As part of the Pokemon World Championships kicking off today, the Pokemon Company debuted a new trailer for the upcoming Sword and Shield, showcasing how battle dynamics are changing in these new entries. Not only does Dynamaxing play a major factor, but the new Pokemon are packing some powerful Abilities that will likely shake things up a bit.
For folks who get really into the competitive side of Pokemon, the double battles are coming back with a host of new options. Some of the new Pokemon are packing powerful new passive Abilities that can affect the pace of battle; Galarian Weezing neutralizes the Ability of other Pokemon (both friend and foe), and Corviknight's Mirror Armor reflects stat reducing abilities back at its user.
Identifying abilities will be crucial for high-level Pokemon battles, as some Pokemon might have rare Hidden Abilities. Corviknight's Mirror Armor is one of these Hidden Abilities, for example, while a Corviknight caught in tall grass would have the Pressure ability. The Pokemon blog indicates that Pokemon caught in Max Raid Battles might be more likely to have these Hidden Abilities.
If you're looking to compete against other trainers, there was also a bunch of info released today about Sword and Shield's matchmaking, for both single and doubles battles. If you have Nintendo Switch Online, you can compete in either ranked or casual battles, with the former using a ranking system to determine where trainers fall in the world's best. There are also official competitions, with a ruleset determined by the developers, or friendly, where you can set your own rules for others to play.
The big change is rental teams, which have been overhauled for Sword and Shield. While you could previously use QR codes to use rental teams, the system will be built into Sword and Shield, letting you input codes to rent teams of Pokemon you can then use in battle modes, including Ranked. As someone with a cautious interest in competitive Pokemon battles, this is a godsend. I can retool teams or just experiment with piloting the top meta lineups, without having to go through all the work to catch and train them.
Despite ongoing anger over the lack of a national Pokedex, which would have required an astronomical workload for the developers, the next entry in the series is looking pretty promising. The jump to Nintendo Switch is not just enabling big battles and Dynamaxing, but looks like its also going to try and foster a smoother onboarding process for competitive Pokemon.
Whether I get hooked or not on November 15, when Pokemon Sword and Shield hits the Nintendo Switch, remains to be seen. In the meantime, if you're looking for more info on what it's like bringing the series to Switch, read up on our interview from E3 2019 with the developers.