Pokémon Sword & Shield – Dynamax Adventure Guide

Prior to the release of Pokémon Sword & Shield’s DLC packs, the games were criticized for having very little to do after the completion of the main storyline. Fortunately, the second DLC pack – The Crown Tundra – almost completely fixes this, as it gives players the opportunity to catch or shiny hunt almost fifty Legendary Pokémon either solo or with friends. Dynamax Adventures are the reason to play The Crown Tundra, and they’re the most fun cooperative game mode Pokémon has ever seen (at least at the time of writing). There’s a lot to explain here – including some information that hasn’t previously been documented online – so buckle up and prepare for a long read.

Introduction

Dynamax Adventures are unlocked soon after accessing The Crown Tundra — which, in turn, can be accessed via the train station in Wedgehurst after you visit Galar’s Wild Area for the first time. You’ll have to battle a man named Peony, and if you visit The Crown Tundra before you visit the first gym you’re in for a nasty surprise: his Pokémon are Level 70, so there’s no way you’re going to win. Luckily, Game Freak didn’t design this area of the game so well, because Crown Tundra progress continues regardless of whether you win or lose.

After winning (or losing) to Peony, you’ll immediately gain access to the Max Lair, and this is where Dynamax Adventures take place. For your first adventure, you’ll be forced to do a run with CPUs with Suicune as the final target. The short explanation of Dynamax Adventures is this: you pick a rental Pokémon at the beginning, choose Dynamax Pokémon opponents to face on a path, and then after you defeat three Dynamax Pokémon in the path you’ll be tasked with taking down a Dynamaxed Legendary Pokémon. After your first adventure, you’ll be able to encounter targets other than Suicune — and if you choose not to catch them, you can jot them down to access them again anytime. Please be advised that you can only catch (and take) one of each Legendary Pokémon per file; if you battle a Legendary Pokémon you’ve already caught, it’ll simply disappear. Use whichever Poké Ball you want, because you’re guaranteed to capture every Pokémon you throw a ball at. To be perfectly clear, you should be catching all four Pokémon when you play a Dynamax Adventure, and if none of them are shiny at the end, you can choose to exit without taking a Pokémon. You’re good to catch Legendary Pokémon — you just can’t take them or else they’ll disappear in future routes. Remember, if four Pokémon faint or ten turns elapse in a single battle, the Dynamax Adventure ends.

When your first adventure is complete, you’ll be able to open up future Dynamax Adventures to friends, and here’s how! First, if you want to play with trainers in real life, make sure you’re not connected to the internet. If you want to play with trainers over the internet, press Y to open the Y-comm and then press the + button to get online. Then talk to the scientist, choose a Pokémon to target (or select “Anything is fine”), and you’ll come to a purple screen. On this screen, press the + button to set a link code, and when that’s all done press “Invite others”. Since you created the room first, you’re now considered the host. Each player wanting to join you will have to enter that same link code but choose “Anything is fine” so that they join your room.

As we’ll soon discuss, Dynamax Adventures can be used to shiny hunt Legendary Pokémon — including Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, Tapu Fini, Solgaleo, Lunala, and Necrozma, who have only been available in their Shiny forms through events. If you’re looking to shiny hunt Pokémon as fast as possible, your best bet is to turn animations off in settings and play a Dynamax Adventure without inviting others. This way you won’t have to wait for your allies to make their move decisions, and you also won’t have to sit through the lengthy move animations. That being said, certain target Pokémon – including Zygarde, Palkia, and Xerneas – are too difficult to do alone without incredible CPU luck. As you’ll soon find out, the Dynamax Adventure CPUs are erratic and unreliable — and so they’re often not very good partners.

Pokémon Selection

CPUs in Dynamax Adventure essentially make random decisions. They’ll take random Pokémon, even if the one they end up with isn’t optimal for the targeted Legendary Pokémon at the end. As a result, you may find yourself losing certain Dynamax Adventures simply because the CPUs did not cooperate. It’s also important to note that after each Dynamax battle, CPUs will only decide whether to take or pass on the defeated Pokémon after the host of the adventure makes their decision. This means you can’t decide to keep or leave a given Pokémon based on what the CPUs are going to do.

As mentioned before, you can’t bring your own Pokémon with you on Dynamax Adventures — everything here is a rental Pokémon. There are far too many rental Pokémon to make a tier list of, but we do have a list of generally good Pokémon that often come in handy against a wide variety of target Pokémon. You’ve got Oranguru, who can use Instruct (though this is only helpful when you’re adventuring with friends); Jynx, Haunter, Grimmsnarl, and Noctowl, who can put the opponent to sleep; and then you have Wide Guard users. These include Mienshao, Kingler, Hitmonlee, Pelipper, and Mantine, and against targets like Kyogre and Zygarde, a Wide Guard user is absolutely necessary. Kyogre and Zygarde use Surf and Land’s Wrath, respectively, which can wreak havoc on unprepared teams.

Then there are the bad Pokémon, but there are two categories of useless Pokémon here: ones that are poorly used by the CPUs, and ones that are just pointless in general. CPUs controlling Amoonguss and Butterfree spam Rage Powder and get KO’d quickly, while CPUs controlling Araquanid and Dedenne spam Entrainment to overwrite their allies’ abilities. You may want to avoid encountering these Pokémon on your route when playing with CPUs. Pokémon that are bad no matter what include Pyukumuku (no good attacking moves), Jigglypuff (extremely frail and deals no damage), and Seismitoad (it only has Normal- and Poison-type attacking moves). Then there are a few more Pokémon you’ll need to keep an eye out for during your adventure. Magneton, Rotom, and Heliolisk all use Electro Ball as their sole Electric-type attack; this move is fine against slow opponents, but plenty of Legendary Pokémon (such as Tornadus) are incredibly fast and thus take reduced damage from it. If you can Dynamax and turn Electro Ball into Max Lightning, that works out much better.

By the way, certain Legendary Pokémon are exclusive to a specific game. Ho-Oh, Groudon, Latios, Dialga, Reshiram, Tornadus, Xerneas, and Solgaleo are all exclusive to Pokémon Sword, while Lugia, Kyogre, Latias, Palkia, Zekrom, Thundurus, Yveltal, and Lunala are exclusive to Pokémon Shield. That being said, a Pokémon Sword player can still join a Lunala-target Dynamax Adventure and then catch and take it at the end — the Sword player just can’t find Lunala on their own while adventuring solo since it’s exclusive to Shield.

Legendary Pokémon Movesets

Earlier we mentioned that some of the information we’ve got here is undocumented — and here it is! Each Legendary Pokémon has a static moveset, but there’s a little-known fact: most of them actually have a fifth move that they can use, and we’ve compiled a complete list of them here. The list below is sorted in National Pokédex order, so keep an eye out for the Legendary Pokémon you’re targeting:

  • Articuno has Ice Beam, Freeze-Dry, Hurricane, Mist, and Blizzard. Bring some Rock-type Pokémon and you’ll defeat it in no time flat!
  • Zapdos has Thunder, Drill Peck, Brave Bird, Agility, and Discharge. Remember that Discharge is a spread move that has a chance of inflicting paralysis, so Ground-type Pokémon that can use Rock- or Ice-type moves work great here! Rhydon and Piloswine are excellent examples.
  • Moltres has Heat Wave, Wing Attack, Leer, and Fire Spin. We weren’t able to find a fifth move here, but bring Rock- or Water- type Pokémon and you’re all set.
  • Mewtwo has Psystrike, Psychic, Disable, Recover, and Blizzard. It only ever strikes its opponents’ Sp. Def stats, so make sure your team is bulky enough to pull through.
  • Raikou has Thunderbolt, Howl, Extreme Speed, Weather Ball, and Spark. It can increase its Attack stat using Howl, but its only physical moves are Extreme Speed and Spark — which aren’t all that threatening.
  • Entei has Flamethrower, Extreme Speed, Scary Face, Crunch, and Flame Wheel. Bring a team of Water-type Pokémon and there won’t be much Entei can do to turn the tide in its favor.
  • Suicune has Liquidation, Extrasensory, Extreme Speed, Calm Mind, and Water Pulse. Be wary of Water Pulse’s confusion chance and don’t let Suicune set up Calm Mind boosts!
  • Lugia has Dragon Pulse, Extrasensory, Whirlpool, Ancient Power, and Aeroblast. This thing’s super bulky, and it has a small chance of increasing all of its stats using Ancient Power. Don’t let that happen!
  • Ho-Oh has Flare Blitz, Extrasensory, Sunny Day, Ancient Power, and Sacred Fire. Harsh sunlight plus a physical Fire-type move equals extreme power, so exercise caution here.
  • Latias has Reflect Type, Dragon Breath, Zen Headbutt, Surf, and Mist Ball. It can permanently change its own type using Reflect Type. Maybe you can bring in some Dragon-type Pokémon so that you can still hit it for super-effective damage after it uses Reflect Type.
  • Latios has Dragon Dance, Dragon Pulse, Zen Headbutt, Aura Sphere, and Luster Purge. It can set up with Dragon Dance, but its only physical move is Zen Headbutt — bring a Dark-type Pokémon and you’re safe!
  • Kyogre has Surf, Body Slam, Aqua Ring, Thunder, and Origin Pulse. It’s one of the most difficult targets to hunt because it sets up rain with Drizzle and then nukes the entire team with Surf or Origin Pulse. Bring Pokémon with Storm Drain such as Maractus and a Pokémon with Wide Guard (Kingler, Hitmonlee, etc.) and you’ll be set. 
  • Groudon has Earthquake, Scary Face, Lava Plume, Hammer Arm, and Precipice Blades. Not quite as difficult as Kyogre, but poses a threat nonetheless. Wide Guard is also heavily recommended here!
  • Rayquaza has Dragon Ascent, Extreme Speed, Brutal Swing, Twister, and Dragon Pulse. Bring an Ice-type Pokémon to utterly wreck this thing.
  • Uxie has Psychic, Future Sight, Magic Room, Shadow Ball, and Swift. Overall, not tough at all — just bring Ghost-, Bug-, and Dark-type Pokémon.
  • Mesprit has Psychic, Charm, Draining Kiss, Tri Attack, and Swift. Once again, not too difficult: just be wary of Tri Attack’s chance of inflicting a status condition.
  • Azelf has Psychic, Dazzling Gleam, Nasty Plot, Facade, and Swift. Nasty Plot and Dazzling Gleam is a frightening combo, so be careful!
  • Dialga has Slash, Flash Cannon, Ancient Power, Dragon Claw, and Iron Tail. It’s part Dragon-type, so it is not weak to Fire-type moves. In fact, it’s only weak to Ground-type and Fighting-type moves.
  • Palkia has Slash, Surf, Ancient Power, Dragon Claw, and Aqua Tail. It can rip a team to shreds using Surf, so be sure to bring Pokémon that resist Water-type moves (or something like Maractus, which has Storm Drain). Fairy-type Pokémon work well here too — Azumarill is a solid example.
  • Giratina has Dragon Claw, Scary Face, Shadow Ball, Ancient Power, and Shadow Claw. It’s weak to Ghost, Dark, Dragon, and Fairy. Bring Pokémon of those types!
  • Heatran has Metal Sound, Lava Plume, Crunch, Iron Head, and Heat Wave. It’s super weak to Ground-type moves, so bring Pokémon like Marowak and you’ll win before you know it.
  • Cresselia has Icy Wind, Moonblast, Psycho Cut, Psyshock, and Psychic. Its only spread move is Icy Wind, which is rather weak, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
  • Tornadus has Hurricane, Agility, Icy Wind, Heat Wave, and Air Cutter. It has several different spread moves that can hit multiple types of Pokémon. It might be impossible for a Pokémon to resist Fire, Ice, and Flying, so instead bring a Pokémon with Light Screen or Wide Guard. Or both!
  • Thundurus has Thunder, Rain Dance, Weather Ball, Sludge Wave, and Discharge. This means Thundurus can set up rain for 100% accurate Thunders — be careful.
  • Landorus has Sand Tomb, Rock Slide, Bulldoze, Focus Blast, and Earthquake. Bring Ice-type Pokémon like Jynx and then a Wide Guard user to make sure your Ice-types don’t get smacked with Rock Slide.
  • Reshiram has Noble Roar, Extrasensory, Fusion Flare, Dragon Pulse, and Blue Flare. It’s weak to Rock- and Ground-type moves.
  • Zekrom has Noble Roar, Slash, Fusion Bolt, Dragon Claw, and Bolt Strike. It’s incredibly strong on the physical side, so try your best to bring Ground-type Pokémon.
  • Kyurem has Ice Beam, Hyper Voice, Shadow Ball, Scary Face, and Glaciate. Bring Pokémon with Dragon-, Fighting-, or Rock-type moves.
  • Xerneas has Ingrain, Dazzling Gleam, Moonblast, and Horn Leech. No fifth move here! Steel-type Pokémon like Doublade and Bronzong work great here, but Xerneas is a difficult target even with an optimal team.
  • Yveltal has Taunt, Oblivion Wing, Dragon Rush, Sucker Punch, and Snarl. Snarl is particularly troubling if you bring special attackers — it lowers their attack power!
  • Zygarde has Thousand Arrows, Land’s Wrath, Dragon Pulse, and Bind. No fifth move, but many devoted adventurers consider Zygarde to be the toughest target in the game. This is because it has the Power Construct ability, and at low health, it transforms into Complete Form and regains a ton of health. Put it to sleep using Jynx and then attack it with Ice-type moves.
  • Tapu Koko has Thunderbolt, Quick Attack, Brave Bird, Taunt, and Discharge. Bring Ground-type Pokémon to make quick work of it, and be wary of its high Speed stat.
  • Tapu Lele has Psychic, Play Rough, Magic Room, Charm, and Psyshock. Try your best to bring Bronzong, who can smack Tapu Lele with a super-effective Steel Roller while removing its attack-enhancing Psychic Terrain.
  • Tapu Bulu has Superpower, Megahorn, Wood Hammer, Scary Face, and Horn Leech. It’s quadruply weak to Poison-type moves, so try to find Pokémon like Salazzle and Garbodor on your way to its hiding spot.
  • Tapu Fini has Whirlpool, Water Pulse, Brine, Moonblast, and Surf. It sets Misty Terrain at the beginning of the battle, so you won’t be able to rely on status conditions for five whole turns. Go all-out with attacks instead!
  • Solgaleo has Zen Headbutt, Fire Spin, Iron Tail, Noble Roar, and Sunsteel Strike. It can afflict its opponents with Fire Spin and then lower their Attack and Sp. Atk stats with Noble Roar. Bring Pokémon like Crawdaunt, set up Swords Dance, and then go for Lash Out.
  • Lunala has Shadow Ball, Moonblast, Magic Coat, Swift, and Moongeist Beam. Its Shadow Shield ability lets it take half damage from the first move you hit it with, but after that it’s highly vulnerable to Ghost- and Dark-type moves.
  • Nihilego has Wonder Room, Sludge Wave, Brutal Swing, and Acid Spray. Please note that all Ultra Beasts (with the exception of Necrozma) only have four moves and not five.
  • Buzzwole has Power-Up Punch, Taunt, Leech Life, and Dynamic Punch. Bring a team of Flying-type Pokémon to destroy it in just a few turns.
  • Pheromosa has High Jump Kick, Swift, Throat Chop, and Lunge. It’s incredibly frail, so hit it with the strongest attacks you’ve got.
  • Xurkitree has Power Whip, Discharge, Eerie Impulse, and Brutal Swing. Of these, Discharge is its strongest move — Wide Guard users come highly recommended.
  • Celesteela has Leech Seed, Smack Down, Gyro Ball, and Earthquake. It’s only weak to Electric-type moves, so make sure to bring Pokémon that have them.
  • Kartana has Leaf Blade, Vacuum Wave, Air Cutter, and Swords Dance. It’s arguably the easiest target in the game — just bring even one Fire-type Pokémon that uses a special attack and you’ll win in a turn or two.
  • Guzzlord has Dragon Rush, Stomping Tantrum, Brutal Swing, and Mega Punch. It’s weak to Dragon-, Ice-, Fairy-, and Fighting-type attacks, so you’ve got plenty of options here.
  • Necrozma has Psycho Cut, Charge Beam, Power Gem, Autotomize, and Photon Geyser. Autotomize is usually no big deal, but keep an eye out for when Necrozma raises its Sp. Attack with Charge Beam. Maybe you could bring a Light Screen user to lower Necrozma’s damage output. Orbeetle and Ninjask are also solid picks thanks to Struggle Bug and Skitter Smack, respectively.
  • Stakataka has Rock Slide, Double-Edge, Brutal Swing, and Autotomize. If you can bring a special Fighting-type or Ground-type Pokémon, your odds of success will drastically increase.
  • Blacephalon has Shadow Claw, Taunt, Fire Blast, and Zen Headbutt. It’s weak to Ghost-, Water, Rock-, and especially Ground-type moves.

It should be noted that each of these Pokémon can also use Max Moves that correspond to their normal attacks. If you’re planning on hunting one of these Legendary Pokémon, make sure you study its moveset so you know which Pokémon to bring with you! Of course, some Dynamax Adventure routes won’t have anything helpful, so you won’t always be able to assemble an optimal team. Still, you’ll at least know which Pokémon to look out for, which can go a long way in increasing your chance of winning.

Rewards & Shiny Hunting

After each Dynamax Adventure ends, you’ll receive a special kind of stone called Dynite Ore. It’s a currency of sorts in the Crown Tundra, and you can use it to buy a variety of helpful items from a merchant located in the Max Lair. Some highlights include Exp. Candies, Dynamax Candies, Armorite, Ore, Bottle Caps, Ability Capsules, and Ability Patches. Ability Patches are especially neat, because they let you change a Pokémon’s ability to its Hidden Ability (though the game calls these rare Abilities). The amount of Dynite Ore you get from each Dynamax Adventure depends on the number of players you connect with and the number of Pokémon you defeat.

In addition to earning Dynite Ore, Pokémon obtained from Dynamax Adventures each have a 1 in 300 chance of being Shiny (and this chance increases to 1 in 100 each with the Shiny Charm equipped). You won’t notice any Shiny Pokémon while you’re actually adventuring — they’ll all appear normally-colored no matter what. Instead, you’ll have to catch each Pokémon when prompted – including the Legendary Pokémon – and then check their colors on the results screen at the end. If a team of four players successfully completes a Dynamax Adventure with Necrozma as their target, each player has a 1 in 100 chance per Pokémon. This means that just one of the four players can wind up with a Shiny Necrozma, leaving the other three players with no choice but to cry themselves to sleep at night knowing their friend got their most wanted Shiny Pokémon first.

If you’d prefer to load up on Dynite Ore instead, you can opt to play Endless Dynamax Adventures instead. In this case, you won’t be able to catch or keep any Pokémon – which in turn means you won’t get any Shiny Pokémon – but in exchange you’ll receive even more Dynite Ore than usual. This is really helpful if you’re looking to save up for an Ability Patch.

As one final, super-important reminder: don’t take the Legendary Pokémon at the end unless you’re okay with being unable to catch it in the future. This means that if you catch a specific Legendary Pokémon but want to shiny hunt it later, you’re out of luck unless you restart your save file. If you have any questions regarding Dynamax Adventures (or just need some friends to do them with), feel free to join our Discord community! At the time of writing we shiny hunt in normal Dynamax Adventures rather often, and we’re always happy to welcome more people in to hunt alongside us. Thanks so much for reading, and happy hunting!

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