As much as we all enjoy wandering around and enjoying the scenery in Pokémon Sword and Shield, there’s more to the game than pretty surroundings and catching adorable creatures. The idea is to be the best like no one ever was, which means battles, lots of them. You need to train your Pokémon into a formidable team that can withstand the ultimate test, and that’s becoming champion. Of course, there’s the slight issue of getting gym badges before you can dethrone the reigning champ.
With our Pokémon Sword and Shield gym leaders guide, we aim to not only tell you where to find them, but what Pokémon type they use, and which monsters make their team. We also offer some advice on how to counter these creatures. No matter how much you love a certain Pokémon, you’ve got to be smart. You can’t bring a Growlithe to a water fight.
If you’re after some more advice, we have a Pokémon Sword and Shield starters guide to help you find the right companion for you. If you fancy a freebie, we also have a Pokémon Sword and Shield mystery gift codes list. Or, if you want to experience the monster-catching action on a brisk walk, check out Pokémon Go and give our Pokémon Go codes list a once over for some goodies.
Now, let’s get into our Pokémon Sword and Shield gym leader guide.
Pokémon Sword and Shield gym leaders
Pokémon Sword and Shield Milo
The first gym you encounter is in Turffield, and it’s home to Milo, a master of grass-type Pokémon. As he’s the first gym leader, he only has two creatures on his team, both of which you can wipe out with a fire-type Pokémon.
However, to face him, you must complete the gym mission. You need to assemble a herd of Wooloo into their pens. Yes, you read that right. This is Pokémon meets Farming Simulator.
|Gossifleur||19||Grass||Fire, flying, ice, bug, poison||No|
|Eldegoss||20||Grass||Fire, ice, flying, poison, bug||Yes|
If you begin your adventure with Scorbunny, this battle is a walk in the park. If you didn’t, don’t worry, just grab a bird or a bug and you’re golden.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Nessa
Nessa is the second gym leader, and you can find her in Hulbury. Her type of choice is water, which is highly susceptible to attacks from grass and electric-types. If you start with Grookey, this fight will be over before she even knows what’s occurring.
When you first arrive in town, Nessa is at the lighthouse. You must speak to her here, or she won’t return to the gym. After this, you need to work your way through a maze that changes paths and fills with water. Once you’re out the other side, you can face Nessa.
|Drednaw||24||Water, rock||Electric, fighting, grass, ground||Yes|
An electric or grass-type Pokémon is a must here, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble filling this spot on your team. By now you could even have the electrifying Pikachu.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Kabu
Kabu is the third gym leader, and he is in Motostoke. He has three Pokémon on his team, all of which are fire-types, with the final one also being part bug – I guess kill it with fire doesn’t apply here.
His gym challenge is one of the more fun ones. Sure, you have to face other people but that just means you can boast about how great you are. You need to get five points before your opponents, which is simple enough, just capture some wild Pokémon. Defeating one nets you a single point, but making them comfy in a Poké ball rewards you with three points.
|Ninetails||25||Fire||Water, rock, ground||No|
|Arcanine||25||Fire||Water, rock, ground||No|
|Centiskorch||27||Fire, bug||Water, rock, ground||Yes|
It should go without saying that this team is weak to water, but a decent rock or ground-type will also put those fires out.
Pokémon Sword Bea
Okay, this is the first of the game exclusive gym leaders. Bea is in Pokémon Sword only, and can be found in Stow-on-Side. She and her Pokémon are fighters, so prepare yourself for a tough battle. Bea has four monsters on her team, so you best have a good squad.
The gym mission here is a fun one, just go down the massive slide and avoid the obstacles. We couldn’t help but slide back down again to gloat about our victory.
|Hitmontop||34||Fighting||Psychic, fairy, flying||No|
|Pangoro||34||Fighting, dark||Flying, psychic, fairy||No|
|Sirfetch’d||35||Fighting||Flying, fair, psychic||No|
|Machamp||36||Fighting||Fairy, flying, psychic||Yes|
Fighting Pokémon can be tricky if you don’t have the correct member on your squad. However, if you have a flying, fairy, or psychic-type on your team, it won’t be long before they throw the towel in.
Pokémon Shield Allister
The fourth gym leader in Pokémon Shield is Allister, and we hope you like all things spooky, as he specialises in the ghost-type. However, you do get to take part in what is arguably the best gym mission in all of Sword and Shield.
You get to ride around in a tea cup, one that you have full control of, just navigate your way through the area and use the glowing green hands if you feel the need for speed.
|Yamask||34||Ghost, ground||Water, dark, steel||No|
|Gengar||36||Ghost||Ghost, Dark, Psychic||Yes|
As you can see, there are a few types that this group is weak to. However, they don’t all share a single weakness. Instead, you’re going to have to come prepared with a couple of different types to counter this team. You can even opt to use ghost Pokémon, but they could be susceptible to incoming attacks, just as the opposition is to your own.
Honestly, we suggest investing in a dark-type Pokémon, they might just come in handy later on.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Opal
Opal is the fifth gym leader and she has a passion for fairy-type Pokémon, yet just one of her four creatures is pure fairy. Three of them have a secondary type too.
We hope you’re ready for a quick Q&A as this gym mission requires you to answer some questions. You must face other trainers in battles, then from time to time, Opal pipes up with a question. If you can’t be bothered to think, not to worry, we have the answers:
- Do you know about fairy-types’ weaknesses? – Poison or steel
- What was the previous trainer’s name? – Annette
- What do I eat for breakfast every morning? – Omelettes
Get all of those right for some stat boosts.
|Weezing||36||Poison, fairy||Psychic, steel||No|
|Mawile||36||Fairy, steel||Fire, ground||No|
|Togekiss||37||Fairy, flying||Electric, ice, rock, poison, steel||No|
|Alcremie||38||Fairy||Dark, poison, steel||Yes|
There are a few types that will serve you well in this battle, and the chances are, if you have a diverse team, you have Pokémon that are up to the task.
Pokémon Sword Gordie
Gordie is the sixth gym leader in Pokémon Sword, and can be found in Chirchester. He specialises in rock-types, though most of his party also belong to a second type.
The gym mission here tasks you with making it across the room in a sand storm. Not only that, but pieces of the floor give way when you stand on them. Fortunately, you do have a sensor that indicates when you’re about to fall down a hole.
|Barbacle||40||Rock, water||Electric, grass, fighting, ground||No|
|Shuckle||40||Bug, rock||Water, bug, steel||No|
|Stonjourner||41||Rock||Ground, Fighting, grass, ice||No|
|Coalossal||42||Rock, fire||Water, ground, fighting||Yes|
Grass, water, and fighting Pokémon are your best friends for this gym, and the chances are you have a powerful Pokémon that at least falls partly into one of these types.
Pokémon Shield Melony
Melony is an ice-type specialist that serves as the sixth gym leader in Pokémon Shield. If you have a strong fire Pokémon, you’re in for an easy ride, for the most part, at least.
The gym mission is the same as in Pokémon Sword, you must navigate some dodgy flooring through the use of a sensor.
|Darmantian||40||Ice||Fire, rock, fighting, steel||No|
|Eiscue||41||Ice||Fire, rock, fighting, steel||No|
|Lapras||42||Water, ice||Electric, grass, fighting, rock||Yes|
Fire and rock, that’s the combination you should go for here. Seriously, pair them up and watch your worries melt away.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Piers
You can find the seventh Pokémon Sword and Shield gym leader in Spikemuth – we hear it’s lovely this time of year. Piers runs this town and happens to be the older brother of Marnie, your rival. At first, you can’t enter, but your frienemy lets you in. Piers embraces the dark side, so prepare yourself for a fight.
Your gym mission is simply to defeat Team Yell, a faction that Piers is in charge of. Funnily enough, Marnie helps you out, wanting to prove she’s the best through fair competition, rather than having her big brother refuse to face other trainers.
|Scrafty||44||Fighting, dark||Fighting, flying, fairy||No|
|Malamar||45||Psychic, dark||Bug, fairy||No|
|Obstagoon||46||Dark, normal||Fighting, fairy||No|
It would be fair to say that fighting and fairy-types tend to do well in this battle, so bear that in mind before heading in.
Pokémon Sword and Shield Raihan
We hope you’re ready for a fight, because this is the toughest challenge you will have faced so far. Raihan is the final gym leader, you can find him in Hammerlocke, and he uses dragon-type Pokémon.
The gym mission is simple enough, face four trainers in double battles while a different weather setting wreaks havoc on the battle.
|Gigalith||46||Rock||Water, grass, fighting, ground, steel||No|
|Flygon||47||Ground, dragon||Ice, fairy, dragon||No|
|Scandaconda||46||Ground||Flying, bug, grass||No|
|Duraludon||48||Dragon, steel||Ice, fairy||Yes|
We suggest reading the weaknesses of this team carefully, but if you have a fairy, grass, or ice-type Pokémon at your disposal there’s no better time to equip them. You could use Raihan’s own type against him but given it’s a dragon-eat-dragon kind of world, it could be a risky move.
There you have it, everything you need to know about the Pokémon Sword and Shield gym leaders. We hope it helps you to get those badges and prove you’re simply the best. If you’re after something new to play, we have a selection of the best Switch RPGs here.