Pokemon Sword & Shield Restricted Sparring Guide – New Isle of Armor Feature

Alongside a bunch of Pokemon returning through the new Pokemon Sword & Shield Isle of Armor DLC comes a new post-game feature designed to test the mettle of battle-hardened competitive trainers, Restricted Sparring. It’s not something the average Pokemon player will get too invested in, but it does offer up an alternative way to earn the BP needed to fund competitively viable teams.

More Isle of Armor:

Isle of Armor Restricted Sparring menu

What is Restricted Sparring?

Restricted Sparring is an activity put in place by the Master Dojo on the Isle of Armor in which you and your Pokemon are pitted against a series of battles against your team’s type disadvantages, with more counters being introduced the further into the challenge you go.

What’s different here is that you can only take a single type of Pokemon into the challenge at a time; be it Fighting, Ground, Electric, or another of your choice. Dual-types are okay, so choosing an Electric challenge will permit something like the Poison/Electric Pokemon Toxtricity. As in other similar modes, no identical Pokemon or duplicate held items are permitted. Pokemon are capped to level 50 and you can only take three in at a time. Likewise, your opponents will also have three Pokemon each.

Like the Tower of Waters/Darkness challenge, the idea is to learn to face your chosen Pokemon’s weaknesses by equipping your team with moves that counter their own counters: like a Charizard learning Iron Tail to counter the Rock types that would typically best it.

Once you’ve chosen a type, the challenge is to beat five trainers in a row. Your team isn’t automatically healed between fights, but you get two chances to heal between the five matches, making an efficient strategy the key to your success.

Isle of Armor Restricted Sparring unlock

How to Unlock Restricted Sparring

The new Restricted Sparring feature is the final unlock of the Isle of Armor DLC, so you’ll have to go through the entire new storyline before you can take up the challenge. It’s a straightforward path through the new story if you’ve caught Zacian or Zamazenta prior to taking on the new story, but if you haven’t, be prepared for a cryptic story restriction.

If you’ve leveled your Kubfu to level 70 and taken it to the top of the Tower of Waters or Tower of Darkness to evolve, you’re well on your way to unlocking Restricted Sparring. But if you take your newly evolved Urshifu back to the Master Dojo only for Mustard to say the next step can wait until you’ve done what you have to do, you’ve missed an integral piece of the original Pokemon Sword & Shield storyline.

Mustard won’t tell you what this task is. It’s the post-credits sequence involving the legendary Pokemon on the front of the game’s box,  Zacian and Zamazenta. If you hit the credits and stopped there, you’ll need to go find Hop at the end of the Slumbering Weald to kick things off.

Once you’re done with that, head back to the Isle and Armor and enter the Master Dojo. A cutscene should play out, signaling the continuation of the Isle of Armor storyline. Follow it to its corny “The End” screen (which we’ve detailed in our Gigantamax Urshifu guide) and you should be almost good to go.

The last step is to simply talk to the girl blocking the entrance to the dojo’s backyard stadium to unlock the Restricted Sparring feature.

Restricted Sparring Rewards

As outlined above, Restricted Sparring rewards nothing but BP. But the amount you get depends on how far through the challenge you can make it. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Beat a trainer: 3 BP
  • Beat all five trainers: 30 BP
  • Clear a type challenge for the first time: 30 BP

The appeal of Restricted Sparring may wear off over time, but with 18 unique type challenges available, a full sweep will net you a massive 1350 BP for you to spend at the Battle Tower in Wyndon. You can grab a few of the game’s strongest moves and start building out a competitive team now that some of your favorites are back.

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