Nidoking - Moveset & Best Build for Ranked Battle | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This is a strategy guide for using Nidoking in competitive play for the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on for tips on the best Nature, EV spreads, Movesets, and Held Items to use with Nidoking, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Nidoking - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Nidoking

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Poison Type Ground Type
Abilities
Poison Point Contact with the Pokemon may poison the attacker.
Rivalry Deals more damage to a Pokemon of same gender.
Sheer Force (Hidden) Removes added effects to increase move damage.

Type Defenses

Type
Takes 4x damage
-
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Ice Image Pokemon Ground Image Pokemon Psychic Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Fighting Image Pokemon Bug Image Pokemon Rock Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Poison Image
Takes 0x damage
Pokemon Electric Image

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
81 102 77 85 75 85

Best Nature for Nidoking

Best Natures
Timid
(+Spd, -Atk)

Strategies for Nidoking

Sheer Force Special Sweeper Moveset & Best Build

Nature Timid(+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread Sp.Atk 252 / Sp.Def 4 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 156 / Def 97 / Sp.Atk 137 / Sp.Def 96 / Spd 150
Ability Sheer Force
Held Item Life Orb
Moveset Sludge Wave
Earth Power
Thunderbolt
Ice Beam

Despite its immediate stats will tell you, Nidoking works best as a special sweeper thanks to its plethora of special moves that get a boost from its Sheer Force ability.

About Nidoking's Moves

Sludge Wave is Nidoking's strongest STAB move, hitting Fairy-types and Grass-types hard and even potentially KOing them. Earth Power is its secondary STAB move, and provides great coverage alongside its other STAB move.

Nidoking's remaining two moves are Thunderbolt and Ice Beam, giving it the fabled "BoltBeam" coverage. This allows Nidoking to hit a variety of different Pokemon for super effective damage!

About Nidoking's EV Spread

We're using a basic special attacking EV spread with full investment in Speed and Special Attack. The remaining EVs are placed in Special Defense to round off its bulk.

About Nidoking's Ability

We're using Sheer Force for this build. This ability boosts the power of all moves that have additional effects by 30%, but removes the additional effects.

Note: Sheer Force doesn't work when the Pokemon is in a Gigantamax state.

About Nidoking's Held Item

We're giving Nidoking Life Orb for this build. This item boosts the power of Nidoking's attacks by 30% at the cost of some recoil damage.

Since Nidoking has Sheer Force as an ability, the Life Orb recoil is ignored but the item still provides a damage boost. This gives Nidoking a total 60% damage boost with Sheer Force and Life Orb combined!

Other Viable Moves

Focus Blast An alternative to either Ice Beam or Thunderbolt that allows Nidoking to hit Dark-types harder.
Shadow Ball An alternative to either Ice Beam or Thunderbolt that allows Nidoking ti hit Psychic-type Pokemon.
Sludge Bomb A weaker alternative to Sludge Wave but is the better choice in Doubles.

How to Use Nidoking Effectively

Make the Most Out of its Coverage

Nidoking's advantage over other special sweepers is its unmatched coverage thanks to its wide special movepool. It's main STAB moves alone hit the very common Fairy, Grass, Steel, and Fire-types that dominate the metagame, while its BoltBeam coverage give it great neutral coverage.

As a result, Nidoking is played not as a straigtforward wallbreaker but as a check that can threaten certain Pokemon and force switches.

How to Build a Team with Nidoking

Nidoking faces stiff competition from stronger special sweepers, but its unmatched coverage alone is enough to give it a spot in most teams - especially Monotype Teams that are in need of good coverage.

A Monotype Sweeper with Excellent Coverage

Nidoking excels in Monotype teams where it provides valuable team support thanks to its impressive coverage. Since Nidoking is a dual-type Poison/Ground Pokemon, it can fit in either Monotype Poison or Monotype Ground teams!

Check out our full article below to learn more about building a Monotype Team.
How to Build a Monotype Team

Counters for Nidoking

Outspeed and KO with a Faster Sweeper

Despite its great move coverage, Nidoking has one glaring weakness: it's rather lackluster speed for a sweeper. Even with full investment, it is still outsped by faster sweepers in the Metagame and some can outright KO Nidoking if given the chance!

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Starmie ImageStarmie Ranking: ★★★★★
・Faster than Nidoking and can KO with Hydro Pump or Psychic
・Rivals Nidoking in sheer coverage thanks to its STAB and access to BoltBeam

Moveset & Best Build for Starmie
Urshifu Rapid-Strike Style ImageUrshifu Rapid-Strike Style Ranking: ★★★★★
・Faster than Nidoking and can KO with Surging Strikes

Moveset & Best Build for Urshifu Rapid-Strike Style

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