Pokémon Sword and Shield: how Sudowoodo can become your MVP

If you're looking for a game-changer in your Pokémon party, look no further than this sentient tree

The further you get into Pokémon Sword and Shield, the tougher the battles become. And if you’re finding yourself struggling in game’s more difficult confrontations, might we suggest one cute critter that could help you turn the tide? The mighty Sudowoodo is well worth picking up, not least because it has a certain set of skills that can help you take down very tough opponents.

Sudowoodo, as fans of the Pokémon franchise will remember, first appeared in Pokémon Gold and Silver, blocking a path between cities that the player had to clear using a watering can. But Sudowoodo’s helpfulness in Sword and Shield may well be its greatest contribution in the series to date. Certainly, this sentient tree helped us out of quite a few tough spots.

One great thing about Sudowoodo in Sword and Shield is that it comes with an in-built Ability called “Sudowoodo’s Sturdy”, which the player doesn’t even need to activate. The Ability means that Sudowoodo cannot be knocked out with any single attack – even if Sudowoodo is hit with a powerful Dynamax move as soon as you send it into battle, there will be one single HP left that will allow Sudowoodo to survive.

Of course, there are lots of reasons why Sturdy can come in handy. If you just want a Pokémon to take a hit from a powerful opponent while you revive or power up a different creature in your party, you can guarantee that Sudowoodo will withstand one hit from any opponent without being defeated. Once Sudowoodo has taken that one hit, though, it is capable of being knocked out in the next turn. It’s worth bearing that in mind – Sudowoodo can’t be knocked out in one turn, but Sturdy does leave it very vulnerable in the next turn.

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But this is where one of Sudowoodo’s other tricks comes in handy: once Sudowoodo has levelled up to level 40, it is capable of learning a move called Counter. This move allows Sudowoodo to strike back from any attack by dishing out twice as much damage as it’s just been hit with. So, if Sudowoodo has been hit by a super-powerful Dynamax blast from one of your enemies, Counter allows you to send twice as much damage back from whence it came.

Because Sturdy is an innate ability and Counter is a traditional move, you can use them both in the same turn. Sudowoodo will automatically withstand its first hit of the battle thanks to Sturdy, and then you can make Sudowoodo blast back with the twice the amount of damage by choosing Counter as your attack. As long as Counter doesn’t fail (which it sometimes does), this basically means that Sudowoodo can fell any opponent in the game.

Deploying this tactic makes for some great ‘David and Goliath’ moments, with a normal-sized Sudowoodo facing off against a Dynamax opponent and managing to take them down. And because Sturdy only leaves you with one single HP left, there’s a sense that you’ve survived the encounter very much by the skin of your teeth. And the fact that Counter is capable of failing adds a nice element of risk to proceedings.

Basically, having a level 40 Sudowoodo in your party can come in very handy, especially if you find yourself in a tricky gym battle without any well-suited Pokémon to deploy. Sudowoodo’s Sturdy and Counter have nothing to do with type match-ups, making this sentient tree an absolute lifesaver in certain situations. You can only really use this trick once per battle, though, because Sturdy will only help you survive one attack. You’ve got to pick your moment perfectly, then. 

If our pitch for Sudowoodo has convinced you to go out and catch one, you’ll want to head to the Bridge Field location in the Wild Area, where this helpful tree can be found. There are videos on YouTube if you’re not sure where to look. Or if you’re not sure yet whether to pick up the game, you might want to check out our review. Happy battling!