Should you buy Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield?

Sword or Shield? It's time to make the choice.

Pokémon Sword and Shield
Image via The Pokémon Company

As with every Pokémon game to come before them, Sword and Shield are going to have specific things unique to each version. Some of those features are probably going to be minimal, but some people always prefer one version-exclusive Pokémon or a legendary over the other.

We now have all of the information about exactly what Sword will have that Shield won’t, and vice versa. Here’s a list of exclusive content for each version to give you an idea of what you might be getting into with each game.

Both games will give roughly the same experience with only minor changes like a few exclusive Pokémon or a gym leader being different, but a major game feature isn’t going to be kept to only one title.

Should you buy Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield?

Version-exclusive Pokémon

Outside of preference to a pointy weapon or a firm defense, the first thing you need to look at is the exclusive Pokémon that will be included in each game. 

Version exclusives will only be obtainable in the wild or via trades in a game, meaning you’ll only find wild Larvitar in Shield while Deino will be available in Sword. You can always just trade with friends to get them whenever you want, but if you want to play through the game with a team you worked to capture and train, then this is an important choice. 

Pokémon Sword exclusives Pokémon Shield exclusives
DeinoLarvitar
ZweilousPupitar
HydreigonTyranitar
Jangmo-oGoomy
Hakamo-oSliggoo
Kommo-oGoodra
Farfetch’dGalarian Ponyta
Sirfetch’dGalarian Rapidash
Gothita Solosis
Gothorita Duosion
GothitelleReuniclus
SeedotLotad
NuzleafLombre
ShiftryLudicolo
RuffletVullaby
BraviaryMandibuzz
SwirlixSpritzee
SlurpuffAromatisse
ScraggyCroagunk
ScraftyToxicroak
SawkThroh
Basculin (Blue Stripe)Basculin (Red Stripe)
MawileSableye
SolrockLunatone
PassimianOranguru
TurtonatorDrampa
Galarian DarumakaGalarian Corsola
Galarian DarmanitanCursola
FlappleAppleton
Indeedee (Male)Indeedee (Female)
StonejournerEiscue

The legendary Pokémon 

This could technically fall into the previous category since it’s likely both Zacian and Zamazenta will be version-exclusive legendaries, but just look at Sun and Moon for a hitch in the trend that the games have followed for so long. 

Both Solgaleo and Lunala were title legendaries that a trainer could catch near the climax of the game’s story, but you could also obtain them both in either game because they’re each part of the same evolutionary line. Legendary Pokémon rarely evolve, which is why Cosmog being a key part of the story only to show it can turn into both Solgaleo and Lunala was huge. 

That wasn’t what ended up happening, but you can still choose your copy based on which one you like the best. It might not be as important as you initially think, however.

Exclusive gym leaders

Would you rather brawl with some Fighting-types or deal with some ghosts? That’s another decision you’ll need to make since Allister and his creepy demeanor are exclusive to Shield while the expert fighter Bea will challenge players in Sword

This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it’s the first time it’s specifically due to picking a different version. Emerald had Juan replace Wallace as the eighth gym leader while he went to take over the role of Champion for the entire Hoenn region. This is a similar case but will likely have less of an impact on the story. 

It’s the case for the sixth gym, too. Players with Shield will be fighting the Ice-type gym leader Melony, while Sword has the Rock-type master Gordie.

Both Pokémon Sword and Shield are out now for Nintendo Switch, which means you can pick which version to get based on the information listed above. Or you could be like most Pokémaniacs and just get both so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.

Purchase your copy through Amazon.

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