Pokémon Sword and Shield — What’s the Difference? The Short Buyers Guide

January 8, 2020

Are you thinking about buying one of the new Pokémon game? Don’t know which one to get? Don’t have time to read a bunch of articles going into detail what is different? Great! This is a short, no bullshit article to help you decide which one to buy.

What is Pokémon?

It’s an entertainment franchise. It’s a games, TV-shows, movies, toys etc. It takes place in a universe where animals are replaced with creatures called Pokémon. Yes, humans eat Pokémon. Also some people train Pokémon to fight each other and beat gym bosses to climb to glory. Try not to think about the fighting too much, it’s not cruel as long as you are not an asshole towards your Pokémon apparently.

There were originally 150 Pokémon, but with each generation they added more. Sword and Shield are the 8th generation and with them, there are now 890 Pokémon. Holy shit, that’s too many! Well lucky you, these are the first games that don’t have all the previous ones, so you only need to catch 400 different Pokémon.


So, you’re a Pokémon trainer now! You walk around the neighborhood with your trusty Pokémon, fight other Pokémon and throw Pokéballs at them when they are weakened, but not fully dead, trapping them into a tiny lightless prison that is the Pokéball. Like I said earlier, don’t think about it too much. When you fight wild Pokémon, your Pokémon grow stronger and you can finally demolish every other trainer in your path, beat all the gym bosses and become the greatest trainer on the planet!

Just remember the to catch all the Pokémon, because that is the purpose of the game. Gotta catch ’em all.

Exclusive Pokémon

Like I said, there are exclusive Pokémon depending on the game you have, so here’s a handy spreadsheet what old Pokémon are exclusive to which game:

Previous generation exclusives

Galarian forms

Some old Pokémon have also gotten a rework. A lot of them are super boring and you shouldn’t care about them, but there are two that you want to care about: Farfetch’d and Ponyta/Rapidash.

Farfetch'd and Sirfetch'd

In Sword you can get Farfetch’d and it’s new evolution: Sirfetch’d. I don’t know about you, but somehow this bird with a leek sword is really cool.

Ponyta and Rapidash

In Shield you can get this glorious Ponyta/Rapidash. Ever had a dream that you rode an unicorn made from cotton candy and marshmallows? Me neither, but seeing these Galarian forms of Ponyta and Rapidash will make me have one of those dreams.

New Pokémon


There are 3 exclusives in both games. Sword has Flapple, male Indeedee and Stonejourner. Shield has Appletun, female Indeedee and Eiscue. Only one of them is cool (pun intended) and it’s Eiscue. It’s a penguin with an ice cube for a head. It’s stupid and awesome at the same time!


Like with every generation, we have new legendaries. You can see these on the box art and promo material. So you get to choose from one of two fierce doggos. Sword has Zacian and Shield has Zamazenta, really rolls of the tongue.

Zacian and Zamazenta

Other exclusive things you might or might not care about


Sword has a fighting gym and a rock type gym. In Shield those are replaced with a ghost type and an ice type gyms.


Yeah, you can cook and eat with your Pokémon too. This means that there are obviously exclusive foods in the game too.

Bob's Food Tin and Bach's Food Tin

I don’t care about these and neither should you, but Sword has the round one and Shield has the flat one.

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