with one, and what countermeasures to use against one.

What Is a Defensive Team?

A Team Made Up of Pokemon with High Defenses

This team archetype is made up of Pokemon that can take a lot of attacks and stall out your opponent.

Endure and Win with Defensive Pokemon

To win with this kind of team, you have to stall out your opponent with recovery moves and moves that deal constant damage like Toxic. You also have to look for the gaps in your opponent's armor and strike when the opportunity presents itself.

How to Defeat a Defensive Team

Use These Strategies to Break Past These Walls

You need to build these strategies into your team as it will be difficult to defeat a properly set-up defensive team.

1. Use Taunt

Taunt prevents Pokemon from using non-attacking moves, which can prevent defensive Pokemon from stalling. On top of that, since a lot of defensive Pokemon are slow, you're likely to hit them with Taunt before they can do anything else.

Pokemon That Can Use Taunt

Pokemon Description
  • You can follow up Taunt with Dragon Dance to take advantage of your opponent.
  • With Prankster, you can ensure that Taunt will hit first before anything else.*

*Be careful as this won't work on Dark-type Pokemon.

  • You can get rid of your opponent's Leftovers using Knock Off.

This is a list of Pokemon that can use Taunt.

2. Use One-Hit KO (OHKO) Moves

OHKO moves are effective against defensive Pokemon that try to stall you out as you'll get a lot of chances to hit the move.

Pokemon That Learn OHKO Moves

Pokemon Description
  • Can learn 3 kinds of OHKO moves
  • Nullifies Water-type moves with the ability Water Absorb.
  • Can also stall out Pokemon due to its high defenses, so you have a lot of chances to hit the OHKO move.

This is a list of Pokemon that can learn OHKO moves.

3. Force Choice Items on Them

With moves like Trick and Switcheroo, you can force choice items like the Choice Scarf on opponent Pokemon so that they're locked into one specific move until they switch out.

Pokemon That Can Learn Trick and Switcheroo

Pokemon Description
  • With Prankster, you can ensure that Switcheroo will hit first before anything else.*

*Be careful as this won't work on Dark-type Pokemon.

  • Good against Toxapex due to Gardevoir's large movepool.
Wash RotomWash Rotom
  • Can avoid face-to-face confrontation with Volt Switch after replacing their item with Trick.

How to Win with a Defensive Team

Use Pokemon With High Physical and Special Defenses

When building a defensive team, you need Pokemon that either have high physical defense or high special defense. Some Pokemon can even have both by using moves such as Stockpile.

You can also choose to use an attacker Pokemon with high defenses. Switch out to this Pokemon when the chance to attack appears.

Pokemon with High Physical Defense

Pokemon Description
  • Inflict status conditions like Poison and Burn, protect yourself with Baneful Bunker, and use moves that deal constant damage.
  • Good at resisting set-up sweepers due to the ability Unaware.
  • Mainly attacks with Scald, which can also inflict the Burn status condition.
  • Attack with Body Press and increase your Defense with Iron Defense.
  • Fight while recovering HP with Leech Seed.

Pokemon with High Special Defense

Pokemon Description
  • Fight while recovering HP using a held berry.
  • A great attacker due to its large movepool.
  • Attack while also using Calm Mind to build up your defenses.
  • Has access to moves that let it recover HP while attacking.


1. Team Composition is Key

It's very important that you understand the roles of each Pokemon in your team and that you know how to use them in battle.

2. Defend with Pokemon with Good Type Compatibility

Make sure that you're always engaging in favorable type match-ups as much as possible. Switch out when needed.

3. Attack with Moves That Deal Constant Damage

Build your team around moves that deal consistent amounts of damage and moves that let you recover HP.

When the opportunity presents itself, make sure to use moves like Calm Mind and Stockpile to raise your defenses as well.

Move Description
Toxic Stall your opponent out by poisoning them then using moves like Protect and Recover.
Scald Good on physical attackers as this move can inflict the Burn status condition.
Body Press Takes advantage of buffs to your defense stat. Use this move in conjunction with something like Iron Defense.

These are examples of moves that deal consistent damage and that work well with defensive Pokemon.

4. Read Your Opponent's Moves Well

Try getting a grasp of your opponent's strategy. If you still don't know what their approach is, use stalling moves like Protect, Baneful Bunker, and moves that let you recover HP while you figure out their plan.

In cases where your opponent tries to set up, have moves like Haze ready.

Move Description
Haze Removes buffs/debuffs to your and your opponent's stats.

5. Get Ready for Your Opponent's Dynamax

A good defensive Pokemon with a favorable type match-up should be able to weather the storm of your opponent's Dynamax turns. During those turns, use defensive moves and moves that restore HP.

6. Only Use Dynamax When Needed

Dynamax when your opponent is Dynamaxed and protect yourself with Max Guard.

Alternatively, you can also Dynamax to put pressure on your opponent and to force them to switch out.

7. Aim for TOD

When using a defensive team, you're likely to run into situations where battles run very long. This is especially true when your opponent is also using a defensive team.

In these cases, try conserving your HP as much as possible as the winner will be the one with the higher party HP percentage.

TOD refers to Time Over Death. If time runs out during a battle, victory and defeat are determined by the higher party HP percentage.

Rental Team

AlcremieAlcremie (Lv.. 41)

Ability: Aroma Veil
Held item: Babiri Berry
Moves: Calm Mind, Mystical Fire, Recover, Draining Kiss
SnorlaxSnorlax (Lv. 28)

Ability: Thick Fat
Held item: Assault Vest
Moves: Body Slam, Heavy Slam, Fire Punch, Thunder Punch
QuagsireQuagsire (Lv. 46)

Ability: Unaware
Held item: Sitrus Berry
Moves: Toxic, Scald, Recover, Stockpile
ToxapexToxapex (Lv. 39)

Ability: Regenerator
Held item: Black Sludge
Moves: Recover, Baneful Bunker, Haze, Scald
UmbreonUmbreon (Lv. 31)

Ability: Inner Focus
Held item: Leftovers
Moves: Wish, Yawn, Foul Play, Protect
HattereneHatterene (Lv. 50)

Ability: Magic Bounce
Held item: Life Orb
Moves: Calm Mind, Giga Drain, Psyshock, Mystical Fire
Team ID 0000 0001 04VC 3F

Strategies Used by the Rental Team

Toxapex and Quagsire work very well with each other. Switch between the two in order to create favorable type match-ups.

When your opponent brings out a powerful special attacker, switch out to Alcremie or Hatterene.

Related Links

Team Building v1
All Competitive Battling Guides
Battle Formats
Basics of Competitive Singles Team Building Basics of Competitive Doubles Team Building
Types of Teams
Offensive Teams Defensive Teams
Weather Teams Trick Room Teams
Monotype Teams Doubles Teams


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