Pokemon Sword and Shield provoked a lot of questions regarding how it stacks up against other mainline Pokemon titles.
The one area where Pokemon Sword and Shield stands comfortably at the top of the series is in the strength of its legendaries. Alongside Eternatus standing as the strongest Pokemon in the history of the franchise, cover Pokemon Zacian and Zamazenta statistically stand in second and third place, respectively. As such, it’s worth taking a deep dive into the Pokemon that have been fondly labeled the sword doggo and shield pupper. Here is how to catch Zacian and Zamazenta, and how to best utilize them.
Zacian and Zamazenta are both caught in the Energy Plant after completing the post-game story that includes Sordward and Shielbert. Pokemon Sword players have access to Zacian while Pokemon Shield players get the chance to catch Zamazenta. Players cannot catch the other legendary Pokemon, as Hop will end up capturing it.
After becoming the Pokemon League Champion by defeating Leon, the player can start the quest by traveling to the Slumbering Weald near their house. They encounter Hop and battle him before Sonia arrives, followed by Sordward and Shielbert. The player battles one while Hop battles the other, with Hop losing and a chase starting after.
This pursuit takes the player across the Galar region to take part in a series of Max Raid battles alongside gym leaders. This culminates with a battle opposite Sordward and Shielbert at the Energy Plant, followed by a battle against one of the legendary Pokemon.
This is followed by Pokemon Sword players facing Zacian and Shield players facing Zamazenta, with the opportunity to capture them. During this time, Hop captures the opposite legendary Pokemon. The story concludes with the player battling Hop, with his team now including his new legendary Pokemon.
Check out our guides to catching and battling with other Pokemon:
No, Pokemon Shield players cannot capture Zacian, nor can Sword players capture Zamazenta. Sword players must catch Zacian, with Hop catching Zamazenta and vice versa for Pokemon Shield.
Crowned Zacian and Zamazenta can be used by giving the Pokemon their corresponding rusted item and entering battle. If Zacian has the Rusted Sword when it enters battle, it will transform into Crowned Zacian upon entering the battle. If Zamazenta has the Rusted Shield, it will become Crowned Zamazenta.
Crowned Zacian and Zamazenta are different from their regular forms in two ways.
First, both Pokemon have unique attacks that are only available while in their crowned forms. If Crowned Zacian has the move Iron Head learned, the move becomes Behemoth Blade. For Crowned Zamazenta, Iron Head becomes Behemoth Bash. Both Behemoth Blade and Behemoth Bash are steel-type moves that have 100 power and 100% accuracy.
More importantly, both Pokemon get significant stat boosts while in their crowned forms. Crowned Zacian’s base attack stat jumps up 40 points after transforming while its speed goes up by 10. Crowned Zamazenta’s base defense stats both jump up by 30, but its base speed actually drops by 10.
Legends only. ⚔️🛡️
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) February 22, 2021
Zacian is considerably better than Zamazenta within Pokemon Sword and Shield’s competitive battling formats. Though Zamazenta has a very high base stat total and excellent defenses, it’s less powerful than many other legendary Pokemon and is significantly weaker than Zacian. There are three reasons for this.
First and foremost is that Zamazenta’s move pool doesn’t really make great use of its natural bulkiness. Zamazenta lacks the staple moves of tanky Pokemon like Recover, Counter, and Mirror Coat, undermining his staying power in games despite his high defensive base stats. There’s also the glaring omission of Body Press, a move that was introduced in Gen VIII that would work perfectly for Zamazenta and is in line with his typing, but is inexplicably missing from his arsenal.
Second is Crowned Zacian’s particularly strong stat distribution. With 148 base speed, only Regileki, Pheromosa, Ninjask, and Shadow Rider Calyrex are naturally faster than Zacian. With 170 base attack, the only Pokemon that can punch opponents as hard as Zacian are Kartana and Black Kyurem. Zamazenta’s base stats add up to the same number as Zacian, but Zacian’s stats are consolidated in a way that makes it an offensive powerhouse.
Finally, Crowned Zacian’s fairy-steel typing is just better compared to Crowned Zamazenta’s steel-fighting. Crowned Zacian has nine resistances and two immunities, with just two weaknesses. Crowned Zamazenta has eight resistances and one immunity alongside three weaknesses.
Crowned Zacian is incredibly strong, and he’s very straightforward in terms of how players should build him. Players ought to invest the maximum 252 EVs into attack and speed, and put the remainder into a defense stat. Rusted Sword is the only held item option, as no other item offers more than the perks Zacian gets from transforming into its crowned form.
The best catch-all combination of moves for Zacian in singles is:
Players can also swap out Swords Dance for other moves such as Play Rough, Psychic Fangs, or Fire Fang depending on what else they have on their team. The build for doubles is largely similar, but with Protect in place of either Wild Charge or Swords Dance.