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The Sword & Shield Player's Guide is a booklet included within the Sword & Shield Elite Trainer Box detailing the Sword & Shield expansion of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The booklet is written by Wolfgang Baur and was published by The Pokémon Company International in 2020. The content features strategy for the new cards introduced within the Sword & Shield expansion as well as a complete checklist for the expansion.
Welcome to the Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield Elite Trainer Box
This Elite Trainer Box contains a great combination of boosters, Energy cards, dice, card sleeves, and extras—congrats on stepping up your game to the Elite level. The Pokémon Trading Card Game: Sword & Shield expansion adds more than 200 cards to the Pokémon TCG—and opens the door to the Galar region for exploration, wit both brand-new Pokémon and Galarian forms of familiar favorites to collect!
Train hard, choose your Pokémon companions, and take the journey of an Elite Trainer!
All-New Pokémon V and Pokémon VMAX!
This expansion includes 17 new Pokémon V and four new Pokémon VMAX. Each of these powerful Pokémon has unique powers and big HP to make a big difference when it shows up in play! Like Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX from previous Pokémon TCG series, Pokémon V are subject to a sepcial rule: if your Pokémon V is Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards—so that extra power does have a bit of risk to it! With Pokémon VMAX, that risk is even greater: your opponent takes 3 Prize cards for Knocking Out just one of them.
- Celebi V has 180 HP and gets its power by relying on its friends on the Bench—and it definitely knows how to make friends. Its Find a Friend attack for grabs up to 2 Pokémon from your deck and puts them in your hand. The Line Force attack for does 50 damage plus 20 more for every friend on he Bench! Celebi V definitely feels a little team spirit when its friends cheer it on!
- Dhelmise V has a mighty 220 HP and the Anchor Anger attack for . This attack does 120 damage if any of your Pokémon were Knocked Out by damage from an opponent's attack last turn—Dhelmise V doesn't like to see teammates Knocked Out! It also has the Giga Hammer attack for 200, though it can't use the attack every turn. And he amazing art on this card really looks like it's underwater!
- Torkoal V, with 210 HP, is snorting steam and ready to crush the opposition! For , its Combustion Pillar attack does 90 damage and discards the top card of your deck. If you end up discarding a Energy card this way, the attack does 180 damage! The Steam Crush attack is tougher to pull off, with a cost of for 120 damage, but it also discards 2 Energy from the opponent's Active Pokémon! That will definitely set the opposition back, especially if they're running light on Energy to begin with. There's nothing like using steam to douse a bonfire!
- Victini V is a Fire-type Mythical Pokémon with 190 HP who keeps your other Pokémon tuned for attack! Its Spreading Flames attack costs just and lets you attach up to 3 Energy cards from your discard pile to your Pokémon—instant fuel for the flames! And Victini V is great on offense, too, with Energy Burst for doing 30 damage for each Energy attached to both Active Pokémon. The bigger the foe's stack of Energy gets, the harder Victini V hits!
- Lapras V has the Body Surf attack, which costs and lets you attach a Energy card from your hand to Lapras V—who then gets switched with 1 of your Benched Pokémon. If you have two Lapras V in play, they can chase each other on and off the Bench, adding Energy every urn! That's good, because the Ocean Loop attack costs and does 210 damage, but it also puts 2 of Lapras V's attached Energy back into your hand. Water goes round and round and round with Lapras V!
- Lapras VMAX is the next step after Lapras V—a full Pokémon VMAX! After evolving from Lapras V, Lapras VMAX gets Gigantamax huge, with 320 HP, a powered-up appearance, and one massive attack. For , G-Max Pump does 90 damage and then 30 more for each and every Energy attached to this Pokémon. That's one big wave to wash away... well, pretty much anything!
- Keldeo V, a Mythical Pokémon depicted here in its Resolute Form with 210 HP, shows up with Wave Splash, doing a respectable 40 damage for . It also has the Secret Sword attack, which is a smaller version of Lapras VMAX's G-Max Pump: Secret Sword cost and does 50 damage, but it adds 30 more damage for each Energy attached to Keldeo V. With 3 Energy attached to pay the attack cost, Secret Sword's base damage is 140—and that wave can still get much, much bigger!
- Tapu Koko V, a Legendary Pokémon with 200 HP, has brought a big lightning storm from the islands of Alola—ramping up with the fast, useful Spike Draw attack that does 20 damage and draws 2 cards for just . What a great way to start a match! The bigger piece of the storm is Thunderous Bolt. which does 200 damage for , although it certainly tires out Tapu Koko V. because the Pokémon can't attack at all during the following turn. That might be a great time to send Tapu Koko V to the Bench and bring someone else up to the Active Spot!
- Morpeko V looks super determined! In addition to its sturdy 170 HP, its attacks show some of its tenacity—for , Spark does 20 damage to the opposing Active Pokémon and another 20 to an opposing Benched Pokémon. Its Electro Wheel attack is much more than a giant Morpeko wheel—it's an engine of destruction! For , it does 150 damage and switches Morpeko V with one of your Benched Pokémon. Hey, sometimes even big Pokémon V need a little rest to charge.
- Morpeko VMAX evolves from Morpeko V into a 300-HP Dynamax powerhouse surrounded by swirling colors in its artwork. This Pokémon is fully powered, with the Max Discharge attack for . This does 180 damage to the opposing Active Pokémon, plus 20 damage to each and every one of your opponent's Benched Pokémon. Cautious opponents will keep some smaller Pokémon in their hand for a while when Morpeko VMAX comes stomping through!
- Wobbuffet V has a solid 220 HP and the even-more-solid Gritty Comeback attack in its playbook. For , you swap all the damage counters on Wobbuffet V with all the damage counters on your opponent's Active Pokémon. This is especially sweet when you've just Knocked Out an opponent's Pokémon and Wobbuffet is a bit dinged up. On top of that, there's Shadow Bind for , which does 70 damage and prevents the Defending Pokémon from retreating during your opponent's next turn. No one gets away easily when Wobbuffet V is on patrol!
- Indeedee V has 180 HP and the Watch Over Ability, which lets you heal 20 damage from your Active Pokémon each turn. (this works even when Indeedee V in on the Bench—and it adds up if you have multiple Indeedee V!) Its attack is Psychic, which costs and does 10 damage plus 60 more damage for each Energy attached to your opponent's Active Pokémon. That's usually enough to topple another big Pokémon V, though some decks might include Indeedee V just for the constant healing factor.
- Regirock V comes a-clobbering in with 220 HP and the Raging Hammer attack, which costs and does 30 damage plus 10 more for every damage counter on Regirock V. The more damage it's taken, the bigger that hammer gets! In addition, it has Rocky Tackle for , crushing opposing Pokémon with a pulverizing 190 damage...but also doing 30 damage to Regirock V itself. This is one powerful Legendary Pokémon that knows how to dish out the damage!
- Stonjourner V has 220 HP and Guard Press for , which does 40 damage and enables Stonjourner V to take 20 less damage from attacks on your opponent's next turn. Its Mega Kick attack does 150 damage for , so that's solid, even though it may not be as powerful as Regirock V's Rocky Tackle. However, the big takeaway here is that Stonjourner V has an Evolution...
- Stonjourner VMAX evolves from Stonjourner V, immediately growing to 330 HP—a fantastic start. Add to that the Stone Gift attack that lets you attach a Energy from your hand to 1 of your Pokémon and heal 120 damage from that Pokémon. Then, add the Max Rockfall attack, which is really going to be Knock Out blow for a lot of matches. It costs and does a straightforward 200 damage—that's a big hit by any standard!
- Sableye V has 170 HP and the Lode Search attack for . This pulls any Trainer card out of the discard pile and into your hand—super helpful for combos, for power cards, for all the greatness that is the right Trainer card at the right time! The Crazy Claws attack for does 10 damage plus 60 more for each damage counter on your opponent's Active Pokémon. You need to make sure Sableye V uses this attack after it or another of your Pokémon has thrown down damage, but even a tiny scratch on the opposing Pokémon means HUGE damage from Crazy Claws! Watch it Knock Out a Pokémon VMAX with one hit!
- Zacian V is a Legendary Pokémon with powers that match. As a Metal-type Pokémon with 220 HP, it stands tough, but its Intrepid Sword Ability is where it really gets a chance to shine. Using this Ability ends your turn, but you can peek at the top 3 cards of your deck and attach any number of Energy cards you find there to Zacian V—and the other cards go into your hand! That alone adds raw power to your game. But there's more, naturally. The Brave Blade attack for does 230 damage, although Zacian V can't attack during your next turn. With a reasonable Retreat Cost of , though, you can probably send Zacian V back to the Bench and bring up someone else.
- Zamazenta V has 230 HP and the Dauntless Shield Ability. This prevents all damage done to it by attacks from opposing Pokémon VMAX. In other words, if the game becomes overrun with Pokémon VMAX, this Legendary Pokémon is a very good choice for your last Pokémon standing! Its Assault Tackle attack costs for 130 damage, and it lets you discard a Special Energy from your opponent's Active Pokémon. Forcing them to discard the new Aurora Energy is especially sweet!
- Snorlax V has 220 HP and the Swallow attack for , doing 60 damage to the opposing Pokémon and healing the same amount of damage from Snorlax. That sort of fancy move must be a little tiring, because Snorlax V also has the Falling Down attack, which costs . does 170 damage, and makes Snorlax V fall Asleep. Snooze on, mighty Snorlax V—we know you'll be back in the battle soon enough!
- Snorlax VMAX is enormous and strong! Bolstered by 340 HP, this Gygantamax Pokémon has just one attack: G-Max Fall for , which does 60 damage plus 30 more damage for each of your Benched Pokémon. With even a partially full Bench, you can dish out 150 damage as Snorlax VMAX falls down until your next turn. If every Pokémon were this effective, Trainer battles would be over in seconds!
- Cramorant V has 200 HP and a huge beak, which comes in handy when it uses Beak Catch for . This attack lets you search your deck for up to 2 cards and put them into your hand. Cramorant V's bigger attack is Spit Shot for , which discards all Energy from Cramorant V and does 160 damage to 1 of your opponent'as Pokémon. It's best combined with a Switch effect to allow Cramorant V to charge up another Spit Shot while on the Bench.
Six Astounding Combos—Straight Out of Galar!
The Sword & Shield expansion has some great combinations that make use of new Pokémon, new attacks, and new strategies. Here are some big moves you could pull off with a little planning—and a little luck!
- The G-Max Dance
The open-ended nature of Lapras VMAX's G-Max Pump attack makes it irresistible for combos. It does 90 damage plus 30 more damage for each Energy attached to the Pokémon, and there's no limit to how much you can add! This combo takes full advantage of that: First, you use Frosmoth's Ice Dance Ability to put a bunch of Energy onto your Benched Lapras VMAX. Then, move Lapras VMAX up to the Active Spot, and start using G-Max Pump for major damage that leaves your opponent totally swamped!
- Drum First, Hammer Later
Like most attacks of Pokémon V. Dhelmise V's Giga Hammer is powerful, but it can be a little slow to power up because it requires . How to get around that? Easy—use Rillaboom's Voltage Beat Ability to pull 2 Energy cards from your deck and attach them to Dhelmise V, then lay the hammer down.
- Nightmare-Inducing Damage Switch
We're quite serious when we say this combo might give your opponent a nightmare—it's nasty! Use Gengar's Life Shaker Ability to distribute damage counters among your Pokémon, preventing them from getting Knocked Out. When you've built up enough carefully spread-out damage (up to 210), move all of it into Wobbuffet V, then switch it with the damage on your opponent's Active Pokémon by using the Gritty Comeback attack. Congratulations! Every bit of damage your opponent worked so hard to put on your Pokémon has now resulted in YOU taking a Prize card or two!
- When Teamwork Hits the Mark
With this team, the true spirit of success rests on striking your opponent—together! Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee work together beautifully: Hitmonchan's Coordinated Beatdown attack does 20 more damage if you have Hitmonlee on your Bench, and Hitmonlee's Coordinated Strike attack does 80 more damage if you have Hitmonchan on your Bench. It's a beautiful thing when two Pokémon fight with expert timing!
- Still Standing after the Big Kaboom
Some Pokémon don't look too promising at first glance, and you could easily put Claydol into that category. But look again! Claydol's Explosion attack does a mighty 200 damage for just 2 Energy, but it comes with the drawback of doing 120 damage to itself—enough for a Knock Out. (Would you expect anything less from Explosion?) However, if Claydol has a Big Charm attached, it gets +30 HP. You see where this is going—it'll withstand the blast with 30 HP so it can explode again next turn!
- Copperajah Loves Hyper Potions
Anyone can see that Copperajah's Muscular Nose attack is extremely powerful, doing 220 damage for 3 Energy. Unfortunately, that power dwindles to nothing if Copperajah has 8 or more damage counters on it. The solution is to use Hyper Potion to keep Copperajah clear of damage so you can dish out this big attack. Just be careful—you must discard 2 Energy from your Pokémon when you use Hyper Potion.
8 Top Trainer Cards from Sword & Shield
The Sword & Shield expansion offers a few great Trainer cards with tricks and tactics and ways to turn a losing game into a clear win! These are eight of our favorite Trainer cards from the set, both for power decks and for fun.
- Things That Float
It's not quite a Float Stone from the days of yore, but Air Balloon is still wildly useful. Many Pokémon have a Retreat Cost of just or , so Air Balloon will let them float to the Bench without having to discard any Energy at all.
- Follow Your Nose
Evolution Incense falls into the category of simple but great: search your deck for an Evolution Pokémon and put it into your hand! This includes Pokémon VMAX, which evolve from Pokémon V—that is some sweet-smelling incense, indeed!
- More for Me, Less for You
Marnie delivers a great way to mess with your opponent's hand while drawing some cards for yourself. Both players shuffle their hands and put them on the bottom of their decks—but then you get to draw 5 cards, and your opponent only gets 4.
- Patch, Patch, Saucer
First there was Dark Patch, then Aqua Patch, and now...Metal Saucer! This Trainer card's effect is simple but incredibly powerful: you attack a Energy from your discard pile to 1 of your Benched Pokémon. This doesn't count as your Energy attachment for the turn, so it allows you to power up big attacks quickly. That sounds so simple—until the moment you run away with the game because you're effectively a turn (or more) ahead on Energy!
- Go Fish for a Win
Ordinary Rod is anything but ordinary! It allows you to shuffle Pokémon and basic Energy cards from your discard pile into your deck—up to 2 of each. And you can do this in any combination: 2 Pokémon and 1 basic Energy, 2 Pokémon and 0 basic Energy, 1 Pokémon and 2 basic Energy, and so on...
- Hit the Books with Professor's Research
You may remember Professor Sycamore or Professor Juniper from previous eras. If you do, you'll know how great this card is: you throw away your hand, but then you get to draw 7 new cards, Welcome to the Pokémon TCG, Professor Magnolia!
- Double Time with Quick Ball
Quick Ball is a great way to search up whatever Basic Pokémon you need. Sure, it comes at the cost of discarding a card from your hand, but that's a small price to pay to get a crucial Pokémon into play!
- A drop or Two of Damage
The 10 extra damage your Pokémon deliver when holding Vitality Band may not seem like a lot, but sometimes it's the difference between getting a KO or not—and even if it doesn't matter right away, that little extra damage adds up turn after turn. These damage-modifying effects always tend to have an impact, so don't underestimate Vitality Band!
New Special Energy: Aurora Energy
This guide would not be complete without mentioning Aurora Energy, a new Special Energy card appearing in the Sword & Shield expansion. You must discard a card from your hand before putting it into play, but in a deck that requires multiple types of Energy, it's a lifesaver—as long as it's attached to a Pokémon, it provides every type of Energy (but only 1 Energy at a time).
Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield Card List
This section lists out the 216 cards of the Sword & Shield expansion, and their rarities.
Original Japanese Game
The Pokémon Company International
- Producer: Kenji Okubo
- Director of Production: Richard Simpson
- Product and Game Development: Barry Sams, Doug Ferguson, Yasuhiro Usui, Jim Lin, Dylan "ExoByte" Mayo, Kyle Sucevich, Nik Davidson, and Paul Peterson
- Production Coordination: Russ Foster, Jay Moon, Doug Sotrms, David Hoskinson, and Ross Garrett
- Project Management: Mikiko Ryu, Yoshi Uemura, Jen McNulty, Jeff Hansen, Noriko Tseng, Breon McMullin, and Ryan Stofer
- Translation: Ben Regal, Bryson Clark, and Satoko Deas
- Theme Deck Development: Kyle Sucevich
- Elite Trainer Box Booklet Writing: Wolfgang Baur
- Rulebook Writing: TPCi Editing Staff, Paul Peterson, and Kyle Sucevich
- Editing: Hollie Beg, Wolfgang Baur, and Holly Bowen
- Design Direction: Chris Franc
- Graphic Design (Creative): Doug Wohlfeil, Adam Law, Kumi Okada, Cara Weiss, Anupa Patel, Huy Cao, Kevin Fish, and Tammy Vince Cruz
- Graphic Design (Card Localization): Ginny Baldwin, Dan Stephens (pattern desing for parallel holo cards)
- Graphic Design (Logos): Kevin Fish and Adam Law
- Booster Pack Illustations: Hiroyuki Yamamoto
- Theme Deck Illustrations: PLANETA Tsuji
- Special Thanks To: Satoshi Tajiri, Ken Sugimori, Junichi Masuda, Shigeru Ohmori, GAME FREAK inc., Milky Isobe, Creatures Inc., The Pokémon Company, and The Pokémon Company International
Sword & Shield Showcase!
There's more to Sword & Shield than the booster packs. Check out the theme decks, ready to play right out of the box!
- Rillaboom Theme Deck
- Strong Growth—with the Power of Rillaboom!
Leaping into battle, Rillaboom gets charged up with the fast-growing power of Grass types! Pound down the opposition with its Drum Roll attack, review your Professor's Research to find new cards, and call on Eldegoss's Blessing of Fluff for more Energy in the Rillaboom theme deck!
- Cinderace Theme Deck
- Long-Eared & Double-Quick Offense—with Cinderace!
Eager for victory, Cinderace rallies the quick-burning power of Fire types! Its Flame Cloak attack brings Energy back into the game, Supporter Hop can score extra cards, and Dubwool's Double-Edge delivers big whomping damage to keep the Cinderace theme deck burning extra hot!
- Inteleon Theme Deck
- Covert Power, Awesome Moves—with Inteleon!
Sneaky Inteleon has a bag of tricks to trip up opponents! Use its Hydro Snipe attack to remove Energy from opposing Pokémon, and jeep the foe from retreating with Dreadnaw's Jaw Lock. Dodge madly and roll smoothly to victory with the Inteleon theme deck!