Pokemon Sword and Shield are here, and I’ve been making my way through the Galar region on my quest to be the very best there ever was. One thing that’s surprised me with this installment of the series is the sheer number of Pokemon available to catch early on in the game. Whereas past titles gave you a few Normal-types, some Bugs, and maybe an Electric-type or two, Pokemon Sword and Shield throws what feels like dozens of monsters at you early on. Here are seven you should keep an eye out for in the first couple of hours of the game. You can find all of these Pokemon in both Sword and Shield, and they’ll serve you well in your Galar adventure.
You can find Yamper on Route 2, one of the first areas you’ll visit. It’s the first Electric-type you’ll encounter in the game, and it comes with an extremely useful move: Nuzzle. This attack may not deal much damage, but it’s guaranteed to paralyze its target. That means their speed will be cut in half and they may not even get to act on their turn. It also makes wild Pokemon easier to catch. Plus, Yamper is just totally adorable.
Rookidee might look like this generation’s Pidgey, but it’s got unique qualities to it. Firstly, it’s a straight Flying-type, whereas most of its peers are also Normal. Second, it learns a great move combo early on. Hone Claws increases its Accuracy and Attack by one stage each, and Power Trip is a Dark-type move that does damage based on the number of stat increases the Pokemon has under its belt. One use of Hone Claws brings Power Trip’s strength up to 60, and two make it 100. This one-two punch will help you easily overcome any pesky Psychic-type Pokemon you might run into.
Available as a Raid Battle in the Wild Area and catchable in the Hammerlocke Hills later on, Honedge is a returning favorite from Pokemon X and Y. Its Ghost/Steel typing gives it a slew of resistances and immunities, and it learns a range of moves including priority attacks and status moves. Its ability, No Guard, gives all attacks — both yours and your opponents — 100% accuracy.
There are two things that make Magikarp especially good In Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s early game. First, you begin with a Fishing Rod. You can only use it in certain spots this time around, but you can catch Magikarp within the first hour of the game. Second, for better or worse, all non-fainted members of your team share experience from each battle. So if you catch Magikarp right away and stick it on your squad, you can have a fearsome Gyarados only a couple of hours into your adventure. Worth it, if you ask me.
Okay, you were probably already going to catch one because, come on, it’s Wooloo. But make sure you find a Wooloo with the ability Fluffy, which halves damage from moves that make contact — which is a lot of them, especially in the early game. Wooloo also gets some interesting moves to play around with, like Copycat — which copies the last move used by a Pokemon — and, later on, Cotton Guard, which increases its already hefty Defense.
Catchable in the Wild Area, Vulpix will provide your team with some useful Fire-type coverage if you didn’t pick Scorbunny as your starter. Vulpix’s default Ability is Flash Fire, which grants it immunity to Fire-type attacks and boosts the power of its own Fire-type attacks.
The cute little Wooper will turn into the swamp king Quagsire at level 20. Find one with Water Absorb and you’ll have a reliable partner you can stick with throughout most of the game. Wooper and Quagsire have a pretty good movepool, with access to damaging Ground and Water-type attacks as well as status moves like Yawn, Rain Dance, and Haze. Just keep it away from Grass-type attacks.