Pokemon Sword & Shield: 10 Best Grass-Type Pokemon For Online Ranked Battles
Some of the most diverse species in the entire Pokemon series belong to Grass-types, covering tons of different plants and wildlife in both flavor and appearance. Despite this, the typing is much rarer in competitive Pokemon battles, as popular Fire and Flying-type Pokemon can often threaten their health.
This isn’t to say that Grass-type Pokemon are unusable in the online Battle Stadium of Pokemon Sword & Shield, but only a few of them can truly excel in its online ranked battles. Ten exceptionally powerful ones have some strategies, moves, and abilities that can easily defeat some of the game’s strongest opponents.
Whimsicott has been a staple of competitive Pokemon ever since its introduction in Pokemon Black & White. This has mostly been due to its ability Prankster, which can let it use status moves faster than usual. This lets Whimsicott hastily put in effects like Tailwind to boost your team’s speed, or increase its own stats through moves like Cotton Guard.
However, Whimsicott’s other ability, Infiltrator, is just as powerful in many respects. This lets all damage attacks break through barriers like Aurora Veil or Reflect, meaning Whimsicott can function equally well as a speedy attacker. Whichever direction it goes, this Grass and Fairy-type has a lot of power hiding in its fluff.
One of the newer Grass-types of Galar is unlikely to be a significant threat, but its defensive power greatly exceeds many other Pokemon that share its typings. This would be the Pokemon Shield-exclusive Appletun, an evolution of Flapple that has spectacular Special Attack, HP, and defensive stats.
With its Hidden Ability, Thick Fat, Appletun gets even stronger as it can now resist its severe weakness to Ice-type moves. Additionally, its Gigantamax Form can provide a useful utility by decreasing an opponent’s Evasion, something not widely helpful but significantly rare among most moves in the game.
Johto’s alternate evolution of Gloom, Bellossom, is likely one of the most underrated fighters in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Quite recently, this unexciting Pokemon got a huge boost in the form of Strength Sap, a powerful move that lowers a foe’s Attack stat while healing the user by that stat’s number.
This move is exceptionally overpowered, and with Bellossom’s defensive stats it’s rare for any physical attacker to take down Bellossom. When put alongside the move Giga Drain to provide damage and additional healing, you have a tank that’ll rarely go into the red against most opponents.
Dhelmise is an incredibly unique addition to Galar’s Pokedex from Pokemon Sun & Moon, as it’s essentially three different types in one. Alongside being a native Grass and Ghost-type, this anchor has a special ability that provides additional power to Steel-type moves that only Steel-type Pokemon normally have.
This gives Dhelmise a variety of moves that extremely few Grass-types learn, particularly Anchor Shot and Max Steelspike in Dynamax mode. Since it doesn’t gain Steel-type weaknesses from this effect, Dhelmise doesn’t have to fear Fire-type Pokemon as much as the other strongest Grass-types in the game.
Tangela may have received an unfortunate nerf when given a disappointing Special Defense stat in Pokemon Gold & Silver, but its Sinnoh evolution Tangrowth more than makes up for it. This ball of vines has one of the greatest Defense stats of any Grass-type, whereas most others usually rely on Special Defense for their bulk.
This also comes with some remarkable physical and special attacks, meaning Tangrowth can be extremely versatile and unpredictable depending on what you need it for. Its Special Defense is still quite lacking, but equipping an Assault Vest item on it will give some desperately-needed shielding from Pokemon like Charizard and Heatran.
One of the most powerful status moves at the disposal of Grass-types is Spore, a status move that causes the opponent to fall asleep. Unlike most sleep-inducing moves, this has perfect accuracy, and due to its effectiveness, it’s rare for many Pokemon to learn it nowadays.
Unfortunately, the already powerful Amoongus still has access to it, meaning it has to be dealt with immediately unless you plan on every turn being a coin flip. If it puts a foe to sleep and survives, it can easily restore its health through Giga Drain and Leech Seed before they wake up.
Many trainers might not realize how few Legendary Pokemon are Grass-type, but even more surprising is how few of them are legal in online battles. Mythical favorites like Celebi and Shaymin have never been allowed in these formats, and even the new Zarude remains as a member of collections rather than a team.
This lets Virizion stand exceptionally tall, being a great speedy physical attacker. Much like Dhelmise, Virizion excels due to its access to unusual moves, namely Fighting-type moves like Sacred Sword to deal with Ice-types. It might lack physical defense, but given its speed and power, it’s unlikely to disappoint its trainer.
As with its fellow Kanto starters, Charizard and Blastoise, Venusaur is a remarkable Pokemon that’s remained competitively viable for years. This has been especially true in recent generations, receiving access to the Hidden Ability Chlorophyll to boost its speed in sunlight alongside powerful moves like Sludge Bomb and Earthquake.
These strengths have only gotten better with its Gigantamax form in the Isle of Armor expansion, giving it the new move G-Max Vine Lash to deal damage at the end of each turn. Venusaur isn’t doing anything unusual in competitive play, but it does its simple jobs incredibly well.
Venusaur is certainly the more classic starter of the Pokemon series, but Galar’s new Rillaboom is doing something much more unique than nearly any other. Most Grass-type starters usually evolve into speedy fighters or defensive tanks, but Rillaboom manages to be a hybrid thanks to its moderate speed and well-balanced offensive and defensive stats.
However, its greatest combo came in the Isle of Armor, as it could use its Hidden Ability to create Grassy Terrain and immediately use Grassy Glide, which attacks first if it’s on the right type of battlefield. This combo fits perfectly with Rillaboom’s physical offense, and greatly negates its speed from holding it back against fast Water-types.
There are several strong Grass-types in Pokemon Sword & Shield, but the most impactful and threatening among current online battles is likely Kartana, a unique Steel and Grass-type Pokemon from the Alola region. This Ultra Beast has drastic Attack and Speed stats, outclassing nearly every other Grass-type Pokemon.
It might suffer from a low maximum health stat, but a high Defense prevents it from being a victim to most Flying and Fighting-type Pokemon. It’s especially vulnerable to Fire-type attacks, but its Speed is high enough to outrun most of them and the Assault Vest item can often make Kartana unstoppable after gaining additional stats from Dynamax moves.
Next: Pokémon: 5 Grass-Type Moves No One Teaches Their Pokémon (& 5 That Go Under The Radar)
Gene Cole is a Canadian freelance writer with a B.A. in psychology and criminology. He works hard to keep an open mind towards a huge variety of games, and loves learning about how different people make and play them. In his free time he loves wandering aimlessly in Slime Rancher, fiddling with competitive games like Poker and Magic: The Gathering, and (amateurishly) attempting to speedrun Super Mario Odyssey.
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