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Hippowdon vs. Metagross, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
DeviantArt: michellescribbles

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15 of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, non-Legendary

The recent announcement of Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of the popular Generation IV Pokemon games first released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS have plenty of Pokefanatics ready to dive back into Sinnoh, catch (and battle with) fourth gen. Pokemon as they were in their inception and take on Team Galactic.

But with 14 years and four generations of Pokemon games between the original experience and the present day, some players might need a refresher course on which Pokemon were the most advantageous to end-game battling. Luckily, that’s where we step in.

The following is our list of 15 of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Legendaries excluded.

Garchomp

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Garchomp

Garchomp (who looked even more like a shark in the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl beta), is a Ground/Dragon dual-type and an excellent Pokemon for battling. In fact, Garchomp is considered to be so good in most Pokemon competitive battling communities (such as Smogon) that it has been outright banned from the standard tier of best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and instead relegated to the highest power tier with Ubers such as Mewtwo, Lugia, Giratina and Rayquaza.

A Poke-apotheosis such as this is rare and I can think of no higher praise for a Pokemon in competitive play — but I’ll try anyway. Garchomp, because of its staggering 130 base Attack and solid 102 base Speed is a prime candidate for Choice Scarf, which gives it the ability to outspeed every other Dragon-type in the Ubers tier (with the correct EV application and Nature), even a Rayquaza who has used Dragon Dance.

Garchomp can also run with a Swords Dance set (with or without Substitute), which coupled with Life Orb can make its attacks (Outrage, Earthquake and Stone Edge) potent enough to ruin even defensive goliaths such as Groudon and Lugia.

As one of, if not the most potent attackers in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, you’d be ill-advised to ignore the sweeping damage potential Garchomp can offer for your team — or to ignore preparing for it as your opposition if it’s not.

Suggested movesets:

Garchomp @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Outrage
– Earthquake
– Dragon Claw
– Stone Edge

Garchomp @ Life Orb
Ability: Sand Veil
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Swords Dance
– Outrage
– Earthquake
– Stone Edge

Tyranitar

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Tyranitar

The mighty Tyranitar has managed to stay at the top of the competitive battling meta from its inception in the Generation II Gold and Silver games all the way to the present day in Sword and Shield — a feat which few non-Legendary Pokemon can lay claim to.

That holds true for Generation IV, where Tyranitar will remain one of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl thanks to an excellent stat spread (600 total base stats), diverse movepool and the ability to fulfill a myriad roles on a team, be it a Choice Bander whose 135 base Attack STAB (Same-type attack bonus) Stone Edge and Crunch moves lay waste to its opposition; a sweeper who can decimate entire squads after a few Dragon Dances; a stall-team ‘Tar (popularly named TyraniBoah in the online Diamond/Pearl competitive battling community) with Substitute and Focus Punch or even an all-purpose support Tyranitar with special attacks such as Fire Blast and Ice Beam (for surprising Skarmory, Breloom, Scizor and Bronzong) or a Pursuit opportunist, a move which slaughters popular Psychic-types like Starmie and Rotom-A or Ghost-types like Gengar on the switch.

All in all, the Dark/Rock dual-type Tyranitar is a competitive battling monster, sure to be one of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and a Pokemon who has to be both considered and planned for when devising any PVP team.

Suggested movesets:

Tyranitar @ Passho Berry (All-Purpose)
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 48 HP / 144 Atk / 52 SpA / 184 SpD / 80 Spe
Lonely Nature
– Crunch
– Fire Blast
– Pursuit
– Stone Edge

Tyranitar @ Shuca Berry (Dragon Dance)
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Stone Edge
– Earthquake
– Ice Punch

Tyranitar @ Leftovers (Sub-Punch)
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 52 Atk / 176 SpA / 28 Spe
Quiet Nature
– Substitute
– Focus Punch
– Dark Pulse
– Flamethrower

Scizor

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Scizor

Scizor is a Pokemon who flitted on the outskirts of competitive top-tier status in its first two generations since being introduced in Gold/Silver on account of a defensively sound Bug/Steel type combination and substantial 130 base Attack.

Its biggest problem? A subpar offensive movepool which relegated it to a Baton Passer role in Gen. II and saw its Sword Dance and Agility capabilities wasted with only low base power STAB moves like Silver Wind and Steel Wing from which to choose in Gen. III.

That all changed in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, when Scizor was given a new Ability in Technician (which gives all moves with 60 BP or less a 1.5x power boost) and two amazing new STAB moves in U-Turn and Bullet Punch.

Scizor should remain one of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, able to stand against staple top-tier Pokemon such as Tyranitar, Metagross and Bronzong and carve into hit and run Pokemon such as Gengar as they to escape with U-Turn. Scizor is also an exemplary Choice Band user — in conjunction with its Technician ability, it lays into opponents with an astounding 591 Attack.

Suggested Movesets:

Scizor @ Choice Band
Ability: Technician
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Atk / 8 SpD
Adamant Nature
– U-turn
– Bullet Punch
– Superpower
– Pursuit

Scizor @ Life Orb (Full offense Swords Dance)
Ability: Technician
EVs: 32 HP / 252 Atk / 224 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Swords Dance
– Bullet Punch
– Bug Bite
– Superpower

Gliscor

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Gliscor

Gligar was one of Gen II’s more unusual and cooler concepts — a Ground/Flying Pokemon that looked like an amalgam of a bat, a scorpion and a gargoyle whose type combination yielded useful immunities (a Flying-type immune to Electric!) — but its lacking movepool and deficiency against meta-prevalent Water-types kept it from being an outright beast.

Which is what made Gligar’s evolution into Gliscor one of my favorite Gen IV upgrades. The evolution elevated the underrated “Fang Scorpion Pokemon” into a full-blown competitive chimera. In addition to a healthy stat boost, Gliscor now had the option to fulfill the role of one of the meta’s premiere stallbreakers with Taunt and Earthquake or to setup as a resourceful sweeper with Swords Dance (which in tandem with its Hyper Cutter ability, prevents other Pokemon from lowering its attack) and Roost (which heals for 50% health).

If you’re having difficulty with established Gen IV staples like Tyranitar, Heatran, Clefable and Skarmory, glide towards Gliscor, one of the most essential and best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

Suggested movesets:

Gliscor @ Leftovers (Stallbreaker)
Ability: Hyper Cutter
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Taunt
– Earthquake
– Ice Fang
– Roost

Gliscor @ Leftovers
Ability: Hyper Cutter
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Swords Dance
– Earthquake
– Ice Fang
– Roost

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Electivire

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Electivire

Another old school Pokemon who received a much deserved upgrade in Gen IV was Red/Blue OG Electabuzz, whose Electivire evolution amped it up into one of the most high-charged sweepers in the game.

While Electivire’s 123 base Attack and 95 base Sp. Attack are certainly electrifying — its Motor Drive ability, which raises its Speed by 1 stage when hit by an Electric move (in addition to Electric immunity) make it the perfect switch-in against the opposing team’s unsuspecting Electric attacks. Electivire has the power to OHKO meta powerhouses like Gyarados and Skarmory and with Hidden Power Grass it can even send bulky defensive Pokemon like Swampert reeling.

Suggested movesets:

Electivire @ Expert Belt (Mixed Attacker)
Ability: Motor Drive
EVs: 40 Atk / 252 SpA / 216 Spe
Mild Nature
– Thunderbolt
– Hidden Power Ice
– Cross Chop
– Flamethrower

Electivire @ Expert Belt (Physical Attacker)
Ability: Motor Drive
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Thunder Punch
– Ice Punch
– Cross Chop
– Earthquake

Heatran

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Heatran

Electivire’s Electric immunity made it a force to be reckoned with in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl but another Pokemon introduced in Gen IV arguably benefited even more from its absorptive abilities type-resistance wise: Heatran.

Whereas Electivire already had a resistance to Electric attacks, being Electric-type itself, Heatran completely negated the normal damage it would’ve taken from Fire-type attacks (due to being part Steel-type) with its Flash Fire ability.

Heatran should stand out not only as one of the best Fire-types but one of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl overall, thanks to its sturdiness, potent Special Attack and the ability to outspeed and roast opposing meta staples such as Lucario, Dragonite and Gyarados with a Choice Scarf equipped.

Heatran is also excellent at support; it can be used as a strong lead Pokemon who can set up with Stealth Rock; stall with Substitute and frustrate bulky Waters with Toxic on the switch-in; or even last-ditch effort Explosion to take down an opposing Pokemon with it.

Another viable moveset for Heatran involves Torment, which prevents opposing Pokemon from using the same move twice in a row, making the effort to KO the already bulky Heatran a Herculean effort. Heatran can also utilize Magma Storm to trap counters like Blissey and Swampert and eliminate them with Explosion and Hidden Power Grass.

Suggested movesets:

Heatran @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Fire Blast
– Earth Power
– Explosion
– Dragon Pulse

Heatran @ Shuca Berry (Support)
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Naive Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Fire Blast
– Earth Power
– Explosion

Heatran @ Leftovers (Torment)
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 244 HP / 36 SpA / 12 SpD / 216 Spe
Calm Nature
– Torment
– Substitute
– Protect
– Lava Plume

Gengar

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Gengar

Much like Tyranitar, the iconic Gengar is another OG Pokemon who’s a mainstay in the top tier of battling.

What makes Gengar so scary (even scarier than its perpetual Cheshire Cat grin or its unnerving PokeDex entries) and one of the best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is its considerable 100 base Speed, frighteningly good 130 Special Attack and plenty of versatility, the latter of which makes it very hard to predict in battle.

Gengar can act as a daunting sweeper with a special move core of Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt and Focus Blast and either a Life Orb or Choice Scarf item equipped; a utility teammate with Will-O-Wisp and Taunt in addition to a pair of special moves; a Substitute and Pain Splitter who can disconcert high health cleric Pokemon like Blissey and even a Mean Look/Perish Trap Gengar who can ensnare unsuspecting opponents, put them to sleep with Hypnosis and make them slowly watch their own demise or even Explode on them while they’re stuck in place.

Suggested movesets:

Gengar @ Life Orb (Sub + Pain Split)
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Substitute
– Pain Split
– Shadow Ball
– Focus Blast

Gengar @ Black Sludge (Stallbreaker)
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 80 HP / 176 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Taunt
– Will-O-Wisp
– Shadow Ball
– Focus Blast

Gengar @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Shadow Ball
– Thunderbolt
– Focus Blast
– Hidden Power Ice

Metagross

Metagross

Much like the pair of Metangs who achieve fusion to form it, Metagross is a multifaceted Pokemon. Part hulking spider-tank and part supercomputer, the Psychic/Steel “Iron Leg Pokemon” not only sports a fantastic defensive type combination, but an explosive offense as well. Its 135 base Attack is tied with Salamence for the highest of all non-legendary Pokemon in the game.

Metagross can serve as a great lead Pokemon with Stealth Rock and Bullet Punch; sweep with Agility; run a mixed attack set with Psychic; reduce opposing Pokemon to stardust with its potent Meteor Mash and Earthquake combo and a Choice Band equipped or even confound and overwhelm with Explosion or a Trick/Iron Ball set, the latter of which purloins the enemy Pokemon’s held item and replaces it with Iron Ball, an item which reduces their speed by half.

Suggested movesets:

Metagross @ Life Orb
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 60 HP / 252 Atk / 196 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Agility
– Meteor Mash
– Earthquake
– Thunder Punch

Metagross @ Choice Band (Choice Band attacker)
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Meteor Mash
– Earthquake
– Explosion
– Zen Headbutt

Metagross @ Iron Ball (Trick + Iron Ball)
Ability: Clear Body
EVs: 236 HP / 252 Atk / 20 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Trick
– Earthquake
– Meteor Mash
– Explosion

Roserade

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Roserade

Generation IV saw the introduction of the entry hazard Toxic Spikes and the best Toxic Spiker in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum is Roserade. Roserade is a Poison/Grass Pokemon who can not only imperil the opposing team with a Toxic Spikes and Sleep Powder set, but surprises those expecting the entry hazard version with a more than serviceable Choice Scarf set thanks to a potent 125 base Special Attack. Roserade also offers considerable Weather support for Sunny Day or Rainy Dance teams.

Suggested movesets:

Roserade @ Focus Sash
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Toxic Spikes
– Sleep Powder
– Leaf Storm
– Hidden Power Fire

Roserade @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Leaf Storm
– Sludge Bomb
– Hidden Power Ice
– Sleep Powder

Roserade @ Damp Rock (Weather support)
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Rain Dance
– Leaf Storm
– Weather Ball
– Sleep Powder

Hippowdon

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Hippowdon

Much like its real life inspiration, the hippopotamus, Hippowdown is an absolute unit of a Pokemon. Naturally, its stats are a reflection of that massivity as well, with the Ground Wall touting an impressive 108 HP, 112 Attack and 118 Defense base statline.

Combined with Slack Off, which heals it for 50% of its max HP, Hippowdon can be a burden for physical attackers to take down; meanwhile, Hippowdon can set up with Stealth Rock and further whittle opponents down with its Sand Stream ability. You can also shore up Hippowdon’s massive 108 base HP and serviceable 72 Special Defense to make it into a Special Defense wall as well, one capable of surviving some of the most powerful special attacks in the game.

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Suggested movesets:

Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Slack Off
– Earthquake
– Roar

Hippowdon @ Leftovers (Special Defense Sponge)
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Careful Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Slack Off
– Earthquake
– Ice Fang

Infernape

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Infernape

Apparently Game Freak wasn’t content in having one powerful Fire/Fighting starter Pokemon (see Blaziken, who’s still a viable option in Pokemon Sword and Shield), so they added Infernape, the final evolution of Chimchar to the mix in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl.

The searing simian has an impressive 108 base Speed and boasts high Attack and Special Attack as well (both 104 base), making it a potent sweeper. Infernape has plenty of options as well; it can run mixed sets favoring either its Special Attack or physical attacks; boost its Special Attack even higher with a Nasty Plot set; serve as a capable lead with Fake Out and Stealth Rock or go all out attack with Choice Band/Choice Scarf.

Suggested movesets:

Infernape @ Life Orb (Physical mixed attacker)
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 252 Atk / 64 SpA / 192 Spe
Naive Nature
– Close Combat
– U-turn
– Stone Edge
– Overheat

Infernape @ Life Orb (Nasty Plot)
Ability: Blaze
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Nasty Plot
– Fire Blast
– Focus Blast
– Grass Knot

Empoleon

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Empoleon

The second starter Pokemon to make the list of best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is Empoleon. Empoleon boasts an awesome Water/Steel type combination which gives it resistances to Dragon and Water attacks as well as the ability to switch in to Tyranitar’s STAB moves such as Crunch and Stone Edge.

Empoleon isn’t just defensively sound either; its 111 base Special Attack makes its Hydro Pump and Ice Beam combo hit with plenty of potency, especially when outfitted with Choice Specs. Empoleon also has the option to run a sweeper set with Agility or become a Special wall with a Surf, Protect, Stealth Rock and Roar/Knock Off moveset.

Suggested movesets:

Empoleon @ Focus Sash (Lead Pokemon)
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Hydro Pump
– Grass Knot
– Stealth Rock
– Aqua Jet

Empoleon @ Leftovers (Special Wall)
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Calm Nature
– Surf
– Protect
– Roar
– Stealth Rock

Salamence

Best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Salamence

Another Dragon-type who is banned from most normal tiers of competitive Pokemon battling is Salamence, a Dragon/Flying type who made its first appearance in Gen III.

Salamence, when equipped with Life Orb, can inflict ungodly amounts of damage on anything that doesn’t resist it; it can even OHKO uber-powerful Pokemon such as Darkrai and even the mighty Mewtwo with the 120 BP move Outrage after one Dragon Dance.

Where’s a Fairy-type Pokemon when you need it? (Sorry, you’ll have to wait until Gen VI.)

Suggested moveset:

Salamence @ Life Orb
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Outrage
– Earthquake
– Fire Blast

Rotom

Rotom

One of the most unique additions to the Pokemon roster in Gen. IV was Rotom, a Pokemon with the ability to possess everyday household appliances and transform as a result.

In its base form, Rotom is a Ghost/Electric dual-type, but it’s able to take on five other forms as well.

  • When it possesses a microwave, it becomes Heat Rotom (Rotom-H), an Electric/Fire type.
  • When it possesses a washing machine, it becomes Wash Rotom (Rotom-W), an Electric/Water type.
  • When it possesses a refrigerator, it becomes Frost Rotom (Rotom-F), an Electric/Ice type.
  • When it possesses an electric fan, it becomes Fan Rotom (Rotom-S), an Electric/Flying type.
  • When it possesses a lawnmower, it becomes Mow Rotom (Rotom-C), an Electric/Water type.

Much like some of the other Pokemon on this list, it’s this extreme versatility which makes Rotom such a useful Pokemon in D/P/P, although some of the aforementioned forms are more useful than others — Rotom-H, who has burn immunity, negates its Ground-type weakness thanks to Levitate and can make bulky Water-types think twice about switching in due to its remarkable Electric/Fire STAB combo; and Rotom-W, whose type combination, along with Levitate, give it only one fairly uncommon Grass weakness and along with its solid base defenses and movepool, the ability to serve as a stalwart wall.

Base Rotom is useful as well, boasting a STAB attack combination in Thunderbolt and Shadow Ball that only two Pokemon, Steelix and Magnezone can fully resist and myriad viable movesets from Substitute/Pain Split (or Substitute/Charge beam) to Choice Scarf/Choice Specs to a support variant with Reflect and Light Screen to a status infliction specialist with Will-O-Wisp, Toxic, Discharge and Confuse Ray.

Suggested movesets:

Rotom @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Substitute
– Pain Split
– Thunderbolt
– Shadow Ball

Rotom @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
– Discharge
– Will-O-Wisp
– Toxic
– Shadow Ball

Lucario

Lucario

Lucario, the bipedal, black and blue-furred, lupine Pokemon introduced in Diamond and Pearl quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with thanks to its ferocious offensive capabilities (110 base Attack, 115 base Sp. Attack) and a variety of movesets with which to capitalize on them.

One of the Fighting/Steel Pokemon’s most popular movesets, which hinges upon Swords Dance, a STAB Close Combat and priority move Extremespeed make it nearly untouchable as a sweeper if it’s able to set up properly.

Lucario makes a deadly Choice Band bearer as well, with a neutral STAB Close Combat often doing more damage than a super effective Crunch or Ice Punch to its opponents.

Lucario also has the option to run a Special Attack-oriented set with Choice Scarf equipped, which boasts amazing offensive coverage thanks to Aura Sphere, Shadow Ball and Dragon Pulse.

All in all, Lucario is one of the most versatile and best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, with a bad-a– design to boot.

Suggested movesets:

Lucario @ Life Orb (Swords Dance sweeper)
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
– Swords Dance
– Close Combat
– Extreme Speed
– Crunch

Lucario @ Choice Specs (Special Attacker, w. Choice Specs)
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
– Aura Sphere
– Shadow Ball
– Dragon Pulse
– Vacuum Wave


Which of the 15 best Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl is your favorite? Did we leave out any obvious Pokemon that should have made the list? Let us know in the comments.

Special thanks to Michellescribbles on DeviantArt for the cover art, Smogon University for moveset ideas and Pokemon DB for Pokemon art.

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Written By

Ninja Gaiden was my rite of passage at an early age. After finally beating that game (and narrowly dodging carpal tunnel) I decided to write about my gaming exploits. These days I enjoy roguelikes and anything Pokemon but I'll always dust off Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country and StarFox 64 from time to time to bask in their glory.

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