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Which Pokemon version should you pick - Sword or Shield?

Image via Game Freak
Image via Game Freak
Brandon Moore
Modified 03 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

The toughest choice Pokemon trainers typically have to make is which game version of any specific Generation should be chosen.

Pokemon Sword and Shield was not an exception to that. The majority of the time, players know what the exclusives of each version will be. That, along with the cover mascot of their liking, drives them to play a certain one.

In Sword and Shield, the differences are much more than previous Generations saw. Those differences don't just affect the main story, but they also deliver contrasts in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra DLC expansions.

Which Pokemon version should you pick - Sword or Shield?

Exclusive Pokemon

Image via Reddit
Image via Reddit

Trading is always a possibility, but both have extremely large lists of version exclusive Pokemon.


Pokemon Sword:

  • Deino (Dark/Dragon)
  • Hydreigon (Dark/Dragon)
  • Jangmo-o (Dragon)
  • Kommo-o (Dragon/Fighting)
  • Hakamo-o (Dragon/Fighting)
  • Farfetch'd (Normal/Flying)
  • Sirfetch'd (Fighting)
  • Zweilous (Dark/Dragon)
  • Gothita (Psychic)
  • Gothorita (Psychic)
  • Gothitelle (Psychic)
  • Turtonator (Fire/Dragon)
  • Seedot (Grass)
  • Nuzleaf (Grass/Dark)
  • Shiftry (Grass/Dark)
  • Mawile (Steel/Fairy)
  • Solrock (Rock/Psychic)
  • Basculin (Water)
  • Darumaka (Ice)
  • Darmanitan (Ice)
  • Scraggy (Dark/Fighting)
  • Scrafty (Dark/Fighting)
  • Rufflet (Normal/Flying)
  • Braviary (Normal/Flying)
  • Swirlix (Fairy)
  • Slurpuff (Fairy)
  • Passimian (Fighting)
  • Coalossal, Gigantamax Raid Exclusive to Sword (Rock/Fire)
  • Flapple, Gigantamax Raid Exclusive to Sword (Grass/Dragon)
  • Stonjourner (Rock)
  • Indeedee, Male (Psychic/Normal)

Pokemon Shield:

  • Goomy (Dragon)
  • Sliggo (Dragon)
  • Goodra (Dragon)
  • Larvitar (Rock/Ground)
  • Pupitar (Rock/Ground)
  • Tyranitar (Rock/Ground)
  • Galarian Ponyta (Psychic)
  • Solosis (Psychic)
  • Duosion (Psychic)
  • Reuniclus (Psychic)
  • Drampa (Normal/Dragon)
  • Vullaby (Dark/Flying)
  • Mandibuzz (Dark/Flying)
  • Gengar, Gigantamax Raid Exclusive to Shield (Ghost/Poison)
  • Lapras, Gigantamax Raid Exclusive to Shield (Water/Ice)
  • Cursola (Ghost)
  • Lotad (Water/Grass)
  • Lombre (Water/Grass)
  • Ludicolo (Water/Grass)
  • Sableye (Dark/Ghost)
  • Lunatone (Rock/Psychic)
  • Croagunk (Poison/Fight)
  • Toxicroak (Poisin/Fight)
  • Basculin, Blue-stripe (Water)
  • Spritzee (Fairy)
  • Aromatisse (Fairy)
  • Oranguru (Normal/Psychic)
  • Appletun, Gigantamax Raid Exclusive to Shield (Grass/Dragon)
  • Eiscue (Ice)
  • Indeedee, Female (Psychic/Normal)

Gym Leader Differences

Image via Game Freak
Image via Game Freak

In terms of in-game content outside of exclusive Pokemon, Sword and Shield actually have different Gym Leaders.

Pokemon Sword:

  • Bea, the Fighting-type leader
  • Gordie, the Rock-type leader

Pokemon Shield:

  • Allister, the Ghost-type leader
  • Melony, the Ice-type leader

Other Differences

Image via Game Freak
Image via Game Freak

Of course, the game mascots are the Legendary Pokemon available in each game. Sword provides an encounter with Zacian while Shield provides an encounter with Zamazenta.

As well, there are differences in Curry ingredients. Sword players receive Bob's food tin to cook with while Shield players receive Bach's food tin. Those are minor, but are still version exclusives.

For the Isle of Armor, the DLC rival will be different. In Sword, it is the Poison-type trainer Klara. In Shield, it is the Psychic-type user Avery.

In the Crown Tundra expansion, more version exclusive Pokemon arrive. Sword players will be able to encounter Omanyte, Omastar, Bagon, Shelgon, Salamence. Shield players will be able to catch Kabuto, Kabutops, Gible, Gabite, Garchomp.

The Dynamax Adventure Legendaries will also be different. Sword has Ho-Oh, Latios, Groudon, Dialga, Tornadus, Reshiram, Xerneas and Solgaleo, while Shield has Lugia, Latias, Kyogre, Palkia, Thundurus, Zekrom, Yveltal and Lunala.

The choice is ultimately up to the player on which version of Pokemon Sword and Shield they should play. A report did come out at the end of 2019, detailing that the Sword version sold over 150,000 more units.

That could be due to the exclusives being better, better artwork on the cover, or simply a love for swords over shields. That number could be much higher now in 2021. Choose wisely and enjoy some Pokemon.

Published 03 Apr 2021, 00:07 IST
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