Pokemon Sword and Shield will go into completely uncharted territory with Ranked Battle Series 13 by removing all limitations on legendary Pokemon and allowing mythical Pokemon.
Historically speaking, the Pokemon Company has completely barred mythical Pokemon from all competitive formats. As for legendaries, they’re banned outright most of the time but some series allow for one or two to be included on a team. That’s ending in Pokemon Sword and Shield Ranked Battle Series 13.
The next ranked season will remove all restrictions on mythical and legendary teams. The only real limitations are having a Battle Ready Symbol and only having one species of a Pokemon per team. This means that players can run a team with six different mythicals, six different legendaries, or anything in between.
This opens up a load of new strategies with Pokemon like Mew, Magearna, and Melmetal all potentially set to shake up the metagame. This comes as Pokemon Sword and Shield’s competitive scene stagnates and the release of Scarlet and Violet looms.
Mythical Pokemon haven’t historically been allowed in ranked battling or serious competitive events for a number of reasons.
First and foremost is that many mythical Pokemon have been incredibly scarce over the years. Many mythical Pokemon are exclusively available via real-life events, and most of these events are region-specific. For example, Volcanion was only available to western audiences in 2016 via a code for gen-six games obtained at game retailers like Gamestop. Volcanion will now be legal in ranked play despite many never having a reasonable chance to obtain it.
Alongside this, many mythical Pokemon have overpowered signature moves or abilities. Darkrai’s Dark Void move, Victini’s V-Create, and Magearna’s Soul-Heart ability are all unique and hugely powerful. Couple that potential strength with their rarity and it’s easy to imagine how some players might have an unfair advantage just by being in the right place at the right time.
However, not quite all mythical Pokemon will be available in Ranked Battle Series 13. Only Pokemon available in Sword and Shield can take part, which leaves out the likes of Deoxys, Arceus, Shaymin, Manaphy, Hoopa, Darkrai, Meloetta, and more.
Mythical Pokemon will not be usable at the 2022 Pokemon VGC World Championship.
While mythical Pokemon are coming to ranked Sword and Shield, they aren’t coming until September 1. As of this writing, the 2022 Pokemon World Championship event is still set to go down in August in London, England.
The inclusion of mythical Pokemon and dropping of legendary restrictions in Ranked Battle Series 13 is likely just because Sword and Shield is nearing the end of its lifespan. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are set to come out in November, meaning Sword and Shield have just a few more ranked series to go. Odds are that this is just meant to be a fun jaunt before getting back to normal formats once Pokemon generation nine begins.