The rival character is one of Pokemonlonger and more enduring traditions. Rivals make the journey more interesting by challenging the player. In many cases, they can surprise the player with a few tricks up their sleeve. Most of the time, however, they serve as a distraction rather than a proper hindrance.

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Pokémon sword and shield features three rivals that are among the most memorable, if not the most effective. Hop, Bede, and Marnie are capable Trainers who do their best to improve their Pokémon teams. Hop over all is, perhaps, the franchise’s most enthusiastic rival. All three have a favorite Pokémon that Gigantamax in their final battle against the player, which is also the most impressive. However, they also have a weak link in their teams, just like any other coach.

7 Bede’s Weakest Pokémon: Mawile

Mawile from the Pokémon series

Before Generation VI, Mawile was a terrible Pokémon. He was fragile, had a below-average special attack and defense, and a pitiful total of 380 base stats. The arrival of the Fairy-type, and most importantly, Mega Evolution made Mawile a real threat in battle. He was still fragile and had a weak special attack, but he could put up a decent fight.

Bede’s Mawile, however, doesn’t have the Mega Evolution advantage. Instead, he is left to battle opponents with nothing but his disappointing total of 380 base stats. Mawile’s Steel / Fairy-type combination grants her nine resistances and two immunities. However, with a HP stat of just 50 and a Special Defense of 55, Mawile will fall to the first Flamethrower that comes his way.

6 Bede’s Strongest Pokémon: Hatterene

hatterene pokemon sword and shield gigantamax

Bede, a Psychic-type enthusiast forced to become a Fairy-type specialist after inheriting the title of Gym Leader from Opal, would of course choose a Psychic / Fairy-type as his Ace Pokémon. Hatterene has a ridiculously high Special Attack of 136 and impressive overall physical stats. However, it also has abysmal HP and speed, which seriously hampers its performance.

Bede’s Hatterene can Gigantamax, but her moveset leaves a lot to be desired. It has Dark Pulse to fight Ghost-types and Psychic to deal with Poison-types. However, it has nothing against Steel-types, and considering that Corviknight is a staple on most of Galar’s teams, Hatterene can find itself in serious trouble.

5 Marnie’s weakest Pokémon: Liepard

Pokemon, Liepard

Marnie opens her battle with Liepard, a pure Dark-type Pokémon introduced in Generation V. Liepard has incredibly high speed and a decent physical and special attack. However, the rest of his stats are pretty horrible, particularly his laughable Physical Defense. He has three weaknesses, including the common Fighting type, and an immunity to Psychic.

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Liepard’s moveset is terrible too. It has three Dark-type attacks and one Normal-type. It has no cover for any of its three weaknesses, making Nasty Plot wasteful in terms of utility. It is not at all difficult to defeat this Pokémon, despite its continued use of the annoying Fake Out.

4 Marnie’s Strongest Pokémon: Grimmsnarl

pokemon grimmsnarl

On the contrary, Marnie’s strongest Pokémon, Grimmsnarl, makes a very admirable fight. Grimmsnarl, a dual-type Dark / Fairy Pokémon, is a beast when it comes to Physical Attack. It also has high HP and a special attack, although its speed is below average. Their unique combination of types results in weaknesses to Poison, Steel, and Fairy, immunities to Dragon and Psychic, and resistances to Ghost and Darkness.

Grimmsnarl can also Gigantamax. However, his move set seriously affects his performance. It only has two moves that deal damage, neither of which is effective against any of the types it is weak against. However, Grimmsnarl is still a cool Pokémon and its Gigantamax design is one of the best.

3 Hop’s Weakest Pokémon: The Beginner

Gigantamax Inteleon, Rillaboom and Cinderace in Pokémon Sword & Shield

In any Pokémon team, the Starter is one of the members, if not the best. It’s been a part of the team from day one of a Trainer’s journey, so it’s sure to be the most experienced Pokémon in the pack. In Hop’s case, however, the Starter is perhaps the weakest link because he chooses the one that is weak against the player’s choice.

And so Hop’s Starter enters the battle at a considerable disadvantage. His Rillaboom and Inteleon have at least one attack each to fight their main threats: Rillaboom has High Horsepower against Fire-types and Inteleon has Ice Beam against Water-types, but Cinderace has nothing against Water or Ground. It has Low Sweep against Rock-types, which is something.

two Hop’s First Strongest Pokémon: Dubwool

Dubwool on a white background

As the main rival in Sword and shield, Hop is privileged to have two Pokémon that can be considered the most impressive. Although he Gigantamaxizes his Corviknight, and there is a strong argument for him as Hop’s ace, it is Dubwool who best represents Hop as a Trainer.

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Sheep is Hop’s first Pokémon. He is part of your team in almost every battle in the game, with a few exceptions. As a normal guy, Dubwool has only one weakness, fighting. However, his high Physical Defense means that he most likely won’t go down with a single hit. Dubwool also meets the very annoying Cotton Guard, who raises his already impressive Physical Defense in three stages. In the end, taking down this Pokémon is more complicated than it seems.

1 Hop’s second strongest Pokémon: Zacian / Zamazenta

Pokémon Sword Shield Legendary

Hop gets a second more impressive Ace Pokémon once he catches a Legendary Pokémon. While the player gets the game’s pet, Hop gets the other legendary, either Zacian or Zamazenta. Suffice it to say that both Pokémon are equally impressive. Zacian might be the best due to his Fairy / Steel-type combination, which is substantially better than Zamazenta’s Fighting / Steel.

Both Pokémon, however, are devastatingly powerful. They have a base stat total of 670, which rises to 720 when given the Shield or Rusty Sword. Both Pokémon have enviable speed and balanced overall stats. There is no doubt that once Hop captures Zacian or Zamazenta, they become the absolute crown jewel of their team.

NEXT: Pokémon Sword & Shield: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Milo

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