'Pokémon Sword and Shield's mints and supplements are massive game changers

The new items could dramatically alter competitive play.

On Wednesday, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo released a new trailer for Pokémon Sword and Shield that details the first in-game event and the addition of new items and features. The standout detail for competitive players is the addition of Nature-tweaking Mints and the ability to use an unlimited number of supplements. This could make it much easier and less time-consuming for trainers to boost the stats of their favorite Pokémon in the Gen 8 games.

Mints are a new addition to Sword and Shield that allow you to tweak the stat-growth patterns of a particular Pokémon without changing its underlying nature. Theoretically, this means you could have a Pokémon with a Calm nature that doesn’t have hampered growth in its attack stat. There are 21 different types of mints, most of which boost the growth rate of one stat at the expense of another. The one exception is the Serious mint, which makes all stats grow at the neutral rate. The addition of mints is a nice quality-of-life change for those who’ve spent many hours grinding away to breed or catch a ‘mon with a nature tailored specifically to its strengths.

supplements pokemon sword shield
Supplements in Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Supplements—consumable items like Protein and Iron—raise a Pokémon’s base points, which in turn helps raise their stats. If two Pokémon are identical in every way, but one has more base points, the latter will become stronger over time. Pokémon games released before Sword and Shield have limited the number of supplements you could use on a particular ‘mon. Now, for Gen 8, you’ll be able to use as many as you want, even potentially maxing out a Pokémon’s base points using only these supplements.

While fans have been grumbling for months about the absence of some beloved past-gen Pokémon in the upcoming Switch titles, Sword and Shield has a few more quality-of-life improvements in store for trainers. Pokémon Boxes will now be accessible outside towns and facilities, making it much simpler to swap the members of your team while you’re exploring. However, in mission areas and gyms, you won’t be able to access the Pokémon Box. The game also introduces an autosave function to the series, which sparked some consternation among fans worried it would make random-chance grinding more difficult. While it seems as though the inclusion of mints and tweaks to how supplements work will offset some of the unwanted consequences of an autosave function, today’s announcement noted that players will be able to turn this function off.

Pokémon Sword and Shield come to Nintendo Switch November 15.