Pokémon Sword and Shield
- Sword and Shield redirects here. For the TCG expansion, see Sword & Shield (TCG). For the Pokémon Adventures story arc, see Sword & Shield arc (Adventures).
Pokémon Sword (Japanese: ポケットモンスター ソード Pocket Monsters Sword) and Pokémon Shield (Japanese: ポケットモンスター シールド Pocket Monsters Shield) are the primary paired versions of Generation VIII. The games were released on the Nintendo Switch worldwide on November 15, 2019 for both retail sale and download. All copies of the game are playable in nine languages: Japanese, English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese.
During E3 2017, Tsunekazu Ishihara announced that the next core series titles would be available on the Nintendo Switch, but they were not prepared to release any more information at the time. On May 30, 2018, The Pokémon Company gave a press conference and announced that the new core games would have more traditional gameplay, as opposed to that found in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!.
The games were formally announced on Pokémon Day, February 27, 2019 at 11 pm JST during a worldwide announcement through Nintendo Direct hosted by Tsunekazu Ishihara, Junichi Masuda, and Shigeru Ohmori. An official trailer was shown, giving information on the region and the starter Pokémon players can choose from.
The player is a young child who lives with their mother in the town of Postwick in the Galar region. One day, the player's friend Hop invites them to meet his big brother Leon, the Champion of the Galar League, so that they both can receive a starter Pokémon from him. After receiving their starters, the player and Hop follow a runaway Wooloo into the Slumbering Weald. Inside the foggy forest, they encounter a mysterious Pokémon that is completely unaffected by moves. After being rescued by Leon, they set out to receive an endorsement from him so that they can participate in Galar's Gym Challenge. After some convincing by Professor Magnolia, Leon agrees to give both the player and Hop an endorsement. Just then, two Wishing Stars fall out of the sky, and Professor Magnolia converts them into Dynamax Bands for the player and Hop, allowing them to Dynamax their Pokémon. The player and Hop then travel together to Motostoke to attend the Gym Challenge's opening ceremony, where they meet Rose, the president of Macro Cosmos and the chairman of the Galar Pokémon League, as well as a band of hooligans known as Team Yell.
After the opening ceremony, the player sets out to collect the eight Badges required to compete in the Champion Cup tournament from Gym Leaders across the region. Along the way, Professor Magnolia's granddaughter and assistant Sonia tells them about Galar's history and a mysterious event known as the Darkest Day. The player ends up uncovering pieces of the Darkest Day's history during their journey, much to Sonia's pleasure. Eventually, the player manages to successfully collect the eight Badges and travels to Wyndon, where the Champion Cup is held. They win their way through the Champion Cup semifinals, where they defeat Hop and end his dream of surpassing his brother. After confronting Macro Cosmos's vice-president Oleana at Rose Tower, the player participates in the Champion Cup finals and wins their way through it, earning themselves the right to challenge Leon.
However, just before the player and Leon's battle can begin, Rose makes a public announcement, revealing that he's going to bring about the second Darkest Day to save Galar from an energy crisis a thousand years in the future. To stop Rose's plans, the player and Hop travel to the Slumbering Weald again to seek help from the Legendary Pokémon Zacian and Zamazenta, one of whom had been the mysterious Pokémon they saw at the start of their journey. They find and take along a Rusted Sword and a Rusted Shield from the heart of the forest and go to confront Rose in Hammerlocke, where it is revealed that the Darkest Day is the result of Rose awakening a Legendary Pokémon known as Eternatus. After defeating Rose, the player and Hop go to face Eternatus at the top of the Hammerlocke Stadium, where Leon unsuccessfully tries to catch it, forcing the player to battle it. Once Eternatus seems to have been defeated, however, it suddenly transforms into its even more powerful Eternamax form. Thanks to the sword and the shield they found, the player and Hop are able to summon Zacian and Zamazenta to their aid, and together, they defeat Eternatus in a Max Raid Battle, allowing the player to catch it and thus end the crisis. Three days later, the player finally takes on Leon in a battle at Wyndon Stadium and defeats him, ending his career as the undefeated Champion and making the player the new Champion of Galar.
During the post-game, the player and Hop travel to the heart of Slumbering Weald to return the Rusted Sword and the Rusted Shield, only to be confronted by the rich brothers Sordward and Shielbert, who try to steal the artifacts. Although the player manages to defeat one of the brothers and recover one of the stolen items, the two still manage to get away with the other one. The player and Hop are then forced to travel around Galar to stop the Dynamax Pokémon the brothers have let loose at the Gym Stadiums. They eventually confront them again at Hammerlocke Stadium, where they reveal their plan being to reinstate the Galarian monarchy and denigrate Zacian and Zamazenta. Using the artifact they stole, the brothers lure in one of the Legendary Pokémon and drive it berserk, forcing the player to battle it. After it has been defeated, the other Legendary Pokémon appears as well, which the player battles and catches. During the battle, Hop follows the first Legendary to the heart of Slumbering Weald, where he successfully calms it down. Deeming Hop worthy of its trust, the Legendary Pokémon then willingly joins his party. The player and Hop then battle for one last time, after which Hop declares that his new dream is to become a Pokémon Professor, and Sordward and Shielbert briefly reappear to apologise for their actions.
The Isle of Armor
- Main article: The Isle of Armor
The player travels to the Isle of Armor off the coast of Galar and becomes an apprentice in the local Master Dojo, a battle facility run by former Champion Mustard. They also develop a new rivalry with a Gym Leader-in-training and fellow apprentice named KlaraSw/AverySh.
The Crown Tundra
- Main article: The Crown Tundra
The player travels to the Crown Tundra in southern Galar, where they meet Peony, an enthusiastic former Steel-type Gym Leader, and take his daughter Peonia's place in his explorations of solving the legends lurking around the Tundra.
A wild new adventure with Pokémon!
You can battle to be the best!
Band together in new co-op battles!
The games mix some of the changes introduced in Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! with the more traditional gameplay last seen in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Wild Pokémon now appear on the overworld, known as "symbol encounters", similar to the Let's Go games, as well as random encounters shaking in tall grass.
Known as the Gym Challenge, Gyms that the player must battle with the goal of becoming the Champion return to the games, after being replaced by trials in Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon. The challenge culminates in the annual Champion Cup tournament where the player may challenge the Champion.
- Main article: Wild Area
Dynamax and Gigantamax
Gigantamax is a special phenomenon that also changes the appearance of a few individuals of certain species of Pokémon. Like Dynamaxing, the Pokémon is increased in power and becomes bigger. A Gigantamax Pokémon can use a G-Max Move.
Max Raid Battles
- Main article: Max Raid Battle
Max Raid Battles are a new cooperative feature that allows up to four players to challenge a Dynamax Pokémon together over local wireless or Nintendo Switch Online.
- Main article: Rotom Phone
Replacing the Rotom Pokédex of the Generation VII games, the Rotom Phone acts not only as a Pokédex but also has additional features, such as the Town Map. It also acts as the main interface for the game's menu.
- Main article: Y-Comm
The Y-Comm serves as an interface to connect with other players over local wireless or on the internet through Nintendo Switch Online. Players can trade (either a Link Trade or Surprise Trade), battle, swap League Cards, and join Max Raid Battles.
- Main article: Battle Stadium
Replacing the Battle Spot from the Generation VI and VII games, the Battle Stadium allows players to participate in battles over the internet through Nintendo Switch Online. Players can participate in Ranked Battles, Casual Battles, and Official Competitions as well as host or join Friendly Competitions.
- Main article: Rotomi
- Main article: Pokémon Camp
Pokémon Camp allows players can go camping and interact with their Pokémon, cook curry, and visit other player's camps.
Trainers must receive an endorsement in order to participate in the Gym Challenge. Those who defeat the eight Gym Leaders and collect the eight Badges can participate in the annual Champion Cup for a chance to challenge the current Champion of Galar. The Gym Leaders are Milo (Grass), Nessa (Water), Kabu (Fire), Bea (Fighting)Sw/Allister (Ghost)Sh, Opal (Fairy), Gordie (Rock)Sw/Melony (Ice)Sh, Piers (Dark), and Raihan (Dragon).
During the game, Opal and Piers retire from their positions as Gym Leaders and are succeeded by Bede and Marnie, respectively. During The Crown Tundra, Klara (Poison)Sw/Avery (Psychic)Sh is revealed to have become minor division Gym Leader.
Unlike previous games, there is no Elite Four in the Galar region. Their place is instead taken by the Champion Cup, a tournament where Trainers compete for the right to challenge the current Champion. In the semifinals, Gym Challengers compete against each other, and the winner proceeds to the finals, where they join a tournament otherwise completely occupied by the Gym Leaders. The winner of the finals is granted the right to challenge Leon the Champion who uses multiple types along with a Charizard which can Gigantamax.
- Wild male Indeedee is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, while wild female Indeedee is exclusive to Pokémon Shield. However, both genders can be obtained in either game through breeding.
- Wild male Meowstic is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, while wild female Meowstic is exclusive to Pokémon Shield. However, both genders can be obtained by evolving Espurr of the appropriate gender.
- Wild Sawk is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, while wild Throh is exclusive to Pokémon Shield. However, there is an in-game trade in Circhester where the player can trade a Vanillish to obtain ThrohSw or SawkSh.
- Wild Escavalier is exclusive to Pokémon Sword, while wild Accelgor is exclusive to Pokémon Shield. However, Karrablast and Shelmet can be evolved in both games. Additionally, both evolved forms can be caught on the Isle of Armor in both games.
- Cosmoem evolves into Solgaleo in Pokémon Sword, and Lunala in Pokémon Shield.
- While Red-Striped Basculin and Passimian are exclusive to Sword and Blue-Striped Basculin and Oranguru are exclusive to Shield without the Expansion Pass, all of these Pokémon can be found in the Max Lair in both versions.
- With the exception of Zacian and Zamazenta, all of these Pokémon can be obtained in either version by joining other players' Max Raid Battles via the Y-Comm or Max Lair.
Version-exclusive Gigantamax Pokémon
- During normal gameplay, Gigantamax Machamp are exclusive to Sword, and Gigantamax Gengar to Shield. However, they have been made available by Wild Area News. Additionally, if the player has purchased the Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass or the Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass, they can obtain any Gigantamax Pokémon by feeding their Pokémon Max Soup, regardless of which version they are playing.
As with other games on Nintendo Switch, the game is not compatible with other games in the same generation, outside of its pairing. Pokémon Sword and Shield can connect with Pokémon HOME. This allows it to store and receive Pokémon from Pokémon HOME, including Pokémon from previous generations that were transferred into Pokémon HOME. Users of HOME can transfer Pokémon freely between other Sword and Shield save files on the console, even if the files belong to different profiles.
Only Pokémon in the Galar Pokédex, Isle of Armor Pokédex, and Crown Tundra Pokédex, and a select few "foreign" Pokémon can be transferred to Pokémon Sword and Shield. The Isle of Armor Pokédex and Crown Tundra Pokédex were released with the two iterations of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, but the Pokémon in those Pokédexes became compatible with the base game upon release even if the player has not purchased the Expansion Pass. All regional forms of compatible Pokémon that existed at the time of release are also compatible.
When a compatible Pokémon from another game first enters these sets of games (except for Pokémon that were transferred from Pokémon Bank, Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, and Pokémon GO), its moveset is changed to its four most recent level-up moves by default (though the player can make alterations as of HOME's version 3.0.0 (Released on May 30, 2023)). In addition, since the game does not recognize future origin marks, the Pokémon will have the Galar region symbol displayed instead. Any compatible Pokémon from Legends: Arceus will also have their Poké Ball displayed as a standard one.
- Main article: List of moves by availability (Generation VIII)
In Pokémon Sword and Shield, many moves are no longer usable. Pokémon do not normally learn these moves in the game, and if a Pokémon does know one of these moves (e.g. due to being transferred from Pokémon HOME), it will not be able to use it. If the move is forgotten, Jack will not be able to teach it again, even if it is a special move that the Pokémon normally would be able to relearn.
In lieu of their usual descriptions, most of these moves instead have the following generic description: "This move can't be used. It's recommended that this move is forgotten. Once forgotten, this move can't be remembered." The unusable moves that do not have this description are usually moves that cannot be legitimately known by any Pokémon that exists in Pokémon Sword and Shield, typically being signature moves or moves that only a small group of Pokémon can know. The only move without this generic description that can be transferred into Sword and Shield is Powder.
The situation where Pokémon can have unusable moves is exclusive to Pokémon Sword and Shield, as subsequent games reset the move list of Pokémon transferred from Pokémon HOME, and the preceding Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! removed moves but does not allow transfer from other core series games.
|Light of Ruin||Fairy||✘|
- In addition, all Z-Moves are also unusable in these games.
In version 1.2.0, which was released alongside The Isle of Armor, several previously unusable moves were made usable again. These were mostly signature moves of Pokémon that were added in that update. Further moves were made usable in version 1.3.0, coinciding with The Crown Tundra.
|Roar of Time||Dragon||1.3.0|
If the player has save data for Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, a Pikachu and/or Eevee with the Gigantamax Factor is received at the Meetup Spot. The Pikachu specifically requires Let's Go, Pikachu!, while the Eevee requires Let's Go, Eevee!. Gigantamax Pikachu and Eevee are no longer exclusive to this method, as The Isle of Armor expansion provides Max Soup as a means to give the Gigantamax Factor to other Pikachu and Eevee.
Pokémon Sword and Shield save data unlocks bonus content in the following Nintendo Switch games:
- Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: The Mythical Pokémon Jirachi is available as a gift Pokémon in Floaroma Town. This is currently the most reliable way to obtain Jirachi.
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus: The player receives exclusive clothing: Shaymin Fancy Kimono and Shaymin Fancy Bottoms. After the credits, it also unlocks Request 92: A Token of Gratitude, in which the player obtains the Gracidea and catches Shaymin. This is currently the most reliable way to obtain the Mythical Pokémon.
- Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Ball Guy Case for the player's Rotom Phone is obtained through Rotometry in Mesagoza.
The games received positive reviews among critics, but lower than most other core series releases. Both Pokémon Sword and Shield hold a rating of 80% on Metacritic. IGN rated the games an "Amazing" 9.3/10, praising the simple battling system and Dynamaxing, but criticizing the basic graphics and lack of a full Pokédex. Eurogamer criticized the games, saying that they lacked substance and did not live up to previous titles in the series. Gaming magazine Famitsu gave them a score of 38 out of 40. Nintendo Life gave them a score of 8/10, commenting how the games succeed in bringing some new ideas to the table, but they are also somewhat guilty of not pushing things far enough. 
The games sold over 6 million units in their launch weekend. In the fiscal year of their release, they sold 17.37 million units. As of June 30, 2023, Pokémon Sword and Shield have sold 25.92 million copies worldwide, making them the second best selling Pokémon games of all time, behind only the original games.
Pokémon Sword and Shield sold 894,123 individual units on their first week on the Japanese market, being 534,306 from Pokémon Sword and 359,817 from Pokémon Shield, with a sell-through of 84.96% and 90.26% respectively. By January 3, 2021, the end of their 60th week, they had sold 3,094,075 copies, being 1,851,319 from Pokémon Sword and 1,242,756 from Pokémon Shield.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Dual Pack sold 329,525 units on its first week, with a sell-through of 73.46%. By January 3, 2021, the end of its 60th week, it had sold 545,200 copies. Combining all releases, the games sold 4,184,475 units, being 2,396,519 from Pokémon Sword and 1,787,956 from Pokémon Shield.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
|Week||Week ending||Ranking||Units sold||Total units sold|
|1||November 17, 2019||1st||894,123||894,123|
|7||December 29, 2019||1st||-||2,170,364|
|60||January 3, 2021||-||-||3,094,075|
Pokémon Sword and Shield Dual Pack
|Week||Week ending||Ranking||Units sold||Total units sold|
|1||November 17, 2019||2nd||329,525||329,525|
|7||December 29, 2019||-||-||492,789|
|60||January 3, 2021||-||-||545,200|
- Main article: Staff of Pokémon Sword and Shield
|Version||Release date||Game file size||Official note||More information|
|1.0.0||November 15, 2019||9.5 GB||N/A||Initial release. This version is officially playable using a physical Game Card in a Switch whose internet connection remains off.|
|1.1.0||January 9, 2020||10.3 GB||
|1.1.1||March 17, 2020||10.3 GB||
|1.2.0||June 16, 2020||11.3 GB||
|1.2.1||July 7, 2020||11.3 GB||
|1.3.0||October 22, 2020||12.4 GB||
|1.3.1||December 21, 2020||12.4 GB||
|1.3.2||May 11, 2021||12.4 GB||
- Main article: Pokémon Sword and Shield beta
|This video is not available on Bulbapedia; instead, you can watch the video on YouTube here.|
|This video is not available on Bulbapedia; instead, you can watch the video on YouTube here.|
- These are the first core series games to:
- Receive an Expansion Pass.
- Feature version-exclusive Gym Badges.
- Feature a Dark-type Gym.
- Start with an introduction made by a character other than the Pokémon Professor.
- Start with an introduction made by an antagonist.
- Add completely new Pokémon to the game through updates.
- Not feature:
- The game mascot on the title screen by default.
- A Victory Road.
- An Elite Four.
- A similar role is fulfilled by the Champion Cup, although no new characters are introduced during the tournament.
- Ace Trainers.
- A notable Electric-type specialist.
- A male Pokémon Professor.
- A Pokémon academy.
- If one were to use Google Lens on the box art, it will play a short video.
- Including the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, these games:
- Pokémon Shield is the only core series game not to feature a notable Fighting-type specialist.
- This is the second pair of games to have the game mascot be unable to be obtained without trading before entering the Hall of Fame, the first being Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.
- Aegislash is the only Pokémon to have its base stat total changed as of these games.
- None of the Pokémon introduced in these games are available in later core series games in Generation VIII, nor are any of the Pokémon introduced in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon and Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!.
- These are the last core series games to have pixel graphics for Pokémon and item icons.
- These are the only core series games where the player cannot catch wild Pokémon above a certain level without appropriate Badges.
In other languages
- Pokémon Sword for Switch Reviews - Metacritic
- Pokémon Shield for Switch Reviews - Metacritic
- Pokémon Sword and Shield Review - IGN
- Pokémon Sword and Shield Review - Eurogamer
- Famitsu review scores - 12/4/19 - Nintendo Everything
- Pokémon Sword and Shield Review - Nintendo Life
- Pokémon Sword and Shield sell 6 million copies in launch weekend - CNET
- Fiscal Year Ended March 2020 - Financial Results Explanatory Material - Nintendo Co., Ltd.
- Top Selling Title Sales Units - Nintendo Switch Software
- Media Create Sales: CY 2019 (2018 Dec 31 - 2019 Dec 29) Sales | ResetEra
- Media Create Sales: CY 2020 (2019 Dec 30 - 2021 Jan 03) Sales | ResetEra
- We Interview Junichi Masuda and Shigeru Ohmori about Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield | Pokemon.com
- A Special Letter and Song from Undertale Game Creator Toby Fox | Pokemon.com
- Nintendo Support: How to Update Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield
- How to Update Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield | Nintendo Switch | Support | Nintendo
- 『ポケットモンスター ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.1.0）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケットモンスター ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.1.1）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケットモンスター ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.2.0）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケットモンスター ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.2.1）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケモン ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.3.0）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケモン ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.3.1）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
- 『ポケモン ソード・シールド』更新データ（Ver.1.3.2）配信のお知らせ｜ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト
|This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|