New Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield Battle Details Emerge

From Hidden Abilities to Friendly Competitions, there's a lot going on with Pokemon Sword and Shield's battle mechanics.

Just in time for the 2019 Pokemon World Championships, The Pokemon Company has released a trove of new information about battling in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

First up is online battling. Pokemon Sword and Shield will let players go online and face off against others around the world in the Battle Stadium — assuming they have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, of course.

These Stadium battles come in Single and Double forms, with players being matched up based on their rankings and tiers. Success in battle naturally earns more points and a rise through the ranks.

New to Sword and Shield, and to Pokemon's online battle scene in general, is the Casual Battle. Casual battles aren't focused on clearing ranks and improving scores; instead, they're just about having fun.

To that end, participants can use Legendary and Mythical Pokemon in Casual Battles, or Pokemon that are usually barred from online battling.

Players can form their own groups to battle together in Friendly Competitions, or they can take part in organized Official Competitions with a set of specially designed rules and restrictions. Rental Teams make a return, but players can also register their own teams as Rental Teams for others across the globe to access.

Dynamaxing Details

The Pokemon Company dished out some new Dynamaxing details as well. Most important among them is how Pokemon can enter their Dynamaxed form.

Unlike with Mega Evolutions, Pokemon don't have to hold a specific item to enter this new form. Instead, the Trainer only needs to have the Dynamax Band in their possession.

A Pokemon's unique Max move will have special effects as well. For instance, the Water-type move Max Geiser changes the weather condition, as does the Ice Max Move, while the Fighting-type Max Muscle raises the user's Attack. 

New Abilities and Items

Some of the new Abilities shown in previous promotions as just "???" are getting revealed.

First is Galarian Weezing's Neutralizing Gas, which negates the effects of an opposing team's Abilities, while Corviknight's Mirror Armor reflects all stat changes back onto the opponent.

Corviknight's Ability is an example of a Hidden Ability. These rare abilities aren't new to the series, but in Sword and Shield, players have a better chance of encountering a Pokemon with a Hidden Ability through Max Raid Battles (more about them here).

Max Raid Battles also increase the chance of finding a Pokemon that can Gigantamax, which is the next step up beyond Dynamaxing.

Finally, are some new hold items.

First is Room Service, which lowers a Pokemon's Speed when Trick Room is in effect. Trick Room is a popular move in the competitive scene and reverses attack order so 'mon with lower Speed attack first.

Then there's the Eject Pack, which immediately recalls a Pokemon if its stats are reduced, making it particularly useful when using attacks like Hammer Arm that lower the user's stats.

Pokemon Sword and Shield is set to release November 15 for the Nintendo Switch. 


Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.

Published Dec. 20th 2019

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