All You Need To Know About Pokemon Sword And Shield For Nintendo Switch

by Goran Damnjanovic,  Columnist


Published in on 12th December, 2019


The latest Pokemon title, Pokemon Sword and Shield, is one of the hottest Nintendo Switch releases of the year. Here's everything you need to know about the game.

Pokemon games are always huge releases and the latest one is no exception. Pokemon Sword and Shield, one game with two flavors, is one of the biggest releases of 2019 no matter the platform.

pokemon

The game takes place in a beautiful new region inspired by Great Britain, it introduces a bunch of new Pokemon, and it features lots of changes to the previous games in the series. Here's everything you need to know about Pokemon Sword and Shield before you go out and get one of the two flavors (or both) of the game.

Pokemon Sword and Shield takes place in the Galar region, modeled after Great Britain

The Galar region is a beautiful land filled with green pastures, enchanting forests and dark dungeons. The game starts in the countryside, where you get your starter Pokemon and then spreads into the Wild Area.

There are also a couple of cities and a number of Poke stadiums where you will challenge gym champions and the national champion, which is the sort of a final boss in the game.

The game's filled with the idyllic countryside and industrial area cities, along with lots of other areas that are perfect for explorations.

galar region

You also have snowy mountains, a secret town hiding in the middle of a forest, lots of farmlands and lakes, as well as buildings that look like some of famous Britain's landmarks such as Big Ben, The London Eye, and The Shard. The region is huge and it will take dozens of hours to explore it in it full.

Pokemon battles are the main attraction in Galar, the reason why the region has so many huge stadiums. You will partake in various Pokemon tournaments where you will battle other trainers in front of huge audiences. Imagine Champions League matches, but with Pokemon instead of soccer teams.

Wild Area is a huge, open-world map

Wild Area is the first take on the open-world map in any Pokemon game. It can be accessed from the starting area and it hosts many different Pokemon spreading across various biomes.

You can hunt for different Pokemon and spend as much time you want in it, exploring Pokemon biomes. The map is huge and basically comprises every piece of land that isn't a city. There are grasslands, forests, mountains, snowy peaks, rivers and lakes, and other biomes found in the Wild Area.

These are the differences between Sword and Shield versions

Like is the case with almost every other core Pokemon game, the latest one comes with two similar flavors, Sword and Shield. These are the differences between the two versions.

First of all, specific Pokemon will appear only in Sword or only in Shield. For instance, Larvitar and Goomy will be exclusive to Shield while Deino and Jangmo-o are exclusive to Sword. Next, the two games will share most of the gyms found in Galar but Bea's fighting Pokemon gym is only found in Sword, while the ghost type gym led by Allister is only accessible in Shield.

And you won't have to get both versions in order to catch every Pokemon - if you have a friend with a different version, you can trade for missing Pokemon with them.

There are three starting Pokemon in Sword and Shield - Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble

In Pokemon Sword and Shield players start the game by picking one of the three Pokemon, like in every other core Pokemon title. You have to pick between Grookey, the grass chimp Pokemon; Scorbunny, the fire rabbit' and Sobble, the water lizard Pokemon.

grookey scorbunny sobble

"The chimp Pokemon Grookey - this mischevious Pokemon is full of boundless curiosity. The rabbit Pokemon Scorbunny, which is always running around - bursting with energy! And the water-lizard Pokemon Sobble - a bit timid, shooting out attacks as it hides itself in the water," is how Game Freak's Shigeru Ohmori described the three starting Pokemon.

There's no National Dex, it's being replaced with Pokemon Home, coming in 2020

The National Dex is no more. In other words, you will no longer be able to put all Pokemon you caught in previous games into your Sword and Shield inventory.

Your Sword and Shield inventory can take only creatures that are natively available in Galar and that's it. Instead of the National Dex, we will receive a new Pokemon Home app that is slated to arrive sometime in 2020.

The Home app will be able to connect to the Pokemon Bank platform (available for all Pokemon games released for the Nintendo 3DS) as well as Pokemon: Let's Go Pikachu, Pokemon Let's Go: Eevee, Pokemon GO, and Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Once you connect the app you will be able to import every Pokemon you caught in supported games, to explore your collection, and to manage it. The app should be accessible from every device that can access the internet and will support all future Pokemon titles.

Endgame as we know it is gone, you won't be able to battle the Elite Four

The Elite Four, the four best trainers in the game, was the ultimate endgame activity players could partake in previous Pokemon games. This changes in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

No more are there the Elite Four. Instead of beating every single gym leader and then slowly leveling up your Pokemon to face the best four trainers in order to become the ultimate Pokemon trainer, you will be able to challenge the National Champion.

He's named Leon and his champion Pokemon is Charizard. The National Championship is held once a year and you will have to sweat a lot in order to challenge Leon. And you will meet him many times before the final battle since he's the older brother of your main in-game rival, Hop.

Max level of Pokemon you can catch is dictated by your gym badges

Unlike in previous games, you cannot catch high-level Pokemon in case you have powerful Pokemon in your collection. To catch higher level Pokemon, you will have to earn new gym badges by defeating gym owners.

The higher the level of a wild Pokemon is, the more badges you need to catch it. This limits progression a bit and prevents free-form exploration but at least you'll search for new gyms instead of spending all of your free time wandering the Wild Area and searching for new Pokemon to catch.

Dynamax raids let you battle powerful Pokemon with friends

Pokemon games were always strictly single-player experiences. Sure, you were able to trade Pokemon with friends between two consoles but games themselves were reserved for solo gameplay. That changes in Sword and Shield with the inclusion of Dymanax Raids.

Dymanax Raids are dungeons that can be tackled either solo (with the help of NPCs) or with friends, via Bluetooth or online connection. You team up and then battle multiple Pokemon. At the end of each raid, you clash with Dynamax beasts that are huge and can prove as tough foes. Once you beat a raid both you and your friends receive lucrative loot.

Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing lets you battle with enormous Pokemon

Dynamax Pokemon are regular creatures that are transformed into huge creatures with the help of a device trainers wear on their wrists.

The Pokemon aren't really transformed into six-story tall beasts - the device creates huge holograms of your creatures and amplifies their abilities. Dynamaxing a Pokemon can be done only once per battle and it lasts for three turns.

Gigantamaxing is a similar feature but unlike Dynamaxing, it is available only for certain Pokemon. These can grow even larger (or better to say, their holograms are even larger) and instead of simply boosting their regular abilities, Gigantamaxing also alters the creature's design and unlocks an immensely powerful move that is available only in Gigantamax form.

Galarian Pokemon forms are Pokemon forms unique to the new region

Galarian forms are Pokemon forms specific for the Galar region. For instance, Galarian Weezing is similar to the base form found in other games but it has specific top-hat like chimneys on its head.

Team Yell are your main enemies in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Team Yell is a team of mischiefs who wreak havoc all over Galarian region. They are led by a goth-looking girl named Marnie and during your adventures, you will often stumble upon her and other team members, who will always want to battle you and your Pokemon.

pokemon sword and shield team yell

Other features found in Pokemon Sword and Shield

Pokemon Camp allows players to bond with their Pokemon. The stronger the bond the better Pokemon is in battle. Aside from hanging out with their creatures, players will be able to cook various meals and discover new recipes. The camp is also a place where players can visit other players and their Pokemon.

Poke Jobs allows you to level up your critters by sending them on errands for businesses and universities. New jobs can be found in Pokemon Centers.

The game has eight gyms in total and some of them are unique to either Sword or Shield versions. Pokemon Sword and Shield is also the first Pokemon game to support autosave function.

pokemon sword and shield

If you want a hardcore, old-school experience you will be able to turn off the autosave feature.

While the game won't support the Exp. Share item, every Pokemon you own will receive experience after a battle, whether they've participated in the battle or not.

Players are able to pick between eight playing characters in total (4 male and 4 female). On top of picking a unique character, you will be able to customize them throughout the game by finding new pieces of clothing and other fashion accessories.

Here's every Gen 8 Pokemon debuting in Pokemon Sword and Shield

And for the end of this coverage, here's each new, Gen 8 Pokemon, debuting in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Alcremie

Category: Cream Pokemon

Type: Fairy

Height: 1'

Weight: 1.1 lbs.

Ability: Sweet Veil

Appletun

Category: Apple Nectar Pokemon

Type: Grass / Dragon

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 28.7 lbs.

Ability: Ripen / Gluttony

Appletun has a Gigantamax form, which it shares with Flapple, called Flappletun.

Applin

Category: Apple Core Pokemon

Type: Grass / Dragon

Height: 8"

Weight: 1.1 lbs.

Ability: Ripen / Gluttony

Arctovish

Category: Fossil Pokemon

Type: Water / Ice

Height: 6'07

Weight: 385/8 lbs.

Ability: Water Absorb

Arctozolt

Category: Fossil Pokemon

Type: Electric / Ice

Height: 7'7"

Weight: 330.7 lbs.

Ability: Static / Volt Absorb

Arrokuda

Category: Rush Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 1'8"

Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Ability: Propeller Tail

Barraskewda

Category: Skewer Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 4'3"

Weight: 66.1 lbs.

Ability: Swift Swim

Blipbug

Category: Larva Pokemon

Type: Bug

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 17.6 lbs.

Ability: Swarm / Compound Eyes

Boltund

Category: Dog Pokemon

Type: Electric

Height: 3'3"

Weight: 75 lbs.

Ability: Strong Jaw

Carkol

Category: Coal Pokemon

Type: Fire / Ground

Height: 3'7"

Weight: 172 lbs.

Ability: Steam Engine / Flame Body

Centiskorch

Category: Radiator Pokemon

Type: Fire / Bug

Height: 9'10"

Weight: 264.6 lbs.

Ability: Flash Fire / White Smoke

Centiskorch also has a Gigantamax form.

Chewtle

Category: Snapping Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 1'

Weight: 18.7 lbs.

Ability: Strong Jaw / Shell Armor

Cinderace

Category: Striker Pokemon

Type: Fire

Height: 4'7"

Weight: 72.8 lbs.

Ability: Blaze

Clobbopus

Category: Tantrum Pokemon

Type: Fighting

Height: 2'

Weight: 8.8 lbs.

Ability: Limber

Coalossal

Category: Coal Pokemon

Type: Fire / Ground

Height: 9'2"

Weight: 684.5 lbs.

Ability: Steam Engine / Flame Body

Coalossal also has a Gigantamax form.

Copperajah

Category: Copperderm Pokemon

Type: Steel

Height: 9'10"

Weight: 1433 lbs.

Ability: Sheer Force

Copperajah also had a Gigantamax form.

Corviknight

Category: Raven Pokemon

Type: Flying/Steel

Height: 7'3"

Weight: 165.3 lbs.

Ability: Pressure / Unnerve

Corvisquire

Category: Raven Pokemon

Type: Flying

Height: 2'7"

Weight: 35.3 lbs.

Ability: Pressure / Unnerve / Keen Eye

Cramorant

Category: Gulp Pokemon

Type: Flying/Water

Height: 2'7"

Weight: 39.7 lbs.

Ability: Gulp Missile

Cufant

Category: Copperderm Pokemon

Type: Steel

Height: 3'11"

Weight: 220.5 lbs.

Ability: Sheer Force

Cursola

Category: Coral Pokemon

Type: Ghost

Height: 3'3"

Weight: 0.9 lbs.

Ability: Weak Armour

Cursola is the second evolution for the Galar variant of Corsola.

Dottler

Category: Radome Pokemon

Type: Bug / Psychic

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 43 lbs.

Ability: Swarm / Compound Eyes

Dracovish

Category: Fossil Pokemon

Type: Water / Dragon

Height: 7'7"

Weight: 474 lbs.

Ability: Water Absorb / Strong Jaw

Dracozolt

Category: Fossil Pokemon

Type: Electric / Dragon

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 418.9 lbs.

Ability: Hustle / Volt Absorb

Dragapult

Category: Stealth Pokemon

Type: Dragon / Ghost

Height: 9'10"

Weight: 110.2 lbs.

Ability: Clear Body / Infiltrator

Drakloak

Category: Caretaker Pokemon

Type: Dragon / Ghost

Height: 4'07"

Weight: 24.3 lbs.

Ability: Clear Body / Infiltrator

Drednaw

Category: Bite Pokemon

Type: Water/Rock

Height: 3'3"

Weight: 254.6 lbs.

Ability: Strong Jaw / Shell Armor

Dreepy

Category: Lingering Pokemon

Type: Dragon / Ghost

Height: 1'8"

Weight: 4.4 lbs.

Ability: Clear Body / Infiltrator

Drizzile

Category: Water Lizard Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 2'4"

Weight: 25.4 lbs.

Ability: Torrent

Dubwool

Category: Sheep Pokemon

Type: Normal

Height: 4'3"

Weight: 94.8 lbs.

Ability: Fluffy / Steadfast

Duraludon

Category: Alloy Pokemon

Type: Steel/Dragon

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 88.2 lbs.

Ability: Light Metal / Heavy Metal

Duraludon can also be found with the ability to use a Gigantamax form.

Eiscue

Category: Penguin Pokemon

Type: Ice

Height: 4'7"

Weight: 196.2 lbs.

Ability: Ice Face / Noice Face

This Pokemon has two forms - Ice Face and Noice Face.

Eldegoss

Category: Cotton Bloom Pokemon

Type: Grass

Height: 1'8"

Weight: 5.5 lbs.

Ability: Cotton Down / Regenerator

Eternatus

Category: Gigantic Pokemon

Type: Poison / Dragon

Height: 65'7"

Weight: 2094.4 lbs.

Ability: Pressure

Falinks

Category: Formation Pokemon

Type: Fighting

Height: 9'10"

Weight: 136.7 lbs.

Ability: Battle Armour

Flapple

Category: Apple Wing Pokemon

Type: Grass / Dragon

Height: 1'

Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Ability: Ripen / Gluttony

Flapple has a Gigantamax form, which it shares with Appletun, called Flappletun.

Frosmoth

Category: Frost Moth Pokemon

Type: Ice / Bug

Height: 4'3"

Weight: 92.6 lbs.

Ability: Shield Dust

Gigantamax Alcremie

Type: Fairy

Height: 98'5"+

Weight: Unknown

Ability: Sweet Veil

Gigantamax Corviknight

Type: Flying/Steel

Height: 45'11"+

Weight: Unknown

Ability: Pressure/Unnerve

Gigantamax Drednaw

Type: Water/Rock

Height: 78'9"+

Weight: Unknown

Ability: Strong Jaw / Shell Armor

Gossifleur

Category: Flowering Pokemon

Type: Grass

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 4.9 lbs.

Ability: Cotton Down / Regenerator

Grapploct

Category: Jujitsu Pokemon

Type: Fighting

Height: 5'3"

Weight: 86 lbs.

Ability: Limber

Greedent

Category: Greedy Pokemon

Type: Normal

Height: 2'

Weight: 13.2 lbs.

Ability: Cheek Pouch

Grimmsnarl

Category: Bulk Up Pokemon

Type: Dark / Fairy

Height: 4'11"

Weight: 134.5 lbs.

Ability: Frisk / Prankster

Grimmsnarl also has a Gigantamax form.

Grookey (one of the Pokemon Sword and Shield starters)

Category: Chimp Pokemon

Type: Grass

Height: 1'

Weight: 11 lbs.

Ability: Overgrow

Hatenna

Category: Calm Pokemon

Type: Psychic

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 7.5 lbs.

Ability: Anticipation / Healer

You can only caught female Hatenna.

Hatterene

Category: Silent Pokemon

Type: Psychic / Fairy

Height: 6'11"

Weight: 11.2 lbs.

Ability: Anticipation / Healer

Hatterene also has a Gigantamax form.

Hatterm

Category: Serene Pokemon

Type: Psychic

Height: 2'

Weight: 10.6 lbs.

Ability: Anticipation / Healer

Impidimp

Category: Wily Pokemon

Type: Dark / Fairy

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 12.1 lbs.

Ability: Frisk / Prankster

You will only ever find male Impidimp in the wild.

Indeedee

Category: Emotion Pokemon

Type: Psychic / Normal

Height: 2'11"

Weight: 61.7 lbs.

Ability: Female - Sychronize or Own Temp / Male - Sychronize / Inner Focus

The appearance of an Indeedee depends on whether it's male or female.

Inteleon

Category: Secret Agent Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 99.6 lbs.

Ability: Torrent

Milcery

Category: Cream Pokemon

Type: Fairy

Height: 8"

Weight: 0.7 lbs.

Ability: Sweet Veil

Morgrem

Category: Devious Pokemon

Type: Dark / Fairy

Height: 2'7"

Weight: 27.6 lbs.

Ability: Frisk / Prankster

Morpeko

Category: Two-Sided Pokemon

Type: Electric/Dark

Height: 1'

Weight: 6.6 lbs.

Ability: Hunger Switch

Mr. Rime

Category: Comedian Pokemon

Type: Fairy / Ice

Height: 4'11"

Weight: 128.3 lbs.

Ability: Tangled Feet / Screen Cleaner

Nickit

Category: Fox Pokemon

Type: Dark

Height: 2"

Weight: 19.6 lbs.

Ability: Run Away / Unburden

Obstagoon

Category: Blocking Pokemon

Type: Dark/Normal

Height: 5'3"

Weight: 101.4 lbs.

Ability: Reckless / Guts

Orbeetle

Category: Seven Spot Pokemon

Type: Bug / Psychic

Height: 1'4"

Weight: 89.9 lbs.

Ability: Swarm / Frisk

Orbeetle has Gigantamax form for you to find.

Perrserker

Category: Viking Pokemon

Type: Steel

Height: 2'7"

Weight: 61.7 lbs.

Ability: Battle Armour / Tough Claws

Pincurchin

Category: Sea Urchin Pokemon

Type: Electric

Height: 1'

Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Ability: Lightning Rod

Polteageist

Category: Black Tea Pokemon

Type: Ghost

Height: 8"

Weight: 0.9 lbs.

Ability: Weak Armour

Raboot

Category: Rabbit Pokemon

Type: Fire

Height: 2'

Weight: 19.8 lbs.

Ability: Blaze

Rillaboom

Category: Drummer Pokemon

Type: Grass

Height: 6'11"

Weight: 198.4 lbs.

Ability: Overgrow

Rolycoly

Category: Coal Pokemon

Type: Rock

Height: 1'

Weight: 26.5 lbs.

Ability: Steam Engine / Heatproof

Rookidee

Category: Tiny Bird Pokemon

Type: Flying

Height: 8"

Weight: 4 lbs.

Ability: Pressure / Unnerve / Keen Eye

Runerigus

Category: Grudge Pokemon

Type: Ground / Ghost

Height: 5'3"

Weight: 146.8 lbs.

Ability: Wandering Spirit

Runerigus is the second evolution of the Galar version of Yamask.

Sandaconda

Category: Sand Snake Pokemon

Type: Ground

Height: 12'6"

Weight: 144.4 lbs.

Ability: Sand Spit / Shed Skin

You can also find Sandaconda, which have the ability to Gigantamax.

Scorbunny (one of the Pokemon Sword and Shield starters)

Category: Rabbit Pokemon

Type: Fire

Height: 1'

Weight: 9.9 lbs.

Ability: Blaze

Silicobra

Category: Sand Snake Pokemon

Type: Ground

Height: 7'3"

Weight: 16.8 lbs.

Ability: Sand Spit / Shed Skin

Sinistea

Category: Black Tea Pokemon

Type: Ghost

Height: 4"

Weight: 0.4 lbs.

Ability: Weak Armour

Sirfetch'd

Category: Wild Duck Pokemon

Type: Fighting

Height: 2'7"

Weight: 257.9 lbs.

Ability: Steadfast

Sizzlipede

Category: Radiator Pokemon

Type: Fire / Bug

Height: 2'4"

Weight: 2.2 lbs.

Ability: Flash Fire / White Smoke

Skwovet

Category: Cheeky Pokemon

Type: Normal

Height: 1"

Weight: 5.5 lbs.

Ability: Cheek Pouch

Snom

Category: Worm Pokemon

Type: Ice / Bug

Height: 1"

Weight: 8.4 lbs.

Ability: Shield Dust

Sobble (one of the Pokemon Sword and Shield starters)

Category: Water Lizard Pokemon

Type: Water

Height: 1'

Weight: 8.8 lbs.

Ability: Torrent

Stonjourner

Category: Big Rock Pokemon

Type: Rock

Height: 8'2"

Weight: 1146.4 lbs.

Ability: Power Spot

Thievul

Category: Fox Pokemon

Type: Dark

Height: 3'11"

Weight: 43.9 lbs.

Ability: Run Away / Unburden

Thwackey

Category: Beat Pokemon

Type: Grass

Height: 2'4"

Weight: 30.9 lbs.

Ability: Overgrow

Toxel

Category: Baby Pokemon

Type: Poison / Electric

Height: 1'4" Weight: 24.3 lbs.

Ability: Rattled / Static

Toxtricity

Category: Punk Pokemon

Type: Poison / Electric

Height: 5'3"

Weight: 88.2 lbs.

Ability: Amped Form - Punk Rock or Plus / Low Key Form - Punk Rock or Minus

Toxtricity has two forms - Low Charge and Amped.

Wooloo

Category: Sheep Pokemon

Type: Normal

Height: 2'

Weight: 13.2 lbs.

Ability: Fluffy / Run Away

Yamper

Category: Puppy Pokemon

Type: Electric

Height: 1'

Weight: 29.8 lbs.

Ability: Ball Fetch

Zacian

Category: Warrior Pokemon

Type: Fairy

Height: 9'2"

Weight: 242.5 lbs.

Ability: Intrepid Sword

Zacian has two forms - Hero of Many Battles and Crowned Sword.

Zacian has the ability to become a fairy and steel-type Pokemon in its Crowned Sword form.

Zamazenta

Category: Warrior Pokemon

Type: Fighting

Height: 9'6"

Weight: 463 lbs.

Abilty: Dauntless Shield

Zamazenta has two forms - Hero of Many Battles and Crowned Shield.

Zamazenta has the ability to become a fighting and steel-type Pokemon in its Crowned Shield form.

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