Pokémon Sword & Shield: Each Rival's Best & Worst Team Member

PostedAt: Sat, May 8, 2021 3:58 PM

Rival characters are a classic element of every Pokémon game. What are the best and worst team members on the rival teams in Pokémon Sword & Shield?>br>

The rival character is one of Pokémon's longest and most enduring traditions. Rivals make the journey more interesting by challenging the player. In many instances, they can actually surprise the player with a few tricks up their sleeves. Most times, though, they serve as a distraction rather than a proper obstacle.

Pokémon Sword & Shield introduces three rivals that rank as some of the most memorable, if not the most effective. Hop, Bede, and Marnie are all capable Trainers that go to great lengths to improve their Pokémon teams. Hop especially is, perhaps, the most eager rival in the franchise. All three have a favorite Pokémon that they Gigantamax in their final battle against the player, which is also their most impressive. However, they also have a weak link in their teams, just like every other Trainer.

7Bede's Weakest Pokémon: Mawile

Mawile from Pokemon series

Before Generation VI, Mawile was a terrible Pokémon. It was frail, had below-average Special Attack and Defense, and an overall pitiful 380 base stat total. The arrival of the Fairy-type, and most importantly, Mega Evolution made Mawile an actual threat in battle. It was still frail and had a weak Special Attack, but it could put up a decent fight.

Bede's Mawile, however, doesn't have the advantage of Mega Evolution. Instead, it's left to fight challengers with nothing but its disappointing 380 base stat total. Mawile's Steel/Fairy-type combination does give it nine resistances and two immunities. However, with an HP stat of only 50, and Special Defense of 55, Mawile will fall at the first Flamethrower that comes its way.

6Bede's Strongest Pokémon: Hatterene

hatterene pokemon sword and shield gigantamax

Bede - a Psychic-type enthusiast forced to become a Fairy-type specialist after inheriting Opal's Gym Leader title - would, of course, choose a Psychic/Fairy-type as his ace Pokémon. Hatterene has a ridiculously high 136 Special Attack and overall imposing Physical stats. However, it also has abysmal HP and Speed, which severely hinder its performance.

Bede's Hatterene can Gigantamax, but its moveset leaves a lot to be desired. It has Dark Pulse to fight against Ghost-types and Psychic to deal with Poison-types. It, however, has nothing against Steel-types, and considering Corviknight is a staple on most Galar teams, Hatterene can find itself in serious trouble.

5Marnie's Weakest Pokémon: Liepard

Pokemon, Liepard

Marnie opens her battle with Liepard, a pure Dark-type Pokémon introduced in Generation V. Liepard has incredibly high Speed and decent Special and Physical Attack. The rest of its stats are pretty awful, though, particularly its risible Physical Defense. It has three weaknesses, including to the common Fighting-type, and an immunity to Psychic.

p>Liepard's moveset is also terrible. It has three Dark-type attacks and one Normal-type. It has no coverage for any of its three weaknesses, making Nasty Plot a waste in terms of usefulness. It's not difficult at all to defeat this Pokémon, despite its continued use of the annoying Fake Out.

4Marnie's Strongest Pokémon: Grimmsnarl

pokemon grimmsnarl

In contrast, Marnie's strongest Pokémon, Grimmsnarl, does put a very admirable fight. A dual-type Dark/Fairy Pokémon, Grimmsnarl is a beast when it comes to Physical Attack. It also has high HP and Special Attack, although its Speed is below-average. Its unique type combination results in weaknesses to Poison, Steel, and Fairy, immunities to Dragon and Psychic, and resistances, to Ghost and Dark.

Grimmsnarl can also Gigantamax. Its moveset, however, severely affects its performance. It only has two damage-dealing moves, none of which is effective against any of the types it's weak against. Grimmsnarl is still a cool Pokémon, though, and its Gigantamax design is one of the best.

3Hop's Weakest Pokémon: The Starter

Gigantamax Inteleon, Rillaboom, and Cinderace in Pókémon Sword & Shield

In any Pokémon team, the Starter is one of, if not the best, members. It's a part of the team from day one of a Trainer's journey, so it's bound to be the most experienced Pokémon in the pack. In Hop's case, however, the Starter is perhaps the weakest link because he picks the one that's weak against the player's choice.

And so Hop's Starter enters the battle with a considerable disadvantage. His Rillaboom and Inteleon at least have one attack each to fight their main threats - Rillaboom has High Horsepower against Fire-types, and Inteleon has Ice Beam against Water-types - but Cinderace has nothing against Water or Ground. It does have Low Sweep against Rock-types, which is something.

2Hop's First Strongest Pokémon: Dubwool

Dubwool in a white background

As the main rival in Sword & Shield, Hop gets the privilege of having two Pokémon that can be considered his most impressive. Although he Gigantamaxes his Corviknight, and there's a strong case for it as Hop's ace, it's Dubwool who better represents Hop as a Trainer.

The sheep is Hop's first-ever Pokémon. It's part of his team in nearly every battle in the game, except for a few exceptions. As a Normal-type, Dubwool only has one weakness, to Fighting. Yet, its high Physical Defense means it most likely won't go down with one hit. Dubwool also knows the very annoying Cotton Guard, which raises its already impressive Physical Defense by three stages. In the end, bringing down this Pokémon is more complicated than it seems.

1Hop's Second Strongest Pokémon: Zacian/Zamazenta

Pokemon Sword Shield Legendary

Hop gets a second, more impressive ace Pokémon once he captures a Legendary Pokémon. While the player gets the game's mascot, Hop gets the other Legendary, either Zacian or Zamazenta. Suffice it to say both Pokémon are equally impressive. Zacian might be the best because of its Fairy/Steel type combination, which is substantially better than Zamazenta's Fighting/Steel.

Both Pokémon, however, are devastatingly powerful. They have a base stat total of 670, which elevates all the way to 720 when given the Rusted Shield or Sword. Both Pokémon have enviable Speed and overall balanced stats. There's no doubt that, once Hop captures either Zacian or Zamazenta, they become the absolute crown jewel of his Team.

Video game characters frequently face off against antagonists, supervillains, and rivals of all shapes and sizes. It helps sell a story, create an interesting conflict, and craft an excuse for the player to get involved in the rivalry on a more personal level. Whether it's a battle between two genetically cloned brothers, or one man's personal vendetta against a fascist ideology, the soil is ripe for some good storytelling.

Certain video game rivalries were one-off affairs, while others practically built entire franchises from the ground up. When two characters square off for all the miles, it's sure to cause some mayhem, fireworks, and a lot of serious button-mashing.

10Solid Snake Vs. Liquid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)

Split image of Solid and Liquid Snake, two genetic clones in Metal Gear Solid

It could be said that this particular Metal Gear Solid rivalry is literally in the blood. Solid and Liquid Snake are both cut from the same cloth, err...DNA, as both are clones of the infamous Big Boss. They were developed in secret by the villainous Zero as part of his Les Enfants Terrible project, which was designed to create the ultimate breed of super-soldier.

Though neither knew much about the other before squaring off during the Shadow Moses incident, their rivalry was instantaneous and practically instinctual. Liquid Snake knew a lot more about the overall conspiracy than Solid Snake did, but in the end, he lost out to his twin in a battle before the FOXDIE virus killed him for good.

9Ryu Vs. Ken (Street Fighter)

Ryu vs. Ken in the original Street Fighter II

These two hotheads are best friends and the most intense rivals out there. Their competitive spirit was born from the fact that both trained under the same sensei, who taught them the secrets of the Hadou. After their training was complete, they remained friends but went their separate ways.

They'd eventually meet again during the Street Fighter tournaments where their rivalry spilled out into the open. With both considered evenly matched in terms of skill, it all boils down to who has the most potential. As such, Ryu and Ken keep duking it out to see who is the best in the world, without holding a grudge against one another.

8The Master Chief Vs. The Covenant (Halo)

The Master Chief and the Arbiter fight side by side in Halo 3

It's doubtful that the Master Chief harbors a particular hatred for the enemy force known as the Covenant, but he's certainly made it his life's ambition to kill as many as possible. In fact, the Halo franchise claims he was born and bred for that very purpose as part of humanity's controversial SPARTAN-II program.

To the Chief, combat is as easy as breathing, and the Covenant makes big, colorful targets to practice on. Though his focus has been drawn towards the Forerunners in recent years, the Covenant still represents a fractured threat that Master Chief keeps an eye on. He'll square off against the Banished, a Covenant splinter group in the upcoming Halo Infinite, with the same amount of zeal as always.

7B.J. Blaskowicz Vs. The Third Reich (Wolfenstein)

B.J. Blaskowicz fights the Third Reich in Wolfenstein

Nazis are fair game when it comes to combat, but B.J. Blaskowicz has turned hunting them into sport. Few guys on the planet loathe the Third Reich with as much passion as BBlaskowicz does, and he's slain enough of them to make a name for himself as one of their greatest and most feared enemies.

Wolfenstein's Blaskowicz has his reasons for hating the Nazis, many of them personal. He's thwarted their occult and technological and biological warfare plans several times and helped lead the resistance movement in an alternate timeline when the Reich won the war and took over America. If there's a swastika in the vicinity, Blaskowicz will sniff it out and lay waste to it like it's an instinct.

6The Slayer Vs. Hell (DOOM)

The Doom Slayer battles Hell's minions in DOOM Eternal

It doesn't matter whether he's an ancient force of destruction or a battle-hardened Marine — the Slayer is to Hell what Raid is to a cockroach. Throughout the various DOOM games, this grunt has been ripping, tearing, and blowing demons to bits with either his bare hands or a multitude of punishing weapons.

It's one of those rare situations where the denizens of pure evil cower in fear at the sight of a burly guy in green. With shotgun in hand, the Slayer wades into the blood storm and leaves nothing but decimated corpses in his wake. When it's all over, he's not interested in a shot of whiskey and a cigar — he's looking for the next demonic horde to waste.

5Cloud Vs. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

Cloud Strife fights a resurrected Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Cloud Strife has many, many reasons to loathe the villain known as Sephiroth. The latter is intent on destroying the world to praise his alien "mother" known as Jenova. Cloud stood in his way and became a target as a result. Sephiroth tormented him and shattered his life into a million pieces, only to do so all over again when he murdered Aerith right before Cloud's eyes in cold blood.

The two would square off on the eve of Sephiroth's defeat, in which he was thwarted when Cloud unleashed a powerful attack that killed him outright. Sephiroth later resurfaced to threaten the world again in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but Cloud once again succeeded in delivering a killing blow, banishing him for good.

4The Belmonts Vs. Dracula (Castlevania)

Simon Belmont prepares to enter Dracula's castle in Castlevania

The uber-vampire Dracula has terrorized Transylvania for centuries, and his connection to Hell has allowed him to amass huge armies of evil spirits and undead warriors. Thankfully, there's always been a Belmont around to whip him into shape (pun fully intended) and send him back to the abyss.

In the Castlevania storyline, Dracula is capable of being resurrected once a century, sometimes by human hands who wish to serve him as the Lord of Shadows. Until he gives up the fight and resigns himself to the pits of Hell, the Belmont bloodline will keep training new vampire hunters to infiltrate Castlevania and vanquish him once more.

3Sub-Zero Vs. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)

Sub-Zero and Scorpion face off in Mortal Kombat X

Heaven help anyone who gets between these two Mortal Kombat rivals. Scorpion and Sub-Zero represent the deadliest of enemies, with a burning hatred that gave rise to a bitter rivalry. It all started when the Lin Kuei warrior named Bi-Han murdered the man who would later become the vengeful wraith known as Scorpion.

The hatred for Bi-Han, who later became known as Sub-Zero, was relentless. Scorpion vowed to murder his former killer and take vengeance, which he succeeded in doing. This led Bi-Han's younger brother Kuai Lang to assume the mantle of Sub-Zero and vow revenge against Scorpion. Realizing the fruitlessness of the cycle, the two managed to set aside their differences.

2Link. Vs. Ganondorf (The Legend Of Zelda)

Link battles Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda

In the Legend of Zelda franchise, the land of Hyrule has had to contend with the villainous Ganondorf for untold centuries, which is how it works when a guy is destined to keep coming back over and over again to conquer the world. Luckily, various versions of Link have been there to stop him, usually with the power of a magical sword, some fancy moves, and skill with a bow and arrow.

Ganondorf usually gets his hands on the mystical Triforce, which grants him immeasurable magic ability and power. He's also been known to take on a repugnant and demonic boar-like appearance known as Ganon. In either form, Link is ready, willing, and eager to take him down.

1Mario Vs. Bowser (Super Mario Bros.)

A huge Bowser prepares to fight Mario in Super Mario 64

Few rivalries are as old and bitter as this one, yet the feud continues. Mario and Luigi both faced off against the terrible Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros., only for the character to become a thorn in their side for years on end. Bowser's plan to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom usually involved kidnapping the lovely Princess Peach, forcing the Italian plumber duo to leap into action.

Bowser has been thwarted by Mario countless times, even employing his children as pawns in his game from time to time. For all of Bowser's bluster, size, and might, Mario keeps getting the upper hand. The question is whether Mario can hold out for the long run, until Bowser finally kicks the can, or throws in the towel for good.

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