Pokemon sword tips for beginners

Pokemon sword tips for beginners DEFAULT

Whether you’re a new player who’s experiencing Pokémon for the first time on Nintendo Switch or a hardened veteran eager to check out everything Sword and Shield have to offer, there are a great number of useful tips and tricks to help you get started.

The latest entry in the long-running creature collecting RPG introduces a bunch of new Pokémon to catch, new Dynamax/Gigantamax battle mechanics, version exclusive content, and an exhaustive list of QoL improvements that streamline the series’ notoriously obscure gameplay systems.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll be sharing everything you need to know before setting off for a new adventure in the Galar region, including tips for picking the right starter Pokémon, catching and battling Pokémon, and leveling up your Pokémon quickly.

Tips for Picking Your Starter

Pokémon Sword And Shield Starter

Picking a starter Pokémon is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in Sword and Shield. The game introduces three new starters—Scorbunny (Fire-type), Sobble (Water-type), and Grookey (Grass-type), which each retain the same typing through to their final evolution. We recommend you go with the one you find most appealing; however, there is room for strategizing if you want to have an easier time in the early goings.

The first three Gyms are Turrfield (Grass-type), Hulbury (Water-type), and Motostoke (Fire-type), so whichever starter you pick will have a chance to shine. Like most Pokémon games, you’re bound to encounter plenty of Grass/Bug Pokémon at the start, giving Scorbunny a slight advantage. However, there are plenty of other factors to consider:

  • Type Diversity – What kind of Pokémon do you typically gravitate towards? If you find yourself using a lot of Fire or Water Pokémon, consider picking Grookey to balance things out, or vice versa. A well-rounded team will allow you to take on any challenge with ease of mind.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses – Do you prefer training a starter with many or few type disadvantages? As the designated Grass starter, Grookey has the most weaknesses (Fire, Ice, Poison, Flying, Bug), whereas Scorbunny only has three (Water, Ground, Rock) and Sobble two (Electric, Grass). Weigh your options and come up with the best possible choice for your team.
  • Looks Can Be Everything – Lastly, we recommend checking out what each starter’s final evolution looks like, as this can be a useful way to steer you in the right direction. It can be a huge letdown to spend countless hours training a Pokémon only to be put off by its final design.

Tips for Catching and Battling Pokémon

Pokémon Sword And Shield Catching And Battling

Early in the game, you may find yourself encountering some really cool-looking Pokémon that you’ll be immediately tempted to catch. And while the spirit of Pokémon is all about catching them all, chances are you’ll find a better, more powerful version of that very same Pokémon down the road. Therefore, we suggest you keep the following in mind while battling and catching Pokémon in the wild:

  • Catch But Don’t Train – It can be appealing to throw a Pokéball at every cute and cuddly creature that crosses your path, so much to the point that you find yourself ending every battle with a new Pokémon in your party. However, unless you plan on investing precious time in training said Pokémon, consider just sending them to your PC for later use.
  • Catch Glowing Pokémon When you’re out in the wild, you may come across Pokémon with a glowing aura surrounding them, indicating they’re more powerful versions of that Pokémon with better stats. Catch these, and you’ll be much closer to crafting the strongest team Galar has ever seen.
  • Be Careful Not To Faint Pokémon – It can be easy to accidentally faint a Pokémon you’re trying to catch if you’re not careful, especially weaker ones. Therefore, we recommend teaching your lead Pokémon False Swipe (TM54), which prevents the Pokémon you’re battling from dropping below 1HP.
  • Exploit Type Weaknesses/Strengths –Sword and Shield has made learning each Pokémon’s type weaknesses/strengths much easier by indicating whether a move will be effective, super-effective, or not very effective within the move selection menu. If you still find yourself struggling, refer to this type weakness/strength chart.

Tips for Leveling Up and Evolving Pokémon

Pokémon Sword And Shield Leveling Up

Leveling up and evolving your Pokémon are two essential ingredients for getting stronger in Sword and Shield, as they allow you to take on stronger Gym Leaders and tougher Pokémon roaming throughout the Wild Area. However, there are some Pokémon that require specific conditions before evolving along with a couple dos and don’ts to keep in mind when leveling up:

  • EXP Share Is Your Friend –Sword and Shield sees the return of the EXP Share feature from Gen VII, except now it’s mandatory to use. No need for concern, though, as it’s a handy tool for leveling up Pokémon. Simply place lower level Pokémon you want to train at the bottom of your party and begin reaping the benefits from battles.
  • Evolved Pokémon Are Stronger – This may go without saying, but Pokémon, who have already evolved, will outperform Pokémon who haven’t at every turn, regardless of level. Therefore, we recommend evolving your Pokémon as soon as you can, unless you’re holding out for a specific move they learn later on.
  • Unique Evolution Conditions – Gone are the days when evolving Pokémon was as simple as raising their level to a certain number. Sword and Shield introduce a ton of new monsters that require the player to complete specific tasks to trigger that Pokémon to evolve. If you’re finding it difficult to evolve a specific Pokémon in Sword and Shield, refer to this useful Galarian evolution chart.

New Features and Changes

Pokémon Sword And Shield New Features

Given that Sword and Shield are the first mainline Pokémon games to appear on the Nintendo Switch, there are fundamental differences between the two games and their handheld predecessors. While graphics have naturally been improved, gameplay remains largely unchanged. However, there are a lot of new features and changes that are worth knowing about before you start the game.  

Pokémon Sword And Shield Changes


At the start of your journey, you’ll be given the option to turn on autosaving to ensure you don’t lose any progress. This feature is completely new in Sword and Shield and works just like any other game with autosave support. If you prefer manual saving, you can always go into the settings menu to turn autosave off.

Pokémon Sword And Shield Autosaving

Accessing PC Boxes

Sword and Shield removes the PC restriction of previous games by allowing you to access your PC boxes from just about anywhere in the overworld. This means players can swap out Pokémon whenever and wherever they want as well as organize their various boxes. To access your PC, simply navigate to the Pokémon party menu then hit ‘R’ on the joy-con/controller.

Pokémon Sword And Shield Accessing Pc Boxes

Move Reminder

If you want to have a Pokémon remember a move they’ve already learned, then you’re going to have to speak with the move reminder NPC, who now appears in every Pokémon Center. In the past, the player was required to hand over a Heart Scale in exchange for remembering a Pokémon’s move. However, this fee has been removed completely in Sword and Shield, making it much easier and less costly to do so. 

Pokémon Sword And Shield Move Reminder

Poké Jobs

Every Pokémon game typically introduces at least one new side activity for players to explore outside of standard battling. Sword and Shield has two—Poké Jobs and Poké Camps. In the Galar Region, trainers are able to assign Pokémon to different jobs that grant them XP. This is done by accessing the Poké Jobs tab on the Rotomi PC in any Pokémon Center.

Pokémon Sword And Shield Poké Jobs

Poké Camps

Poké Camps, on the other hand, can only be accessed while exploring the overworld. These camps allow players to take a break from adventuring and see their Pokémon interact with one another.

While in a camp, Pokémon in your party will run freely and can be entertained with various toys as well as eat curry dishes prepared by the player. Cooking is presented as a mini-game and, depending on the ingredients, can produce a variety of curry dishes that trigger unique effects when consumed.

Pokémon Sword And Shield Poké Camps

Dynamax/Gigantamax Pokémon

The biggest and most notable features presented in Sword and Shield are new Dynamax and Gigantamax mechanics, which affect a Pokémon’s appearance and stats. Once your character receives the Dynamax band, you’ll be able to trigger Dynamax transformations during battle, increasing your Pokémon’s size and boosting its stats for three turns.

Gigantamaxing works similarly but does have a few extra benefits. Gigantamax Pokémon will take on a different appearance than Dynamax Pokémon in addition to having their stats boosted even higher and gaining access to super powerful G-max moves. It should be noted that while every Pokémon can Dynamax, only specific Pokémon can Gigantamax.

Pokémon Sword And Shield Dynamax Gigantamax

Version Exclusives

As with previous Pokémon games, Sword and Shield both include a number of exclusive content, including Pokémon only obtainable in one version, exclusive Gym Leaders, and unique Max Raid battle encounters. However, it’s still possible to receive version exclusive Pokémon via trading.  Here’s a full list of all the version exclusives:

Pokémon Sword

  • Deino, Zweilous, Hydreigon
  • Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o, Kommo-o
  • Farfetch’d, Sirfetch’d
  • Turtonator
  • Mawile
  • Gothita, Gothorita, Gothitelle
  • Rufflet, Braviary
  • Sawk
  • Seedot, Nuzleaf, Shiftry
  • Swirlix, Slurpuff
  • Scraggy, Scrafty
  • Solrock
  • Passimian
  • Basculin (Red-stripe)
  • Darumaka, Darmanitan
  • Flapple
  • Stonjourner
  • Indeedee (male)
  • Gigantamax Machamp (Raid Battle)
  • Gigantamax Coalossal (Raid Battle)
  • Zacian (Legendary)
  • Gym Leader Bea (Fighting-type)
  • Gym Leader Gordie (Rock-type)

Pokémon Shield

  • Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar
  • Goomy, Sliggoo, Goodra
  • Galarian Ponyta, Rapidash
  • Drampa
  • Sableye
  • Solosis, Duosion, Reuniclus
  • Vullaby, Mandibuzz
  • Throh
  • Lotad, Lombre, Ludicolo
  • Spritzee, Aromatisse
  • Croagunk, Toxicroak
  • Lunatone
  • Oranguru
  • Basculin (Blue-stripe)
  • Corsola, Cursola
  • Appletun
  • Eiscue
  • Indeedee (female)
  • Gigantamax Gengar (Raid Battle)
  • Gigantamax Lapras (Raid Battle)
  • Zamazenta (Legendary)
  • Gym Leader Allister (Ghost-type)
  • Gym Leader Melony (Ice-type)


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As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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Pokemon Sword Shield

Beginner Tips - Guide For Starting Trainers

Read this Pokemon Sword and Shield guide for essential beginner tips when starting the game. Learn more about Pokemon training, catching, battle, gym leaders, Wild Area!!

Story & Features

Tips For Adventure

Tips For Battle & Training

Check Out All Story Walkthrough List!

Tip #1 - Know Game's Story

Become Best Trainer In Galar Region

Become Best Trainer In Galar Region

Like most Pokemon games, players will take on the role of an aspiring Pokemon trainer based in the Galar Region. The goal is to become the best Pokemon trainer and participate and win in the Champions Cup.

Check Out Game's Story Here!

Contend With Several Rivals

Contend With Several Rivals

You have several rivals that you need to face - Hop (your childhood friend), Leon (the current champion & Hop's brother), Bede & Marnie (other aspiring trainers with their own motives), & Team Yell (Marnie's fan club).

Check Out New Characters In The Game!

Tip #2 - Battle New Gym Leaders

Battle Gym Leaders In Every Major City

Battle Gym Leaders

As you go on your travels, you will enter major cities with gyms. These house powerful Pokemon trainers called Gym leaders that will challenge and test you and your team's skills and abilities.

Check Out All Gym Leader List Here!

Gym Leaders Dynamax Their Pokemon

Gym Leaders Dynamax Their Pokemon

Gym leaders will use Pokemon that they can Dynamax during the battle. It is best to know which leader Dynamaxes which Pokemon so you can be prepared for battle.

Check Out What Is Dynamax Here!

Tip #3 - Customize Your Character

Pick Your Character's Appearance!

Before heading out, pick your character's appearance! Remember that gender and skin color cannot be changed once picked, but everything else is customizable.

How To Customize Your Character

Pick Up New Outfits & Hairstyle

 Pick Up New Outfits & Hairstyle

Go to the Boutique and Salons in the game to get new outfits & hairstyle, then change into them! Can you make an eye-catching character?

All Clothes & Hairstyles List

Set Up League Cards

Set Up League Cards

League Cards showcase your trainer's appearance. You can pick backgrounds, poses and other settings to make a fully special name card.

League Card - How To Make & Use

Tip #4 - Explore To Pick Up Items

Check For Poke Balls & Shiny Spots

Check For Poke Balls & Shiny Spots

When exploring the different towns, cities, and routes, make sure to check every nook and cranny. Always keep an eye out for Poke Balls and shiny spots on the ground to get items.

Shake Trees To Get Berries For Curry

Shake Trees To Get Berries For Curry

When you come across any trees in your adventure, go near them and shake them. This can sometimes drop berries that you can use to cook curry in Pokemon Camp.

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Tip #5 - Use Flying Taxi To Fast Travel

Use Flying Taxi To Fast Travel

Access Flying Taxi From Chairman Rose

Right after you meet Chairman Rose, you'll leave the gym and will be gifted with access to the Flying Taxi. This allows you to fast travel from where you are to almost any point in the Galar Region.

Only Fast Travel To Areas You've Been To

The catch with the Flying Taxi is that you can only use it to fast travel to places you've already been to. If you're going to another city or town, you have to walk the way there.

Tip #6 - Stock Up & Heal Before Leaving Towns

Always Use Poke Centers Before Leaving

Always Use Poke Centers Before Leaving

Poke Centers will be hard to find once you leave town and adventure onto routes or Wild Areas. Make sure to heal your Pokemon party before leaving by visiting the city's Pokemon Center.

Check Out Pokemon Centers Here!

Stock Up On Poke Balls At Poke Marts

You never know what kind of Pokemon you will encounter when you're traveling between routes and Wild Areas. Be sure to stop by a Poke Mart to purchase Poke Balls, Potions, and more!

All Pokeball Guide & Location List

Tip #7 - Fight Trainers In Route

Fight Trainers In Route For EXP & Money

Fight Trainers In Route For EXP & Money

A great way to earn experience points and some cash is by facing off other Pokemon trainers you encounter along your route. This will help you level up Pokemon while boosting your monetary stash.

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Tip #8 - Catch Pokemon In Wild Area

Has Wide Variety Of Pokemon To Catch

Has Wide Variety Of Pokemon To Catch

The Wild Area is a vast expanse of land between towns and cities. These areas have all kinds of Pokemon and they're often the best places to catch Pokemon & fill up your Pokedex.

Related Articles

Check Out Wild Area Guide Here!

Weather & Area Changes Appearing Pokemon

The Pokemon you spot in the Wild Area will change depending on the area's location and weather forecast. Make sure to come back often & catch as many different Pokemon as you can.

Check Out How Weather Affects Pokemon Here!

Daytime And Nighttime Pokemon

Wild Area

Time cycles inside the Wild Area and it affects which Pokemon appear. Also, some Pokemon can only evolve at a certain time of the day.

Check Out The Day Night Cycle Guide Here!

Encounter Shiny Pokemon

Shiny Pokemon are variants of Pokemon that sport a different color scheme than their normal counterparts. These Pokemon are extremely rare and are highly sought after by trainers!

Check Out the Shiny Hunting Guide Here!

Participate In Max Raid Battles

Participate In Max Raid Battles

In Wild Areas, you can participate in Max Raid Battles for a chance to capture Gigantmax or Dynamax Pokemon. Be sure to bring real friends to help you capture these powerful Pokemon.

Check Out Max Raid Battles Guide!

Camp Out & Meet Friends

Camp Out & Meet Friends

You'll also be able to camp out in the Wild Area. Here you can restore HP, interact with Pokemon & build friendships with them. You can also visit other online players' camp sites to cook curry with them!

Check Out How To Use Pokemon Camp!

Tip #9 - Breed Powerful Pokemon

Hatch Eggs To get Powerful Pokemon

Hatch Eggs To get Powerful Pokemons

Breeding is the method of getting new Pokemons through eggs. Eggs inherited the strongest stats of their parents, making it a powerful tool. Breeding is done at the Nursery.

Perfect Breeding Guide - Competitive Breeding & Training

Tip #10 - Access Multiplayer Features

Access Multiplayer Features

Remember that you are not alone in this journey! Use the game's multitude of Multiplayer features to play with other trainers cooperatively or competitively!

Check Out the Multiplayer / Coop Guide Here!

Trade Pokemon With Other Players

Trade Pokemon with Other Players

You can also opt to trade Pokemon with other players! Trading can be done locally or online, and has a multitude of benefits! These include greater experience gain, evolutions, and more!

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Play Multiplayer Online Or Locally

You can choose to play multiplayer via online or locally! Keep in mind that online multiplayer features require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription in order to use!

Check Out How to Sign Up For Nintendo Switch Online!

Tip #11 - Learn Pokemon Strength & Weakness

Master Pokemon Elemental Chart

Master Pokemon Elemental Chart

Like with every Pokemon game, it's best to learn your Pokemon's type & weaknesses. The more you know about each Pokemon, the better you'll be prepared to battle them.

Check Out Type Effectiveness Chart!

Use Pokemon's Weakness Against Them

Always take note of the Pokemon type you're facing then you'll be able to use their weakness against them. Make sure to have strong Pokemon that can counter each type in your party or have Pokemon that have double element skills.

Tip #12 - Bring Full Pokemon Party

Pokemon Share EXP In One Party

Pokemon Share EXP In One Party

In Pokemon Sword & Shield, Pokemon in the same party will receive the same experience points as the Pokemon used for battle. Bring a full party of Pokemon you want to strengthen to make use of this feature.

Check Out the Exp & Leveling Guide Here!

Tip #13 - Send Pokemon To Do Jobs

Pokemon Earn EXP When Working

Pokemon Earn EXP When Working

A new feature in Pokemon Sword & Shield, Pokemon can now be sent to do jobs via the Rotom Phone. Pokemon sent to a job will start working and earning experience points.

Check Out Pokemon Jobs!

Access Jobs In Rotom Phone

Access Jobs In Rotom Phone

You can find the list of jobs when you access the Rotom Phone in Pokemon Centers. Just interact with the phone to draw up the jobs menu.

Check Out Rotom Phone Guide!

Choose Best Pokemon For Job

When sending Pokemon for jobs, make sure to fit the best Pokemon for the work. Pokemon that are best matched will earn more EXP than Pokemon that don't have an affinity for the job.

Tip #14 - Run If Pokemon Is Too Strong

Run Away To Avoid Party Knock Out

Run Away To Avoid Party Knock Out

If you feel like you can't defeat the Pokemon you're facing, you have the option to run away. If your Pokemon don't have any status effect, you'll have a higher chance of running away.

Can't Run From Pokemon Trainer Battles

Once you initiate a Pokemon trainer battle, you won't be able to run away from it. Make sure you're prepared & have Pokemon with full HP before diving headfirst into Pokemon battles.

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©– Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc. All Rights Reserved.
All trademarks, character and/or image used in this article are the copyrighted property of their respective owners.
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Top Tips to Begin Your Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield Adventure

With the arrival of the long-awaited Pokémon SwordandPokémon Shield for Nintendo Switch, fans are taking their first steps into the Galar region. With a new region comes a new set of challenges, and you might be a little unsure what awaits you. Don't worry, though—we're here to help! This guide will set you on the right path with tips on what to do in the Wild Area and Pokémon Camp, why Poké Jobs matter, how to form a solid Pokémon team, and how to prepare for the first Gym.

If this is your very first time venturing into a Pokémon role playing game, please check out our Pokémon RPGs article. It's a great place to learn the basics on how the games work and what you'll need to do to succeed. Then, come back and continue reading to see what awaits you in this latest Pokémon adventure.

The vast, open Wild Area in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield presents a lot for players to do. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of wild Pokémon to battle and catch. While these Pokémon can regularly be found in tall grass (as usual), occasionally you'll see larger Pokémon roaming the Wild Area. These Pokémon are typically more powerful and can prove daunting to defeat. If you decide to take them on, prepare for a challenge—and be ready to retreat if necessary. You may need to use a Poké Doll, which allows you to immediately flee a battle with a wild Pokémon.

The Wild Area is also home to Pokémon Dens, which look like circles of stones on the ground. Sometimes, they'll have beams of light shining out of them. Investigate one of these dens, and you can take part in a Max Raid Battle against a giant Dynamax Pokémon. You can invite other players to join you in battle, or you can have game-controlled Trainers as your backup. Either way, you're in for a good match, and when you win a battle against a Dynamax Pokémon, you can attempt to catch it to add it to your team. Additionally, you'll earn various items for successfully completing Max Raid Battles, including Exp. Candy, Dynamax Candy, Berries, and TRs (Technical Records). TRs are single-use items that teach a Pokémon a powerful move—similar to TMs found in previous Pokémon games (and this one!).

Checking out Pokémon Dens can also earn you Watts. This is a type of currency that can also be found in various other ways, such as by catching special glowing wild Pokémon called Brilliant Pokémon. There are characters in the Wild Area that will exchange your Watts for useful items and upgrades. Other characters will offer to sell you ingredients to make curry (more on that below), and some will even want to battle. Exploring the Wild Area is a great way to level up your team and earn all sorts of useful rewards.

When you need to take a little break from your adventure, it's time to set up camp and relax for a while. Pokémon Camp gives you an opportunity to bond with your Pokémon partners and earn a few tasty bonuses as well. It's a good way to give your Pokémon a boost, especially when they're at lower levels.

The most obvious thing to do at your camp is to play with your Pokémon. You'll see all the Pokémon in your party walking about, and they will come over to you when you call them. Once one is near, you can interact with it to get an idea of its current mood. You can also play simple games with your Pokémon by tossing a ball around or wagging a feather on a stick. The practical benefit of this is that once you leave the camp, your Pokémon that you directly interact with will earn Exp. Points, so be sure to spread the love around.

The other major activity you'll probably try while camping is cooking. Remember those ingredients you bought from those blokes in the Wild Area? Well, toss those in a pot with some Berries that you've collected, and you've got a curry going. Whipping up a plate of curry is simple—you'll play a minigame in which you wave your Joy-Con controllers or press a few buttons to fan your campfire's flames and stir your cooking pot. After adding a bit of soul with a properly timed button tap, you're ready to feast!

Depending on your choice of ingredients and your cooking skill, you'll receive a tastiness rating for your curry. And eating the dish will provide a variety of effects, such as your Pokémon's HP being restored, your Pokémon becoming friendlier toward you, and more. Experiment with different ingredients to see what other benefits you can get from these delicious treats.

As you progress through Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, you're going to catch an awful lot of Pokémon. However, you can only have six active Pokémon in your party at a time, which means you're going to have many Pokémon just chilling out in a Box and waiting for their time to shine. In the meantime, why not put those Pokémon to work? Poké Jobs give those inactive Pokémon something to do that benefits you and them.

You can access Poké Jobs at the Rotomi terminal in Pokémon Centers. When you look at a job request, you'll see that the company asking for help will need the services of a certain type of Pokémon. There will also be a limit to the number of Pokémon that you can send out to do the job. Once you choose which Pokémon from your Boxes that you want to put to work, just decide how long you want them on the job and then send them on their way.

When the Pokémon return, you'll be given some useful items as payment for their services, and the Pokémon will earn valuable Exp. Points as well. As you might guess, the longer a Pokémon is on the job, the more Exp. Points they'll earn. However, if you're more concerned with increasing your item inventory, opt to send your Pokémon away for a shorter period. The time your crew is gone doesn't affect the number of items they bring back with them.

New Poké Jobs may become available as you complete existing jobs and as you earn Gym Badges from the Galar region's Gym Leaders, so check in with Rotomi often. After all, why should you be doing all the work? Your Pokémon can all lend a hand!

To effectively face the many Trainers throughout the Galar region— and their many Pokémon—you're going to need a well-balanced team of Pokémon partners. You may love Fire-type Pokémon, but having an entire team of them is going to get you in trouble when you battle against a Trainer that uses Water- or Ground-type Pokémon. The key is to form a team with a wide range of Pokémon and with moves that will prepare you for anything.

One of the early choices you'll have to make in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield is which Pokémon will become your first partner Pokémon—the Grass-type Grookey, the Fire-type Scorbunny, or the Water-type Sobble. Go with your personal preference, of course, but use that choice as a basis for assembling the rest of your active team. Luckily, you'll encounter a nice variety of wild Pokémon early in the adventure. It's not too difficult to quickly form a team with a solid range of skills.

Keep in mind that the first Gym you'll face focuses on Grass-type Pokémon. That means you'll have the advantage if your team is full of Fire-, Ice-, Poison-, Flying-, or Bug-type Pokémon. You'll have plenty of opportunities to build a team of those before reaching the Gym, too. For example, if you don't choose Scorbunny as your first partner Pokémon, you'll have a good chance early on to encounter other Fire-type Pokémon—such as Vulpix (if you're playing Pokémon Sword) or Growlithe (if you're playing Pokémon Shield)—before reaching the first Gym. (You can also find Growlithe in Pokémon Sword and Vulpix in Pokémon Shield deep in the Wild Area, but that'd be a long and difficult journey!) Chances are also very high that you'll come across other useful Pokémon along the way.

The same holds true for the other first partner Pokémon. Grass types, like Budew and Gossifleur, and Water-type Pokémon, such as Wingull (which is also Flying type), are abundant on the first few routes, allowing you to cover those three initial types. Likewise, you'll come across plenty of other Pokémon types early on, so spend some time rustling through that tall grass in order to flush out more Pokémon.

Keep in mind that even if you catch a Pokémon of a certain type, it may not necessarily know a move that matches its type. Sometimes you'll need to level up a Ground-type Pokémon before it learns a Ground-type move, for example. This is important because when a Pokémon uses a move that matches its type, that move becomes more powerful, making it even more effective against a Pokémon with a weakness to the move's type.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield isn't just about camping and catching Pokémon, though. You'll need to toughen up and do some battling in the many Gyms that dot the Galar region. It won't be long into your adventure before you encounter your first Gym in the town of Turffield.

You can't just stroll into a Galar region Gym and get a Gym Badge, however. You'll first have to complete a Gym mission and challenge a few Trainers before reaching the pitch where you'll confront the real pro—the Gym Leader. Whenever you head into a Gym, be sure to bring along some Potions and other healing items so you don't have to hoof it back to a Pokémon Center to heal any damage your Pokémon incurred.

Once you've defeated the first Gym Leader, you'll earn a Gym Badge along with a couple of other valuable items. And although you'll be prompted to head off to the next Gym (and those after it), don't ever be afraid to continue exploring the Galar region first. As you earn more Gym Badges, for example, Pokémon Centers will begin stocking new merchandise. The Wild Area will change as well—you'll even begin to find higher-level Max Raid Battles there. New weather conditions may appear as you proceed through your adventure, which will influence which Pokémon appear.

These tips should get you started on your adventure through the Galar region, but there is still plenty to discover! You've got several Gyms to challenge, Trainers to battle, and Pokémon to catch, and even that's just the tip of the iceberg. Check back often to learn more about what surprises await you in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Until then, stock up on supplies, keep your Pokémon partners trained and happy, and go become the ultimate champion. Have fun, Trainers!

Remember that you can find valuable tips like these and much more in Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield: The Official Galar Region Strategy Guide, available now in book stores and soon in the Pokémon Center.

Sours: https://www.pokemon.com/us/strategy/top-tips-to-begin-your-pokemon-sword-or-pokemon-shield-adventure/
Pokemon Sword \u0026 Shield - 7 Tips To Get You Started

Pokemon Sword and Shield: Tips and Tricks Tutorial For Beginners And Experts

A new Pokemon generation means a new Pokedex with new and familiar travel and battle companions alike, and various ways to 'Catch 'Em All'. Sword and Shield, the Pokemon franchise's mainline console debut, is especially rife with unusual evolutions, game mechanics, and other details.

Each game comes with exclusive features, so before we begin with our tips and tricks, we advise you get familiar with the Pokemon Sword And Shield Differences, such as the exclusive Pokemon and Legendaries available in each game.

You absolutely want to get familiar with how the game works and be aware of simple tips that can really give you a head start on your adventure; these will help you avoid simple mistakes that can end up being costly later on; such as which starter Pokemon to pick.

Sword and Shield will be its own new generation of Pokemon, meaning it will offer one-of-a-kind Pokemon exclusive to the Galar region. You can view these in our extensive Pokedex guide.

The beginning of every Pokemon game is perhaps the most essential part of any player, it is the foundation of your game and can make or break the experience. For some players this will be the first time they ever play the amazing RPG, so what are some first time tips?

Choosing Your Starter Pokemon

At the beginning of the game, you will have a choice between 3 Pokemon: Grookey (Grass type), Sobble (Water Type) and Scorbunny (Fire Type).

In past games, usually water types are the best starter Pokemon, due to the fact they have the least weaknesses and those that they do are from types that have less quality Pokemon. It's also far rarer to find a good water Pokemon for your squad, as you will need to make your way to the sea or grab a fishing rod to encounter water Pokemon. However, the first gym is a grass based one, meaning Sobble will find it tough compared to Scorbunny (with Grookey having little influence either).

Grass type Pokemon are usually plentiful in the early stages of the game, it has also been confirmed that Grass types will be in abundance in Sword and Shield, potentially rendering Grookey obsolete. However, he could develop into a fighting-type Pokemon that will do great against some of the more tricky Pokemon later on.

Of the three, Scorbunny and Sobble will likely have the most unique final evolutions and movesets as well as the best damage outputs; but until we know what these are, we cannot be sure.

Read More: Pokemon Sword and Shield: Starter Pokemon And Which Is The Best Option?

Type Diversity Is Key

When you are first exploring the new and immersive Galar Region, you may want to catch every Pokemon in sight. While this may be a fun way to play the game, you may find yourself encountering a lot of the same typing of Pokemon early on, in past Pokemon games we have seen the earlier Pokemon primarily be Normal or Bug-type.

Falling into this trap of having multiple Pokemon of the same typing can lead to a terrible experience when you have to battle other players. Imagine having a team full of grass and bug type Pokemon only to encounter a trainer with a fire type Pokemon, Ouch!

So it's not only crucial to choose your Pokemon wisely, by diversifying what types you catch for your main team, but also being aware of what types are strong or weak against each other. Here's a simple chart to understand what beats what:

Pokemon Sword and Shield Tips and Tricks
click to enlarge

Try to familiarise yourself with this or keep it on hand when playing; it will make your life much easier and help you catch/use the right Pokemon.

Read More: Pokemon Sword And Shield: Legendaries Zacian And Zamazenta On Nintendo Switch

EXP Share Is Your Best Friend

Introduced during the earlier portions of the Pokemon series, the EXP Share has become one of the most well known and beloved items ever introduced in Pokemon. Acting exactly like its name, the EXP Share shares EXP with your party members even if they are not in battle (back in the very early stages of Pokemon games, only the Pokemon in battle would receive EXP).

This item became the best way to level up a newly caught Pokemon, especially if your other Pokemon were higher levels. Now, the EXP Share acts as a global EXP Share for your entire party. Every Pokemon in your party will gain some experience after every encounter. A true saving when it comes to leveling up your Pokemon and saving you from having to field a weaker Pokemon in battles.

Read More: Pokemon Sword and Shield: Differences And Exclusives In Sword And Shield On Nintendo Switch

Level Up Early

Leveling up is the key to getting stronger, winning gym badges and eventually concurring the Pokemon League. If you want to have a smooth ride through the game, spending a little bit of time early on beating up low level, wild Pokemon can level up your starter Pokemon and help you easily progress through the beginning stages of the game; even when you're at a type disadvantage in battles. It's also a great opportunity to learn about the different Pokemon available 

Catch The BEST Pokemon

You may come across a Pokemon you really want and settle on the first one you catch, however that doesn't necessarily mean it is the best one. You can find the same type that is a higher level, has a different move set or better IVs. These can all contribute to making a Pokemon better for your team and stronger in the long run; be sure to take your time before settling on one.

Read More: Pokemon Sword and Shield: Features And Changes We NEED To See In Nintendo’s Upcoming Release

Will this be your first time playing a Pokemon game? Let us know by tweeting at us!

Written ByNick [email protected]_


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Pokemon Sword and Shield Guide Beginner's Guide

This Pokemon Sword and Shield Guide Beginner's Guide is meant for you if this is your first Pokemon game, or if you haven't played the series in ages! Here you can find everything from types advantages and battle stats to EV training and shiny hunting tips.

What IS Pokemon Sword and Shield? Summary, Version Differences, and More.

  • Pokemon is an RPG. Pokemon Sword and Shield will likely take you hours to beat. Of course, if you spend more time catching Pokemon, training, and exploring the Wild Area, it can easily take you longer.
  • Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are mostly the same game BUT there are some Pokemon, items, and even gym leaders that exclusive to each version. Look at our Version Differences page to pick the one for you! You can still get the Pokemon that aren't in your game by Trading (we'll get to that later) but if you love Galarian Ponyta, for instance, you may want to get Pokemon Shield.
  • There are Pokemon in Sword and Shield. Every Pokemon falls into 1 or 2 "Types." There are 18 Types in total. Every type has type(s) it's Weak and Strong against. Battling Pokemon involves getting to know your Type match ups.
  • While Pokemon have Types they ARE. Their moves have their own types. For instance, a Water Pokemon might be able to have a Rock move. This can affect the moves you select or the Pokemon you use.
  • Your goal is to battle and beat all 8 Gym Leaders then win the Galar Championship. Each Gym Leader has their own Type specialty. For instance, the first Gym Leader specializes in Grass Pokemon. You can either build a balanced team that's ready for any type OR you can change your team a bit to give yourself plenty of Type Advantages.
  • After beating the game, many players like to complete their Pokedex (this means you've, at one point, had every Pokemon in the game), do the post-game, get into breeding, shiny hunting, and more. If these terms seem intimidating, don't worry! We'll break all of these down in the Advanced help section. And you don't need to do any of these things to have fun with Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Have you played Pokemon Shield?

Below, we've divided some key pages into sections. But keep in mind you can always mix and match these a bit. Just because this is your first Pokemon game doesn't mean you can't breed or hunt for shinies!

The Basics pt What You Absolutely NEED to Know

Types: There are 18 Types in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Some of them seem obvious: ex. Water is Strong against Fire. Others are more complex: ex. Dragon has no effect on Fairy. Luckily, when you encounter a Pokemon in battle its information is added to your Pokedex so the game will tell you some of this info directly, while in battle, if you've fought this Pokemon before. BUT if you want to plan ahead you'll need to get to know these Type Advantages or have our section on type advantages handy! And don't forget: looks can be deceiving! For example, Galarian Ponyta is pretty like a Fairy Pokemon but is actually a psychic Pokemon. And Galarian Weezing looks totally poisonous but is actually a Fairy Pokemon.

Evolutions: Not every Pokemon evolves. Not every Pokemon has 2 Evolutions. Most Pokemon can evolve just by leveling up BUT some Pokemon have specific kinds of evolutions that require Stones, certain Items, being Traded, having a certain level of Friendship, etc. Some of these evolution methods are a bit "Advanced." Check out our page on all the evolutions and evolution methods! This is essential if you want to complete your Pokedex but even if you don't this could help you figure out your team. Evolved Pokemon are stronger than their unevolved forms so you'll want to take Vileplume or Blossom into a gym battle over Gloom (if you can).

You can check out some of the weirdest evolution methods in the slideshow below.Tips for Catching Pokemon: generally, a Pokemon with low HP is easier to catch than a healthy one. But there are also Poke Balls and even certain moves that can make catching them easier. Walk up to the vendors in the Wild Area and check out what Poke Balls they're selling! Quick Balls are great for catching Pokemon so if they're selling some stock up!

The Wild Area: More of the Wild Area will open up to you over time. Pokemon that are walking outside of the grass are stronger than those in the grass. The level of Pokemon you can catch is limited by the badges you have but you can see this info by opening the menu and looking at your League Card. There are only 2 times the game makes you go through this area and you can definitely just spend time on the routes, following the main campaign, to beat the game. However, this is a great place to train, catch Pokemon, do Max Raids, and more.

The Basics pt. 2: Taking Your Game to the Next Level

Many things in this section are big parts of Pokemon but none of this needs to be understood, used, or done to beat the game. But knowing all this will make life a lot easier and, hopefully, make Pokemon more fun for you.

Trading Pokemon: Trading is a great way to get more Pokemon, especially the ones that aren't in your game version (i.e Sword/Shield exclusives). And some Pokemon only evolve through trading. You can trade over the internet or locally. Regular trades require both parties to agree to what's being traded while Surprise Trade involves both parties putting in any Pokemon they want. You can read about both kinds of trading in our How to Trade Guide

Weather: Weather Effects can effect the battle! And certain moves (such as Rainy Day (Rain)) and abilities (like Pelipper's Drizzle (Rain)) can cause a Weather Effect. Check our Weather Guide for details. Certain Pokemon only appear in certain Weather Conditions. To see this info, you can hover over Pokemon name in your Pokedex and press "X" to see their Habitat. For instance, Corsola's Habitat is limited to one area of the Wild Area when it's Overcast/Cloudy.

Base Stats and Battle Stats: Pokemon have Base Stats such as HP, Attack, Defense, Sp. Attack, Sp. Defense, and Speed. But they also have Battle Stats such as Accuracy and Evasion. By paying attention to these stats you can train your Pokemon to excel in one area over another. You can change the stats by EV training, read our guide for more details. Speed can be one of the most important stats because it determines which Pokemon attacks first.

Natures: Each of the 25 Natures, with the exception of five, will increase one Base Stat by 10% while decreasing another Base Stat by 10%. You can change a Pokemon's Natures with Mints. For more information, check out our Natures guide.

Different Moves and How They Relate to Stats (i.e Special Move, Physical Move, Status Move, Max Moves): All Physical attacks use the Attack stat to deal damage, while the Defense stat is used to resist that damage. Just the same, all Special attacks use the Special Attack stat to deal damage, while the Special Defense stat is used to resist that damage. There may be select moves that crisscross the stats, but they're rare.Status attacks are moves that modify stats or inflict Status Conditions on other Pokemon. Types may not play a role when using these kind of Attacks. Sand-Attack (a Ground-type move) can hit a Flying-type Pokemon, but Thunder Wave (an Electric-type move) cannot hit a Ground-type Pokemon. For everything you need to know about moves, check out our Move Dex.

Pokerus: When a Pokemon has Pokerus, it will earn double the EV points from any method - whether during a battle or Poke Job. This desirable virus is extremely rare. Your best chance of getting it is through trading. Jump to that section of our EV training guide for more.

Abilities: These Abilities can grant various powers, such as a Type boost when the Pokemon's HP is low, or automatic Rain. Some special Pokemon can have Hidden Abilities that can only be obtained from Event Pokemon or from Pokemon caught during Max Raid Battles. Check out the new abilities added to Pokemon Sword and Shield.

TMs vs TRs: Both of these items teach moves to your Pokemon. TMS and TRs can't be used on just any Pokemon (there are type restrictions) but it's always clear which you can use them on when you select the item. TMs can be reused over and over again, unlike TRs (Technical Records). Here are all the TM locations. TRs are one-time use items. There's no surefire way to find or obtain a particular one, but there are things you can do in the Wild Area to find them. Here's a list of TRs.

Friendship: Friendship is a hidden Pokemon stat that is required for some Pokemon to evolve. Friendship has other benefits. For instance, Pokemon with High Friendliness towards you are more likely to avoid fainting (keeping at least 1 HP when enduring what would've been a final blow so that you "won't be sad"). Friendly Pokemon may even give you items when you're camping! But just because friendship is "hidden" doesn't mean it's impossible for you to figure out. There's a friendship checker NPC you can talk to to figure out your Pokemon's friendliness level. Friendship can be increased through feeding them certain berries, feeding them curry, playing with them, and much more. For all the ways to increase Friendship and everything else you need to know about this stat: check out our Friendship guide.

Cooking Curry: While camping you can cook curry. Feeding your Pokemon curry can restore their HP, heal status conditions, and make them Friendlier towards you! And completing your CurryDex can give you rewards such as extra ingredients and more toys to play with your Pokemon in Poke Camp. Everything you need to know about Curry can be found on our Curry Tips, Curry Ingredients Locations List, and Complete Curry Dex page.

Poke Jobs: In the Galar Region, it's common for people and Pokemon to work together to the point where you can send Pokemon out on jobs to earn XP. You can send any Pokemon out on a job but you want to send ones with the preferred type for the job. It will often be clearly labeled on the job listing. However, sometimes the job doesn't explain what type is needed but for those we have you covered in our comprehensive Poke Jobs Guide.

Max Raids: Max Raids occur in the Wild Area by walking up to dens. They're a great way to get extra rewards, Pokemon with good stats, and sometimes Pokemon who can Gigantamax (different from Dynamaxing). For more, check out our Max Raid Battle Guide.

Advanced Help: Becoming the Very Best Like No One Ever Was

While some of these topics have been discussed above you can dig into all the details by jumping to the following pages:
For more help with Pokemon Sword and Shield be sure to check out our wiki guide which includes a full walkthrough.

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How To Start Like a PRO In Pokemon Sword and Shield

Beginner Tips and Guides
This page is a page for beginners who are new to Pokemon. Here you will find explanations of game mechanics and other game features. Getting stuck in Pokemon Sword and Shield? Read on to find our tips and guides for beginners!

Starter Pokemon.jpg
Whether you are new to the game or a veteran Pokemon player, you will need some recommendations on how to make decisions at the beginning of the game as most of these will make a huge impact on the entirety of your Pokemon adventure.

Fortunately, you can check the link below for a guide on having a good start!
Things to Know Before Starting Pokemon

Screen Size.jpg
There is no in-game method to adjust the screen size; however, a setting is available through the Nintendo Switch home menu.
How to Adjust Screen Size

starter pokemon
The very first question every trainer is faced with when beginning their journey Fire, water, or grass? While each Pokemon has its strengths and weaknesses, no one can deny that not all starters are equal!
Which Starter Should You Choose

All 3 Starters
Maybe you decided that it was too hard to choose between those three adorable little Pokemon, so now you want them all. Well, you are in luck, as this guide will show you the quickest way to get all three starters in this game.
How to Get All Starters

Changing Clothes
Galar is home to tons of Boutiques and Salons, allowing you to change your look and outfit on a whim! Find out how you can become a trend setter in Galar.
How to Change Your Appearance

Changing Uniform
A variety of Uniforms are available for your character to wear, and you can even mix and match parts of them to match your outfit! Represent your favorite Pokemon type!
How to Change Your Uniform

Whether you are new or a returning fan to the series, there are likely a couple type affinities that you do not have memorized. If you are still after all these years not sure how to beat Fairy-type Pokemon, see the link below!
Type Effectiveness and Damage Output

Fishing is another way of encountering wild Pokemon that might be a perfect addition to your team. Check out the link below for more information about Fishing and what you can get from it!
How to Fish and Battle Water-Type Pokemon

Wild Pokemon_2
Everybody at some point or another has run away from a fight. There is no shame in it! If you would like to know how to run away, and what factors play into this mechanic, see the link below!
How to Run Away

How to Build the Best Team.png
As your roster of Pokes expands, you are going to have to make some cuts to your team in order to cover your bases. But how can you decide? See the link below to find out!
Building the Best Team

Training Pokemon.png
Now you have gotten your starter, and you know where its strength lies. But the question moving forward is how to train the best Pokemon possible. Read on to find out how!
Train Pokemon Like a Pro

At every point in a trainer's journey, they must encounter a Legendary Pokemon, and if they are wise, they will want to capture it. See our guide on legendaries to learn which Pokemon you can obtain and how to get them!
Catching Legendary Pokemon

How to Stop Evolution Banner.png
Stopping an evolution of a Pokemon can help them learn moves at a lower level than when evolved.
How to Stop Evolutions

Release Pokemon
Sometimes you need to let Pokemon go for reasons, like making space for your storage boxes. Just remember that when you release Pokemon, you can not get it back!
How to Release Pokemon

How to get more pc boxes banner.png
Increase the number of PC Boxes for storing your Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield.
How to Get More PC Boxes

Add Friend Banner.png
Pokemon Sword and Shield has no friends feature within the game itself, but you can use your Nintendo Switch Profile to add friends, which can be accessed indirectly within Pokemon Sword and Shield's Y-Comm feature.
How to Add Friends

How to Play Ranked Battle.png
Battle in single or double battles with other Trainers all around the world, and make your way to the top. See our guide to learn how to play Ranked Battle!
How to Play Ranked Battle

Online Battle 4.jpg

Not sure of which Pokemon are available to use in Ranked Battle? Want to see if your Gigantamax Pokemon is fair to play? Learn all the detailed rules and legal Pokemon for the current series of Ranked Battle!
Ranked Battle Rules and Eligible Pokemon

How to Use the Y-Comm.png
The Y-Comm is an optional feature that lets you connect with other Trainers locally or online. Learn how to get the Y-Comm to unlock more in-game features.
How to Get and Use the Y-Comm

Trade and Battle with Friends.png
The game is more fun with your friends! Learn how to do Link Trades and Link Battles in our guide.
How to Battle and Trade with Friends

Pokemon Camp.jpg
Play with your Pokemon and visit other trainers' camps in this new feature. Bond with your Pokemon and receive EXP points and raise your friendship level with them!
How to Pokemon Camp with Friends

Receiving the Fresh Ball.jpg
Collect toys to play with your Pokemon at your camp! Fill up your Curry Dex get them rated by the Camping King, and collect all the toys!
How to Get Toys

How to Make Best Curry banner.png
Making the best curry will give your Pokemon Exp Points and increase their happiness.
How to Make Best Curry

How to Get Money Fast.png
Held items, Pokemon moves--there are a lot of ways to get money fast! See our guide on tips and tricks and earn those Poke Dollars.
How to Get Money (Poke Dollars) Fast

Things to Do Every Day.png
Want to take a break from the usual routine? Go around Galar and check out shops and areas that refresh daily.
Things to Do Every Day

List of Useful Characters Header.png
From free items, to Pokemon trades, to Move Tutors, this guide's got everything you need to meet helpful NPCs around the world of the game!
Useful Characters and Their Locations

Unrepeatable Events Header.png
Surely you do not want to mess your Pokemon experience by making the wrong decision.

See the list of unrepeatable one-time events in the game Sword and Shield and make the choices that matter!
List of Unrepeatable One-time Events

Mystery Gifts Header.png
Do not miss the chance to receive time-limited gifts available in the game.

See our up-to-date list of Mystery Gift Codes.
List of All Mystery Gift Codes

Dynamax and Gigantamax
Don't get confused! Dynamax and Gigantamax are similar, but have their differences. All Pokemon in the Galar region are capable of Dynamaxing, but only a selected few have Gigantamax forms. See the link below to learn more.
Differences Between Dynamax and Gigantamax

Pokemon Box Link.jpg
For the first time in the series, players can access their Pokemon Box anywhere to instantly switch out their party! Take advantage of this to handle a variety of situations.
Access Pokemon Boxes on the Road

How to Get Sweets.png
Sweets are a new kind of Evolutionary Held Items used to evolve Milcery to Alcremie.

Alcremie has over 50 forms in the game, and the Sweet given to it will determine its head decoration and eye color!
How to Get Sweets

Removed Features
Sword and Shield have new features, but there are also old features in the Pokemon series that aren't present in the game. Read on to learn more.
Removed Features

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14 Pokemon Sword and Shield tips you'll need to complete the Gym Challenge

Before you dive headfirst into the British-inspired world of Galar to discover all it has to offer, why not prepare yourself with our handy Pokemon Sword and Shield tips? After all this is a brand new Pokemon game that aims to change things up a bit - although not too much for old-school Pokemon fans - so you might need a helping hand or two. So, without further ado, here's our top Pokemon Sword and Shield tips to take with you on your Gym Challenge journey.

1. Catch everything new you see in the Wild Area

The Wild Area is the shining star of Pokemon Sword and Shield, offering budding trainers a wealth of Pokemon to catch and discover. But the Pokemon that appear in each of the regions of the Wild Area will depend on the weather conditions that are currently happening there. So if you see something you want to add to your Pokedex wandering/fluttering/swimming there, you should catch it while you can. After all the weather might change and mean that it's not going to appear there again for a little while. 

2. If in the Wild Area a Pokemon is called "strong-looking" you won't be able to catch it yet

However, that comes with a caveat. Pokemon Sword and Shield puts a level cap on the wild Pokemon you're able to catch. This rises with each Gym Challenge completed - basically going up five or 10 levels with every Gym Leader you beat - but initially, it'll limit what Pokemon you are able to catch in the Wild Area. But instead of you having to check your Trainer Card or remember what you're current catch level cap is, any Pokemon you approach in the Wild Area that's described as "strong-looking" is way above that. You'll be able to battle them for some serious XP, although it'll be a struggle, but you won't be able to catch them - or even attempt to.

3. Don't get greedy for berries 

Berries are an important part of Pokemon Sword and Shield. Not only can they be held by your Pokemon and consumed during battles, but they make up the base of the Pokemon Camp-created curries that will heal your Pokemon en masse, and boost their morale. You'll find berries by shaking trees, but beware. If you played Pokemon Sun and Moon on the 3DS you'll know about this potential risk, but for those of you who skipped Alola, you'll need to be careful because amongst the berries you'll regularly find a wild Pokemon. Shake the tree too much and said critter will fall from the tree, triggering a Pokemon battle that'll give other wild foes to swoop in and steal the berries shaken loose from the tree lying on the ground. You'll get a few if you run from the battle or defeat the tree-dweller but the great majority will have already been gobbled up.

4. You'll want to update your Player Card regularly

There's a new feature for Pokemon Sword and Shield called the Player Card. It's basically a Pokemon Card but for your in-game character, which you can create, customise, trade and share both with character in the story, but also real-world players in the Wild Area. Create via the terminals in PokeCentres, on the front is a cute little avatar of your character, but on the back is a record of your in-game achievements: your starter choice, when you first started playing, the number of currys you've made, best rally point score, the number of Pokemon you've caught, and how many shiny Pokemon you've found. But, it won't update with your latest data unless you manually go back to the Pokemon Centre and refresh it via the terminal. You don't want to give your fellow trainers out of date info now, do you?

5. Don't forget to cook at your camp regularly

Although you might question some of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Currydex recipes, especially the ones that involve whipped cream, they are essential for caring for your Pokemon in between PokeCentre visits. Creating a great curry at the Camp will revive your Pokemon, refill their HP and make them friendlier towards you, which will regularly get you battle perks like your Pokemon withstanding an otherwise KO-worthy attack with a single HP just to stop you getting sad. Just watch that you don't burn your curry while fanning the flames, and try not to spill too much as you stir. That way you're more likely to cook a better quality curry that'll be more beneficial to your Pokemon. 

6. Investigate every glowing Pokemon Dens in the Wild Area

There are a couple of new currencies in Pokemon Sword and Shield, but the one you'll use most - aside from the regular cash - are Watts (W). This is the new currency for the Wild Area. You can use Watts to buy upgrades for your Rotom Bike, Wishing Pieces to throw into Pokemon Dens, and unique TMs. You can earn Watts by catching Pokemon and setting fresh Rotom Rally races - basically timed bike rides across the Wild Area - but the easiest way is just checking in with every glowing, rocky Pokemon Den you come across as you explore the Wild Area. Dens with energy only 'trickling out' will still net you W, while those emitting a beam of energy signalling a Max Raid battle is available will automatically gift you W. That's a lot of curry ingredients. 

7. Talk to everyone you can

If you're a long-term Pokemon fan, this will go without saying, but I'll say it just in case. Talk to everyone you meet in Galar, particularly in the Wild Area. NPCs regularly have items to gift you, Pokemon or things to trade, or just a fun fact that'll come in handy on your Gym Challenge journey. Get chatting. 

8. Don't forget to check in with the Camp Expert

One particular NPC to check in with regularly is the Camping King. He's not exactly well-signposted, but you'll find him located just to the right of the steps leading from the Wild Area to Motostoke dressed in yellow hiking gear. He'll not only be able to change the colour of your tent to a theme associated with the first Pokemon in your party, but he'll also rate your currydex. He'll give you a treat for every batch of five recipes you've discovered, including more toys for your Pokemon that have different effects on their mood. 

If you're anything like me, as soon as you've got a solid party of Pokemon to take with you along the story, catching any other Pokemon can often just be a case of filling out your Pokedex. Because of that, there are some handy toggles in the Options Menu that'll streamline the menus you have to thumb through after each catch. There are toggles to turn off the 'give nickname' option, and opt to automatically send Pokemon to a Box when your party is full. And because you've got access to all your Pokemon Boxes straight from the Pokemon section of the menu, you can afford to cut down your post-catch button clicks.

Money is a surprisingly scarce resource in Pokemon Sword and Shield, but as tempting as it might be to flog the rare items you find along your travels to the local PokeMart vendor, there's a better place to sling them. Head over to the market in Stow-on-Side, and there's a chap on the left who will buy one special item a day for serious cash. He'll buy things like Big Mushrooms, Rare Bones and more. For example, he'll buy a Star Piece for $14,, whereas a PokeMart will only give you $6, - less than half what the market stall fellow will give you. The only caveat is that he'll only buy one thing from you per day, so making cash that way takes a little longer. It's just a lot more lucrative per item. 

Your Pokedex will give you suggestions of what to catch next

One of my favourite new features is the Pokedex tweak that will give you little recommendations as to what Pokemon you should catch next. Just head into the Pokedex section of your X menu, and you'll see the 'Current Recommendations' section right there on the home screen. They're not only relevant to your current location, but will also change according to the weather conditions happening at that very moment in the Wild Area. It's a great way to get a little encouragement to tick off another 'dex entry. 

You can only change your clothes in a boutique changing room

It seems odd to put such an emphasis on being able to change your clothing, hairstyle and other customisation options in Pokemon Sword and Shield, but limit when and where you can switch out your style. You can only tweak your look in the changing room at any boutique, and your hair and makeup at a salon. It's a little frustrating not to have an option just there in the menu. 

And never your uniform

That's an even bigger frustration when it comes to your uniform. With every Gym Challenge you beat, you'll earn that Gym's uniform. But, instead of being able to switch it out for the official striped number you get given at the beginning of the game, it can only be used as your main everyday outfit. Disappointing right?

Don't forget to collect your reward Pokemon

There are four reward Pokemon that you can unlock for free (sort of), if you know how to get them. 

First, there's the special Gigantamax Eevee and Gigantamax Pikachu, which you can unlock if you have save data for Pokemon Let's Go Eevee and Pikachu respectively on your Switch. If you tick that box, head over to the Wild Area train station and speak to the boy and girl standing in the corner there. The girl will give you Pikachu if you played Let's Go Pikachu, and the boy will have Eevee for Let's Go Eevee players. 

Then there's Long Meowth - aka the normal Kanto form Meowth, who just happens to get very long when in Dynamax form. Anyone who buys Pokemon Sword and Shield will be able to redeem it between launch day on November 15, and January 15, Go to the Mystery Gift portion of the menu, then hit 'Get a Mystery Gift', then 'Get via Internet', and you'll be able to get your Meowth. 

Finally, you can also get a Mew. But, there's a catch. You'll need to buy a Poke Ball Plus, as there's one hidden inside. If you buy one, to redeem your Mew you can go again to Mystery Gift and opt for 'Take a Stroll with Poke Ball Plus'. Once you have synced the ball to your game, you'll receive Mew. However, a small but important note, if you've already redeemed your Mew in Pokemon Let's Go, you won't be able to get another one. You will be able to trade yourself Mew from Let's Go to Sword and Shield when Pokemon Home launches in

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Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for over seven years, and for GamesRadar, she is in charge of reviews, best lists, and the overall running of the site and its staff. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! 

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