Basics of Competitive Doubles Team Building | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This page introduces you to the fundamentals of competitive doubles play and team building in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Read on to learn the basics, recommended Pokemon, and important moves in the Doubles Metagame.

Doubles Gameplay

Introduction

Doubles is a gameplay format that has you and your opponent sending out two Pokemon on the field at the same time.

First introduced in the Third Generation of Pokemon games, Doubles has since become the staple battle format for many competitive play, such as the official Pokemon Video Game Championships (VGC).

EV Spreads

EV spreads are generally more complex in doubles due to the fast-paced nature of the battle format. Even sweepers often need to invest in defensive EVs so that they can stay longer in the battle.

Pokemon Sylveon ImageSylveon
Role Special Attacker
Nature Modest
EV Spread HP. 28 / Def. 72 / Sp.Atk. 252 / Spe. 156
Final Stat Values HP 174 / Atk. 76 / Def. 94 / Sp.Atk. 178 / Sp.Def. 150 / Spd. 100

These values are from base stats and ideal EVs, excluding external factors at Level 50.

This EV spread ensures Sylveon can take more hits on both the physical and special side, and enough speed and max Special Attack investment to sweep.

Held Items

Sitrus Berry vs Leftovers

Due to the fast-paced nature of the battle format, the slower and gradual recovery Leftovers provides requires more turns to provide ample healing.

As a result, Sitrus Berry is the better healing choice for Doubles because it provides a higher immediate recovery without wasting valuable turns.

Moves in Doubles

Doubles-Specific Moves

Protect.jpg
The doubles format opens up new possibilities for certain moves that are gimmicky or otherwise useless in Singles play.

Examples include:

Move Effect in Doubles
Protect Scouts moves and protect against multi-target attacks.
Fake Out Always flinches the target. Only works if used on the Pokemon's first turn on the playing field.
Helping Hand Boosts the power of the ally Pokemon's next move by 50%

Doubles-Specific Abilities

Similarly, some abilities are more useful in the doubles format.

Examples include:

Ability Effect in Doubles
Telepathy Pokemon with this ability are unaffected by damaging move from its allies, including multi-target moves.
Power Spot Boosts the power of the moves used by the Pokemon's allies by 30%.
Healer Pokemon with this ability have a 30% chance of curing their ally's status condition by the end of a turn.

Multi-Target Moves

Moves that hit more than one Pokemon on the battlefield are more common than single-target ones in Doubles due to the fast-paced nature of the format.

Some moves hit all adjacent Pokemon while others can hit all Pokemon, including your ally.

Multi-target moves also have their damage reduced by 25% in doubles.

Examples include:

Move Effect in Doubles
Rock Slide Hits all opposing Pokemon and has a 30% to flinch the targets.
Earthquake Hits all opposing Pokemon and ally. Deals double damage if the target used Dig. Damage is halved if Grassy Terrain is in effect.
Icy Wind Hits all opposing move and lowers the target's speed by 1 stage.

Redirection

Rage Powder.jpg
This is an exclusive mechanic to doubles gameplay and is vital to controling the battle in your favor. Redirection can be active or passive, and allow you to redirect moves and status away from frailer Pokemon.

Active Redirection:

Move Effect in Doubles
Follow Me Redirects all single-target attacks to the user.
This move's redirection goes before passive redirection such as Storm Drain and Lightning Rod.
Rage Powder Redirects all single-target attacks to the user.
This move's redirection goes before passive redirection such as Storm Drain and Lightning Rod.
Pokemon with the abilities Overcoat, Stalwart, Propeller Tail, Grass-type Pokemon, and Pokemon holding Safety Goggles are immune to this move.
Ally Switch The user switches places with its ally.

Passive Redirection:

Ability Effect in Doubles
Lightning Rod Draws all Electric-type moves to the user, grants Electric-type immunity, and raises their Sp. Atk by 1 stage.
Storm Drain Draws all Water-type moves to the user, grants Water-type immunity, and raises their Sp. Atk by 1 stage.

Speed Control

Noivern Tailwind.jpg

The fast-paced nature of Doubles means speed control is essential and can turn the tide of the battle to your or your opponent's favor.

Examples include:

Move Effect in Doubles
Tailwind Doubles the user and its ally Pokemon's speed for 4 turns.
Trick Room Reverses move order for 5 turns. Pokemon with a lower speed stat will move first when under this effect.
Using the move will end the effect of existing Trick Room.
Electroweb Hits all opposing move and lowers the target's speed by 1 stage.

Lead Pokemon

Leads in Doubles

Due to the offense-oriented nature of doubles, leads are not restricted to just scouting attacks with Protect.

Rather, they work with your primary attacking Pokemon by creating an ideal battle environment for them and your team for the rest of the battle.

Intimidate Leads

Intimidate leads lower the opposing team's physical attack, allowing their frailer partner to take physical hits better.

Common Intimidate Leads:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Gyarados ImageGyarados ・Works as an offensive lead that can set up with Dragon Dance
・Often Dynamaxed early for Max Airstream to boost team speed by 1 stage
Incineroar ImageIncineroar ・Can distrupt opposing sweepers and leads with Fake Out
・ Can be used as a bulkier defensive pivot with Parting Shot
Krookodile ImageKrookodile ・One of the few Intimidate leads resistant to Rock-type moves
・ Has a variety of support moves, such as Snarl, Bulldoze, Roar, and Scorching Sands

Anti-Intimidate Leads

These leads have abilities that turn opposing Intimidate against their user or can actually benefit from the stat drop.

Common Anti-Intimidate Leads:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Corviknight ImageCorviknight Mirror Armor ability reflects Intimidate and other stat drops
・Can act as a bulky set-up sweeper with Iron Defense + Body Press
Bisharp ImageBisharp Defiant ability grants Bisharp a +1 Atk. boost instead of -2 Atk. from opposing Intimidate
Lash Out works well with Defiant, becoming a 150 STAB Dark move boosted by +1 Atk. after Intimidate
Milotic ImageMilotic Competitive ability grants Milotic a +2 Sp.Atk. boost after an Intimidate
・ Functions as a bulky supporter with Coil, Hypnosis, and Life Dew

Weather Setters

These leads are partnered with Pokemon with abilities that can take advantage of the weather they set up, such as Swift Swim, Sand Rush, and Chlorophyll.

Common Weather Setters:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Pelipper ImagePelipper ・Sets up Rain that Swift Swim and Hydration users can take advantage of
・Can set up Tailwind or attack with rain-boosted Hydro Pump or Hurricane
Alolan Ninetales ImageAlolan Ninetales ・Sets up Hail that Slush Rush and Ice Body users can take advantage of
・ Can set up Aurora Veil that halves the damage ally Pokemon team take for 5 turns
Tyranitar ImageTyranitar ・Sets up Sandstorm that Sand Rush and Sand Force users cant take advantage of
・ Can serve as a bulky physical attacker or opt for a more specially defensive set
Torkoal ImageTorkoal ・Sets up Harsh Sunlight that Chlorophyll and Solar Power users can take advantage of
・ Powerful Eruption user under Trick Room

Tailwind Setters

These leads sets up Tailwind that doubles party speed for 5 turns, helping slower attackers outpace the opposing team.

Common Tailwind Setters:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Noivern ImageNoivern ・An excellent lead scout thanks to Frisk
・Has a large support movepool that includes Super Fang, Defog, and Taunt
Whimsicott ImageWhimsicott ・Boasts priority-boosted Tailwind and status moves thanks to Prankster
・ Can support its team with Helping Hand and Encore
Mandibuzz ImageMandibuzz ・Immune to Sandstorm, Hail, and powder moves thanks to Overcoat
・ Has a large support movepool including Roost, Knock Off, and Foul Play

Trick Room Setters

These leads reverses the move order in the battlefield, causing slower Pokemon to move first instead of faster ones.

Common Trick Room Setters:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Runerigus ImageRunerigus ・Can debilitate opposing Pokemon with Wandering Spirit
・Has a large support movepool that includes Will-o-Wisp, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock
Oranguru ImageOranguru ・Can support its ally with Instruct and Ally Switch
・ Immune to multi-target attacks from allies thanks to Telepathy
Dusclops ImageDusclops Eviolite boosts its already impressive defenses by 50%
・ Has a large support movepool that includes Will-o-Wisp, Helping Hand, and Icy Wind

Terrain Setters

Although nearly all Pokemon can set up terrain through Max Moves, those that can set up terrain instantly are valuable leads that allow you to conserve your team's Dynamax.

Common Terrain Setters:

Pokemon Role in Doubles
Rillaboom ImageRillaboom ・Boasts an instant +1 priority Grassy Glide thanks to Grassy Surge
・Has a plethora of movesets to choose form, ranging from a Swords Dance sweeper to bulky supporter
Indeedee ImageIndeedee ・Female Indeedee works as a bulky supporter with Follow Me, Helping Hand, and Heal Pulse
・ Male Indeedee is a special attacker with a wide selection of coverage moves, such as Dazzling Gleam, Mystical Fire, and Expanding Force
Pincurchin ImagePincurchin Electric Surge sets up terrain for sweepers like Alolan Raichu
・Has a variety of support moves, such as Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Thunder Wave

Related Links

Team Building [v1].pngAll Competitive Battling Guides
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Basics of Competitive Singles Team Building Basics of Competitive Doubles Team Building
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Weather Teams Trick Room Teams
Monotype Teams Doubles Teams

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