Everything You Need to Know About the Pokémon Sword & Shield Expansions

July 1, 2020

When Pokémon Sword and Shield released in 2019, they faced a mixed reception from fans. While many were delighted to finally have a main Pokémon game on a home console, some aspects angered players. The chief complaints included a lack of detail in the visuals and a number of missing creatures from previous titles.

Fortunately, Game Freak and Nintendo have gone some way to fixing these problems. The announcement of two expansion packs in June was unexpected but also welcomed by fans. Especially when it was revealed they would reintroduce many of the missing Pokémon. The first DLC, The Isle of Armor, has already released and The Crown Tundra is due out this. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Pokémon Sword and Shield expansions and what to expect from future DLC.

The packs introduce brand new legendary Pokémon

Both The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra are introducing new legendary Pokémon. The first expansion includes a fighting-type in the form of Kubfu. This creature can evolve into two separate forms of Urshifu depending on how it is trained. Meanwhile, the second expansion coming this fall will have a legendary called Calyrex. This psychic and grass-type Pokémon once ruled the Galar region in ancient times.

There are also new ordinary creatures and regional variants

As well as including new legendaries, the two expansions are also making a fresh batch of Pokémon available. One such example of a regional variant is the Galarian Slowpoke, which can later evolve into other Galarian forms. The Crown Tundra will also have special Galarian forms of the Kanto legendary birds. Each of these has a unique type compared to their original versions, such as Articuno being psychic rather than ice-type.

More than 200 pre-existing Pokémon will return in both expansions

Perhaps the biggest misstep in Pokemon Sword and Shield was the small Pokédex. It was the first game that didn’t allow players to import every previous Pokémon into their party. Things are getting much better with the two expansions though. The Isle of Armor brings back a total of 107 Pokémon. These include the likes of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Azumarill. The Crown Tundra will also make a similar number of creatures available to catch once again. That means the game will contain more than 600 Pokémon. 

They contain brand new stories and areas to explore

Each of the two new expansions includes brand new areas to explore. The Isle of Armor is a large island that is filled with distinctive environments. Some examples are beaches, forests, caves, and bogs, all of which are unique to the DLC. Meanwhile, The Crown Tundra takes place in a wintry land influenced by real-life Scotland. Both expansions also have their own stories, allowing you to experience new adventures and meet fresh characters.

Pokémon can learn special moves from a move tutor

The Isle of Armor introduces a new character in the form of the move tutor. This gentleman will teach your Pokémon special moves. However, you’ll need to provide five pieces of Armorite Ore as payment. You can get this resource by searching around the island or by speaking to miners. Armorite Ore is also useful for resetting your team’s base stats so it is very useful to collect whenever you can.

New items are available to use

The first and most prominent item in The Isle of Armor is an Exp. Charm. This handy item allows one Pokémon to get extra experience from battles. That makes it incredibly useful when you are trying to level up a specific member of your team. There’s also a machine called the Cram-O-Matic. It is a special machine that allows you to combine two items to make a brand new one. You’ll need Watts from Pokémon Dens to activate it and get recipes, although you can try out different items on your own. 

Max Soup allows you to have more Gigantamax Pokémon

As part of the introduction of new Pokémon, The Isle of Armor also has additional Gigantamax forms. Many of them are not initially available to players, however. Instead, you have to collect Master Mushrooms around the island. These can then be given to a chef at the Dojo to produce Max Soup. Giving this item to certain Pokémon will unlock special Gigantamax forms. Some examples are Rillaboom and Inteleon, although there are others as well.

Pokémon can follow you around in the overworld

One of the best features of the 2018 Pokémon Let’s Go games was the ability of Pokémon to follow you around. In these titles, you could choose to have a specific member of your party trail behind you in the overworld. That feature is now available in Pokémon Sword and Shield thanks to the expansions. Whatever creature is first in your party is given the option of appearing in the overworld as you travel around.

There are lots of new clothing options to customize your character

Although it is not quite as exciting as some of the other features, the expansions will bring more customization options. Primarily, these will be in the form of additional clothes for your character to wear. There are more than 100 new clothing items coming to Pokémon Sword and Shield across both pieces of DLC. This means players can dress up in exclusive outfits unavailable in the base game. 

You don’t necessarily have to buy the expansions

Many of the new features included in The Isle of Armor don’t require you to purchase the DLC. For example, players can join Max Raid Battles that take place in the new environments. They just have to make sure that the host has the expansion. Additionally, users can also get access to the returning Pokémon. While it is not possible to catch them in the game without buying the expansion, they can be traded or imported. So if you have some of the returning Pokémon in the Pokémon Home app, you can now transfer them across.

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