Pokemon Sword & Shield players furious after ranked battle Legendary ban lifted - Dexerto
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Pokemon Sword & Shield players furious after ranked battle Legendary ban lifted

Published: 22/Jan/2021 18:59

by Brent Koepp

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The Pokemon Sword & Shield community was left divided over Game Freak’s decision to allow powerful restricted Legendaries such as Mewtwo and Kyogre into ranked online battles. 

For years, most Legendary Pokemon have been restricted from ranked battles each generation. Their immense power not only breaks the game’s meta, but risks every Trainer using the same lineup due to their dominating stats.

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On January 22, Game Freak shocked Sword & Shield players when they announced traditionally-banned Legendaries would now be allowed into the Gen 8 title’s competitive mode, breaking years of precedent. 

Screenshot of Pokemon Sword & Shield Legendary Zacian attacking.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
Sword & Shield Legendary Zacian can now be used in ranked online battles.

Legendary Pokemon in Sword & Shield ranked mode

Legendary Pokemon are tricky as their powers and gimmick-y movesets are often designed around a story element. The ‘mon are insanely powerful due to the game’s narrative, and that doesn’t exactly translate into competitive battles.

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Despite banning certain ‘mon, Sword & Shield’s Series 8 Rules seems to reverse that – with a twist. According to the new ruleset, each Trainer will be allowed to use ONE previously restricted Legendary in their team.

Compete in Ranked Battles Series 8 with a powerful Legendary Pokemon at your side,” the developer announced in the Home app. Below we will list the banned Legendaries now allowed into the competitive mode.

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Screenshot of Pokemon Sword & Shield series 8 rules.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The new rule lets previously-restricted Legendaries in Sword & Shield ranked battles.

Banned Pokemon Legendaries now allowed:

  • Mewtwo
  • Lugia
  • Ho-Oh
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina
  • Reshiram
  • Zekrom
  • Kyurem
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
  • Cosmog
  • Cosmoem
  • Solgaleo
  • Lunala
  • Necrozma
  • Zacian
  • Zamazenta
  • Eternatus
  • Calyrex

The decision quickly angered some Sword & Shield players who felt the decision would change ranked meta substantially. “What the hell is this. This is actually going to ruin ranked,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Oof…This’ll be a disaster,” someone else said. Another player said, “Every team will have a Zacian now, gotcha. Pass.”

Screenshot of Pokemon fans angry over Legendary Pokemon allowed in ranked Sword & Shield.

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While the Gen 8 community was divided when Game Freak issued massive bans to powerful ‘mon in 2020, some players now wish it would return after the latest VGC rules. “So they didn’t learn from their mistakes last time they allowed those. Series 5 or 6 where they banned top Pokemon was the best thing ever,” another Trainer replied.

Screenshot of Pokemon player reacting to Sword & Shield Series 8 rules.

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While this isn’t the first time Game Freak has lifted restrictions, the Series 8 rules mark a major change in allowing certain Legendaries who have been banned from the mode for years. It also gets complicated, as some Legendaries have been allowed in Sword & Shield in the past.

However, perhaps the “you can only choose one” rule will balance things out. Things have already become interesting as it’s forcing hardcore Trainers to have to pick their ‘mon wisely due to counters.