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First Online Competition and Event Revealed for Pokémon Sword and Shield

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Pokémon Sword and Shield is out next Friday, November 15, and Nintendo has already announced a limited time event for certain Gigantamax Pokémon, as well as the first online competition.

Beginning November 15 through early January 2020, trainers will more likely encounter Gigantamax Butterfree in Max Raid Battles. Max Raid Battles are found via glowing Pokémon Dens in the Galar Region. They’re large-scale boss battles for four players online, each with a single Pokémon trying to take down a powerful Dynamax, or Gigantamax Pokémon.

Dynamax Pokémon have increased size and stats, while Gigantamax go a step further, changing their appearance and adding a powerful new G-Max move. Only select Pokémon have Gigantamax forms.

In addition to Gigantamax Butterfree, Pokémon Sword owners will see an increase in Gigantamx Drednaw Raids, while Pokémon Shield has Gigantamx Corviknight. Both are brand new Pokémon coming in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

The first online competition for Pokémon Sword and Shield is called Galar Beginnings. The competition can be accessed directly from the X menu. It’s a single battle, one-on-one format with teams of three Pokémon each. All Pokémon will be balanced to level 50, and certain Pokémon (most likely Legendaries) won’t be allowed. The Galar Beginnings competition will be available from November 15 to December 5.

Note that online play requires a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company have also confirmed and announced many features coming in Pokémon Sword and Shield, including several welcoming features from last year’s Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee. Pokémon Sword and Shield will finally have an autosave function, allow you to give nicknames to traded Pokémon (provided they don’t already have one), and swap out Pokémon without having to go to a Pokémon Center.

Pokémon Sword and Shield will arrive on November 15 on Nintendo Switch. It’s rated E for Everyone.

Pokémon Sword and Shield Touring Cross Country with Galar Visitors Center

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Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are kicking off a promotional tour around the United States for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, beginning with PAX West next weekend. Galar Visitors Centers are pop-up locations that feature tour guides, photo opportunities, and themed swag.

“Discovering a new region is part of the fun of diving into a new Pokémon adventure,” said Nick Chavez,  Senior VP, Nintendo of America. “With this tourism-themed activity, we want fans of all ages to explore the region and learn about the people, places and things that make Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield so special.”

Visitors will be able to participate in fun activities and earn promotional items like postcards and brochures. If you show proof of pre-ordering the games, you can receive a special luggage tag. There will also be numerous Galar-themed photo opportunities.

The first Galar Visitors Center will appear at the PAX West show floor in the Washington State Convention Center. Although the Visitors Centers themselves won’t actually feature demos of the games to play, the Nintendo booth at PAX will feature playable demos.

Locations for the Galar Visitors Centers are very limited, but more locations will be added in the future.

  • PAX West (Seattle, WA), Aug. 30 – Sept. 2.
  • Lost Angeles County Fair (Pomona, CA), Sept. 11-15.
  • State Fair of Texas (Dallas, TX), Oct. 10-14.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are launching exclusively on Nintendo Switch on November 15. Pre-orders are available now, including a double pack that includes both games.