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

The following moves have been confirmed:

Name Type Additional effect
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

Pokémon Move Type Additional effect
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
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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