Pokemon Sword and Shield: How to get Gigantamax Pokemon

Gigantamax Centriskorch lobby
Gigantamax Centriskorch lobby (Image credit: iMore)

Gigantamax Butterfree battle

Gigantamax Butterfree battle (Image credit: iMore)

If you've gotten far enough in Pokemon Sword and Shield, you've probably already seen the phenomenon of Gigantamax Pokemon -- Dynamax Pokemon with unique, powerful appearances. These Pokemon don't come about just by simple Dynamaxing. Instead, there's a particular way to obtain these monsters for yourself, and it requires a lot of diligence and a lot of time in the Wild Area. Here's everything you need to know about Gigantamax in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

What is the difference between Dynamax and Gigantamax Pokemon?

Gigantamax Pokemon are a unique form of Dynamax Pokemon that are mostly the same in terms of stats, moves, and abilities, but with two main exceptions. The first is that their appearance when Dynamaxed is different from just a larger form of the Pokemon: Gigantamax Pokemon have unique visuals that are even more intimidating or awesome than usual Dynamax Pokemon. The second is that they gain a special "G-Max" move when Dynamaxed that normal Pokemon don't have.

These Pokemon are incredibly powerful and can only be obtained by defeating and capturing them in Max Raid battles or, for a few specific Pokemon, through special gifts from NPCs.

How do you find Gigantamax Pokemon?

A Max Raid battle

A Max Raid battle (Image credit: iMore)

It can be challenging to track down Gigantamax Pokemon because there isn't really a clear designator of where they are or when they appear. From the outside, they look just like any other Max Raid, and you have to know what you're looking for to spot it in the Wild Area.

Searching the Wild Area

Gigantamax battles look just like normal Max Raid battles on the outside. The "purple" beam of light emerging from a Pokemon den does not indicate a Gigantamax raid explicitly -- purple beams indicate rare encounters, not Gigantamax encounters.

Rather, you have to go up to each raid and look at what's inside. Gigantamax raids will always be 5-star difficulties, and like Dynamax raids, you'll only get a silhouette and the typing of the Pokemon you're about to fight to go by. To spot Gigantamax battles, you'll have to both know what Pokemon you're looking for upfront (we've provided a full list below).

Joining others' battles

You can also hop into Gigantamax raid battles with friends, just like you usually do with Max Raid battles. While connected online or locally, you should see a card appear when a friend or stranger enters a Max Raid battle. Like usual, you'll only have the silhouette and typing to tell whether or not the Pokemon you're about to fight is a Gigantamax Pokemon or just a regular Max Raid, so you'll have to do some discerning.

Gift Gigantamax forms

A few Pokemon's Gigantamax forms can be obtained through special gifts from NPCs in the game, or through special events. They are:

  • Charizard (Charmander found in Hop's house after beating the Elite Four)
  • Pikachu/Eevee (Gift from trainers at the Meeting Spot if you have Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee save data on your Nintendo Switch)
  • Meowth (Mystery Gift for early purchases of Pokemon Sword and Shield)

How do I battle and capture Gigantamax Pokemon?

Gigantamax Centriskorch battle

Gigantamax Centriskorch battle (Image credit: iMore)

Gigantamax Pokemon are considerably stronger than regular Max Raid Pokemon in most cases, and their G-Max moves can make things even trickier. Make sure you're going in with a powerful Pokemon (ideally level 60 or higher) that has a typing advantage and resistance against the Gigantamax Pokemon you're facing.

It's also helpful to join up with friends to fight Gigantamax Pokemon. The game's NPC trainers that join you when you're alone are random and often bring weak or disadvantageous Pokemon to the battle. You don't want to be teamed up with the one who brought a Magikarp to a Gigantamax fight, so try to use the search function to pair up with other trainers or friends as often as possible.

If I lose or fail to capture a Gigantamax Pokemon, can I try again?

Gigantamax Butterfreelobby

Gigantamax Butterfreelobby (Image credit: iMore)

If you lose the battle by running out of turns or having too many Pokemon faint, you can try again as many times as you like until the raid disappears (which it will eventually do after several hours). However, if you defeat the raid and fail to capture the Pokemon, it will disappear, and you'll have to hunt down a new one.

What Gigantamax Pokemon can I capture?

A Max Raid battle

A Max Raid battle (Image credit: iMore)

The following Pokemon are available in Gigantamax forms in Pokemon Sword and Shield:

  • Charizard
  • Pikachu
  • Eevee
  • Meowth
  • Butterfree
  • Machamp (Sword only)
  • Gengar (Shield only)
  • Kingler
  • Lapras
  • Garbodor
  • Corviknight
  • Orbeetle
  • Dreadnaw
  • Coalossal
  • Flapple (Sword only)
  • Appletun (Shield only)
  • Sandaconda
  • Centriskortch
  • Hatterene
  • Grimmsnarl
  • Alcremie
  • Copperajah
  • Duraludon

There is also a handful coming to the game in the future that has not yet made an appearance:

  • Snorlax
  • Toxtricity
  • Melmetal

How do I get Gigantamax Pokemon not found in my version of the game?

Aside from trading with someone who has the opposite version, you can also join a friend's Max Raid battle with the opposite version of the game to battle and have a chance to capture a Pokemon that's exclusive to it. You won't be able to find them natively in the Wild Area, though.

Any questions?

Have patience. Gigantamax battles are incredibly challenging and can be difficult to find, given how similar they look to every other Max Raid battle. Keep hunting, and let us know in the comments if you have any questions about fighting these enormous monsters.

Reb Valentine