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Pokémon Sword & Shield: Competitive Guide Vol.4 – Battle Tower & Tricks

Now it’s time to put your training to the test.

pokemon sword shield trainer going into the arena
Image: Nintendo

This is the fourth in a multiple-volume guide on competitive Pokémon Sword & Shield. In case you missed it, part one covers basic terminology and resources, part two covers effort values, experience, and training, and part three covers all things breeding.


Pokémon Sword & Shield dropped just a few weeks ago and players have been absolutely eating them up – and rightfully so. With so many new players in the series and so many quality of life changes, I want to dig in on the nuts and bolts of how to make your team The Very Best™. In these guides, you’ll learn everything you need to know.

Welcome to volume four, where we’ll take everything we’ve learned so far and make your life a whole lot easier!

The Battle Tower

pokemon sword and shield battle tower

Behold, the Battle Tower. Yes, you can fly directly here. (Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie)

Most of the last several Pokèmon titles have include some form of endgame Battle Tower and Sword & Shield are no exception. The Battle Tower is the highest level play you can experience in Pokèmon Sword & Shield outside of tournaments or battles against real humans. In it, you take your best team into either a 3v3 Singles match or a 4v4 Doubles match. You start out fighting pushovers, but will ultimately work your way up to fighting the toughest, strongest teams the computer can muster, using all of the nasty tricks in the battle system.

Why would you want to do this?

  • It’s fun. Duh.
  • It’s great practice for how competitive battles are going to work in real tournaments.
  • Winning battles earns you Battle Points (BP), which is what we’re mostly interested in here.
  • Completing the fourth tier unlocks the ability to check your IVs on your own in-game.

Prep your best squad or hire a free rental team from either the game or your friends (Yes, you can play with your friends’ teams in the Battle Tower), then get to battling!

Getting your ass handed to you? That’s totally normal! You’re going to need some competitive items, which is where Battle Points come in.

Battle Points

pokemon sword and shield inside battle tower

The left vendors sell items for BP. The right side counter is where you spend bottle caps for Hyper Training. (Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie)

First, you can spend Battle Points in two places: The Battle Tower and the main Pokémon Center in Hammerlocke. There are different items at both spots, so be on the lookout for what appears where. Here are the most important items to look out for:

  • Mints. These are new to Pokémon and one of my favorite additions in the whole game. For 50 BP, you can buy a mint of any nature, feed it to any Pokémon, and that Pokémon permanently changes natures. Yep! If you have BP to spare, you can just forego breeding for natures altogether. No more soft resetting to get the right nature on your legendaries! No more fretting that the shiny you finally encountered was a garbage nature you don’t want! Mints are an incredible addition to the series.
  • Ability Capsule. The way mints can change natures, ability capsules can change abilities. Did you breed a Lucario and get exactly what you wanted except it has Steadfast instead of Inner Focus? Give it an ability capsule and that will change.
    • Note: You cannot use ability capsules to get hidden abilities. In Pokémon Sword & Shield you can only get hidden abilities through special means, which currently only include raids.
  • Choice Band/Specs/Scarf. Some of the most powerful, important items in competitive play, you want all three of these. The Choice items all lock your Pokémon into whatever move it uses first upon coming out, but each boosts a stat by a whopping 50%. Choice Band boosts attack, Choice Specs boost special attack, and the Choice Scarf boosts speed. Want to use a monstrous Tyranitar but worried it might be too slow? Give it a Choice Scarf and worry no more.
  • Bottle Caps. These are super expensive at 25 BP each, but they are also incredibly powerful. Once a Pokémon is level 100, you can take it to the right-side counter in the Battle Tower and perform Hyper Training. For the cost of one Bottle Cap, you can modify one stat to be treated as though it has a perfect IV.
    • Bottle Caps train just one stat.
    • Hyper Trained stats do not actually create perfect IVs. They show up that way on the summary screen, but they are not inheritable.
    • Gold Bottle Caps train ALL STATS AT ONCE.

Do you see why your breeding homework assignment was only for moves? With the help of Battle Tower items, you can ignore everything else and just modify your Pokémon to be whatever you want. Changing nature, ability, and IVs is as easy as just using a few items. Boom, done.

pokemon sword and shield battle points store

A partial list of some of the BP items for sale at one of the Battle Tower vendors. (Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie)

I find this is extremely valuable for Pokémon you can only get one of (like Type:Null and Eternatus), Pokémon that can’t breed (like Dracovish), and Pokémon that are extremely rare (like shinies). You can take any Pokémon and make it competitive with items, which is absolutely unheard of. It’s an incredible feature that makes getting into competitive play easier than ever.

Other Endgame Help

pokemon sword and shield digging brothers

You can find the Digging Duo near the Wild Area nursery. Only do business with the one on the left. (Image: Jake Vander Ende / KnowTechie)

There are two other important places to get additional help with endgame play.

The Digging Duo: Fly to the nursery inside the Wild Area and pretty close by you’ll find a pair of workers who are willing to dig for items at 500W an attempt. The one closest to the nursery is the one you’re interested in, because he can dig up rare items and his partner cannot – Namely, he can dig up Bottle Caps. This is my favorite way to spend Watts, because you’re going to want as many Bottle Caps as possible and if you’re doing raids, you’re likely overflowing on Watts anyway.

Note that in each version, there are two fossils you can commonly find. The Digging Duo is how you find the other two so you can make all four fossil Pokémon (Dracozolt, Arctozolt, Dracovish, and Arctovish).

Pickup: Pickup is an ability that Pokémon can have. The way it works is simple. Any time you finish a battle in the wild, every Pokémon in your party with Pickup that isn’t holding items rolls an invisible die. On a success, that Pokémon just spontaneously finds an item, which they then hold. The interesting part is that exactly what items they can find are determined by their level, with the Pickup item table getting better and better with higher and higher levels.

Pickup Pokémon can find Bottle Caps, PP Up, Rare Candy, Balm Mushrooms, Destiny Knots, evolution stones, and more. It’s a really handy skill.

Once you have the resources, I recommend getting five Pickup Meowths to level 71 or better, which is where they can first start finding Bottle Caps. Do note that Meowth’s Galarian evolution, Perrserker, loses Pickup. If you’re going with Meowth, do not let it evolve.

Once you’ve got a team, go cruise around and do raids, hunt shinies, fill out your pokédex, or whatever. Check your Pokémon screen periodically (as often as after every battle), put held items in your bag to keep their hands free, and reap the benefits of free stuff.

Miscellaneous

pokemon sword and shield

Image: Nintendo

There are just a few other miscellaneous things I wanted to mention that might be helpful.

  • You can get a free Life Orb in the Slumbering Weald at the beginning of the game. It’s across the river to the right and one of the best competitive items out there, boosting your offensive power by 30% while adding recoil damage to all of your attacks. You can go back for this as soon as you have the water travel upgrade, but going in the post-game starts the story to get your box legendary.
  • Trade often, save your Pokémon received from other trainers and play the lottery daily at the computer in pokécenters. The lottery has great items like PP Max and you can easily boost your chances by using Surprise Trade to offload everything you bred but don’t need. The lottery checks the trainer IDs of everything in all of your boxes and awards prizes based on the closest match, so lots of trainer IDs help immensely.
  • Check back with the marketplace dealer in Stow-on-Side frequently. He sells some things you can’t get anywhere else, like the Dragon Fang, which boosts the power of Dragon-type moves when held.
  • Eternatus is your best friend for raids. When in doubt, use Eternatus. Dropping PP Up or PP Max for Dynamax Cannon is a great idea and EV training in Special Attack is something you should do as soon as possible.
  • Most of the shiny objects in the Wild Area replenish themselves over time, including the evolution stones at the Lake of Outrage.

Conclusion

Welcome to the endgame! You made it! You now know everything you need to know, from why and how to train, how to breed for the best Pokémon, all the way to how to take advantage of the Battle Tower. You are well on your way to making powerful, competitive teams.

That’ll do it for Pokémon guides on this subject for now, but thank you for reading and I hope to see you on the other side of the arena someday.

In case you need to go back, here are the rest of the guides for competitive Pokémon Sword and Shield:

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Jake is a writer and game designer in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He loves action, exploration, building, filling bars, and turning numbers into bigger numbers. Someday he'll release a video game.

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