Pokémon Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra expansion went live late Thursday, bringing a bunch of old favorites and several new monsters to the Nintendo Switch title.
Crown Tundra's addition of every Legendary Pokémon in the franchise's history, along with the return of standbys such as the Nidoran family and others, has once again revamped the Sword and Shield Pokédex. A game that started with 400 options has expanded far beyond that, and we, too, must broaden our focus.
When Sword and Shield launched in 2019, we put together a scouting report on some of the game's exclusive Pokémon along with ratings for those newcomers. Now it's draft day, and there are plenty of adjustments to our big board after the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra shook up our list of favorites.
Side note: Although Wooloo remains an absolute unit, it's not the best pick for a doubles battle. Still No. 1 in our hearts, buddy.
• This will be a four-round draft, with each round consisting of six picks for a full Pokémon team. At the end, we'll have a full doubles roster for each team.
• No Mythical Pokémon are allowed.
• One Legendary Pokémon per team.
• All picks must be usable in Sword and Shield.
Let's get into it.
Team Red, No. 1 overall: Urshifu, Single Strike Style
Red gets a big benefit out of snagging Urshifu first overall, as it takes the Rapid Strike Style form of the Isle of Armor's defining Pokémon off the board as well. With one of the strongest moves in the game in Wicked Blow as well as strong coverage of its weaknesses in Poison Jab, Urshifu is a jack-of-all-trades pick that can dominate regardless of what's around it.
Team Blue, No. 2 overall: Kyurem-Black
Is picking a hybrid of two legendary Pokémon cheating? Maybe, but Team Blue knows this combo of Kyurem and Zekrom is well worth the risk. Kyurem-B is about as good an answer to Urshifu as you can get, with tremendous power of its own and fantastic protection and stamina thanks to its move pool and typing.
Team Yellow, No. 3 overall: Landorus, Therian Forme
The only answer here is for Yellow to grab another one of the most dominant legendary Pokémon of all time. Landorus-T has struck fear in the hearts of ranked Pokémon battlers ever since its release, and the sighs of relief when it exited the monster pool with a trimmed Pokédex at the start of Sword and Shield have been replaced by the sound of countless Earthquake attacks.
Team Gold, No. 4 overall: Galarian Moltres
We don't really know much about how this Pokémon will perform given it has officially existed for less than a day.
Counterpoint: LOOK AT IT.
Even if Team Gold flames out, it's going to do so in style.
Team Silver, No. 5 overall: Calyrex
Is this a big-brain move or just Silver having a preference for monsters with big brains? Calyrex, the signature Pokémon of the Crown Tundra expansion, has some clear typing weaknesses but could be a sleeper pick as a supportive force for other members of its team. The problem with picking the newcomer here, though, is Silver will have to build the rest of its team to protect something that is weak against seven (!!!) different types of attacks.
Team Crystal, No. 6 overall: Cinderace
Crystal has a brilliant strategy here to make up for the late pick. Every other team has selected a legendary Pokémon, so Crystal can wait, scoop up the best normal monsters and round out its team with a powerful pick to end the draft. Cinderace is a fantastic choice to build around, too. With its Libero hidden ability and a genuinely awesome Gigantamax form, the final evolution of Scorbunny can contend with many of the legendaries on the board. Throw in two strong signature moves in Pyro Ball and Court Change, and you have what could be the defining choice of the draft.
Team Red, No. 7 overall: Grimmsnarl
A great complement to the Urshifu pick here. This choice puts two Dark types on the same roster, but Grimmsnarl's ability to protect its teammates and wreak havoc with status effect moves makes it a strong pick to go with a hyper-offensive No. 1 option.
Team Blue, No. 8 overall: Metagross
Blue goes with the first pseudo-legendary pick of the draft and some solid typing coverage for Kyurem-Black as well. Metagross can carry a team in its own right, but there's a glaring weakness here, too, when you look at what other teams have picked so far. With four of the six teams already having a check to Metagross, Blue will clearly be looking for some defensive options in the rounds to come.
Team Yellow, No. 9 overall: Rillaboom
Yellow made a ruthless move here. Even if Rillaboom doesn't wind up playing much into its final team, the pick takes a check to Landorus-T off the board and gives this roster a bit more swagger. Grookey's final evolution is no slouch, either; with the addition of Grassy Surge and a priority move in Grassy Glide during Isle of Armor, an attack-focused Rillaboom can tear through opposing teams.
Team Gold, No. 10 overall: Galarian Darmanitan
After a shocking first round pick, Gold goes for a safer move here in one of the strongest monsters in Sword and Shield. If the ice form of Darmanitan can make the first move, it's likely going to take out at least one opponent. The trick is freeing up space for Darmanitan to do its thing, which should be a focus for Gold in the rest of this draft.
Team Silver, No. 11 overall: Dracovish
Another clear-cut choice with a ton of offensive potential and a high ceiling in the right system. Silver is also the obvious winner of weirdest-looking team so far with the addition of a fish-headed dinosaur that's clearly missing appendages to a team that also features the biggest forehead in the Pokémon franchise.
Team Crystal, No. 12 overall: Clefable
An interesting call here, as Crystal pairs a slow-playing Pokémon with the fast-and-furious Cinderace. There are a number of ways this team can go with Clefable, though: The Fairy type is a utility player that can press the attack or soften up opponents for Cinderace to clean up.
Team Red, No. 13 overall: Galarian Slowking
This must have been a late call by Red to find an answer to Crystal's Clefable and Silver's attempt to gobble up all the weirdest looking Pokémon. Galarian Slowbro would have worked here, too, but Slowking has a bit of wild card potential as a new addition from the Crown Tundra roster.
Team Blue, No. 14 overall: Blaziken
Blue adds an extra dimension to its team and takes a threat to Metagross off the board in one move with this pick. The fiery Blaziken, like Landorus-T, has befuddled trainers for years and will now get a chance to do so in, of all things, an ice-focused expansion.
Team Yellow, No. 15 overall: Dragonite
It's absolutely mind-blowing that the godfather of Dragon types fell this far in the draft, but younger talent and support picks ruled the first two rounds. Dragonite is a steal here and fits into the offensive focus of Yellow's squad. The question now is whether Yellow will go for some speed next or try to flesh out their defensive options.
Team Gold, No. 16 overall: Dragapult
Dragon types are a must-have for almost any roster, and Gold's eclectic squad is no different. Dragapult brings the ability to pass right through the defenses some of the previous picks bring to the table and dole out some game-changing status effects of its own with Will-O-Wisp.
Team Silver, No. 17 overall: Corviknight
With defensive prowess and some powerful attack options, Corviknight is a well-rounded option to roll out alongside Dracovish and stave off any Fairy types that could pose a problem for it.
Team Crystal, No. 18 overall: Excadrill
Crystal still hasn't revealed its legendary pick but has already built a team that can check most of its opponents thanks to this Steel- and Ground-type pick. Team Crystal will definitely be looking at some Dragon types in the closing rounds and will want some more info on what its up against before making a move on a legendary.
Team Red, No. 19 overall: Ferrothorn
This seems like a just-in-case pick, with Red leaning toward an offense-first roster and throwing in this defensive stalwart in case the game goes south. There were a couple strong Fire types picked earlier, though, so Ferrothorn will stay in its ball other than in some situational matchups.
Team Blue, No. 20 overall: Toxitricity
Blue is building a roster with lots of type variety and throws in a special attacker here to make sure opponents don't just stack up defense. Toxapex appears nonchalant but is as dangerous as they come to the Fairy and Flying types that have come off the board already.
Team Yellow, No. 21 overall: Togekiss
With Fairy types in short supply, Yellow takes Togekiss, Toxapex be damned. Despite the clear counter Blue picked just one selection ago, this is the right move for Yellow. You need Togekiss here to help combat the rest of this Dragon-heavy draft, and its supportive abilities and surprising bulk can give it a shot even in disadvantageous matchups.
Team Gold, No. 22 overall: Toxapex
With plenty of stalling potential and utility, Toxapex is a great pace pick for Gold, which was all about speed up until now. Opponents will have to respect Toxapex's ability to turtle up and just win the game that way, which could limit the choices they have to check Gold's clear offensive threats.
Team Silver, No. 23 overall: Volcarona
Silver backed themselves into a wall here with few top-tier options that fit with the roster it has built. That said, there's enough variety here to keep opponents guessing and a good mix of offensive and defensive approaches. It's tough to guess how Silver will play with this lineup, but maybe that's part of the appeal.
Team Crystal, No. 24 overall: Eternatus
Somehow, Crystal managed to turn the last selection of each round into a power spot, and this pick manifests that. Eternatus rounds out this roster well, and paired alongside Clefable has enough type coverage to defend against almost all the other rosters on this list. Throw in Cinderace as a cleanup hitter and Excadrill as an insurance policy, and you have one of the best squads in the group.