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Pokémon: Sword & Shield
Strategy Guide

First Published: 15-11-2019 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 12-07-2020 / 00:16 GMT
Version: 1.2 (????) 12-07-2020 / 16:09 GMT

If you enjoy catching Pokémon, expect to spend a lot of time in the Wild Area!

The Wild Area is one of the two most advertised features of Sword and Shield (the other being Dynamax). We've mentioned it already, but it's a vast area in the centre of the Galar region, which is more open-ended than other locations in the Pokémon series. You'll find it once you properly leave Wedgehurst to begin your Gym Challenge.

Camera Controls

While in the Wild Area, there are some additional controls to learn, all related to the camera. If you move the right analogue stick, you can turn the camera 360 degrees to the left/right and slightly up/down. You can also click the right analogue stick inwards to zoom out/in the camera. Finally, you can press the L Button to focus the camera behind you.

Inverted Camera Controls

If the camera is moving in the opposite direction than you're expecting, you can go to Options and change the horizontal and/or vertical camera controls from "Regular" to "Inverted".

Structure

The Wild Area itself is divided into numerous "zones", which have seamless transitions. When you enter a different zone, the name of the zone will briefly appear in the corner of the screen. Each zone has its own selection of wild Pokémon that you can encounter. In general, the further away the zone, the higher Level the wild Pokémon.

For the most part, you can explore every single zone from the very beginning, although there is one zone that requires the Rotom Bike upgrade. However, you won't be able to catch every wild Pokémon; you may only catch Pokémon below a certain Level, as indicated by your League Card. The more Gym badges you have, the higher Level the Pokémon you can catch.

Strong Pokémon

While exploring, you're bound to run into certain Pokémon that are a cut above the rest. You'll know them when you see them. They typically roam around by themselves and they're often fully evolved Pokémon. These are known as "Strong Pokémon". After encountering a particular Strong Pokémon, they will vanish until the next day.

Activities

A Pokémon Den with a Max Raid Battle available.The Digging Duo.

As well as wild Pokémon, there are many things to keep an eye out for.

  1. Watt Traders are NPCs found near the entrances and exits to the Wild Area, plus other spots. If you speak to them, you can spend your Watts (from defeating Brilliant Pokémon or searching Pokémon Dens) to upgrade your Rotom Bike or purchase Poké Balls or Technical Records (TRs). Of note, their TR selection changes daily, so try to check up on them every now and then.

  2. Pokémon Dens are hexagonal-shaped rock structures dotted all around the place. If you inspect a glowing den, you'll receive Watts; afterwards, it'll lose its glow until the next day. If there's a beam of light coming from within, you'll earn more Watts and you can trigger a Max Raid Battle there.

  3. Ingredient Sellers are green-coloured NPCs, found in the first zone, Rolling Field, as well as the entrance to Hammerlocke. You can probably guess what they're here for; they sell ingredients used for cooking curries. Like the Watt Traders, their wares change daily.

  4. The Camping King is a yellow-coloured NPC standing outside the entrance to Motostoke. True to his name, he offers camping-related services. Firstly, he'll let you change the colour of your tent. Secondly, he can evaluate your Curry Dex. As you reach certain milestones, you'll receive tasty rewards.

  5. The Digging Duo are a pair of NPCs found in Bridge Field, halfway along the Wild Area. If you say "hi" to them, they will offer to dig up items for you, in exchange for Watts. The items they dig up are random; highlights include Pokémon fossils and Bottle Caps. Before they start digging, you must save your game so you can't reset and retry.

Other Activities

Also found in Bridge Field is a second Pokémon Nursery. Here, you can breed Pokémon, to share the love. Or to engineer a new generation of efficient killing machines. This second nursery functions identically to the first one, but the surrounding area is probably better suited for running back and forth to hatch eggs.

In addition, there are numerous berry trees, which you can shake daily to receive, y'know, berries. These may have useful properties or you can use 'em in curries. Plus an assortment of hidden items that manifest as sparkling spots. After obtaining a hidden item, there's a chance it may respawn the next day.

Weather

Certain weather conditions like sandstorm can greatly reduce your visibility.

Unlike other locations in the game, the weather in the Wild Area changes daily and can be different in each zone. Not only does the weather affect the battle conditions, but the wild Pokémon (this includes Strong Pokémon) can vary depending on the weather. You can check the weather by pressing the + or - Button when viewing the Town Map.

Here's a look at all the different weather conditions. For reference, the weather conditions are listed in the same order as the Pokédex's Habitat view. Also, the battle effects can be overwritten by a Pokémon's moves or abilities, but they will revert once those moves or abilities expire.

Icon Weather Effect in Battle Notes
hvliIjo.pngClear No effect. (None)
wvW88DW.pngOvercast No effect. (None)
HmP72YL.pngRain Rain Dance. (None)
HZFKyDf.pngThunderstorm Rain Dance and Electric Terrain. (None)
RWRDZUl.pngSnowing Hail. (None)
XXAtlXc.pngSnowstorm Hail. Available after reaching Hammerlocke.
UtoyYvn.pngIntense Sun Sunny Day. (None)
tB9mp7H.pngSandstorm Sandstorm. Available after reaching Hammerlocke.
DVgK4hK.pngFog Misty Terrain. Available during post-game.

More About the Wild Area

For in-depth information about the Wild Area, please check the dedicated Wild Area section towards the end of our guide!

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Pokemon Company International
  • Platforms
    Switch
  • Genre
    Role-playing
  • Guide Release
    15 November 2019
  • Last Updated
    12 July 2020
    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 currently-released Isle of Armor (and in the future, it will cover the Crown Tundra).

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.

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.

Version 1.1:

  • A Full Walkthrough featuring Pokémon encounter rates.
  • All Gym Encounters and Strategies.
  • Screenshots with annotated captions.
  • New Items: Mints & Natures Explained.
  • Post Game content including Champion Cup.
  • Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing.
  • Updated Pokémon Lists for all areas.
  • The Galar Region Pokédex (featuring 400 Pokemon).

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