Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower guide – how to win battles, rank up, rent teams, and more

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower is well worth investing your time into. Once you've beaten Leon, and successfully caught your first of the Pokemon Sword and Shield Legendaries, you'll unlock the Battle Towers in the Galar region. 

The Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower stands in the place of the Rose Tower, offering offline battles that gradually escalate in difficulty. Once you stard pushing up the ranks, you'll need the best Battle Tower team in Pokemon Sword and Shield possible, especially as there are plenty of rewards to be gained by grinding through it all. Keep reading for Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower tips you'll need to succeed. 

Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower ranks explained

(Image credit: Nintendo)

There are eleven ranks in the Sword and Shield Battle Tower, separated into five different tiers: Beginner's Tier, Poke Ball Tier, Great Ball Tier, and Master Ball Tier. 

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Beginner Tier: Ranks 1-3 
  • Poke Ball Tier: Ranks 4-6 
  • Great Ball Tier: Ranks 7-9 
  • Ultra Ball Tier: Rank 10 
  • Master Ball Tier: Highest rank

In order to rank up, you need to win battles. Although the first few ranks should be a walk in the park for most players given that your endgame team likely includes powerful starter and Legendary Pokemon, it gets progressively more difficult as you go along. You also have to fight Leon every time you’re on the verge of ranking up in both Single and Double Battles, which each have their own individual ranking avenues to follow. To help you on your way to becoming a Master Ball Tier champion, we’ve compiled some Sword and Shield Battle Tower tips and tricks.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower tips and tricks

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The first thing you need to realize is that Battle Tower battles are split into two distinct groups: Single Battles and Double Battles. The former allows you to choose just three Pokemon as opposed to a full party of six, whereas the latter permits you to bring a team of four.

Your opponents obviously have the same amount of Pokemon as you and all Pokemon have their levels decreased to 50, with their stats being adjusted accordingly. Pokemon who are below level 50 don’t receive any buffs though, so make sure your Pokemon are at least level 50 before you even consider entering the Battle Tower. If you don’t have any Pokemon you’re interested in using, you can rent one of five teams from the person at the counter on the right-hand side of the building. It’s a really good idea to do this if you’re new to competitive battling, as it will teach you the importance of held items, prediction based on type matchups, and powerful Pokemon who are part of the competitive meta. 

The five teams are as follows:

  • Basic Team: Rillaboom, Cinderace, Inteleon, Gengar, Haxorus, Togekiss 
  • Skill Team: Gyarados, Kommo-o, Falinks, Tyranitar, Duraludon, Grimmsnarl 
  • Tough Team: Snorlax, Dragapult, Mimikyu, Rotom, Hippowdon, Aegislas 
  • Rain Team: Pelipper, Ludicolo, Barraskewda, Raichu, Ferrothorn, Seismitoad 
  • Slow Team: Lucario, Oranguru, Hatterene, Torkoal, Dhelmise, Copperajah

Renting these teams is massively beneficial to ranking up in the Battle Tower, and will also give you an indication of how to go about online battling. The Skill Team is the most well-rounded, but learning how to use weather teams like the Rain Team will not only teach you how to use the environment to your advantage, but also how to counter opponents attempting to do the same. There are also plenty of excellent Pokemon to experiment with across all five teams, including Togekiss, Tyranitar, Aegislash, Ferrothorn, and Lucario. 

If you don’t want to rent a team, make sure you take a few things into account when building your own. Pokemon should always be both EV and IV-trained, which means their stats need to be maxed out if they’re to be effective in battle. You can earn items that help with this by battling in the Battle Tower and earning BP, which can then be spent in the Battle Tower shop. You also unlock the IV Checker at rank 4 in the Battle Tower, which enables you to see exactly how naturally powerful your Pokemon is. The best way to make sure your Pokemon have great stats across the board is to breed them at the Day Care Centre. There’s one in the Wild Area and another on Route 5, which means you can breed two pairs of Pokemon at a time and hatch eggs just by cycling between the two.

There’s also an option to Hyper Train your Pokemon at the Battle Tower. This allows you to correct weak stats, but requires rare items called Bottle Caps. You can buy these for 25 BP - bear in mind wins only net you 2 BP, so 25 is quite steep - or have the Digging Duo go on expeditions for you. The digger closest to the day care is the one who can, potentially, find Bottle Caps, and, in very rare cases, Gold Bottle Caps. It costs 500 Watts to send him out, but that’s a cheap price to pay when it means increasing the stats of your Pokemon and ascending to Master Ball Tier in the Wyndon Battle Tower.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower rewards

(Image credit: Nintendo)

There is a wide range of rewards on offer at the Sword and Shield Battle Tower. The aforementioned Bottle Caps are an important item to focus on if you want to build a team that is competitive-ready, but you can also get valuable held items like the Choice Scarf, the Focus Sash, Leftovers, and many more. On top of this, you can spend your BP on special mints that change the nature of your Pokemon. For example, a Gyarados with a nature that favours Special Attack over Attack isn’t ordinarily ideal. If you feed it the right mint, you can correct its nature and ensure that it prioritizes Attack at the expense of Special Attack, converting it into the physical sweeper it was always supposed to be. 

Aside from Mints, here’s a list of items that you should really focus on getting. They work well with almost any team composition and are incredibly valuable to have in your possession. You can buy them at the shop in the Battle Tower itself.

  • Choice Band - 25 BP 
  • Choice Specs - 25 BP 
  • Choice Scarf - 25 BP 
  • Assault Vest - 25 BP 
  • Life Orb - 25 BP 
  • Weakness Policy - 20 BP 
  • Focus Sash - 15 BP 
  • Air Balloon - 15 BP 
  • White Herb - 15 BP 
  • Mental Herb - 15 BP 
  • Power Herb - 15 BP 
  • Light Clay - 15 BP

All of the above items have concrete importance in the competitive circuit and are tried-and-tested components of successful teams. It’s important to note that you can also use BP to purchase items in the Hammerlocke Pokemon Centre, which has unique evolution items. However, you can find the majority of these in the Wild Area, and even get some from the Digging Duo. As a result, it’s frankly a waste of hard-earned BP in most cases.

You’ll also earn rewards from winning in the Battle Tower. Every 10 wins you should receive an item on top of your BP for that battle. These items include rare Berries like Starf Berries, PP Ups, Bottle Caps, and Mints.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower teams

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you’re serious about making the best Battle Tower team in Sword and Shield, you can work with most decent Pokemon. It’s very obvious that a Grookey isn’t going to be quite as effective as a Rillaboom (although in some cases, Pokemon like Clefairy can outshine the all-grown-up Clefable if you give it an Eviolite, which boosts the defensive stats of unevolved Pokemon). 

It’s a good rule of thumb to prioritize synergy. This is twofold: in some cases, you might decide to make a weather team. A rain team will have a lot of Water Pokemon, which naturally means you’ll have a massive grass and electric weakness. However, there are ways around this: dual-type Pokemon can resist things they would usually be weak against - consider Pelipper, who is a Water-type but is also half-Flying, meaning that Grass isn’t super-effective against it. Also, a rain team can have non-Water benefits, too. For example, Thunder has 100% accuracy in rain, meaning that a strong Electric-type is an absolute must for a rain team. 

If you’re not going for weather control then you’ll want to focus on type coverage. There’s a reason the Champion in most Pokemon games doesn’t have a type-oriented Gym Leader’s team. They’re well-balanced - if you have a Gengar, you’ll likely want to steer clear of Ghost-types for your remaining five slots. This is so you don’t have massive weaknesses that can be exploited by a single Pokemon. If you realize too late that four of your six Pokemon are part-Fire, you won’t be able to do anything about the opposing Gyarados that’s sweeping your entire team.’

If you want to reach Master Ball rank and have enough BP to buy items to your heart’s content, you ideally want six Pokemon with different types. Even if you can only bring three into battle, you’ll want a wide range to choose from. 

In online battles, bulky tanks like Ferrothorn are excellent. In the Battle Tower you should prioritize speed or brute force. Tyranitar is a very safe pick (although Larvitar is exclusive to Shield, so you’ll have to trade for one if you’ve got Sword). Gyarados is good as always, while Steel-types like Aegislash and Lucario are particularly strong this generation. 

That’s all you need to know about the Sword and Shield Battle Tower: where it is, what it is, why you should be battling there, and how to build a team to do so. If you follow the advice in this guide about which items to buy and how to build a successful team, you’ll be at Master Ball Tier in no time and have a team ready for online play to boot.

Still trying to be the very best? Here's how to soft reset Pokemon Sword and Shield. You can also check out the latest series entry – Pokemon Legends: Arceus – or the upcoming Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, which is set to launch in 2022.

Pokemon Sword and Shield review | Pokemon Sword and Shield tips | Pokemon Sword and Shield differences | Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex | Pokemon Sword and Shield starters | Pokemon Sword and Shield Currydex | Pokemon Sword and Shield gym leaders | Pokemon Sword and Shield camping | Pokemon Sword and Shield fossils | Best Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield | Pokemon Sword and Shield type chart | Pokemon Sword and Shield Poke Jobs | Pokemon Sword and Shield Battle Tower | Pokemon Sword and Shield glowing Pokemon | Pokemon Sword and Shield Mystery Gift codes | Gigantamax Pokemon | Pokemon Sword and Shield TM locations | Pokemon Sword and Shield legendaries | Pokemon Sword and Shield shiny hunting | Pokemon Sword and Shield evolution items | Pokemon Sword and Shield rare Pokemon | Pokemon Sword and Shield evolution items

Cian is a freelance journalist based in Ireland. He's written for numerous publications including USA Today, TheGamer, The Guardian, Washington Post, Verge, Vice, Polygon, Eurogamer, and GameSpot. He's a huge fan of The Witcher and other RPGs like Dragon Age.

With contributions from