Dynamax & Gigantamax

Pokémon Sword & Shield introduces a new feature called Dynamax. Pokémon using Dynamax increase massively in size and boost their power. Gym leaders will use Dynamax, and there are Max Raid Battles in the Wild Area in Galar. A secondary phenomenon called Gigantamax also exists, in which Pokémon also change form and have exclusive moves.

Sword/Shield main page

Dynamax battle mechanics

Dynamax can only be used once per battle and lasts for 3 turns, after which the Pokémon will return to normal size. Their moves also turn into powerful Max moves - there is be one Max move per type for attacking moves, plus Max Guard for all status moves. This means Pokémon can end up with multiple of the same Max move.

Max moves attack with great power but also have additional effects such as inducing a sandstorm or Grassy Terrain (see below for the full list of moves and effects). They can also strike through Protect-like moves, but do so with reduced power. The Max Guard move, however, does fully protect a Dynamax Pokémon from all moves including Max moves.

Dynamax Pokémon also ignore added effects of certain moves, such as the flinching effect of the move Fake Out. Using a Max move may also cancel the effects of barrier moves like Aurora Veil.

Max Raid Battles

Wild Dynamax Pokémon can also be encountered in the Wild Area, known as Max Raid Battles. These take place at Pokémon Dens which are signified by a red light projecting into the sky. Up to 4 trainers can connect to take part in the Max Raid Battle (if no local friends are available the game will fill the remaining slots with random characters). Max Raid Battles are ranked from one to five stars depending on the Pokémon that is encountered.

Icons on the left of the screen show which category of move (Physical/Special/Status) the teammates are using. Only one of the 4 players can use Dynamax themselves during the battle, and the ability to use it cycles between each Pokémon in turn. The 3-turn limit does not exist in Max Raid Battles.

The opponent Dynamax Pokémon may use multiple moves per turn, and it can use either its regular moves and Dynamax moves. It may also put up a barrier when its HP drops below half. The barrier has a gauge and needs to be attacked several times before the Pokémon can take damage again. Each attack drops the gauge one step; Dynamax moves drop it by two steps. When the barrier is destroyed the opponent will lose some health and its defenses drop.

After defeating the Pokémon, everyone participating in the Max Raid Battle has the chance to catch the Pokémon. Various item rewards are also given. Pokémon caught in Max Raid Battles may have their Hidden Ability.

Gigantamax

A secondary phenomenon also exists in Galar, known as Gigantamax. The basic mechanics are the same as Dynamax, but only certain Pokémon can use Gigantamax, and among those only rare specimens from Max Raid Battles will be able to use it. A Pokémon's appearance will change during Gigantamax and each species receives a unique G-Max Move.

Encountering Gyarados in a Max Raid Battle
Grookey's Max Moves
Pokémon Den where Max Raid Battles occur
Catching a Dynamax Pokemon

Dynamax moves

These are the Dynamax moves for every type and their effects:

Name Type Additional effect
Max Guard Status Protects the user from all moves, including Max moves.
Max Strike Normal Lowers opponent's Speed.
Max Flare Fire Summons harsh sunlight.
Max Geyser Water Summons a rain shower.
Max Lightning Electric Summons Electric Terrain.
Max Overgrowth Grass Summons Grassy Terrain.
Max Hailstorm Ice Summons a hailstorm.
Max Knuckle Fighting Raises Attack of user's team.
Max Ooze Poison Raises Special Attack of user's team.
Max Quake Ground Raises Special Defense of user's team.
Max Airstream Flying Raises user's Speed.
Max Mindstorm Psychic Summons Psychic Terrain.
Max Flutterby Bug Lowers opponent's Special Attack.
Max Rockfall Rock Summons a sandstorm.
Max Phantasm Ghost Lowers opponent's Defense.
Max Wyrmwind Dragon Lowers opponent's Attack.
Max Darkness Dark Lowers opponent's Special Defense.
Max Steelspike Steel Raises user's Defense.
Max Starfall Fairy Summons Misty Terrain.

Gigantamax Pokémon & moves

Pokémon Move Type Additional effect
Charizard G-Max Wildfire Fire Non-Fire types receive damage for 4 turns.
Butterfree G-Max Befuddle Bug Causes poison, paralysis or sleep to each opponent.
Pikachu G-Max Volt Crash Electric Paralyzes all opponents.
Meowth G-Max Gold Rush Normal Confuses all opponents and yields money after battle.
Machamp G-Max Chi Strike Fighting Increases critical hit ratio.
Gengar G-Max Terror Ghost Prevents opponent switching out.
Kingler G-Max Foam Burst Water Sharply lowers all opponents' speed.
Lapras G-Max Resonance Ice Halves damage from Physical and Special moves for 5 turns.
Eevee G-Max Cuddle Normal Infatuates all opposite-gender opponents.
Snorlax G-Max Replenish Normal Restores berries that have been consumed.
Garbodor G-Max Malodor Poison Poisons all opponents.
Melmetal G-Max Meltdown Steel Prevents opponent using the same move consecutively.
Corviknight G-Max Wind Rage Flying Removes field obstacles and terrains.
Orbeetle G-Max Gravitas Psychic Summons Gravity for 5 turns.
Drednaw G-Max Stonesurge Water Creates Stealth Rock.
Coalossal G-Max Volcalith Rock Non-Rock types receive damage for 4 turns.
Flapple G-Max Tartness Grass Lowers all opponents' evasiveness.
Appletun G-Max Sweetness Grass Heals status conditions of all teammates.
Sandaconda G-Max Sandblast Ground Opponent receives damage for 4-5 turns.
Toxtricity G-Max Stun Shock Electric Poisons or paralyzes each opponent.
Centiskorch G-Max Centiferno Fire Opponent receives damage for 4-5 turns.
Hatterene G-Max Smite Fairy Confuses all opponents.
Grimmsnarl G-Max Snooze Dark Makes opponent drowsy, like Yawn.
Alcremie G-Max Finale Fairy Heals user's team.
Copperajah G-Max Steelsurge Steel Scatters spikes on opponent's side of the field.
Duraludon G-Max Depletion Dragon Reduces PP of opponent's last move.
Venusaur G-Max Vine Lash Grass Non-Grass types receive damage for 4 turns.
Blastoise G-Max Cannonade Water Non-Water types receive damage for 4 turns.
Rillaboom G-Max Drum Solo Grass Ignores opponent's ability.
Cinderace G-Max Fireball Fire Ignores opponent's ability.
Inteleon G-Max Hydrosnipe Water Ignores opponent's ability.
Urshifu
Single Strike Style
G-Max One Blow Dark Strikes through Max Guard and Protect moves.
Urshifu
Rapid Strike Style
G-Max Rapid Flow Water Strikes through Max Guard and Protect moves.
Machamp using Max Knuckle
Max Raid Battle with both Pokémon Dynamaxed
Gigantamax Drednaw

Wild Dynamax Pokémon

These Pokémon are known to appear in Max Raid Battles, as per the current trailers.

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Weavile
Dark · Ice