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Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass: Everything you need to know

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Dragonite
Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Dragonite (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon Sword and Shield are the best-selling Pokémon RPGs of all time. Given this duo's phenomenal success, it's not too surprising that Game Freak has created DLC to expand every player's enjoyment of the games even further. Players who purchase the Expansion Pass can explore new locations and come across new Pokémon that weren't in Gen 8's main story. Here's everything you need to know about the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass.

What's in the DLC?

The Expansion Pass gives you two new locations to explore: The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. Between these two new locations, you'll find 200 more Pokémon, new legendaries, new rivals, and more challenges to overcome. These locations are similar to the Galar region's Wild Area in that they offer seamless maps where you can control the camera, see other trainers, and discover new Pokémon dens with other players from around the world.

As before, all online elements are only accessible via a Nintendo Switch Online membership.

When does the DLC release?

Pokemon Isle Of Armor

Pokemon Isle Of Armor (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The Expansion Pass releases in two parts. The first part is known as The Isle of Armor and released on June 17, 2020, while the second part is dubbed as The Crown Tundra and will release on October 22, 2020.

You can purchase the DLC from Walmart for $30 (opens in new tab).

Make sure you purchase the right version of the Expansion Pass. For instance, if you purchase Pokémon Sword, purchase the Pokémon Sword Expanion Pass. If you purchase Pokémon Shield, purchase the Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass.

Pokemon Sword Shield Complete Editions

Pokemon Sword Shield Complete Editions (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Additionally, bundled physical copies of Pokémon Sword + Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass as well as Pokémon Shield + Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass will be releasing on November 6, 2020. No price has been listed yet, but we assume these bundles will sell for $90.

The Isle of Armor: Everything you need to know

Expansion Pass Pokemon Sword and Shield

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The Isle of Armor is a gorgeous location filled with beaches, caves, and forests. Here players will meet former Champion Leon's mentor, Mustard, and become his apprentice. You'll learn new skills to help you beat other trainers in the island's dojo and will even meet a new rival to compete against.

Who are the new rivals?

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass rivals

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass rivals (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Within The Isle of Armor, the rival you encounter will be different depending on if you're playing Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield. In Sword, your rival will be Klara, a Poison-type trainer, whereas Shield players will have Avery, a Psychic-type trainer as their rival. The Pokémon in their party will align with the kind of trainer they are, but they will both have a Galarian Slowpoke, since it's both Poison-type and Psychic-type.

Are new Pokémon in the Expansion Pass?

Kubfu Pokemon Sword and Shield

Kubfu Pokemon Sword and Shield (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Yes, after completing Mustard's trials at the beginning of The Isle of Armor, players will receive a new Fighting-type Pokémon called Kubfu. There are also new Legendary Pokémon to discover. In addition to that, players can encounter familiar Pokémon that weren't previously in the Galar region's main storyline, such as Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Galarian Slowpoke, and many more. As with all Pokémon games, the Pokémon you encounter in the Expansion Pass will differ depending on whether you're playing Sword or Shield.

For more information, here's a list of all the Pokémon that will be in the expansion.

Are Gigantamax Pokémon in the DLC?

Many of the Pokémon you encounter in the Expansion Pass will have Gigantamax forms for you to discover. In fact, your starter Pokémon gains the ability to Gigantamax once they've partaken of a special dish, called Max Soup, that grants them that ability.

There are also be plenty of new Pokémon dens for you to discover, so you'll be able to join in Max Raid Battles to fight and capture Gigantamax Pokémon.

Can I have a Pokémon follow me in the overworld?

Pokemon Sword Shield Overworld Pokemon

Pokemon Sword Shield Overworld Pokemon (Image credit: iMore)

Yes! This is one of the most exciting things that wasn't revealed before the Expansion Pass released. After completing Mustard's trials on the Isle of Armor, players can have the first Pokémon in their party follow them around in the overworld. This is definitely something we wanted to see in the base Gen 8 game, so we're happy to see it finally is possible in the DLC.

Are there new character customization options?

Pokemon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass

Yes, players will find more bags, clothes, and accessories for their trainers to wear. There are also additional hair colors, hairstyles, and Rotom bike options to be found at the Isle of Armor.

The Crown Tundra: Everything you need to know

Expansion Pass Pokemon Sword and Shield

Expansion Pass Pokemon Sword and Shield (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

This section of the expansion focuses on exploration. It takes place in a land filled with icy mountains and verdant hills. Players will find a new kind of underground Pokémon dens where they can participate in co-op battles to take down and capture Legendary Pokémon from past games.

What's the story?

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Players arrive on the Crown Tundra and become part of an exploration team put together by a man named Peony. You'll be appointed as the Expedition Chief of said team and will journey through this sprawling new land. What exactly you're sent to investigate hasn't yet been disclosed, but we're guessing it probably has something to do with the many dens littering the land or perhaps it will focus on the new Legendary Pokémon hidden in the caves.

At any rate, there's plenty going on within the Crown Tundra section of the Expansion Pass to keep you busy for a long while.

How big is the Crown Tundra and where is it?

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Pink Tree

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Pink Tree (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

From what Nintendo has said, it sounds like the Crown Tundra will be much, much larger than the Isle of Armor's map. Here, players will be encouraged to explore a vast environment that operates a lot like the Wild Area in the main Sword and Shield games. Players can see Pokémon walking around and simply need to touch them to initiate a battle. As with the main Wild Area, there will also be several different Pokémon dens so players can engage in Max Raid Battles with other players online.

While some of the map does take place on snowy mountain tops, the Crown Tundra seems to be more of a balanced Yinyang. A baren, snow-covered tree can be found at the tallest peak surrounded by ice while far below it in the valley a pink-leaved tree stands proudly amid rolling green hills. It looks like players will get to explore both the valley as well as the snow-capped peaks during their expedition.

See more

Dataminers have been busy digging away at the code already released with the first half of the DLC. One such person, @mattyoukhana on Twitter, discovered that the Crown Tundra will be located to the south of Galar.

Dynamax Adventures & rental Pokémon

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Dynamax Adventures Caves (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Once you've gotten to a certain point within the Crown Tundra, you'll be able to go into special caves and experience a new co-op play mode called Dynamax Adventures. Here, you'll team up with up to three other players and explore the various caverns as you continue to make your way into the depths.

Rental Pokémon in Dynamax Adventures

Thing is, the official Pokémon website has explained that you won't be able to bring Pokémon from your own party into the these special dens.

Instead of your regular Pokémon team, you and your fellow Trainers will choose rental Pokémon to bring along into the depths of the den. If you encounter a wild Dynamax Pokémon during your exploration, you'll need to work together with your three teammates in a Max Raid Battle! If you win the battle, you'll have the chance to catch the Pokémon, and one Trainer on the team can swap the newly caught Pokémon in for the Pokémon they had before. But if you lose a battle, you'll be ejected from the den!

You'll need to make it far into the cave's depths if you want a chance to defeat and capture a Legendary Pokémon. Or, if you simply like the challege, you can sign up for the Endless Dynamax Adventures, which allow you to continue fighting your way through the caves until you finally lose a battle.

100+ new and familiar Pokémon coming to the Galar Region Pokédex

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Galarian Slowking

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Galarian Slowking (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Over 100 Pokémon including both new creatures and several Pokémon from previous games will make their way into the Galar Region Pokédex when the Crown Tundra expansion releases. A notable addition is that Galarian Slopoke will finally be able to evolve into Galarian Slowking, a Poison/Psychic-type.

That means you'll be busy catching some old favorites as you explore this grand new locale. If this DLC operates the same way as the Isel of Armor, then these 100 plus new additions will only be catchable within the Crown Tundra and not within the main Galar Region map.

By scouring videos, we've been able to make a list of some of the Pokémon that will be coming with the Crown Tundra DLC. Here they all are:

  • Nidorino
  • Magamar
  • Dratini
  • Dragonair
  • Dragonite
  • Articuno
  • Zapdos
  • Moltres
  • Crobat
  • Elekid
  • Magby
  • Raikou
  • Entei
  • Suicune
  • Lugia
  • Ho-oh
  • Aron
  • Lairon
  • Aggron
  • Swablu
  • Absol
  • Sealeo
  • Relicanth
  • Beldum
  • Regirock
  • Regice
  • Registeel
  • Latias
  • Latios
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Garchomp
  • Magmorter
  • Uxie
  • Mesprit
  • Azelf
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Heatran
  • Giratina
  • Cresselia
  • Croygonal
  • Tornadus
  • Thundurus
  • Landorus
  • Aurorus
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
  • Zygarde
  • Tapu Koko
  • Tapu Lele
  • Tapu Bulu
  • Tapu Fini
  • Galarian Slowking
  • Regieleki
  • Regidrago
  • Galarian Articuno
  • Galarian Zapdos
  • Galarian Moltres
  • Calyrex

Catching Legendary Pokémon

You heard that right. Three new Legendary Pokémon along with regional variants and a slew of familiar legendaries will be available in the Crown Tundra.

A brand new Legendary

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Calyrex

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Calyrex (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

We'll see a brand new Legendary called Calyrex, a Grass/Psychic-type which resembles a deer, floats around with dangling limbs, features massive green spheres protruding around its neck, and has a massive ball akin to a green hot airballoon on its head.

Now, before you start worring about whether or not this unique-looking creature is suffering from some kind of malignant tumor, it's our guess that this bulbous growth on its head is supposed to represent its massive brain and thus its Psychic abilities.

New Regi Legendaries

Pokemon Isle Of Armor (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Pokemon Isle Of Armor (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Source: The Pokémon Company

While exploring the greener areas of the Crown Tundra, players encounter what looks to be a two-sided temple that seems to have taken a cue from Cruella De Vil's hair style. Here it seems that players will get the chance of acquiring two new Regi Pokémon: Regidrago, a Dragon-type and Regieleki, an Electric type. Our guess is that players will need to choose between one of the two types, like they did when choosing what Kubfu would evolve into during the Isle of Armor section. We'll update as we learn more.

Regional variants of the Legendary Birds

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Legendary Birds

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Legendary Birds (Image credit: iMore)

Players will be seeing Galarian variants of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres while in the Crown Tundra. Each Legendary Bird's type has changed just as drastically as their appearance.

  • Galarian Zapdos: The Galarian variant seems to spend more time on the ground than its original version and resembles a Chocobo. It's a Fighting/Flying-type rather than Electic/Flying-type.
  • Galarian Articuno: Instead of being its original Ice/Flying-type, this variant is Psychic/Flying and sports a more purple hue with cruel narrow eyes.
  • Galarian Moltres: I know, I know. It still looks like this wildly different-looking version of the original Fire/Flying-type still fans flames. However, this red and black bird is actually a Dark/Flying-type.

Past Legendary Pokémon

Pokemon Sword Shield Crown Tundra Old Catching Legendaries (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

Here's a list of all Legendary Pokémon from previous games that you'll have the chance of catching in the Crown Tundra. It should be noted that regular versions of Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno can also spawn in these dens. We've listed these creatures in order of appearance within the Pokémon universe.

  • Mewtwo
  • Articuno
  • Zapdos
  • Moltres
  • Lugia
  • Ho-Oh
  • Raikou
  • Entei
  • Suicune
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Uxie
  • Mesprit
  • Azelf
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Tornadus
  • Thundurus
  • Landorus
  • Zekrom
  • Reshiram
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
  • Zygarde
  • Tapu Koko
  • Tapu Lele
  • Tapu Bulu
  • Tapu Fini
  • Solgaleo
  • Lunala
  • Heatran
  • Cresselia
  • Giratina
  • Latias
  • Latios

Galarian Star Tournament

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Galarian Star Tournament

Pokemon Sword Shield Expansion Pass Galarian Star Tournament (Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

After you've spent time in the Crown Tundra, you'll be able to participate in the Galarian Star Tournament back in the main Galar region map. Thing is, you get to pick a partner from one of the trainers, whether that be one of your rivals or one of the gym leaders you've seen before in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

Depending on who you choose, you might just learn something new about the character you've selected to team up with.