With every Pokémon game comes a cast of new faces, and here’s a look at some of the main and supporting characters from Pokémon Sword & Shield.
When starting your adventure, you’ll have the option to choose your player character’s appearance from one of eight different options — four male options and four female options.
Professor Magnolia is the Pokémon Professor of the Galar region. Her primary research focus is into the Dynamax phenomenon. Unlike previous games, Professor Magnolia isn’t the one who gives you your starter Pokémon.
She had a fondness for tea and enjoys a good book. Her granddaughter is also her assistant, Sonia.
Sonia is Professor Magnolia’s assistant and is a researcher in her own right. She is also Professor Magnolia’s granddaughter as well as a childhood friend of Leon — and his rival back when they were both taking part in the Gym Challenge.
She is a very helpful character that you will run into many times throughout your adventure, giving you tips, advice, and useful items such as the Pokédex upgrade for your Rotom Phone and the Pokémon Box Link. She also has a fascination with lore and history of the Galar region, especially the Darkest Day and the story of the Galar hero.
Leon is the reigning Champion of the Galar region and holds the title of “the greatest Trainer in all of Galar.” He has an undefeated battle record in official Pokémon matches and he is very popular for his skill, personality, and dashing looks. He is shown in the very beginning of the game using a Gigantamax Charizard in an exhibition match against his friend and Gym Leader Raihan.
He’s terrible with directions, though, depending on his trusty Charizard to help guide him to where he needs to be. He’s the older brother of your friend, Hop, and asks that you become Hop’s rival to help motivate him to get stronger and keep him on his toes.
Leon is also the person that gives you and Hop your starter Pokémon at the beginning of the game. You’ll run into him many times over the course of the game.
Hop is the younger brother of Leon and will become one of the player’s rivals throughout the game, per the request of his older brother. He refers to his brother as “Lee” all the time.
He and the player character, who are friends and neighbors in the Galar region, begin their adventure on the same day after Leon brings them starter Pokémon — although Hop already has a Wooloo of his own.
Hop wishes to someday become Champion like his brother and can sometimes be a bit hard on himself when he loses, unless it’s to you.
Rose is the chairman of the Galar Pokémon League. On top of that, he is the president of a large business conglomerate that owns a large portion of companies in the Galar region.
He brought Dynamax battles to the Gym Challenge of the region thanks to his development of the Dynamax Band technology, and was the first person to endorse Leon for the Gym Challenge.
You’ll run across him several times throughout your adventure. He sometimes wears shorts and sunglasses to travel incognito, but that doesn’t stop his fans from tracking him down.
Oleana is Chairman Rose’s secretary as well as the vice president of Rose’s company. She’s in charge of running much of the day-to-day work at the company. She has a calm and collected personality.
There are eight Gym Leaders for you to challenge in the Gym Challenge of the Galar region, but two of these Gym Leaders are different depending on whether you’re playing Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield.
The Gym Leaders must be fought in a specific order per the rules of the Galar Pokémon League. Additionally, each Gym Stadium has a specific Gym Mission that you must clear before you are able to challenge the Gym Leader.
Gym Leader #1: Milo
Milo is the first of the Gym Leaders that Trainers must face in the Galar region. He specializes in Grass-type Pokémon. He is well liked and believes in always enjoying battles, as most Trainers in the Galar region do.
He rewards Trainers with the Grass Badge after they beat him in battle. He’s also the first Trainer the player faces that can utilize Dynamax in battle, Dynamaxing his Eldegoss in battle into a super-sized form.
Eldegoss is capable of Dynamaxing during the battle.
Gym Leader #2: Nessa
Nessa is the second Gym Leader in the Galar region and she specializes in Water-type Pokémon, possessing three Pokémon on her team, one of which being the Water/Rock-type Drednaw.
Her Drednaw is capable of Dynamaxing as well and will prove to be a formidable foe to take down. She’ll reward you with the Water Badge after you’ve defeated her, though.
Drednaw is capable of Dynamaxing during the battle.
Gym Leader #3: Kabu
Kabu is a veteran Gym Leader, having been a Gym Leader for a very long time in the Galar League, but also maintaining a lot of energy. He’ll often be seen jogging and keeping pace with his younger associates.
He uses strong Fire-type Pokémon and is said to be the first true roadblock that aspiring Trainers face. He’ll reward Trainers with the Fire Badge after they’ve defeated him.
He’s also the first opposing Trainer to Gigantamax a Pokémon, fighting you with a fearsome Gigantamax Centiskorch.
Centiskorch is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
Gym Leader #4: Bea (Sword-only)
Bea is a Gym Leader exclusive to Pokémon Sword and will always be the fourth Gym Leader you fight. She uses Fighting-type Pokémon to their full potential and is a prodigy of the Galar art of karate, rooted in centuries-old technique and tradition. She rarely shows her emotion, but remains focused and determined in battle, even when backed into a corner.
She uses four very tough Fighting-type Pokémon, including a Gigantamax Machamp. She’ll reward players with the Fighting Badge upon beating her in battle.
Machamp is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
Her counterpart in Pokémon Shield is Allister.
Gym Leader #4: Allister (Shield-only)
Allister is a Gym Leader exclusive to Pokémon Shield. He specializes in Ghost-type Pokémon and has taken on the role of Gym Leader at a fairly young age. He’s shy, fearful, and wears a mask to hide while around people. He spends his time away from people as much as possible, preferring to explore ruins and cemeteries instead.
He uses a variety of Ghost-type Pokémon against you, including a powerful Gigantamax Gengar. After beating him, he’ll grant you the Ghost Badge.
Gengar is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
His counterpart in Pokémon Sword is Bea.
Gym Leader #5: Opal
Opal is a performance artist, mastering the art of theatre, and uses that art to run her Gym in Ballonlea. She is very thorough, a bit rigid, but also sees potential in people and seeks to find a suitable replacement someday for her Fairy Gym.
She uses several strong Fairy-type Pokémon during your battle with her. She also has quizzes throughout the battle that will raise the stats of your Pokémon if you get them right, or penalize them with stat reduction if you get them wrong. The star of her show is her Alcremie, which is capable of Gigantamaxing into an enormous cake.
After beating her, she’ll reward you with the Fairy Badge.
Alcremie is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
Gym Leader #6: Gordie (Sword-only)
Gordie is exclusive to Pokémon Sword and uses Rock-type Pokémon when you face him in battle. He has a Coalossal that is capable of Gigantamaxing.
After beating him, he’ll give you the Rock Badge.
Coalossal is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
His counterpart in Pokémon Shield is Melony.
Gym Leader #6: Melony (Shield-only)
Melony is the sixth Gym Leader you’ll face off against, but only in Pokémon Shield. She uses a selection of strong Ice-type Pokémon that will look to freeze you in place.
The strongest Pokémon she uses is her Lapras, which will Gigantamax during the fight. After beating her, she’ll give you the Ice Badge.
Lapras is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
Her counterpart in Pokémon Sword is Gordie.
Gym Leader #7: ???
The seventh Gym Leader is rather mysterious and not much is known about him throughout the earlier parts of the game. He is absent from the gathering of Gym Leaders in Motostoke near the start of the game, where you are introduced to the Gym Leaders in the region.
You’ll learn his identity and motives later on in the game. He uses Dark-type Pokémon and will grant you the Dark Badge.
Gym Leader #8: Raihan
Raihan is the top Gym Leader in the Galar region and also a good friend of the Champion, Leon. He’s youthful and energetic with a passion for battling and a bit of an ego.
He’s the master of Dragon-type Pokémon and uses a variety of them against you when you fight him. You’ll run across him during your first visit to Hammerlocke, although you won’t be able to fight him then — you’ll have to wait until you’ve gotten the other 7 badges.
His Duraludon is capable of Gigantamaxing in battle and may pose quite a challenge to you. He mixes his team up a bit as well, including some Pokémon that may counter Dragon-type Pokémon’s weaknesses. He’ll reward you with the Dragon Badge after you’ve bested him in battle.
Duraludon is capable of Gigantamaxing during the battle.
Rivals and Villains
Bede is one of the main rivals throughout the game. He has a lot of pride and skill, joining the Gym Challenge and receiving an endorsement from Chairman Rose.
Although he seeks to become the Champion, he has other objectives and motives as well. He has a connection to Chairman Rose, who saw potential in him way back which led to him endorsing Bede.
His attitude is extremely arrogant and he is also very smug.
Marnie is another rival you will encounter throughout your journey in the Galar region. She is competitive, popular, and seeks to become the Champion along with her trusty Morpeko.
She has many passionate fans, a good portion of which include Team Yell, due to her calm and calculated battle strategies.
Team Yell are a group of troublemakers that disrupt events, obstruct hotel lobbies, block passageways, get in the way of transportation, and do whatever they can to make things rough. They will block your path throughout the game, often blocking areas that you need to come back to later on.
They all cheer for Marnie and want her to become Champion so badly that they will shout and distract any other Trainer during battles. Whenever Marnie battles, Team Yell show their support with Marnie-print towels and horns.