Pokemon Sword and Shield

Top 5 Best Early Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Your Early Pokemon choices in Pokemon Sword and Shield are critical. They form your ramp up as you move through the game, and you’ll often want to commit to some early choices and take them with you as your traverse through the rest of the game. That being said, there are 50+ Pokemon to choose from before you’ve even made it to the first gym! So which of these are worth your attention? And which ones should you consign to a box, never to be seen again?

Well, Early Pokemon are the subject of our list today. Join us as we summarise the Top 5 Best Early Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield!

5. Wingull

Water & Flying Type

It’s hard to describe just how useful it is to have a Flying Type Pokemon during the early game of Sword and Shield. Your route through the starting portion of the game will be littered with opponents that are very vulnerable to this type in particular. Notably, the first gym that you find will house a huge amount of Grass Type battles, in which a Flying Type will bode well.

The fact that Wingull also gets to use Water Type abilities is a nice bonus, and one that will come in very useful – Water Type in particular is quite rare in the early game, so you’ll be glad to have this extra option, especially when traversing the Galar Mine.

Useful Early Abilities:

  • Water Gun (Level 1): Water Type attack, great versus Ground & Fire Types.
  • Quick Attack (Level 1): Useful for getting a swift attack in before the opponent.
  • Wing Attack (Level 15): Powerful Flying Type attack, great versus Grass Pokemon.


You can find Wingull in the Rolling Fields portion of the Wilds Area. This is the first area that you’ll explore in the Wilds Area. Be aware however, that you’ll only be able find it when it’s raining in the area. The weather in the Wilds Area changes at midnight every day on your Switch clock. You can head to the settings on your Switch to change this and force the weather to change (keep putting it just before midnight!).

4. Pancham

Pancham Pokemon Sword and Shield

Fighting Type

The early portion of Pokemon Sword & Shield is an ideal place for a Fighting Type Pokemon, and Pancham certainly fits the bill. You’ll come up against a fair few Normal and Rock Type enemies as you make your way through the early routes and the Galar Mine, meaning your tough little fighter will easily pulls his weight.

Fighting Types are also somewhat rare in these two titles, for some reason, so getting one early to level up alongside your team is a good idea. We also award it some bonus points for it’s evolved form, Pangoro, becoming Fighting & Dark Type, which can be very useful in the late game. As you might imagine, it also has great physical defence and attack!

Useful Early Abilities:

  • Arm Thrust (Level 4): Great early game ability that can hit up to 5 times!
  • Low Sweep (Level 16): Very powerful single hit that also lowers the targets speed!


You can find Pancham in Route 3, during random encounters in the grass. He can also be found in the Wilds Area, in the western field of the Rolling Fields area.

3. Klink

Klink Pokemon Sword and Shield

Steel Type

An early Steel Pokemon… Seems like an unusual recommendation right? Well stick with us here, because what we’re talking about here is a strictly early game Pokemon. Taking Klink into the late game can be a bit of a pain – it evolves late, learns special moves without having a high special statistic and whilst Steel is nice, it’s really not essential later on.

Why the early game then? Well mostly it’s about having super high defensive statistics for the early game, and being immune to almost anything you’ll come up against. Got an opponent you don’t know yet? Klink is probably immune to it. You really only need to worry about Fire, Fighting or Ground types, and outside of the Galar Mine you’re unlikely to come up against these at all, depending on your starter choice. It also comes with the ability to Paralyse super early which is fun, if a little overkill, thanks to learning Electric Type attacks.

As a bonus, the two little gears are super cute if you ask us.

Useful Early Abilities:

  • Thunder Shock (Level 1): Medium strength Electric attack that can paralyse.
  • Vice Grip (Level 1): Medium strength physical attack
  • Discharge (Level 24): High power, aoe Electric attack.


You can find Klink at Route 3 in a random battle. There is mid-to-low chance to find a battle with it here.


2. Diglett

Diglett Pokemon Sword and Shield

Ground Type

Time for another throwback Pokemon, Diglett! It’s been a while since this one got any major attention, so we’re here to bring the spotlight back, if only for a short while.

We must preface this recommendation first however: Diglett is not useful in the first Gym. It’s filled with Grass Type Pokemon and unfortunately they will destroy the Dig’ in very short order. This is mainly a recommendation for later in the game, where having a Ground Type and specifically Diglett will be very useful. We won’t go into spoiler territory, just do yourself a favour and pick one up and give it a bit of experience!

That being said, we’ll recommend some later game abilities for this one:

Useful Early Abilities:

  • Bulldoze (Level 16): High Ground Type damage that lowers the target’s speed.
  • Sucker Punch (Level 20): High powered Dark Type attack.


You can find Diglett either in the Galar Mine, or roaming around the western side of Route 4. It’s also possible to find them in the Rolling Fields of the Wilds Area.

1. Sizzlipede

Sizzlipede Pokemon Sword and Shield

Fire & Bug Type

The early game in Pokemon titles is all about your journey to the first Gym. Depending on your starter choice, this is normally filled with either a very serene and confident journey, or a trek to find the ideal Pokemon to make your life easy when you get there. That being said, if you didn’t choose the Fire Type starter, Sizzlipede is here to make that first Gym a complete breeze.

As you might imagine, they made Fire Types super rare before you reach a Grass dominated area, but they did leave a little gap in those plans: hidden away in Route 3 is a lesser known Pokemon, Sizzlipede, who comes fully equipped with Fire abilities. Actually it’s filled with super powerful moves in general, and a really solid choice to keep with you throughout Pokemon Sword & Shield. It’s evolved form is a total beast too!

As a side note, if you have any lucky charms that you like to keep around you to bring good fortune, it might be an idea to pick those up right about now…

Useful Early Abilities:

  • Ember (Level 1): Medium power Fire Type attack that might burn the target.
  • Bite (Level 10): Powerful Dark Type physical attack that might flinch the target.
  • Flame Wheel (Level 15): More powerful Fire Type attack that can also burn the target.
  • Bug Bite (Level 20): A powerful Bug Type attack.


You can find Sizzlipede on Route 3, in a random battle. There’s no easy way to say this however: You only have a 1% chance of getting into a battle with one. Do yourself a favour and throw Great Balls at it – don’t even bother attacking it, there’s too much risk that you’ll critical it and miss the opportunity to capture it!

Well that’s our Top 5 Early Pokemon in Pokemon Sword & Shield! What do you think of our choices? Perhaps you had a different experience and want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Oh and check out our journey/guide through every single trainer in both games! It’s a constant work in progress, but we’re having fun with it.

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