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Pokémon: Sword & Shield

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Your First Pokémon

Ben Chard
Vincent Lau

These three Pokémon are very special, because you can't find them in the wild!

Leon’s return home comes with a special surprise: he’s brought along three very special Pokémon, for you and Hop to choose from–but only one! Say “hello” to the Grass-type "Grookey" IconGrookey, the Fire-type "Scorbunny" IconScorbunny and the Water-type "Sobble" IconSobble. These Pokémon are typically called “starter Pokémon”, because they’re the Pokémon you start off with. Choose wisely as this is your only chance to get one without trading (or breeding).

Hop already has one Pokémon of his own, so he lets you choose first. No choice is better or worse than the other, so pick whichever Pokémon you’d prefer. If it helps, all three Pokémon do not change their type throughout all of their evolutions (so their final forms are still pure Grass, Fire or Water). This means they’re all pretty simple Pokémon to use–which makes sense for your first.

If you think you’ve decided, approach the starter Pokémon you want and interact with them. Just in case, Leon will ask you if you’re sure with your decision. Once you’ve chosen your starter, Hop will choose the starter that’s weak against yours. Grass beats Water, Water beats Fire and Fire beats Grass. So if you chose Grookey for example, Hop would pick Sobble. As for the remaining starter, Leon will take it back.

Afterwards, it’s party time at Hop’s! Then the very next day, the three of you will be gathered outside again. This time, Leon suggests a Pokémon battle between you and Hop. There’s nothing for it, so you might as well accept. You can decline if you want, for example to take a breather and save your game. But you won’t be able to proceed until you whup Hop’s butt. So, shall we?

Pokémon Trainer Hop

Pokémon Level Type
"Wooloo" IconWooloo 3 Normal
"Sobble" IconSobble (if you picked "Grookey" IconGrookey) 5 Water
"Grookey" IconGrookey (if you picked "Scorbunny" IconScorbunny) 5 Grass
"Scorbunny" IconScorbunny (if you picked "Sobble" IconSobble) 5 Fire

Hop, unlike past rivals, has two Pokémon in his beginning team–one more than you. But don’t fret, as you have a Level advantage (for his first Pokémon) and type advantage (for his second Pokémon).

His first ‘mon is "Wooloo" IconWooloo, which he was bragging about earlier. It’s a Normal-type and a pretty easy foe since it’s 2 Levels lower than your Pokémon. To win, just choose the Normal-type move that inflicts damage (Scratch, Tackle or Pound). If you’re really unlucky and take significant damage, feel free to open your Bag and spray a Potion or two.

Next, Hop will send out his starter, which will be a type that’s weak against yours. At this point, your starter will have gained enough experience to Level Up and, in doing so, learned a new move that shares their type. For example, Water Gun for Sobble. If it’s safe to do so, pick the new move and watch as Hop gasps in horror.

Well, if we know where we're going, shall we (ahem) hop to it?

Well, that was good practice! Having gotten a taste of Pokémon battles, Hop suggests that the two of you participate in the Galar region’s esteemed Gym Challenge. This is where Pokémon trainers travel across Galar, to defeat the various Gym Leaders–who are considered some of the best Pokémon trainers–and collect their coveted Gym badges. Upon completion, they can challenge Leon for his title of Champion.

At this moment, you and Hop are a pair of rookies who aren’t quite ready just yet. The first thing you need to do is to collect a Pokedex, which is an electronic encyclopedia that records data on every Pokémon you encounter and catch. Apparently you can get one from the Pokémon Research Lab. It’s not clear where exactly this lab is, but Hop seems to know the way. So follow him back onto the main path.

Before you can go anywhere, there’s a loud crash. The two of you will go over to the fence below your house, which has been forced open. It’s pretty clear what’s happened here: the Wooloo assaulting the fence earlier has somehow managed to open it. What lies beyond is a forbidden–and very dangerous–forest. Obviously, the first thing to do is run straight in after the poor sod.

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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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