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Pokémon: Sword & Shield

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Sword versus Shield

Ben Chard
Vincent Lau

(1 of 2) Zacian in Pokémon Sword.

Zacian in Pokémon Sword. (left), Zamazenta in Pokémon Shield. (right)

In typical Pokémon tradition, Sword and Shield are released as two separate versions, but they’re essentially the same game, with some minor differences. Most notably the selection of Pokémon, to encourage trading between players. As such, unless you’re a huge fan (or absolutely loaded), there’s no reason to own both versions.

Here’s a look at the key differences between the two…

The Pokémon

This is the most important aspect–the Pokémon exclusive to so and so version. Of course, you can obtain exclusive Pokémon by trading, but it’s always going to be easier for you to catch them in your own game. Especially the Legendary Pokémon, which few people will want to part with. If you’re unsure of which version to buy, base your decision off the Legendary Pokémon.

Gigantamax Forms

Similar to exclusive Pokémon, there are exclusive Gigantamax Pokémon (these are Pokémon that change their appearance when they Dynamax), which can only be found in Max Raid Battles in one of the two versions. However, like all Max Raid Battles, players of both versions can join in for these.

Exclusive to Sword Exclusive to Shield
"Machamp" IconMachamp "Gengar" IconGengar
"Coalossal" IconCoalossal "Lapras" IconLapras
"Flapple" IconFlapple "Appletun" IconAppletun

Gyms and Gym Leaders

Now for something very different! Two of the Gyms in the game–the 4th and the 6th Gym–are different depending on which version you’re playing. That also means the Gym Leaders that you’ll face won’t be the same. In fact, you won’t even see the other Gym Leaders that aren’t in your version.

Exclusive to Sword Exclusive to Shield
Fighting Gym (led by Bea) Ghost Gym (led by Allister)
Rock Gym (led by Gordie) Ice Gym (led by Melony)
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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Pokemon Company International
  • Platforms,
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    15 November 2019
  • Last Updated
    4 January 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Pokémon: Sword and Shield, the latest entries in the Pokémon video game franchise. Our guide also incorporates all the DLC, including the Isle of Armor and brand new Crown Tundra DLC.

In Sword and Shield, you explore the Galar region, based on the United Kingdom, alongside rivals Hop, Bede and Marnie, with the aim to dethrone the Pokémon League Champion.

The games introduce several new features such as Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing, functions that increase size and change forms of certain Pokémon; the Wild Area, a large open world with free camera movement; and raids with co-op battling. They also reintroduce features previously seen in Sun and Moon and Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!, such as regional variants and roaming Pokémon depicted in the overworld.

Brand New October 2020:

Version 1.2

  • A Complete Walkthrough of the Isle of Armor.
  • Details of all 16 new Wild Areas, including Pokémon encounter rates.
  • All the new Max Raid Dens: Locations and Featured Pokémon.
  • Images and Locations of All 150 of the Missing Diglett.
  • The Isle of Armor Pokédex (featuring 100 Returning Pokémon).
  • Recipes for the Cram-o-matic.
  • A Full Walkthrough featuring Pokémon encounter rates.
  • All Gym Encounters and Strategies.
  • New Items: Mints & Natures Explained.
  • Post Game content including Champion Cup.
  • Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing.
  • The Galar Region Pokédex (featuring 400 Pokemon).

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