Ultra Beasts were introduced as a new breed of legendaries in Pokemon Sun and Moon. Unfortunately they’ve been generally poor compared with classics like Zapdos and Suicune, or even the Tapus that were introduced alongside them in generation seven.
One of the few exceptions to this is Pheromosa. Thanks to her unique typing, strong stats, and solid type coverage, the Pokemon has carved out a niche as a strong sweeper and lead-off option for competitive battling.
Here’s how to both catch and utilize the strongest Ultra Beast.
As with most legendaries from previous generations in Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pheromosa can be found in Dynamax Adventures in the Crown Tundra DLC. But Ultra Beasts aren’t immediately available through Dynamax Adventures unless the player is joining a designated raid with a friend.
In order to have a chance at encountering Ultra Beasts in Dynamax Adventures, players must play through the rest of the Crown Tundra DLC. This includes seeing through the story with Calyrex, dealing with the Galarian legendary birds, and working through the Regi legendaries.
Once players have done all this, they can speak to Peony at the Dynamax Adventures front area. This will unlock the ability to encounter Ultra Beasts as the final Pokemon in a Dynamax Adventure.
Unfortunately, players have no real way to influence which Pokemon they will encounter when playing in a random Dynamax Adventure without joining a friend that has already encountered the Pokemon. As such, this could mean some grinding before the player encounters a Pheromosa.
Yes, Pheromosa is a very strong Pokemon in every format where she is permitted. This stems from a variety of factors.
First and foremost is her very strong base stat distribution. Though she has a comparable number of base stats to other legendary Pokemon, the fact that they are almost entirely concentrated in Pheromosa’s speed and attack stats make her possibly the best glass cannon in all of Pokemon.
Though there are other strong Pokemon that fit this bill, Pheromosa stands apart based on her strong type coverage. She has good options for STAB bug and fighting moves, as well as a wide variety of coverage and utility options to go alongside them. Oh, and that goes for both regular and special attack moves.
All of this establishes Pheromosa as a great sweeper. Though she’s not the only choice for a sweeper, as Regieleki, Zacian, Zamazenta, and the Calyrex variants are all very good as well, she’s the best option for a large number of compositions.
The best EV distribution for Pheromosa is straightforward. 252 EVs should go into speed, 252 EVs should go into the preferred attack stat, and the remainder goes into defense.
In Pokemon Sun and Moon, Pheromosa was best served as a mixed attacker, but in Sword and Shield that changed. Now the Pokemon is best served by equipping a Choice Band with the following moveset:
Players do have some other options if they need to plug some holes in their composition. Drill Run, Outrage, and Poison Jab are all available for use.
The aforementioned combo works best for a few reasons. U-Turn is a fairly standard move for entry Pokemon and the fact that it has STAB with Pheromosa certainly doesn’t hurt matters.
There are a host of fighting moves available to Pheromosa including High Jump Kick, Brick Break, and Low Sweep, but Close Combat is by far the best option. Though Close Combat’s defensive debuffs are meant to serve as a check to its high damage, Pheromosa’s defenses are naturally low to the point where it doesn’t matter if they get lowered further.
Ice Beam used to be a standard move for mixed attacker Pheromosa but Triple Axel has taken its place and offers higher damage if it lands all three hits. Lastly, Throat Chop is a solid dark move that has a cool bonus effect as it prevents sound-based moves from being used. Foul Play is another option that can work in certain situations.
Though it is not explicitly stated anywhere, Pheromosa seems to be based on cockroaches. While she is unique in that she has a wiry physique, there are a number of things that strongly suggest Pheromosa is meant to be a cockroach.
First is Pheromosa’s face. Though it’s stylized and made more feminine-looking, Pheromosa’s head and face shape is very similar to that of a cockroach. This is further reinforced by the long antennae that come from her head and dangle all the way down to her legs.
Secondly, what appears to be her hair is actually likely meant to be a shell or wings. Though it moves like hair in both the Pokemon show and Sun and Moon’s cutscenes, the translucence and the appearance of it being two overlapping sections suggests that it’s something else entirely.
Finally, Pokemon Ultra Moon’s Pokedex entry for Pheromosa certainly makes her seem more like a cockroach.
“Although it’s alien to this world and a danger here, it’s apparently a common organism in the world where it normally lives,” the Pokedex entry reads.