Pokemon Sword & Shield Versions: All The Differences Explained

There are major differences between the Pokemon Sword and Shield versions, much more than past games in the series. Here's a complete breakdown.

Pokemon Switch

There are a number of differences between Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, so many change-ups that it's important to note what exclusives await gamers in each version so that the right edition is chosen. Even then, some fans have had to contest with issues based on feeling scorned by the games not featuring a National Dex. This essentially just means that not every Pokemon will be present and accounted for–a decision that has divided the community.

This particular decision has led to a number of resulting controversies for Pokemon Sword and Shield. How bad did it get? Well, some fans even started a Whitehouse petition to have President Donald Trump ban the sale of the games. Despite all of this drama, the reviews for Pokemon Sword and Shield have been quite positive, leading many to begin contemplating which version they'll secure.

Related: Here's How Shiny Pokémon Work in Sword and Shield

There are a much larger number of differences between the two versions this time around too. Some Pokemon are exclusive to each version, but more importantly, there are major differences in gyms to challenge. Knowing all of this ahead of a purchasing decision is crucial in ensuring that players get the experience they prefer. Here's a breakdown of the differences between Sword and Shield:

Everything That Comes In Pokemon Sword

Pokemon Sword Version

Pokemon Sword has a large number of exclusive monsters roaming its version of the Galar region. These include: Deino, Hydreigon, Jangmo-o, Kommo-o, Hakamo-o, Farfetch'd, Sirfetch'd, Zweilous, Gothita, Gothorita, Gothitelle, Turtonator, and the Legendary Zacian. This is a pretty good haul to consider, as none of these creatures can be obtained in Pokemon Shield without trading for them.

As for the exclusive gyms, Pokemon Sword plays host to two different gym leaders (despite rumors of three) from Shield's selection. These are Bea (Fighting-type Gym Leader), and Gordie (Rock-type Gym Leader). Players may also want to pick their starter creatures accordingly in order to prep for these battles.

Everything That Comes In Pokemon Shield

Pokemon Switch

Pokemon Shield has its own roster of exclusive pocket monsters roaming around as well. These include: Goomy, Sliggo, Goodra, Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, Galarian Ponyta, Galarian Rapidash, Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus, Drampa, Vullaby, Mandibuzz, and the Legendary Zamazenta. Players need only be aware of all of the monsters locked to Shield so that they can trade them to Sword owners if need be. That Galar Dex isn't gonna complete itself, after all.

Based on leaks, there are also two exclusive Gym Leaders in Pokemon Shield. Allister (Ghost-type Gym Leader), and Melony (Ice-type Gym Leader) can only be challenged in Shield. Overall, it's a pretty strong spread of trainers to challenge.


There are a few other differences between the games. Namely, Gigantamax Raids will feature different odds for certain Pokemon depending on the version a player owns and the time in which people are playing. For example, Sword owners have better odds of running into a Gigantamax Drednaw, while anyone playing Shield is more apt to stumble into a Gigantamax Corviknight. This current event will run from launch to January 2020.

Next: Here's How Long It Really Takes to Beat Pokemon Sword & Shield

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield arrive exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on November 15, 2019.

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