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New training improvement features, online competitions and events announced for Sword/Shield

Doctor Oak

Staff member

We're just barely over a week away from the launch of Pokémon Sword and Shield and today we've got the first details on some improvements to the game over previous main series entries - particularly in raising Pokémon for battling - as well as the first online competition details and Gigantimax Raid events.

New Items and Features


A new set of Mint items will allow you to change the stat effects of your Pokémon to match the nature in the name of the mint. This means you can give a Pikachu with a 'naive' nature, the stat effects of having a 'modest' nature instead - a huge help in building a competitive Pokémon team.

This item doesn't change the Pokémon's nature, though - just the way it impacts that Pokémon's stats.


The nutrient items in previous games would add 10 EVs to their given stat up to a maximum of 100. That limitation has now been removed, meaning you can use these items to max out your EVs to 255 per stat entirely (so long as you have enough of them). Hopefully, the numbers of items in the demonstrating screenshots is also a sign that they'll be much more accessible and affordable this time too.

Exp. Candy

New Exp. Candy items, earned as rewards in Max Raid Battles, follow on from the much wider range of Candies in Pokémon Let's Go by coming in a range of sizes. The XL size candy gives 30,000 experience points per item in one go, so collecting these candies will make it much easier to bring your Pokémon up to Level 100 at the end of the game.

Nicknaming traded Pokémon

For the entire history of the Pokémon series, traded Pokémon could not be given a nickname by anyone other than their original trainer. Now, so long as the Pokémon doesn't already have one, you can finally give these Pokémon a nickname yourself once you've received it. It's also much easier to do so now, as each Pokémon Center in the Galar region has a Name Rater, a Move Deleter and Move Relearner in it - all now free of charge.

Egg Moves without breeding
Egg moves have been a feature of the games since breeding was introduced in Gold and Silver, but these moves - ones that couldn't be normally learned by the Pokémon through TM or level up - could only be learned by the newly hatched Pokémon and passed further down. Now, in Sword/Shield, leaving two Pokémon of the same species at the Daycare, and one of them knows an egg move (like Sylveon's Moonblast) - while the other has only 3 or less moves - the egg move will be taught to the other Pokémon, without any eggs required.

Autosave and Pokémon Boxes

The game's autosave feature has also been confirmed and detailed. By default, this feature is turned on and will automatically save your game at certain points such as when moving between cities or entering/exiting buildings. If you want to turn it off, for the purposes of soft-resetting legendary Pokemon etc, you can do so in the options menu.

Pokémon boxes will also work similarly to Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee, in that they're now accessible throughout most of the game, without needing to go to a Pokémon Center. This option will be disabled in certain areas, such as Gyms, but for the most part you'll be able to swap between your entire collection of Pokémon at any time.

Max Raid Events & Online Competitions

Finally, we have the first details on special online events happening after the games launch next week. From launch on the 15th November until "early January 2020", you'll be more likely to encounter Gigantimax Butterfree in Max Raid Battles than you normally would be. In Sword, you'll also encounter Gigantimax Drednaw more frequently, and in Shield, Gigantimax Corviknight.

To use these Gigantimax forms of Pokémon you'll need to find, defeat and capture them in these Max Raid Battles, so this is your best chance to get your hands on these forms, but they will still be available in raids after January.

The first ranked online competition for Sword and Shield has also been announced. 'Galar Beginnings' takes place between Friday 6th December and Sunday 8th December (GMT), with sign-ups available from launch until the start of the competition.

This will be a single battle competition at level 50. Zacian, Zamazenta, Mew and "some other special Pokémon" (ie: Box Legendaries and Mythical Pokémon that are within the Galar Pokédex) are not eligible.

This is the first opportunity to get Pokémon Organised Play points with Sword/Shield ahead of next year's World Championships in London, so make sure to get involved if you want to start setting up your chance to attend next August.

You will need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to take part in Online Competitions and Max Raid Battles. You won't need to subscribe to the Pokémon Global Link any more, though. Unlike previous games, you won't need to return to the title screen to enter online competitions. In Sword and Shield, the option is available from the start menu, under 'Battle Stadium'.

A full trailer of most of the above details is also available below:



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The mint and nutrient mechanics seem pretty awesome. If I can load up on nutrient items at a decent price it'd beat super training/hordes/everything else. With the nature mints and egg move mechanics... I wonder how that will impact breeding. Offhand it seems like it pretty much eliminates the need for breeding unless you breed for stats.
-OK, now I'm reading it again and the new egg move mechanics are only applicable to Pokes of the same species. Breeding for moves will still be a thing.

The exp. candies are something I'll avoid, at least 'til I beat the game. I don't care for the exp. share as it is, and this seems like it'd make the games even easier than they currently are.

Having the name rater, move reminder and deleter at every Pokemon Center is tremendous news. So much more convenient. And for free too! And the Pokemon Box feature was one of my favorite mechanics in LGP/E. Glad it's coming to these games.
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I don't even like competitive battling, but I LOVE all of these new features to make it easier for players to make your pokémon competitively viable. Now my in-game team can actually stand a chance against the super serious players I always battle online!
Lonely mints... perfect for lonely pokémon with no pokéfriends. It looks like pokeballs get their own slot again. Also large rare candy? XS candy, is that extra small? How much do does one get for that? Like a small nudge/bump? 1/4th a level up? Funny enough at first I just assumed the whole nickname thing was just a regular ordinary one from previous games ,but this one can change names of trades pokémon? That's cool I guess... you know what is really cool though?... the move reminder is free! Super cool!