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  • Accidental Innuendo: The Galarian Star Tournament gives us a few:
    • When Melony and Raihan are partnered up, Raihan's opening line is "I know I'm in for a rough time with you, Melony!"
    • When Piers and Opal are partnered up, they have this exchange:
      Opal: Do your best, young Piers. Or I'll...Play Rough.
      Piers: Yeah, I've gotta pass on that. I don't think I could handle havin' an 88-year-old Play Rough.
    • When Bede is partnered up with the player, he makes a reference to his mentor's love of the color pink, then proclaims he'll cover his opponents in "the color of Bede".
    • Alcremie is a Pokémon made entirely of sweet white cream. When it's happy, it secretes cream even sweeter and richer than usual, and in Gigantamax form, getting hit makes it harder...
  • Adorkable: Hyde rambles on about how Porygon is created before getting flustered and telling the player to take the one he made.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: Most of the NPC helpers in Max Raid battles. Only a few of them have decent Pokémon or movesets, and none of them have both, they often come horribly underleveled compared to the boss you're facing, and they also cannot use the "cheer for your side" randomized buff available to human players when KO'd. This seems to be deliberate, to force players to join forces for tough raids. Notable examples:
    • Cabbie Alfie and his infuriating Wobbuffet. Max Raid Battles are focused on how fast a group can defeat the Dynamax Pokémon before they get knocked out themselves. This usually means that battles are almost entirely focused on attacking with little to no focus on setup moves. Alfie's Wobbuffet completely defies the meta playstyle, much to the chagrin of any players unfortunate enough to be paired with it. Half of the time, Wobbuffet decides to use Amnesia or Safeguard, which does next to nothing to assist allies in Max Raid Battles. The other half of the time, it uses either Counter or Mirror Coat, which can do damage... if he chooses the right attack, since Counter only works against physical attacks while Mirror Coat will only work against special attacks. Against opponents that only use one type of attack or the other, this means that Alfie's Wobbuffet will have a whopping 75% chance to do absolutely nothing against the opponent (and then is entirely dependent on Wobbuffet being targeted by the Raid Pokémon and not taken out in one hit).
      • This is made even worse if you have the misfortune to have both Alfie and Amelia in the same fight. Amelia's Clefairy will often spam Follow Me ad nauseam meaning that even if Alfie picks Counter or Mirror Coat correctly, Amelia will force the opponent to target her Clefairy instead.
    • Gentleman Martin and his worthless Solrock. The Solrock spends most of its turns setting up with Rock Polish to boost its Speed or Cosmic Power to boost its defenses, and its two rarely-used attacking moves are Rock Throw, which has low base power, and Psychic, which runs off of its lower Special Attack. Its buffing would be useful for surviving attacks... Except Raid Pokémon can and will dispel any stat changes you apply to your team for free whenever it wants. Also, it has the bad tendency to be one-shotted on higher raid levels even when buffed. Even pokemon.com couldn't help taking a shot at him.
    • Poké Kid Freya and her Eevee can also be rather frustrating, if only because it has three attacking movesnote  yet it constantly settles on using Helping Hand instead. While Helping Hand is often used on the player's Pokémon to give it a power boost with its attacks, allowing Eternatus and Zacian in particular to do huge chunks of damage even through a barrier, you'll be wishing it used an attacking move instead to help break the Raid Pokémon's barriers. And if you're unlucky enough to have it paired with one of the other Pokémon on this list, there's always the chance it'll give the buff to one of them, only for it to whiff because they used a support move.
    • Beauty Catherine's Togepi has three attacking moves, but constantly spams Life Dew (heals all allies by 25%), even when all allies have full HP. This is also an issue for Backpacker Amelia's Clefairy, who has the same move.
    • In addition to Life Dew, Amelia's Clefairy will also spam Follow Me. While a useful move that can keep the other NPC allies from (initially) taking damage, Clefairy itself will be most likely to fall first, and it isn't exactly a bulky Pokémon. At the very least she gives her Clefairy a Focus Sash to hold.
    • Black Belt Oscar has a Hawlucha, which is a fast and strong (albeit frail) Pokémon with three attacking moves. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond comprehension, it will often forego using any of these moves to use its fourth move, Feather Dance, a move that harshly lowers the opponent's Attack stat. The problem is that Raid Pokémon in 3-star raids and higher, once they take enough damage, put up a barrier that nullifies moves that lower stats, with 5-star Raid Pokémon putting up barriers twice. If the RNG is not on your side, you'll be seeing Oscar's Hawlucha waste turns using Feather Dance on 5-star Pokémon, potentially making it as annoying and useless as Solrock or even Wobbuffet. It doesn't even get a Focus Sash to offset its frailty, meaning it'll often feed two free KOs to the Raid Pokémon.
    • Pokémon Breeder Kit's Dhelmise is pretty troublesome just because it can't take a hit and is very slow, making it rapidly use up your 4-KO allotment. Many of the trainers bring a Focus Sash so they can survive at least one attack, but Dhelmise doesn't even get that. If it doesn't immediately faint, it likes to use Slam, which misses 25% of the time.
    • Downplayed by certain Pokémon who have decent movesets that make them OK allies in most fights, but suffer from Crippling Overspecialization that makes them useless if they try and help you out against specific Pokémon types or Pokémon with certain abilities. Dean's Throh and Nikki's Jolteon fall into this category against Ghost-types which No-Sell their Normal- and Fighting-type attacks (Jolteon also has a single Electric attack, but the A.I. doesn't realize it’s the only attack it has that works on Ghosts and will still use its other attacks regardless), while Patricia's Wishiwashi only knows Water-type attacks, and if it joins the fight against a Pokémon with an ability like Water Absorb or Storm Drain, it'll end up helping the enemy by constantly triggering their ability. Meanwhile, Sean's Torkoal has the Drought ability; while this can be helpful if you're facing a Water-type raid, as their STAB attacks will be weakened, and has a nice combo if the Solar Beam-using Maractus is also in play, it actively makes Fire-type raids more difficult, due to powering them up and weakening the Water moves they're weak to.
    • Of all the possible NPC allies you can have for Max Raid Battles, Schoolgirl Isabella and her Magikarp actually manage to subvert this. Isabella's Magikarp knows three attacking moves and, surprisingly, doesn't know Splash, meaning that while it doesn't do much damage, it at least is capable of consistently breaking the barriers that Dynamax Wild Pokemon can put up without wasting a turn using a setup move that'll likely fail in the long run. It also comes equipped with a Focus Sash, meaning that it can take a particularly strong hit and avoid dying. She's even smart enough to start using Flail after the Focus Sash has been consumed. But it should be noted that, sadly, its Hydro Pump has only 80 percent accuracy, so it may have trouble breaking barriers if you're unlucky.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Chairman Rose is fought in a room reminiscent of previous Pokémon Big Bads, and their theme includes Ominous Latin Chanting, an RPG staple of climatic fights. Unfortunately, they exclusively use Steel-type Pokémon that make next to no effort to cover up their weaknesses note , meaning that any well-trained Ground-, Fighting-, or Fire-type Pokémon (especially the last, and doubly so if you picked Scorbunny) can win the battle in their metaphorical sleep.
    • The penultimate boss Eternamax Eternatus will more likely than not be creamed within five turns with little to no player input because of the sheer damage that Zacian and Zamazenta, especially the former, do with their signature moves. It's not at all helped by Eternatus refusing to settle on eliminating a single target and lacking the usual Dynamax Pokémon shenanigans (namely multiple attacks per turn and erecting barriers). Pretty disappointing for what's statistically the strongest thing in the franchise.
    • Melony, Circhester's Gym Leader in Shield is talked up as a harsh Gym Leader with a difficult challenge, but her Ice-type Pokémon are easily swept with Fire-types and don't have typings to counter your strategy (Frosmoth even has a dual weakness to Fire), and even though her ace, G-Max Lapras, has a resistance from its Water type, by that point in the game, you should have five strong Pokémon besides your Fire attacker that can easily deal with it.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • While the Regional Variant concept was well received in its debut in Pokémon Sun and Moon, many weren't happy that the Alolan Forms were limited to Pokémon originating in Pokémon Red and Blue. This game rectifies that by giving Galarian Forms to Pokemon from other generations, and some, like Galarian Linoone, even get entirely new evolutions.
    • For the past two generations, there's been at least one type with either only two new Pokémon, only one new evolutionary family, or bothnote . Pokémon Sword and Shield make sure there are at least three new Pokemon of a given type across at least two different families. The Ice and Dark types in particular got a massive increase in completely new Pokémon compared to the previous generation, with 6 new Ice types and 7 new Dark types.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon received flak for adding excessive forced tutorials, as well as sluggish pacing due to unskippable cutscenes. In Sword and Shield, a lot of tutorials are now optional, and players can skip cutscenes. This makes playing the game a lot smoother.
    • The Fairy type, while already quite popular, got some flak for largely adhering to the Girl-Show Ghetto, especially when juxtaposed with its strength against other popular and stereotypically "badass" types such as Dark and Dragon.note  Generation VIII introduces Fairy-types with a wider variety of more diverse designs, such as the badass and cool (but still feminine) sword-wielding Zacian, the monstrous, male-only Grimmsnarl, and the hilarious Galarian Weezing modeled after mustachioed capitalist caricatures and their factories. Rival Bede, the game's traditional jerkass rival, also becomes a Fairy-type specialist, in contrast to Valerie and Mina before him who are more feminine and laid-back in keeping with the type's stereotype.
    • It took 20 years for it to happen but at long last, there is a traditional Gym Leader who focuses on Dark-type Pokémon, finally giving Dark-type fans some love.
    • Previous games were criticized for making Ice-types only available much later when they weren't very useful. Thanks to the Wild Area, you can catch one easily even before the first gym.
    • The movie Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened featured a new specimen of a difficult to create, unbreedable manmade Pokemon note , with absolutely no explanation how the scientists were able to make it or any reference to the original. In Sword and Shield, meanwhile, while the Type: Null the player can receive is also a new specimen, the Sword Pokédex entry elaborates on how it was possible and makes it clear it was based on stolen research for the original.
    • The characters in the 3DS games were somewhat expressive, but the playable characters, especially in Sun and Moon, were notably blank faced even in times where they should have been emoting. Here, every major character, including the playable characters, is pretty expressive. The player characters properly emote and express themselves at opportune times (such as a big expression of joy when making good curry or winning a major battle, or a serious and determined expression when facing off against Dynamaxed Pokemon), while the Gym Leaders all have unique and fun expressions and animations all throughout their battles. Even random NPCs sometimes smile when the player approaches them, which is a nice touch.
    • After its removal from the series starting with Black and White (which themselves also suffered from controversy) and its respective items being moved to the general Items pocket, the pocket for Poké Balls in the Bag menu finally returns after a decade long absence.
    • The entries on the Nintendo 3DS were notorious for lacking compatibility with each other, which not only prevented Pokémon with certain moves or certain species of Pokémon from being used or transferred, but also often forced players to get the newest installment to stay up to date. In Sword and Shield, however, players can use any Pokémon available in the Galar region, including those added via the Expansion Pass, even if they do not buy the pass themselves.
    • The Pokémon franchise is constantly mocked for the adults being completely useless and letting a 10 year old deal with the world threatening crisis. Leon is constantly on top of the situation at every turn and takes care of most problems that arise himself. The only reason the protagonist has to get involved in the situation is because he tried to stop Eternatus and just barely failed and the heroes actively jump into the situation to help.
    • The games’ marketing after E3 2019 but before release was criticized for slowing new Pokémon reveals and other game information to a crawl while also being overly cryptic in some cases, in contrast to the marketing of the previous two generations. Though it was done in response to Sun & Moon revealing almost every Pokémon, many fans felt the opposite extreme was no better, making it look as though there weren’t many new Pokémon. Come the Expansion Pass’ reveal in the January 2020 Pokémon Direct, several new Pokémon, Gigantamax forms and Galarian variants were shown, teased, or mentioned in one way or another. Information in general was also given more clearly and concisely, in contrast to the infamous Glimwood Tangle stream.
    • Due to global multiplayer being locked behind Nintendo Switch Online and the absence of the Global Trading Service, players feared that if the GTS was re-implemented, it would require a subscription to use it. Pokémon HOME, however, allows players with the smartphone version coupled with the free Basic Box to use the GTS for free in a similar vein to the 3DS GTS.
    • Many people disliked how the Gigantamax forms of Pikachu and Eevee were locked behind save data of Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, forcing players to either buy or borrow the games to get the forms if they didn't have them. A Raid News event in May of 2020 allows Gigantamax Pikachu to be captured, with the Eevee G-Max coming shortly afterward. For those who missed out on Gigantamax Meowth, it came right afterward.
    • One of the most disliked things about Dynamaxing was that Gigantamax forms were limited to Pokémon caught in dens and were unable to breed them as well. The Isle of Armour DLC addresses this by introducing Max Soup that lets any Pokémon who has a Gigantamax form switch between it and its Dynamax form.
    • Trainers who missed their Pokemon following them on the overworld (as last seen in the Johto remakes and the Let's Go! games) will be delighted to know that you can do that once more after obtaining Kubfu on the Isle of Armor.
    • After some players were disappointed with the slew of friendly rivals in the later half of the series such as Hau and Trace, the main story includes a second rival alongside Hop named Bede, who is a Jerkass similar to Blue in the original games. Isle of Armor includes Klara and Avery, two trainers with a hidden jerk side.
    • Following nearly two years of ire ever since Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee ditched friend codes in lieu of a very narrow code-based communication system that frequently matches up people who weren't intending to connect to each other, the update in June 2020 alongside the release of Isle of Armor increased the codes from four digits to eight, taking the possible amount of combinations from ten thousand to one hundred million - a number much higher than the amount of sold copies will ever reach and drastically reducing the chance of clashing codes.
    • The Wild Area was well-received, but criticized for its limited size making it very small for a Wide-Open Sandbox. When the Expansion Pass was announced, special emphasis was placed on the fact that the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra would use the same mechanics as the Wild Area. Upon release, the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra were discovered to be truly enormous, with little handholding or railroading to be found.
    • The update on the day of the Isle of Armor's release now allows you to see the opponent's team and select your Pokémon simultaneously in Team Preview in multiplayer matches. This eliminates the hassle of having to always switch back and forth between Pokémon selection and the opponent's lineup, as well as the need to write down or memorize what your opponent's team looks like.
    • Some fans disliked the lack of characterization and interactions between major NPC's and the player character. Isle of Armor often has Gym Leaders hanging out around various locations and will talk to the player when approached, as well as Hop being present for a hilarious Fetch Quest. Crown Tundra adds to this with the bombastic Peony, the talkative and polite Calyrex, and the Galarian Star Tournament which allows you to mix-and-match several NPC's for hilarious interactions with each other.
    • Power Creep has long been an issue in the franchise, and in Generation 8 it seems a lot of effort went into limiting it. Aside from nerfing various abilities and removing Hidden Power (without which many powerful Pokémon become easier to counter), it's notable that many powerful moves (in particular some of the Isle of Armor move tutor moves) cannot be learned by already strong Pokémon that could heavily abuse them. Aside from Pokémon that were intended to be overpowered (namely restricted use Legendaries), several new Pokémon with tremendous stats also got saddled with very limited movepools so that they could be strong but not too strong.
    • Several returning Legendary and Mythical Pokémon now at last have regular access to moves that were formerly event only. In particular Victini's famous V-Create, a move that has long been considered vital for it and yet was not available to most Victini as only certain older event ones came with it. It's now available via move reminder on any Victini.
    • The concept of certain Pokémon only being able to be obtained by trading (trade evolutions in particular) is a Broken Base topic across the series. Sword and Shield make significant steps in mitigating this features, by not adding any new Pokémon that evolved by tradingnote , and by making all Pokémon that evolve by trading available to catch in the wild or through Max Raids. The Crown Tundra lends an extra hand by allowing you to rematch any legendary you encounter, including those exclusives to the opposite version, so as long as you encounter them once, they are now available in your version. The only Pokémon that can't be obtained without trading are whichever Urshifu form, new Regi (Regieleki or Regidrago), or horse (Glastrier and Spectrier) you didn't pick.
    • Entry hazards, Stealth Rock in particular, are disliked by a number of fans due to essentially being mandatory to account for when battling other players, and rendering some Pokémon (mainly those weak to rock) far more difficult to play. These games not only buffed Rapid Spin (one means of getting rid of them) considerably, but introduced Heavy Duty Boots, a held item that renders a Pokémon immune to entry hazards. This not only makes Rapid Spin a viable move on top of getting rid of entry hazards, but lets Pokémon who would otherwise be crippled by them be viable.
    • The initial announcement of only 435 Pokémon being compatible with the game (nicknamed "Dexit" in many circles) didn’t sit well with many a Pokémon fan. Thanks to the Crown Tundra and Isle of Armor DLC many more Pokémon were made compatible as a result. Adding to this, the extra compatibility was made completely free via a patch without the need to buy the DLC.
    • If you want to fill your Pokédex but can't trade for whatever reason, the DLC is a godsend- multiple Pokémon that only evolve by trading can be found wandering around. Admittedly, some only appear under certain weather conditions, but it's something.
  • Awesome Music:
    • The version of the Pokémon theme mixed with the Hall of Fame theme used in the introductory trailer is cool, clean, and epic, with its synth opening and slick electric guitar.
    • While never used in the game proper, Dynamax (Brand New World), the theme that played during the Dynamax reveal trailer, really sets apart how different Sword and Shield is. For one thing, it's one of the first pieces of music from the Pokémon games to have actual lyrics put up against it, following the likes of Jump Up Super Star and Lifelight. It sounds like a fusion of 90's British rock and a banging anime opening, and just makes one pumped for a Pokémon journey without even mentioning the creatures by name — quite a feat in a franchise whose theme songs are prone to blurting out "Pokémon" every chance they get.
    • The Gym Leader theme, a techno piece that really captures the feel of Pokémon battling as a major sporting event, complete with the crowd cheering mixed into the track. It hypes the player up, and is also a dynamic track, with it changing in intensity as the match goes on.
    • The Gym Leader theme gets an exciting and intense remix during the Champion Cup, complete with a rocking guitar to the mix, all helping to add to the feel of a grand showdown in a big tournament.
    • The battle with the Big Bad has its own theme, an epic orchestral piece with Ominous Latin Chanting that makes it clear how high the stakes are as you battle for the fate of the Galar region. For any players familiar with Latin, the chanting "Rosa seda credo" can be translated as "the thorned rose's beliefs" or "the rose's thorned creed" - both translations highlighting Rose's Anti-Villain nature, as he truly believes what he is doing is right but is doing it in a highly flawed manner.
    • "Wild Area (North)" proves once and for all that bagpipes are awesome when utilized properly. So awesome, in fact, that when the track was first used in this trailer, many believed it was going to be a legendary Pokémon theme of some sort.
    • The Battle Tower theme, composed by Toby Fox, is an energetic piece fitting for a climb up the ranks against the most powerful trainers in Galar.
    • Team Yell's theme, an uncharacteristically intense and sinister-sounding song for the team. The guitar part, in particular, is pretty slick.
    • Piers' theme, an epic remix of Team Yell's theme for the black sheep of the Gym Leaders. This theme's got a dark, serious feel to it with its electronic beats and guitars to show you that this guy means business. An imposing track for a very formidable trainer, especially considering that Piers can fight with the best of them without needing to Dynamax his team.
    • Marnie's Theme, which starts off with Team Yell's signature opening riff, but quickly shifts gears to a more upbeat, focused rock melody. This track does a good job demonstrating that despite her punk appearance and association with Team Yell, she's actually a nice girl.
    • Oleana's battle theme sets the score for how unsettling Oleana gets when someone wants to interfere with Rose.
    • Route 10, basically the Victory Road of this game, is a snowy trail that the track fits for the climactic occasion. The first time you make it through, as Wyndon is looming, plays a grand 30 seconds that sadly is only used once but fits your arrival when you're on the brink of the game's biggest stage.

    B-E 
  • Base-Breaking Character: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • Raihan is the first Gym Leader since Tate and Liza from the Hoenn games to challenge the player in a Double Battle. Like his Gym Trainers, he tests the player with weather (specifically Sandstorm) alongside Dragon types, including his Gigantamax Duraludon. With the variety of Pokémon to watch out for, and some strategic moves like Stealth Rock to impair future switch ins and Breaking Swipe to weaken and debuff your Pokémon, it all makes for a pretty engaging boss fight, especially fitting considering he's the last Gym Leader.
    • Piers' Gym Challenge is structured like a sidescrolling beat 'em up, with various members of Team Yell ambushing you as you make your way to their boss. Said boss challenges you to a battle where neither participant can Dynamax, forcing the player to leverage type matchups and use actual strategy to eke out a win — and that's far easier said than done, since the type Piers specializes in, Dark, has only 3 weaknesses to exploit. Oh, and did we mention that the battle takes place at a rock concert, with the boss incorporating the strategies he's about to use against you into his song lyrics? The entire encounter oozes cool from start to finish, and retroactively made the 20+ year wait for a Dark-type Gym more than worth it.
    • Leon, the aforementioned undefeated champion of the region, deserves some kudos for being arguably the first legitimately challenging champion since Cynthia. With his team being surprisingly well-balanced and at a noticeably high level compared to the other trainers up to that point in the game (his highest-level Pokémon being level 65). On top of that his team consists of multiple powerhouses, including the residential pseudo, with varied move-sets to cover their weaknesses. It is safe to say, if you don't come prepared, he can easily catch you off guard with how strong he really is. That being said, having a legitimately challenging champion in a mainline Pokemon game is a pleasant surprise and quite a refreshing challenge for a relatively easy game.
    • The battle against Eternatus. It is fought in a three-parter: First being a regular battle, the second being a battle in Max Raid Battle format (although it's a Hopeless Boss Fight due to neither you nor your ally Hop being able to attack it in its Eternamax form), and then the third part kicks in where it becomes a proper Max Raid battle where you and Hop are joined by Zacian and Zamazenta with the battle ending with you catching it in a scripted sequence. As cherry on top: The cutscenes and music that play during this entire sequence are absolutely glorious.]
  • Best Level Ever: One thing fans agree on is that the Crown Tundra DLC is the best part of the game, with a Wide-Open Sandbox larger and with more varied biomes than the Wild Area and Isle of Armor, lots of powerful new Pokémon to catch, multiple Legendary Pokémon quests filled with lore, multiple secrets, and Dynamax Adventures that let players team up to catch more regular and Legendary Pokémon.
  • Breather Boss: Of all the Pokémon that can appear in a Max Raid Battle (of which many qualify as That One Boss), Shedinja is the most pathetically easy. For those who don't know, Shedinja's gimmick is that it's a One-Hit-Point Wonder that will No-Sell any attack that isn't super effective against it due to its Wonder Guard ability, meaning it will only take any damage from super effective ones (damage that is the result of weather effects will also work). However, not even a maxed-out Dynamax Level will raise Shedinja's HP past three. A Five-Star Raid Shedinja will attempt to intimidate the player with a staggering 8-bar barrier... which does nothing to save it from even a single super effective hit, and even a player that's out-of-the-loop on what Wonder Guard does will likely bring a Pokémon that has an attack Shedinja is weak to.
  • Broken Base: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: The identity of the Big Bad: Chairman Rose. Considering similar twists have been attempted in previous games, it's not long before it becomes really obvious who the main antagonist is. Given how Team Yell is even less of a convincing evil team than Team Skull was, the Big Bad's identity is pretty easy to figure out. Although Oleana at the very least is a more effective Red Herring, as she starts off doing questionable things behind Rose's back, only for it to later be revealed that she's doing so all for Rose's sake rather than her own.
  • "Common Knowledge": The games were developed concurrently with Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. In fact, preproduction for these games started in 2016, meaning they shared some overlap with Ultra. Most people believed that this game entered development in 2018, when it had already been in development by September 2017.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • If you're with competent buddies, you'll almost always see at least one Crowned forme Zacian or Eternatus in Max Raid Battles, due to their signature moves. Zacian has an insane 170 Attack, which is naturally boosted by Intrepid Sword, and can be boosted further with Swords Dance. Behemoth Blade is physical and runs off of aforementioned attack, so after a Swords Dance, when super-effective, or even when having a competent Alcremie as a party member, it basically cleaves through the barrier, slashing off huge chunks of the boss's HP like the barrier wasn't even there. For when Zacian holds a type disadvantage to the boss, there's Eternatus, who has a Special variant of the move in Dynamax Cannon. Though it lacks the ability to buff its high Special Attack (unless paired with the aforementioned Decorate Alcremie), it can hold an item, something the cover mascots can't do (as they need to hold the Rusted Sword/Shield to become their Crowned formes). Thus, when it's equipped with a Life Orb (or Choice Specs, as it's unlikely to need to use any other move), it can deal some serious damage. (However, this only really starts to rack up in groups, so when you see an Eternatus, there's usually two or more to go with it.) Using Eternatus or the other two legendaries is especially common when fighting Ditto — if every player uses a legendary, Ditto can't transform due to the legendaries lacking Dynamax forms, making it a sitting duck.
    • For the Dynamaxed Mewtwo Raid, players figured out the most reliable party composition that had even the slightest chance of defeating it. First was a Grimmsnarl with Prankster whose HP and Defense/Special Defense stats had been maximized through the roof. Its role was to project a Reflect or a Light Screen in order to mitigate the already gargantuan damage Mewtwo had on the party. Second was a Marshadow whose signature move Spectral Thief was the easiest (and most damaging) way to remove Mewtwo's constant status buffs. If left alone, Mewtwo would become practically impervious to all damage and could kill even the toughest targets in a single hit, and it would strike 3-4 times per turn. The other two slots were relegated to damage-dealers who could also take lots of hits. Common teammates included Dusk Mane Necrozma, whose ability could further mitigate Mewtwo's damage output on themselves, or bulky Pokémon with Life Dew to heal the party, such as Clefable or Blastoise. Any other options were practically forfeit.
    • Dracovish, which has access to the extremely powerful Water-type move Fishious Rend, was used a lot in competitive 6v6 single battles. As a result, many teams used Pokémon with abilities that make them immune to Water-type attacks to keep an opposing Dracovish from cutting through their teams like butter. This was so overcentralizing that Smogon eventually banned Dracovish.
  • Contested Sequel: The games became the most successful in the entire series since Gold and Silver, were privy to much praise by professional critics, and helped revitalize interest in the series overall. Series veterans also praised the massive quality of life improvements the game offers, such as Mints, the removal of a cap on stat boosting items, the ability to skip some cutscenes and tutorials, and the easier access to competitive battling. A sizable number of players, however, deem it one of the series' weakest entries, citing issues such as the problematic and often unintuitive online mode (as well as the fact that it is now paid), the very linear and simplistic campaign (and some questionable writing), and the game's graphical and technical flubs, and while these are all nothing new for the series, these are seen by them as inexcuseable, even somewhat worse, on a home console with some of Nintendo's most technically impressive games. There is also whether the game's (initially) smaller pool of usable monsters compared to the 3DS (and DS) entries makes it more balanced or less diverse than those titles. While the Expansion Pass was well-received (especially the Crown Tundra) and improved the games' reputation somewhat, there is significant debate over how much it saved the games as a whole, if at all — especially since the content is so detached from the main story.
  • Creepy Cute: Allister's character design and demeanor is legitimately unsettling: the mask brings to mind a Shy Guy or a Gyroid, the creepy glowing eyes not helping matters; and his erratic speaking patterns and shambling walk make him seem undead. Yet, at the same time, he is absolutely and completely adorable: he seems to be every bit as young as Bugsy, and his extreme shyness makes him all the more endearing.
  • Critical Dissonance: Critics were very receptive to Sword and Shield. As you can probably guess from the rest of the page and the 4.6/10 user score for Sword on Metacritic, fans aren't quite on the same page.
  • Designated Villain: Near the end of the game, when Oleana is antagonizing the heroes, the Macro Cosmos staff is forced along for the ride and called the "bad guys" despite them just doing their jobs. The main cast has shades of Designated Hero in this case and probably would have counted if Oleana tried to give them a proper explanation, instead of jumping straight to antagonizing the trainer that is supposed to battle the Champion the next day.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Fans have long been speculating that the Fire-type starters of each generation are based off the animals of the Eastern ZodiacNote , and Scorbunny being a rabbit has added support to the hypothesis. As the only animals left are the ox, the snake, the sheep, and the horse, fans have been making predictions that the Fire starters of the next four generations are going to be these animals (which, funnily enough, has started to spur on additional discussions of how Game Freak would try to do a Fire-type horse starter, as the Fire-type Ponyta and Rapidash already exist).Note 
    • There has been heavy speculation that Galar is related to Kalos in some way, with the most widely-accepted theory being that Galar was the region that Kalos was at war with before, given that the UK and France have had more than their fair share of past wars. More far-fetched theories include Galar having the Moondial (a counterpart to the Anistar City sundial from X and Y), Galar and Kalos being connected via the train tracks seen throughout both regions, and/or Kalos being an unlockable postgame region for Sword and Shield. Unless the DLC throws a curveball, Kalos remains stuck in generation six, and no Moondial exists.
    • Adding to the above, as Galar is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the UK, and Unova, Orre, and Alola represent parts of the US, the possibility of the former previously colonizing the latter became another point of intrigue. As a corollary, Kalos is theorized to have had a hand in Unova achieving independence, this helped by the fact that Parfum Palace has Reshiram and Zekrom statues, probably a gift from Unova just like the Statue of Liberty, but reversed (the Statue of Liberty is a gift from France to the US, and was designed by a French sculptor).
    • The giant grass imprint that's an allusion to the Cerne Abbas Giant being either a Legendary that's accessible in either game (similar to Zygarde, Giratina, Necrozma, or Kyurem) or the customary Dragon-type (or dragonesque) Pokémon whose stats are on par with a legendary, or Mythical Pokémon Meltan and Melmetal. Alternately, it refers to the Dynamax phenomenon. The actual release of the game has Sonia theorize that it refers to Dynamax.
    • The reveal of the map, specifically the snow-capped mountains, led to speculation that any new Ice-types would be reserved for late-game. This proved correct in the end; you don't start getting the new Ice-types until the end of Route 8, on the approach to the sixth gym, though some older Ice-types are available the minute you enter the Wild Area.
    • Due to the oddness of Leon, the Champion, being revealed so early and having a Signature Mon that does not in any way connect to the Galar region (a non-mega Charizard), speculation ran wild on the possibility that he, like Alder before him, would not be the final boss, but a post-game boss. This ultimately proved to be incorrect; he's the final boss as usual, albeit with some interruptions between his fight and the closest equivalent to Galar's Elite Four which is carried out in a similar fashion to Team Plasma's actions in Black and White.
    • Many people thought that, like Lusamine, the glowing praise towards Leon in the trailer might be hiding the fact that he is either a Villain with Good Publicity or a Fake Ultimate Hero. This was proven incorrect; he's just as heroic and competent as he comes off as.
    • Thanks to their similar eye, hair, and skin colors, some fans believe that Leon and Hop are related to Iris somehow.
    • When Hop was introduced, he was referred to as "one of your rivals". This specific wording led some fans to believe that there may be more than one rival once again, similar to Pokémon Black and White and X and Y. The additional rival being more of a jerkass was particularly hoped for. Ultimately, said fans proved correct with the introduction of Bede and Marnie as rivals, and Bede is the aforementioned jerkass.
    • When the premise was first announced to be based off the UK, a popular candidate for being the Champion was an Expy of Queen Elizabeth II complete with a pair or even a full team of level 100 canine Pokemon while expys of The British Royal Family acted as the Elite Four. Even when this was dismissed with the reveal of Leon as the champion, the fans of this theory still hoped that characters based off the UK royals could become Bonus Bosses.
    • Many people burst into speculation over the adorable Wooloo, saying that it looked too much like a regular sheep to evolve into something also sheep-like; common theories involve it evolving into a sort of werewolf-like creature involving a Moon Stone or the day-night mechanic, or otherwise becoming less sheep-like as it grows, like an alpaca, (mainly because of the wool theme and being an animal that has gone an infamously long time without being adapted into a Pokémon). Then, when the game officially released, it turned out that it does indeed evolve into another sheep-like creature.
    • Thanks to her design (specifically the dark skin and blue-streaked hair), many fans suspect that Nessa is related to Archie and/or Shelly, as well as Marlon somehow.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Team Yell can be seen as social commentary about fandom toxicity and soccer hooliganism.
  • Evil Is Cool: Eternatus is a highly destructive force of nature that dooms the world if ever allowed to roam free, and is also a very creepy and intimidating dragon Pokémon with an unsettling and even more otherworldly One-Winged Angel form.
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    F-J 
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Some of the most popular fanart for these games is depicting how this generation's fossil Pokémon could have looked like in their original forms. Some artists even make even more monstrosities with the missing parts.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Together, the games have garnered the nickname "Pokémon Swish", which is created by taking the first two letters of both games' names and putting a vowel between them. Helps that it sounds like Pokémon Switch and that it makes a fun swishing sound.
    • In Japan, fans have taken to collectively shortening the games' titles in kanji as "KenTate/剣盾".
    • Following the trend of naming the protagonists after the games, people felt iffy on the idea of literally calling the boy and girl "Sword" and "Shield" respectively, and took to finding more traditional names that sounded similar. "Sora" and "Sheila" started making the rounds, the former especially funny considering it's the same name as another young male video game protagonist who wields a sword himself. Their official names are Victor and Gloria.
    • Fans have taken to calling the reduction of the National Pokédex "Dexit", a play on "Brexit", referring to the Galar region's British inspiration.
    • As a parallel to ASSOC (Association Football), the Pokémon League in this game, as well as the competitive battling scene, has taken the name of ASSOBA, for Associated (Pokémon) Battling.
    • Galarian Weezing has been nicknamed Doug Dimmadome, because its sludge mustache and smoke stack top hats bare a resemblance to him.
    • Galarian Ponyta is nicknamed Twilight Sparkle due to being a Psychic-type unicorn. Some people have also called it Amalthea, after the human form taken by the titular character in The Last Unicorn.
    • Gigantamax Meowth is nicknamed Longcat thanks to its really long body and holding its arms out like Longcat.
    • Gigantamax Pikachu resembles its early-gen sprites, before it was slimmed down, earning it the nicknames "Chonkachu," "Pikachub," and "Pikachonk".
    • Common nicknames for Inteleon are "James Pond" or "Bubble '07" due to its Tuxedo and Martini origins.
      • Inteleon occasionally gets the name "Inceleon" due to said design also reminding people of certain types of Internet personalities.
    • "Sharp Sword and Sturdy Shield" for the games' hypothetical second versions.
    • Hop gets called "Galarian Hau", "Discount Hau", or "Hau 2: Electric Boogaloo" for being seen as very similar to Hau.
    • Rillaboom is constantly called some variation on "Donkey Kong" or occasionally a pun on "Dong" from the latter ape's own series. The stump drum he wields is occasionally called the Coconut Drum and jokes are made about the accompanying baggage that comes with it.
    • Among Japanese fans, the four fossil Pokémon introduced in this game are collectively nicknamed カセキメラ (kasekimera) from 化石 kaseki (fossil) and chimera.
    • Zacian is often called "Sif" due to it resembling the boss Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls 1, which is also a large wolf with a sword in its mouth.
    • Max Mushrooms are occasionally called "Mega Mushrooms" due to being fungi that allow the consumer to grow giant in some way (in this case, it allows a Pokémon with a Gigantamax form to unlock or disable that Gigantamax form.)
    • Competitive players have dubbed The Crown Tundra expansion "Clown Tundra" due to the immense Power Creep that its release brought to the metagame.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Bede/Gloria rose to prominence upon the game's release.
    • Since the game's release, there's been an explosion of Gloria/Marnie fan art, mostly eclipsing Victor and most other potential couples that had gained popularity and speculation before the game had actually come out.
    • On Victor's end, he's very commonly paired with Hop. Victor/Hop and Gloria/Marnie fans tend to overlap.
    • When it comes to the adult characters, Leon/Sonia, Leon/Raihan, and Sonia/Nessa have gained traction due to the fact that they met during a prior League season as competitors. Raihan/Piers has also been gaining traction thanks to their interactions in the Champion Cup and postgame.
    • For the Pokemon themselves, there's a very dedicated group for Cinderace/Inteleon out there (usually F-Cinderace and M-Inteleon, but this same group occasionally plays around with the genders). This may extend to their preevolutions as well.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain:
    • While Chairman Rose mostly wears a sharp grey suit, his incognito outfit is universally agreed to be ridiculous, with some fans even mistaking his shorts for Goofy Print Underwear.
    • Shielbert at least has a hairstyle that looks...mostly normal, but Sordward's haircut is just ridiculous. One must imagine the amount of hair gel it takes to make that much hair stick straight up.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Compiled in its own page here.
  • Game-Breaker: The Max Lair in the Crown Tundra lacks the usual badge-based catch restrictions that apply to the Wild Area. Since the story progresses regardless of whether or not the player beats Peony when they first arrive, they are fully capable of playing through the Max Lair (which is free and provides players with rental Pokemon to get through it), getting their hands on a level 60+ Pokémon or a level 70 legendary that will obey all orders as soon as they complete the league opening ceremony at Motostoke, and then proceed to absolutely demolish all eight gyms with it.
    • Dynamax (which already combines both Mega Evolution and Z-Moves, and all the faults they carry) in online play (in-game and out of it) very quickly becomes oppressive and overcentralizing in Single Battle formats. As the mechanic scales quickly with stat boosts, and the moves often come with stat boosts, stat downs, or change the weather, it became incredibly centralizing due to the potential ease of sweeping entire battles (in a 3v3) or crippling teams (In a 6v6) with a few boosting moves before using Dynamax, leading to the mechanic being banned by Smogon (In the OU format, its most popular) not long after the game's release.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The region's resident Fossil Pokémon (Dracozolt, Arctozolt, Dracovish, and Arctovish) are based off of Chimera fossils, or fossils that were reconstructed using elements from more than one species. The fact that no one seems to have figured this out yet may also be a reference to the Piltdown Man hoax.
      • In addition, that you can only find the Fossilized Fish head, which forms the "-vish" part, reflects how nearly all Dunkleosteus fossils found are only of their heads. Dunkleosteus also had one of the most painful bites of any sea creature to have ever lived, which is the reason behind Dracovish's and Arctovish's Signature Move of Fishious Rend, as well as Strong Jaw being one of Dracovish's Abilities.
    • Flapple's signature move, Grav Apple, which does more damage under the Gravity effect, references the (likely embellished) story of Isaac Newton having an insight about the laws of gravity after an apple fell from a tree and hit him on the head.
    • Orbeetle's Bug/Psychic typing might seem odd, given that beetles are not the most intelligent of insects, but its head resembling a UFO (especially in its Gigantamax) suggests a cosmic theme, which some other Psychic-types such as Gothitelle, Beheeyem, and Solgaleo and Lunala also have. You might not think a beetle and outer space would have anything else to do with one another - unless you know that the nocturnal African dung beetle Scarabaeus satyrus is the only known non-vertebrate animal to navigate and orient itself using the Milky Way. Dottler, meanwhile, resembles a radome.
      • And on the same evolution line, Game Freak had clearly Shown Their Work by basing the whole Blipbug line on the Seven-Star Ladybird, which is native to the UK, matching details such as the dark blue body and large head of its larval form and the yellow shade and angular shape of its pupal casing.
    • The English names of the towns in Galar are each a portmanteau, the first word being a familiar English word while the second is a suffix denoting its geographical location or history of the town. Motostoke, for instance, combines "motor" with "-stoke," the latter denoting an industrial center, whereas Spikemuth combines "spike" with "-muth," indicating the town is at the mouth of a river.
      • Across all translations, a Theme Naming of the towns based on sports terms becomes apparent, with some English examples being Wedgehurstnote , Hammerlockenote  and Ballonleanote .
    • Porygon2's Shield dex entry references an odd phenomenon that can really occur in the process of training an AInote .
      After artificial intelligence was implemented in Porygon2, the Pokémon began using a strange language that only other Porygon2 understand.
    • The appearance of the Pokémon Dens is inspired by the black basalt hexagonal columns of Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. What looks like a simple aesthetic choice at first becomes a clever Visual Pun when you realise that they contain Dynamaxed, aka giant, Pokémon.
    • Galarian Meowth and Perrserker are clearly Viking-themed Pokémon in a region themed on the British Isles, which seem out of place not familiar with the region's history, but Vikings have been longtime residents of the area, even longer than the Anglo-Saxons have, and still inhabit the British Isles to this day. Vikings also really did keep cats onboard their ships, both as companions and because they exterminate rats that have stowed on board.
    • Dubwool has multiple pairs of horns, making them the Pokémon counterpart of Jacob sheep, who have pairs of horns in approximately the same locations and orientations as Dubwool.
  • Goddamned Bats: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Goddamned Boss: G-Max Pikachu often has Double Team in its arsenal, which makes it harder to hit. Also, G-Max Volt Crash paralyzes everyone that isn't Electric-type. These would just be a mild annoyances if it weren't for the fact that Max Raid battles come with a built in turn limit; if the Random Number God is in a bad mood, you could end up being stalled out, especially if you're stuck with AI helpers that don't like using attacking moves.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • It is possible to interact with Eggs in ways you are not meant to by attempting to use an EXP Candy or TM/TR on a Pokémon directly above the Egg in the party. If you press A and Down on the same frame during the Pokémon selection, the game will select the Egg instead of the correct Pokémon. This allows you to do things like check the stats and Ability of an unhatched Egg, teach moves to an unhatched Egg with TMs and TRs, and (if the Pokémon above the Egg is the same as the Egg's species and is capable of evolving) evolving a Pokémon before it hatches, thus giving you Level 1 evolved Pokémon. Lance's Dragonite, eat your heart out.
    • A similar trick using exp candies instead of TMs allows evolving certain Pokémon that aren't supposed to evolve, like male Combee and Salandit (which turn female when forced to evolve). This can help if you get a shiny that's the wrong gender, for example.
    • "Date spoofing" was discovered early on as an exploit to redo daily events (the Loto-ID, Cafe Battles, etc.) by changing the date on the console while in a raid lobby. This can also reroll raid bosses in some circumstances, helping to get specific mons, and/or shinies. Ironically, this used to be a strictly bad thing to do in past games, as altering date in past games will only stop all time-based events for a whole day.
    • Some signature moves have more dynamic camera poses and involved animations than most other moves, likely because being a signature move allows for more freedom in animating the specific Pokémon. However, if you have a Ditto Transform into one of these Pokémon and use one of the moves in question, the Ditto won't be able to properly copy the animation, so it often leads to funny results such as Zacian standing still and rotating its entire body 180 degrees to slash something.
  • Growing the Beard: A self-contained example: the Sword and Shield base games were infamously controversial for upholding the series' traditions of extreme linearity and handholding while not being able to justify excluding half the series' Pokémon from its roster. Not only do the DLC expansions add many of the missing Pokémon, but upon release the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra were discovered to be truly enormous sandboxes full of different localesnote  and Scenery Porn despite the limited graphics; additionally, the player is left to complete the story and explore at their own pace, with no handholding or railroading in sight. On top of all that, the expansion re-adds the beloved feature of Pokémon following behind younote . These features add up to an experience that many fans believe the game should have been like in the first place, and while the Isle of Armor still drew criticism for its very weak and linear story content, the Crown Tundra is considered an improvement and the best part of the Galar games. The open-exploration concept of both DLC packs would later be expanded upon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus, which is considered an Even Better Sequel to Sword and Shield and other 3D entries.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: If the Tsareena that's with Milo is the same Pokémon throughout, then Milo has taken it under his wing following the main post-game, brought it with him for sight-seeing in Isle of Armor occasionally and used it in his team following the Galarian Star Tournament.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Check the main page.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A common complaint among veterans of the franchise is that the game spends a lot of time holding your hand. Between constant free healing from NPCs, a constantly active EXP Share that helps your entire team outlevel Gym Leaders easily, and handing out free items like 20 Poké Balls at the start of the game, there aren't a whole lot of times where the player will feel pressured unless they willingly impose challenges on themselves. This was later averted with the Crown Tundra, as it focuses on catching legendary Pokemon.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!:
    • At ten routes and four dungeons, Galar has the fewest routes and dungeons of any region and is the only one without a Victory Road or equivalent. In addition to the majority of the routes being small, narrow paths with few branching areas, field moves outside of surfing have been completely removed and Route 9 is the only area where it is mandatory to use in order to progress, and all of the four dungeons are explored as part of the main story with Glimwood Tangle being the only one with a multitude of paths to choose. This leaves the majority of the Wild Area and the DLC expansion areas as the only optional areas in the game, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on the fan.
    • The DLC expansions, the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra, are full of things fans have been clamoring for in a Pokémon game: no linearity or handholding whatsoever, its difficulty level (due to the latter), two gigantic new areas to explore freely, and Pokémon following you in the overworld. Fans love these additions, but often lament how all this is only found in what amounts to two paywalled post-game episodes and not a full Pokémon game in its own right, and desperately hope that Generation IX will take the positive feedback of the Expansion Pass into account.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • While much of the debate surrounding the games is about what they did change, a lot of the flak the games get is also about what they didn't change:
      • The games went back to the "8 Gyms" formula after the Alola games ditched it. As mentioned under They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, given 18 Gyms explicitly exist in the games' story, it upsets many fans that the games take so much inspiration from their handheld counterparts that they couldn't even ditch that, while they still have the linear campaigns and barren postgames that made the Alola games divisive.
      • Battles are displayed how they were in the Generation VII games, which has drawn ire for holding over both the jarring idle poses from X and Y's Sky Battles and the inconsistent scaling of Pokemon needed to maintain the original camera perspective, now displayed on a home console with HD visuals. The lattermost is considered an especially unnecessary holdover due to how Pokémon are more correctly scaled in the overworld, and has been compared unfavorably to both the Genius Sonority games from more than a decade prior (in particular Battle Revolution) and how the Let's Go! games were able to scale them more appropriately despite releasing one year prior on the same console.
    • All three starter Pokémon remain puretype once they reach their final forms. While there was a sizable amount of relief that Cinderace did not end up Fire/Fighting (compounded with how the only pure-Fire starter before was Typhlosion), Rillaboom and Inteleon's introductions now mean that four out of the eight Grass and Water starters each remain monotype throughout their lines, something that has come off to a number of people as being just as bad (if not worse) than three Fire/Fighting types in a row.
    • One of the many reasons why Gigantamax Charizard is divisive is that it doesn't really do much different conceptually from the Mega Charizard forms (aside from its Hot Wings, its Secret Art and being a Not Zilla Kaiju), being a version of regular Charizard that just looks bigger and more powerful with more flames and (because of how Dynamax works) keeping its base form's Fire/Flying typing instead of becoming Fire/Dragon like Mega Charizard X. This can be contrasted with Gigantamax Blastoise within the same trio, which was more unanimously well-received for expanding on Blastoise's concept in a different way from Mega Blastoise and going full-on Rule of Cool by having 31 cannons and becoming a turtle-fortress-kaiju.
    • The fact that the game's plot involves yet another twist villain who is revealed to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist for the third game in a row pushed some fans away from the main story, and with the "villainous" team Yell being even less convincing antagonists than Team Skull, and Macro Cosmos being even more Obviously Evil than the Aether Foundation, many fans found it hard to be engaged by the conflict.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Bede is undoubtedly a prick, but it's hard not to feel sorry for him. He grew up in an orphanage after something happened to his poverty-stricken parents, and was eventually all but adopted by Chairman Rose, developing a "Well Done, Son" Guy complex towards him. However, Rose only used him to gather Wishing Stars, abandoned him and booted him from the Gym Challenge after Oleana tricked him into destroying a mural in Stow-on-Side, and apparently barely remembered his name.
  • Junk Rare: Sinistea and Polteageist that possess authentic antiques appear much less often than those possessing forgeries, but are no stronger because of it. Even the cosmetic difference is hard to spot, and the Chipped Teapot needed for an authentic Sinistea to evolve is much harder to get than the forgeries’ Cracked Teapot, so trainers may be better off not spending the time bothering to track down an authentic one.

    L-O 
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Gloria, the female protagonist, has been shipped with all three of her rivals, some of the gym leaders, her male counterpart, and the champion. She's even been shipped with Serena (specifically Serena's game incarnation to avoid any conflicts with AmourShipping).
    • Raihan also has a good number of ships under his belt, including Leon, Kabu, Nessa, Piers, and the protagonist. Some fans joke that if you like a character, they'll be shipped with Raihan somehow.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Even before the game came out, it acquired a LGBT fanbase for a number of reasons, including Leon's fabulous/disastrous dress sense, bisexuals finding Sonia, Nessa, Leon and/or Milo attractive, Zacian and Zamazenta having pride color schemes, Wooloo getting linked to the mental pronunciation of WLW (women loving women), the Hatterene line and the Ballonlea Gym Leader's outfit having the colours of the trans flag (plus the return of Sylveon, who has the same), having a Direct during LGBT Pride Month in June, etc. Milo, Raihan and Leon were particularly well received by Bara fans.
    • In-game example: Peony's league card mentions he has a lot of male fans.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Dracovish. As soon as the fandom heard of the sheer power of its signature move, fans started portraying it as on the same level as (if not more powerful than) a legendary. Fanon tends to portray it as a weapon of mass destruction who wants to kill everyone for allowing it to exist in the first place.
    • Leon and his Charizard are extremely ironic examples, with fans sarcastically parroting and mocking the incessant in-game Character Shilling that touts them as "undefeated" and "unbeatable". Some even take this further and joke that the people of Galar literally worship Charizard as a god and the most powerful being in the universe, with Leon being a holy figure serving directly under it.
    • Piers is a straighter example. Despite never using Dynamaxing at all due to his personal disdain of it, he managed to give Raihan a run for his money and while he didn't win, did come extremely close without Dynamaxing. Some fans like to roll with it by saying Piers is the true strongest trainer in Galar and is deliberately holding back to give himself a challenge and has no interest in being Champion because it wouldn't be fair to others.
    • Gloria, as part as the Scottish Gloria meme, is portrayed as a brash Badass Adorable though it sometimes goes hand in hand with turning her into a Memetic Psychopath.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Fans love to take Leon's infamous in-game terrible sense of direction and crank it up to Wrong Turn at Albuquerque levels. This also overlaps with the "Leon/Charizard religion" Memetic Badass memes; reminding everyone of Leon's awful sense of direction is presented as a tenet of "Galarism", and an in-game quote where Leon claims Charizard helped prevent him from getting lost is allegedly "evidence" that supreme deity Charizard is the only being that Leon ever answers to.
    • Going hand in hand with Gloria's portrayal as a Scottish Memetic Badass, Victor is sometimes portrayed as a meek and timid (English) boy that she pushes around, usually giving them a Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy dynamic.
  • Memetic Psychopath:
  • Moe:
    • Gloria is a very cute female protagonist. Small wonder that the fanbase quickly took a fancy to her shortly after the first trailer. Soon after the Memetic Mutation, however, she is seen as a Violent Glaswegian instead, but that can be moe in its own right.
    • The Lass trainer class has a cute smile and appearance, especially one Lass in Hulbury who's just chilling with three of her Wooper.
    • The Water-type starter Sobble immediately gained popularity for being "the anxiety Pokémon" who will cry at the drop of a hat — something the internet quickly related to.
    • The resident Normal-type Com Mon, Wooloo. It's a small fluffy sheep with a cute face — what's not to love? Wooloo's design was such a hit that it became a fandom fad and fanart-factory months before the game even came out.
    • Yamper. It's an electric corgi dog! It even has a heart on its butt and a little electric bolt for a tail.
    • Falinks. It's a group of six Waddling Heads that do a little synchronized dance in their Pokémon Camp idle animation! And when they get knocked out, they all tumble over with Wingding Eyes.
    • Snom, a beady-eyed little white grub and ridiculously cute. Its evolution Frosmoth has also gotten quite a lot of love, from a memetic playthrough describing it as "A FLUFFY BUTTERFLY!"
    • After the game's release and the reveal of Marnie as a Kuudere Defrosting Ice Queen with an obvious soft spot for the protagonist, she's become much more adorable in the eyes of the fans as well. While she spends most of the game being The Stoic, she has a scene in the hotel in Motostoke where she practices smiling more, which the protagonist can walk in on, which she then gets very embarrassed at. The whole scene is incredibly endearing.
    • Allister is painfully shy behind his Creepy Child persona. With the mask off, he rivals Wally in terms of adorableness.
    • Piers, the Dark-type Gym and Team Yell Leader resembles a ghost, with bags under his eyes and pale skin, with a typical obviously evil hairdo; but he's actually quite nice and the only Gym Leader to help you in the end game when the ipso facto bad guy is enacting his plan.
    • Poké Kids, now that the trainer class has come back to be in 3D for the first time. They're cute kids wearing hooded onesies of Pikachu (male) or Eevee (female). The girls are particularly well-liked, in no small part thanks to always having a chipper smile even after losing, and animations showing they're actually wagging the tail on their outfit.
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Mustard is this to Leon as a champion and final boss of the Isle of Armor DLC. It helps that he doesn't have many of the issues Leon suffered such as Character Shilling, being Spotlight-Stealing Squad that locked the player of the more interesting subplot until the last minute, as well as repetitive dialogue. Mustard not only instead lets the player explore at their own pace, but is an Adorkable Cool Old Guy who has more interesting Hidden Depths and proves to have an even more incredible final fight than Leon as well as letting the player have true freedom without blocking them from the plot in any way.
    • Avery and Klara is this to Bede as jerkass rivals. Unlike Bede they never suffer from being Out of Focus in the storyline as well as having a Freudian Excuse for their behavior unlike him. They even resort to cheating in the final battle showing how they'd do anything to win and develop into working harder for their goals. In contrast, Bede's subplot is never resolved and his connection with his guardian is never resolved.
  • Narm: Piers holding a concert in the back alley that serves as his gym should be really cool. When it zooms in on his face, his mouth is moving but with no voice. That could work, except that he also taps his heel repeatedly with a loud clopping noise, making it look like he's just mouthing at the microphone.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Despite a large outpouring of resentment concerning the game's quality and content from fans, Sword and Shield went on to become the the fastest selling Switch game ever and held that title for a while until it was dethroned by Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It also had the biggest US debut in franchise history, and by December 2021 it overtook Gold and Silver in number of sales.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A thing since the second generation, but some fans and even fairly large websites have reacted to Slowpoke Tail Curry like it is a game-changing revelation.
    • Players balking at the idea of the player character eating meat in general are forgetting about the restaurants in X and Y and Sun and Moon which explicitly state that the main character is eating meat.
    • For all the criticism about excluding Pokémon from the game, these aren't the first games that did that. While both of them did have Dummied Out content for the Pokémon that weren't included, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire didn't allow you to catch every Pokémon normally and there was no way to transfer any Pokémon from Gen II to Gen III because of how different both the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance systems were. At the time both games were launched, there was even criticism for this because Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen weren't even a thought for fans. Even if you include the remakes, there are still a handful of Pokémon missing which you still need the GameCube games or Pokémon Emerald to get them.
    • For many, part of Falinks's appeal is the fact that it is essentially six Pokémon in one. While many fans treat this as a revolutionary concept, it was already done by Exeggcute all the way back in Gen I.
  • OT3:
    • In large part due to the two separate pairings involving the player-character being Ship Mates, a dynamic between Hop, Victor/Gloria, and Marnie is popular as well. Sometimes it even extends to an OT4 with Gloria AND Victor being involved with both Marnie and Hop.
    • Similarly, due to the reveal that they all faced each other in their younger years, there are plenty of people who ship any triad of Leon, Raihan, Sonia, and Nessa, or even all four at once.
    • Leon/Raihan/Piers is a smaller but still relatively popular ship.

    P-R 
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: While the story is debatable in terms of quality, one thing generally agreed upon is you're locked out of the more interesting things until late in the game. As a result, many enjoy the gameplay much more no thanks to the option to skip tutorials, smoother pacing, as well as the options to skip cutscenes allowing players to enjoy the game without any trouble.
  • Replacement Scrappy: For all the focus and praise fan-favorite Charizard gets from characters in-game, its Gigantamax form, while liked for its cool Kaiju-dragon design, is considered a fairly lackluster replacement for its Mega Evolutions. It boasts neither Mega Charizard X's long-requested Fire/Dragon typing nor Mega Charizard Y's jaw-dropping Glass Cannon / Lightning Bruiser stats, and unlike the Mega Charizard forms, it's mostly considered inferior by its own vanilla Dynamax form in single battle formats.note  But most egregiously, prior to the reveal of the DLC expansions, it was considered an even more blatant show of favoritism towards Charizard at the expense of the other Kanto starters, as Venusaur and Blastoise not only didn't initially get Gigantamax forms but aren't even in the mainland Galar Dex.note  Even after Gigantamax Venusaur and Blastoise were introduced and Gigantamax Charizard proved to be a very good Pokémon in VGC formats, many people still find it inferior to its Mega Evolutions (especially Mega Charizard X).
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Hop had a very tepid reaction when first revealed, with many rolling their eyes at another Friendly Rival (an archtype fans had gotten quite sick of), and the fears that he'd take away screentime from the much more interesting and positively received Bede and Marnie. After the game came out, however, many were pleasantly surprised to see he had quite a bit of Character Development and depth regarding his inferiority complex and ultimate decision to find his own path and become a Pokemon Professor. While still not the most popular of the rivals, he's now quite well-liked in his own right.
    • Gigantamax Charizard, while not hated (it is Charizard after all), was relentlessly mocked for being blatant pandering to fans of the species at the expense of Venusaur and Blastoise fans. When it was revealed that Venusaur and Blastoise would be getting Gigantamax forms as well, many fans took a more favorable stance towards it, as its appearance in the base game could instead be likened to an Early-Bird Cameo similar to how Mega Blaziken was introduced before Mega Sceptile and Mega Swampert in Generation VI. In fact, the Charmander line doesn't play any role in the additional content for the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra expansions and aren't in the regional Pokédex, letting Bulbasaur and Squirtle claim the spotlight for themselves. Furthermore, while its retention of its Fire/Flying typingnote  and apparent Power-Up Letdown Secret Art were initially points of heavy criticism, they turned out to be genuinely useful positives; Charizard's Flying type gives it STAB on Max Airstream, one of the best Max Moves in the game,note , and G-Max Wildfire turned out to be a very useful move in various competitive formats.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Quite a few fanworks, especially ones in the west, paint Chairman Rose as much more evil than the game suggests. One example is making them a very corrupt political figure, even though the game suggests that the opposite is true. He's also made out to be outright abusive to Bede in some fics; while this isn't without its merits (Rose does have some neglectful tendencies, such as forgetting his name and disowning him), it tends to be escalated to near Ghetis or Lusamine levels.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of players find themselves wanting Hop, Raihan or Marnie to win the championship over the Player Character, given that they have incredibly compelling and sympathetic motivations to join the Championship, while the Player Character is a blatant Vanilla Protagonist.

    S 
  • Self-Fanservice:
    • Both Sonia and Nessa—the Water gym leader, naturally—got hit with this once their designs were revealed.
    • The Champion, Leon, gained some lustful fans as soon as he was revealed, thanks to his handsome design and personality.
    • Milo, the Grass-type Gym Leader, has gained a fanbase due to his hunky bod and boyish enthusiasm. Many works of fanart make him more attractive by giving him a visible nose.
    • Raihan, for being Leon's rival, slightly vain, loving to take selfies and such, and his Pokémon team's is built around strategies changing the weather. Which means at one point he'll get completely wet in rainfall. This is also In-Universe where some NPCs will comment on how she looks for his jersey number on lockers and she loves how he keeps losing to Leon and how fired up it makes him. Many a fanart has also been made about Raihan's supposed, ahem, private accounts.
    • A lot of the new Pokémon have gotten this, but special mention goes to Wooloo, who goes from an adorable sheep in the game to a Cute Monster Girl in fanart. Often with less or no wool.
    • While Hatterene's "buxom" is rather an extension of her "hair", the actual body of the Pokémon being rather small, some Cute Monster Girl art has dipped into making it more... authentic, so to speak. Of course, that's not to say fanartists are averse to her true form, with some changing her from a thin, noodly thing under that hair into a curvy shortstack.
    • Rillaboom's design is a trifecta of fetishes: bigger than its trainer, buff, and wildman. Naturally, it's often depicted in fanart as the Pokémon eqivalent of a Handsome Heroic Caveman, and both Furry Fandom and muscle enthusiasts will pile on the beef to make it ideally thick.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • Enforced by the developers themselves to counter-balance the implementation of a permanent EXP.Share. When asked what players who prefer training up each Pokemon on their team individually were supposed to do, it was suggested that they simply carry less Pokemon or even do a Solo-Character Run with a Pokemon of choice and use the more easily accecible Box storage system to swap the chose Pokemon out and assemble teams when needed.
    • The single Beast Ball you can obtain in Stow-On-Side after beating the game was seemingly added solely to bait players into attempting some sort of catch challenge; there are no Ultra Beasts in the base game, so it's effectively just a rare ball with a cool design and 1/10th the catch rate of a normal Poké Ball. Attempting to capture Zacian or Zamazenta in it is the obvious choicenote , but you could also go for a raid boss or some other tough target. Alternatively, for those who used Mystery Gift from December 15th to January 15th, one could get and use a Beast Ball on the Ultra Beast-like Eternatus, taking advantage of this being a guaranteed capture.
    • Some players have taken it upon themselves to try and defeat Leon with the dumbest Pokémon teams possible, just to spite the game calling him "undefeated". You've even got people who've defeated Leon with a single Magikarp.
    • Another challenge that players have undergone is defeating the game's bosses without Dynamaxing their own Pokemon.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop:
    • Continues the series trend from Pokémon Sun and Moon. While scaled experience is kept from the Alola games, meaning Anti-Grinding is still in effect, the main problem from X and Y returns - trainers carrying fewer Pokémon and with less troublesome movesets. The existence of the Wild Area, which in conjunction with the Move Relearner now being free-of-cost and available in all Pokémon Centers, also means that you can very well find yourself with a Disc-One Nuke well before the time they were available in previous games. Also, trainers now give out greater amounts of money, making it easy to stockpile large quantities of items. Further, instead of the Elite 4 of the past which was a gauntlet without any free recovery or backtracking, you deal with a tournament that FULLY RECOVERS your Pokemon after each battle, meaning you can mess up many times and also backtrack while saving your spot in the league.
    • The Battle Tower in particular is a massive step down from the Battle Tree in the previous generation. While the Tree featured dangerous Mons with metagame-level movesets later on and a wide variety of cameos from previous trainers, the Galar Tower opponents still use weak mons with bad, gimmicky movesets even in the highest rank. Leon is the only remotely threatening trainer after a certain point, but being the Champion, you're already familiar with what he will send out. The Tower doesn't even save streaks anymore; you merely climb up various strata and losing merely sets you back slightly rather than ruin your whole streak.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: A trend following the games' announcement has been having Gloria paired up with Serena (the video game version, not her younger anime counterpart) as the sweet French-speaking girl to the tsundere foul-mouthed Scottish girl. This pairing is sometimes called the Auld Alliance, after a historical treaty between Scotland and France.
  • Shocking Moments:
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • A lack of roughness, bump or normal maps in the environment causes a significant amount of the terrain throughout the region (most evidently visible in the three Wild Areas) to appear flat, not at all helped by a significant portion of the shadows being baked into the textures themselves rather than generated through lighting engines. Similarly, the lack of roughness maps in characters' models in conjunction with the normal maps being used to create the cel-shading effects rather than simulate depth and direction causes an odd, unchanging fresnel that exacerbates the issue of many models looking overtly smooth - almost like plastic figurines with the details painted on.
    • The cutscene introducing Piers is downright legendary. He's supposed to be singing, but there's no vocals of any kind, no backing track, and his movements don't even sync up with the background music... but there are sound effects. The sequence as a whole feels quite surreal.
    • As has been reported countless times by this point, Game Freak's overreliance on canned animation loops and animation shortcuts they used on in the 3DS titles makes a lot of scenes in the story look a lot worse than they really should, despite being on the Switch. Standout examples include Sonia pacing back and forth by walking in one direction, making two cardinal turns and then returning as if she were walking on a grid, characters being stated to do one thing in the text but not having appropriate animations or expressions cued up (like a crowd being said to be clapping while instead doing generic cheering animations) and the now infamous shot of Zamazenta lacking the ability to do a 180 turn and walking in place as his model rotates on the spot instead.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Hop's battle theme brings to mind the battle theme from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, as this video demonstrates.

    T 
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • Many fans were disappointed that the ability to have Pokémon follow your trainer was once again removed after it was present in Let's Go. While it was reintroduced in the Expansion Pass, little relief was had when it was discovered to be exclusive to the new areas (amongst other problems).
    • The announcement that Mega Evolution and Z-Moves would be shelved in Sword and Shield was also taken poorly.
    • When they were first announced, Sword and Shield were nigh-universally praised and hyped up for launch. This changed at E3 2019 where, at the tail end of the Nintendo Treehouse stream, where Masuda announced that only Pokémon in the Galar Pokédex could be transferred to Sword and Shield through Pokémon HOME, effectively ending the tradition of being able to transfer any Pokémon from one generation to another. This was not taken well, especially from veterans of the series, and the SwSh Gameplay YouTube video quickly gathered a great number of dislikes and comments, almost all of them about what Masuda said at the end. Masuda's statement just a few days later that part of the reason for the change was due to giving individual Pokemon "higher fidelity with higher quality animations" drew even more ire, with numerous fans tearing into the graphics of the demo and bringing forth several accusations that the models and animations seen at that point were either on par with, or were straight up lifted from, the 3DS games and Let's Go.
    • The Expansion Pass announced in January 2020 was generally well-received, but with one expensive problem for completionists: if you play Sword and Shield and want the DLC material in both, you'll have to shell out $60 ($30 for each game), which is as much as a new copy of either game. Granted, the previous generation had the same problem in the form of entirely separate games.
  • That One Attack: G-Max Stun Shock is an incredibly annoying move to have to be thrown at you in Max Raids, and is the main reason for Gigantamax Toxtricity's status as That One Boss. Thanks to said battle mechanics, an enemy Toxtricity can potentially affect ALL of the player's Pokémon with the move's splash damage so long as there is one Pokémon that ISN'T a Ground type, which will either add poison damage on top, or paralyze the affected Pokémon. This can be a death sentence on Max Raid battles, especially if the allied Dynamaxed Pokémon is paralyzed.
    • Although Stun Shock is the worst example of it, really any attack that hits the entire party and has a potentially debilitating secondary effect has the potential to be this in the hands of a Max Raid boss, since while the odds of the effect working on any one particular Pokémon are not especially high, when that chance is rolled up to four times in one turn it becomes much more likely that at least one will be hit with it. More good examples include Discharge which can cause paralysis, Blizzard and Powder Snow which can freeze, and Rock Slide which can cause the targets to flinch.
  • That One Boss: Hoo boy. While the difficulty of the main campaign is fairly easy compared to past games, there are still plenty of difficult battles to be found:
    • Through a combination of useless CPU allies, their Artificial Stupidity, and My Rules Are Not Your Rules with a pinch of Contractual Boss Immunity for Max Raid Pokémon, almost every 5-Star Pokémon fought solo could qualify. But some 5-star battles are their own special kind of nightmare:
      • Any Pokemon with Counter or Mirror Coat. Unless you have a Ghost-type to evade Counter or a Dark-type to block Mirror Coat, pray that the Max Raid AI does not pick those moves. If you think using Sableye (Ghost/Dark) will be the answer to this, it likely isn't, since Sableye has lacking stats and is unlikely to make up for the general buffoonery of potential AI allies.
      • Obstagoon. It immediately puts up a shield that manages to have seven bars on it, meaning that you're guaranteed to take at least two turns on breaking it unless someone decides to Dynamax (which unfortunately only lasts three turns and no one can use it again once someone does). It also uses Obstruct, which would normally fail if used consecutively, but since it can move twice per turn, this means it can use an attack and then Obstruct, negating any damage done to the shields every turn. Even worse: if you're lucky/unlucky enough to fight one that has its hidden ability; Defiant, that means that if the shield does come down, it'll raise its Attack each time its Defense and Special Defense drop. Since it's a 5-star Raid Pokémon, this means it will put up its 7-bar shield twice. Dynamaxed Obstagoon will either decimate your party or stall out the 10 turns you're given. This thing is brutal and there's almost no counter for it: simply put, bring a level 100 Pokémon, spam Aura Sphere (which has a 4x type advantage against Obstagoon, and is a special attack that won't lead to your defenses being lowered if Obstruct is put up) or Feint (which can break Obstagoon's Obstruct), and pray.
      • Shuckle with its Hidden Ability, Contrary, can be similarly annoying, since it also has a ridiculous amount of shields, and said ability will make its already-obscene defense stats increase when its shield breaks instead of decreasing. It probably won't KO anyone, since its attack stats are abysmal, but it could very well stall out the battle for ten turns and force you to start over. Using a Weezing with the Neutralizing Gas ability can nullify Contrary and make the battle much easier, but it may still be a bit of a slog to get through the shields and Shuckle's high defenses, especially if the AI allies waste their turns with non attacking moves.
      • Gigantamax Duraludon is pretty annoying to fight as well. While it doesn't possess any annoying moves or abilities, and doesn't do any sort of barrier shenanigans, it poses a hazard in G-Max Depletion, which burns up 2 Power Points from the last move used, similar to Spite. Dynamax Cannon and Behemoth Blade/Bash only have 8 PP at maximum, and PP Ups are even harder to come by in this game, so after one usage, the most reliable way to kill Max Raid Bosses has only 1-4 uses left or is out of commission, forcing everyone to find an alternative way to kill it. The latter two are effectively stuck at their base power of 100, due to Duraludon resisting them. Gigantamax Sandaconda and Machamp are other good counters, but they have physical sweeper-like kits, and as such would be exploiting Duraludon's solid Defense instead of its flimsy Special Defense.
      • Galvantula gets two 4-layer shields and spams the hell out of Electroweb and Discharge every turn, both of which hit the entire team for massive damage; the former reduces speed and the latter can and will cause paralysis. Anything that isn't Ground-type will get KO'd within one or two turns, so all AI teammates (save for Mudbray and Jolteon) are even more of a liability than usual; and good luck getting a full team of human players to show up for this relatively unpopular boss.
      • Prepare for the unholy terror that is Gigantamax Toxtricity, perhaps the most difficult Raid Pokémon to fight solo. It has a lot of moves that hit all Pokémon on the field, including Overdrive and Boomburst. Its G-Max Stun Shock move will also poison or paralyze all opponents. Using a Ground type Pokémon? If Stun Shock hits an ally Pokémon, you are still not safe from being paralyzed note . Brought a Pokémon with Lightning Rod to keep your allies from getting electrocuted? Toxtricity can, like all other Raid Pokémon, dispel not just stat buffs, but also nullify abilities for at least a short time. Additionally, if the Toxtricity is Low-Key, the barriers it puts up take six hits as opposed to just three for the Amped form. A 5-Star Gigantamax Toxtricity is almost impossible to do solo unless you are either extremely lucky or use Throat Chop on it at the start of the battle, which keeps it from using sound based moves for two turns (though it won't save you from Stun Shock and the chance of paralysis for non-Electric types or poison for non-Steel/Poison types). And be careful if you go online to find players to help out, since some players like to use Earthquake on G-Toxtricity. Earthquake not only hits the enemy Pokémon, but also other players' Pokémon, potentially even wiping them out if they're weak to Ground.
      • Gigantamax Hatterene is an extremely difficult battle. A big reason for this is because it possesses the move G-Max Smite, which not only deals massive Fairy-type damage to a target, but also confuses all opponents. It is more than possible for everyone to waste a turn hitting themselves in confusion, and anyone using the powerful Zacian will not enjoy seeing it hit itself for a considerable amount of its health bar (since the damage a confused Pokémon does to itself is dependent on its Attack stat). Even if G-Hatterene forgoes using G-Max Smite, it likes to use Calm Mind at least once before decimating its targets with Max Flare and Max Mindstorm; Steel and Poison type Pokémon aren't safe from this nightmare of an opponent. Only Pokémon with the Own Tempo ability are safe from the confusion status, and even then, G-Hatterene can still dispel buffs and abilities on a whim before potentially using G-Max Smite. Get ready to redo this battle many, many times if you're doing it without online help.
      • Gigantamax Snorlax can be an absolute nightmare. Its potential movepool—Zen Headbutt, Iron Head, Earthquake, Rock Slide—can cut through most of the AI opponents, with the latter two being doubly infuriating since they hit everyone on the field. If it decides to use them both in one turn, at least one ally, possibly two, is going down. Two of those also means that Eternatus isn't as reliable as usual, and Gigantamax Machamp is also a liability. If it swaps one of them out for G-Max Replenish, the target will likely be OHKO'd if it isn't you (and since it can attack twice in one turn, even the Focus Sash holders aren't safe), and you'll probably still take a decent chunk of damage. It sets up two shields throughout the battle, each of which has five bars, meaning if you're not Dynamaxed, each of them will take two turns minimum to break, giving Snorlax plenty of time to rack up the four knockouts needed to blow you out of the den and force you to start over.
      • Gigantamax Centiskorch with the ability White Smoke can be notorious to deal with, since the ability makes it immune to stat reductions. Breaking its barriers twice won't do anything to lower its defenses. It also has a variety of moves such as Lunge, Power Whip, and Fire Spin or Heat Wave. The worst of these moves, however, is Coil. Each use of it raises its physical Attack and Defense (as well as Accuracy), making it both bulky and powerful. If it uses Coil numerous times, you may just want to reset your game, since it'll tear through the AI allies (and potentially your own Pokémon) with impunity.
      • Clefable can be a maddening battle. It will often start by spamming Minimize, raising its evasion and making it almost impossible to hit. If you do manage to land an attack on it (whether through luck or using a move that never misses), hope and pray it doesn't have Cute Charm; a Pokémon under the Attract status wastes most of its turns doing nothing and is essentially a sitting duck (though you can avoid Cute Charm and bypass evasion issues if your Pokémon uses a special attack that never misses, such as Shock Wave or Magical Leaf). A combination of Clefable evading most moves and the risk of Cute Charm can lead to the battle ending in failure after ten turns. If you aren't prepared with specific moves, you'll have to hope luck is on your side, or ten turns will go by very quickly. Another thing that makes Clefable annoying is that it's one of the only Max Raid bosses that can come packing Metronome, which can let it use almost any move in the entire game at random. While the chances of it specifically rolling particularly deadly moves are not that likely, it basically means that Clefable is impossible to fully prepare for and is probably the most unpredictable Max Raid opponent you can be thrown up against.
      • Flygon may not have any special tricks compared to a lot of Pokémon on this list, but it can and will use Earthquake to its heart's content. Not only does that mean that Eternatus and its Poison typing are weak to the move, but many potential AI teammates do poorly against this move as well. Pikachu, Salazzle, Torkoal, Heatmor, Quilfish, and Jolteon are weak to it, and Togepi, Magikarp, Clefairy, Mudbray, and Eevee are unevolved Pokémon with weak stats. That's over half of the lineup for potential allies who are extremely unlikely to survive more than one attack from Flygon. Only Solrock (if Flygon doesn't nullify its Levitate ability) and Hawlucha (who likes to waste turns with Feather Dance) are immune to the move; even bulky Pokémon like Throh and Snorlax won't enjoy a potential two Earthquakes in a row. To top it off, Flygon may have a 4x weakness to Ice, but using Max Hailstorm summons Hail and may end up accidentally knocking out your AI allies anyhow!
      • Tyranitar is similar to Flygon in having no real tricks to it, but just being incredibly tough on its own. It hits like a truck, is so bulky that even the Fighting-type moves it has a double weakness to will only chip away at it, and tends to come packing both Earthquake and Rock Slide to hit your entire team at once, the latter of which also has a chance to flinch the target that will almost always activate on at least one of your team's Pokémon if it hits all four of them.
      • Dragapult is a nightmare, especially if it has Clear Body as its ability. Its stats would normally make it a Glass Cannon, but the basic mechanics of the Max Raid Battle do everything it can to remove the "Glass" part. It puts a 4-layer shield up to preserve its health the second the battle starts and and because of Clear Body, destroying the shield doesn't lower its Defenses at all. It's just about guaranteed to boost its already monstrous Attack and Speed with Dragon Dance at least once per turn, and from there it's strong enough to pose a threat even to Pokémon that are significantly overleveled for the raid and just One-Hit Kill any AI partners you were unfortunate enough to be stuck with. It comes packing Phantom Force, which the Max Raid mechanics let it use without wasting a turn, Steel Wing to let it deal with Fairy-types and boost its Defense, and its signature move Dragon Darts, which can wipe out two Pokémon at once.
      • One would reasonably expect a Max Raid Legendary Pokémon battle to be extremely difficult, but Mewtwo was already being declared to be absolutely unbelievable before it had even been available for 24 hours. To start, Mewtwo was at a maxed Level 100, meaning typical Pokémon setups for the normal Level 60 Max Raid Battles would get destroyed automatically. Mewtwo also had Pressure, so low-PP moves (ones with 8 or 16 PP at Max) would be depleted quickly. Mewtwo already has high enough attack and especially special attack, so combining that with the power boost that Max Moves get caused Dynamax Mewtwo to hit like a freight train, meaning that it would bring even Zacian, Zamazenta, or Eternatus to their knees with Max Flare or Mindstorm. It also put up a six hit barrier early in its health bar (if it didn't just put it up as soon as the battle started), so immediately shaving off large chunks of HP was out of the question. Even a single battle with it would reveal that Dynamax Mewtwo very clearly knew more than four moves which gave it incredibly good type coverage. The trickiest part was that there were 3 different movesets that it could use: one with Nasty Plot, one with Bulk Up, and one with Calm Mind, so retroactively preparing for a specific moveset was almost impossible since there was no way of knowing what moveset it would use. Going in solo was pretty much a death wish given the uselessness of the NPC partners, but even a team of four human players all using resistant Pokémon would struggle against Mewtwo just because of its raw power alone. On top of that, the mechanics of Max Raid battles made the fight even harder since Raid Pokémon can attack multiple times in one roundnote ; combining that with Mewtwo's power meant that an unprepared team would almost certainly lose at least two team members in the first round. While it was mitigated by the fact that you couldn't even catch Mewtwo anyway, meaning the Max Raid battles against it were just there for folks who wanted a challenge or a ton of very good rewards, Dynamax Mewtwo was an SNK Boss if there ever was one in the franchise.
      • Gigantamax Gengar is a pain to fight for several reasons. First off, it has Cursed Body. On Max Raid Bosses, this ability activates regardless of whether the move it's hit by actually makes contact or not, meaning that Behemoth Blade/Bash and Dynamax Cannon have a significant chance of being put on the fritz for several turns every time it's used. In addition, while its G-Max move's effect is fairly useless in a Max Raid, its moves as a whole will still hit pretty dang hard due to running off of Gengar's high Special Attack and due to the effects of a STAB-boosted Max Ooze. Finally, when it's below a certain health threshold, it decides it's Taking You with Me and uses Perish Song. Except it's not actually taking itself down; its barrier protects it from the negative effects, while you and your team get to listen to all the lovely music. And it tends to have its barrier up when this happens. So after you whack it for a few turns, you pretty much have three turns to KO the thing before everyone dies and the raid ends prematurely, no ifs, ands or buts.
      • Zeraora, the first Max Raid Mythical Pokémon, was just as difficult as Mewtwo if not more so if you happened to get into a raid with a shiny Zeraora. Whereas a regular 5-star Zeraora raid was Level 60, a shiny Zeraora raid was at a maxed Level 100. To start, it had its signature move Plasma Fists, which is STAB and hits like a truck with its base 112 attack. It could also use it as Max Lightning, which creates Electric Terrain to boost the power of its Electric-type moves further. Alongside this was Blaze Kick to deal with Zacian and Zamazenta, Close Combat for super effective damage against the Rhyperior people would often bring into this raid, Outrage for Eternatus, Discharge to hit your entire team at once and potentially paralyze them, and Work Up to boost its attack and special attack. After 2 or 3 Work Up boosts, it could easily deal a One-Hit Kill to an unprepared team, particularly if you were stuck with any AI teammates. As with Mewtwo, you were unable to catch it, but a shiny Zeraora was distributed through Pokémon HOME after the goal of 1,000,000 players beating Zeraora raids was met.
      • From Dynamax Adventures, even compared to most of the other legendary Pokémon you encounter, Zygarde is almost unanimously considered the hardest of them all. To start, you are most likely worn down from the prior fights with other Dynamaxed Pokémon in the dens, along with having a rental Pokémon (or a Pokémon you caught from a previous Raid). But that's not what the problem is - once Zygarde's HP drops at or below 50%, its Power Construct ability will change it into its Complete Forme and effectively replenish its health. Not only did it likely heal off most of the damage dealt, its gigantic HP boost scales with the HP steroid Dynamax gives it, turning it into a Damage-Sponge Boss. If you or your allies, AI or not, got a poor draw with the Pokémon available and don't have super-effective moves, have fun even putting a dent into it. Like other Dynamax Pokemon, it can dispel stat changes, clear debuffs on itself, and spam Max Moves to rapidly stack up secondary effects like defense buffs and offense debuffs, all of which make it even harder to take out. In addition to all of this, Zygarde hits fairly hard on top of having access to two party-wide attacks in Thousand Arrows and Land's Wrath, which can make short work of any party not prepared to deal with Ground-type attacks, not even counting the fact that the former ignores and removes Ground immunities from things like Flying types and Levitate. Not helping is the fact that at the stage when Power Construct activates, Zygarde will almost always be in the "enraged" state Dynamax Pokemon gain where they can use two moves in a single turn, which will wipe you out if you don't resist its attacks. Absolutely do this fight with friends if you can (to avoid any bad move choices from AI allies) and make sure to have at least one Ice or Fairy type on your team as well as access to Wide Guard, because while Zygarde's game never got made, Game Freak clearly wants you to suffer for it.
      • Celesteela is no slouch, either. Its well-rounded stats and defensively good Steel/Flying typing already allow it to take most hits easily, but it can also afflict your party with Leech Seed to sap your health and recover its own. Additionally, Smack Down is a nasty way to make Flying types susceptible to its Earthquakes. Beast Boost makes Celesteela increase its stats even further, which can easily snowball the fight into an uphill battle combined with everything else it is capable of.
    • While many 5-Star Raid Battles are notorious for being extremely hard, the main campaign has a few very difficult battles of its own:
      • The mascot legendaries are quite the ordeal; they follow the trend since Gen V where they must be captured, as the game will simply reset to before the battle if they're knocked out, but most of these past situations have at least provided a generously high catch rate of 45. These two? 10. And while catching Zamazenta is difficult enough, Zacian is an absolute nightmare to battle. Zacian's Attack is immediately boosted by its Ability and further buffed by Swords Dance, allowing it to tear holes through your party as you're struggling to capture it. And don't think you're safe from Zacian if you're playing Shield, since in Hop's hands it has devastating type coverage in Wild Charge and Close Combat alongside its STAB moves, which it can easily threaten your team with with its blistering Speed. It doesn't make it easier that Hop post-game can be chosen to battle you in the the Champion Cup.
      • In the case of Gym Leaders, Raihan, while a great fight in itself, is incredibly tough. Throughout the entire series, there may be a few times where you might have faced the main Pokemon of a Gym Leader or Elite Four where they cover at least one weakness of their type (e.g. Fighting-Type Maylene's Lucario in Gen IV not being weak to Flying, as well as Korrina's Lucario in Gen VI not being weak to Psychic and Fairy due to its additional Steel-type canceling it out). Raihan, a Dragon Gym Leader, is the only one in the series who not only has a Pokemon (Duraludon) that uses the same rules above, but also makes attempts to use STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus) counter-productive; made worse with the Gigantamax mechanic. Duraludon's additional Steel type means Ice and Fairy types get nuked by a Steel move, and Steel resisting Dragon for normal damage mean that a Dragon-To-Dragon offensive fight will likely result in Duraludon coming out in top unless you can one-shot it with a strong special attack (such as Draco Meteor). While it does have a weakness to Ground and Fighting, its sky-high physical defenses means it can shrug off Earthquake and many Fighting-type moves. On top of that, his team is tailored to synergize with Sandstorm, as his team packs Ground, Rock, or Steel-types, which are unaffected by it. You'll need to take his Pokémon down as fast as possible, since he'll otherwise endure your attacks and win by attrition.
      • Isle of Armor adds the Dynamax Vespiquen in Honeycalm Island, who attacks you when you and Hop investigate the big tree in search of Max Honey. While you're allowed to take as many Pokémon as you want with you, you're the only participant in the Max Raid Battle unlike the Dynamax Pokémon that show up at the gyms in the postgame quest. Going against it without super-effective moves is pure hell for Pokémon that are of a similar level to Mustard's Kubfu (fought not long beforehand, and while it won't raise barriers it will spam Defend Order at any opportunity and make it so only Max Attacks will deal a decent level of damage.
  • That One Sidequest: Once you complete the first set of trials in the Isle of Armor expansion's Master Dojo you gain the ability to trade in Watts for certain upgrades to the place, such as adding a pokebox terminal. How many Watts in all do you need to trade in to complete this sidequest? Over three million! Good luck.
  • Theme Pairing:
    • It's quite popular to ship Scorbunny with Buneary (as well as Raboot/Cinderace with Lopunny), due to both lines being based on bunnies coupled with their masculine and feminine designs respectively (especially the latter pair). While the Buneary line weren't compatible with the base game of Sword and Shield, they do show up in the Isle of Armor.
    • Wooloo gets shipped with Mareep and Cottonee, as they're both based on sheep. Unfourtunately, Mareep isn't available in this game.
    • On the human side of things, it's common to see Allister getting shipped with Acerola, since they are both young children who specialize in Ghost-type Pokémon, as well as both of them having a Mimikyu (Allister in-game, Acerola in the anime).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Sword and Shield are the first games bar Let's Go that do not include every Pokémon in existence as of their release programmed into them, the announcement of which was not well received by many people. When the game was released, situations worsened when it was discovered that more than 55% of all Pokémon were not included, leaving only 400 in the Galar Dexnote , and a further 35 which can be transferred via Pokémon HOME - though all of those are just Legendaries, Mythicals and the Kanto and Alola starters. This was thankfully alleviated somewhat with the announcement that the expansions for the game would add more than 200+ of the missing Pokémon to the game, including for people who didn't buy the pass at all, bringing the amount of Pokémon up to a much more impressive 600+ Pokémon. Data-mining in Pokémon HOME also reveals incomplete move data for all of the remaining species, and the mobile version has animated high-poly 3-D models for them all too, suggesting there are plans for them in the future.
    • About 70 moves were rendered unusable (including favorites such as Hidden Power and Return) despite the fact that all of the signature moves of unobtainable Pokémon are still included in the game, the majority of which are still perfectly useable and several even being capable of being summoned through Metronome despite none of the available Pokémon learning them.
    • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! introduced multiple wild Pokémon appearing in the overworld making shiny hunting a lot more convenient due to the fact that shiny Pokémon would appear in the overworld. The decision to remove the shiny Pokémon from the overworld and make it impossible to tell if a wild Pokémon is a shiny has not been well received.
    • Since Generation 4, the GTS was always part of the main games with the sole exception of Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!. The decision to not have this feature in-game but rather in Pokémon HOME (which is already a controversial topic) has been disliked by many.
    • While the Festival Plaza was already disliked for replacing the much better received PSS system from Pokémon X and Y, this game's Y-Comm system is considered to be even worse. Unlike previous online systems, there is no way for you to directly trade with your friends. You have to put in codes and hope that no one else put the same one. That's not ever mentioning the Y-Comm system's notorious connection errors while trying to join raids...
    • Having no method of growing additional berries is very disliked. Every game since the introduction of berries has had a way to grow more of them with the exception of Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, and even then getting berries wasn't nearly as frustrating. In Sword and Shield however, not only are you unable to grow berries, you have a chance of other Pokémon taking the berries you shake out of trees.
    • As of June 2020, buying the Expansion Pass means that you can have your lead Pokémon follow you around in the Isle of Armor once you obtain Kubfu. A beloved feature finally returning would be good, right? Keyword being would, because unlike the previous game to employ this feature, the Pokémon's running speeds do not match that of the player character with a lot of them being significantly slower and some being so fast that they'll run into your back, screech to a halt and stand there watching you run off before they decide to continue following you. That combined with their poor pathfinding getting them caught on invisible walls and bridges will result in a lot of Pokémon spending the majority of their time off-screen or warping to you. Additionally, the level of interaction that you can have with your Pokémon on the field is severely reduced compared to any other implementation of the feature. To put a cherry on top, this feature is only available in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra, with no way of letting your Pokémon follow you in the main game.
    • The fact that Piers' concert is almost entirely silent except for sound effects and text, and none of his songs had any vocalization, was met with unanimous disappointment, considering Roxie from Black and White 2 infamously had vocalizations in her them. This has made him a bit of a Memetic Loser by comparison.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Bede. He is the player's most aggressive rival and the one most tied to the villain's plan. After Chairman Rose disqualifies him from the Gym Challenge for destroying a historic mural in an attempt to find more Wishing Stars, Opal takes him in to train him to take over the Ballonlea Gym, removing him from most of the latter half of the game until he crashes the League Finals. His devotion to Rose and his part in the Chairman's plan don't have much of a payoff in the end, and we never find out his reaction to Rose's true nature.
    • Professor Magnolia studies the Dynamax phenomenon, but doesn't get to do much in the game beyond her appearance at Route 2, where she gives you a Dynamax Band and encourages Leon to endorse you. Most, if not all, of the actual research in regards to the box legendaries is done by her assitant and granddaughter Sonia. It is hinted that she is acquainted with Macro Cosmos (and Chairman Rose) — she's seen collecting Wishing Stars for them — but this aspect of her character is hardly explored. She also has a far bigger role in other media, such as Pokémon Adventures.
    • In the first Pokémon example in the main series, Calyrex. They're talked up in Freezington as "The King Of Bountiful Harvests", and when you meet them, they actually borrow Peony's body to speak through him, making Calyrex a character in their own right. As a benevolent demigod-like being suffering from a nonlethal version of Gods Need Prayer Badly and having some insecurities from it, Calyrex enlists your help in reuniting them with their steed (either Glastrier or Spectrier), a task that'll require quite a bit of running around to complete. Once they win back their horse's respect and battle you as a final prerequisite to joining your party, they only have one final line of telepathic dialogue (from within your Poké Ball) before becoming just like any other Pokémon. After seeing Calyrex actually have a personality, having it stripped away in the end is pretty disappointing.
    • Peony and Peonia both qualify as this. The former barely does anything after he recruits you as his exploration partner, only serving as Mission Control and acting as Calyrex's mouthpiece, while the latter all but disappears outside of Max Raid battles after you help her get away from her father. It would have been interesting to see their relationship develop over the course of the story, or at least see how Peonia would have reacted to Calyrex repeatedly possessing her dad.
    • Sonia gets relegated to a Non-Action Guy role, serving as assistant to Professor Magnolia. This proves to be rather disappointing as she was a former gym challenger herself when she was a kid, competing at the same time that Leon, Raihan, and Nessa originally did. Especially after the well-received twist with Professor Kukui in the Gen VII games, many were hoping that Sonia would be a boss as well, but that proved to not be the case. And then came the Galarian Star Tournament of the Crown Tundra DLC, which allows majority of the major characters take part in a Doubles Tournament, and fans once more got their hopes up that Sonia would be a surprise participant only for that to get dashed again.
    • Speaking of the Galarian Star Tournament, it presented an opportunity to give cameos to version-exclusive characters, especially since non-Gym Leaders, retired Gym Leaders, and newly-minted minor league Gym Leaders are all invited to compete. However, they make no appearance at all in their opposite games, thus restricting or outright eliminating many potental interactions. Gordie and Melony are most impacted by this loss, given their relation and their clashing views on Circhester Gym's leadership.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • When Junichi Masuda stated that the Galar region features 18 Gym Leaders divided between a major division (the ones that comprise that year's Gym Challenge) and a minor division, many people were particularly excited about the prospect of fighting those ten other leaders as side content. Unfortunately, it was soon clarified that only the major divison Gym Leaders would be available to fight in the game. Bea and Allister are completely unacknowledged in the opposite version, and Gordie and Melony only see mention in the other's league cards (it being implied that one of them is currently minor division in whichever game they don't appear in person in) — the leaders for the eight remaining types are all but nonexistent outside of their associated uniforms and it being stated they exist (barring two eventual minor division Gym Leaders and a former one who are all encountered in the expansions).
    • The post-game featuring Sordward and Shielbert. The revelation that Galar used to have a reigning royal family that lost its absolute authority over the country (not unlike Britain's royal family) and the fact that they don't see Zacian and Zamazenta as legendary heroes proves to be an interesting plot to explore. However, the plot ends pretty quickly and doesn't delve very deep into these concepts.
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  • Ugly Cute:
    • The fossil Pokémon's designs are considered strangely endearing by some despite clearly being meant to look like horrible abominations.
    • Galarian Meowth manages to be somewhat adorable, despite looking like a dishieveled feral version of the common Meowth. This could be due to it looking similar to Totoro.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The Escape Rope is now an infinite-use key item. This would be incredibly handy to let the player easily escape from a deep dungeon when their Pokémon are weak... except, due to the small amount of dungeons and the greater ease of avoiding encounters, there's almost no opportunity to get any use out of it. The DLC zones then add several caves, but you don't even need the Escape Rope for them - there is no technical distinction between them and the outside areas around them, so you are free to summon a Flying Taxi whenever you want while you are in them.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Regional Variants have more variety this time around, including Pokémon outside of Generation 1. One of these Pokémon is Stunfisk, a Pokémon from Generation 5 that became a meme and then stopped commonly appearing after its introductory generation.
    • The majority of returning Pokémon that could Gigantamax in the base game were all Generation 1 Pokémon. There are two exceptions. The first is Melmetal, the Generation 7 Pokémon introduced in Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, who can be transferred in the game via Pokémon HOME and has a tall, robotic design made for this mechanic. The other? Garbodor, one of the most infamous Pokémon from Generation 5.
    • Of all of the past Legendary Pokémon to be included in the regional dex, and not require any form of transfer from past generations to obtain immediately in Sword and Shield, nobody would've guessed the Legendary Pokémon in question would be Type: Null. It comes off as a shocking reveal once you become the Champion and decide to head to the Battle Tower, in which Type: Null is gifted to you for becoming the Champion, in addition to also being given the individual Memories to use RKS System once it evolves into Silvally. Even more unexpected is that in the Alola games, it was established that there were three of Type: Null in existence (one in Gladion's care, one gifted to the player, and one still somewhere at Aether Paradise). Turns out that research on Type: Null was stolen and led to the creation of this one, meaning there are now more in existence.
    • From the DLC announcement trailer, it's fair to say that few people were expecting to see Galarian forms of the Kanto legendary birds, let alone any Legendary Pokémon for that matter.
    • Maractus having a slot in the Galar Pokédex shocked many to the point where its inclusion over more popular Pokémon such as Garchomp or Dragonite started memeing. This is especially notable since at the height of the Dexit controversy, Maractus became a pseudo-mascot for the movement as an example of an unpopular Pokémon that would inevitably be ignored by Game Freak and excluded from newer titles... up until it was spotted in a Sword and Shield promotional video.
    • A unique example with the Fossil Pokémon of past regions, as while some were already known to be returning in the pre-release for The Crown Tundra, few could've guessed that they would be in the form of regular wild encounters as opposed to the series tradition of Fossil Revival methods. Considering this had never happened before in the core-series, this can come across as quite a shock to players who just casually find extinct species of Pokémon living in the present day just like any other wild Pokémon. An NPC at the train station at the region's beginning even lampshades this and implies the "rockish Pokémon" aren't normal wildlife for the area, although it's still never explained where they came from (though Omanyte's Sword pokedex entry gives the possibility they are the end result of releases by trainers or escapes from restoration facilities).
  • Unfortunate Character Design:
    • Galarian Weezing's design is meant to invoke Industrial Revolution-era factories and the pollution that they caused, as well as the business tycoons that profited off of them. However, the shape of the smoke pipes in conjunction with Weezing's rounded design makes it resemble a pair of bongs, not helped by the green smoke that surrounds it and the fact that its Secret Art, Strange Steam, is a mind-numbing mist that can induce confusion.
    • Each Falinks' spiked, rounded shields look like a pair of breasts when they cover the front.
    • Snom's round, nubby mandibles have been compared by some players to butt cheeks.
    • From a certain angle, notably from behind in a double battle, Dracovish can look a little... phallic, to say the least.
    • Sordward's hair is meant to resemble a sword, but it's not hard to see the resemblence to a penis. Especially when it flaps in the wind...
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Shares a page with the rest of the franchise.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The game takes the art-style of the previous games, upgrades it to HD, and the results are beautiful. Ballonlea and the Glimwood Tangle in particular are gorgeous. They wouldn't look too out-of-place in Alice in Wonderland.
  • Vocal Minority: The Dex exclusions, coupled with other minor flaws/changes such as permanent experience share and slightly lower difficulty, made the games controversial in some parts of the fanbase. However, the games received positive reviews from professional critics, are generally liked by fans that don't care about the exclusions, and are among the best-selling games in the franchise's history.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The announcement of an expansion pass received (mostly) positive feedback as it addresses quite a few of the games' issues. Over 200 Pokémon returned, which helps soften the blow of the National Dex exclusions, and new Galarian legendaries (including Galarian forms for Kanto's legendary bird trio) will also be available to catch. Players who choose not to buy the expansion pass are of course unable to catch these Pokémon in the wild or view their Pokédex entry, but can still obtain them via trade or transfer from older generations thanks to a free patch. With two new regions to explore, there is a boatload of brand-new post game content, with both new regions putting more focus on the wild area that was rather underutilized in the main game. Also of note: the expansion pass seems to take the place of the traditional third version or sequel games, but are only half the cost of a complete game, giving players completely new content for a cheaper price instead of a largely identical third version(s) for an equal price to the original games. Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra's releases were highly praised as well, and they definitely make good on improving on the base game for many. As such, many discontented fans have been won over.
  • Woobie Species:
    • Galarian Corsola. They're literally the undead husks of ancient Corsola, undone by climate change long ago, and are modelled to resemble bleached coral skeletons (even the "branches" of this variant are just ghostly projections). While regular Corsola are brightly coloured and cheerful, the Galarian variant are pale white and have a depressed expression.
    • The fossil Pokémon this time around fall into this, thanks to being haphazardly stuck together from two different fossils. The Arcto- hybrids are the most pitiable; Arctovish's body is correct enough that it can function underwater where it belongs, but it suffers from eating and breathing issues because its head is on backwards. And poor Arctozolt's raptor half isn't built for the cold its lower body produces, leaving it constantly shivering with a huge snot dribble leaking from its nose. Dracovish, on the other hand, has the head of a fish attached to the tail of a dinosaur's lower half, and is constantly suffocating on land. Its head is also attached to the tip of the tail, rather than the base. And while Dracozolt seems somewhat better off compared to the others, the junctions of its mismatched upper and lower halves meet at sharp right angles, leaving what is basically its internal tissues exposed and glowing orange.
    • Galarian Yamask, following in the footsteps of its Unovan variation. This time, they are not haunted by the memories of their former life as humans, nor the mask they are carrying that resembles the face they once had. These Yamask carry a seemingly unsuspecting rune slab... that is actually draining its spirit. Notice how Yamask's "tail" actually runs through the slab (as opposed to the Unovan version carrying a removable mask). It even has an idle animation where it tries in vain to free itself from the slab. What happens when Yamask evolves? It is implied to have died, its spirit completely drained by the now alive and completed rune slab. And since you have to have Yamask lose 49 damage (or more) in a battle as part of how it evolves into Runerigus, you're essentially harming it so that the rune slab is able to take over Yamask's spirit. If you felt bad about reviving the fossil Pokémon in these games, you probably won't enjoy evolving Yamask, either. Albeit, the fact its nature, memories, personality, etc. are the same as when it was a Yamask, and that the clay slab is said to have "absorbed" it, may mean the Yamask's spirit is simply in the slab now rather than dead/destroyed, i.e. the wandering spirit now a spirit bound to a physical object.
  • Woolseyism: The English localization of the game uses and follows the United Kingdom version of English, complete with the slang, to match the fact that the Galar region is a fantasy counterpart of real life England. Similarly, the localization has settlement names that sound like actual English towns and cities, in contrast to the relatively generic "[x] Town/City" naming scheme of the original.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • Champion Leon's outfit, which combines Requisite Royal Regalia with a soccer/football uniform, has been viewed by many as tacky and strange, especially when compared to the outfits of previous champions.
    • Rival Avery of Shield’s Isle of Armor got hit with this too, sporting black aristocratic accessories over a standard issue tie-dye Psychic team uniform. The kicker is that at the end of his introduction, he basically tells the player to go find more elegant clothes!

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