The player can start a Max Raid Battle by interacting with an active Pokémon Den, indicated by a beam of light shooting up from it. If a den is inactive, the player can throw a Wishing Piece into it to summon a Dynamax Pokémon.
When starting a Max Raid Battle, players can see a silhouette of the Dynamax Pokémon, its types, and a star rating of its difficulty. The current weather is also displayed. The loss condition, "The battle ends when Pokémon faint four times or the battle lasts for 10 turns", is displayed in the lower left corner. Additionally, the player can see the other three Trainers participating and the Pokémon they have selected to enter. Players have a time limit to select their Pokémon before the Max Raid Battle automatically starts with the Pokémon they have selected by default.
Players can only find up to three different star ratings at a time in their own dens, depending on their game progress:
Enter Wild Area
Obtain 4 Badges
Obtain 1 Badge
Obtain 6 Badges
Obtain 3 Badges
Obtain 6 Badges
Obtain 8 Badges
Four Trainers are required to conduct a Max Raid Battle. The player can connect with other players to challenge a Max Raid Battle by using the Y-Comm over the internet or local wireless. If there are less than four players, then the game will randomly select NPC Trainers to fill in the remaining slots.
This section is incomplete. Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it. Reason: Modified damage formula (it seems moves can be reduced to 0 damage) and OHKO accuracy formula under effect of mysterious barrier, which moves with charging turn are used immediately
Each Trainer uses a single Pokémon (from either their party or Box) against the Dynamax Pokémon. If a Trainer's Pokémon faints, they can cheer on the remaining Trainers as they attempt to complete the Max Raid Battle, which has the potential to generate positive effects such as healing or setting up Reflect; the fainted Pokémon will automatically be revived at full health the following turn. If the challengers' Pokémon faint a total of 4 times (even if it is the same Pokémon) or if the 10-turn limit is reached, the Max Raid Battle is lost. If both the Dynamax Pokémon and the 4th challenger Pokémon are knocked out in the same move (such as through the recoil effects of moves such as Brave Bird), the battle is counted as a loss for the challengers. If the Dynamax Pokémon is successfully defeated, all four Trainers can attempt to catch the Dynamax Pokémon and receive several various rewards based on the Dynamax Pokémon that was encountered. A Max Raid Battle can be repeatedly attempted until either the player wins (regardless of capture success) or when the dens reset.
Only one Trainer can Dynamax their Pokémon during a Max Raid Battle; unlike the wild Dynamax Pokémon, this transformation only lasts for the normal three turns. Each turn, one Trainer receives Dynamax Energy; only that player can Dynamax that turn, and if they do not, this energy is passed to another player next turn. The order is based on the order of which players joined the raid, so the player who hosts the Max Raid Battle will always be the first to have the option to Dynamax.
Depending on the star level, the Dynamax Pokémon may be able to use regular moves in addition to Max Moves. It can also attack up to three times per turn and create a shockwave, which cancels the effect of the players' Abilities and stat changes, while curing itself of non-volatile status conditions.
In three-star Max Raids and higher, the wild Dynamax Pokémon have specific HP thresholds in which they will create a protective barrier with two to eight segments, depending on its defensive power. In three- and four-star Max Raids, the Dynamax Pokémon will create a barrier one time; in five-star Max Raids, it will create a barrier twice, sometimes with the first barrier at the start of the battle. While this barrier is active, damage-dealing moves used against the Dynamax Pokémon are severely weakened and are unable to apply secondary effects, and status moves used against the Dynamax Pokémon will fail. Damage-dealing moves will deplete one bar of the barrier's strength, except Max Moves and one-hit knockout moves which instead deplete two bars. When the barrier runs out of bars, the barrier is destroyed, the Dynamax Pokémon's Defense and Special Defense will drop by two stages, and it takes a portion of the damage it would have received while its barriers were active.
Upon defeating the Dynamax Pokémon, each player has a single chance to capture it. Multiple players can successfully catch the same Dynamax Pokémon. If a player fails to catch the Pokémon, it disappears for that player. Regardless of whether the capture was successful (or the player declined to catch it), all players will be awarded Exp. Candies, TRs, and other items based on the Pokémon that was fought.
The caught Pokémon's moves and Ability will be the same as it was during the Max Raid Battle; some Dynamax Pokémon encountered in Max Raid Battles will have their Hidden Ability. The caught Pokémon's level will normally be the same as it was during the Max Raid Battle; however, if its level exceeds the player's maximum catchable level for the number of Badges they have, it will become their maximum catchable level instead. If it was a Gigantamax Pokémon, the caught Pokémon will have the Gigantamax Factor. Pokémon caught in Max Raid Battles will also have a number of stats with the maximum 31 IVs and have a raised Dynamax Level, increasingly with the Max Raid's difficulty.
The catch rate for a Dynamax Pokémon depends on several factors, such as whether the player is hosting the raid (the host usually has a higher catch chance) and whether the raid is from a Wild Area News event. They are all calculated with the Pokémon at 1 HP and no status conditions. If the Pokémon escapes, the host player may restart the game (before it autosaves, if the feature is turned on) and reattempt the Max Raid.
The catch rate for Pokémon found in Wild Area News event dens varies based on the current event and encounter slot, and also varies between the host and guest. The exact calculation for event den catch rates is unknown, but is influenced by two values assigned to each encounter slot, (one for the host, and another for guests), ranging between 0x0 and 0x6.
Event den Pokémon assigned a value of 0x0 are guaranteed to be captured, and those with a value of 0x6 are uncatchable. Pokémon assigned values 0x1 through 0x5 range from "least difficult to catch" to "most difficult to catch" respectively.
If less than four players initiate a Max Raid Battle, a random selection of these NPC Trainers will populate the vacant positions. The level of their Pokémon is set to 70% of the host player's Pokémon (rounded down), hence a maximum of Lv. 70 if the host player's Pokémon is Lv. 100. KlaraSw, AverySh, and the Master Dojo Students only appear in the Isle of Armor, while Peony and Peonia only appear in the Crown Tundra.
Despite them having Dynamax Bands, Klara, Avery and Peony will never Dynamax their Pokémon in battle.
In the climax of Pokémon Sword and Shield, as well as several times in the post-game story involving Sordward and Shielbert and in the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass, the player will participate in Max Raid Battles that are often required to progress the story. In these battles, the player will have access to their full party. Initially, the player will be paired with special NPC partners, but eventually, the player will be challenged to fight their opponents by themselves.
These special Max Raid Battles experience some differences compared to the Max Raid Battles available in the Wild Area, Isle of Armor, and Crown Tundra. The battles do not have a 10-turn time limit, nor will they be forcibly ended after Pokémon have fainted 4 times. The player is also not limited to a single Pokémon, and may use their full party in the manner of a normal battle; fainted Pokémon will not automatically be revived, and the Cheer option is unavailable.
In this semi-scripted Max Raid Battle, the player and Hop will try to fight Eternatus in its Eternamax form, but will be unable to do anything against it until they summon Zacian and Zamazenta with the Rusted Sword and Shield they found in the Slumbering Weald. The player cannot Dynamax their Pokémon in this fight. After the battle, the player will catch Eternatus in a Poké Ball of their choice, with a 100% guaranteed success rate.
While the player and Hop pursue Sordward and Shielbert, they force these Pokémon to Dynamax in each Stadium in Galar. The player is tasked with defeating these Pokémon, which belong to Gym Trainers, to take them out of their frenzied state and restore safety to the area. Because these Pokémon belong to Trainers, the player does not have the opportunity to catch them.
The first Stadium attacked is Turffield's, then both Hulbury and Motostoke Stadiums. The player cooperates with Hop, Piers, and each Stadium's Gym Leader to resolve the crisis. After the player defeats all three and confronts the brothers in Wedgehurst, they'll cause more disruptions in the Stadiums in Stow-on-Side, Ballonlea, Circhester, and Hammerlocke. This time, multiple Dynamaxed Pokémon will attack each stadium, and the player and their friends will need to split up to deal with one of them each, with the exception of Ballonlea Stadium, where they discover that Bede took care of them all by himself.
In The Isle of Armor storyline, after evolving Kubfu and completing the Sordward and Shielbert storyline, the player and Hop's search for an ingredient that will make Max Soup appetizing for Urshifu leads them to Honeycalm Island. Prompted to shake the giant tree in the center, the player is swept away into a Pokémon Den alone against a Dynamax Vespiquen. This Vespiquen cannot be caught; instead, defeating it yields the Max Honey, which is necessary for Urshifu's soup.
Wild Area News, accessed through the Mystery Gift menu in Sword and Shield, changes the available spawns in Max Raid Battles to make certain Pokémon more common for a limited time, including and especially Gigantamax Pokémon, which vary between the two game versions. Prior to The Isle of Armor, these events were the only way to obtain Gigantamax Snorlax and Gigantamax Toxtricity.