Pokemon Isle of Armor: how to evolve to Kubfu and which form of Urshifu is better

The centerpiece of the Pokémon Sword and Shield Isle of Armor expansion is a new story that focuses on Kubfu, a new legendary Pokémon you’ll receive after completing all three tests of the Master Dojo. Unlike most legendary Pokémon, Kubfu can evolve, and its evolution, Urshifu, can take one of two forms: Single hit or Quick hit.

However, Kubfu’s evolution is a bit more complicated than it initially seems, and the two possible forms of Urshifu have their own strengths and weaknesses. To help you decide which one to choose, we’ve put together this guide that explains how to evolve Kubfu and how its two evolutions compare. Spoilers for the Isle of Armor story follow.

How to evolve to Kubfu

After completing the three tests of the Master Dojo, Mustard will present you with the legendary Pokémon Kubfu. To evolve, you’ll need to challenge one of the Two-Fisted Towers, but before you can do that, you’ll need to increase your friendship with Kubfu. Fortunately, this is much simpler than usual methods of enhancing friendship with your Pokémon.

After receiving Kubfu, Mustard will mark various areas on your map that have great views. You will have to visit three of these and speak to a dojo member at each to maximize your friendship with Kubfu. It doesn’t matter which viewpoints you visit, so you have some flexibility in how you approach this test. Once you have visited three of the areas, return to Mustard and you will earn the right to challenge the Tower of Darkness or the Tower of Waters.

Each tower consists of five battles, but you can only select one of them to challenge, so think carefully before starting. Your Kubfu must be at least level 70 to gain access to the tower, and must be the only Pokémon in your party for the challenge. After defeating the first four trainers, your final battle will be against Mustard, who uses her own Kubfu.

Your Kubfu will evolve differently depending on which of the two towers you challenge. If you complete the Tower of Darkness, it will evolve into Single Strike Urshifu, a Dark / Fighting type; if you complete the Tower of Waters, it will evolve into Rapid Strike Urshifu, a type of Water / Fight.

Which evolution of Kubfu is better?

Both Urshifu’s Single Strike and Rapid Strike forms have exactly the same ability – Invisible Fist – and basic stats, making neither one more powerful than the other. The biggest difference between the two forms is their potential set of movements. Although they can learn many of the same attacks, Single Strike Urshifu can learn a handful of dark-type attacks, including the signature Wicked Blow move. This attack deals damage and always results in a critical hit unless the opposing Pokémon has an ability that prevents critical attacks, such as battle armor or projectile armor.

Similarly, Rapid Strike Urshifu can learn a handful of Water-type attacks. The signature move of this form is Surging Strikes, a multi-hit attack that hits opponents three times. Although each hit has a fairly low base power, all three hits are always critical hits unless the opposing Pokémon has the abilities listed above.

Ultimately, which Urshifu you should choose comes down to personal preference. Single Strike Urshifu’s biggest drawback is its 4x weakness for Fairy Pokemon, which are quite prevalent in competitive play, though it does get immunity from psychic types. Meanwhile, Rapid Strike Urshifu’s water typing opens up weaknesses for Grass and Electric Pokemon. Another point to note is that Water / Fighting is a less common type combination than Dark / Fighting. The only other Water / Fight Pokémon is Poliwrath, while Pangoro and Scrafty share the Single Strike Urshifu type.

How to get Gigantamax Urshifu

Both forms of Urshifu are capable of Gigantamaxing, although they will not have that ability innate. As with your initiator Galar, you must teach Urshifu how to Gigantamax, but you can’t just give him a normal Max Soup like other Pokémon; You need an additional ingredient for the dish called Max Honey.

Max Honey can only be obtained after defeating a raid by Dynamax Vespiquen. You will be tasked with fighting one on Honeycalm Island as part of the Isle of Armor story. Once you have obtained the Max Honey, you will need to combine it with three groups of Max Mushrooms to create a special Max Soup that will give Urshifu the Gigantamax ability.

Kubfu is not the only new Pokémon you can develop in Isle of Armor; You can also evolve to Galarian Slowpoke in Galarian Slowbro, a completely new regional variant that comes with a unique ability called Quick Draw and a unique Poison-type attack called Shell Side Arm. The Isle of Armor expansion also allows you to teach certain Pokémon how Gigantamax thanks to a special dish called Max Soup.

If you’ve just picked up a Sword or Shield Expansion Pass, here’s how to access the Isle of Armor. You’ll also receive a pre-order bonus for getting it before August 31: new clothing based on Leon’s cap and stockings. Here’s how to claim them. Be sure to also check out our guides on Master Dojo updates and what you get to find every Diglett hidden around the island.

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