Boatload of new Galar battle mechanics revealed for Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokémon Sword and Shield will not only bring new Pokémon and a new region, but also some pretty tight new battle mechanics.

In the game, coming Nov. 15, Pokémon will have new abilities and items that they can use. Our pal Galarian Wheezing, for instance, has the Neutralizing Gas ability, which nixes the ongoing effects of other Pokémon’s abilities. The trailer above shows how this works on Rotom’s Levitate; poor Rotom plummets to the ground.

Some Pokémon — specifically ones caught in Max Raid Battles— may also have Hidden Abilities. They might also have the ability to Gigantimax (which is different from Dynamaxing). A news release said finding a Pokémon with hidden abilities would be rare; finding one with the ability to Gigantimax would be very rare, and one that could both Gigantimax with a Hidden Ability would be very, very, very rare.

Two new held items include Room Service, which lowers Pokémon’s speed when Trick Room is used, and Eject Pack, which lets a Pokémon with lowered stats swap out.

As for the mysterious new Dynamax ability, it not only causes Pokémon to grow in size, it also boosts power and lets Pokémon use Max Moves, which trigger additional effects. Max Geyser, for instance, makes it rain on the battlefield, while Max Knuckle boosts the Attack stat of allied Pokémon. Unlike Z-Moves and Mega-Evolution, any Pokémon can Dynamax, as long as the trainer has the Dynamax Band.

Additionally, the Pokémon Company announced that Pokémon Sword and Shield will be the official games used for competitive play. Players can face off in online Single or Double Battles via the Battle Stadium, in both ranked and unranked casual matches.

Two types of online competitions will allow for more online play. Official Competitions come with a preset list of rules, whereas Friendly Competitions are hosted by trainers, with customized regulations. And not only can you battle other players, you can also “rent” their Pokémon teams via the aptly named Rent Team mechanic.

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