Pokemon Sword & Shield: 6 Tips To Help Get You Started
The latest pair of Pokemon games, Sword and Shield, have finally arrived. Much like previous entries in the monster-catching series, the titles take you on a lengthy journey to become the Pokemon League Champion, which involves venturing around the Galar region, capturing Pokemon, defeating rival trainers, and collecting eight Gym badges.
While the fundamentals may remain the same, however, Sword and Shield shake up the series' formula in some notable ways. Not only are there new Pokemon and items to collect, there's a vast, open-world environment known as the Wild Area where you can encounter Pokemon way above your level. If you're just getting started on your Pokemon journey, here are some essential tips that'll prove to be helpful during your adventure.
Pokemon Sword and Shield launched on Nintendo Switch on November 15. We gave the titles a 9/10 in our Pokemon Sword and Shield review and called them "the best new generation of Pokemon games in years." Be sure to check out our other Sword and Shield guides below for more tips to help you out on your journey.
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Equip the Amulet Coin or Luck Incense
Fairly early on in the adventure, you'll find a held item called an Amulet Coin. When the Pokemon holding this item participates in a battle, you'll earn twice the amount of money you normally would for winning. The Luck Incense, which you can purchase at Hulbury, serves a similar purpose when held by a Pokemon, making them invaluable for stocking up on cash quickly, especially as items like trainer outfits and TMs--which you can use to teach Pokemon new moves--can be quite pricey.
Visit Every Max Raid Den You See
As you explore the Wild Area, you'll come across different Max Raid dens dotting the landscape. When a pillar of light is emerging from one of these dens, you'll be able to take on a Dynamax Pokemon in a Max Raid Battle. Even if there are no raids occurring, however, it's a good idea to interact with any glowing dens you encounter, as you'll collect a number of Watts for doing so. This is a new kind of in-game currency in Sword and Shield that can be exchanged for certain services and goods, such as Technical Records--single-use items that can teach a Pokemon a new attack. Like TMs, however, TRs can be quite expensive, so you'll want to stock up on Watts any opportunity you get.
Sell Pearls and Mushrooms At Stow-on-Side
The Wild Area is littered with collectible items, including different sized mushrooms and pearls. Much like in previous Pokemon games, these items serve no real purpose other than to be sold for cash, but you don't want to just sell them at any Poke Mart. If you head to the twin outdoor vendors at Stow-on-Side, the one on the left will purchase mushrooms or pearls--depending on the day--for much more than they're worth at a regular shop, so you'll want to unload any that you collect here for some extra cash.
You Can't Catch Every Pokemon You Encounter Right Away
As previously mentioned, the Wild Area is home to a wide variety of different Pokemon, including some whose level will dwarf your party's. While you're free to battle these strong monsters if you're brave enough, you won't initially be able to catch them; Sword and Shield actually limit you to catching Pokemon up to a certain level depending on how many badges you have. Even if you can't catch a strong monster right away, however, there's a good incentive to try battling it, as you'll gain a ton of experience points for defeating it. Strong Pokemon will also respawn after a while, so you'll always have a chance to catch them later.
Camp Out with Your Pokemon Often
Another new feature in Sword and Shield is camping. At almost any point during your adventure, you can set up a camp, where you can play with your Pokemon and even cook curry. It's a good idea to camp out often, as playing with your Pokemon will net them experience points and raise their bond with you, which in turn will grant them benefits during battle, such as the ability to occasionally endure an attack that would normally knock them out. It's also a good idea to try your hand at cooking curry; even if you're not interested in discovering new recipes, your entire team will heal up after eating some curry, and any fainted Pokemon will be revived. If you find your team running low on HP during your adventure, camp out.
Send Your Pokemon on Jobs
Partway through the adventure, you'll have the option to send some of your monsters out on Poke Jobs. Interact with the PC at any Pokemon Center and you'll be able to see a list of Poke Jobs that are available. While the first few jobs you'll have access to will all be fairly basic, it's a good idea to send monsters you aren't actively using out on the jobs often, as they'll return after a certain amount of time with rewards, which can run the gamut from experience points to money and even rare items.