Competitive Breeding Guide for Pokémon Sword and Shield
In this part of the breeding guides I will talk about breeding competitive Pokémon. I covered the basics and advanced breeding techniques, like passing down IVs, natures, abilities and egg moves, in previous guides if you want to learn more about that. You can also find a list of breeding items and where to find them here.
If you want to play Pokémon competitively, it is advised to breed and train your Pokémon to use their full potential. You can build teams that are well rounded, a mix of offense and defense, power and utility. This guide will help you understand what to breed for and how to breed your Pokémon for competitive play.
For competitive Pokémon, you will have to breed for
- The right nature
- The right ability
- The ideal IVs
- Egg moves (if needed)
The right nature
A Pokémon’s nature should be picked according to their role in a team. Sweepers should have boosting natures for either Speed, Attack or Sp.Att. depending on their base stats and in some cases their ability.
Good natures for physical sweepers/attackers are
- Jolly (+Speed, -Sp.Att.)
- Adamant (+Attack, -Sp.Att.)
For special sweepers/attackers
- Timid (+Speed, -Attack)
- Modest (+Sp.Att., -Attack)
The general idea is to boost the stat you need the most while dropping the stat you need the least. Most of the time you want a nature that drops either Attack or Sp.Att. For mixed sweepers you will have to decide which stat you want boosted. Generally, it is a good idea to boost Speed while dropping one of the defensive stats.
You can find a full list of natures here to help you decide which one you see most fit for your Pokémon.
The right ability
Abilities are not only important for a single Pokémon, but are also a big factor when it comes to team synergies. The ability Drought for example is good for a single fire Pokémon to boost fire type attacks while weakening water type moves. But if you put a grass type Pokémon with the ability Chlorophyll on your team it will profit from it as well.
When picking the right ability, you should in most cases think about the team you want to build and what moves you want to use. The choice can also vary depending on the Pokémon’s nature and vice versa.
Here are two quick examples:
- A Ninetales with the hidden ability Drought could be used with a Vilplume with the ability Chlorophyll and the moves Growth, Solar Beam and Moonlight. Bacause of the synergy between Drought and Chlorophyll, Vileplume’s speed is doubled. Growth, Solar Beam and Moonlight also profit from Drought. Growth now gives +2 in Attack and Sp.Att. instead of just +1, Solar Beam hits instantly and doesn’t have to charge for a turn and Moonlight heals 67% of Vileplume’s HP instead of 50%.
- Using the ability Drizzle on a Pelipper or the move Raindance on a Pokémon and a Barraskewda with the ability Swift Swim. Swift Swim doubles Barraskewda’s already pretty good speed. Because of that you can use Adamant (+Attack, -Sp.Att.) nature instead of Jolly (+Speed, -Sp.Att.), resulting in a higher damage output.
These examples show that every choice you make in breeding a Pokémon should consider and affect the other choices. Abilities, moves and natures should all work well together.
The ideal IVs
Ideal in this case does not always mean having all 6 IVs at maximum. Sometimes less is more. Since only 5 IVs can be passed down from the parents, it is a matter of luck to hatch a Pokémon with all 6 IVs at 31 anyway. Just like with natures, there is almost always one stat that you don’t need. Attack for special attackers, Sp.Att. for physical attackers. That means that you also only need 5 IVs to have a useful Pokémon.
Of course, most of the time it is good to have maxed stats, but especially Speed has some very specific interactions where you don’t want to have an IV value of 31. For example, if you are using a team with Trick Room or moves like Gyro Ball you would want your Pokémon’s Speed stat to be as low as possible.
Whether breeding for egg moves is worth it, depends on the Pokémon you are breeding. Since every Pokémon can learn a different set of not only egg moves but moves in general, I would suggest looking it up online on websites like Bulbapedia or Serebii. You can get information about every Pokémon individually, and can plan ahead whether you need to get another Pokémon for egg moves, or if the Pokémon can learn all moves you want by leveling or by TM/TR.
Remember that since Gen8 egg moves can also be passed without breeding. More regarding that topic here.
Breeding your competitive Pokémon
Now for the actual breeding part. Planning ahead makes everything easier. Make sure you have everything you need, like an Everstone for passing down natures, a Destiny Knot for passing down IVs, a Ditto with good IVs (generally useful since you can use it for breeding every competitive Pokémon on your team) and obviously the Pokémon you want to breed. Using Power items is only worth it in the very beginning of the breeding process, Destiny Knot and Everstone are too important to replace later on.
Ditto is probably the most important part for competitive breeding. If you plan on breeding a lot of competitive Pokémon, I suggest investing the time to get a Ditto with as many IVs as possible (5-star Raids are the most reliable way). Otherwise having two Dittos with IVs that would complete each other work just fine. If one of them has the desired nature it’s even better.
I would suggest always starting with breeding for the most controllable part and leaving the most random things for last. This following order usually works reliably: 1. egg moves, 2. nature, 3. ability, 4. IVs. The order can switch depending on your starting Pokémon.
Starting with egg moves frees you up, because you only need to hatch one or a few eggs until you have all the egg moves. Going from there all other hatched Pokémon will have them as well.
Next thing to breed for is the nature. If one of the Pokémon you are using at the start already has the right nature, just give it the Everstone from the beginning. If you don’t, hatch a few eggs using your Pokémon and a Ditto without an Everstone until you get one Pokémon with the right nature. Don’t forget to give one of the Pokémon the Destiny Knot so you already get some IVs on your Pokémon. At this point you could also use power items to guarantee one IV stat to be passed down. Once you have the right nature, swap out the non-Ditto. Give the Everstone to your newly hatched Pokémon with the right nature and the Destiny Knot to the Ditto.
Next step is breeding for the ability and the IVs. Quick reminder that female Pokémon have a better chance of passing down their ability. If you want to pass down a hidden ability, make sure that every time you swap out the Pokémon in the daycare, the one you put in has the hidden ability. The two Pokémon in the daycare should have the Everstone and the Destiny Knot at all times. Breed until you hatch a Pokémon with the right ability and all IVs that you need from the Ditto. Swap out the Ditto for the other one and continue breeding until you hatch your final Pokémon with all the egg moves, the right nature, right ability and 5 IVs.
To increase your chances of passing down IVs, you could also swap your Pokémon to one that hatched with better IVs. It is not necessary but could speed up the whole process in the long run.