The decision to break the original 150 Pokemon across two separate releases probably remains one of the most genius marketing decisions in history. It encouraged players to trade and interact in order to catch 'em all, and though every Pokemon from the past isn't present in Pokemon Sword and Shield, the two games still have a list of version exclusives that only appear in each game - so if you want to complete that Galar Pokedex, you'll still need to do some trading.
People like to know what they're getting into with these games, so we thought it pertinant to gather a list of the Pokemon Sword exclusives and Pokemon Shield exclusives - so those who haven't already purchased the game can make a little more of an informed decision, and those who have know who they should be aiming to trade for either face-to-face or in surprise or normal trades carried out through the online multiplayer. If you're unsure on who of the Pokemon listed are, be sure to check out our full list of New Pokemon in Sword and Shield - that'll help you to put a Poke-face to a Poke-name.
Below, we'll list the exclusive Pokemon for each game. But first, we want to touch on some version exclusive details unrelated to the creatures you'll find to catch and train in the wild.
Non-Pokemon Exclusives in Sword and Shield
First off, and most important, there is a difference in the Gyms between Pokemon Sword and Shield. This has an effect on your process through the gym challenge, and might even influence which is the best starter Pokemon choice for you - as strengths and weaknesses will dictate their effectiveness in the differently-typed Gyms in each game.
- In Sword, the fouth gym in the game in the town of Stow-on-Side is helmed by Bea. The gym is fighting-type themed.
- Also in Sword, the sixth gym you visit will be a rock-type themed gym led by Gordie. This is in the town of Circhester.
- Shield's first exclusive gym is also in Stow-on-Side, and this one is a ghost-type themed Gym led by Allister, a young kid with a creepy mask.
- Also exclusive to shield is an ice-type gym which is in the Circhester spot as your sixth gym. It's led by Melony.
As is series tradition, you'll find fossils that you can use to create fossil Pokemon in Sword and Shield. There are four different fossils in the game, but the fossils you'll find easiest varies more from game to game:
- In Pokemon Sword, you'll get two each of the Fossilized Bird and Fossilized Dino items essentially for free.
- In Pokemon Shield, you'll instead get two each of the Fossilized Drake and Fossilized Fish.
For more information on all this, plus how to obtain the items your game doesn't hand over for nothing, check out our detailed Pokemon Sword and Shield Fossils guide.
Pokemon Sword Exclusives
Here's all the Pokemon you'll only encounter in the wild in Pokemon Sword:
- Farfetch'd and Sirfetch'd
- Seedot, Nuzleaf and Shiftry
- Basculin (Red Form)
- Darumaka and Darmanitan
- Scraggy and Scrafty
- Gothita, Gothorita and Gothitelle
- Rufflet and Braviary
- Deino, Zweilous and Hydreigon
- Swirlix and Slurpuff
- Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o and Kommo-o
- Indeedee (Male Form)
- Flapple (The 'Tart Apple' item required to evolve is exclusive to Sword, but can be traded from Shield)
Pokemon Shield Exclusives
And now, here's every Pokemon that can only be found in the wild in Pokemon Shield:
- Galarian Ponyta and Galarian Rapidash
- Corsola and Cursola
- Larvitar, Pupitar and Tyranitar
- Lotad, Lombre and Ludicolo
- Croagunk and Toxicroak
- Basculin (Blue Form)
- Solosis, Duosion and Reuniclus
- Vullaby, Mandibuzz
- Spritzee and Aromatisse
- Goomy, Sliggoo and Goodra
- Appletun (The 'Sweet Apple' item required to evolve is exclusive to Sword, but can be traded from Shield)
- Indeedee (Female Form)