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Zelda: Skyward Sword - Shield upgrades: How to unlock the Hylian Shield and the Wooden, Iron and Scared Shield explained

Never forget to have a good defence.

Shields in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword work differently when compared to ones in other Zelda instalments.

There must be room in your Adventure Pouch for your shield and there are three types to choose from - Wooden, Iron and Scared. Shields also have health metres and can be upgraded.

If you want to use the best shield in the game, then you must unlock the Hylian Shield.

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Cover image for YouTube videoThe Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD soars onto Nintendo Switch July 16th!
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If you'd like to learn more, visit our Skyward Sword walkthrough.

Wooden, Iron and Scared shield differences in Zelda: Skyward Sword explained

There are three types of shields, aside from the Hylian Shield, for you to choose from in Skyward Sword - Wooden, Iron and Scared. Each shield type has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on which part of the surface world you're planning to visit, so it's important to choose your shield wisely.

Your shield is held in the Adventure Pouch.

You can purchase the Wooden Shield from Rupin's Gear Shop after you've completed the game's introduction in Skyloft. Meanwhile, the Iron and Scared Shield will be unlocked as you progress through the game.

The Wooden Shield line consists of the Wooden Shield, Branded Shield and Braced Shield. These shields are good at protecting you from electric attacks, but are useless when it comes to fire.

The Iron Shield will be available for purchase once you've completed the Skyview Temple. It can be upgraded into the Reinforced Shield and Fortified Shield. While all three are great for combating fire, they will provide no protection from electrical attacks.

Finally, the Sacred Shield line will be unlocked after you defeat The Imprisoned for the first time. The Sacred Shield can be upgraded into the Divine Shield and Goddess Shield. All of these shields can provide protection from fire, electrical and cursed based attacks.

The health metre for these shields will also slowly regenerate if they take any damage. It's important to note, however, that these shields can still break.

Shield health metre and how to repair a broken shield in Zelda: Skyward Sword explained

Every shield in Skyward Sword, aside from the Hylian Shield, has a health metre, which will decrease when the shield absorbs a blow. If you don't repair your shield, then it will break leaving you defenceless. (Unless you brought a backup…)

Your shield's health metre will decrease if it's hit by an attack.

A shield's health metre will grow as you upgrade it and, if you're using the Sacred Shield line, it's health metre will regenerate over time.

The only way to repair a shield is to visit the Scrap Shop in the Skyloft bazaar and pay to have it fixed. This is cheaper than buying a new shield and essential if you're using an upgraded shield, because you won't have to gather the materials required for upgrading it again.

If your shield is close to breaking, we recommend unequipping it, so it can stay safe in your Adventure Pouch until you can get it fixed.

How to upgrade a shield in Zelda: Skyward Sword

It's essential to upgrade your shield collection in Skyward Sword, because it will increase their defensive prowess and health metres. You can upgrade your shield, along with other items, like the Slingshot, by visiting the Scrap Shop in the Skyloft bazaar.

To complete an upgrade you'll need a specific amount of Rupees and a number of materials, which you'll collect by defeating monsters and through exploration. It's also possible to buy the materials from Rupin when night falls on Skyloft; though the materials he offers will be random each night.

To upgrade the Wooden Shield, you'll need:

  • Branded Shield - 30 Rupees, 2 Amber Relics, 1 Jelly Blob and 1 Monster Claw
  • Braced Shield - 50 Rupees, 3 Amber Relics, 2 Monster Claws, 1 Ornamental Skull and 2 Tumbleweeds

Upgrading the Iron Shield requires:

  • Reinforced Shield - 50 Rupees, 2 Eldin Ores, 2 Monster Claws and , 2 Ornamental Skulls
  • Fortified Shield - 100 Rupees, 1 Blue Bird Feather, 3 Eldin Ores, 3 Monster Claws and 2 Tumbleweeds

Finally, for the Scared Shield upgrades, you'll need:

  • Divine Shield - 100 Rupees, 2 Bird Feathers, 1 Dusk Relic and 3 Ornamental Skulls
  • Goddess Shield - 150 Rupees, 1 Blue Bird Feather, 3 Bird Feathers, 4 Dusk Relics and 3 Monster Horns

Our Skyward Sword walkthrough will help you find every Heart Piece and Empty Bottle. We can also help you defeat Ghirahim, Scaldera, Moldarach, The Imprisoned, Koloktos, Tentalus, Bilocyte and Demise. You can also discover where to find Kukiel to unlock the Gratitude Crystals and a number of side quests, including the toilet paper quest, missing sister location and party wheel location.

How to unlock the Hylian Shield in Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Hylian Shield is the best shield in Skyward Sword, because it's larger size provides more protection and it happens to be indestructible.

You can't, however, simply go out and buy this shield. Instead, you need to wait until you've earned the Thunder Dragon's section of the Song of the Hero.

After this, the Thunder Dragon will offer you the opportunity to try his Lighting Round. This minigame allows you to relive the boss battles you've fought so far, with the exception of Bilocyte.

The Lighting Round does have some restrictions.

The only item you can use from your Adventure Pouch during this minigame is your shield and, to earn the Hylian Shield, you must successfully defeat seven bosses. You must also end the boss run there if you wish to receive the shield.

If you don't have space for the Hylian Shield in either your Adventure Pouch or Item Check, then you'll be rewarded with 1000 Rupees instead, which is the same reward you'll receive if you've already earned the Hylian Shield.

Good luck earning the Hylian Shield and visit our Skyward Sword walkthrough if you require more assistance!

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Lottie Lynn

Guides Editor

Lottie Lynn is Eurogamer's Guides Editor. She likes exploring new games and still has nightmares about the moon from Majora's Mask.