Every special evolution item and method in 'Pokémon Sword and Shield'

It takes a lot more than leveling up to catch 'em all.

pokemon sword and shield sirfetch'd

Catching ‘em all in Pokémon Sword and Shield is primarily done by battling opponents to level up your Pokémon. A majority of the creatures found in the Galar region evolve once they reach a certain level. But many of the pocket monsters you’ll capture during your adventure have special requirements to change form. You’ll need to hunt down special stones, find specific fossil combinations, and even twirl your Nintendo Switch’s thumbstick to evolve some of Sword and Shield’s Pokémon.

Here’s a complete list of all of the special evolution methods in Sword and Shield:

Stone Evolutions

Stone-based evolutions are the most common type of special evolution and have been around since Gen 1. To evolve the following Pokémon you’ll need to find the specific evolutionary stone they require to evolve, which can be bought a certain stores or found by exploring the Galar region.

After you’ve acquired a stone, enter the menu by pressing X, select your Bag, navigate to “Other Items”, find the stone you want to use, and select “Use this Item” instead of “Give to a “Pokémon.” If the Pokémon is compatible with the stone it will evolve.

growlithe pokemon sword and shield
Give Growlithe a Fire Stone to turn it into Arcanine.

Here are all of the Pokémon in Sword and Shield that require a stone to evolve:

  • Charjabug: Thunder Stone
  • Clefairy: Moon Stone
  • Cottonee: Sun Stone
  • Eevee: Fire Stone, Ice Stone, Leaf Stone, Thunder Stone, or Water Stone
  • Galarian Darumaka: Ice Stone
  • Gloom: Leaf Stone, Sun Stone
  • Growlithe: Fire Stone
  • Helioptile: Sun Stone
  • Kirlia: Dawn Stone
  • Lampent: Dusk Stone
  • Lombre: Water Stone
  • Minccino: Shiny Stone
  • Nuzleaf: Leaf Stone
  • Pikachu: Thunder Stone
  • Roselia: Shiny Stone
  • Snorunt: Dawn Stone
  • Togetic: Shiny Stone
  • Vulpix: Fire Stone

Trade Evolutions

Some Pokémon will only evolve after they’re traded with another player. This can be done with anyone online, but they’ll need to send the Pokémon back for you to get it logged in your Pokédex. Make sure you’re trading with someone trustworthy so you don’t get Pokénapped.

Accelgor pokemon
Shelmet will evolve into Accelgor once traded.

Here are all of the Pokémon in Sword and Shield that need to be traded to evolve:

Friendship Evolutions

Certain Pokémon require a specific level of Friendship to evolve. Friendship is a hidden stat that has five levels (five being the highest). This stat can be boosted by: constantly keep a Pokémon in your party, play with them at camp, feed them the best curry you can, use a Friend or Luxury Ball when you catch them, or give them a Soothe Bell.

umbreon pokemon sword and shield
Eevee will evolve into Umbreaon if you max out its Friendship at night.

You can check Pokémon’s friendship by traveling to Hammerlocke and walking to the house immediately to the right from the central Pokémon Center. An old woman inside will tell you how far away you are from maxing out your Friendship.

Here are all of the Pokémon in Sword and Shield that require max-level Friendship to evolve.

  • Budew during the day only.
  • Cleffa
  • Eevee during the day for Espeon and the night for Umbreon.
  • Munchlax
  • Pichu
  • Riolu during the day only.
  • Snom during the night only.
  • Togepi
  • Woobat

Fossil Evolutions

There are four Pokémon that can be brought back to life by mixing and matching the four types of fossils (Bird, Dino, Drake, and Fish) that can be found in Sword and Shield.

dracozolt pokemon sword and shield
Dracozolt can be acquired once you have obtained a Fossilized Bird and Fossilized Drake.

If you have any of the following four combinations of fossils head to Route 6 to speak to a professor that will help acquire these ancient Pokémon. Here are the four fossil combos and the resulting Pokémon:

  • Arctovish: Fossilized Fish + Fossilized Dino
  • Arctozolt: Fossilized Bird + Fossilized Dino
  • Dracovish: Fossilized Fish + Fossilized Drake
  • Dracozolt: Fossilized Bird + Fossilized Drake

Unique Evolutions

Other Pokémon will evolve based on unique factors, like their nature, attacks, and what locations you take them.

Goodra pokemon sword and shield
Sliggoo will evolve into Goodra during rain or fog in the overworld when it's at least level 50.
  • Clobbus needs to level up when it knows the Taunt move.
  • Farfetch’d needs to get three critical hits in a single battle.
  • Galarian Linoone: will evolve at night when it’s at least level 35.
  • Sliggoo: will evolve during rain or fog in the overworld when it’s at least level 50.
  • Toxel will evolve into one of Toxtricity’s two forms after level 30. If its Nature is: Hardy, Brave, Adamant, Naughty, Docile, Impish, Lax, Hasty, Jolly, Naive, Rash, Sassy, or Quirky it will be Amped. If its Nature is: Lonely, Bold, Relaxed, Timid, Serious, Modest, Mild, Quiet, Bashful, Calm, Gentle, or Careful it will be Low Key.
  • Galarian Yamask: needs to take at least 49 damage in battle and you need to take it to the Dusty Bowl for it to evolve.

Item Evolutions

There are four Pokémon that require unique items and specific conditions with those items to change form.

Polteageist pokemone sword and shield
Polteageist is the evolved form of Sinistea.
  • Applin evolves into Flapple when exposed to an Tart Apple or Appletun when exposed to a Sweet Apple.
  • Milcery needs to be given a sweet treat that are acquired by winning battles at the Battle Cafes in Motostoke, Hammerlocke, or Wyndon. Then you’ll need to quickly rotate the left thumbstick on the Nintendo Switch to make your Trainer strike a Victory Pose, which will trigger Milcery’s evolution.
  • Sinistea evolves when it’s exposed to a Chipped Pot (if it has a mark of authenticity) or a Cracked Pot (if it lacks a mark).
  • Zacian evolves when it is given a Rusted Sword or Rusted Shield.

Pokémon Sword and Shield is out now for the Nintendo Switch.

Media via Nintendo / Game Freak / Pokemon Company, Pokemon Company