Isle of Armor Pokemon Buffs | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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Isle of Armor Buffs.png
With new Pokemon and Tutor Moves added with the Isle of Armor DLC, the metagame of Ranked Battle is set for an overhaul in the new Series 5. Learn what Pokemon have been boosted and are ready to leave their mark in competitive play!

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Buffed Pokemon Tier List

As the metagame is still evolving to match the new Tutor Moves, it's yet to be determined where these Pokemon will find themselves in our full Ranked Battle Tier List. As such, the rankings below only indicate how much the Pokemon's usefulness has been improved, not how effective it will be in the metagame as a whole.

S Tier (!)
・Learns Grassy Glide
A Tier
・Learns Meteor Beam
・Learns Expanding Force
・Learns Expanding Force
・Learns Meteor Beam
・Learns Grassy Glide, Steel Roller, and Poltergeist
B Tier
・Learns Close Combat
・Learns Superpower
・Learns Darkest Lariat
・Learns Drain Punch
・Learns Liquidation
・Learns Close Combat
・Learns Superpower
・Learns Darkest Lariat
・Learns Rising Voltage
・Learns Dual Wingbeat
・Learns Dual Wingbeat
・Learns Scorching Sands
・Learns Terrain Pulse
・Learns Scorching Sands
・Learns Meteor Beam
・Learns Steel Roller
C Tier
・Learns Flip Turn
・Learns Misty Explosion
・Learns Triple Axel
・Learns Poltergeist
・Learns Triple Axel

S-Tier Pokemon Reviews

Rillaboom

Rillaboom

Rillaboom - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Grassy Glide Grass Type 70 100 20
Effect
Has high priority when used on Grassy Terrain.

Rillaboom has had the biggest buff of any from the new changes introduced in the Isle of Armor. With its new Hidden Ability Grassy Surge recently becoming available via Pokemon HOME, and the new Tutor Move Grassy Glide, Rillaboom has gained the potential to overcome its low Speed, one of its greatest weaknesses, in one fell swoop.

As Grassy Surge sets up Grassy Terrain immediately as Rillaboom enters play, and Grassy Glide becomes a priority move in Grassy Terrain, Rillaboom is able to outspeed any Pokemon attacking with a non-priority move immediately on entering battle.

Although Grassy Glide has a relatively low Power of 70, it gains a 1.5x damage boost from Grassy Terrain, allowing it to attack without feeling a significant lack of firepower.

A-Tier Pokemon Reviews

Clefable

Clefable

Clefable - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Meteor Beam Rock Type 120 90 10
Effect
In this two-turn attack, the user gathers space power and boosts its Sp. Atk stat, then attacks the target on the next turn.

The two-turn charge attack Meteor Beam is difficult to use on its own, but when Dynamaxed, it becomes Max Rockfall with a staggering 140 Power. This grants it the potential to one-shot threats like Charizard, Heat Rotom, and Cinderace (when its type is not changed via Libero) in a surprise attack.

Indeedee

Indeedee

Indeedee - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Expanding Force Psychic Type 80 100 10
Effect
The user attacks the target with its psychic power. This move's power goes up and damages all opposing Pokemon on Psychic Terrain.

Indeedee's Hidden Ability Psychic Surge sets up Psychic Terrain when it enters battle, allowing it to use the potent Expanding Force, which gains double Power during Psychic Terrain, at its full potential right off the bat. When in Psychic Terrain, this attack also targets all opponents, raising Indeedee's potential even further for Ranked Double Battles.

In Single Battles, the attack is also a high-damage, low-risk choice, and boosting its Power even further with Choice Specs may allow it to break through defensive Pokemon who switch in to handle attackers.

Starmie

Starmie

Starmie - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Expanding Force Psychic Type 80 100 10
Effect
The user attacks the target with its psychic power. This move's power goes up and damages all opposing Pokemon on Psychic Terrain.
Meteor Beam Rock Type 120 90 10
Effect
In this two-turn attack, the user gathers space power and boosts its Sp. Atk stat, then attacks the target on the next turn.

Starmie gained Expanding Force, a powerful STAB move that allows it to function well as a powerful sweeper in Doubles. It also gained Meteor Beam - a niche, two-turn move that raises Starmie's attack before unleashing a powerful Rock-type special attack.

Dhelmise

Dhelmise

Dhelmise - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Grassy Glide Grass Type 70 100 20
Effect
Has high priority when used on Grassy Terrain.
Poltergeist Ghost Type 110 90 5
Effect
The user attacks the target by controlling the target's item. The move fails if the target doesn't have an item.
Steel Roller Steel Type 130 100 5
Effect
The user attacks while destroying the terrain. This move fails when the ground hasn't turned into a Terrain.

Dhelmise learns a whopping 3 new Tutor Moves, and with the help of its Ability Steelworker, which grants pseudo-STAB on Steel moves, it's able to essentially get STAB on all three of them. Poltergeist and Steel Roller, in particular, grant Dhelmise new hard-hitting options. As a Pokemon which previously had few 100+ Power attacks, Dhelmise will be able to come into its own as a damaging attacker.

Although Grassy Terrain is required for its effect to come into play, Dhelmise also suffers from low Speed, and Grassy Glide is an ideal choice to make up for that.

B-Tier Pokemon Reviews

Poliwrath

Poliwrath

Poliwrath - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Close Combat Fighting Type 120 100 5
Effect
The user fights the target up close without guarding itself. This also lowers the user's Defense and Special Defense stats.
Drain Punch Fighting Type 75 100 10
Effect
An energy-draining punch. The user's HP is restored by half the damage taken by the target
Superpower Fighting Type 120 100 5
Effect
The user attacks the target with great power. However, this also lowers the user's Attack and Defense stats.
Darkest Lariat Dark Type 85 100 10
Effect
The user swings both arms and hits the target. Its stat changes don't affect this attack's damage
Liquidation Water Type 85 100 10
Effect
The user slams into the target using a full-force blast of water. This may also lower the target's Defense stat.

Until now, Poliwrath has not been blessed among Physical Fighting-type Pokemon. In the Isle of Armor, it learns Close Combat and Superpower for the first time, allowing it to come into its own as a Fighting-type. It also learns Darkest Lariat, a powerful move that expands its potential to hit outside its typing.

Additionally, it finally learns Drain Punch and Liquidation. These two moves allow Poliwrath to fill the role of a bulky sweeper that can aggressively heal up and lower the target's defence with its dual STAB moves.

Kingdra

Kingdra

Kingdra - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Hurricane Flying Type 110 70 10
Effect
The user attacks by wrapping its opponent in a fierce wind that flies up into the sky. This may also confuse the target.
Liquidation Water Type 85 100 10
Effect
The user slams into the target using a full-force blast of water. This may also lower the target's Defense stat.

The ace attacker of many Rain team, Kingdra acquires Hurricane and Liquidation for the first time in its appearance on the Isle of Armor. Hurricane has perfect accuracy in Rain, fitting in well with its role and also giving it access to Max Airstream, one of the most powerful Max Moves, allowing it to boost its Speed even further.

Liquidation is also a powerful choice for those hoping to raise a Physical Kingdra, as its choice for a powerful attacking move was previously limited to Waterfall.

Pincurchin

Pincurchin

Pincurchin - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Rising Voltage Electric Type 70 100 20
Effect
The user attacks with electric voltage rising from the ground. This move's power doubles when the target is on Electric Terrain.

With Pincurchin's Hidden Ability Electric Surge, it's able to create Electric Terrain as soon as it enters play. This powers up Rising Voltage to a 140-Power Move. With its sluggish 15 Speed, Pincurchin moves at the speed of light in Trick Room, and with its new hard-hitting attack, it can finally take advantage of that to deal damage. Could the underdog bottom-feeder finally become the metagame powerhouse it was meant to be?

Scizor

Scizor

Scizor - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Dual Wingbeat Flying Type 40 90 10
Effect
The user slams the target with its wings. The target is hit twice in a row.

Dual Wingbeat takes advantage of Scizor's Technician Ability to deal 1.5x damage with each hit. This will assist in taking out the buffed Rillaboom, or the always-popular Mimikyu with its Disguise Ability. If Urshifu becomes legal in Ranked Battle as well, Dual Wingbeat seems to be an effective choice for hitting its weak spot.

Scyther

Scyther

Scyther - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Dual Wingbeat Flying Type 40 90 10
Effect
The user slams the target with its wings. The target is hit twice in a row.

Like Scizor, Scyther can be used together with its Ability Technician to deal 1.5x damage with each hit on Dual Wingbeat. Unlike Scizor, Scyther also gets STAB on the move, pushing its damage up even further. When Swords Dance is set up first, it can take out Mimikyu's Disguise with the first hit, and then wipe out the entire remainder of its HP with the second.

As Scyther is a non-fully-evolved Pokemon, it also gains the benefits of Eviolite to increase its defensive capabilities, making it effective as both an offensive and defensive option.

Palossand

Palossand

Palossand - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Terrain Pulse Normal Type 50 100 10
Effect
The user utilizes the power of the terrain to attack. The move's type and power changes depending on the terrain when it's used.
Scorching Sands Ground Type 70 100 10
Effect
The user throws scorching sand at the target to attack. This may also leave the target with a burn.

Scorching Sands allows Palossand to excel as a physical wall, essentially functioning as a Ground-type Slowbro. It can easily become an impenetrable wall after Water Compaction boosts and the burn from its new move.

Terran Pulse on the other hand gives Palossand some offensive utility, allowing it to take advantage of terrains.

Arcanine

Arcanine

Arcanine - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Scorching Sands Ground Type 70 100 10
Effect
The user throws scorching sand at the target to attack. This may also leave the target with a burn.

From the perspective of type variety and power, Scorching Sands doesn't make a huge impact, but the 30% Burn chance is essential for a defensive Pokemon like Arcanine. Builds up to this point have focused on placing a Substitute and trying to inflict Burn with Will-o-Wisp, but Scorching Sands finally grants a reliable Burn chance which allows it to use its Substitutes more frugally.

Coalossal

Coalossal

Coalossal - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Meteor Beam Rock Type 120 90 10
Effect
In this two-turn attack, the user gathers space power and boosts its Sp. Atk stat, then attacks the target on the next turn.

With its acquisition of Meteor Beam, Coalossal can now hit with a STAB Max Rockfall at 140 Power. Until now, there had not been a Special Rock choice for Coalossal other than the weak Earth Power, so this addition does wonders for potential Special builds.

Azumarill

Azumarill

Azumarill - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Steel Roller Steel Type 130 100 5
Effect
The user attacks while destroying the terrain. This move fails when the ground hasn't turned into a Terrain.

Steel Roller will fail if no Terrain has been set up, but Azumarill has the potential to set up Misty Terrain on its own with Max Starfall, allowing it to use Steel Roller, destroying its own Terrain. It can also simply use the move to destroy Terrains which are advantageous to the opponent, and as a 140-Power Max Steelspike, Steel Roller shows itself to have a variety of uses and high potential for use.

C-Tier Pokemon Reviews

Blastoise

Blastoise

Blastoise - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Flip Turn Water Type 60 100 20
Effect
After making its attack, the user rushes back to switch places with a party Pokemon in waiting.

Blastoise has gained access to Flip Turn, a new switch-out move akin to U-Turn and Volt Switch. When used with a Choice Scarf, this allows it to finish off Pokemon with a Focus Sash, switch out from disadvantageous matchups, and control the flow of battle, giving it more flexibility. Adding Flip Turn limits space for other useful moves, but we're expecting to see many more Blastoise builds incorporating it in the future.

Cinccino

Cinccino

Cinccino - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Triple Axel Ice Type 20 90 10
Effect
A consecutive three-kick attack that becomes more powerful with each successful hit.

Triple Axel scales from 20→40→60 damage with each hit. Thanks to Cinccino's Abilities Skill Link and Technician, it's able to take advantage of this attack's potential in multiple ways.

Skill Link will ensure the attack always lands three times when it hits, while Technician will increase each attack's damage by 1.5x, so the Ability you choose will guarantee either firepower or consistency.

Hatterene

Hatterene

Hatterene - Best Build for Ranked Battle

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Expanding Force Psychic Type 80 100 10
Effect
The user attacks the target with its psychic power. This move's power goes up and damages all opposing Pokemon on Psychic Terrain.
Misty Explosion Fairy Type 100 100 5
Effect
The user attacks everything around it and faints upon using this move. This move's power is increased on Misty Terrain.

Misty Explosion is a move which faints the user, which though seeming negative on the surface, actually allows Hatterene to use Trick Room and conserve turns by switching to the next Pokemon via fainting itself and dealing damage instead of wasting a turn on the switch.

When Psychic Terrain has been set up, it can also use Expanding Force to deal heavy damage as a Trick Room attacker.

Dusknoir

Dusknoir

Dusknoir - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Poltergeist Ghost Type 110 90 5
Effect
The user attacks the target by controlling the target's item. The move fails if the target doesn't have an item.

Dusknoir can use a powerful new damaging move, Poltergeist, which has no negative points on the surface. It also learns the priority STAB move Shadow Sneak, so when holding a Focus Sash, it can take out common threats in the metagame like Cinderace and Dragapult.

Weavile

Weavile

Weavile - Evolution and Moveset

Move Type Power Accuracy PP
Triple Axel Ice Type 20 90 10
Effect
A consecutive three-kick attack that becomes more powerful with each successful hit.

Weavile can use the hard-hitting Triple Axel. While the odds of Triple Axel hitting for all three blows is a rather low 72%, its power when all three land far outstrips Icicle Crash, increasing its potential to come in as an Ice-type ace hitter.

When Will New Pokemon be Legal?

Gigantamax Urshifu.jpeg

A new Series 5 ruleset was released on July 1st, which has made all new Isle of Armor Pokemon, including Urshifu and its Gigantamax forms, legal for Ranked Battle. Cobalion, Terrakion and Virizion, which are only available via Pokemon HOME, are also legalized for play.

This opens the floodgates for over 100 new Pokemon to Ranked Battle, which will undoubtedly make huge waves in the metagame.

Check out our full explanation of the new Series 5 ruleset in our complete guide!
Ranked Battle Rules and Legal Pokemon

Related Links

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Competitive Pokemon Battle Guides
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