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Pokémon Sword and Shield Starter Evolutions Revealed

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Pokémon Sword and Shield have already been out for two weeks, and Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are just now officially revealing the evolutionary forms of the three starter Pokémon, as well as announcing another Gigantamax-capable Pokémon.

Grookey, the Grass-type monkey starter, evolves into Thwackey at level 16. Thwackey is known as the Beat Pokémon, and its held stick is now split in two which it wields like a drummer. At level 35 Thwackey evolves into Rillaboom, the Drummer Pokémon who is now a full-grown gorilla, who uses its sticks to beat on a tree stump drum.

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The rabbit Fire-type Pokémon Scorbunny evolves into Raboot at 16 and begins specializing in kicking attacks. At level 35 it evolves again into Ciunderace, the Striker-Pokémon. Despite definitely looking like a Fighting-type hybrid, Cinderace remains a pure Fire-type Starter through all three evolutions, a rarity among Fire starters.

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Finally there’s perennial sad-suck amphibian Pokémon Sobble, who evolves into an emo-lizard form at level 16 called Drizzle. Drizzle reaches its much improved potential at level 35 when it evolves into the Secret Agent Pokémon Inteleon, a suave anthropomorphic chameleon.

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The newest Gigantamx Pokémon has also been revealed: Snorlax. Rarely when encountering a Snorlax in a Max Raid Battle, you’ll find one in a different form – that’s a Gigantamax Snorlax. Gigantamax Snorlax is so large and sedentary that an entire woodland park has grown on top of its belly, including a berry tree.

Giganamax Snorlax has the unique move G-Max Replenish, which replaces any of its Normal-type moves. G-Max Replenish deals damage as well as restoring any Berries that its allies have eaten during battle.

Pokémon Sword and Shield is available now on Nintendo Switch. It’s rated E for Everyone.

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Explore the Galar Region in Pokémon Sword and Shield, Out Now

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It’s a historic day for the long-running and incredibly prolific Pokémon series. Pokémon Sword and Shield are out today on Nintendo Switch, the first main series Pokémon game ever released on a home console – though, of course, the Switch is also a handheld.

Like previous generations, Pokémon Sword and Shield present an entirely new region filled with Pokémon. The Galar Region is modeled after the United Kingdom, featuring locations and themes inspired by the sports-loving country.

Trainers can choose between three starter Pokémon: Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble, and embark on a journey to become the very best, like no one ever was.

In addition to the standard Pokémon catching and turn-based battling, Sword and Shield add a host of new features and gameplay elements, and of course, lots of new Pokémon. Trainers can grow their Pokémon to extreme size and power via Dynamax, while select Pokémon will transform into more powerful forms called Gigantamax.

The Wild Area stretches for the length of the Galar Region, and features free-roaming Pokémon a la Pokémon Let’s Go, as well as online co-op Max Raid Battles against super-charged Dynamax Pokémon. Other welcome features include auto-saving, swapping out Pokémon in the wild, and being able to nickname traded Pokémon. Hardcore competitive trainers should be pleased to learn that Pokémon stats and Nature can be changed by feeding Mints and supplements.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are available separately for $59.99 in physical stores and digitally on the Nintendo eShop, as well as a dual-pack that includes both games. Purchasing the double pack also includes a special offer of two codes, one per game, that allows you to face off against Dynamax Larvitar and Dynamax Jangmo-o in Max Raid Battles.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are rated E for Everyone.

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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.