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.
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.
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.
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.
The following moves have been confirmed:
|Max Strike||Normal||Lowers opponent's Speed|
|Max Flare||Fire||Creates harsh sunlight|
|Max Geyser||Water||Creates a rain shower|
|Max Lightning||Electric||Creates Electric Terrain|
|Max Overgrowth||Grass||Creates Grassy Terrain|
|Max Knuckle||Fighting||Raises Attack of user's team|
|Max Airstream||Flying||Raises user's Speed|
|Max Rockfall||Rock||Creates a sandstorm|
|Max Darkness||Dark||Lowers opponent's Special Defense|
|Max Steelspike||Steel||Raises user's Defense|
|Max Starfall||Fairy||Creates Misty Terrain|
|Max Guard||Protects the user from all moves, including Max moves|
Gigantamax Pokémon & moves
|Alcremie||G-Max Finale||Fairy||Heals user's team|
|Corviknight||G-Max Wind Rage||Flying||Removes field obstacles and terrains|
|Drednaw||G-Max Stonesurge||Water||Creates Stealth Rock|
|Pikachu||G-Max Volt Crash||Electric||Paralyzes all opponents|
|Eevee||G-Max Cuddle||Normal||Infatuates all opposite-gender opponents|
|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|
|Meowth||G-Max Gold Rush||Normal||Confuses all opponents and yields money after battle|
Wild Dynamax Pokémon
These Pokémon are known to appear in Max Raid Battles, as per the current trailers.