Fighting-types are some of the most beloved species of the Pokemon series. There have been countless memorable Fighting-type masters over the years, from Bruno in Pokemon Red & Blue to Bea in Pokemon Sword & Shield, and many of their greatest partners are all-stars in the online matches of Galar’s Battle Stadium.
Many of these Pokemon are the most talented physical fighters in the game, so it can be hard for most aspiring trainers to know which are powerful and which aren’t worth using. Whether you wish to use them yourself or need to counter them, it’s important to be aware of which Fighting-type Pokemon you need to be aware of.
It’s fairly impressive how long Machamp has remained a strong and relevant Pokemon in the series. It’s a great albeit slow defensive fighter with a high Attack stat, but its shortlist of weaknesses as a pure Fighting-type means it’ll often get at least one hit in. That hit is most often a Dynamic Punch, which deals significant damage while confusing the foe it hits.
Most Pokemon can’t use this move due to its poor accuracy, but Machamp defies that thanks to a magnificent ability called No Guard which guarantees a hit. To top it off, it has a remarkable Gigantamax Form with the power to increase Critical Hits among its teammates.
Most Fighting-type Pokemon are quite restrictive in their play styles, with the hefty majority being physical attackers. This makes sense given that they typically revolve around different fighting styles, but for competitive play, it can feel restrictive.
This is why Kommo-o is a valuable teammate, as it fills nearly any role you need. As a defensive tank, it can heal itself constantly with Drain Punch while also kicking out frightening opponents with Dragon Tail. Meanwhile, physical and special fighters can use Clangorous Soulblaze to increase all of its stats to the level of a Legendary Pokemon.
The Tyrogue line is likely one of the most underrated Pokemon families in all of Pokemon Sword & Shield. While Hitmonchan lags as an attacker due to its poor Speed and Defense stats, Hitmonlee manages to be an outstanding physical attacker with plenty of Super Effective attacks, mostly thanks to the inclusion of Blaze Kick as a TR.
Even more unique to Hitmonlee is its possible Unburden ability, which doubles its Speed if its item is consumed. This can be used to great effect in Dynamax where Super Effective attacks rarely defeat Pokemon in one hit, as berries and the popular Weakness Policy can reliably be consumed to give an additional boost to activate your ability. Once Unburden triggers, Hitmonlee will outrun nearly any Pokemon in the game besides Regieleki.
Very few Fighting-type Pokemon can function as support players that protect and boost your team, but Hitmontop stands out as an underrated tank with the power to fully disrupt your opponent. It gains access to several priority moves that make up for its poor Speed, such as Mach Punch and Bullet Punch, and even some unique new moves like the new Triple Axel attack from the Isle of Armor Move Tutor.
However, Hitmontop only usually needs its first turn to be effective. It can receive both the Intimidate ability to lower an opponent’s attack and the move Fake Out to disable their first move. This means Hitmontop will massively disrupt a foe while knocking out a bit of their health; in a Double Battle, this can often buy time for Hitmontop’s partner to fully destroy a key member of their opponent’s team.
Alola’s titanic beast, Bewear, might not seem powerful given the large swarms of Stuffuls in the Wild Area, but its evolution is no joke. This powerful Normal and Fighting-type is an immense challenge thanks to the extremely rare Fluffy ability that cuts all physical damage in half, mitigating the damage from Super Effective Flying and Fighting-type opponents.
This ability does have a weakness in the form of Fire-type moves, and Bewear is far less defensive against special attacks, but these can be solved with an Assault Vest item to raise its Special Defense by an additional fifty percent. With it, attacks like Flamethrower won’t likely defeat Bewear in one hit, and moves like Drain Punch can keep the Pokemon on the top of its health bar through the entire battle.
It’s no surprise that Lucario has become so popular since its debut, as it has remained a staple of the competitive scene since Pokemon Diamond & Pearl. Lucario has a wide set of strong priority moves and versatile stats, but most Lucario players are sure to find additional fun with its high Special Attack in Pokemon Sword & Shield.
This is because of the new addition of Steel Beam, an attack from a Motostoke Move Tutor that deals as much damage as a Dynamax move at the expense of half the user’s maximum health. This is a large setback, but will likely annihilate most foes that don’t resist it, and Lucario’s Steel-type lets it learn the move and deal significant damage without using up your Dynamax.
Trainers nowadays are often disappointed by Fire and Fighting-type combinations for starter Pokemon, but it’s clear that Blaziken’s power was the reason it became such a trend. While Blaziken can function as a great mixed attacker, its physical moves are far more effective. Blaze Kick and Close Combat give Blaziken incredible type coverage, while Flying-type moves like Bounce give it an unexpected edge against other Fighting-type foes.
If you plan to use Blaziken, though, it’s important to use one with its hidden ability Speed Boost, which raises its Speed stat by fifty percent at the end of each turn. By using Protect or Max Guard on its first turn, it’ll gain enough speed to outrun a larger number of Pokemon.
It can’t be stressed just how powerful Pheromosa is compared to other physical sweepers in the game. It might lack in defensive stats, but Pheromosa is the third-fastest Pokemon in the entire game, just behind Ninjask and Regieleki. Combined with its Attack stat, a similarly high number that matches the legendary Solgaleo, this Pokemon can defeat most foes in one hit with zero additional trouble.
To ensure Pheromosa can do this, though, you’ll have to be ready for the risks that come with its low defense and list of weaknesses. This Pokemon severely needs a Focus Sash item, as it will allow Pheromosa to survive any kill while at maximum HP. Additionally, its low health stat means Dynamax won’t be a significant upgrade, so keeping it in its smaller form is strongly recommended.
2 Galarian Zapdos
The Fighting-type member of Galar’s legendary birds might not be as fast as the astonishing Pheromosa, but Zapdos’ all-around stats make it superior to most other Fighting-types. Its Speed puts it ahead of the other legendary birds, but its greater edge over them is its wide access to powerful physical moves that few Fighting-type Pokemon receive.
While this includes powerful Fighting-type attacks like Thunderous Kick and Steel-type moves like Steel Wing, the Isle of Armor Move Tutor also gives Dual Wingbeat to Zapdos. This move delivers two strikes that are equally as likely to be critical hits, and it doesn’t cost health like Brave Bird. To top it off, Zapdos’ Defiant ability raises its Attack if any foe tries to decrease one of its stats, meaning it can counter the popular Intimidate ability that makes Pokemon like Hitmontop so effective.
Competitive trainers knew that Urshifu would be powerful once its stats were first revealed. Regardless of it being a Water or Dark-type evolution, Urshifu’s signature moves Wicked Blow and Surging Strikes will always result in a critical hit, meaning it’ll ignore stat boosts while doing ludicrous damage.
The strength of these moves continues further in Gigantamax, as they will also break through protection moves like Protect and even Max Guard. If you can’t outrun an Urshifu, it’s bound to take down your most defensive Pokemon with little trouble, and having one on your team is almost always a good choice.
Next: Pokémon: 10 Fighting-Types That Need Evolutions
- Pokémon Sword and Shield
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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