While the Pokemon universe is present in pretty much every genre of gaming these days (even MOBAs aren’t safe thanks to the upcoming Pokemon Unite) sometimes for the best competitive experience you’ve got to go back to basics: A good old fashioned, no nonsense, Pokemon battle.
Pokemon Sword and Shield gives fans the opportunity to flex their competitive muscles against one another in not only monthly competitive seasons but also in Ranked Series, which have ever changing rulesets for players to compete within.
We’re currently in Ranked Series 6, which kicked off on August 31 and concludes on October 31, and it’s one of the most interesting yet thanks to new rules that have banned some of the most popular meta Pokemon from the last series, including the likes of Togekiss, Incineroar, and Dragapult. There’s also a wide variety of Gigantamax forms that are eligible for trainers to use.
In this guide, we’re going to briefly go over some of the important rules and restrictions for Ranked Battles newcomers, the Pokemon that have been banned for Ranked Series 6, and which Pokemon will become the meta for the next two months. Let’s dive in shall we?
Pokemon Ranked Series 6 ruleset
For those new to competitive play in main series Pokemon games, you’ll first need to know what the rules and regulations are for Ranked Battles
While the entire 27-page rulebook goes into every possible nook and cranny of competitive play, including what will happen to you if you’re caught cheating, we’ve cherry picked the important rules for Ranked Series 6 that you need to know.
Series 6 continues to be a double battle format, meaning you and your opponent will each start with two Pokemon on the field. You pick a team of six Pokemon, which is then presented to the other player, and visa versa. You must then select which four Pokemon you want to take into battle with you, based on your opponents lineup of ‘mons.
Starting this week, the meta gets a mix-up! #PokemonSwordShield Ranked Battles Series 6 cycles out some recent top picks, which is sure to cause many Trainers to revisit their strategies. We might even see some new favorites crop up!
— Play Pokémon (@playpokemon) September 1, 2020
Ranked single battles are also available with a different ranked tier for you to climb. However, double battles are the main competitive format.
Series 6 has also introduced a spicy new rule that sees the ten most popular Pokemon from last year’s Series banned, along with the usually prohibited legendary and mythical Pokemon. A full breakdown of eligible and ineligible Pokemon is further down this guide.
Pokemon you bring into battle must have been acquired from the Galar region in Pokemon Sword or Shield, or Pokemon from previous games that you’ve transferred in via Pokemon HOME must have the Battle Ready symbol next to their name (this essentially means that any moves not featured in Sword and Shield have been forgotten).
You can enter eligible Pokemon of any level but all of them are automatically levelled up or down to Lv 50 to make the battle fair.
Like in the main game’s battles, you are allowed one Dynamax/ Gigantamax per match.
While there are plenty of other rules to uphold competitive integrity, these are the basics you need to know before going in for a Ranked Series battle.
Ranked Series 6 banned Pokemon and eligible Pokemon
For Pokemon Ranked Series 6, the general parameters for eligible Pokemon are that all Pokemon in the Galar Pokedex and Isle of Armor DLC Pokedex, excluding the legendary Pokemon, are fair game. Starter Pokemon from the Alola region in Pokemon Sun and Moon and the legendary trio of Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion are also eligible.
Those parameters are true except for 16 Pokemon who were banned for Ranked Series 6 as a result of a new rule that excludes the most popular single and double battle choices from the previous Series.
These are the Ranked Series 6 banned Pokemon:
The decision to ban the majority of last Series’ most used Pokemon was done in an attempt to spice up the meta in competitive play. This means that the likes of Togekiss – whose decent bulk, diverse move pool, and ability to support damage-dealing Pokemon made it arguably the strongest pick out there for competitive – will now not be terrorising players in Series 6.
Strongest Pokemon in Ranked Series 6
There are some early contenders that are emerging as the best competitive Pokemon for Ranked Series 6, including Arcanine, Galarian Weezing, Dracovish, and Clefable.
Arcanine continues to be a top pick thanks to its balanced stats and strong move pool. It can be set up with moves that provide brilliant type coverage, as Arcanine can learn a selection of Electric, Dark, Dragon, and Fairy moves, among others. It can also learn the strong priority move Extreme Speed, which allows it to strike against its opponents first even if they have superior speed stats.
Galarian Weezing continues to be a top pick for competitive. This is partly down to its unique Poison/Fairy typing that makes it immune to Dragon-type moves and resistant to five others (plus immunity to Ground-type attacks if it has the Levitate ability).
However, it’s Galarian Weezing’s other ability, Neutralizing Gas, that makes it such a strong pick for Ranked Battles. This ability prevents any of the opposing team’s abilities from working, which could really throw off their plans.
Dracovish is also being used a lot in the early stages of Ranked Series 6. While its base stats are decent and abilities relatively useful, it’s the move Fishous Rend that sets it apart. This Water-type move will hit for 170 damage if it can outspeed its opponent and hit first, plus a bit more if you have items or weather conditions that boost Water moves. This means that bulkier, defense-minded enemies, which are usually quite slow as a consequence, can be dispatched extremely quickly.
With top pick Togekiss now out of contention, another Pokemon that can learn Follow Me is being used as a substitute: Clefable. A Clefable using Follow Me draws all enemy attacks to it, rather than the other Pokemon on its team, allowing glass cannons (Pokemon with high attack but low defence) to enter the field and deal some damage without taking any hits.
It’s worth noting that we are only a few days into Series 6, so things could change and new strategies could see others become the most popular picks. But so far, these four have been cropping up on plenty of ranked teams.
Pokemon Ranked Series 6 dates
Pokemon Ranked Series 6 in Sword and Shield began on August 31 and will end on October 31, meaning there’s two months for you to be battling under the current ruleset. Within Ranked Series 6, there will be two monthly seasons for September and October.
Pokemon Ranked Battles tiers
For ranked play in Pokemon Sword and Shield, there are five different tiers that players work their way through. Each tier is reached when you hit a certain level.
These are the tiers for Pokemon ranked play:
- Beginner (Level 1-3)
- Poke Ball (Level 4-6)
- Great Ball (Level 7-9)
- Ultra Ball (Level 10)
- Master Ball (Max level)
Remember, there are separate ranking systems to climb for both single and double battles.
So that’s everything you need to know about Ranked Battles and Ranked Series 6 in Pokemon Sword and Shield. If the meta or rules begin to change throughout the Series, we’ll be sure to update this guide. Happy battling!