Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are about two months old right now, but the quest to find out which one pokemon being the very best like no one ever was is an ongoing conversation among the competitive community. Smogon, one of the biggest hubs for competition pokemon the internet has been trying to sift through the meta of the games for a while now, and while the talks are still going on, we have some idea of who the best Pokémon are in Generation IX.
If you only want to see the best Pokémon, use ctrl+f/command+f “Who are the top ranked Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet?” Otherwise, let’s run through some context for those who don’t know how competitive Pokémon rankings work.
How to do pokemon competitive levels kick in Scarlet and Violet?
There are a lot of Pokémon, and many differences between them in terms of statistics. So when it comes to creating a row list for a pokemon game, the community doesn’t just make one giant list. Instead, the Pokémon are divided into separate row lists that have their own rows. It sounds confusing, but think about it this way: the gap in stats between a tiny baby Pichu and the actual God Arceus is huge, and there are hundreds of Pokémon with different stats, moves, and abilities that make them more or less competitively viable. All in all, the prospect of a perfectly balanced pokemon game is unattainable in its current form, so instead of trying to make a giant list and compare Pichu to Arceus, pokemon fans divide Pokémon into different levels that place different mons next to others that are close to viable.
These levels contain rule sets that include and prohibit certain Pokémon from competitive play, but you’ll see a bit of overlap between the different levels as some ‘mons are considered viable in different levels of play. These different levels include:
Default/Overused: This is often considered a “baseline” experience for competitors pokemon fight. Here you will find many of the most popular, non-legendary Pokémon.
underused: The next level below is for mid-range Pokémon which are decent, but there are usually better options depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Rarely used: Here we start getting to the Pokémon that would be a rarity to see in any higher level game, as many of these critters either have some notable drawbacks or are simply better off being replaced by another Pokémon.
Never used: These are the real stinkers. The losers. The weakest links, as it were. While Never Used isn’t the default way to play, some people just prefer the Pokémon that occupy the less competitive space, as this can make for a more interesting or at least a different type of competitive environment. Personally, Beautifly is one of my favorite Pokémon and is considered a never-used Pokémon. Sometimes your friends just aren’t as good as the pros, and that’s okay.
Uber: This is the level at which most Legendary Pokémon fall. Palkia, Arceus, Mew, the Lati twins? They all co-exist here with a select few normies that have great stats or strategies. Many Pokémon that fall into the Uber level are banned elsewhere, and with good reason. They are the most powerful Pokémon in the game and can bulldoze over everything else quite easily. So now they can be in their own pool and fight each other, instead of storming a family of Maushold.
What is Smoke?
For the uninitiated, Smogon is basically the officially unofficial hub for competition pokemon. Although the site technically adheres to different rules than the official ones pokemon competitive leagues, it has a pretty robust and thorough ranking system that has become a very common vernacular for the pokemon community. It is so widespread that it is recognized everywhere pokemon hubs like Serebii. So if you’re looking for an official ranking of the best Pokémon straight from the mouth of The Pokémon Company, that’s not what Smogon is. In addition, these types of discussions are often spurred by the community, as they are best placed to speak candidly about a game’s strengths and weaknesses. So if you want to learn more about the best Pokémon to form a competitive team, you won’t find a resource more qualified than the users at Smogon.
The site also publishes usage stats to give people an idea of how often certain Pokémon appear in competitive play, and based on December’s stats, it seems that Paradox Pokémon take up a lot of space in standard play. Great Tusk was the most used Pokémon in December, with Iron Valiant, Roaring Moon, Iron Tusk, Iron Moth, and Iron Hands all appearing in the top 36 Pokémon of the level.
Who are the top ranked Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet?
As outlined earlier, who are the “best” Pokémon varies by level, but it’s not just stats that determine how high a Pokémon will rank. There are also skills, attacks and state education that will help a Pokémon move up the ranks. So while those are all important factors, the Smogon community has been discussing and discussing the issue ever since Scarlet and Violet launched.
The easiest place to start is the Uber level, because that’s where the most powerful Pokémon are, though many of them you can’t use in competitive play beyond that level. Not surprising, the game mascots Koraidon and Miraidon top the Uber rankings. This is often the case for most pokemon games for the legendary box art characters to score high as they are propped up as a powerful entity at the end of your journey. In Scarlet and Violet, you befriend these two almost immediately when the game starts, but they’re not useful in combat until the endgame. They have powerful stats, abilities that boost them once they’re on the field, and they have a lot of tricks in their moveset.
Further down the list, the A ranking of best pokemon mainly consists of both the secondary legendary monsters pokemon you’ll meet in the Paldea region (Chien-Pao, Ting-Lu, and Chi-Yu are here, though Wo-Chien isn’t part of the Uber tier) and the Paradox Pokémon that are ancient or futuristic relatives of established Pokémon. Flutter Mane, Great Tusk and Iron Bundle lead the pack, with Iron Treads at the bottom of the A tier. There are a few standards here too, with Corviknight, Gholdengo and Skeleridge also in A-tier.
When moving from Uber to Overused, you’ll notice that some of the Pokémon that were ranked lower than others in Uber are ranked higher in lower ranks. This is because having some of those Uber-Pokémon in the pool changes things in the meta, and since they’re not in the OU pool, some of the Pokémon that suffered from significant counters can move up the ranks. So now, Gholdengo, Dragapultand Great tusk are at the at the top of Smogon’s OU rankings for the best pokemon. This is above several legendary like Dog-Pao and Ting Luwhich fall into the A rank alongside some Paradox Pokémon-like Iron Brave and Roaring moonas well as some basic Pokémon like Dragonite, Espatraand To speak. As the A ranking goes down, some of the Pokémon that were ranked high in Uber are holding up Corviknight, Iron stepsand shine appear next to it Dose, Graganakland Grimmsnarl.
Paradox Pokémon’s high ranking makes sense, as they are meant to be primary/synthetic versions of typical Pokémon with more powerful stats, more diverse movepools, and new types that often give them an edge over their modern counterparts. They are inherently meant to be more powerful and dangerous Pokémon than the ones you’ll find in the rest of Paldea. So naturally they would also float to the top of competitive play.
Should you use the best Pokémon from the competitive level lists?
Crucially, if you’re here looking for ideas on how to build a good competitive team, know that rankings aren’t the end of a Pokémon’s viability. For example, many competitive players have that clamped on Murkrow as it can use the Tailwind move to increase your team’s speed, and the Prankster ability gives you turn priority when you use it. So while Murkrow’s stats aren’t anything to write home about and it doesn’t feature in most competitive rankings, it’s still a very useful addition to your team.
Right now, it looks like Legendary and Paradox Pokémon are coming out on top for competitive play in the Uber and Standard tiers, but these rankings are still in flux and will change over the next few months to years as players discover new strategies and builds . These changes are quite common at the moment because the game is still so new. That’s how things are shift with some pretty wide strokes. So it will be interesting to see how the meta changes as time goes on and players learn new combos and builds.