Tips to Catch Legendary Pokémon in the Crown Tundra’s Max Lair

Trainers who have been exploring Galar now have much more to discover in The Crown Tundra, the second part of the Pokémon Sword Expansion Pass and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass. The chilly Crown Tundra is teeming with places to visit and Pokémon to catch, but there may be nothing more exciting here than the Max Lair and the Legendary Pokémon that await within. The Max Lair is a network of intricate underground tunnels where you will go on Dynamax Adventures. These adventures are a little too daunting to take on alone—they're designed for a group of Trainers to tackle. Before you take off into the depths, check out our quick guide to Dynamax Adventures in the Max Lair, as well as tips on how to catch the powerful Legendary Pokémon you'll encounter.

  1. Max Lair Introduction

  2. Team Recruitment

  3. Battle Tips

  4. Catching Pokémon

  5. Max Lair Paths

  6. Legendary Encounter

Max Lair Introduction

Once you set foot in the Crown Tundra, you'll have a brief interlude where you get to meet a few fellow visitors. Then you'll be able to head to the Max Lair, where scientists are hard at work trying to uncover its secrets. To enter its depths, you'll assemble a team of four Trainers, either by recruiting your friends or by having game-controlled teammates join your squad. And you won't be able to bring your own Pokémon—each Max Lair explorer will pick a Pokémon from a short list of rental Pokémon provided to them.

Once you head in, you'll be confronted with a network of tunnels that crisscross each other. At every one of the intersections where the tunnels converge, your team will have to battle a Pokémon in a Max Raid Battle, usually four times per adventure. Thanks to the scientist at the entrance, you will know the Pokémon's type in advance to make it a little easier to prepare. In fact, you'll know the types of every Pokémon in the Max Lair, which will become valuable information later on. There is a limit to the scientist's knowledge, however—if any of the Pokémon are dual types, only one of those types will be revealed to you.

After your team has battled a Pokémon in a Max Raid Battle at one of the intersections, one member of the team that chose to catch the Pokémon can make it their partner, replacing the Pokémon they entered battle with. The selection process for who gets to replace their Pokémon is random, though players take priority over game-controlled Trainers.

Your team then has one more decision to make—which path you take toward your next Pokémon battle. The route you take will be a collective decision: whichever path gets the most votes will be the one you go down, and then it's on to the next Max Raid Battle. Finally, after you've woven your way through three battles in the Max Lair, it's time to battle a Legendary Pokémon! Once your run through the Max Lair is over, you get to keep one of the Pokémon you caught, whether it's the Legendary Pokémon or another Pokémon you got along the way.

Let's dive into some of the specifics worth noting about your Max Lair adventure.

Team Recruitment

When you head into the Max Lair, each Trainer must borrow one Pokémon to enter the caverns with. Any human Trainers will pick first, followed by any game-controlled Trainers that will round out the foursome. If possible, you should confer with your teammates about the makeup of your team, making sure your team is somewhat balanced for the threats to come.

Not every one of your team's Pokémon will be ideal for the very next fight ahead, and indeed they probably shouldn't all be. Remember that multiple confrontations await your squad, so think about which Pokémon could help your team farther into the cavern. This is where the full map of the entire Max Lair cavern comes in handy. If you have an Ice-type Pokémon, and you notice that a Dragon-type Pokémon awaits down the path, you might tolerate a struggle through an early battle with a Fire-type Pokémon in the knowledge that your Ice type can make a difference later on. And of course, the Legendary Pokémon will likely be the toughest challenge, so keep one eye on that final battle as you make your way through.

Battle Tips

Max Lair battles will feel very familiar to seasoned Trainers but with one major difference: unlike the Dynamax Pokémon that inhabit Pokémon Dens all over Galar, the Pokémon you encounter in the Max Lair will not create shields. These Dynamax Pokémon still have a lot of the offensive power of their outside counterparts, including Max Moves that can hit hard. Your Pokémon can also still Dynamax, following the same rules as your standard Max Raid Battle. And if your foe manages to knock out a total of four Pokémon on your side of the field—even across multiple battles—your run is over, and you'll be blown all the way out of the Max Lair!

It's important to note that any damage you took in previous battles will carry over to the next, so playing defensively is important, too. This is especially vital if you're just trying to keep your Pokémon out of the way until the next battle, like the earlier example with the Ice-type Pokémon. Plus, you can't use items during battle, so don't count on Potions to pull you through. As we'll go over soon, you're not entirely out of luck if you take a bunch of damage early on, but it's best to play smart and carefully all the way until the end.

Catching Pokémon

If you manage to defeat a Dynamax Pokémon, everyone on your team will be given the opportunity to catch it at the end of the battle. Just like other Max Raid Battles, choose one Poké Ball from your own collection and give it your best shot.

This is a good time to remind you to stock up on useful Poké Balls before heading into the Max Lair. As in a normal Max Raid Battle, you'll have only one shot to catch the Pokémon, so choose your Poké Ball wisely. Ultra Balls are always a safe option, but consider picking up some Dusk Balls. They're even more effective than Ultra Balls when you're inside a cave.

If you catch the Pokémon, you'll have the chance to replace your current Pokémon with the one you just caught. Once again, knowing the upcoming Pokémon on the path is valuable. Swap out your Flying-type Pokémon for that Water-type Pokémon you just caught if you know a Rock-type opponent looms on the horizon.

Another potential value in swapping for the Pokémon you just caught is that the newly caught Pokémon will have its HP restored. If your current Pokémon has taken quite a few licks in battle, that might be enough of a reason to make the change.

Once your run through the Max Lair has concluded (either by reaching the end or failing before you get that far), you'll be able to keep one and only one of the Pokémon you caught along the way. This means you might end up “catching” three or four Pokémon, but you'll be walking away with a single selection. That's quite all right—you don't know what Pokémon you'll be facing ahead of time, only their types, and it's good to give yourself some options at the end.

Max Lair Paths

The dark passages of the Max Lair aren't without their bright spots. Between the intersections where Pokémon await, you may encounter little benefits that can help you through. Keep on the lookout for other people down in the depths, such as a backpacker who will lend your Pokémon a held item from their collection. You might also come across loose Berries that will restore HP to your worn-down Pokémon.

Once again, being aware of where you are in the Max Lair will help you make decisions. If the tunnel that will take you toward a pile of Berries will also lead you to a Pokémon that you anticipate a poor matchup against, maybe forego that opportunity and take a different path for an easier foe. And don't go out of your way to restore your health when your Pokémon are in pretty good shape already.

Legendary Encounter

The Legendary Pokémon you can face at the end of a Max Lair exploration is certainly going to be your toughest challenge. Every decision you and your teammates make should prepare you for that battle. Work with your teammates to ensure that you have the right Pokémon when you head into the fray, aided by the fact that you've had some information the whole time about what type the Pokémon will be.

As the action begins, have a game plan for when to Dynamax. You could do so early to try to rack up as much damage with Max Moves as possible before the Legendary Pokémon can do its worst. Or you could wait until a specific Pokémon with a good type matchup has the chance to deal supereffective damage.

Remember that if your team's Pokémon are knocked out a total of four times during your journey in the Max Lair, the party's over, so keep your Pokémon from fainting at all costs. A vulnerable Pokémon that happens to know Protect could make all the difference if you use the move at the proper time. You can also lose a battle if it goes on for more than 10 turns, so don't go into a shell so much that you forget to attack.

Unlike in normal Max Raid Battles, you're guaranteed to catch the Legendary Pokémon at the end of a Dynamax Adventure...if you can defeat it. But if your team loses to the Legendary Pokémon, you do get one little perk. The scientist at the head of the cave will mark the route to that Pokémon so you can be sure to encounter it again on your next run. You can also choose to go after a random Legendary Pokémon if you'd like. And if you keep following the same path and keep getting knocked out by the same Pokémon, you might want to rethink your strategy for choosing what Pokémon to use, paying attention to your target's strengths and weaknesses.

One more note—once you've caught a Legendary Pokémon, you can't catch another one of the same species, even if you encounter it a second time in the Max Lair.

Dynamax Adventures in the Max Lair are fun and rewarding with a whole slew of Legendary Pokémon ready for your challenge. And a challenge they are, so grab some friends, put together a plan, and head in!

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