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If you were looking for the set in the video game Pokémon Trading Card Game, see Evolution (TCG GB1). For other uses, see Evolution (disambiguation).
Pikachu evolving into Raichu, depicted in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Evolution (Japanese: 進化 evolution) is a process in which a Pokémon changes into a different species of Pokémon.

In the core series games

Evolution is not a merely visual change. When a Pokémon evolves, it becomes a new species of Pokémon. This new species has a different Pokédex number and base stats, and may be a different type (although normally at least one of the pre-evolved form's types remains the same), learn different moves, and have a different Ability. The Pokémon's personal properties, however, such as Nature and Shininess, remain.

Holding an Everstone prevents a Pokémon from evolving by level up or trade. Additionally, the player can prevent a Pokémon from evolving upon leveling up by pressing the B button when it would evolve. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, if the player does not have the National Pokédex, if a Pokémon in the Kanto Pokédex meets its evolution conditions but its evolved form is not in the Kanto Pokédex (for example, Chansey's evolution into Blissey), it will attempt to evolve but fail.

When a Pokémon evolves, it immediately attempts to learn all moves that the evolved form can learn at its current level. Additionally, starting in Generation VII, some Pokémon have Evolution moves, which are moves that Pokémon will always attempt to learn when evolving into that species, regardless of level.

Professor Elm and Professor Rowan are the leading experts in Pokémon evolution. According to Rowan's research, over 90% of all Pokémon are connected to at least one other through evolution. Currently, the actual percentage is 80% of all known Pokémon. Rowan's research focuses on whether evolution is a form of maturity in Pokémon, and looking at the implications of the process on Legendary Pokémon (which could not evolve in Generation IV, when Rowan debuted).

Evolutionary families

Piplup evolution family in the anime

An evolution family is a group of Pokémon who are all related by evolution. The species at the lowest evolutionary stage in an evolutionary family can ultimately evolve into any member of the evolutionary family.

Pokémon evolutionary families have anywhere between one and three stages. In a one-stage family, there is only a single Pokémon that cannot evolve. In a two-stage family, any member of the family can evolve at most once, from the unevolved form into one of the evolved forms. In a three-stage family, at least one of the evolved forms can evolve once again.

In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Pokémon are divided into four different categories: Baby Pokémon, Basic Pokémon, Stage 1 Pokémon, and Stage 2 Pokémon. Pre-evolved forms introduced in a later generation than their evolved form are classified as Baby Pokémon so that the evolution stages of their evolved forms are not disrupted.

One-evolution families

See also: Category:Pokémon that are part of a two-stage evolutionary line

These are evolutionary families in which a Pokémon can only ever evolve once. These are the most common type of evolutionary families. An example of this type of evolution family is below.

Lowest Highest

Level 10+

Two-evolution families

See also: Category:Pokémon that are part of a three-stage evolutionary line

These are evolutionary families in which a Pokémon can evolve twice. All starter Pokémon, except Pikachu (in Pokémon Yellow) and Eevee, have this type of evolutionary family. An example of this type of evolution family is below.

Lowest Middle Highest

Holding Upgrade

Holding Dubious Disc

Pokémon that do not evolve

Main article: List of Pokémon that are not part of an evolutionary line

These are evolutionary families with a single member, which cannot evolve. Many of the Pokémon that have no evolutionary relatives are Legendary or Mythical Pokémon, although there are some Legendary and Mythical Pokémon that can evolve.

Only stage

Branched evolution families

Main article: List of Pokémon with branched evolutions

Several one- and two-evolution families are also branched evolution families. A branched evolution family has a member that can evolve into one of several different Pokémon. Eevee is the most extreme example, having eight different possible evolved forms. An example of this type of evolution family is below.

Lowest Middle Highest

Level 21+

Leaf Stone

Sun Stone

Methods of evolution

Main article: Methods of evolution

In the core series games, Pokémon normally only evolve after one of three events:

Before Generation VIII, the above were the only triggers to evolve Pokémon. However, Generation VIII introduced several new triggers, each used either by a single Pokémon species or by two.

In addition to the trigger, many Pokémon have one or more additional requirements for them to be able to evolve. These include:

Some evolutions are dependent on the Pokémon's gender. For example, only female Combee can evolve into Vespiquen—male Combee cannot evolve at all. Similarly, all Snorunt can evolve into Glalie, but only female Snorunt can evolve into Froslass. On the other hand, male Burmy can only evolve into Mothim, while female Burmy can only evolve into Wormadam.

For some evolutions into Pokémon with multiple forms, the form of the evolved Pokémon depends on how it evolved. For example, Wormadam's cloak depends on the cloak Burmy had when it evolved. Similarly, the form of Toxtricity which Toxel evolves into depends on its Nature.


Normally, a Pokémon will retain its Ability slot upon evolution - if it had its species second Ability before evolving, it will still have its species second Ability after evolving (e.g. a Poochyena with Quick Feet will still have Quick Feet after evolving into Mightyena, but Poochyena with Run Away will instead have Intimidate after evolving.).

However, some Pokémon originally from the Generation III games can change Ability slot upon evolution. When Abilities were introduced in Generation III, some Pokémon only had one possible Ability but were given a second Ability in Generation IV. If a Pokémon whose species gained an Ability after Generation III is transferred to a Generation IV or V game, it will initially retain its original Ability; upon evolving, however, its Ability slot will be recalculated and its Ability may change. When a Pokémon is transferred to Generation VI or Generation VII, however, it will be locked into the appropriate slot for its current Ability.


In Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, and Ultra Moon, evolution into an Alolan Form has a different theme and a different colored background during evolution. In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, if there is enough space around the player when a Pokémon evolves, the area that the player is in will be used as the background and the camera can be moved, but if there is not enough space, or the player is currently in Area Zero, the game will cut to an abstract colored background with a fixed camera for the evolution like in previous games.

Uniquely, if Tandemaus levels up to level 25 or higher in a battle it was not sent out in, it will evolve into Maushold immediately after the battle ends with no animation.

0050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Missing BDSP, Gen V should not be a crop
Evolution I.png Evolution II.png Evolution RS.png Evolution FRLGE.png
Generation I Generation II RS FRLGE
Evolution IV.png Evotag.png Evolution XY.png Evolution ORAS.png
Generation IV Generation V XY ORAS
Evolution VII.png Alolan Evolution VII.png Evolution PE.png Evolution VIII.png
(Alolan Forms)
Evolution LA.png Evolution SV.png Evolution Stadium.png Evolution Stadium 2.png
LA SV Stadium Stadium 2
Evolution Colosseum.png Evolution XD.png
Colosseum XD

In the side series games

Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2

Pokémon on a Game Boy or Game Boy Color game can evolve in Pokémon Stadium or Pokémon Stadium 2 by fulfilling the conditions required for evolution, such as using an Evolution stone, trading a Pokémon, or using Rare Candy to level up a Pokémon to the required evolution, as in the main series. This can be done in White City's Laboratory. However, items cannot be used to evolve Pokémon in the original Japanese Pokémon Stadium, as level up evolutions are ignored, and evolution stones are not visible in the item list when selecting an item to use on a Pokémon.

Pokémon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness

In Pokémon Colosseum and XD: Gale of Darkness, while evolution typically works as normal in the main series, Shadow Pokémon are incapable of evolving until they are purified and return to normal. Although Colosseum does not prevent Shadow Pokémon from evolving through evolution stone, no Pokémon evolve using one.

In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, because the game does not have a time mechanic, the player's Eevee cannot evolve into Espeon or Umbreon through the same means as the core series games. Early in the game, the player can choose one of five Evolution items, each of which will cause Eevee to evolve into a different Pokémon. Among these items are the exclusive Sun Shard and Moon Shard, Key Items that allow Eevee to evolve into Espeon or Umbreon, respectively, after it levels up with high friendship.

In the spin-off games

Hey You, Pikachu!

Some missions in Hey You, Pikachu! involve Pikachu interacting with other Pokémon in certain ways to cause their evolution. In Caring for Caterpie, the player and Pikachu supervise a group of Caterpie, who will evolve into Metapod and then Butterfree if treated well. In Field Trip, Pikachu can water wild Oddish and Gloom, causing them to evolve into Gloom and Vileplume, respectively.

Pokémon Conquest

In Pokémon Conquest, because the mechanics of levels, experience, and friendship do not exist, Pokémon typically evolve once they reach a certain link threshold with their partnered Warrior or Warlord. Pokémon that normally evolve via high friendship in the main series games, such as Golbat, instead evolve after reaching a certain link percentage, usually between 60 and 70 percent. Pokémon that normally evolve starting at a specific level instead evolve when a certain statistic reaches a specific value. For example, Spheal evolves when its HP has reached a value of 138, which is partially determined by the link with its Warrior. Warriors with Pokémon that require an Evolution stone to evolve must equip themselves with that item and then perform an action that causes their link to improve, such as completing a battle.

Pokémon Pinball series

In Pokémon Pinball and Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, once the Evolution Mode or Evo Mode starts and the player chooses a Pokémon to evolve, then three instances of the same Evolution Item appear somewhere on the table, one at a time. The player is required to get the three repeated Evolution Items before the time runs up to evolve the chosen Pokémon. For instance, if the player attempts to evolve a Vulpix into Ninetales, they will be required to find three Fire Stones on the table. Most available Pokémon evolve by experience, which requires getting three "Ex" Evolution Items. If the Pokémon evolves by trade in the core series, then the player needs to get three Link Cable Evolution Items.

Additionally, the manual of Pokémon Pinball refers to the act of upgrading a Poké Ball (for instance, changing a Great Ball into an Ultra Ball) as "evolving" the Ball.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

Main article: Evolution (Mystery Dungeon)

Pokémon Snap

In Pokémon Snap, the player can interact with Pokémon in certain ways that will make them evolve.

Pokémon GO

Caterpie evolving in Pokémon GO

In Pokémon GO, the player can evolve Pokémon by spending Candy. The Candy cost for evolution varies between Pokémon species, ranging from 12 (to evolve Caterpie into Metapod) to 400 (to evolve Magikarp into Gyarados or Meltan into Melmetal).

See also: List of Pokémon by evolution family (GO)

In addition to Candy, some Pokémon have additional requirements to evolve. These additional requirements include:

Pokémon Duel

Evolution in Pokémon Duel

In Pokémon Duel, before a figure can evolve, the player must own both the pre-evolved figure and the evolved figure. The pre-evolved Pokémon must be set in the deck, and the evolved Pokémon must be set as that figure's evolution. During a duel, the pre-evolved Pokémon will be able to evolve when it wins a battle and either knocks out or displaces its battle opponent. Pokémon can also be evolved by the effects of Attacks, Abilities, and Plates. An evolved figure (including Mega Evolution) will receive +10 to its White and Gold Attacks and +1 ★ to its Purple Attacks. This boost stacks for a Pokémon that has evolved more than once.

Pokémon Masters EX

In Pokémon Masters EX, Pokémon from certain sync pairs are allowed to evolve through sync pair stories, where they must win a 1-on-1 battle. These sync pair stories become available once the sync pair reaches a specific level, and can be played at the cost of evolutionary items. Evolution requires Evolution Shard ×5 and the sync pair to be at least level 30; if the Pokémon can evolve again, another evolution requires Evolution Crystal ×3 and the sync pair to be at least level 45. Evolved Pokémon will have increased stats, and in some cases their moves will change. If a Pokémon reaches its final evolutionary stage, then it also receives a new sync move.

See also: Pokémon Masters EX → Sync pair stories
Evolution Items required Level required
First stage Masters Evolution Shard.png Evolution Shard ×5 Level 30
Second stage Masters Evolution Crystal.png Evolution Crystal ×3 Level 45

Pokémon that are hatched from Pokémon Eggs can be evolved using Evolution Shards and Evolution Crystals through the Affinity menu. Their level requirements are the same as standard sync pairs, but their item costs are lower, at just Evolution Shard ×1 or Evolution Crystal ×1. However, egg sync pairs do not receive sync pair stories, and do not receive a new sync move once fully evolved.

See also: Egg Pokémon (Masters)
Evolution Items required Level required
First stage Masters Evolution Shard.png Evolution Shard ×1 Level 30
Second stage Masters Evolution Crystal.png Evolution Crystal ×1 Level 45

Pokémon UNITE

In Pokémon UNITE, evolution is a major game mechanic. Unite Licenses featuring Pokémon that can evolve start each game at their lowest evolutionary stage. (Baby Pokémon are excluded, Pikachu does not evolve, Duraludon does not evolve as its evolution did not exist when it was added to UNITE.) When Pokémon reach certain levels, they evolve after defeating another Pokémon in battle. The level requirement varies by the species, and a Pokémon which can evolve at a certain level but has not evolved yet is unable to gain additional levels until it evolves. (Any Exp. Points gained before evolving at that level are applied after evolution.)

Evolving increases the Pokémon's stats, and Pokémon usually learn a new move when they evolve. Most Holowear only applies to a Pokémon's final evolution, but some Holowear modifies the appearance of prior evolutionary stages. Some Pokémon, such as Kubfu and Scyther, choose their evolutionary line by choosing to learn specific moves. As a result of this, these Pokémon only evolve after learning the relevant move.

In the anime

In the anime, Evolution happens in much the same way as it does in the games; though level-based evolutions and trade-based evolutions do not occur using those methods, there are similarities in the way they come about. For example, Misty's Poliwhirl evolved into Politoed because it found Ash's King's Rock and was holding it when Misty sent it out, while in the games it is required that Poliwhirl be traded while holding the King's Rock for the evolution to take place (it should be noted that Poliwhirl had been through a machine in connection with it being healed at the Pokémon Center while holding the item). When a Beedrill attacked Ash's Metapod, it caused a crack to appear on its shell, which Butterfree came out of (although later examples of Metapod evolving into Butterfree were treated as the more familiar form of evolution used in the anime).

Additionally, a difference can be seen in the fact that Pokémon evolve during a battle, as opposed to after it. Pokémon may also evolve when they are needed to, for an extra boost of power or gaining new abilities, instead of after a set amount of training, such as when Ash's Charmeleon evolved into Charizard to battle an Aerodactyl just three episodes after it evolved from Charmander, where the game requires Charmeleon to grow twenty levels to reach that stage. In addition, Pokémon can sometimes choose not to evolve, even if they evolve by a 'natural' method such as leveling up. This was shown when Ash's Bulbasaur refused to evolve during an evolution festival for all Bulbasaur to evolve in Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden. It appears that Evolution has emotional implications for Pokémon - some Pokémon, such as Team Rocket's Meowth, dislike their evolved forms, while others such as Ash's Pikachu simply want to prove they can be powerful without evolving. Conversely, when Pokémon do evolve, this can often be linked with an experience that causes them to mature emotionally or deal with an emotional issue, such as when the Poochyena in A Bite to Remember evolved, or the Paras in The Problem With Paras. Poochyena, for some reason, had an aversion to using the move Bite, while Paras was extremely timid and weak in battle. Both of them evolved shortly after overcoming these issues. In Enter Pikachu!, it was revealed that Ash's Pikachu evolved from a Pichu in the wild during a silent, tearful parting with a pack of Kangaskhan that had acted as his surrogate family. On the other hand, evolution is not always linked with maturity or the age of a Pokémon where the episode Tree's a Crowd features an elderly Treecko. Another example is in Odd Pokémon Out! where even after evolution, Ash's Donphan still acted quite playful as it did when it was a Phanpy.

When a Pokémon begins to evolve, it will be enveloped by a brightly colored light while slowly changing form; in the original series, Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, and Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, the light is simply white in color while in Pokémon the Series: Black & White and Pokémon the Series: XY, the light is blue in color. In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, different evolution effects were introduced depending on which Pokémon is evolving; for instance, when Mallow's Bounsweet evolved into Steenee, it shined pink and the physical changes that came with the evolution could be seen happening. Although some Pokémon returned to the old-style evolution effect (for instance, Sandygast into Palossand and Mareanie into Toxapex), others have been seen with completely new effects (notably Rockruff and Litten).

For a list of all evolutions that Pokémon belonging to the main cast have undergone, see the list of anime Pokémon by evolution.

In the manga

Evolution is portrayed differently across manga adaptations. For example, in Pokémon Pocket Monsters, Pokémon are capable to evolve whenever they wish, and they revert to previous evolution stages. It seems that Pokémon can skip evolution stages as well, as is the case with Green's Charmander when it skips its Charmeleon stage and evolves directly into Charizard.

In the TCG

Evolution in the Pokémon Trading Card Game is very similar in some aspects to its counterpart in the core series. However, it differs mostly in the fact that all Pokémon evolve simply by placing the next stage card on top of a Pokémon in play that it evolves into. Unlike in video games, moves do not carry over between a Pokémon and its evolution. A Pokémon can only use the attacks on the card of its current state. However, certain effects can care about if a Pokémon has evolved, if a Pokémon has evolved on a specific turn, what Pokémon it evolved from, or even allow an Evolved Pokémon to use moves from its prior evolutions.

Normally, Pokémon cannot be evolved on the first turn of the game or the first turn they come into play, as well as evolve on the same turn they have previously evolved or devolved.

Stages of evolution

There are three main stages of evolution in the TCG along with its variants:

  • Basic Pokémon, which represent the most basic evolutionary stage. Pokémon that evolve from a Pokémon released in a later generation, such as Electabuzz or Pikachu, are usually Basic Pokémon, despite being the second Pokémon in their evolutionary lines;
  • Stage 1 Pokémon, which represent the middle or final evolutionary forms of certain Pokémon and is the basic stage of Fossil Pokémon in some sets;
  • Stage 2 Pokémon, which represent the final evolutionary forms of certain Pokémon.

Only Baby Pokémon and Basic Pokémon may be placed onto the Bench during the setup phase and during play, other cards are considered to be Evolution cards, or Evolution Pokémon.

A Pokémon becomes evolved once the Evolution card is placed on top of its corresponding pre-evolved form. The stage of evolution is placed conspicuously on every Pokémon card, though this placement differs among the generations of cards.

Ability to evolve

A Pokémon card in a player's hand must specifically state that it evolves from a card in play on the player's bench. For example, Dark Blastoise states on the card "Evolves from Dark Wartortle". This means that any card named Dark Wartortle may be evolved into Dark Blastoise. However, a card simply named Wartortle cannot. Likewise, Pokémon such as Rhyhorn cannot be evolved into a Pokémon that says on it "Evolves from Team Magma's Rhyhorn".

However, Pokémon cards from different sets may evolve into one another. For example, Dark Crobat can evolve from either Dark Golbat from Team Rocket or Dark Golbat from EX Team Rocket Returns. Of course, this rule can be circumvented by certain means, such as Pokémon Powers and Trainer cards, however, this is not common.

In relation to the real world

Evolution in Pokémon is closer to the real-life phenomenon of metamorphosis rather than actual evolution, as real-life evolution happens to populations over a long period of time, not to individuals. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, it is mentioned that Pokémon Evolution is an entirely separate phenomenon from the normal process of evolution, and is a mysterious ability exclusive to Pokémon that is still not fully understood. In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, it is described in the health class at the school in Serene Village as being akin to puberty, where a Pokémon's body rapidly grows larger along with other changes that bring it closer to adulthood.

Real life evolution still appears to have happened in the Pokémon universe and is mentioned or referenced in multiple media. Different Pokémon lines are related to each other evolutionarily, but not necessarily all of them, as some are man-made or alien in origin. There is also Sinnoh Folk Story 3 which claims there was a time there was no difference between Pokémon and humans. Many Pokémon can interbreed based on their egg group pointing to a potential relation. Pocket Monsters Encyclopedia describes how Pokémon adapt to different environments and uses Cinnabar Island and its unique ecosphere as an example which is thought to have strongly influenced its native Pokémon, like Growlithe, and now is famous as a home to many Fire-type Pokémon. Starting with the Generation VII games, each new region features new forms of previously known Pokémon called regional forms which look different, most of the time have different types, and sometimes evolve into different species.

Other mentions:

  • Drowzee is said to be descended from the legendary beast Baku, and is also thought to share common ancestry with Munna and Musharna.
  • Omastar's heavy shell is thought to be the reason this ancient Pokémon died out. It's apparently a distant ancestor of Octillery.
  • Gastrodon is relative of Shellder and Cloyster.
  • Seismitoad is a related species to Croagunk and Toxicroak.
  • Skorupi shares a common ancestor with Sizzlipede.
  • Archen is believed to be a progenitor of bird Pokémon, although some of the latest research suggests this may not be the case.
  • Tirtouga is reputed to be the ancestor of most turtle Pokémon, it lived in warm seas approximately 100 million years ago.
  • Anorith is said to be an ancestor of modern bug Pokémon.
  • Zubat's eyes and vision have atrophied over time in favor of echolocation.
  • Relicanth has remained unchanged for 100 million years. Similarly, Kabuto has not changed for 300 million years.
  • In the distant past, Kabutops began transitioning to a terrestrial lifestyle, but it was not able to fully adapt before it became extinct.
  • Bagon's belief that it will be able to fly one day is apparently the influence of information carried in its genes. Some theories suggest that its behavior affected its evolution.
  • Wailmer is descended from a land-dwelling ancestor. It also appears to be related to Cetoddle, whose ancestors at some point transitioned from the ocean back to land.


  • Of all non-Legendary and non-Mythical Pokémon, 90.87% are part of an evolutionary line.
    • Counting Legendary and Mythical Pokémon, 84.19% of all Pokémon are part of an evolutionary line.
  • Out of all Pokémon that evolve by leveling up, Larvesta evolves later than any other unevolved Pokémon, starting at level 59.
  • Of all the Pokémon that evolve by leveling up, Hydreigon evolves from its pre-evolution later than any other Pokémon, starting at level 64.
  • Generation III introduced the most non-Legendary and non-Mythical Pokémon that do not evolve, with 18.
    • Generations IV and VI are tied for the fewest, with just five each.
  • All species of Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus can be caught without using evolution, since the Daybreak update. Only the Alolan Form of Ninetales cannot be caught and must be evolved from the gift Alolan Vulpix.

In other languages

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 進化 Jeunfa
Mandarin 進化 / 进化 Jìnhuà
The Czech Republic Flag.png Czech Evoluce
Denmark Flag.png Danish Udvikling
Finland Flag.png Finnish Evoluutio
French Canada Flag.png Canada Développement*
France Flag.png Europe Évolution
Germany Flag.png German Entwicklung
Greece Flag.png Greek Εξέλιξη Exélixe
India Flag.png Hindi विकास Vikaas
Hungary Flag.png Hungarian Evolúció
Indonesia Flag.png Indonesian Evolusi
Italy Flag.png Italian Evoluzione
South Korea Flag.png Korean 진화 Jinhwa
Malaysia Flag.png Malaysian Evolusi
Poland Flag.png Polish Ewolucja*
Portugal Flag.png Portuguese Evolução
Russia Flag.png Russian Эволюция Evolyutsiya
Spain Flag.png Spanish Evolución
Sweden Flag.png Swedish Utveckling
Thailand Flag.png Thai พัฒนาร่าง Phatnarang
วิวัฒนาการ Wiwatthanakan
Turkey Flag.png Turkish Evrim
Vietnam Flag.png Vietnamese Tiến hóa

See also


Pokémon training