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Slowbro losing Shellder

Devolution (Japanese: 退化 degeneration) is the process of an evolved Pokémon reverting to its previous form. This is not nearly as well-known among the fandom as evolution is, due to devolution being impossible within the games and anime. In most media in which it exists, devolution is not nearly as commonplace as evolution, and is generally brought about mainly through artificial means, such as sprays or genetic engineering.

In the core series games

Slowking losing Shellder

While devolution is not possible within the core series games, the notion is referred to by Slowbro's numerous Pokédex entries. Said entries claim that if the Shellder falls off, the Slowbro turns back into a Slowpoke. It is said that if Slowking loses its Shellder, it forgets everything it has learned.[1]

A similar situation applies to Exeggutor, as it is stated in its Pokédex entries that if one of its heads were to fall off, that head would become an Exeggcute.

In the spin-off games

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

The only Pokémon games in which devolution is possible are games from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games of the Nintendo 3DS.

In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, the Devolve Orb is a Wonder Orb that devolves all enemies in the room.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.

In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, the player and their partner evolve and later devolve three times during the game's main story, thanks to the Harmony Scarves they wear.

201 Spoilers end here. 201

Pokémon Trading Card Game

Pokémon cards can devolve in Pokémon Trading Card Game video games, which contain cards that can cause devolution.

Pokémon UNITE

The opening cutscene for Pokémon UNITE shows Talonflame, Slowbro, Greninja, Cinderace, and Garchomp devolving into their base forms of Fletchling, Slowpoke, Froakie, Scorbunny, and Gible, respectively. This suggests that experienced Pokémon that participate in Unite Battles are devolved to their base forms inside the stadium in order to evolve again during the game. However, Pokémon with baby forms, such as Pikachu and Mr. Mime, do not devolve to their baby stages.

In the anime

Wobbuffet devolving in the anime

In the Pokémon anime, the subject of devolution has rarely been brought up. Misty explicitly states in Electric Shock Showdown that evolution cannot be reversed, effectively confirming the nonexistence of devolution within the anime. This was reconfirmed in A Stealthy Challenge!, where Bonnie asked Frogadier to devolve into Froakie so she could see it evolve again, but Clemont explained that it doesn't work that way.

In Dream a Little Dream from Me!, Ash's Pikachu had a nightmare featuring Frogadier having devolved into Froakie. Clemont's Bunnelby, which appeared as a Diggersby in the same nightmare, also devolved back into its first stage later in the dream.

The first known instance of a real devolution in the anime occurred when Faba fitted Silvally with a restraining mask, thereby turning it into a Type: Null.

In The Gates of Warp!, Pokémon in an alternate world version of Sinnoh devolved due to Dialga and Palkia's battle, with most of them eventually reverting all the way into Eggs. In Showdown at the Gates of Warp!, this battle was revealed to have been organized by Alternate World Team Rocket to make Pokémon easier to steal and train to serve them. Once they had been defeated, Ash, Dawn, Goh, Chloe, and their alternate world counterparts prayed for Arceus to stop the fight, which it did. Afterwards, Dialga and Palkia restored the reverted Pokémon to normal, fulfilling everyone's wish.

In the manga

Eevee devolving from Jolteon in Pokémon Adventures

Pokémon Adventures

Before Vee, Red's Eevee, evolved into Espeon, he had been the subject of an experiment by Team Rocket, which allowed him to evolve into any of his three evolutions that were known at the time. He was also able to devolve back into an Eevee and evolve into a different Eeveelution. Although this does mean that devolution is possible in Pokémon Adventures, the artificial means through which this was achieved and the lack of any other instances of devolution suggest that it may not be possible through natural means.

Pokémon Horizon

Akira's Rockruff has the unique ability to evolve into Lycanroc and then devolve into Rockruff again, thanks to the strange red stone on its neck. It also has the ability to change in between its Midday and Midnight Forms while being evolved.

Pokémon Pocket Monsters

Unlike any other media, Pokémon are capable of devolving just as easily as they evolve in Pokémon Pocket Monsters. This became especially evident when Red's Clefairy and Pikachu evolve into Clefable and Raichu respectively, then revert to their original forms, as well as when Green's Charmander evolved into Charizard and then turned back into Charmander.

In the TCG

Devolution Spray, one of the few methods of inducing devolution in the TCG

In the TCG, devolution is perfectly possible, albeit not at a player's whim. Devolution must be induced by the effects of an attack, a Poké-Power, or a Trainer card. Examples include Mew's Devolution Beam attack, Flareon's Undevelop Poké-Power, and the Devolution Spray Item. The following is a list of cards that can achieve devolution.

Related cards
Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Rarity # Japanese
Rarity #
Devolution Spray I Base Set Rare 72/102 Expansion Pack Rare  
Dragons Exalted Uncommon 113/124 Dragon Blast Uncommon 048/050
      BW-P Promotional cards   196/BW-P
Fates Collide Uncommon 95/124 Awakening Psychic King U 067/078
Evolutions Uncommon 76/108 Expansion Pack 20th Anniversary U 075/087
Mew Psychic Wizards Black Star Promos   8      
Wizards Black Star Promos   9 Mystery of the Fossils Rare Holo  
Hyper Devolution Spray T Neo Discovery Uncommon 73/75 Crossing the Ruins... Uncommon  
      Pokémon Web Uncommon 031/048
Mew ex Psychic       PLAY Promotional cards   007/PLAY
Omastar Water EX Sandstorm Rare 19/100 Magma VS Aqua: Two Ambitions Rare Holo 024/080
EX Power Keepers Rare 20/108 World Champions Pack Rare 017/108
Mew ex Psychic EX Holon Phantoms Rare Holo ex 100/110 Mew Quarter Deck   003/015
Flareon Fire Rising Rivals Rare 19/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 011/090
Jolteon Lightning Rising Rivals Rare 26/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 028/090
Vaporeon Water Rising Rivals Rare 34/111 Bonds to the End of Time Rare 014/090
Jirachi Psychic Unleashed Rare Holo 1/95 Metagross Deck   006/014
Call of Legends Rare Holo 11/95      
Golurk Psychic Dragons Exalted Rare Holo 59/124 Dragon Blade R 023/050
Boundaries Crossed Rare Secret 150/149 Freeze Bolt UR 064/059
Claydol Psychic Ancient Origins Rare 33/98 Bandit Ring U 033/081
Porygon-Z Colorless Ancient Origins Rare Holo 67/98 Bandit Ring R 067/081
EspeonEX Psychic BREAKpoint Rare Holo ex 52/122 Rage of the Broken Heavens RR 035/080
BREAKpoint Rare Ultra 117/122 Rage of the Broken Heavens SR 084/080
      The Best of XY   045/171
Porygon-Z Colorless Burning Shadows Rare Holo 105/147 Darkness that Consumes Light R 044/051
Miscellaneous Promotional cards   105a/147 SM-P Promotional cards   070/SM-P
Shining Jirachi Psychic Shining Legends Shining Holo 42/73 Shining Legends Shining Holo 043/072
Celebi Prism Star Grass Lost Thunder Rare Holo 19/214 Super-Burst Impact PR 015/095
Dialga Metal Lost Thunder Rare Holo 127/214 Thunderclap Spark R 038/060
Devolution Spray Z I Unbroken Bonds Uncommon 166/214 Full Metal Wall U 044/054
Celebi Grass Unified Minds Rare Holo 4/236 Miracle Twin R 003/094
Aerodactyl Colorless       Pokémon Card 151 R 142/165