The 20 Best Water-Type Moves in Pokémon (Ranked)

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The fact that STAB is a universally accepted phrase that we use in connection with Pokémon is a bit strange, when you think about it.

Sure, it stands for the Same Type Attack Bonus, but it still seems like we’re talking about stabbing Pokémon.

These are the types of thoughts that come to me while I toss and turn late at night, which is ironically how I get the ideas for most of my articles…

In this case, it led me down a spiral of examining what the best moves are for certain types, and leading us into this ranking of the best water moves in Pokémon.


20. Water Gun

Water Gun / Pokémon Sword and Shield move

You would be surprised at how few water type moves there actually are in Pokémon.

There isn’t enough to get a full list of competitive-quality moves, so I expanded the criteria to include ones that have a bit of sentimentality to them, hence water gun.

If you were a Blastoise main back in the day, then you should remember this move fondly.

It’s the first halfway decent move your Squirtle learns, and should have single-handedly carried you through Brock’s gym if you have it at that point.

It’s only got a power of 40.

But even that was pretty good at that point in the original Red & Blue games.


19. Water Sport

Water Sport move in Pokémon Sun and Moon

When I was a kid, I used to think that Water Sport was another type of Splash.

So did the NPCs that used it, apparently. Because there was no rhyme or reason to how the computer was programmed to recognize it.

It’s actually a decisive move when used in the right situations.

Specifically, it reduces the power of fire type moves by 50%.

On its own, that’s not great. Because the only Pokémon that can learn Water Sport are already resistant to fire types.

However, it comes in extremely handy in particular doubles matchups.


18. Liquidation

Liquidation / Pokémon SW/SH move

No, you haven’t accidentally stumbled back onto your business/economics notes (am I the only sorry soul that wanted to study business?)

Liquidation is a bit of a nothing move, I’ll be honest with you.

However, it has a secondary effect – which means it automatically qualifies for this list in some capacity.

It’s a physical attack with an accuracy of 100 and a power of 85. That’s pretty strong. But it’s outclassed by the higher echelon of water type moves.

Not even its 20% chance to lower your opponent’s defense can save it from semi-obscurity.


17. Whirlpool

Whirlpool in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Again, as a kid, I never got this move.

I didn’t get the point of having my Pokémon take an extra few ticks of damage every turn.

Of course, as I became an adult, I learned that every single little bit helps.

This is equally as true in competitive Pokémon as it is in personal finance.

All you have to do is look at the popularity of moves like Leech Seed to understand the potential that something like Whirlpool should have.

Unfortunately, it can’t hang with the big boys in the staller-playstyle playground.

Rather than restoring health like Leech Seed, it just does damage.

At the highest level of play, that’s not good enough. And it’s less impactful for regular playthroughs as well.


16. Brine

Brine in Pokémon Sw/Sh

Brine is possibly the most straightforward attacking water type move with an additional effect.

It’s a power 65 special attack with 100 accuracy.

However, if your opponent’s HP is less than 50%, its power doubles to 130.

In most situations, it essentially means that it can OHKO any Pokémon that’s already at half health.

Of course, with correct tactical gameplay, any Pokémon can OHKO a half-HP enemy. So there’s no actual use for Brine in the grand scheme of things.


15. Water Spout

Water Spout / Pokémon Sword and Shield move

Water Spout is the opposite of Brine.

Rather than getting more powerful if your opponent is already injured, this move does more damage the higher your enemy’s HP is.

If you’re fighting against a Mon’ at full health, it’s going to do a staggering 150 damage.

That’s seriously impressive coming from a 100 accuracy special move.

However, it uses the equation 150 x CurrentHP / MaxHP to scale your damage down as your opponent loses HP in pretty dramatic fashion.


14. Withdraw

Withdraw in Pokémon SWSH

If Brine is the simplest attacking water type move with an effect, Withdraw is the simplest overall.

It increases your Pokémon’s defense by one stage.

That’s all.

It’s effective, clearly useful, and does away with any thrills or frills that a lot of the fancier water type moves have.


13. Surf

Surf move in Pokémon Sw/Sh

Surf is easily the most popular water type move ever.

It’s literally impossible for you to have finished a Pokémon game without using it. So I’m willing to bet it’s the most used water move statistically of all time.

Plus it’s also unique in that it was an HM that was actually useful in battle.

It had an attacking power of 90 and an accuracy of 100. For a 15PP special move back in the day, that was enough to carry you through the League.

There’s also the fact that it hits every Pokémon on the field in doubles, meaning it also finds some play in competitive.


12. Aqua Ring

Aqua Ring move in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Now we’re getting into the water type moves that do see some significant use.

Aqua Ring, in particular, is popular among a lot of stall-based teams.

When you use it, you get a permanent veil of water around your side of the field that restores 1/16 of your Pokémon’s max health every turn.

This effect also applies to any Pokémon you switch in, making it a massive part of the Leech Seed-style strategies that I mentioned before.


11. Aqua Jet

Aqua Jet move in Pokémon SWSH

It’s a STAB quick attack for water types.

What move do you need to know about this here?

Anyone looking for a Quick Attack water-type, you’ve found it.


10. Snipe Shot

Snipe Shot move / Pokémon Sword and Shield

I still have no idea how to feel about non-legendaries getting signature moves.

I don’t think it makes any sense. And I feel like it actively takes away from some of the theory crafting associated with certain Pokémon lineups.

That being said, the fact that Inteleon literally gets a move that turns him into a sniper is badass.

It’s a special move that obviously has 100 accuracy, but it does only have 80 power.

To counteract that, though, it has a very high critical hit chance. Which is essentially saying that your Pokémon might hit a head shot.


9. Rain Dance

Rain Dance move in Pokémon Sword/Shield

I probably should have put Rain Dance higher than this, but I never used the move. So everything I know about it is second-hand.

That information conclusively points towards it being an exceptionally powerful move, though.

I mean, entire teams are literally crafted around it.

The move lasts five turns and has a bunch of different effects:

  • 50% increase to the power of water type moves.
  • 50% decrease to the power of Solar Beam and Solar Blade.
  • Thunder and Hurricane ignore accuracy.
  • Certain HP recovering moves less effective.
  • Pokémon with particular abilities gain extra buffs for the duration of the move.

8. Sparkling Aria

Sparkling Aria move / Pokémon Sword and Shield

Primarina was my Gen VII starter of choice, so I distinctly remember almost exclusively using this move during battle.

It’s a special move with a power of 90 and an accuracy of 100.

It also heals the target of its burn, if there is one.

But that isn’t why I’m including it on this list, let alone in a spot so high.

Rather, it’s one of the only moves that I can think of that has such a unique sound effect.

It’s literally Primarina singing. That’s such a cool little idea that I wish Game Freak would try to implement more going forward.


7. Hydro Pump

Hydro Pump move / Pokémon Sword and Shield

If I was writing this list five or six years ago, Hydro Pump probably would have been number one.

For anyone that doesn’t play competitively and only buys Pokémon for the single-player game, I’m willing to bet that this is what you consider to be the best water type move.

Unfortunately I’m here to tell you that’s off.

Sure, it’s a special move with 110 attack, which is great.

However, it only has 5PP and an accuracy of 80. It also doesn’t have any special effects.

Hydro Pump is the type of move to let you down when you need it most, so I have to take that into consideration when I examine how much damage it deals.


6. Scald

Scald move in Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!

Scald sees more competitive use than pretty much every other water type move in existence.

It’s a special that does 80 damage with 100 accuracy.

As we’ve learned by now, though, that’s fairly standard stuff.

However, Scald also has a 30% of burning your target.

This makes it infinitely superior to other powerful 100 accuracy water moves that would otherwise take its place.

Championships have been won and lost based on whether or not Scald got a burn off, and I’ve no doubt that it will continue to see use well into the future.


5. Splishy Splash

Splishy Splash move in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!

Okay, I get that the Let’s Go games were targeted to kids. But did they really have to be so condescending?

I mean, we were all kids growing up with the likes of Bubblebeam and Thunderbolt. So don’t tell me that young ones these days need moves like this.

These moves have stupid names and are ludicrously overpowered.

It’s softening up the next generation of Pokémon trainers, and that’s not really a good thing…

But this one in particular does 90 damage, is a special move, and has 100 accuracy.

On top of that, it has a 30% chance to paralyze.

So it’s essentially just a better Scald that’s exclusive to Pikachu. And it’s certainly much better than the original Splash move.


4. Muddy Water

Muddy Water move in Pokémon SWSH

Muddy Water is something of a hot topic in the competitive community.

On the one hand, it’s a more powerful Scald that has a 30% to lower accuracy rather than burn.

On the other hand, it only has an accuracy of 85.

I fall on the side of the fence that argues it’s a superior movie.

I’d much rather lower my opponent’s accuracy than burn them. But that’s just my personal preference.

But really, these last three entries could be justifiably put in any order.


3. Origin Pulse

Origin Pulse move / Pokémon Sword and Shield

This is Kyogre’s signature move, so you already know that it’s going to be powerful.

Unfortunately, though, it’s actually pretty underwhelming compared to a lot of other legendary moves.

It’s a special attack move with 85 accuracy that deals 110 damage.

There aren’t even any extra effects that come with it.

The move does have 10PP, though. Which is rare for a legendary signature move.

So I have to give it some bonus points for that.


2. Steam Eruption

Steam Eruption move / Pokémon Sword Screenshot

Steam Eruption is Volcanion’s legendary move.

So don’t look at it and expect to breed up a fresh Pokémon to use it. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then go with Scald and Muddy Water.

Objectively speaking, though, Steam Eruption is an incredibly powerful water type move. So I have to include it regardless of what can learn it.

It’s a 95 accuracy special move with a power output of 110. It also has a 30% chance of inflicting burn.

It’s Scald on steroids, which is beginning to become something of a trend with a lot of these moves.


1. Bouncy Bubble

Bouncy Bubble move in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!

The fact that a move called Bouncy Bubble is the most powerful water type attack of all time is a tragedy.

It’s even worse when you realize that the strength of it compared to Steam Eruption is night and day.

Only Eevee can learn this move in its Let’s Go title, and thank god for that.

Bounce Bubble is a special move with 100 accuracy, 90 power, and 15PP. Okay, that’s pretty good so far…

However, when you read that it heals your Pokémon for 50% of the total damage you do with the move, you realize the problem.

When I played through Let’s Go Eevee, Bouncy Bubble was pretty much the only move I used.

It got to the stage where I was using it on water and grass types just because it would heal me faster than my opponents could damage me.

There has never been a move as overpowered as this in Pokémon history, let alone a water move. And that’s an opinion I’m willing to stand by.

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