One of the brand new mechanics in Pokemon Sword and Shield is the inclusion of Max Raid Battles, an online raid that can pit players against every single Pokemon in the game. Max Raid Battles are also the only place in the game to grab especially rare Gigantamax Pokemon, which have unique forms and moves whenever they Gigntamax themselves. There is a ton of speculation regarding how to even obtain Gigantamax Pokemon, which is why we've thrown together this Pokemon Sword and Shield raid guide.
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Pokemon Sword and Shield Raid Guide
Gigantamax Hunting - A Note About Pokemon Dens
The first thing to understand is that Gigantamax Pokemon can only be found in certain Pokemon dens in the Wild Area. Now there are 99 dens in the Wild Area, with 20 of them confirmed to contain Gigantamax Pokemon. Before you go Dynamax hunting, the question is which dens contain which Pokemon, and how do you get them to spawn?
The way the dens work is simple enough. Each den is assigned a list of Pokemon that can spawn from up to 93 different lists. These lists are done by typing, so a list that is predominantly Grass-type will spawn a Grass-type of varying quality. Each den in the Wild Area is assigned two lists: One list is considered the “common raids,” while the other list is the “rare raids.”
Each list can contain up to 12 different types of Pokemon, and range from a 1-5-star rating. Certain rare dens, however, have a 5% chance to spawn Gigantamax Pokemon that will always be at a 5-star rating. These ratings are important, as depending on the state of the raid, that Pokemon can have up to five perfect IV stats, meaning it’s stats are some of the best in the game for competitive purposes.
The difference between a common and rare den is the colored beam that spawns from the den itself. The common dens are marked by red beams, while the rare dens are marked by the thick purple beams. Each den in the Wild Area has a chance to spawn as a rare den, with one guaranteed daily when the dens reset. It is also possible one will spawn when the player clears all current active dens.
Gigantamax Hunting - Manipulating Dens
Pokemon games are no strangers to exploits, and it so happens that Max Raid Battles have a pretty significant exploit or two that you can use to help your Gigantamax hunting. There are two primary exploits: One to determine your den, and one to help duplicate raids. Determining your den is actually quite easy, requiring the player to have Wishing Pieces, which activate any inactive den of your choosing.
For the exploit to work, note that you need to turn off auto-save first. You also should set your text speed to slow to give you extra time. So here is what you do:
- Drop the wishing piece into the den of your choice.
- Press the home button after pressing Yes to save just in time to see the beam.
- Reset if you don't get the purple beam.
- Check what Pokemon you got on the purple beam. If it's a Gigantamax Pokemon, continue as normal; if not, restart the process with a new wishing piece after dealing with the den.
A second exploit can help you ‘share’ raid Pokemon with friends. For this to work, auto-save must be off as well, and players should set up a private raid with a Y-comm code for maximum effectiveness.
Here is how to share raids:
- The host player invites friends to participate in the raid.
- Play the raid as normal until the end, when players can catch the Pokemon.
- At the end of the raid, the host player then needs to reset their game before saving by going to home, quitting the game and restarting.
- After restarting, the host player should be taken right before the raid began, and can repeat the process with their friends.
Sharing raids is a similar process to item duplication and soft-resetting from previous Pokemon games. In this case, the host player doesn’t receive any rewards or even the Pokemon from the raid battle, but their friends can not only farm these items, but have increased odds in capturing shared Pokemon, as well as trade one of them to the host.
While both of these exploits don’t break the game, they do cut down on the RNG for Max Raid Battles, especially for Gigantamax Pokemon, which do have a decreased capture rate compared to most other Pokemon in Sword and Shield. Sharing raids with other players is arguably the best option for groups of friends to obtain a large number of Gigantamax Pokemon—and pretty much any Pokemon in the game for that matter—so it is a process that is well worth doing.
Gigantamax Hunting - The Map and the Pokemon Rundown
There are a grand total of 26 Gigantamax Pokemon in the game's data, with 23 of them currently obtainable. Each Gigantamax Pokemon has a special G-Max move, a more powerful version of the standard Max moves that do special effects ranging from raising and lowering stats, adding or removing hazards on the field, to just manipulating weather, terrains and more. Each Gigantamax Pokemon is also incredibly powerful when encountered, being a guaranteed 5-star rating with a low percentage chance of capture.
Each of the 20 raid dens containing Gigantamax Pokemon can be seen on the map below, which was originally created by the Japanese website Game8, a well-known guide and wiki site. The map, originally only in Japanese, has been fully translated by Pokemon Reddit user u/old_man_loli. The map has been further altered by me to show the locations of every static spot where you can find a Gigantamax Pokemon.
Only four Pokemon—Butterfree, Kingler, Orbeetle, and Sandaconda—can be found in more than one Pokemon den. A few Gigantamax forms are also version exclusive; Machamp, Flapple, and Coalossal are exclusive raid battles found in Sword, while Gengar, Appletun, and Lapras are exclusive to Shield. Because they both share dens with their exclusive counterpart, the only way to obtain them is either via trade or joining a raid battle which spawns them.
Here is the full list of Pokemon currently available via Gigantamax raids, with their special G-Max moves:
- Charizard – G-Max Wildfire: Fire-type move that deals damage and trap all non-Fire type Pokemon for four turns.
- Butterfree – G-Max Befuddle: Bug-type move that deals damage and inflict the poisoned, paralysis or sleep status condition on opponents.
- Machamp – G-Max Chi Strike: Fighting-type move that deals damage and raise the chance of critical hits.
- Gengar – G-Max Terror: Ghost-type move that deals damage and prevents Pokemon from escaping.
- Kingler – G-Max Foam Burst: Water-type move that deals damage and harshly lower the Speed of your opponents.
- Lapras – G-Max Resonance: Ice-type move that deals damage and reduce the damage received for five turns.
- Garbodor – G-Max Malodor: Poison-type move that deals damage and poisons the opponents.
- Corviknight – G-Max Wind Rage: Flying-type move that deals damage and removes the effects of moves like Reflect and Light Screen.
- Orbeetle – G-Max Gravitas: Psychic-type move that deals damage and changes gravity for five turns.
- Dreadnaw – G-Max Stonesurge: A Rock-type move that deals damage and scatters sharp rocks around the field.
- Coalossal – G-Max Vocalith: A Rock-type move that deals damage and continues to deal damage for four turns.
- Flapple – G-Max Tartness: A Grass-type move that deals damage and lowers evasiveness.
- Appletun – G-Max Sweetness: A Grass-type move that deals damage and heals the status conditions of allies.
- Sandaconda – G-Max Sandblast: A Ground-type move that deals damage and traps the opponents in a sandstorm for four or five turns.
- Centiskorch – G-Max Centiferno: A Fire-type move that deals damage and traps all non-Fire type Pokémon for four to five turns.
- Hatterene – G-Max Smite: A Fairy-type move that deals damage and confuses opponents.
- Grimmsnarl – G-Max Snooze: A Dark-type move that deals damage and then yawns, putting the opponents to sleep on the next turn.
- Alcremie – G-Max Finale: A Fairy-type move that deals damage and heals your allies.
- Copperajah – G-Max Steelsurge: A Steel-type move that deals damage and scatters sharp spikes on the battlefield.
- Duraludon – G-Max Depletion: A Dragon-type move that deals damage and reduces the PP of the last move used.
Gigantamax Hunting - Other Gigantamax Pokemon
Along with the Gigantamax Pokemon found in the Wild Area, there are also three Pokemon that can be obtained by special means: Pikachu, Eevee, and Meowth. Pikachu and Eevee are only obtainable if you have a save-file for Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee. You can grab your Pikachu and Eevee in the Wild Area train station. Meowth is a limited-edition Mystery Gift Pokémon that is only available from now until Jan. 15.
- Pikachu – G-Max Volt Crash: An Electric-type move that deals damage and paralyzes opponents.
- Eevee – G-Max Cuddle: A Normal-type move that deals damage and infatuates opponents.
- Meowth – G-Max Gold Rush: A Normal-type move that deals damage, confuses opponents, and earns extra money.
Finally, there are currently three Gigantamax Pokemon that are unavailable in the game for the time being: Snorlax, Toxtricity, and Melmetal. Of these, only Melmetal is completely unobtainable in the game, originally being revealed in the Sword and Shield data mine.
The final three Gigantamax Pokémon stats are as follows:
- Snorlax – G-Max Replenish: A Normal-type move that deals damage and restores berries that have been eaten.
- Toxtricity – G-Max Stun Shock: A Electric-type move that deals damage and poisons or paralyzes opponents.
- Melmetal - G-Max Meltdown: A Steel-type move that deals damage and makes the opponents incapable of using the same move twice in a row.
Gigantamax Hunting - Final Thoughts
There is one final thing to keep in mind when Gigantamax hunting; Sometimes, Nintendo and Gamefreak will have special events that make certain Gigantamax Pokemon more widespread in the Wild Area. This includes an increased encounter rate for selected Pokemon, who can show up in common and rare dens outside of their designated dens on the map above. This adds a bit of randomness to the Gigantamax hunting that hopefully makes the whole process more fun to participate in.
And that’s all the info we know about Gigantamax Pokemon and where they are found. Though it may be difficult to capture them all, the challenge in getting them will yield great rewards for players willing to put in the work to capturing them all. Hopefully this guide helps out in making your hunt a little easier.