The Pokemon World Championships started this weekend, but one of the first announcements at the competitive show floor was a surprise trailer for the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield.
The trailer was unique as it was one of the first times Nintendo has specifically highlighted battle mechanics to the general public, giving some focus to brand new moves, held items, and even some information about Dynamaxing and competitive play.
The biggest reveals were brand new battle mechanics, mostly tied to new moves and abilities. The most powerful move on display, arguably, was Galarian-Weezings new ability, Neutralizing Gas (perhaps its nice hat changes the gas). The move automatically suppresses all other Pokemon abilities on the field, so Pokemon with levitate can be hit by Ground-type moves, for example. This eliminates several advantages to some core Pokémon in the game, but also can hinder the player's team in double battles as well if they are not careful. Fan-favorite Corviknight also showed off a new hidden ability, Mirror Armor, which reflects back stat-altering effects, back onto the target.
New held items specifically used for battle were also showcased, namely the Room Service and the Eject Pack. The Eject Pack causes the holder to switch out if they are hit by a stat-reducing move. Room Service lowers the speed of the Pokémon holding it while Trick Room is activated (Trick Room reverses the move order, so pokemon with lower speed go first). A new move, called Breaking Swipe, was also showed off, being used by Obstragoon. The move hits all Pokémon on the opposing side of the field, and automatically lowers their attack, similar to the effects of the Dark-type move Snarl, which lowers special attack.
The biggest bit from the trailer was actually some of the side effects of Dynamaxing. Pokemon who Dynamax can shrug off flinching moves such as Fake Out, and when they attack with Max Moves, powerful secondary effects can occur. Ice-type Max moves cause hail to begin as a free weather condition. Fighting-type max moves greatly increase your attack power, and so forth. This can add a lot of strategy into competitive play, especially double battles which can see new combinations of moves being pulled off in tandem against the opponent.
The real meat of the presentation was actually not in the new trailer showing off the new moves, but an announcement for the new Battle Stadium. The successor to the Battle Spot from the previous games, Battle Stadium offers ranked battles for players for online competitive play, giving players access to specific tiers of play by points earned in a battle. Similar to other ranked competitive systems, players will only rank with trainers in the same tier as them. There will also be casual battles in the Battle Stadium, which lacks the focus on competition that ranked has. Additionally, casual battles will let players use legendary and mythical Pokemon banned in ranked battles.
Players will also be able to participate in specially held online competitions in ranked mode, or create their own custom rulesets and specifications for ranked friendly competitions. Teams of rental Pokemon also make a return to the franchise after a long absence, allowing trainers to share their own team combinations for use online. These rental teams can be used in ranked mode as well, and the game's casual battle mode.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are scheduled for release on November 15th, 2019, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.
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