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Pokemon Sword and Shield differences: Exclusives, legendaries, gym leaders and more

pokemon sword and shield differences
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

If you're new to the franchise, you're probably wondering what the Pokemon Sword and Shield differences and exclusives are for each of the games. Pokemon has traditionally had two versions of what are almost identical games, and Pokemon Sword and Shield are no different. There's different Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders, slightly different Pokemon in the Pokemon Sword and Shield Pokedex, Gigantamax appearances, Legendary Pokemon, and more. We've got the complete breakdown on all of the Pokemon Sword and Shield exclusives and differences right here, so you know which one to buy before you go ahead and pick it up.

Pokemon Sword and Shield differences: Zacian and Zamazenta

(Image credit: Nintendo)

As is the norm, there are two Pokemon Sword and Shield Legendaries, with one exclusive to each version. Zacian, the one with a sword in its mouth, will be exclusive to Pokemon Sword. Guess which game Zamazenta will be in... Pokemon Gun! No, we're kidding; Zamazenta will be obtainable in Pokemon Shield. Both Legendaries are available through the game's main storyline. 

There is also a third Legendary called Eternatus, which is obtainable in both Pokemon Sword and Shield. 

Pokemon Sword and Shield differences: Exclusive wild Pokemon

Pokemon Sword and Shield exclusives

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

In each set of Pokemon games, there tends to be a few wild Pokemon that are exclusive to that specific version. For example, Pokemon Red had Ekans, Oddish, Mankey, Growlithe and a few more, while Blue had Sandshrew, Vulpix, Meowth, Bellsprout, and then some. That pattern has continued throughout the series, and it's the same for Pokemon Sword and Shield too. The only way to obtain the missing Pokemon in the other versions is by trading. Here's the full list of Pokemon Sword and Shield differences when it comes to wild Pokemon.

Pokemon SwordPokemon Shield
1
DeinoLarvitar
2
ZweilousPupitar
3
HydreigonTyranitar
4
Jangmo-oGoomy
5
Hakamo-oSliggoo
6
Kommo-oGoodra
7
GothitaSolosis
8
GothoritaDuosion
9
GothitelleReuniclus
10
SeedotLotad
11
NuzleafLombre
12
ShiftryLudicolo
13
RuffletVullaby
14
BraviaryMandibuzz
15
SwirlixSpritzee
16
SlurpuffAromatisse
17
ScraggyCroagunk
18
ScraftyToxicroak
19
SawkThroh
20
Basculin (Blue Stripe)
Basculin (Red Stripe)
21
MawileSableye
22
SolrockLunatone
23
PassimianOranguru
24
TurtonatorDrampa
25
Galarian Farfetch'dGalarian Ponyta
26
Sirfetch'dGalarian Rapidash
27
Galarian DarumakaGalarian Corsola
28
Galarian Darmanitan
Cursola
29
FlappleAppleton
30
Indeedee (Male)Indeedee (Female)
31
StonjournerEiscue

Pokemon Sword and Shield differences: Gym leaders

Pokemon Sword and Shield differences: Allister & Bea

(Image credit: The Pokemon Company)

Another aspect of Pokemon Sword and Shield that will have some slight differences is with the gym leaders. There are two sets of Pokemon Sword and Shield Gym Leaders that will change according to which version of the game you have:

Stow-on-Side (Badge number four)

Pokemon Sword: Fighting Type Gym Leader, Bea
Pokemon Shield: Ghost Type Gym Leader, Allister

Chirchester (Badge number six)

Pokemon Sword: Rock Type Gym Leader, Gordie
Pokemon Shield: Ice Type Gym Leader, Melony

Max Raid Battle encounters 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The new co-op multiplayer mode Max Raid Battles see up to four players take on a Dynamax Pokemon in the Wild Area. But on some rare occasions, you may encounter a Gigantamax Pokemon. During specific periods of time, there'll be an increased chance to meet a Gigantamax Pokemon, and which version you have will have a part to play regarding the Pokemon you may meet. 

The official Pokemon website has revealed that from November 15 - January 2020, Pokemon Sword players are more likely to encounter Gigantamax Drednaw, while Pokemon Shield players have a higher chance of encountering Gigantamax Corviknight. The Pokemon you may encounter are set to change over time for both versions. 

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