Each new Pokémon game attracts tons of attention, and the latest duo named Pokemon Sword and Shield is no exception. The Internet is full of step-by-step guides on how to succeed in training your Pokémon and becoming the Champion of Galar. The decision not to connect the game to the general Pokédex and to settle with fewer species was heavily criticized on all social media. Still, the games have become the best-selling Pokémon title for Nintendo Switch – at least, in Japan.
Let’s assume you know as little about Sword and Shield games (no typo) as possible. First of all, these are two separate games, and the difference between them (like usually in Pokémon series) is first of all about species you can find in the wild. Each one features 28 exclusive Pokémon. In addition, each game features unique Gym leaders, varying in type. There are slighter differences about Fossils and Gigantamax versions of some Pokémon. But, generally, the gameplay is the same.
Badges and How to Get Them
Here is the brief instruction on getting all the badges necessary to make it to the final combat and become the champion. Of course, there are many nuances lost, but we decided not to spoil you the pleasure of finding the way yourself (or googling it, if you wish). To get a badge, you need to reach the gym, catching the wild Pokémon on your way, and then challenge the Gym Master to win.
Grass Badge (Turffield Gym)
This is the beginning. Here your character leaves the house to select one of the three starter Pokémon and to meet Hop and his brother, the current Galar champion Leon. After the first training fight with Hop, you proceed to Slumbering Weald to encounter the first wild Pokémon and get some cash from your mother when you return. You also learn to heal your Pokémon and – finally – to catch them with Pokéballs. In Wedgehurst, you learn the local Pokédex and get familiar with Pokémart, the market where you can buy potions.
What to learn: The Berry Shop. Feed berries to your Pokémon to gain special effects in battles. Learn to defeat other Trainers to earn cash. Search for Pokémon in the Wild Area: some powerful worthy ones may appear there. Take your time to explore the Motostoke city, and don’t neglect any encounter, no matter if it’s a trainer or just a postman. Search for wild Pokémon wherever you happen to appear: on routes, in the Galar mine, or in the forest.
This is, in fact, an introduction with a tutorial, showing you the basics. The first opponents are not so hard to defeat. The introduction requires you herd some Wooloos, and it’s followed by the real gym fight. Just remember that this Gym is of a Grass type, and your opponent sends pure Grass Pokémon, so stick to Bug, Flying, and Fire attacks.
Water Badge (Hulbury Gym)
As you have gone through most learning in the previous section, this one is much shorter. On Route 5, you will be provoked into fights almost immediately; select Ground type attacks to succeed. Then take your time to explore it for hidden locations. Finally, you’ll encounter the better version of Hop, with Pokémon evolved. Search for feathers along your way.
Hulbury is a port town with a Pokémon Center, Herb Shop, and lots of hidden items to find. But what you must care about the most is Hulbury Gym. Being a Water type Gym, it will be easier to conquer with Grass and Electric attacks. But, in order to get there, you must go through water pillars, activating and deactivating them with special activation panels.
As for Trainers, Julia is easier to defeat with pure Grass attacks. So are Heather and then Lynn, though their Pokémon differ. When it comes to Nessa, the final trainer, it’s generally the same; but in the end, she will Dynamax her Dreadnaw, so prepare a similar reply of yours.
Fire Badge (Motostoke Gym)
This episode of the game is structured similarly to the previous one. No more introductory elements: there are just a route (or rather a mine), a town, and a gym. The scheme will repeat later because there is little to introduce you to. Still, the game has a lot to surprise you. This time it’s all about Fire, so prepare for Water type attacks.
In Galar Mine you will encounter Bede again; as all his Pokémon are Psychic type, you’ll easily defeat them, using Dark or Bug type against them. Then there will be a double battle where Hop will suddenly appear to the rescue; in this combat, use Bug, Fairy, or Fighting move types. Against Rail Staff Vincent, use your Water and Ice attacks. And keep searching for hidden items! (You always should, though).
The Motostoke Outskirts will greet you with new items to find and new trainers to defeat. Madame Caroline is quite different: she has two Pokémon of various types, so you need to use both Ground and Electric/Dark attacks. Then prepare some Water type against Police Officer Raymond’s Growlithe. Then another fight, and you’re there.
For Motostoke Gym, prepare your best Water type attacks. To get the Badge it, you’ll need to catch at least two wild Pokémon and defeat one more to get five points. There will be a Trainer fighting alongside with you; it won’t always be for the better, so you are to decide whether to accept or to neglect, and then do the hunting. When you’re in, fight Kabu with Water attacks.
Fighting/Ghost Badge (Stow-on-Side Gym)
This episode is richer in locations. Hammerlocke is the place where you can purchase, find, or win lots of useful stuff. As for trading, the NPCs will want your Toxel for Togepi and your Applin (soon it will return to you). In Pokémon Sword, a Tart Apple will have your Applin evolve to Flapple; in Pokémon Shield, you’ll get a Sweet Apple, and your Applin evolves to Appletun. Remember to enter this location daily to get new stuff, and get some in Hammerlocke Vault.
On Route 6, the Pokémon are various, so you’ll need Fighting, Electric, Steel, Poison, Fire, Flying, Psychic attacks, and, finally, Water. That’s where the fun starts!
Stow-on-Side is a town with various stores and shops with items changing every day (so visit them daily). Take your time to explore every corner of it; and don’t neglect trading.
The most interesting thing about it is its Gym: in Pokémon Sword it’s Fighting, and in Pokémon Shield it’s Ghost. In the Fighting gym, you’ll need Flying, Psychic, and Fairy type Pokémon. In the Ghost Gym, prepare Ghost and Dark types. No matter which version you play, Bede will reappear again with his Psychic Pokémon. So you’ll need your Ghost, Bug, and Dark types (Shield players are nervously laughing).
Fairy Badge (Ballonlea Gym)
Glimwood Tangle on your way to Ballonlea will greet you with lots of wild Pokémon to catch. The forest is dark, so use the mushrooms to illuminate it. Of course, there will be Trainers to warm up. They are numerous, so you better select the right counterparts for each time; you won’t do with just one or two attack types.
In Ballonlea Town, you’ll find lots of hidden objects and even a man who believes he is a Pokémon himself. Convince him that you are too (with a special suit), and he’ll reward you. Search for anything around; there are Mushrooms and people willing to present you some gifts.
As you reach the Ballonlea stadium, get a Love Ball from a man near the entrance. Again, you’ll need to redress in your Fairy uniform, as it’s a Fairy Gym. This also means that you’ll need your Steel and Poison attacks (and prepare Fighting or Fire, as there will be Steel opponents too!) By the way, it’s also a Pokémon quiz. During the fight, you’ll need to answer questions that pop up. The more correct answers you give, the stronger you get.
Rock/Ice Badge (Circhester Gym)
Route 7 is a warmup again. You’ll meet the inevitable Hop with a new bunch of Pokémon, and a trainer Model Mila with two Pokémon you better use Fire against. Again, watch out for items to find. Suddenly, there is Route 8 after Route 7 (what a surprise!) with Doctor Joanna and her Psychic-type Pokémon (so use Dark, Bug, or Ghost!) Then you’ll also need Fighting against Vullaby, and Ground against Togedemaru. Then you’ll need water against Hippowdon and Excadrill, and Fighting, Fire or Ground to take out Perrserker.
In Circhester, you’ll find a lot to pick or to trade, as usually. The Circhester Gym differs for the two versions. In Sword version, it’s a Rock gym, and it will take some Fighting, Grass, Ground, Steel, or Water attacks. First of all, you’ll need the Trap Detector; the gym is full of traps. Take it when proposed. Then look what your opponents have and find the Pokémon that fits the best against them.
If you’re playing the Shield version, this Gym is an Ice one. You’ll need Fire, Rock, Steel, and Fighting types. But traps remain, and Trap Detector is just as necessary.
Dark Badge (Spikemuth Gym)
This episode features probably the longest route. First, it looks like an ordinary route, with trainers to defeat and wild Pokémon to catch. Here you’ll need the Grass types. At Circhester Bay, help the guy who gave you the bike against a gang harassing him. Use Fighting types. As you finish, you get your bike upgraded, so it can ride on the water. Then search for hidden bonuses around. Then, you’ll meet some more Trainers, so you’ll mostly need your Psychic, Fairy, or Flying attacks. On Outer Spikemuth, you’ll see the chain of trainer fights that finally leads you to the Gym.
Suddenly, Spikemuth is nothing but a gym city, with the entire territory taken for Pokémon battles. The familiar gang from the Circhester Bay will meet you again, but their Pokémon are weak against Fighting and Fairy, and even Bug type. The leader, the boss of the level, will feature four powerful Dark Pokémon (luckily, no Dynamaxing). Prepare your anti-Dark stuff to win.
Dragon Badge (Hammerlocke Gym)
This episode is the shortest: you go back to Route 7, and then to Hammerlocke. Nothing to find on the route, but the Gym itself will be hard. Sebastian, the first Trainer, will feature two Pokémon of different types, so prepare your Dragon, Fairy, or Ice, and then Electric type. Then the types you need change completely; against Camilla, you will rather need Water, Ground, and Fire. The final trainer, Aria, is weak against Fairy and Fire attacks.
Easier said than done, though. And then there is a doubles fight! First you encounter Flygon and Gigalith, so meet them with Ice, Water, Grass, Fighting, Ground, and Steel. Then here come Sandaconda and Duraludon. Hope you have enough Water, Grass, Ice, Ground, and Fighting attacks to use on them.
Finishing this episode leaves you able to catch literally any Pokémon around. But it’s not the end yet. The real finale is ahead.
Champion Gym Challenge (Wyndon Gym)
The road to the championship is non-linear. First, you hit the final Route 10. It’s full of stuff to find, and it’s worth an investigation; but it’s full of Trainers as well, and, as they put out pairs, you will have to select Pokémon with different pros.
Wyndon is a large city, with even more stuff to buy, trade or pick. With all the possibilities, pay attention to the man north of the battle court; he’ll teach your starter the Ultimate Move.
The Cnampionship starts with semifinals, and the Ball Guy has a Dream Ball for you. While making your team, make sure it’s strong at such attack types as Flying, Poison, Steel, Fairy, Fighting, Fire, and Ground. When you’re through, visit the Rose Tower, with a strong Fire team. In the end, though, you’ll also need Ground (or Water, or Psychic) and Grass (or Electric) attack versus Oleanna.
Finally, to the championship match! Here are the gym leaders you have already defeated. They are Bede, Nessa, Bea, and Raihan. They all preserve their preferences, so remember where they’re from, and come to conclusions. Save your Dynamax ability for the final Pokémon, as it’s the most efficient way.
So, you’re a champion now. But the game isn’t over. You’ll need to go back to Slumbering Weald, find the right way, get the Rusty Sword (it’s necessary) and get to the Energy Plant for the final showdown. First, you’ll have to face Chairman Rose, fighting you with Steel type Pokémon. Fight them with fire!
The final Pokémon you need to fight to defeat Leon is Eternatus, vulnerable to Ice, Dragon, Psychic, and Ground. After the first defeat, Eternatus revives as Eternamax. To get him down after Dynamaxing, you’ll need the Rusty Sword you found before. This way, you’ll summon two Legendaries, named Zacian and Zamazenta. Your moves now start affecting Eternamax. The allies also increase your defense. When Eternamax is exhausted, you can use your Pokéball to catch it.
And then the final championship battle begins. This time you’ll need literally all the attack types to defeat Leon, as he has a great lot of various Pokémon. You’ll have to figure it out right there, but there is one recommendation: save your Dynamax for the final attack.
When The Fights End
Of course, this guide is far from complete. You can read more on any of the locations, Pokémon types, and walkthroughs on sites specializing in the Pokémon. We wanted it brief and compressed, so couldn’t highlight all the necessities. Another reason to skip important scenes was to let you enjoy the game (or both) in full.