Here’s What’s Different Between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield [UPDATE]
It’s less than a month until the anticipated release of Pokémon Sword and Shield. The series has released at least two versions since its inception more than two decades ago. Such is the same with the 8th generation, but which version should you buy? Here’s what we know is different Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield so far. (UPDATE: Now that the game has officially launched, we have updated this article with more differences between versions). (UPDATE 2: We realized we were missing Sawk and Throh from the lists and have updated accordingly. Keep in mind, an NPC will offer to trade for the non-version exclusive.)
The most obvious difference between the two versions are the Pokémon themselves. Having one version of the game means that some creatures will only be available in the other. Naturally the cover Pokémon Zacien and Zamazenta are going to be exclusive to Sword and Shield respectively.
For the Pokémon Sword exclusives, we have Gothita, Gothorita, Gothitelle, Deino, Zweilous, Hydreigon, Turtonator, Jangmo-o, Hakmo-o and Kommo-o. Farfetch’d had an evolution rumored for years since the prototype of Gen 2 resurfaced, and now he has a new Galarian form and an evolution with Sirfetch’d. With the release of the game, more exclusives have surfaced. This includes Mawile, Seedot, Nuzleaf, Shiftry, Sawk, Solrock, Scraggy, Scrafty, Rufflet, Braviary, Passimian, Swirlix, and Slurpuff. Darumaka and Darmanitan are also exclusives with brand new Galarian forms. The game also has new Pokémon exclusives with Stonjourner and the male Indeedee.
Pokémon Shield players, on the other hand, will get the psychic Galarian form of Ponyta as an exclusive, as well as its evolution of Rapidash. Other Pokémon are Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus, Vullaby, Mandibuzz, Goomy, Sligoo, Goodra, Throh and Drampa. With the release of the game, we’ve also discovered more Pokémon, including Sableye, Lotad, Lombre, Ludicolo, Croagunk, Toxicroak, Lunatone, Spritzee, Aromatisse, and Oranguru. A new Galarian form of Corsola is also exclusive to Pokémon Shield, but it also comes with a new evolution with Cursola. Finally, new exclusive Pokémon to the game include Eiscue and the female Indeedee.
The Pokémon Basculin will also have exclusive color variants between both versions. Pokémon Sword will have the red-striped variant while Pokémon Shield will have the blue-striped variant. There is a new Pokémon in the games that also use items to evolve. These items are exclusive to to the different versions, creating a different evolved form for the Pokémon Applin. The Tart Apple can be found in Pokémon Sword to evolve into Flapple while the Sweet Apple in Pokémon Shield evolves them to Appletun.
Aside from exclusive Pokémon, both versions will also have exclusive Gigantamax raid battles. While both versions can play these together, these raid battles can only be found in the various versions. Pokémon Sword will have Gigantamax raid battles with Machamp and Coalossal. For Pokémon Shield, Gigantamax raid battles will be against Gengar and Lapras. Both games will have a Gigantamax raid battle against either Flapple or Appletun, who look identical in their Gigantamax forms.
The other major difference between the two are different gym leaders, each having two unique leaders to face. Since the Galar region is famous for its battles, there are technically ten different gyms to defeat between both versions. In Pokémon Sword you’ll face against the Fighting gym leader Bea and the Rock type leader Gordie. With Shield, the Ghost gym leader Allister and the Ice type gym leader Melony await.
There are still a lot of mysteries within Pokémon Sword and Shield that we don’t know about yet. With its new Dynamax/Gigantamax mechanic, camping, wild area and more, the 8th generation looks to be another ambitious entry in the franchise. Pokémon Sword and Shield are now available, and you can check out our review for it right here. We’ll keep this article updated as we obtain new information.
Credit to Serebii.net for additional image assets.