Pokemon Sword and Shield are roughly 1 month away from launch, so many will ultimately be deciding which version to pick up. Many may decide based by title alone, whereas others will be enticed by the legendaries, Zacian and Zamazenta, and other version exclusives. A lot of major changes are coming to Pokemon Sword and Shield, though, so players may always want to consider the new mechanics before diving head first into the new generation.
There will also indubitably be those who take advantage of the double pack and pick up both Pokemon Sword and Shield, but for those who only want one, here's every exclusive for each game to help inform opinion. NOTE: This article will be updated with any other exclusive reveals that occur prior to launch.
Pokemon Sword Exclusives
Mascot Legendary: Pokemon Sword's mascot legendary is the sword-wielding Zacian. Currently, its type is unknown.
Exclusive Pokemon: Deino and its evolved forms (Zweilous and Hydreigon), Jangmo-o and its evolved forms (Hakamo-o and Kommo-o), and Sirfetch'd, the new evolution of Farfetch'd. At the time of this writing, it's uncertain if Farfetch'd is also exclusive to Pokemon Sword or if it's simply the evolution, but the former seems most likely.
Exclusive Gym Leaders: A new feature coming to gen 8 is the addition of exclusive Gym Leaders, which are assigned to a certain league within each game. Players will be facing off with the Major League, whereas the Minor League's exact role is currently unknown. There will likely be more than has been revealed thus far, but currently, Pokemon Sword players will face the Fighting-type Gym Leader, Bea.
Miscellaneous Exclusives: Past games such as Sun and Moon had unique features (namely, Totem-Sized Pokemon and Ultra Recon Squad) that had different Pokemon or a difference in time that could appear in Sword and Shield. However, at the initial time of writing, this is currently unknown for the gen 8 games.
Pokemon Shield Exclusives
Mascot Legendary: Zamazenta, which has a shield-like mane, is the exclusive legendary for Pokemon Shield. Currently, its type is unknown.
Exclusive Pokemon: Larvitar and its evolved forms (Pupitar and Tyranitar), Goomy and its evolved forms (Sliggoo, Goodra), and Galarian Ponyta. Galarian Rapidash has yet to be revealed, but it should also presumably be exclusive to Pokemon Shield.
Exclusive Gym Leaders: While there will likely be more, Pokemon Shield players will face off with the Ghost-type Gym Leader, Allister.
Miscellaneous Exclusives: There are currently no known exclusive features in the gen 8 titles.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield release November 15 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.