Jungle time

Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Zarude gets a new Grass move, but there’s a catch

The new mythical Pokémon coming to Sword and Shield is getting a unique new move, but will you ever get a chance to use it?

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company announced Thursday that Zarude, the mythical Pokémon revealed for Pokémon Sword and Shield on Pokémon Day, is getting a unique Grass-type move that could turn the tide of any group fight, especially Max Raids. But "Jungle Healing" won't be as useful as it could be in Pokémon Sword and Shield for one major reason.

"Once Zarude reaches level 90, it can learn Jungle Healing, a unique move only it can learn," an official press release reads. "In this Grass-type status move, the Pokémon wraps its vines around trees, absorbs their energy, and then releases that energy combined with its own. Healing power radiates around the area and heals both Zarude and its ally Pokémon — restoring their HP and curing them of any status conditions."

If Zarude can't learn this until Level 90, then you may not get much out of it during the game's story, but it should theoretically prove to be a very useful move in Max Raids where trainers may have up to three allies. Not only does Jungle Healing restore HP, but it also cures status conditions like Paralyze or Sleep.

Official artwork of Zarude using Jungle Healing.

The official description of Jungle Healing confirms it does not deal with other elements like weather, terrain shifts, or Stealth Rock, all of which are prevalent in Pokémon's competitive scene. As such, this moves utility mainly appears to be for healing, which is still useful in competitive Pokémon fights.

Jungle Healing pairs very well with Zarude's ability Leaf Guard, which the game says "prevents status conditions in harsh sunlight." Its best use will be in Max Raids, as its healing abilities can counteract the massive damage and status conditions that Max Raid Pokémon can cause.

In addition to the high level it's learned at, the move does come with another major caveat: It can't be used in ranked online play because mythical Pokémon aren't allowed. Anyone setting their sights on going competitive with Pokémon Sword and Shield despite the cancellation of 2020s Pokemon World Championships should keep in mind that Zarude won't be of any use to them.

While Jungle Healing is very good, it won't be reaching its full potential in Pokémon Sword and Shield. There is hope for the future though, as Zarude's official website mentions that "it is possible other Pokémon may be able to learn this move in future games." This was the case with other signature moves in the past.

The Inverse Analysis — Jungle Healing seems like a useful move concept that could have a lot of utility in competitive Pokémon battles, though we won't be seeing that potential capitalized on in Pokémon Sword and Shield's ranked online play. Zarude will most likely become known as the go-to Max Raid choice when it is added around the Japanese release of Pokémon the Movie: Coco.

Jungle Healing is a move to keep your eye on in future Pokémon games, though. The Pokémon Company has teased that other Pokémon will be able to use the move in the future, so we will see more Grass-Types gain this move once Diamond and Pearl remakes or the next mainline Pokémon titles roll around. When that's the case, we'll see just how well Jungle Healing fares in a competitive setting.