Skip to main content

The Best Support Pokémon of All Time

Solid support Pokémon are the backbone of any successful competitive team. Only a few have stood the test of time, and proven themselves to be staples.

Creating the best in competitive Pokémon requires assembling a cohesive selection of six Pokémon each tailor-made to function in a specific role.  Each season has a new format (or formats plural in recent years) and a new selection of viable Pokémon. While the roster of available Pokémon is in constant flux,  certain Pokémon remain at the top by excelling in their roles. While a strong offensive or defensive core of Pokémon is important, they're often nothing in their role without a solid support Pokémon to help them reach their full potential. 

Support Pokémon come in a variety of different roles and niches. These Pokemon can spread status conditions, boost their partner's stats or moves, alter the turn order, and create weather conditions, among many others. The best support Pokémon often excel in multiple categories, and have the stats, typing, or move pool to make them a fit for most team compositions in a given format. Here are some of the best support Pokémon throughout history and why they've maintained their "staple" status throughout many years of VGC. 


Tornadus using Tailwind

The fifth generation introduced a trio of Pokémon that would impact and alter the course of competitive Pokemon history. Tornadus had a solid start in its debut generation but fell a little bit out of favor for a few years as its brethren, Thundurus and Landorus, terrorized the competitive scene for many years. 

Finally, in 2019, Tornadus rose to the top as one of the best support Pokémon for its Prankster ability giving it priority in setting up Tailwind for its team. This allowed it to enable more offensive teams with powerful restricted Pokemon to get massive amounts of damage by allowing them to move first. This job became even easier once Tornadus returned in Sword and Shield's Crown Tundra DLC as alterations to speed mechanics in the eighth generation allowed Tornadus' Prankster Tailwind to immediately change the move order if it was successfully able to set it up. 

The same remains true in the current generation, as Tornadus has won countless tournaments in the Scarlet and Violet era up to its same old tricks. It also has Legends: Arceus to thank for giving it a new signature attack, Bleakwind Storm, which hits both opposing Pokémon with a small chance to drop their speed. While Tailwind is the main move in Tornadus' arsenal, it can provide so much more utility by disrupting other support Pokemon with Taunt, setting up the weather with Rain Dance and Sunny Day, and offering further speed control with access to Icy Wind. 

Tornadus has easily matched the strength of its fellow genies and looks to be on the rise as current game mechanics and buffs have been nothing but kind to it. 



While Tornadus stocks are rising, the story of Thundurus has unfortunately been on the decline in recent years. Upon its introduction, Thundurus was primarily an offensive Pokémon, utilizing its great attacking stats to fire off Electric Gem-boosted Thunderbolts into a relatively vulnerable VGC 2011 field. All of this changed when 3-time World Champion, Ray Rizzo, innovated what would become the standard bulky, supportive Thundurus utilizing the aggravating combination of Thunder Wave and Swagger.

This form of Thundurus would dominate years of VGC when it was available, so much so that Thundurus was a staple of the metagame featured on many metagame-defining teams. 

This would all change in the seventh generation when several of Thundurus' best traits and tools received nerfs. Prankster was now unable to affect Dark-type Pokemon, Thunder Wave's accuracy was nerfed (along with Paralysis' speed reduction), and the Confusion status only caused Pokémon to hurt themselves a third of the time. Not to mention Tapu Fini's Misty Terrain always being around to prevent status conditions, made it a tough time to be Thundurus. 

Eventually, Thundurus was given some other support tools, like the excellent Special damage mitigation of Eerie Impulse, but it likely will never return to its dominant form. Dynamax in Sword and Shield gave it a brief time in the spotlight as a potent offensive threat, and it even won a World Championship as a part of Eduardo Cunha's 2022 team. 

Sadly, Thundurus has little place in the current format and it appears that its best days are behind it.


smeargle_dark void

There cannot be a list of the best support Pokémon without mentioning the infamous Smeargle. A Pokémon that is quite literally able to wield any move in the game provides near-infinite potential for support capability. 

2015 and 2016 were considered Smeargle's heyday as it terrorized multiple formats with Darkrai's signature spread, Sleep-inducing move, Dark Void. Luckily, Game Freak noticed how absurdly broken Smeargle was with access to Dark Void, so they spent the next two generations nerfing Dark Void into the ground. So much so that even Darkrai doesn't want to go near it. 

Smeargle's other chaos-enabling tool, the random-stat-boosting ability Moody, was also nerfed recently, so Smeargle has receded into the background of the current competitive meta. Nerfs and power creep may suppress it for now, but hey, the more broken signature moves that get introduced only mean more tricks for Smeargle to try out in the future. 


Cresselia Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Once touted as the "Queen of VGC", Cresselia was one of the go-to support Pokémon for many eras of competitive Pokémon. Amazing bulk, access to multiple forms of speed control, and a healthy selection of viable moves and items made Cresselia the gold standard for support. 

Unfortunately, like others on this list, Cresselia was not immune to nerfs as it got hit with a nerf to its overall base stats. A 10-point drop to both of its defenses may not seem like a big deal at first, but something about Cresselia's bulk just never felt the same after. With how fast and offensive current metagames in VGC have been the past few years, Cresselia just struggles to keep up and finds itself relegated to a few Trick Room teams here and there. 

Like the Generation 5 genies, Cresselia was also blessed with a new signature move, Lunar Blessing, which heals both Pokémon on your side of the field and removes status conditions. This excellent move has kept Cresselia at least relevant in the current age, but its years of dominating the usage stats are left to yester-format. 


Amoongus Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Now we move into the part of the list with support Pokémon that have remained evergreen throughout their VGC tenure. Amoonguss has always been a glue to hold plenty of teams together as it combines so many excellent support roles into a single Pokemon. 

Redirection with Rage Powder, status spreading with the 100% accurate Spore, healing and damage output from Pollen Puff, and even an ability that heals it when it's not on the battlefield. Even its low Speed stat is a boon for it as it makes it both an excellent Pokémon to have while using Trick Room and a great tool to have going against a team using Trick Room. Its other stats are also respectable to the point where it can take hits and dish out some damage if needed. 

Going down the history of Amoonguss' accomplishments in VGC would be exhaustive, but to make a long story short, its periods not in center stage were few and far between. 



One could not understate how impactful and dominant a Pokémon like Incineroar has been to competitive Pokémon. One of the most complete, all-around Pokémon of all time continues to dominate tournament usage stats even in the present day. 

Fantastic offensive and defensive typing, great stats, one of the best abilities in the game in Intimidate, access to Fake Out, pivoting with U-turn and Parting Shot, and plenty of other great support moves at its disposal make Incineroar by far the best support Pokémon. Incineroar's utility has survived even the toughest of opposition, the strongest legendary Pokémon, and multiple generation-defining mechanics to remain one of the best Pokémon for any competitive team. 

And the best news for Incineroar is, it shows no signs of slowing down. While yes, power creep and better solutions for dealing with Fake Out and Intimidate have entered the game, Incineroar is still hanging near the top. It may not be topping usage charts like it used to, but as of now, it still has the potential to be right back in the mix.