Pokemon Scarlet & Violet are packed with powerful Pokemon to choose from, including a host of humble choices who are stronger than they seem. It's never good to judge a book by its cover, and the same goes for the new Pokemon in Generation 9, as they prove time and time again that no Pokemon is useless, some are just underrated.
While appearances can be deceiving, sometimes it takes a moment for the dust to settle before an underrated Pokemon's use case reveals itself. Some Pokemon are barely average in the context of a standard playthrough but excel mightily as one of the best Pokemon for Tera Raids. Whether you value a Pokemon for its strength in the competitive metagame or you need something to help beat the game, there are unexpected gems waiting to be unearthed.
9/9 Dachsbun – A Delightful Dessert Dog
Dachsbun suffers from a somewhat average Base Stat Total (BST) that just doesn't jump off the page, but finds an excellent niche as a support Pokemon for Tera Raids. With access to Helping Hand, Misty Terrain, Charm, and increased priority Baby-Doll Eyes, the adorable Dachsbun can keep your raid team firing with great status moves and debuffs.
When it seems like your teammates only know how to attack, Dachsbun offers an excellent option for players who just want to make it through the frustrating Tera Raid experience with a win. If you find yourself dealing with a string of unhelpful raid squads, be the change you want to see and use Dachsbun — you'll know deep down that your teammates couldn't have won without you.
8/9 Pawmot – Pint-Sized Reviver
While players who love competitive Pokemon feared this unassuming little guy from the start, many others are still discovering the pain of Revival Blessing. Nothing is worse than thinking you've got the advantage after a hard-earned knockout only to see Pawmot switch In. While its 490 BST doesn't shatter any records, Pawmot's access to Revival Blessing makes it a threat.
Provided you apply enough pressure with your partner Pokemon in Doubles, Pawmot should easily bring a fallen comrade back at 50 percent HP using Revival Blessing. It is one of only two Pokemon that currently have access to this amazing move, alongside Rabsca. Pawmot's 115 Attack and 105 Speed also make it a danger to go on the offensive itself with moves like Double Shock to pull the rug out from unsuspecting opponents.
7/9 Garganacl – Got Any Salt?
The salt jokes just write themselves here as Garganacl comes poised with an excellent stat spread and Salt Cure to threaten Water and Steel-type Pokemon that would otherwise counter it. Its HP, Attack, and Defense all hover in the triple digits, giving this mountain of salt everything it needs to disrupt any Physically-oriented attacks.
Garganacl easily finds itself among the best Rock-types in Generation 9, with an argument for the most powerful of its type in online competitions. With a popular moveset consisting of Body Press, Salt Cure, Iron Defense, and Recover, Garganacl prefers to stick around to torment foes for the entire battle while threatening severe damage if it is allowed to attack.
6/9 Maushold – The New Mightiest Mouse
Move over, Pikachu, there's a new mouse around these parts, and it's got the tools and the deadpan stare to strike fear into the hearts of all opponents. Maushold's Population Bomb threatens a possible ten straight hits which are enough to knock out or severely weaken any foe who doesn't resist Normal-type moves.
In general, Normal-types are often underrated as they cannot deal Super Effective damage while also benefiting from the Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB) as other types can. Luckily, Maushold's unique move helps to buck this trend and shines a bright light on what Normal-types are capable of, especially in the hands of experienced trainers.
5/9 Clodsire – Cute But Cunning
Be honest; when you saw Paldean Wooper, the first thing that ran through your mind was, "great, another useless Wooper." There's no shame in admitting it, as few people saw Clodsire making the splash it continues to make in Generation 9.
Its Poison and Ground dual typing gives it access to some fantastic moves like Poison Jab and Earthquake. As one of the few Ground-types available and arguably the best new non-legendary Ground-type Pokemon. Its immunity to Electric and resistance to common types like Fairy, Rock, and Fighting make Clodsire a great switch-in counter against many teams.
4/9 Cetitan – A Ball-Shaped Bruiser
Cetitan is officially dubbed a Terra Whale Pokemon, but you wouldn't be incorrect in calling it 'the giant ice ball with arms'. While Cetoddle and Cetitan's similarities might have given the impression that they would be underwhelming, Cetitan's solid stats and ferocious moveset make it a force to be reckoned with.
Its 521 BST is headlined by a mammoth 170 in HP and a wonderful 113 Attack that packs a punch behind its varied attacks. It supplements Ice Spinner with superb coverage moves via Earthquake and Liquidation that can throw opponents through a loop, especially if you opt for the popular Tera Water Cetitan setup that is frequently seen in online play.
3/9 Flamigo – Fear The Misspelled Flamingo
Despite its goofy name and appearance, Flamigo is no joke and should be taken very seriously if you come across one in competitive play. Despite not having an evolution, Flamigo has the moveset, ability, and stats to take on all comers, with an excellent 115 Attack stat to headline its 500 BST.
Aside from its competitive viability, which is already significant, Flamigo can be used to great effect as you begin your journey through Paldea. If you've just left the academy and are looking for a good Pokemon to start out with, then look no further than Flamigo. This awkward bird's flexibility to aid both Pokemon's greatest players and complete beginners speaks volumes about its power and versatility.
2/9 Palafin – A True Hero
Palafin claims its deserved title of the best Water-type Pokemon in Scarlet & Violet, but there's some important strategy to keep in mind while using it. Finizen won't become the awe-inspiring hero known as Palafin solely via a simple level-up. Instead, you must take advantage of Palafin's ability, Zero to Hero to activate its Hero form.
Once you use Palafin's Flip Turn or manually switch it out of battle, it will enter Hero Form and receive a massive stat boost until the end of the battle. With a BST reaching 650 and an Attack stat that eclipses 160, this is one massive glow-up for your adorable little dolphin. It takes some set-up to reach this incredible form, and you'll only be able to use this beast in certain situations as it has been banned from competitive tournaments and due to its gimmick, cannot be utilized in Tera Raid battles.
1/9 Tatsugiri – More Than A Dondozo Snack
Early in Scarlet & Violet's competitive scene, several top players recognized the advantages of running the combination of Dondozo and Tatsugiri. Tatsugiri's Commander ability allows it to hide in Dondozo's mouth, shielding it from attacks and boosting all of Dondozo's attributes by two stat ranks. Some players even gave Tatsugiri a Toxic Orb so that it would faint while in Dondozo's mouth, allowing them to use another Pokemon alongside Dondozo.
However, many people have caught on to this strategy, opening the door to some anti-meta teams that make use of Tatsugiri's own strength. With 120 Special Attack and access to the powerful Draco Meteor, Tatsugiri can be used to surprise opponents preparing for a Dondozo combination. If you prefer some extra trickery, Tatsugiri can be deployed in tandem with partners like Flamigo to maximize benefits from Dragon Dance, as Flamigo's Costar ability will copy Tatsugiri's raised stats, creating a dangerous conundrum for your foes. Don't be fooled by the goofy grin, as Tatsugiri's potential uses combine to ensure it won't be underrated for long.
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