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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Best Pokemon to Catch

Patrick Bonifacio

Just last week, we had a look at the three starters in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP), and which one was the best for new players to choose. But because each player has access to five additional slots for Pokemon, having a look at the best ones to catch in the Sinnoh region to fill out one’s team is also important.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Garchomp banner

Garchomp is a highly flexible pseudo-legendary that make it great on any team composition. (Image by The Pokémon Company)

With so many unique species to choose from in both games, picking out the Pokemon that are actually strong can be difficult. But much like before, this is where we come in. We’ll be listing some of the best Pokemon to catch in the wild in this guide.


  • Type: Flying/Normal
  • Evolves into: Staravia (Flying/Normal, Lv. 14), Staraptor (Flying/Normal, Lv. 34)
  • Recommended build: All-out physical attacker

Starly the Starling Pokemon is the “regional bird” in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP). Similar in design to previous regional birds like Pidgey and Taillow, Starly is a Flying/Normal type Pokemon with stats skewed towards being a fast physical attacker. Its base Attack stat of 55, which is just three points below that of Chimchar, allows it to do work early in the game.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Best Pokemon Starly

Image by The Pokemon Company

Thanks to its typing, Starly is particularly good against the many Grass and Bug type Pokemon found in the early routes, as well as in the Eterna City Gym. To this end, it learns Wing Attack as early as level 9, which is exceptionally quick for a move that has 60 base power. Its evolution curve also follows that of the three starters, which means that it isn’t likely to get left behind as you progress through BDSP.

And speaking of evolution, its final stage Staraptor is a fearsome predator with great stats and a strong movepool. With access to moves like Brave Bird, Close Combat, Double-Edge, and U-Turn, there’s plenty of offensive coverage here. A base speed stat of 100 helps Staraptor push all of this power out as well.

Both of Staraptor’s abilities are also fantastic. Intimidate helps it keep physically offensive threats in check. Reckless, meanwhile, increases the power of recoil moves like Brave Bird by 20 percent. The latter is only accessible after beating the Pokemon League, though, so you can only really use it in the Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl post-game.


  • Type: Electric/Steel
  • Evolves into: Magneton (Electric/Steel, Lv. 30), Magnezone (Electric/Steel, Thunder Stone)
  • Recommended build: Physically bulky special attacker

Located in the Grand Underground, Magnemite the Magnet Pokemon is bar none one of the best Pokemon in the Sinnoh Pokedex. Its Electric/Steel typing and tough defenses allow it to serve a role as a powerful tank with a ton of resistances. Magnemite starts off with 95 Special Attack, which is a crazy number for an unevolved Pokemon.

When Magnemite is fully evolved as Magnezone, it turns into a terrifying force. 130 base Special Attack is already ridiculous enough, but its 115 base Defense and 90 base Special Defense really solidifies its role. You can bring this out against almost any offensive threat and it will find a way to survive, especially as it has access to the ability Sturdy.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Best Pokemon Magnemite

Image by The Pokemon Company

Meanwhile, its incredible movepool is also there to help it use its massive Special Attack stat. Thunderbolt and Flash Cannon give it dual STAB (same type attack bonus) attacks, while the Iron Defense/Body Press combo allows Magnezone to face up against Pokemon like Steelix.

If you’re in need of something to zap Flying and Water type Pokemon while also keeping those pesky Fairy types at bay, look no further than Magnezone. The only real con about this Pokemon is that you have to use a Thunder Stone to evolve it, but even that is easily remedied.


  • Type: Ice/Dark
  • Evolves into: Weavile (Ice/Dark, evolve at nighttime while holding Razor Claw)
  • Recommended build: Fast physical attacker

Sneasel the Sharp Claw Pokemon is known among older Pokemon fans as the “silver bullet” for the Pokemon League champion Cynthia. Because her Garchomp is so strong, it’s important to pack a Pokemon that counters it specifically. Sneasel (and its evolution Weavile) is pretty much the hardest counter to Garchomp available in the game.

First off, it’s fast. Really fast. With 115 base Speed to its name, Sneasel is already miles faster than Garchomp without even being fully evolved. This gives it a huge leg up on the Dragon/Ground type Pokemon off the bat.


Image by The Pokemon Company

But of course, the real reason it’s so good against Garchomp is because it’s an Ice type. With Icicle Crash and Ice Shard in its back pocket, Weavile hits Cynthia’s Garchomp for quadruple damage. This kind of power is more than enough to put the land shark to sleep. The Garchomp in question does carry a Yache Berry, though, so weakening it first through other means may be necessary.

Of course, Weavile is good for more than just knocking Cynthia’s Garchomp out. Its base Attack stat of 120 means that it rips through many other Pokemon that are weak to its Ice and Dark type moves. Bronzong is of particular note, as its defensive traits and unusual typing are nothing to a well-placed Knock Off from Weavile.

The problem with this evolutionary line, though, is that both Sneasel and Weavile are fragile as heck. Ice is one of the worst types in the game defensively, bringing with it four whole weaknesses. Add the Dark type to that and you’ve got six. This Pokemon is a true glass cannon, so you’ll need to pick your spots accordingly with it in battle.


  • Type: Fire/Dark
  • Evolves into: Houndoom (Fire/Dark, Lv. 24)
  • Recommended build: Fast special attacker

With the unfortunate lack of Fire types in Sinnoh outside of Chimchar and Ponyta, players who don’t pick the former might have a difficult time countering certain Pokemon. Fortunately, these players can find Houndour the Dark Pokemon in the Grand Underground, giving them access to a flexible Fire/Dark type in the mid game.

There’s plenty to love about Houndour. It evolves early at level 24, and has decent stats on the special side for a basic Pokemon. Once it evolves into Houndoom, it gets a big boost in stats, which in total add up to 500 points overall. Its base Special Attack stat of 110 means that it hits pretty hard on that side of things.


Image by The Pokemon Company

Its movepool is a lot to write home about as well. It has dual STABs in both Flamethrower and Dark Pulse, giving it plenty of powerful coverage with just two move slots. If Flamethrower’s base power of 90 isn’t enough, there’s always Fire Blast. Houndoom also has access to Nasty Plot, which takes its Special Attack to absurd levels.

Unfortunately, Houndour and Houndoom have four weaknesses, so it’s not perfect by any means. The good news here is that none of them are particularly crippling; this Pokemon has no 4x weakness. They also overlap in typing with Sneasel and Weavile, so stacking both of them in the same party might not be a good idea.


  • Type: Psychic/Fairy
  • Evolves into: Kirlia (Psychic/Fairy, Lv. 20), Gardevoir (Psychic/Fairy, Lv. 30) OR Gallade (Psychic/Fighting, use Dawn Stone on male Kirlia)
  • Recommended build: Fast special attacker (Gardevoir)/Fast physical attacker (Gallade)

Ralts the Feeling Pokemon is a classic choice with many things going for it, especially once it’s fully evolved. Ralts itself is quite weak in terms of stats, but its fully evolved forms Gardevoir and Gallade are very strong. Yes, you read that correctly: this Pokemon has two distinct final evolution stages, with one being physically inclined and the other being specially inclined.

Let’s get the first form out of the way first, though. Gardevoir is a special attacker with below-average Speed, but has the special side stats to make up for it.


Image by The Pokemon Company

Its Special Attack stat of 125 is no slouch at all, allowing it to hit incredibly hard with its deep movepool of powerful special attacks. Dazzling Gleam, Thunderbolt, Shadow Ball, Energy Ball — they’re all accessible to Gardevoir for that sweet, sweet coverage. It even has access to Focus Blast for use against Steel types. Poison types looking to counter Gardevoir will likewise have a bad day thanks to Psychic.

And then there’s Gallade, the polar opposite of Gardevoir. Gallade is unique in the sense that it uses physical attacks despite being a Psychic type. And instead of having Fairy as its secondary typing, it instead has Fighting. Gallade’s stats are otherwise identical to that of Gardevoir — only that its Attack stat is higher than its Special Attack stat.

Just like Gardevoir, Gallade has dual STABs in its arsenal. Both Zen Headbutt and Close Combat take advantage of its typing well. Interestingly, it also has access to Knock Off, giving it an advantage against Ghost types that would otherwise wall it. Where it does falter is in coverage, though, as it doesn’t really benefit from Thunderbolt, for example.

Nevertheless, we can still recommend either one any day of the week.


  • Type: Dragon/Ground
  • Evolves into: Gabite (Dragon/Ground, Lv. 24), Garchomp (Dragon/Ground, Lv. 48)
  • Recommended build: Fast physical attacker/bulky utility Pokemon

The big daddy of non-legendary Sinnoh Pokemon. Gible the Land Shark Pokemon, and its fully evolved form Garchomp, represent the apex of what the region has to offer outside of legendaries. As mentioned in the section for Sneasel, Garchomp is easily Cynthia’s most dangerous Pokemon.

Garchomp isn’t in the pseudo-legendary club for no reason. Its base stat total is 600 — which is head and shoulders above that of your average Pokemon. Its absurd base Attack of 130 allows it to tear opponents to shreds, especially when coupled with its 102 base Speed.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl Garchomp banner

Image by The Pokemon Company

Dual STABs in Earthquake and Dragon Claw make it one of the scariest physical attackers available in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Furthermore, it has coverage options elsewhere in its movepool. Fire Fang is useful versus Steel types that would otherwise evade Earthquake, like Bronzong with Levitate. Stone Edge is used to hit Flying types, which are immune to Ground type moves.

Being a fast physical attacker isn’t the only thing Garchomp is good at, either. It can also serve a role as a bulky utility Pokemon, especially with its hidden ability Rough Skin. With its high HP stat for a Pokemon that wasn’t outright designed to be durable and its unique typing, Garchomp can stand its ground against a lot of opponents while dishing out plenty of its own damage.

Trust us, you simply can’t go wrong with this terrifying dragon, even when taking its 4x weakness to Ice into account.


  • Type: Water
  • Evolves into: Gyarados (Water/Flying, Lv. 20)
  • Recommended build: Physical Dragon Dance sweeper

Many others would pick Buizel and its evolution Floatzel in this spot, but we think that Magikarp and its own evolution Gyarados the Atrocious Pokemon still deserve the title of best Water type physical attacker in BDSP. Sure, Floatzel is more balanced thanks to its 115 base Speed, but Gyarados has something that Floatzel doesn’t: Dragon Dance.

One use of this move shores up Gyarados’ low Speed, while also boosting its Attack beyond what most opponents can take. Combined with moves like Aqua Tail, Crunch, Ice Fang, and Stone Edge, Dragon Dance easily sets Gyarados up for a 6-0 sweep. Of course, Dragon Dance does take finesse to use, as it effectively means giving up one turn before making use of the increase in stats.


Image by The Pokemon Company

Still, it’s well worth the hassle and the risk. A base Attack stat of 125 is more than enough to destroy anything in front of Gyarados, with those that resist its attacks getting cleanly knocked out in two hits.

Also, since Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl both have party-wide Exp. Share, it’s much less of a headache to train Magikarp in the first place. Just keep it in your party while your other Pokemon help it along.

There you have it, our seven picks for the best Pokemon to fill out your team in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (BDSP). While it’s true that any Pokemon can work, these are the ones we think will give you the smoothest path to ultimate victory — from the early goings of the game all the way to the Pokemon League.

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick Bonifacio

Patrick has been playing Dota since the dawn of time, having started with the original custom game for WarCraft III. He primarily plays safe lane and solo mid, preferring to leave the glorious task of playing support to others.

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