A Pokemon Sword/Shield draft, because we are a sports website
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images Gotta draft ‘em all! Pokemon. Domesticated animals trained to fight for the amusement of humans in an alt-history hellscape where children are forced from their houses in their preteens to capture and battle others under the guise of growth into adulthood. It’s perfect and we love it! This week we will experience Pokemon Sword/Shield, the latest in the series. Being the avid sportspeople we are, and thriving on competition at the expense of others we decided to draft a six Pokemon team made entirely of Pokemon which are returning to the series. We were not allowed to draft the only returning legendary Pokemon (Mew), and were given the freedom to draft to our heart. Here is what we did. Brittany Cheng Lucario, 10. Hydregion, 11. Gardevoir, 20. Bewear, 21. Gengar, 30. Lapras The moment I signed up for this, I was stressed — especially because I’ve been AWOL from the Pokemon world after Gen 4. Thankfully a mix of Silph Road message boards, Quora replies, and the kindness of a top Pokemon expert from our sister gaming website, Polygon, helped me select the best team. I got lucky, too. If Zion Williamson is on the board, why wouldn’t I take him first? I don’t need to defend my other picks; I know I already won the draft since my No. 1 pick made my boss react “OH FUCK YOU.” Graham: Honestly I’m not sure that spending your first pick in the draft deliberately spiting your boss is a good career choice. James: I’d burn you, but I’ve never seen someone so stressed out about the basic concept of drafting Pokemon. Sorry to break the fourth wall for our readers, but you were definitely wracked with anxiety every time your pick came back up. I don’t want you to endure that pain so I love your draft. Good picks. Zero problems. Christian: Would eat: Lapras. Wouldn’t eat: everyone else. Matt: Gardevoir is definitely on Tik Tok so I’m upset to miss it for my team of social media All-Stars. Also shouts to Britt for drafting Graham’s favorite Pokemon No. 1 and sending this draft in chaos mode from the get-go. Graham MacAree 2. Aegislash, 9. Toxapex, 12. Charizard, 19. Ferrothorn, 22. Togekiss, 29. Weaville Aegislash gives a strong counter to Lucario at 1.1 and can sweep with Swords Dance while using King’s Shield to disrupt any physical attackers taken later. The rest of the Pokemon were taken with roles plus type composition in mind, with something of an eye towards specific checks: Toxapex can deal with James’ Tyranitar, Scald physical attackers and sit as a very difficult defensive barrier. Charizard gives some versatility with its different mega-evolution forms and wide moveset, but will mostly be used as a drought-powered special wallbreaker. Ferrothorn is another answer to Tyranitar plus can set Stealth Rock and stall with Leech Seed/protect. Togekiss running Defog is not an ideal hazard clearer but the available Pokemon who can use Defog or Rapid Spin is astonishingly low. Can also help with team status and go for flinch locks. Weaville is here as a fast revenge killer, if necessary, and gives some type coverage we were missing with Pursuit. Aegislash can do most of the hard work and, given the Pokemon available, I think the rest of the team balances and supports it well enough. I’m a little worried about that Gengar on Britt’s team, though, and there’s also no clean way to bring in Pokemon through pivot moves. Prediction and smart play, as always will be key. James: Nerd. Britt: Nerd. Christian: Would eat: Charizard, Togekiss. Wouldn’t eat: everyone else. Matt: Charizard is the only real Pokemon on this list in my opinion. Also, nerd. James Dator 3. Tyranitar, 8. Wishiwashi, 13. Mimikyu, 18. Drampa, 23. Sawk, 28. Vikavolt I’m not going to sit here and tell you my team is perfect. I’m not going to tell you they’re a top-tier team of killers and world-ruiners, but I will say that they make me happy. In the end that’s all that matters. Tyranitar is my beefy thick boy to hold down the fort, while also offering that excellent rock/dark type to get me through some early fights. Mimikyu is my sad pokemon, which is personally important to me, considering my natural proclivity for Psyduck. Wishiwashi is the pick I know people will criticize, but he’s my Rudy, my Hail Mary. I really like the Pokemon who go from zero-to-hero like watching an episode of Queer Eye, but with Wishiwashi it’ll hit school form and become a murderer in one battle — not like waiting on a sad-ass Magikarp to get its act together. Britt: I offered to trade you Bewear for Wishiwashi, so you deserve all the burns you get. Christian: I bet I could eat all these Pokemen. Maybe not Vikavolt. Matt: Tyranitar is def a bully who gets likes on IG because people are afraid of it, so I’m upset to not have it on my socia media team. Also Wishiwashi is a hilarious name. Proud of it. Christian D’Andrea 4. Mamoswine, 7. Mudsdale, 14. Unfezant, 17. Pelipper, 24. Vanilluxe , 27. Wobbuffet I have never played Pokemon, but we needed a fifth for the draft. My picks were solely based on how much I’d like to eat each of these characters. With a bottom-two pick, I invested solely in winning the “most delicious” crown. Mamoswine: Half pig, half mammoth. You remember the opening credits for the Flintstones? This is where those car-destroying ribs came from. Mudsdale: I could only find one cow-looking Pokemon (Tauros), and he wasn’t eligible for selection. I’m gonna have to settle for horse steaks instead. And since this thing is half Clydesdale, I’m gonna have a ton of them. Unfezant: The most spatchcockable Pokemon on the board. Can’t believe he lasted to the third round. Plus you can save all that unfezant fat and fry potatoes in them afterward. Pelipper: I kinda choked on this one. I thought this was a giant, fat, belligerent chicken, like Foghorn Leghorn (delicious). Instead it’s a pelican. I bet I could still eat it! Vanilluxe: It’s literally ice cream. Most obvious pick of the day. Wobbuffet: BUFFET IS RIGHT THERE IN THE NAME What’re you guys gonna do when your Pokemen fall in battle? Bury them solemnly? Pretend like nothing happened? I’m gonna eat like a goddamn king. Britt: I told you to draft Oddish for a balanced diet. Better check your arteries and cholesterol. Christian: The idea of eating a radish is by far the most unrealistic thing to happen in this draft. Matt: Why are we eating Pokemon again? I’m concerned and I think I have to call the police? Actually, you can eat Wobbuffet. Matt Ellentuck 5. Milotic, 6. Gyrados, 15. Machamp, 16. Ninetails, 25. Snorlax, 26, Ludicolo I had very important criteria for my picks. I selected the six who I felt would make the strongest social media team, and I’ll explain why. My first two picks were Milotic and Gyrados because they are both hot sea monsters. That means they’ll get a lot of likes on IG. Then I picked Machamp because it’d make a dope fitness account, and Ninetails because it definitely wears designer clothes for the ‘Gram. Snorlax is, without a doubt, a depressed meme poster. And Ludicolo def gets WILD on main. He’ll get a lot of “SIR” reply tweets, but hey, engagement is engagement. That’s a damn squad right there. Graham: While drafting entirely for Pokemon hotness is a fun goof it also raises some concerns about ... well, a lot of things. James: While drafting entirely for Pokemon hotness is a fun goof it also raises my opinion and value of you as both a coworker and a person. Live your truth. Graham: Yeah, James is right. No* judgement. Christian: I don’t want to eat any of these sexy Pokemen. Britt: Matt, you’re on cancellation watch.
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