Secrets of Pokémon Sword & Shield: Important information that was NOT part of the Direct

Zamazenta in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Zamazenta in Pokemon Sword and Shield

The Pokémon Sword and Shield Direct (link) revealed a lot of new features in the upcoming main series games, but a lot of the information was just touched upon or presented in a way that could be misleading. We went through the official website in hopes to clarify the confusion that surrounds Max Raids, Wild Area encounters and Dynamaxing. We’ll also touch on some of the speculation we’ve seen online.

Rotom is back as a phone


Rotom is back in a big way! In Sword and Shield your Pokédex is actually part of your Rotom Phone, a device that is a blend of Rotom and a smartphone. The phone can do a lot more than just housing a Pokedex and official examples include attaching it to your bike to make it move faster and allowing you to travel over water. Rotom Pokédex was featured in the Alola region in Sun and Moon and was known to have much darker Pokedex descriptions than previous incarnations of the all-knowing Pokemon encyclopedia. We can’t wait to read this year’s flavor text.

Max Raids

Max Raids Battles are exclusive to the Wild Area and they feature up to four players in co-op mode. You don’t actually need three other people to raid, as the game will provide three NPCs that will fight with you. Pokémon featured in Max Raids depend on the weather and location of the Wild Area and some Pokémon are exclusive to Max Raid Battles.

Max Raid bosses are Dynamaxed versions of regular Pokemon, but unlike your Dynamaxed Pokémon they will not “turn regular” after three moves. Essentially, you have to fight a boosted version of the Pokémon throughout the whole battle.

If you’re planning to raid with other players you can do it in two ways:

  • local multiplayer
  • online multiplayer – enrollment in the Nintendo Switch Online (paid) service is required for online gameplay.
Max raid battles in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Max raid battles in Pokemon Sword and Shield


Dynamaxing is exclusive to the Galar region, but it is also exclusive to specific locations in the region. Yes, that means that you won’t be able to Dynamax everywhere, but rather in select locations: only Gym Stadiums and Max Raids have been confirmed so far.

The Dynamaxing rules and effects we know so far are:

  • You can only Dynamax your Pokémon once per battle
  • In Max Raids, only 1 player can Dynamax their Pokémon
  • Dynamax lasts for three turns
  • You need the special Dynamax Band item to dynamax
  • Pokemon’s moves will be replaced by Max Moves which are determined by the type of move you had before
    • Max Moves inherit PP values their regular counterparts had before Dynamaxing
    • Max Moves are new moves that we haven’t seen before
    • Several regular moves can become the same Max Move. The official wesbite shows that Growl Normal and Taunt Dark both become Max Guard Normal, but they inherit PP of the move they were created from
    • Max Moves can have additional effects, for example Max Strike Normal lowers Speed if it hits

Wild Pokémon and the Wild Area

Similar to Pokémon Let’s Go, the Pokémon living in the regular grass will be visible, rather than jumping out while you’re walking. However, the official website has stated that some Pokémon will be hidden and marked by an exclamation sign. The website also states that Pokémon can still jump out in caves and high grass.

The Wild Area connects several different towns and cities in Galar, while also providing a higher variety of spawns when compared to other zones. Essentially this is a replacement for routes that were customary in the earlier games. It was already confirmed that spawns depend on location and weather.

Zacian, Zamazenta and ….?

Zacian in Pokemon Sword and Shield
Zacian in Pokemon Sword and Shield

After the trailer aired, a lot of online speculation started mentioning the potential of a third legendary. Here’s where that comes from. The wolf legendaries we will encounter in the Galar region are called Zacian and Zamazenta, whose names clearly draw inspiration from the CMYK color spectrum:

  • C (Cyan)
  • M (Magenta)
  • Y (Yellow)
  • K (Black)

The last scene in the trailer shows Zacian and Zamazenta guarding each other’s back, presumably fighting a common enemy. The online rumors suggest that this is a third legendary Pokémon and it is all fueled by a 4chan leak that guessed a lot of the things featured in the trailer.