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Pokémon Sword and Shield guide: How to get Gigantamax Pokémon

Confused on the lingo?

Gigantamax Gengar Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Pokémon Sword and Shield introduce new mechanics, Dynamax and Gigantamax. The lingo can be a bit confusing, but, to put it simply, here’s what it means: Dynamax Pokémon are very big versions of themselves, while Gigantamax Pokémon are very big but change forms, too. But are strong, too, but Gigantamax Pokémon have more powerful stats.

All Pokémon can Dynamax as long as you have the Dynamax band — but not all Pokémon can Gigantamax.

What’s a Dynamax Pokémon?

All Pokémon are able to Dynamax in specific areas, like most Sword and Shield gyms and in Max Raid Battles in the Wild Area. During Gym Battles, you can Dynamax your Pokémon for three turns at any time. In Max Raid Battles, you’ll trade turns with other players — but either way, the power-up will last three turns.

The big difference between your regular Pokémon and Dynamax Pokémon is size and stats. When Dynamaxed, Pokémon are huge and have new moves called Max Moves. (Max Moves change according to a Pokémon’s type.) Stats are increased, too.

What’s a Gigantamax Pokémon?

Like the Dynamax Pokémon, Gigantamax Pokémon are also very large — but they come with distinct visual changes, too. And that’s why not all Pokémon can Gigantamax. These Pokémon will also be more powerful than Dynamax Pokémon; instead of Max Moves, they have G-Max moves.

Here are the Pokémon that have Gigantamax forms:

  • Charizard
  • Pikachu
  • Eevee
  • Butterfree
  • Meowth
  • Corviknight
  • Alcremie
  • Drednaw
  • Gengar
  • Sandaconda
  • Centiskorch
  • Machamp
  • Coalossal
  • Grimmsnarl
  • Duraludon
  • Hatterene
  • Copperajah
  • Appletun
  • Flapple
  • Orbeetle
  • Kingler
  • Lapras
  • Garbodor

How do I get a Gigantamax Pokémon?

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just catching one of the listed Pokémon — not all Pokémon of a certain species can Gigantamax. Unless you got your Pokémon through a gift or an event, like Eevee, Pikachu, or Meowth, you’ve got to catch them in Max Raid Battles. To put it simply: the Pokémon you caught randomly in the Galar region won’t Gigantamax.

They’re rare, but developer Game Freak does have some events planned to make certain Pokémon less rare for a time. Until early January, for instance, players have a slightly higher chance of encountering Gigantamax Butterfree in Max Raid Battles across the game’s Wild Area. Gigantamax battles will change over time, Game Freak said, meaning your chances of catching them will, too.

Players who have the Isle of Armor expansion can feed Max Soup to any Pokémon with Gigantamax potential to give them the ability to Gigantamax.

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