As the Pokemon franchise is aimed at not only keeping older players engaged with a game series they have played since their early childhood but also drawing in new players, Game Freak has to make sure that the latest Pokémon games are both complex enough for returning players but easy to understand for new ones.
Pokemon Sword & Shield manages to find a decent balance between complexity and simplicity, but there are still aspects of the generation eight games that many players, including long time fans returning to the series once again, may not realize and result in them wasting precious time.
10 Using Weight-Based Moves in Max Raids
Attacks that deal damage based on the opponent’s weight have been around for a long time, with moves such as Grass Knot and Low Kick being fairly prominent both in standard gameplay as well as some competitive formats. Considering Dynamax Pokemon have vastly increased weight values, it seems like a no-brainer to use those attacks in a Max Raid battle, but Game Freak had other ideas. Unfortunately, weight-based attacks will always fail when used against a Dyanamax or Gigantamax Pokemon, most likely to prevent players from making those battles too easy.
9 Using Multi-Hit Moves in Max Raids
One of the most annoying aspects of Max Raid battles is when the opposing Pokemon will bring up shields once their HP has hit certain thresholds, reducing damage and preventing any secondary effects occurring from Max moves. The most obvious solution to this would be to use a multi-hit move like Bullet Seed or Double Slap, but this won’t have the result most players would have expected. No matter how many times a move hits, a multi-hit move will only break one section of a Max Raid Pokemon’s shield, meaning it often takes multiple rounds to break through them.
8 Not Taking Some In-Game Trade Options
For the most part, in-game trades aren’t worth the trouble as there are often easy ways to find the same Pokemon in the wild without having to lose one of your own at the same time. Some games in the series have notoriously bad in-game trades, such as Ruby & Sapphire, but Sword & Shield actually has a few decent ones.
Aside from the roaming trader in the Isle of Armor, there are trades available for hard to find and catch Pokemon such as Togepi and Duraludon, both of which are great both during the main game and in online battles as well.
7 Defeating The Pokemon League For Money
In the past, the best way to grind for money in the post-game was to defeat the Pokemon League over and over again. In Sword & Shield, there is a much easier and faster way to obtain money in the Wild Area. Several NPCs in the mainland Wild Area will sell the player Pokeballs in exchange for Watts, including Luxury Balls. Unlike other Pokeball varieties, Luxury Balls sell for substantially more money and a full bag of 999 Luxury Balls will sell for well over 1 million when taken to a Pokemon Center.
6 Buying Vitamins From The Pokemon Center
The Wyndon Pokemon Center is one of the easiest places to find EV increasing vitamins in the game and was the main place you would buy these items if you didn’t want to use the Pokejobs mechanic instead. However, with the release of the Isle of Armor DLC, there is a vendor where these items can be bought much cheaper, though only if you buy in bulk. The drink vending machines inside the Master Dojo have a nice addition in that the cost of vitamins is reduced substantially if you buy them in lots of 25 and can save the player a lot of money in the long run.
5 Not Learning About Date Hacking
One of the earliest exploits found in Sword & Shield that is useful for just about everything is something known in the community as date hacking. This involves simply changing the Switch’s date settings and advancing the date one day forward while inviting other players in a Max Raid then that a Wishing Piece has been used on. This will not only reset the Raid Den and allow the player to easier search for the exact Pokemon they want, but also move the in-game clock forward 24 hours and allow whole-day Pokejobs to be finished in just over a minute.
4 Egg Move Breeding
A subtle change to breeding mechanics was added in Sword & Shield that could have had potential for making competitive Pokemon much easier when it comes to egg moves, but it’s not as straightforward a mechanic as players are led to believe. The general idea is that instead of having to make a Pokemon egg that knows an egg move, the parents are able to learn these moves off of one another and cut out the egg hatching process altogether.
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Unfortunately, this process only works if both Pokemon are of the same species, meaning the player would have had to have bred one of those egg moves the old fashioned way beforehand and doesn’t allow for easy transfer of egg moves between different species of Pokemon.
3 Not Doing Several Early Raids
Once the Wild Area opens up to the player, even the basic Max Raid battles that are available are somewhat difficult at first, since the player’s Pokemon are usually at quite a low level. However, that doesn’t mean these raids shouldn’t be attempted regardless, as there are ways to get around this level difference. The easiest way is to go online and invite other higher level players to the Max Raid for an easy win, though you can also simply do the much easier Max Raid battles first to obtain some XP candies and work your way up to the harder ones. This allows you to not only get some strong Pokemon early on, such as Larvitar or Togepi, but also great TRs like Dazzling Gleam or Flamethrower before the first gym battle.
2 Not Using A Support Role In Dynamax Adventures
After doing hours of regular Max Raid battles, it can be very tempting to jump into Dynamax Adventures with no clear strategy, since the majority of late-game Max Raid battles are beaten by brute force and type advantage rather than any real strategy. In Dynamax Adventures, however, this is a good way to lose quickly and you may miss out on some bonus Dyanite Ore rewards because of fainted Pokemon. Normally bad Pokemon picks such as Comfey has a great role as a healer and mediocre Pokemon like Poliwrath has access to Coaching, which increases all other Pokemon’s attack and defense by one stage, making them both harder hitting and harder to knock out.
1 Not Using Pokedolls
Once the Wild Area opens up to the player, it can be very tempting to catch several strong roaming Pokemon like Onix or Snorlax, but players will quickly realize that the game will prevent them from being caught until more badges have been acquired. While this could have been better offset by simply making the Pokemon disobedient in the same way as traded Pokemon, this also means that the player’s Pokemon are more likely to be knocked out in battle, which is where Pokedolls come in. Having almost no use in previous games, these items are actually very useful in the early game for running from wild Pokemon that are too strong to either catch or defeat.
Next: Pokemon Sword & Shield: How To Evolve Galarian Farfetch’d (& 9 Other Things You Need To Know About It)
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Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.
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