How the Pokémon League Works in Pokémon Sword and Shield
A new trailer for Pokémon Sword and Shield dropped today, and despite being only two minutes long, it was packed with new information about the game. Most of the action in the trailer took place in a large arena, which we know to be part of the Pokémon League in the Galar region, and Nintendo confirmed additional information about how the League will work.
In the trailer, we saw the two people who run the Pokémon League in Galar. The League is headed up by a man named Chairman Rose and a woman named Oleana. Not much was revealed about these two characters, or how they’ll be involved in your journey. From what we saw, Chairman Rose seems to be a showman, presiding over League battles in person, while Oleana seems a bit more reserved.
The trailer also introduced us to several Gym Leaders. Bea, who trains Fighting-type Pokémon, and Allister, who trains ghost-type Pokémon, made their debut today, immediately opening the flood gates for fan artists. Instant fan-favorite Nessa also showed up in the trailer, along with another unnamed character likely to be a Gym Leader, and Leon, the Galar region’s reigning Pokémon Champion, wearing an extravagant cape and flanked by a Charizard.
These Gym Leaders will play into the Gym Challenge. A popular event in Galar, the Gym Challenge is described as “a true celebration of Pokémon battling” in an email from Nintendo PR. Like in previous games, trainers will be working to collect badges from all eight gyms by defeating their leaders. To take part in the Gym Challenge, though, trainers will first have to win the endorsement of an existing Gym Leader or another person whose word the Pokémon League respects. Trainers who take part in the Gym Challenge will be given a personalized uniform that displays three numbers of their choosing. Presumably, earning the endorsement of someone to enter the Gym Challenge and choosing your uniform will be an important moment in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
One step above the Gym Challenge is the Champion Cup. Only the best of the best can enter the Cup, and for Sword and Shield players, that almost certainly means collecting all eight badges to gain entry. The Champion Cup is held once a year and is a wildly popular event that’s broadcast on TV across the Galar region and fills stadiums with fans. Think of it as the Pokémon equivalent of the World Cup, though probably without quite so many drunken, rowdy fans. Whoever wins the Champion Cup claims the title of Champion for that year, until the next Champion Cup comes around and they have to defend their title against a new set of challengers. The winner also presumably gets to claim the fabulous cape Leon is rocking in the trailer.