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

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This is a strategy guide for using Nihilego 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 Nihilego, as well as its strengths and weak points.

Nihilego - Related Articles
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Basic Information for Nihilego

Types and Abilities

Pokemon Type 1 Type 2
Rock Type Poison Type
Beast Boost The Pokemon boosts its most proficient stat each time it knocks out a Pokemon.

Type Defenses

Takes 4x damage
Pokemon Ground Image
Takes 2x damage
Pokemon Water Image Pokemon Psychic Image Pokemon Steel Image
Takes 0.5x damage
Pokemon Normal Image Pokemon Fire Image Pokemon Flying Image Pokemon Bug Image Pokemon Fairy Image
Takes 1/4x damage
Pokemon Poison Image
Takes 0x damage

What is Type Effectiveness?

Base Stats

HP Attack Defense Sp. Atk Sp. Def Speed
109 53 47 127 131 103

Best Nature for Nihilego

Best Natures
(+Spd, -Atk)

Singles Movesets for Nihilego

Power Herb Moveset & Best Build

Power Herb Nihilego.png

Nature Timid (+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 84 / Sp.Atk 172 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 195 / Def 67 / Sp.Atk 169 / Sp.Def 151 / Spd 170
Ability Beast Boost
Held Item Power Herb
Moveset Meteor Beam
Sludge Wave
Grass Knot

Nihilego is a glass cannon that boasts unique coverage with its Rock/Poison dual STAB. Access to Meteor Beam now gives it a way to boost its Special Attack, as well as a stronger Rock-type STAB.

About Nihilego's Moves

Meteor Beam is a powerful special Rock-type move that boosts Nihilego's Special Attack by one stage on the first turn, and then attacking on the second turn. With Power Herb, Nihilego boosts its special attack and then attacks immediately afterwards.

Sludge Wave is its secondary STAB move, hitting Grass and Fairy-types for super effective damage.

It's last two moves are for coverage. Thunderbolt hits Flying-types like Corviknight while Grass Knot lets it threaten Ground-types like Hippowdon.

About Nihilego's EV Spread

84 HP EVs lets it take some hits to allow it to set up with Meteor Beam. 252 Speed EVs make it as fast as possible, while the remaining EVs are placed in Special Attack.

About Nihilego's Ability

Beast Boost is Nihilego's only ability, raising its highest stat every time it knocks out an opposing Pokemon.

About Nihilego's Held Item

Power Herb ensures Nihilego can use Meteor Beam on the same turn.

Other Viable Moves

Psyshock Lets Nihilego hit Special walls on their weaker defense stat.
Hex An alternative coverage move that doubles in damage if the opposing Pokemon is inflicted with status. Becomes Max Phantasam during Dynamax.
Sludge Bomb Weaker than Sludge Bomb but its chances of inflicting the Poison status effect is higher.
Dazzling Gleam A good coverage move against Hydreigon and Garchomp.
Endure Turns into Max Guard during Dynamax, allowing Nihilego to stall opposing Pokemon.

Entry Hazard Setter Moveset & Best Build

Entry Hazard Setter Nihilego.png

Nature Timid (+Spd, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 4 / Sp.Atk 252 / Spd 252
Final Stat Values HP 185 / Def 67 / Sp.Atk 179 / Sp.Def 151 / Spd 170
Ability Beast Boost
Held Item Focus Sash
Moveset Power Gem
Sludge Bomb
Grass Knot
Stealth Rock

Nihilego can also function as a lead entry hazard setter. Unlike similar leads, it can still attack with its powerful special moves.

About Nihilego's Moves

Stealth Rock sets up entry hazard, providing great chip damage to the rest of the team while the rest of its moves allow Nihilego to hit at common entry hazard counters. Sludge Bomb and Power Gem are its main STAB moves while Grass Knot hits Ground-types for super effective damage.

About Nihilego's EV Spread

We're using a straightforward EV spread with full investment in Special Attack and Speed, with the remaining 4 EVs placed in HP.

About Nihilego's Ability

Beast Boost is Nihilego's only ability, raising its highest stat every time it knocks out an opposing Pokemon.

About Nihilego's Held Item

Focus Sash ensures Nihilego can set up with Stealth Rock.

Other Viable Moves

Thunder Wave Allows Nihilego to cripple opposing leads and entry hazard setters.
Toxic Spikes An alternative to Stealth Rock but requires three layers to inflict its maximum residual damage.
Acid Spray Weaker than Sludge Bomb but lowers the opposing Pokemon's Special Defense. Allows Nihilego to threaten special walls.

How to Use Nihilego Effectively

Use it as a Lead Sweeper

Nihilego's high special attack and speed make it a great, if a bit frail, lead sweeper. Due to the threat of Beast Boost and its main STAB moves, Nihilego is good at forcing switches - allowing it to set up with entry hazards like Toxic Spikes and Stealth Rock or simply firing off powerful Meteor Beams or Sludge Waves.

How to Build a Team with Nihilego

Nihilego faces stiff competition from faster and sturdier leads, especially the likes of Gengar and Dragapult that boast better coverage.

It has a niche in Monotype teams, especially Mono Rock-type teams as these usually lack fast special sweepers.

Mono Rock Special Sweeper

Nihilego is a great adddition to a Mono Rock-type teams, and will often be the only fast special sweeper in the team. It's Poison-typing STAB also allows it to threaten Grass-types that have no trouble walling its Rock-type teammates.

Team Options for Nihilego

Tyranitar ImageTyranitar Tyrantrum ImageTyrantrum Coalossal ImageCoalossal Terrakion ImageTerrakion Nihilego ImageNihilego Cradily ImageCradily
Lead Choice Band Sweeper Dynamax Sweeper Choice Scarf Sweeper Special Sweeper Water Counter

Nihilego functions fills the role of a much-needed special sweeper that can threaten teams off the bat. While it faces some competition from Omaster, it doesn't need to set up (especially when using Power Herb), and has unique coverage with its two STAB moves.

Check out our article below to learn more about creating Monotype teams.
How to Build a Monotype Team

Counters for Nihilego

Counter it with Steel-types

Nihilego struggles to do much against Steel-types. Even non-defensive Steel-types can comfortably switch into Nihilego and threaten it with their STAB moves.

Best Pokemon to Use

Pokemon Description
Duraludon ImageDuraludon Ranking: ★★★★★
・Immune to Sludge Wave and resists Meteor Beam
・Easily KOs Nihilego with Flash Cannon

Moveset & Best Build for Duraludon
Lucario ImageLucario Ranking: ★★★★★
・Immune to Sludge Wave and resists Meteor Beam
・Outspeeds and KOs Nihilego with Bullet Punch

Moveset & Best Build for Lucario

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