Basics of Competitive Singles Team Building | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This page discusses the basics of competitive team Singles building in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Read on to learn the basics, such as team synergy and choosing the right EV spread.

Building Your Team

Role Synergy

Defining the roles your team needs make it easier to choose the right Pokemon to level and train for the competitive scene.

These are the four major roles to consider:

Leads

These are Pokemon sent out first at the beginning of the battle. They are either used to scout the opposing team, set up weather or entry hazards, or serve as the frist attacker to establish offensive momentum.

Whimsicott ImageWhimsicott Torkoal ImageTorkoal Gyarados ImageGyarados
Whimsicott's high speed stat and access to Prankster status moves make it a great scout. High defense and access to support moves such as Stealth Rock, Yawn, and Rapid Spin make Torkoal a reliable Sun setter. Gyarados is one of the most common attacking leads thanks to a combination of high attack stat, natural bulk, and the abilities Intimidate and Moxie.

Walls

These Pokemon boast high defensive stats, key type resistances, and support moves. Their main role is to take multiple strong hits throughout the battle. Ideally, your team should have both a physical and defensive wall.

Corviknight ImageCorviknight Ferrothorn ImageFerrothorn Toxapex ImageToxapex
High defense, solid typing, and access to support moves like Defog make Corviknight a reliable physical wall. Ferrothorn's typing gives it key resistance to commonly used special attacks, such as Moonblast, Hydro Pump, and Thunderbolt. Toxapex's high defense and special defense, along with reliable recovery and great typing, make it a formidable mixed wall.

Sweepers

These are your primary attackers. Similar to walls, a well-rounded team has both physical and special attackers. These Pokemon are typically fast and have access to moves that hit many types for super effective damage.

Cinderace ImageCinderace Alakazam ImageAlakazam Dragapult ImageDragapult
Cinderace's high attack and speed stat and guaranteed STAB moves courtesy of Libero make it an excellent physical attacker. Access to important coverage moves compliment Alakazam's excellent speed and special attack stat, making it a fearsome special attacker. Dragapult's high mixed attack stats, wide movepool, and blistering speed make it an unpredictable mixed attacker.

Utility

These Pokemon can perform a wide variety of roles, and can either support your team offensively or defensively depending on what your team lacks.

Wash Rotom ImageWash Rotom Reuniclus ImageReuniclus Dracovish ImageDracovish
It's unique typing, access to support moves, and Volt Switch make Wash Rotom a great bulky pivot. Calm Mind + Stored Power variants make excellent bulky late-game cleaners. Strong Jaw and its signature move Fishious Rend make Dracovish a fearesome Choice Band user and wallbreaker.

Type Synergy

This refers to how well two or more Pokemon complement each other through their typing by covering each other's weaknesses.

Corviknight ImageCorviknight Gastrodon ImageGastrodon
Physical Wall Special Wall

Corviknight takes super effective damage from Fire and Electric-type moves. Gastrodon covers its weaknesses since it's resistant to Fire and immune to Electric-type moves.

Gastrodon, on the other hand, has a 4x weakness to Grass-type moves. Corviknight, however, is 4x resistant to that type. Due to how they cover each other's weaknesses, these two make a great defensive core.

Move Coverage

This refers to how many types your Pokemon can hit with super effective damage from its moves. Sweepers need good coverage so that they can take down Pokemon that would otherwise resist their main STAB moves.

Pokemon Moveset
Hydreigon ImageHydreigon Dark Pulse
Draco Meteor
Flash Cannon
Flamethrower

Hydregion is a potent Choice Specs sweeper well known for its powerful Draco Meteor but it can easily be countered by switching in a bulky Steel-type or Fairy-type Pokemon; the former resisting Dragon-type moves while the latter being completely immune to it.

To counter this, Hydregion always has Flamethrower and Flash Cannon to hit those two types for super effective damage.

Creating an Effective EV Spread

EV Spread.jpg

To create an effective EV spread for your Pokemon, you'll have to take a look at its stats and optimize the ones it needs for its role.

Basic EV Spreads

For sweepers, EV spreads are often pretty straightforward - with full EV investment on speed and it's primary attacking stat. The remaining 4 EVs are usually invested into HP or either of its defensive stats.

Pokemon Starmie ImageStarmie
Role Special Attacker
Nature Timid
EV Spread Spd. 252 / Sp.Atk. 252 / Def. 4
Final Stat Values HP 135 / Atk. 85 / Def. 106 / Sp.Atk. 152 / Sp.Def. 105 / Spd. 183

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

Starmie's highest stat is its speed followed by special attack. Since its role is a special attacker, a full 252 EV investment in its two highest stats ensures that it hits hard and fast.

The remaining EVs are placed in Defense because Starmie's typing gives it more resistances to types that predominantly have physical attacks, such as Fighting.

Specialized EV Spreads

Although walls typically have full investment in HP, the general EV spread is often more complex to meet certain defensive thresholds.

Pokemon Amoonguss ImageAmoonguss
Role Mixed Defensive Wall
Nature Timid
EV Spread HP. 248 / Def. 172 / Sp.Def. 88
Final Stat Values HP 220 / Atk. 94 / Def. 123 / Sp.Atk. 105 / Sp.Def. 111 / Spd. 50

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

Amoonguss' great mixed defensive stats make it a solid counter to both physical and special sweepers.

The defensive investment is a bit higher because its typing gives it key resistances to types that have predominantly physical attacks and also ensures that the resulting defensive stats are more balanced.

Choosing Held Items

The items your Pokemon hold during battle are just as important as their type synergy and EV spreads. Some held items can drastically increase a Pokemon's stats, provide passive recovery, and even let it survive a guaranteed KO!

Pokemon Heracross ImageHeracross
Role Physical Attacker
Ability Guts
Held Item Flame Orb

Heracross' ability Guts boosts its attack by 50%, while also nullifying the attack drop from burn. Giving it a Flame Orb ensures Heracross will get an attack boost at the end of its turn!

Keep in mind that in competitive battles, you can't have two Pokemon or more hold the same item. This means that while you may have two walls on your team, only one of them can hold a Leftovers.

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