Differences Between the Versions | 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 in Pokemon

Legendary Pokemon

Pokemon Sword Pokemon Shield
Zacian ImageZacian Zamazenta ImageZamazenta

Pokemon Sword and Shield revolves around the story of the two Legendary Pokemon holding a sword and shield, namely Zacian who specializes in attack, and Zamazenta who specializes in defense.

Learn more about Legendary Pokemon and how to catch them in our guide!
How to Catch Legendary Pokemon

Version Exclusive Pokemon

If you are choosing whether to get Sword or Shield, this is the perfect section to look at.

Some Pokemon are exclusive to a version, and the only way you can get them is through Trade.

Pokemon Exclusive to Sword

Pokemon Exclusive to Sword
Jangmo-o ImageJangmo-o Deino ImageDeino FarfetchFarfetch'd Stonjourner ImageStonjourner
Turtonator ImageTurtonator Passimian ImagePassimian Drampa ImageDrampa Galarian Darumaka ImageGalarian Darumaka
Cottonee ImageCottonee Rufflet ImageRufflet Gothita ImageGothita Sawk ImageSawk
Solrock ImageSolrock Scraggy ImageScraggy Mawile ImageMawile Seedot ImageSeedot
Gigantamax Pokemon Exclusive to Sword
Gigantamax Machamp ImageGigantamax Machamp Gigantamax Coalossal ImageGigantamax Coalossal Gigantamax Flapple ImageGigantamax Flapple

Pokemon Exclusive to Shield

Pokemon Exclusive to Shield
Larvitar ImageLarvitar Goomy ImageGoomy Galarian Ponyta ImageGalarian Ponyta Eiscue ImageEiscue
Appletun ImageAppletun Oranguru ImageOranguru Drampa ImageDrampa Galarian Corsola ImageGalarian Corsola
Spritzee ImageSpritzee Vullaby ImageVullaby Solosis ImageSolosis Throh ImageThroh
Lunatone ImageLunatone Croagunk ImageCroagunk Sableye ImageSableye Lotad ImageLotad
Gigantamax Pokemon Exclusive to Shield
Gigantamax Gengar ImageGigantamax Gengar Gigantamax Lapras ImageGigantamax Lapras Gigantamax Appletun ImageGigantamax Appletun

Learn how to trade with Trainers worldwide through our guide!
How to Trade With Friends Locally and Online

Pokemon With Higher Apperance Rate

This not to be confused with Version Exclusive Pokemon.

You can obtain the following Pokemon, 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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    • Playing on Pokemon shield, have a Skrelp. Looking to trade for Clauncher. Link code: 3366-5588. HMU!

    • Have: ENG 6IV shiny ditto (any nature)
      Want: 2 Non-ENG 6IV (any nature)
      Link Code: 6295 3798

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