For every generation of the mainline Pokémon series, Game Freak has introduced a new mechanic to spice up what each Pokémon region has to offer. For Pokémon Sword and Shield, that mechanic is Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing.
While in a gym battle, players will be able Dynamax their Pokémon. This results in their Pokémon growing into massive versions of themselves on the battlefield. Similarly, their abilities will be transformed into stronger attacks, which often feature secondary effects. Gigantamaxing is similar to Dynamaxing. But instead of the Pokémon growing into larger replicas of themselves, they grow into new forms of themselves—like Mega Evolution. While all Pokémon can Dynamax, only a few will be able to Gigantamax.
But gym battles aren’t the only place where players can fight massive Pokémon. In Sword and Shield’s Wild Area, players will come across pink octagonal dens. These dens store Gigantamax or Dynamax Pokémon that players can battle and capture alongside three teammates. These battles are called Max Raid Battles and feature multiple different Pokémon species depending on the area and weather where the den is located.
Players will only find Pokémon in the dens when they’re active, which is indicated by a beam of light above the den in the Wild Area. Upon approaching an active den, players will be award 300 Watts, the currency for the Wild Area. When the den isn’t active, it’ll be void of Pokémon and will be either dark or glowing pink. If it’s glowing, players can interact with the den to earn 50 Watts.
How to activate Max Raid Battle dens
Even if a den is dormant, players can still activate it for a chance of getting a specific Gigantimax Pokémon. When interacting with a dormant den, they will be prompted to use a Wishing Piece if they have one in their inventory. Choosing to use a Wishing Piece will consume the item and will summon either a Dynamax or Gigantamax Pokémon that players can then battle in a new Max Raid Battle.
Those who don’t have a Wishing Piece can purchase one from the NPCs that are scattered across the Wild Area. Wishing Pieces cost 3,000 Watts each. The most convenient NPC can be found just outside of the entrance to Motostoke City.
Once a player summons a Pokémon to a den using a Wishing Piece, they’ll be able to join Max Raid Battle as usual. Players will be able to choose a Pokémon and invite players or play with NPC teammates. Once they’ve defeated the Pokémon that appears in the den, participating players will then be able to catch the Pokémon.