Ranked Series 2
Image: Nintendo Life

The most exciting time for competitive Pokémon fans is when we get a new Pokémon game. A close second is when the ranked format changes, specifically the official double battle format. Trainers have been experimenting with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet's ranked double battles since December 2022, shaping a meta from online play tournaments around the globe. But as of 1st February, the ranked rule set has changed for the first time this generation.

As exciting as new ‘mons, strategies, mechanics, and – this time around – no Incineroar are, Series 2 brings even more changes to the fold. So, what’s different? In short, the new series lengthens the list of legal Pokémon to include powerful Paradox Pokémon that will drastically change the meta with their abilities, but not the Legendaries Koraidon, Moraidon, the four Treasures of Ruin, and assorted Pokémon from other regions. Check out Serebii for the full ban list.

Let's take a look at how these Pokémon will likely shake things up and what you can do to stomp the competition like an angry Paldean Tauros. Be sure to give our previous guide a glance for more general info on different team archetypes (Trick Room, Hyper Offensive, Sun, etc).

Ranked Series 1 MVPs

Image: Nintendo Life

A lot of Pokémon made an impact over the last two months — and there are quite a few surprises. Even if Paradox Pokémon are exponentially more powerful, we think these MVPs of Ranked Series 1 will continue to give us headaches like a stressed-out Psyduck.


This little witchy bird rose to the top of the meta as the strongest Tailwind setter. With its ability 'Prankster' (which gives priority to the Pokémon's status moves), Murkrow sets up Tailwind before your opponent can activate their own speed control. We expect that Murkrow will continue to be a solid choice because it also has access to 'Haze', which allows it to wash away your opponent’s buffs and your own debuffs.

Dondozo and Tatsugiri

This duo has dominated ranked online battles, giving rise to the popularity of Murkrow and ensuring that every serious team runs a counter. When on the field together, Dondozo will swallow Tatsugiri, giving you only one Pokémon to work with, while gaining a +2 increase to all of its stats. Both are also quite capable of causing havoc on their own.

While Paradox ‘mons may cause Dondozo and Tatsugiri to see less play, they'll likely remain a potent duo.


Surprisingly, few trainers ran dedicated Trick Room teams. Instead, hybrid teams – teams with both Murkrow and a Pokémon to set Trick Room – became commonplace, allowing for more flexibility. Armarouge fit into these hybrid teams perfectly. With access to Trick Room, Wide Guard, and Expanding Force (when paired with Indeedee F), Armarouge works as both an offensive threat with 125 Special Attack and a reliable support Pokémon. With Sun teams likely to get stronger, expect Armarouge to continue to see play.

Offensive Threats

Despite how powerful Paradox Pokémon are, the following ‘mons are just too good to disappear. Dragons like Dragonite, with a Normal Tera type and a Choice Band, can still blow through teams. Garchomp is (and always will be) one of the strongest Pokémon with its Dragon/Ground Typing and access to Earthquake, Rockslide, and set-up moves like Swords Dance. Hydreigon also makes for a powerful and versatile choice, while newcomer Baxcalibur has risen in popularity recently.

By far the most used Ranked Series 1 Pokémon was Gholdengo. With its signature move Make It Rain, we don’t see it going anywhere soon. A distant second was Meowscarada owing to its great 123 Speed stat and its signature move Flower Trick. These Pokémon will likely drop off in play at the beginning of Ranked Series 2 but see a resurgence later.

Paradox Pokémon Overview

Flutter Mane
Image: Nintendo Life

Paradox Pokémon have two things going for them: base stats nearly on par with pseudo-Legendaries like Tyranitar and Dragapult, along with absolutely broken abilities in 'Protosynthesis' and 'Quark Drive'. Photosynthesis affects Paradox Pokémon found in Scarlet by giving their highest stat (other than HP) a boost in harsh sunlight or if they’re holding the Booster Energy item. Quark Drive, on the other hand, affects the Paradox Pokémon found in Violet the same way except on Electric Terrain.

Teams utilising sunlight or Electric Terrain will usually want to have a Pokémon with an ability that will set these up for their team. Sun teams have Torkoal with its ability 'Drought', but the only Pokémon with Electric Surge available is the relatively weak Pincurchin, so expect to see Booster Energy used more on the futuristic Paradox Pokémon.

It remains to be seen which Tera types will work best with which Paradox Pokémon, but we expect Tera types that match the Pokémon’s typing for greater power, or Grass Tera types to avoid being put to sleep by the ever-prominent Amoongus.

Best Paradox Pokémon

While each of the 14 legal Paradox Pokémon will certainly have solid teams built around them, four stand out among them as absolute beasts:

  • Flutter Mane, the ancient relative of Misdreavus, looks to dominate with its insane Speed, Special Attack, and ridiculously powerful Ghost/Fairy typing. Luckily, its Defense stat is relatively low, making it frail.

  • Iron Hands, the futuristic relative of Hariyama, will stick around forever, slapping fools with its giant robot hands while boasting a 154 base HP stat. High-powered moves like Wild Charge and Close Combat will break through opponents with ease.

  • The futuristic relative of Delibird, Iron Bundle, has an even higher Speed stat than Flutter Mane. With it, it can use Icy Wind to slow down opposing teams and hit them with powerful Ice attacks.

  • Salamance’s ancient relative Roaring Moon boasts the highest Attack stat of all Paradox Pokémon at a staggering 139 – with Protosynthesis activated, it’s going to hit like a prehistoric truck.

For more information on the other 10 Paradox Pokémon, we recommend checking out Victory Road VGC’s Pro Players Insight! article, where professional players from around the world have predicted how they think Paradox Pokémon will be used. Our hope is that an innovative trainer or two will find an amazing strategy with something like the Jigglypuff relative Scream Tail.

Early Team Compositions

In the official competitive Pokémon format (VGC), the teams that win tournaments (both grassroots and official0 generally shift the online ranked meta toward the Pokémon that were used. We’ve seen one grassroots tournament already take place using the Ranked Series 2 format which give us glimpse of what to expect.

The Hatterene Series SV #1, took place on the 28th and 29th of January which featured 88 players. The most used Paradox Pokémon at this tournament were Iron Bundle, Iron Hands, Flutter Mane, and Roaring Moon, respectively. The winning team, piloted by Eden Batchelor (XenoVGC), used Iron Hands, Iron Bundle, and Flutter Mane, with Garganacl, Arcanine, and Baxcalibur.

It should be noted that Great Tusk had the highest top-cut percentage of all Pokémon as it counters both Iron Hands and Gholdengo well. Outside of Paradox Pokémon, Amoongus saw a great amount of play as a support Pokémon. Of course, Gholdengo also made its way onto many teams, and Arcanine saw a drastic rise in popularity from the previous ranked series since there are now so many powerful physical attackers.

For a full list of teams (some of them with rental codes, so you can try out the team), check out Victory Road VGC’s coverage of the event. In February, the Orlando and Knoxville Regionals will take place, along with the Oceania Internationals – expect to see the meta start to form even more once these tournaments take place.

Good luck trainers! Series 2 brings many expected changes to the meta, and we expect that there will be more to come in the coming months as people experiment with Paradox Pokémon.

Let us know if you found this walkthrough helpful, and find out where you can find more Pokémon, battles, items, and more, by checking out the rest of our Pokémon Scarlet and Violet walkthrough guides.