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Pokemon Sword and Shield’s Hulbury gym: Guide to beating Nessa

Nessa uses three water-type Pokémon

Pokémon Sword & Shield gym leader Nessa Game Freak/Nintendo
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

The second gym in Pokémon Sword and Shield is against Nessa, a spunky water-type expert in Hulbury.

Nessa is an early gym leader and doesn’t use any particularly special tricks, but if you’re having trouble, check out our guide below.

Hulbury gym challenge

Nessa’s gym has you flipping switches to open and close water pipes. There are three colors of pipes and switches: red, yellow, and blue. Each color turns off the same colored pipe so you can walk past without the water blocking your way. As you walk through, a handful of water-type trainers will challenge you to a fight. Once clearing the way and making it to the doors in the back, you’ll be able to challenge Nessa.

Nessa’s Pokémon

Nessa’s Arrokuda takes on a Steenee Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Nessa uses three Pokémon, with all of them being pure water-type except her Drednaw, which is water- and rock-type. She will Gigantamax her Drednaw when she sends it out, so just like Milo, save your Dynamax until then so you can even the playing fields.

  1. Goldeen, level 22, water
  2. Arrokuda, level 23, water
  3. Drednaw, level 24, water/rock

Recommended counters against Nessa

Nessa is weak against grass- and electric-type Pokémon. Drednaw specifically is also weak against fighting- and ground-type moves.

Here are some good Pokémon to catch and evolve for this gym, as well as the easiest places to find them:

  • Wooper, water- and ground-type
    Found in West Lake Axewell in the Wild Area, except during sunny and snowy weather
  • Bounsweet, grass-type
    Found in Rolling Fields, Dappled Grove, West Lake Axewell, Watchtower Ruins, and East Lake Axewell in the Wild Area
  • Lotad (Shield only), grass- and water-type
    Found on Route 2
  • Seedot (Sword only), grass-type
    Found on Route 2

Note that while Wooper doesn’t have any grass- or electric-type moves, it’s a great counter against Nessa’s Drednaw. If your Wooper (or Quagsire) knows water-absorb, most of Nessa’s hardest-hitting moves will heal your Wooper. In addition to this, if it knows Mud Shot, it’ll make quick work of Drednaw.

Hulbury gym rewards

After beating Nessa, you’ll get TM36, Whirlpool, as well as a water-type gym uniform to wear outside of gym challenges. You’ll also be able to catch Pokémon up to level 30.

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