One of the biggest reveals of the Pokémon Nintendo Direct today is the new Max Raid Battles that players can encounter in Pokémon Sword & Shield.
In the raids, trainers will team up along with three other players to take on wild Pokémon that are under the Dynamax effect, where the Pokémon is much larger and more powerful. Unlike with the expected effects of the Dynamax mechanic, where your Pokémon will be under its effect for three rounds, the wild Pokémon will be under the influence for the entirety of the battle. They will be fierce battles, even if a team of four up against it. However, the reward is grand.
Should you be able to defeat the Pokémon as a team, each of you will have the chance to catch the Pokémon. The raid option is very similar to that of the one used in the mobile game Pokémon GO, where players who reach a raid location with other players can team up and use their Pokémon to take down the guarding raid Pokémon, and then once defeated, players can attempt to catch it.
While you can use all of the Pokémon in your possession in Pokémon GO, it is not yet clear how many you can use for the Max Raid Battles in Pokémon Sword & Shield, though we expect that they will follow the same format as the mobile version, balanced around having six Pokémon in each player’s team of equal strength.
Fear not though as there is a helping hand. One player in the team attacking the wild raid Pokémon will be able to use the Dynamax effect on their fighter, allowing it to be enlarged and beefed up for the usual three turns. This new feature is only available to one player and for one Pokémon in the raid team, so communication and coordination is key to ensuring that the best Pokémon for the job gets the use of the Dynamax effect.
While Dynamax-powered, your Pokémon will use Max Moves, which are supercharged versions of their attacks. These new moves can only get used by players while a Pokémon is under the Dynamax effects, which have an incredible boost to their damage output. This new feature will be valuable in raids as type advantages will be vital for maximizing the damage output and therefore increasing the chance of catching the Pokémon, as demonstrated in the Nintendo Direct where a Dynamax powered Raichu took on a Dynamax powered Gyarados.
GameFreak also confirmed that there would be some Pokémon that are only available to catch using the Max Raid Battles, making them a rare find. This choice encourages players to work together more to allow for the team to all receive the prize scalp of the raid Pokémon. The Max Raid Battles can take place both in a local multiplayer setting as well as via online play, so you and your friends can team up from across the world to take down the rare Pokémon found in the raids.
This exciting new feature will add a further social element to the game, and we hope that the raids are as fun as they look.