How to build a strong team for 'Pokémon Sword and Shield's mid-game gyms

Or... how to git gooder.

opal pokemon sword shield

So you’ve made it through Milo, Nessa, and Kabu. Congratulations! Now you’re onto the greener pastures of Pokémon Sword and Shields scrappy middle portion. You’re probably wondering: should your team be revamped? What Poké-tykes are necessary for the rough and tumble middle portion? Despite being the epitome of visually pleasing, your six Impidimps probably just will not do for this section of the game!

There’s a divergence in content between Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield players here, but fret not! We’ve got teams for both of you!

[Also read: The best Sword and Shield Pokémon to add to your team early on].

Catch yourself an Espurr in 'Pokémon Sword'
Catch yourself an Espurr in 'Pokémon Sword'

Putting together a solid mid-game team for Pokémon Sword

As a Sword player, you have to worry about Bea the fighting-type gym leader, Opal the fairy-type gym leader, and Gordie the rock-type leader. Defeating this terrible trio with a single team can be tough, but you just need to stack the deck!

Bea’s Pokémon can be bested by spending a little time on Route 5. While there, you should catch the psychic Pokémon Espurr, and the adorable fairy-type Swirlix. With those two in hand, Bea won’t know what hit her. You can also pick up Koffing on the Motostoke Outskirts. If you can evolve them to Weezing, they’ll be a boon for both this gym and the next one.

pokemon Sword and Shield Gigantamax Meowth
'Pokémon Sword and Shield's Gigantamax Meowth is a very tall kitty.

Your next foe is Opal, who has a team comprised of fairy-type Pokémon. To defeat these foes, you’ll want some poison- and steel-types. For the first of those requirements, try using Weezing from the last gym. In regards to the latter, catch a Galarian Meowth on Route 4.

Your final obstacle in this section of Pokémon Sword is Gordie, the Rock type gym leader. If you went with Grookey or Sobble at the start, they’ll get you through this challenge with ease. Otherwise, try catching a Seedot, who we also touted in our best early game Pokémon list. They can be found on Route 2.

If you’ve got a team with all these folks, you should be good to go! The second half of Pokémon Sword will be your oyster.

Put Duskull on your team in 'Pokémon Shield'
Put Duskull on your team in 'Pokémon Shield'

Building a mid-game team for Pokémon Shield

As a Pokémon Shield player, you’ve got a chilling road ahead of you. The first challenge will be Allister, the ghost gym leader, who takes the place of Bea in Pokémon Sword.

For him, you should capture some dark and ghost-type Pokémon. Head to the Motostoke Riverbank in the Wild Area to find some helpful ‘mon. First, search the Riverbank for the ghost-type Pokemon Duskull. They can also be found in the Wild Area’s Watchtower Ruins. Second, pick up Sneasel. They’ll be in the Riverbank area during snowy weather.

Your next foe is Opal, the fairy-type gym leader. To potently defeat her, as we stated in the Pokémon Sword section, you’ll want some poison and steel-type ‘mon. For the first of those requirements, try using Weezing from the last gym. To add steel to your squad, catch a Galarian Meowth on Route 4.

The original Kanto region Vulpix on the left is pretty different from its Alolan Form on the right.

Your final foe of this portion will be Melody, the ice gym leader. They’ll melt under the pressure of a trusty fire type. If you chose Scorbunny as your starter, they’ll do swimmingly for this challenge. Otherwise, we suggest you head to Route 3 and pick up a Vulpix. You may also evolve the Vulpix to a Nine-tails using a Fire Stone, which can be found under the bridge of the Motostoke Riverbank.

Now you’re good to go! May you find the best of successes, trainer.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are now in stores.

Media via Pokémon.com (1, 2), The Pokémon Company, The Pokemon Company, Nintendo / The Pokémon Company / Game Freak