Version Differences | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This page explains the differences between the two versions, Pokemon Sword and Shield, including Pokemon, items, and major characters.

Version Differences

While the story and gameplay is largely the same in both versions of Pokemon Sword and Shield, there are certain differences between each game, such as the species of Pokemon that will appear, as well as the Gym Leaders.

  1. Certain Pokemon in The Crown Tundra vary by versionNEW
  2. The rival who appears in The Isle of Armor depends on the version
  3. Certain Pokemon in The Isle of Armor are exclusive to each version
  4. Zacian and Zamazenta are exclusive to each version
  5. Certain Pokemon in the base game are exclusive to each version
  6. The appearance rates for Gigantamax Pokemon are different
  7. The fossil excavation rates for the Digging Duo are different
  8. Different items are sometimes obtained in each version
  9. Certain Gym Leaders are exclusive to each version

Version Exclusive Pokemon

Certain Pokemon appear exclusively in either Pokemon Sword or Pokemon Shield. This applies to both the base game, as well as the Expansion Pass DLC contents The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra.

For a full list of Version Exclusive Pokemon, look no further than our complete guide!

Version Exclusive Pokemon
(Crown Tundra Updated)

Pokemon With Higher Apperance Rates

Not to be confused with Version Exclusive Pokemon, the following Pokemon can be obtained in either version, but they have a higher appearance rate depending on the version.

Pokemon Appearing More in Sword Pokemon Appearing More in Shield
Vulpix ImageVulpix Growlithe ImageGrowlithe

Gigantamax Pokemon

The following Gigantamax Pokemon may be obtained in both versions, but have a higher appearance rate depending on the version.

Gigantamax Pokemon Appearing More in Sword Gigantamax Pokemon Appearing More in Shield
Gigantamax Drednaw ImageGigantamax Drednaw Gigantamax Corviknight ImageGigantamax Corviknight
Gigantamax Sandaconda ImageGigantamax Sandaconda Gigantamax Centiskorch ImageGigantamax Centiskorch

Learn more about Gigantamax Pokemon and how to catch them in our guide.
How to Obtain Rare Gigantamax Pokemon

Version Differences in Characters

Gym Leaders

Depending on your version, the gym leaders for the 4th and 6th gym will be different.

Pokemon Sword Pokemon Shield
4th Gym BeaBea AllisterAllister
6th Gym GordieGordie MelonyMelony

In Pokemon Sword, you will challenge Bea, who specializes in Fighting-type Pokemon, and Gordie, who specializes in Rock-type Pokemon.

In Pokemon Shield, you will challenge Allister, who specializes in Ghost-type Pokemon, and Melony, who specializes in Ice-type Pokemon.

Gym Leader Types and Walkthroughs

DLC Rivals

New characters will be arriving from the The Isle of Armor, available in the Expansion Pass DLC.

These rivals are training hard with the hopes of having their own Gym and Stadium.

Pokemon Sword Pokemon Shield
Klara, the Poison-type user, will be available in the Pokemon Sword Expansion Pass.
Avery, the Psychic-type user, will be available in the Pokemon Shield Expansion Pass

See all the new things appearing on The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra in the Expansion Pass DLC!
All About the Expansion Pass DLC

Version Differences in Items

Version Exclusive Items

Items Exclusive in Sword Items Exclusive in Shield
Currently UnavailableRusted Sword Currently UnavailableRusted Shield
Tart Apple ImageTart Apple Sweet Apple ImageSweet Apple
BobBob's Food Tin BachBach's Food Tin

Specific items are also exclusive to a version.

The only way to get these items is to obtain them from the other counterpart version. Have a Pokemon hold the item and trade the Pokemon.
List of All Items and Effects


You can obtain Fossils by having it dug up by the Digging Duo, a pair of brothers who can dig up rare items. They are found in the Wild Area.

Fossils Appearing More in Sword Fossils Appearing More in Shield
Fossilized Dino ImageFossilized Dino Fossilized Drake ImageFossilized Drake
Fossilized Bird ImageFossilized Bird Fossilized Fish ImageFossilized Fish

Fossil items are used to revive Fossil Pokemon.

You can obtain all Fossils, but each Fossil's appearance rate depends on your game version.
Learn more about Fossils and how to revive them in our guide!
Fossil Pokemon and How to Revive Them

Which Version is Better

For Fast Max Raid Battles, Get Pokemon Sword

Max Raid.png
Max Raid Battle is a new feature introduced in Sword and Shield, where the Legendary Pokemon, Zacian and Zamazenta are good to use.

Zacian, specifically, is effective in Max Raid Battles because of its high Attack stat; it can do a huge deal of damage to Dynamaxed Pokemon.

If you want to quickly and effectively do Max Raid Battles, go for Pokemon Sword to get Zacian.

To Get Dracovish, Get Pokemon Shield

Dracovish ImageDracovish

Dracovish is a strong Pokemon that can be revived with Fossilized Fish and Fossilized Drake, both of which have a higher chance of appearing in Pokemon Shield. It is recommended to get this version if you want this Pokemon.

The Choice is Up To You!

Although there are differences and recommendations, you can still enjoy the game and story whichever version you choose.

You can also have a friend get the other version, and complete the Dex through Trading!

Pokemon Sword and Shield Related Links

New Features
Max Raid Battles Poke Jobs
Pokemon Camp Surprise Trades
Changing Natures with Mints Auto-save
Changing Your Uniform Wild Area and
Raid Strategy
Changing Nicknames of Traded Pokemon Customizing Your
League Card
Differences Between the Versions Pokemon HOME

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