Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (2022)

The latest rendition of the hit RPG Pokemon game, , is rife with one of the most badass types in the game; the tanky powerhouse known as Steel. Being something akin to a jacked-up version of the Rock-type, Steel Pokemon often thrive through wars of attrition, as they come equipped with an abundance of Defense, Special Defense, and/or HP. Yet, they can also pack a punch physically.

These Steel titans are useful in that they're super effective against the similarly potent Fairy, Ice, and Rock types, and have the potential to learn some pretty powerful moves including Steel Beam, Iron Tail, and the appropriately named Doom Desire. They're also just plain cool in terms of their creative, often intimidating designs.

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In this list, we'll cover the most powerful and effective Steel-types overall, compiling the overall stats to reach our conclusions.

Updated October 13th, 2021, by Jeff Drake: "The Crown Tundra" DLC included many new additions to Sword and Shield's Pokedex. So many great Pokemon, in fact, that a second update is needed to bring this list up-to-date. This final DLC offering was quite friendly to fans of Steel-type Pokemon. Many of the strongest Steel types not yet included were added to Sword & Shield. The three Pokemon added to this article from "The Crown Tundra" are in the top ten on this list – one of them made it in the top three. This update will also include the two new legendaries introduced into the series in Sword & Shield, Zamazenta and Zacian.

20 Alolan Sandslash

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (1)

Sandslash, the spike-covered ground-type from Kanto, returned on the Isle of Armor. However, because classic Sandslash is legal, its distant cousin in Alolan Sandslash also makes its way to Galar through Pokemon Home. This Ice-Steel dual-type Pokemon has some unique typing and was a menace in lower tiers of play during Sun and Moon.

In terms of raw power, Alolan Sandslash can Icicle Crash through a team under ideal circumstances. Unfortunately, circumstances aren't always ideal for the Ice-type mouse, so it's far from the strongest of Steel. Still, perhaps in a game that still has limited competitive options, Alolan Sandslash will find itself a niche in higher tiers of play; its strength certainly gives it the potential to.

19 Scizor

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (2)

The Bug-Steel dual-type Scizor also makes its reappearance in The Isle of Armor, even showing up in the Wild Area as a special encounter. While it has lost access to its powerful Mega Evolution, Scizor still packs a serious punch with its solid typing and movepool. Its absolutely massive 130 base Attack gives it serious power, especially for moves that make use of its Technician ability.

In the past, Scizor found a solid niche with good priority moves and as a solid pivot. However, with Fire-types being safer options as a whole, Scizor's weaknesses are greater than they used to be. The original Bug-Steel Pokemon making its appearance is a sight for sore eyes, and Bug-type enthusiasts will have a new critter to help round out their roster.

18 Skarmory

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (3)

In terms of physical defense, not many Steel-types can compete with Skarmory. The ones that can compete are either mythical Pokemon or have so many weaknesses that they aren't worth busting out. Skarmory, however, is an all-around fantastic Pokemon. It's incredible as a supportive Pokemon, boasting a strong movepool of supportive techniques and the Whirlwind attack, forcing the opponent to act on the fly and eat more spikes than they'd maybe like to.

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For casual play, it also has solid Attack and Speed stats, making it a capable fighter along with taking any physical attack. Sure, it has a glaring weakness to electricity, but as long as it doesn't get stuck in combat against an Electric-type, it can be a menace to take down. Move over Corviknight: the original metal bird has returned to challenge the throne.

17 Magnezone

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (4)

Steel-types are incredibly strong but have their weaknesses. Their biggest weakness as a type is probably their overall underwhelming special defense. There are some exceptions, but they're hardly the rule. They also don't have a resistance to Electric-type attacks. So, what's the answer to these weaknesses? Magnezone, the trapper and slayer of pesky Steel-types. It has access to the Magnet Pull ability, which is relatively useless in casual play but a lifesaver for those in competitive play.

Steel-types are stuck in a terrible match-up against the floating magnet behemoth, and then take a powerful electric blast right to the dome. Its worst stat is its Speed, but its strong Defense and offense easily make up for it. Magnezone is a much-missed Pokemon, and its Steel-type rivals are shaking in their boots.

16 Magearna

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (5)

While this isn't exactly an Isle of Armor Pokemon, Magearna got its pass to leave Pokemon Home and enter the fray once again. This mythical Pokemon has powerful defenses and Special Attack, like Magnezone, but also has access to the incredibly powerful move Shift Gear. Its typing is great defensively as well, meaning that it will likely get at least one Shift Gear off in battle. That speed boost alone will allow it to pick up some easy knock-outs.

Once it gets rolling with its Soul-Heart ability, it can become a freight train of a Fairy Pokemon. It may be more cutesy than the average Steel-type, but it's one of the strongest of the bunch. Magearna is the strongest steel-type added back in the game with the Isle of Armor DLC.

15 Durant

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (6)

Good luck trying to squash this massive armored bug! This six-legged critter is laced with a metal exoskeleton that can absorb quite a beating, thanks to Durant's Defense of a massive 112.

Players will want to focus on Physical Attacks (and ideally go against an opponent's physical moves as well), on account of Durant's pretty rough Special Attack/Defense stats. Still, this thing is a physical powerhouse as a whole, and its ability to learn great moves like Flash Cannon and X-Scissor helps make it one of the deadliest Bug and Steel types on the Galar roster.

14 Escavalier

Speaking of Bug-Steel hybrids, this spear-wielding powerhouse can skew opponents with shrewd efficiency, thanks to its tremendous base Attack stat of 135. While Escavalier's speed is pretty awful on account of this little guy dragging tons of heavy metal armor, its Defense and Special Defense is solid enough that some of this can be offset if you play your cards right.

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Escavalier can learn an array of powerful STAB moves that can make an impact like Bug Buzz and Iron Head. And with the Bug-Steel combo, trainers will be effective against a number of elements while there won't be many that can tangle with Escavalier effectively.

13 Aegislash

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (8)

This Pokemon is a peculiar one; and not just because of its distinct form which resembles medieval weaponry more than any sort of living creature. One trait that makes Aegislash truly unique is that the Sword & Shield versions vary greatly in terms of their strengths. While the Shield version of this thing naturally comes with a much higher defense (at the expense of meager power), Sword flips things on their head and gives it a super high Attack and Special Attack of 140!

Combine this brute force with its array of awesome Steel and Ghost-type moves, and you've got yourself a destructive Pokemon (albeit a pretty imbalanced one in terms of stats).

12 Copperajah

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (9)

This steel-laced elephant is as powerful as its massive size might indicate, sporting a base Attack of an insane 130. Though its more marginal Special Attack makes it less effective with certain moves, trainers will be able to lay tons of hurt on opponents with Copperajah's myriad of physical attacks like Iron Head, High Horsepower, and Superpower. Players will want to make sure this beast is protected, as its Defense isn't amazing and its Speed is brutally low.

Still, given how strong this thing is, trainers likely won't need to worry about a long war of attrition anyhow.

11 Excadrill

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (10)

This bipedal mole-esque Pokemon has it going on when it comes to sheer brute strength. While its defense is a bit lacking compared to many others of its steel-laced ilk, it more than makes up for it when it comes to its array of learned moves as well as compatible TMs. These range from the devastating Ground-type move Earthquake to the piercing Steel-type move Metal Claw.

You'll definitely want to make a point to try and evolve a Drilbur into this burrowing beast if you happen to get your hands on one, as it's a truly impactful offensive weapon of Ground and Steel.

10 Steelix

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (11)

Sure, Onix may be a towering, rocky force of nature, but you might find yourself taking that Rock-type for "granite" after fighting with this titan of a Pokemon.

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Steelix is a massive serpentine Pokemon who strikes an intimidating presence to those he looms over, with his protruding spikes, large teeth, and deep red eyes. This behemoth is largely the flipside of our prior entry, as it comes with an insanely potent Defense that easily offsets its average Attack power. This thing will overcome a great many battles with its ability to win the crucial war of attrition.

9 Aggron

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (12)

Aggron is not a particularly fun Pokemon to train. Its unevolved forms, Aron and Lairon, are pretty weak. This makes getting it to an Aggron a bit of a chore. When trainers do finally evolve Lairon into Aggron, at a minimum level of 42, they have a very tough combatant. Aggron has a phenomenal Defense and a great Attack. The rest of its stats range from average to awful (Speed).

One big reason Aggron made this list is its possible move-sets. Most of those powerful moves that cause recoil damage to the user are available to Aggron; however, the Rock Head ability prevents it from taking recoil damage.

8 Klinklang

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (13)

You'll definitely be kicking things into high gear when battling with this straight-up Steel tool of destruction. Klinklang is an even more powerful evolution of Klang, and is able to generate energy via its rotating gears, making it a constantly churning mechanism of pain.

With a base Attack of 100, a solid Defense of 115, and even an admirable Speed of 90, this thing is essentially an all-around effective monster to have in your arsenal. As long as you mind its HP, which isn't the greatest, you can be extremely effective with it, especially when further juicing up its Attack through moves like Shift Gear.

7 Registeel

Registeel is an absolute juggernaut. It has tremendous Defense and Special Defense ratings of 150. Registeel is also resistant to ten attack types and immune to Poison-type moves. When it does take damage, it doesn't take much. Registeel's Attack and Special Attack ratings are about average.

The move-sets available to Registeel is one of the main reasons it ranks so high. Not only does it have strong attack moves, but it also has a wider than average variety of move-types to choose from. Hyper Beam, Zap Cannon, and Hammer Arm are three of its best available moves. This is easily one of the strongest Steel-type Pokemon in the game.

6 Lucario

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (15)

Lucario isn't just a fun beast of a fighter to pummel foes with in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he's also a great Pokemon to have in your lineup. This beastly mesh of a dog, wolf, jackal, and a touch of kangaroo similarly comes equipped with a slew of elements he's effective against, as his Fighting-Steel hybrid traits cover tons of ground in super effective moves.

Trainers will want to bust out quite a few special moves, as his Special Attack is a whopping 115, while his regular Attack power still sits at an admirable 110.

5 Duraludon

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (16)

It's tough to get a more intimidating mix of elements than Steel and Dragon, which allows for a plethora of awesome moves to unleash on your opponent when using this reptilian tank.

Even without this Pokemon's super-charged Gigantamax form, Duraludon can pack a punch with its insanely high Special Attack of 120 and its normal Attack of 95. As long as it's getting hit by physical attacks, it can withstand quite a bit of damage as well. Moves like Hyper Beam and Flash Cannon can be absolutely devastating to targets, even if they're not inflicted on the highly vulnerable Ice, Rock, or Fairy Pokemon.

4 Cobalion

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (17)

This stag-like beast burst onto the scene during Generation 5 and has since remained one of the most powerful Pokemon, Steel or otherwise. Not only is it effective against a number of elements thanks to its Fighting-Steel combo, but its crazy high Defense (129) helps offset the array of elements it's weak against as well.

This Pokemon learns many status-based moves that can enhance Cobalion's already potent strength while hindering opponents to the point of near-helplessness with moves like Swords Dance, Work Up, and Metal Burst. At the same time, it has an arsenal of offensive nuclear weapons like Close Combat and the ability to learn TMs like the 120 Power Focus Blast.

In order to take advantage of this monster in Sword & Shield, you'll need to have nabbed one in Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon, which you could then transfer via the upcoming Pokemon HOME.

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (18)

Metagross was introduced in Generation 3 of the main Pokemon series, and it's still one of the best Steel Pokemon in Sword & Shield. This Pokemon has some excellent all-around stats. Its Attack, Defense, Special Attack, and Special Defense are all well above average; its Hit Points and Speed are not bad either. Best of all, Metagross' Clear Body ability prevents opponents from lowering its stats.

Metagross can deal a ton of damage to its opponents thanks to the powerful attack moves it can learn. Hyper Beam, Meteor Mash, Hammer Arm, Zen Headbutt, and Psychic are all available to Metagross. Metagross was part of The Crown Tundra DLC.

2 Zamazenta

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (19)

The two signature legendary Pokemon in Sword & Shield are the wolf Pokemon Zamazenta and Zacian. Both of these legendaries have second forms that are Steel types – Zamazenta is Steel-Fighting, and Zacian is a Steel-Fairy type. As a legendary Pokemon, it has stats that are well above most Pokemon. Zamazenta's only weak stat is Special Attack, which is honestly still pretty good.

Zamazenta's available moves are, quite frankly, not that impressive. It gets some strong attacks to go along with its high Attack rating, but it's a short list to choose from. Giga Impact, Close Combat, and Moonblast are its most damaging available moves.

1 Zacian

Pokemon Sword & Shield: The 20 Strongest Steel Pokemon, Ranked (20)

In most regards, there isn't much of a difference between Zamazenta and Zacian. The few differences there are put Zacian slightly ahead of Zamazenta in the rankings. Zacian has a much higher Attack rating than Zamazenta, and its Speed rating is also higher. In the main Pokemon games, Attack and Speed are among the most important stats. Going first in combat is often the difference between victory and defeat.

Zacian's list of available moves is nearly identical to Zamazenta. The two most damaging moves Zamazenta and Zacian can learn are physical attacks; Zacian's higher Attack rating allows it to deal more damage with these moves.

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