Pokémon Sword & Shield: Tricks To Fill The Galar Pokédex Fast

Filling the Pokédex in Pokémon Sword & Shield isn't as difficult as it is in other recent games in the series. The Galar regional Pokédex, which contains 400 Pokémon species, is less than half the size of the official national Pokédex encompassing every region. While some fans may choose to fill the Pokédex slowly, others will need to complete it to obtain the Shiny Charm, which greatly improves the odds of finding Shiny Pokémon in the Galar region. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to quickly amass all the needed species for the Galar regional Pokédex, making the process much less frustrating than in titles like X and Y  or Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

The completion of the Pokédex has been a primary goal of the Pokémon games since the initial release of Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow over two decades ago. The objective to "catch them all" had players hunting around the Kanto region and training for evolutions on a mission to collect all 151 different species. However, with the introduction of each region, new Pokémon species and Pokédex types have been introduced, making the challenge a grind. This can make finishing the Pokédex feel less like a fun challenge, and more like a chore for completionists.

Related: How Pokémon Sword & Shield Prepared The Series For Nintendo Switch

However, Pokémon Sword and Shield took big steps to improve the Pokédex goals. The first changes included a smaller number of species in Galar's Regional Pokédex, and the omission of an end-game National Pokédex. While further Pokémon species from previous generations were added in the Sword and Shield DLC expansions The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra, each of these areas obtained their own DLC-specific Pokédex that didn't interfere with the overarching Galar Pokédex. These additional locations also don't impact the ability to obtain the Shiny Charm.

One of the first tips for those attempting to complete Pokémon Sword and Shield's regional Pokédex is to utilize the Wild Area. This expansive open-world-inspired area in the middle of Galar's map offers players a unique advantage compared to past games in the series. Depending on the weather and location, different Pokémon species at any stage of evolution will spawn. This includes several trade-exclusive Pokémon evolutions like Gengar and Machamp. Additionally, the Wild Area is a great place for players to find Evolutionary Stones used to evolve certain Pokémon species, with stones respawning regularly. This reduces the grind required in past Pokémon games, where the stones would need to be purchased for a high price, or found around the region as one-time obtainable items.

The weather in the Wild Area plays a big role in determining which Pokémon players will be able to find. Sandstorms help Ground-Types spawn, while misty fog will encourage Psychic and Fairy-types to pop up. Those looking for a certain Pokémon species can look up which part of the Wild Area, and what weather conditions, a Pokémon spawns in using their Pokédex, and then move the date forward on their Nintendo Switch until the weather condition they need appears. This is particularly helpful for Pokémon like Toxel, which have a low overworld spawn rate that is boosted in certain areas during a Thunderstorm.

Encountering Pokémon in the wild isn't the only way to quickly fill the Galar Pokédex in Sword and Shield. The trading system, which has been greatly improved from the GTS in recent wi-fi-capable Pokémon games, has several ways for players to trade while exploring. One of the best tools is the Surprise Trade options, allowing players to select a Pokémon from their box and trade with anyone in the world at random. The trade processes while the player explores, eliminating the need to sit idle on trading menus while looking for a partner. This can help players connect with those who have already completed their Pokédex hunts, increasing the possibility of getting species that haven't been registered in the Galar Pokédex. The Pokémon traded through Surprise Trade also have a chance of possessing decent stats, as the function is used by many to trade excess Pokémon from breeding projects.

Related: Pokémon Legends: Arceus Leaked Copies Are Already Available

It is also possible to connect with other Pokémon Sword and Shield players who have completed the Pokédex using the Link Trade feature. Link Trades are the basic trade system seen in most Pokémon titles. Players can connect with strangers, or friends with a good selection of Pokémon still missing from a Pokédex, and trade back and forth for as long as they want. This can not only allow players to quickly swap a good number of Pokémon but also help them obtain Pokémon evolutions that require trading, like Spritzee and Swirlix. It also allows players to obtain game-specific Pokémon, which are required for the full completion of the Pokédex. While the process of trading can be time-consuming, it can negate a good deal of hunting throughout the routes of Galar and the Wild Area, potentially shaving hours off the process of filling the Galar Pokédex.

Once the Galar Pokédex has been completed, players will need to travel to Circhester and visit the Hotel Ionia. On the top floor of the building, players can talk to the NPC dressed as a doctor at the back of the room to obtain the Shiny Charm. This charm changes the chances of a Shiny encounter from a potential 1/4096 to roughly 1/1365. It also greatly improves the odds of a Shiny encounter during Dynamax Adventures, with every Pokémon battle having a potential 1/100 chance of being Shiny, including Legendary battles. For those who want to find the different color variations of favorite Pokémon species, the boost in odds can be well worth the grind to find and catch every species in the Galar region.

However, the biggest tip for those hoping to complete the Pokédex in Pokémon Sword and Shield is to catch species while playing through the narrative. Because each route has a good variety of Pokémon species, and because players will need to train often in the Wild Area, it can be beneficial to purposefully encounter and capture new species during primary gameplay, rather than save the grind for post-game. This strategy can also offer access to a wide variety of Pokémon types and abilities that are useful during the difficult Gym Leader battles and Championship Cup, instead of requiring players to rely entirely on a small team raised throughout the course of Pokémon Sword and Shield, as well as speeding up Pokédex completion.

Next: Every New Pokémon In Legends: Arceus, According To Leaks

Pokemon Sword & Shield are available for Nintendo Switch.

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