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Gotta Catch Them All: A Guide to Rare Pokémon in Sword and Shield

Gaming article by Robert Grosso on Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 08:00
Guide
Developer
Game Freak
Publisher
Nintendo
Release Date
November 15, 2019
Multiplayer modes
Online, Online Features
Platforms
Nintendo Switch
Monetization
One Time Purchase
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
Amazon nintendo.com

Looking for Rare Pokémon? Read on.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are out now, and folks are already scouring the Galar Region for new friends and Pokémon on their journey to become Galar’s Champion. Like every game in the series, Pokémon Sword and Shield has a ton of unique Pokémon and locations to uncover, with an abundance of rare monsters to find in the wild. 

Some of these rare finds include returning Pokémon from previous games, while other encounters are brand new Pokémon to find. The question though is where to go to catch them to add them to your team? Hopefully this guide helps you find some of the rarest Pokémon in the game. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: A Note About Locations

Pokemon Sword and Shield Key Art
A quick primer to rare Pokémon locations.


What constitutes a rare Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield? Most of the Pokémon on this list are either located only in one location in the game, or have an incredibly low encounter rate across a few locations. Some Pokémon are exclusive to fixed in-game Routes, while others are only found in specific Wild Area zones during certain weather conditions. 

A lot of the Pokémon on this list will have an encounter rate of 10% or less. Please note this does not include every single Pokémon who could constitute a rare encounter, as some are scattered across several locations with different percentage chances attached to them. A few of the Pokémon can also be found in fixed locations during the game’s storyline.

Lastly, it should be noted that almost every single Pokémon in the game has a chance to be involved in a Max Raid Battle. The mechanics of Max Raid Battles are still being discovered at this time, though it is believed each Pokémon den in the game has an ‘encounter table’ similar to the overworld that governs it. 

With all that out of the way, let’s go through each Pokémon. The list will be based on route order, then end with rare Wild Area Pokémon. 

 


Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 3 - Sizzlipede

Sizzlipede Pokedex


Type: Fire/Bug
Rarity: 1% in the Grass (May vary)
Other Locations: None

Sizzlipede is actually one of the earliest rare Pokémon you can get in the game, and arguably one of the rarest to find in the wild. Located only in Route 3 on the wild (save for Max Raid Battles) this tiny Fire/Bug type is definitely a potent attacker that is well worth adding to your team if you need some extra firepower. 

Probably to compensate for the rarity, Sizzlipede also has a special encounter during the third gym challenge against Kabu, giving players a better chance at capturing one outside of route 3. The only catch is that players will have to wait longer for it, though patience is always a virtue in Pokémon. 

One more thing to mention about Sizzlipede is that the encounter rate can possibly be manipulated. There are currently unconfirmed reports that any Pokémon with the Flash Fire ability at the head of the party increase the presence of Fire-types encountered in the grass. This also includes overworld encounters, such as wild Vulpix and Growlithe, which are also on Route 3 with middling rarity. There is no way to confirm if this rumor is true, except to try it out for yourself and see if more Sizzlipede show up.

 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 4 - Pumpkaboo XL

Pumpkaboo Pokedex

Type: Grass/Ghost
Rarity 1% overworld (XL-size only)
Other Locations: Hammerlocke Hills, Giant’s Mirror

Pumpkaboo is a returning Pokémon from Generation 6, and is unique among most of the encounters in this game due to the vast size differences you can encounter. The big gimmick for Pumpkaboo is it comes in four different sizes, which directly affect their stats for competitive purposes. The small, normal and large size versions, while having various degrees of rarity in the overworld, pale in comparison to the rarity of what is arguably the best form of Pumpkaboo, the XL-size. 

Pumpkaboo-XL across the board is a 1% encounter rate wherever Pumpkaboo is found. Route 4 is the earliest location to find it, with two Wild Area sections, Hammerlocke Hills and Giant’s Mirror, offering a chance to find the ghostly pumpkin as well. Hammerlocke Hills depends on the weather conditions, while Giant’s Mirror will only see Pumpkaboo in normal weather.
 

 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 4 - Eevee

Eevee Pokedex

Type: Normal
Rarity: 1%-5% overworld (version differences)
Other Locations: None

Everyone’s lovable Eevee gets a special mention for being only found on Route 4. Eevee will roam around on the overworld with a 1% chance of spawning in Pokémon Sword, while Pokémon Shield yields a 5% chance. Interestingly enough, Pikachu takes the place of the counterpart to Eevee, being a 1% spawn chance in Shield, and 5% spawn chance in Sword

What’s interesting is that Eevee’s multiple evolutions are scattered across the game as well, though it is only in the Wild Area as strong spawns. All of these Eevee’s are uncatchable until you complete some of the story, but it does offer a quicker version to grab an Eeveelution. 

It should also be noted that players who have save data of Pokémon Let's Go can also get a guaranteed, Gigantamaxed version of Eevee and Pikachu. Players will need to talk to the couple located in the station right before entering the Wild Area for the first time. If you have save data for Let's Go Eevee, you get the special Gigantamax version of Eevee, and vise-versa for Let's Go Pikachu. It is a guaranteed spot that arguably gives you a stronger version of Eevee to use. 

 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 5 - Applin 

Applin Pokedex


Type: Grass/Dragon
Rarity 10% in the grass
Other Locations: Dusty Bowl, Giant's Mirror, Stony Wilderness

Applin is a brand-new Grass/Dragon-type that thankfully has a higher encounter chance than most rare Pokémon in the game. First encountered on Route 5 and located, depending on the weather, in three different sections in the Wild Area, Applin is an odd choice for this list not because the Pokémon itself is rare, but rather because of how to evolve it is rather difficult.

Applin has a split-evolution, with the split evolution being version exclusives to Sword and Shield. What’s more, Applin’s evolution is governed by version-exclusive items. The Tart Apple, available only in Sword, evolves Applin into Flapple, while the Sweet Apple, found exclusively in Shield, evolves Applin into Appletun. 

So why are they on this list? The two apples you need to find are rare items in their own right. Outside of one given to you that can be located only in the city of Hammerlocke. Players will need to give a boy near the left exit of the city an Applin, who will in turn give the player either the Tart or Sweet apple depending on their game. Players can repeat this process several times, and farm apples this way for trade bait and for raising a competitive Applin.

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 6 - Trapinch 

Trapinch Pokedex


Type: Ground
Rarity 1%-5% overworld (version differences)
Other Locations: Hammerlocke Hills (Shield Only)

Trapinch returns from Generation 3, and once again is a rare find in a Pokémon game. This time around, much like Eevee before it, Trapinch is an overworld find that varies depending on the game. Also, like Eevee, Pokémon Sword gets shafted with a 1% chance to find Trapinch, while Pokémon Shield gets the higher 5% chance. 

Unlike Eevee, Trapinch does make an appearance in the Wild Area in Hammerlocke Hills. The catch, however, is that Trapinch can only be found during a Sandstorm, with a 2% chance to capture in Pokémon Shield. Pokémon Sword is compensated with Axew in place of Trapinch here. 

 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 8 - Falinks

Falinks


Type: Fighting
Rarity: 2% in the grass
Other Locations: Lake of Outrage

One of the new Pokémon in Sword and Shield, Falinks, is a creature that, contrary to its centipede-like appearance, is a group of smaller Pokémon who fight as a unit. What’s unique about Falinks is their location in Route 8 is also a special encounter that is fixed, marching in formation across the map at various points.

Otherwise, Falinks can be found at a 2% chance in the grass, or at the Lake of Outrage in the Wild Area. Players have a better chance of finding Falinks in the Wild Area with a 4% chance, but only during overcast weather. This makes Falinks one of the rarest Fighting-types in the game, even rarer than another singular route Pokémon like Hawlucha. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 9 - Pincurchin

Pinccurchin Pokedex


Type: Electric
Rarity 5% in the grass
Other Locations: None

Another new Pokémon, Pincurchin is a random Electric-type found with a bunch of Water-types along the route. Pincurchin is a unique encounter because it’s only a 5% chance to find in the grass, and like other rare Pokémon, is only found on Route 9 outside of Max Raid Battles.

Pincurchin is also a unique Pokémon because it’s the only one in the game with the Electric Surge ability, which dominated Generation 7 thanks to popular monsters like Tapu Koko. Unfortunately, Pincurchin’s Electric Terrain ability is its hidden ability, which will make it a challenging capture for competitive players, but likely one well worth trying for thanks to this rare and powerful ability. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 9 - Dhelmise

Dhelmise Pokedex

Type: Grass/Ghost
Rarity 1% overworld Circhester Bay/Outer Spikemuth
Other Locations: None

Dhelmise is another returning Pokémon, this time from Generation 7. This Grass/Ghost type has a history of being a rare find, only located in Seafolk Village in Sun and Moon, at a 1% catch rate in a single spot where players can fish. The chances do increase if the spot is bubbling to 10%, but it is still a rare find there.

In Galar, Dhelmise continues to be a rare Pokémon, once again only located in one section along Route 9. This time it is specifically found in the last two parts of Route 9, Circhester Bay and Outer Spikemuth, with a 1% chance to spawn in the overworld. Dhelmise is a powerful Pokémon if you are able to find it, so hunting it down might be worth the effort if you have the patience for it.

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 10 - Duraludon

Duraludon Pokedex

Type: Steel/Dragon
Rarity: 1% overworld
Other Locations: Lake of Outrage

Duraludon is probably a strange choice for the snowy route 10, but it is not the last oddball we will see on this route. The final route in the game is packed with tough challenges from powerful ice-types to incredibly rare Pokémon that could become a staple for your team immediately. 

Duraludon is one such Pokémon, with a 1% chance spawning in the overworld. This powerful Steel/Dragon-type is arguably one of the strongest Pokémon on Route 10, and well worth a capture if you can find it. The Lake of Outrage is also a rare spot as well, with a 2% chance of finding it during a snowstorm. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Route 10x - Stonjourner & Eiscube 

Stonjourner Eiscube Pokedex


Types: Rock (Stonjourner) Ice (Eiscube)
Rarity: 2% in the grass (Stonjourner in Sword, Eiscube in Shield) 
Other Locations: Lake of Outrage

Route 10 is perhaps the only route in the game to contain so many rare Pokémon. Unlike Duraludon, which is available for both versions, Stonjourner and Eiscube are rare finds and version exclusives.

Stonjourner is a pure Rock-type only found in Pokémon Sword. With a 2% rate of capture, Stonjourner is the rarest random encounter in the grass, and the 2nd rarest on the route after Duraludon. Lake of Outrage also has Stonejourner appear during sandstorms and intense sunlight, with its highest catch rate reaching 5% in the sandstorm.

Eiscube, the penguin-looking Ice-type, is a 2% rarity for Pokémon Shield, though it does fit Route 10 better than Stonjourner. Like Stonjourner, it is the 2nd rarest encounter on the route, and like the Lake of Outrage, it is only found in two forms of weather, this time being in both snow and snowstorm. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Glimwood Tangle - Sinistea

Sinistea Pokedex
 
Type: Ghost
Rarity: 10% (Forgery) and 1% (Authentic) in the grass
Other Locations: None

Sinistea, the Ghost-type pre-evolution of Polteageist, is only located in the haunting Glimwood Tangle, one of the larger forest areas in the game that is on a fixed route. Sinistea is unique though, because it has two different catch-rates in the game based on something odd as well, whether Sinistea is a forgery or not.

Apparently, most Sinistea are found in forgery teacups, with a small 1% chance of them being in an authentic, non-forgery teacup. What is the difference in-game? Well, mostly a status symbol over anything else. Outside of a single tag on the teacup, there is no aesthetic difference between the over-world model. 

What is funny about this is that you can only evolve Sinistea by using another held item, in this case a Cracked or Chipped Teapot. Only non-forgery Sinistea can evolve into Polteageist through the Chipped Teapot, which is a rare item that can only be purchased by the bargain shop randomly in Stow-on-Side. The Cracked Teapot is also purchased here at random, but players can find one in the Northeast part of the city. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Bridge Field - Cufant

Cufant Pokedex

Type: Steel
Rarity 1%-10% overworld.
Other Locations: None

The Wild Area is filled to the brim with an abundant amount of Pokémon, but a few new monsters are only found in the singular locations in the Wild Area. The first one to highlight here would be Cufant, the Steel-type Elephant Pokémon. Cufant is only found in the Bridge Field, a piece of the Wild Area that is connected to the Stony Wilderness and the Motostoke Riverbank. 

Cufant is strange because it only shows in a few different weathers. Normal weather yields a low 1% chance, while overcast and intense sun give you a 5% chance to encounter it. Ironically, Cufant seems to like the snow the most, with a 10% chance to encounter it during a snowstorm. 

Rare Pokemon Guide: Lake of Outrage - Dreepy

Dreepy Pokedex

Type Dragon/Ghost
Rarity 1%-2% in the grass
Other Locations: None

Dreepy is the Galar regions new pseudo-legendary and is one of the rarest Pokémon in the whole game. Dreepy is entirely dependent on the weather found in a singular section in the Wild Area, the Lake of Outrage.

The Lake of Outrage is pretty much the endgame location in the Wild Area. Containing tons of rare Pokémon from Ditto to version-exclusive pseudo-legendaries such as Jangmo-o and Larvitar, the vast majority of what you find here are fully evolved, difficult Pokémon to catch. Dreepy of course is no exception, only being found in foggy, overcast and thunderstorm weather at a paltry 1%-2% spawn rate. 

What’s also unique is that Dreepy's evolution, Drakloak is also found in the region with a 1% spawn rate in the overworld. Drakloak shares the same weather patterns as Dreepy and is arguably rarer to find. Personally though, finding Dreepy is much more satisfying to me, but either choice is pretty good for a rare capture.

Rare Pokemon Guide: Gotta Catch Them All

There is certainly no shortage of rare Pokémon in Sword and Shield, so hopefully this guide helps illuminate some of the rarer monsters found in the game. Of course, a ton of Pokémon are incredibly rare finds, but part of the fun is discovering where, and when, players can find a brand-new Pokémon for their team, to complete their Pokedex, or just simply to catch them all. 
 

About the Author

Self Photo Holding Beer

Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Enjoys penning long-form articles that few probably read. Love the art of gaming, preservation, collecting and RPGs. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over ten years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.