Things Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Teal Mask Does Better (and Worse) than Sword & Shield: Isle of Armor

Just how much better is Scarlet & Violet's first DLC compared to Sword & Shield's?

A screenshot of a surprised, happy Ogerpon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Does Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s first expansion of DLC, The Teal Mask, outdo Pokémon Sword and Shield’s The Isle of Armor expansion? When it comes to adorable mascots, The Isle of Armor’s Kubfu and The Teal Mask’s Ogerpon are equally matched, with the better Pokémon coming down to player preference over kung fu bears or festival-loving ogres. But there’s much more to the DLC expansions than their mascots. The Teal Mask may have more areas where it outshines The Isle of Armor, but there are still some places where The Isle of Armor holds up stronger. 

5 Things Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: The Teal Mask Does Better than Sword & Shield: The Isle of Armor (and 2 Things it Does Worse)

5: The Teal Mask is Better at Introducing New Pokémon

A screenshot of Ogerpon in front of a garden pond in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask.
Screenshot by Prima Games

The Teal Mask only introduces seven new Pokémon. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but it’s higher than The Isle of Armor’s count. It only introduced five new Pokémon: Galarian Slowpoke and Slowbro, Kubfu, Urshifu, and the mythical Pokémon Zarude. The numbers go up a little when counting Urshifu’s two different forms, but if we’re counting forms, Ogerpon, and its four different forms would still have Urshifu beat. 

What’s worse is that Galarian Slowpoke can evolve into Galarian Slowbro or Slowking, but Galarian Slowking wouldn’t be added to Sword and Shield until The Crown Tundra. Players could complete their Isle of Armor Pokédex by transferring a Kantonian Slowking from another game or evolving the Kantonian Slowpoke the Diglett Trainer gives you after finding 10 of his missing Diglett. Still, it was a very strange choice to give players what was essentially an incomplete Pokédex. It’s made even weirder because the Galarian Star Tournament in The Crown Tundra shows that Galarian Slowking is supposed to be the ace Pokémon of the Isle of Armor rival Avery. Characters from The Teal Mask may get new Pokémon in The Indigo Disc, but at least they’re not a part of the Kitakami Pokédex, which players can complete without needing to transfer any Pokémon.

4: The Teal Mask Does Subquests Better than The Isle of Armor 

A Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask screenshot of the player crouching in the Timeless Woods during their photo survey expedition.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Both The Isle of Armor and The Teal Mask have simplistic subquests that give respectable rewards. These include upgrading the dojo and finding all the Alolan Diglett in the former and restoring the shrine and challenging Billy and O’Nare in the latter. But The Teal Mask really shines with its Bloodmoon Beast subquest. Players not only get to battle against a Titan Bloodmoon Ursaluna, but they’re also sent on a special survey mission. Taking photographs of Pokémon on a foggy night in the Timeless Woods is one of the most fun and unique activities to do in a Pokémon game, and makes great use of Scarlet and Violet’s photography feature. It’s these kinds of subquests that add to the game’s depth and really make it feel like there’s more to the Pokémon world than just capturing Pokémon and battling with them. 

3: The Teal Mask is Better at Giving EV Training Rewards 

A screenshot of the Mochi items in the player's bag menu in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask.
Screenshot by Prima Games

The Teal Mask introduces Mochi, one of the best items for EV training (and resetting) we’ve ever had. The regular Mochi have the same effect as Vitamins, adding 10 EVs of a particular stat to the Pokémon it’s used on, while the Fresh-Start Mochi removes all EVs of a Pokémon at once. When it comes to removing EVs, there is no better item than the Fresh-Start Mochi. The other Mochi may not seem as illustrious, but they have their benefits simply through the way you get them: you earn these Mochi by playing the new Ogre Oustin’ mini-game. 

It can be annoying to have to play a mini-game to get a random amount of random Mochi types, but the Mochi distribution is rather generous, so you get a respectable amount from each playthrough. There are plenty of other worthwhile rewards in Ogre Oustin’, too, so the mini-game is always a worthwhile diversion. It also means Mochi are essentially free Vitamins, saving players 10,000 Poké Dollars with each Mochi used. This is also naturally cheaper than the Isle of Armor’s vending machine. It sells Vitamins in bulk, with an option to buy 25 for 125,000 Poké Dollars, or 5,000 each, but it’s still a big financial investment compared to the free Mochi in The Teal Mask.

…but Worse at Giving Poké Ball Rewards 

A Pokémon Sword and Shield: The Isle of Armor screenshot of the player tossing items into the Cram-o-matic.
Screenshot by Prima Games

There are some special Apricorn Poké Ball rewards as part of completing the Kitakami Pokédex, and the fact that they’re guaranteed is a benefit that can’t be understated. But it’s still only one special Poké Ball each time, and players don’t even get a full set of each. The Isle of Armor, on the other hand, gives players plenty of opportunities to get rare Apricorn Poké Balls through the Cram-o-matic. 

It’s frustrating that the Poké Ball you get when using the machine is random each time, but the Isle of Armor trees drop a lot of Apricorns. Add to that the respawning NPCs who give you four Apricorns for an astoundingly cheap price of 100 Watts, and it’s actually feasible to just churn out Poké Ball after Poké Ball until you get something good. Poké Balls are a small but mighty part of player expression when it comes to catching and Training the perfect Pokémon, so the Isle of Armor’s feature to give players more Apricorn Poké Balls is truly one of its best. 

2: The Teal Mask Has Better Rivals 

A Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: The Teal Mask screenshot of rivals Carmine and Kieran. Carmine is speaking to Pokémon off-screen. Her dialog reads, "We'll make you regret ever coming back to life!"
Screenshot by Prima Games

When it comes to characters, your mileage may vary based on a whole slew of personal preference factors. Despite this, Avery and Klara, who aren’t bad rivals by any means, just aren’t as interesting as Kieran and Carmine. The substantial turns Kieran and Carmine’s characters take over the course of The Teal Mask’s story feel a lot more engaging than the minor shift in Klara and Avery. Part of the advantage Carmine and Kieran get is each other: their personalities, and, as a result, their changes, get to bounce off each other. The Isle of Armor, on the other hand, only has one rival per game: Klara in Sword and Avery in Shield. Without another character to really interact with besides the player, Avery and Klara, although endearing in their own ways, end up feeling flatter than Kieran and Carmine. 

…but Worse Mentors 

A Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Isle of Armor screenshot of the player being challenged to battle by Dojo Master Mustard.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Nothing against the Kitakami caretaker, but he is no Dojo Master Mustard. The same goes for Briar: while she may have a bigger role to play in the upcoming Indigo Disc expansion, in Kitakami, she’s not a particularly noteworthy mentor to anyone. Mustard, on the other hand, is an initially unassuming, quirky old man who still garners much respect from his students. That respect turns out to be very well-founded as Mustard reveals himself to be a powerful Trainer and martial arts master. Mustard is a fun character who directs you towards your next goals throughout The Isle of Armor storyline and is a fantastic opponent to test your mettle against. His transformation when removing his jacket alone makes him one of Sword and Shield’s most memorable characters overall.

1: The Teal Mask is Better at Hyping Up the Next Story Chapter 

A Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: The Teal Mask screenshot of Kieran, whose eyes are covered by his hair, looking ominous.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Once players have finished The Isle of Armor, there isn’t much that really leaves them clamoring for The Crown Tundra. After defeating Mustard for the final time and finishing the DLC’s main storyline, the only hint at what’s to come is Mustard’s cryptic, “So we’re ready for when the time comes” line of dialogue. The Teal Mask, however, leaves players with Briar’s obsession with the Scarlet or Violet Book and Terastal energy, as well as Kieran’s ominous character change to sit on. Story-wise, The Crown Tundra turned out to not be very connected to The Isle of Armor. But by having The Teal Mask’s story lead into The Indigo Disc’s, The Teal Mask does a better job at getting players excited for what’s to come next. 

About the Author

Niki Fakhoori

Niki’s love for video games encompasses a wide range of genres, but she is especially fond of RPGs, adventure games, visual novels, simulation games, and fighting games. Her favorite video game-related pastime is asking her unwieldy backlog why she doesn’t have any new games to play. When she isn’t playing or writing about video games, she’s playing with cats, journaling, painting, or obsessing over the latest news in the world of stationery and planners.