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Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass Announced, Launching June 2020 and Fall 2020

The Pokemon Direct has revealed that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will be getting expansion pass DLC.

Split across two expansions that continue your adventure, both will introduce old Pokemon returning, new Galarian forms of old Pokemon, new characters, new Gigantimax forms, and new trainer customization.

During the direct, the expansions were compared to the “third versions” of past Pokemon titles (Emerald, Platinum, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, etc), and that this new content would be on-par with that.

We have also included information from the press release in the article via quote blocks.

The Isle of Armor

In this expansion, Trainers will head to the Isle of Armor, the stage of a new adventure in the Galar region. The Isle of Armor is a giant island full of environments not seen in Galar before. There players will find wave-swept beaches, forests, bogs, caves, and sand dunes. There are also plenty of Pokémon that make this island their home, living freely amid the lush natural surroundings. There’s even a dojo here that specializes in some very particular training styles. Trainers and their Pokémon will take up an apprenticeship under the master of this dojo and train hard to become even stronger.

First is The Isle of Armor expansion. Centered around the theme of growth, the expansion takes place on a sunny island off the coast of Galar. The island is home to a dojo and the mentor Mustard- a man who had also mentored Leon. He offers to mentor you, earning you a special training uniform.

A man named Mustard will appear in The Isle of Armor and will be responsible for the player’s training. He’s a legendary Trainer who held the seat of Champion for an astounding 18 years, back before Dynamaxing was incorporated into the battles of the Pokémon League. His record has yet to be beaten. In fact, Champion Leon himself trained under Mustard, and Mustard was the first one to recognize Leon’s latent talent.

You will also gain a new rival- who is also training at the dojo to become a Gym Leader with their own stadium. In Sword you will fight the Poison-Type user Klara, and in Shield you will fight the Psychic-Type user Avery.

Klara specializes in Poison-type Pokémon and is training hard at Mustard’s dojo. She’ll do just about anything to appear adorable and cute, as popularity is what she admires most of all. She goes about her days with a smile on her face, but hiding behind it is a calculating nature that she puts to very good use. Avery is one of the Trainers who strive to become stronger at Mustard’s dojo, and he is a proficient user of Psychic-type Pokémon. He is gentlemanly and well-mannered but also very proud.

The dojo will also open up new battle styles. Players can partake in Restricted Sparring, “where Trainers will be limited in what types of Pokémon they can use and forced to battle under set conditions”

It was also revealed the player will be given a new Pokemon by Mustard, the Fighting-Type Kubfu. This can eventually evolve into Urshifu, a Pokemon with two forms.

Kubfu
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Type: Fighting
Height: 2′
Weight: 26.5 lbs.
Ability: Inner Focus

Kubfu will appear in The Isle of Armor. This Pokémon is hardworking and strives to train both its body and mind. It uses each defeat as motivation, training itself with even more vigor after a loss in order to grow stronger. It has an organ that produces “fighting energy” in its lower abdomen, and before heading into battle, Kubfu will increase this energy through unique breathing techniques and intense focus. Wild Kubfu live in mountainous areas far away from the Galar region, but it was once a species that called Galar its home. It’s noted in historical texts that this species used to head to uncharted lands with people as they set out to trade or explore. Records suggest that the Kubfu living in faraway mountains today may have descended from Kubfu that became naturalized to the distant lands they visited in their journeys.

Urshifu (Single Strike Style) / Urshifu (Rapid Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Type: Fighting/Dark (Single Strike Style)/ Type: Fighting/Water (Rapid Strike Style)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 231.5 lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist

Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu after it has undergone sufficient training. It seems that Urshifu has two forms—a Single Strike Style and a Rapid Strike Style—and it appears that each form has different types as well. Urshifu in Single Strike Style form favor battling without holding anything back. When enraged, they will mercilessly attack an opponent until it is utterly defeated. A Single Strike Style Urshifu’s movements are often direct and involve rushing forward in a straight line. It will keep its distance from its opponents at first only to leap in close instantly to deliver a powerful blow. Urshifu in Rapid Strike Style form maintain a calm demeanor, observing their opponents and measuring their strength while dodging attacks. A Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will use flowing movements in battle to smoothly parry an opponent’s moves and then overwhelm the opponent with a flurry of rapid strikes.

Gigantamax Urshifu (Single Strike Style) / Gigantamax Urshifu (Rapid Strike Style)
Category: Wushu Pokémon
Type: Fighting/Dark (Single Strike Style)/ Type: Fighting/Water (Rapid Strike Style)
Height: 95’2″+ / Height: 85’4″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Unseen Fist

Single Strike Style Urshifu and Rapid Strike Style Urshifu also have Gigantamax forms. Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu looks ready to bellow in fury. People call it both “the very embodiment of rage” and “a divine emissary that banishes evil spirits with its fury.” Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will quietly maintain its stance with a calm expression. When facing this Pokémon, it seems some will become greatly agitated, feeling as if the very depths of their soul have been exposed. Yet others report feeling a sense of relief, as if they’d been cleansed of evil spirits.

While it seems likely its form will be dictated by what version you play, this was not outright stated. Urshifu will also have a new ability (Unseen fist), and new moves for each style.

It was also revealed that the Galarian Starter Pokemon final evolutions would be gaining Gigantimaxed forms.

The Isle of Armor expansion will allow Trainers to help some of the Pokémon traveling with them gain the ability to Gigantamax. This has led to the discovery of the Gigantamax forms for Rillaboom, Cinderace, and Inteleon, the Evolutions of the three Pokémon that Trainers could choose as their first partner in the Galar region.

Gigantamax Rillaboom
Category: Drummer Pokémon
Type: Grass
Height: 91’10″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Overgrow

Rillaboom’s tree-stump drum has grown rapidly—to the point that it now resembles a small forest on its own. Gigantamax Rillaboom has merged with this forest of drums and become even more powerful. It can control its sticks as if they were its own limbs and will demonstrate transcendental drumming techniques. Gigantamax Rillaboom will focus completely on playing its drums, compelled by the power welling up inside it. The sound can reach across oceans and be heard by those living in other regions. It’s said that those who hear the beat will begin to dance uncontrollably, overwhelmed by a rhythm that surges from inside them.

Gigantamax Cinderace
Category: Striker Pokémon
Type: Fire
Height: 88’7″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Blaze

The burning ball at Cinderace’s feet has grown to massive proportions thanks to Gigantamax energy. If Gigantamax Cinderace kicks the ball using its well-honed techniques, its fighting spirit will possess the ball and cause the ball to pursue opponents as if it had a mind of its own. Gigantamax Cinderace boasts incredible leg strength–in fact, its legs are said to rank among the strongest of all Pokémon. Even without its gigantic Pyro Ball, it can deliver powerful kicking moves that overwhelm other Dynamax Pokémon.

Gigantamax Inteleon
Category: Secret Agent Pokémon
Type: Water
Height: 131’3″+
Weight: ??? lbs.
Ability: Torrent

Inteleon has gained an extremely long tail thanks to Gigantamaxing. The tail’s length is said to be over 130 feet. While Gigantamaxed, Inteleon will stretch its long tail out and hold it straight to form a pillar, and Inteleon will take up a battle position at the top. This Pokémon has an incredibly sharp mind and calculates the precise effects that gravity will have on the trajectory of its shots, enabling it to be an extremely effective sniper. Inteleon has many hidden tools within its body, and these have also been enhanced due to its Gigantamaxing. The nictitating membranes on its eyes not only allow it to measure the distance to the target—they now let Inteleon detect temperature, air pressure, and even humidity. Inteleon is a skilled sniper as well—easily hitting a Berry that’s rolling around over nine miles away.

It should be noted that in the base game, Gigantimaxed Pokemon had to be caught- it was not a skill that could be taught to a Pokemon. As it states the player can “help some of the Pokémon traveling with them gain the ability to Gigantamax,” it may imply more than just the starter Pokemon can learn to Gigantimax.

The direct briefly mentioned the addition of more Tutor Moves, which the press release elaborates upon as “New tutor moves that have never been available in past Pokémon core series games.” This likely means some moves that could never be taught to Pokemon before can now be taught- possible some moves that could not even be transferred to Sword and Shield.

In addition, players can earn an EXP Charm (granting more EXP earned), customize their Bike, and the return of Apricorns to make berries- a feature originally in Pokemon Gold, Silver, and Crystal (and their remakes).

Finally, this segment focused on what seems to be Gigantimax forms for Venusaur and Blastoise. This likely means both will be returning in the expansion (along with their pre-evolutions). However, we have no word at this time if they are version exclusives or not.

The Crown of Tundra

This expansionis set in the snow-swept realm of the Crown Tundra. The Crown Tundra features a beautiful shining, silvery landscape. In this frigid area, with its jagged winter mountains, people live in small communities where they support and rely on one another. A certain person will appoint the player as the leader of their exploration team in the Crown Tundra, where Trainers will be tasked with investigating the reaches of this frozen land. Here, Trainers will be able to explore the full depth of Pokémon Dens, which they’ve so far only been able to glimpse in Max Raid Battles.

The second expansion pass is dubbed The Crown of Tundra. Focused on the theme of exploration, this area is cold and harsh to live in.

The player becomes part of an exploration team by a currently unknown man to help explore the land, and even roam in to Pokemon Dens. You also gain exploration gear.

 

Pokemon Dens could be briefly seen in Max Raid battles, but never explored. Now, players can explore them in a new co-op mode, and even come across Dynamaxed Legendary Pokemon from past games.

New Legendary Pokemon will also appear, with what appears to be Pokemon that highly resemble the “Regi Trio” (Regirock, Regice, and Registeel) and the Legendary Birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres). Due to their designs lacking any swirling dark clouds or emphasis on being “tall”, it seems these could be brand new Pokemon.

While it is plausible for the birds to be Galarian versions of the Legendary Birds, the “new regis” look so vastly different they are more likely to be new Pokemon. The birds also seem centered around a tree (something mention in the direct as being special due to being so out of place). The Regis meanwhile seem to be in a temple, as the announcement trailer shows what appear to be temples for each of the Regi Trio, and then a special “conjoined” temple.

A new legendary Pokemon was also officially revealed- Calyrex. The Psychic and Grass-Type is rumored to have once ruled over part of Galar, including the Tundra.

Calyrex
Category: King Pokémon
Type: Psychic/Grass
Height: 3’7″
Weight: 17 lbs.
Ability: Unnerve

Trainers will encounter Calyrex in The Crown Tundra. This Pokémon ruled all of Galar in ancient times. Though it appears delicate and slight, its every move is filled with grace and dignity. It also has extremely high intelligence, and it’s said to see every past, present, and future event.

Both Expansions

Both Expansions were confirmed to have open maps much like Galar itself- a Wild Area with towns, cities, and dungeons between. Max Raid dens will also be present, and players can still invite players that have not bought the expansion.

The expansions will bring back old Pokemon, with Director Shigeru Ohmori specifically stating “There will be more than 200 Pokemon species that appear in these areas.” Whether this means around 200 Pokemon per expansion or over 200 across both expansions is unknown.

Looking at the trailer and the official website, the following Pokemon were confirmed. Those we are unsure about we have placed in italics (categorized based on other promotional artwork):

The Isle of Armor

Kingda, Lycanroc, Volcarona, Zorua, Dedenne, Azurill, Chansey, Magnezone, Talonflame

The Crown of Tundra

Nidorino, Beldum, Aurorus, Cryogonal, Garchop, Elekid, Crobat, Sealeo

It is also highly likely their prevolutions, evolutions, and alternate forms will also be present.

The press release also mentions “Trainers will meet a lively array of diverse Pokémon, from newly discovered Legendary Pokémon and new regional forms to familiar Pokémon that have been seen living in other regions.” That last part may imply Alolan form Pokemon will be available.

Both expansions also show new customization options,with the press release stating there would be “over one hundred new clothing items.” Some costume pieces in the announcement trailer also highly resemble items worn by characters from across the series.

The press release also mentions “Players will need to have reached the Wild Area in Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield in order to begin their adventures on the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra.” Being a player’s Pokemon can be around level 10 at that stage, and most players have likely beat the game by now, it is unknown what level the wild and opposing trainer’s Pokemon will be in either expansion.

Base Game Updates

The base game of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield will also be updated at the time of the expansion’s releases, allowing players to still obtain the new Pokemon via trade (and presumably fight against them in online battles).

This will also allow Pokemon species that appear from those expansions to be transferred from past games to Sword and Shield via Pokemon Home.

An update today (introducing new Gigantamax Pokemon in Max Raid Dens) will also show Clara or Avery appearing in Wedgehurst Station. Players will then run across a Galarian Slowpoke which they can catch.

Galarian Slowpoke
Category: Dopey Pokémon
Type: Psychic
Height: 3’11”
Weight: 79.4 lbs.
Ability: Gluttony / Own Tempo

The Slowpoke of the Galar region used to eat the seeds of a certain plant that grew in their habitat. These seeds were in fact Galarica seeds, used to this day as an essential spice for cooking in the Galar region. The Slowpoke in Galar built up particles of this spice in their bodies over several generations, eventually gaining the unique appearance and behavior they are known for today. Galarian Slowpoke spend their days wallowing on seashores and riverbanks without thinking about anything in particular. Occasionally, they might get a very sharp look in their eyes, but they will soon revert to their zoned-out expression. It’s thought that this behavior is caused by the accumulated Galarica particles stimulating Galarian Slowpoke’s brain, resulting in it thinking of something tremendous—only for the Galarian Slowpoke to immediately forget what it had just thought of.

This Slowpoke can evolve into Galarian Slowbro via an item in The Isle of Armor, or Galarian Slowking via another in The Crown of Tundra. During the Pokemon Direct, the Galarian Slowpoke is also seen using Acid, a Poison-Type move. Whether this is an indicator of either evolution being Psychic and Poison-Type is unknown.

However, in the announcement trailer, we do get a brief glimpse of what seems to be Galarian Slowking.

The first expansion, The Isle of Armor, will launch June 2020. The second, The Crown of Tundra, will launch Fall 2020. Both can be pre-purchased for $29.99 each today. Those who purchase will also gain a Pikachu Uniform and an Eevee Uniform as a bonus.

Keep your eyes on us as we analyze the new footage.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are out now on Nintendo Switch. In case you missed it, you can find our review here.

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Ryan Pearson

About

Taking his first steps onto Route 1 and never stopping, Ryan has had a love of RPGs since a young age. Now he's learning to appreciate a wider pallet of genres and challenges.