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Methods of evolution

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There are numerous methods of evolution which define how and when Pokémon evolve. Most Pokémon will evolve by leveling up while others evolve through specific means, such as being traded, achieving a certain amount of friendship or leveling at certain times, among others.


Across all generations, Pokémon may only evolve after one of three events:

Though these three are the activating events for evolution, there is always a catalyst required for the evolution to begin. If the catalyst is present and the evolutionary event is activated, the Pokémon will evolve at the end of the process that caused the activating event (at the end of a battle or after a trade has been completed). An Everstone held by the Pokémon will always prevent the evolution by level up or trade, but not by exposure to an evolutionary stone (except the evolution of Kadabra to Alakazam via trade in Generations IV and V, due to a glitch).

Leveling up

Most Pokémon that evolve do so after leveling up. This can be triggered by gaining experience in battle or by using a Rare Candy. Sometimes, several additional conditions must be met in addition to gaining a level for a Pokémon to evolve, such as being at or above a specific level, knowing a move, or being in a specific location. When these conditions are met, a Pokémon will attempt to evolve every time it gains a level unless the conditions are removed. A Pokémon left in the Day Care will not evolve, though, even if the conditions are met. Before Generation VI, Pokémon would not evolve if player loses the battle, no matter if the conditions have been met.

Note that if a Pokémon levels up under the conditions required for evolution and then faints before the battle is over, the Pokémon will still attempt to evolve at the end of the battle, but it will not be revived from fainting.

Leveling up
Rare Candy

Level up

At or above a certain level

Main article: List of Pokémon that evolve at or above a certain level

Most Pokémon, with at least one in nearly every evolution family, will evolve when they reach or surpass a certain level. A Pokémon that levels up to or beyond this level will attempt to evolve every time it does so, at the end of the battle in which it attained this level or after a Rare Candy has been used.

When friendship is high

See also: Pokémon that evolve by friendship

Some Pokémon will only evolve when their friendship reaches 220 or above and they are leveled up. This is most common with baby Pokémon; however, some others also evolve in this way. Like the friendship system itself, this method of evolution debuted in Generation II. Like those which evolve when at or above a certain level, a happy Pokémon will attempt to evolve every level until it hits level 100, unless its friendship is reduced.

Although Pichu evolves when its friendship is high, the Spiky-eared Pichu in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver is an exception and will never evolve.

Soothe Bell


When the Pokémon knows a certain move

See also: Pokémon that evolve with certain moves

Some Pokémon evolve only if they currently know a certain move and are then leveled up. These moves are commonly available by leveling up (in which case the Pokémon will evolve at the end of the battle in which it learned the move), though some must be taught via Move Reminder. This method was introduced in Generation IV.

Knowing a move
Rare Candy + TM Rock

Level up
knowing Ancient Power

When trained in a certain area

See also: Pokémon that evolve by training in a certain location

Some Pokémon can evolve if they gain a level while training in a certain location. Several evolutions introduced in Generation IV take advantage of this. So far, this method has only been possible in the Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, and HoennORAS regions.

In a certain location
Rare Candy + Town Map

Level up
in Mt. Coronet,
Chargestone Cave,
Kalos Route 13 or
New Mauville

At certain times

See also: Pokémon that evolve based on time

The current time of day will sometimes affect evolution. It is occasionally used in tandem with another method, such as friendship or a held item.

At certain times
Rare Candy + Day Icon.png

Level 39

When holding an item

See also: Pokémon that evolve by leveling up with a held item

Several Pokémon evolve if they level up while holding a specific evolution-inducing held item. When this occurs, the item disappears upon completion of the evolution. Currently, every Pokémon who evolves in this way must also level up during a certain period of time.

Holding an item
Rare Candy + Razor Claw + Night Icon.png

Level up
holding Razor Claw

Unique conditions

The following Pokémon evolve through a method that is isolated to their evolution line only.

Additional factors

Some Pokémon from branched evolution families evolve into different forms depending on some additional factors. These factors are not conditions for evolution, since they do not determine the possibility of evolution, but what the Pokémon will become after evolution.

  • Burmy evolves at level 20, but its new form is determined by its gender and, if female, its cloak (which changes according to the place where it has battled last time).
    • Male Burmy → Mothim
    • Female Burmy → Wormadam, but the type combination of Wormadam is determined by the cloak.
      • With Plant Cloak (after battling in the wild) → Bug/Grass Wormadam
      • With Sandy Cloak (after battling in a cave or on a beach) → Bug/Ground Wormadam.
      • With Trash Cloak (after battling in a building) → Bug/Steel Wormadam.

Evolving by evolutionary stone

Main article: Evolutionary stone
See also: Pokémon that evolve by evolutionary stone

Some Pokémon evolve when they are exposed to an evolutionary stone. The stone may be applied at any time and causes an instant evolution. The player can decide whether and when to evolve his or her Pokémon, but he or she must choose carefully as most Pokémon will no longer be able to learn certain moves when they evolve in this way, and some (like Raichu and Togekiss) cannot learn any moves by leveling up, although there are exceptions to this rule and certain moves are exclusive to the stone-evolved Pokémon.

The starter Pikachu on Pokémon Yellow (or any Pikachu with the same OT and ID number) will refuse to take the Thunderstone.

Using a stone
Fire Stone

Fire Stone

Usually there are no special requirements for stone-induced evolution, with only two exceptions: Kirlia and Snorunt.

Dawn Stone

Dawn Stone
Dawn Stone

Dawn Stone

Note that sometimes the Oval Stone is said to be an evolutionary stone, because it is a stone and it is required for an evolution. However, technically Oval Stone is an evolution-inducing held item, which Happiny must be holding to evolve into Chansey when it levels up.

Evolution via trading

Main article: Trade
See also: Pokémon that evolve through trading

A few Pokémon evolve only when they are traded. The evolution starts immediately after the trade is completed, regardless of the method of trading used. However, sometimes there are additional conditions. In the anime, Pokémon that evolve by trade sometimes evolve after being temporarily in a different person's possession, like Misty's Politoed being with Nurse Joy at the Pokémon Center and Brock's Steelix when he lent Onix to his brother Forrest.

Pal Pad


Holding a certain item

Main article: Evolution-inducing held item
See also: Pokémon that evolve by trading with a held item

Some Pokémon evolve when traded only if they are holding a certain item. Like any evolution-inducing held item, the item disappears after the Pokémon evolves.

Trade while holding an item
Pal Pad + Electirizer

Holding an Electirizer

Trading for a certain Pokémon

Some Pokémon evolve when traded with a specific Pokémon. Only two Pokémon do this so far and evolve each other through this method.

Trade for certain Pokémon
Pal Pad for588

For a Karrablast
Pal Pad for616

For a Shelmet