Pokemon Sword and Shield

How to Breed & Train for Competitive Pokemon

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Competitive Battle Guide

How to Breed & Train for Competitive Pokemon.png
The Pokemon who were with you for the story of the game may not be the best Pokemon for competitive battles. In this guide, we'll show you how to breed or catch an ideal Pokemon, and how to get them battle-ready for Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Breeding Preparation

Helpful Items

For Breeding

Item Explanation
Destiny Knot.png
Destiny Knot
When a Pokemon holding Destiny Knot lays an egg, five of the parent Pokemon's twelve IVs will be passed down to the child Pokemon.
When a Pokemon holding an Everstone lays an egg, its Nature will be passed down to the child Pokemon.
Oval Charm.png
Oval Charm
Increases the chance of finding an egg at the Day Care.
Power Items.png
Power Items
When a Pokemon holding a given Power Item lays an egg, its IVs in the relevant stat will be passed down to the child Pokemon.

For Training

Item Explanation
These items are a must-have when EV training. Each vitamin gives 10 EV points to its respective stat.
Changes the effects of a Pokemon's Nature
Exp. Candy.png
Exp Candies
These items help you level up without the tedium of grinding for Exp. Points
Power Items.png
Power Items
These items cause Base Points in a specific stat to improve by 8 each time it gains experience in battle.
Lucky Egg.png
Lucky Egg
Held item that increases the rate of gaining Exp. Points in battle to 150%.
Exp Charm.png
Experience Charm
Key item that increases the rate of gaining Exp. Points for all party members to 150%.

A High IV Ditto

A High IV Ditto.jpg
When breeding Pokemon, you normally need a male and a female Pokemon from the same Egg Group.

When put in the daycare, the offspring will be the same species as the female Pokemon, and receive compatible moves from the male Pokemon.

However, Ditto stands out for being able to breed with Pokemon from any egg group except the Ditto Egg Group and the Undiscovered Egg Group. This makes Ditto a staple for any Pokemon Breeder.

You Can Pass IVs Through Breeding

A High IV Ditto Judge Screen.png
Moves aren't the only things that are passed down from parent to offspring when breeding, IVs can be inherited too.

Under normal circumstances, 3 of the 12 IVs of the parents will be passed down to their offspring. But if one of the parents holds a Destiny Knot, 5 of their 12 IVs will be passed down.

With this information in mind, we recommend catching a high IV Ditto. This will help make the breeding process a lot easier since it can breed with any Pokemon that can produce offspring, and pass down High IVs to its eggs.

Where to Catch High IV Ditto.

Where to Catch High IV Ditto.jpg
A Raid Den near the Daycare Center in the Wild Area (pictured above) guarantees a Ditto when a thick purple light beam emanates from it.

Dittos with a raid difficulty level of 5 will have at least 4 max IVs. If you want, you can try your luck and you might even get a 5 or 6 max IV Ditto from this den.
How to Catch Ditto

A Hatcher Pokemon

A Hatcher Pokemon.jpg
A Hatcher Pokemon has an Ability that decreases the time it takes to hatch eggs. If you'll be hatching several dozen eggs, you can imagine how invaluable having a dedicated Hatcher is!

There are currently 2 abilities in the game that help you hatch eggs quicker. These include Flame Body, and Steam Engine.

Each of these cuts the time it takes to hatch an egg in half. However, keep in mind that these do not stack. Just having one Hatcher on your team is enough.

Who's the Best Hatcher Pokemon?

A Hatcher Pokemon Following.jpg

We recommend adding a Carkol or Coalossal on your team as they are pretty easy to come by, and both of their regular abilities are Hatcher abilities.

Pokemon like Chandelure, Talonflame, or Volcarona with the Flame Body ability are also good choices.

Things You Need to Know

When preparing a Battle-Ready Pokemon, there are six questions you need to ask yourself before you start.

It is important for you to plan ahead when it comes to which Pokemon you will prepare, what their moveset, ability, nature, IVs, and EV spread will be. Let's go through them step-by-step.

Which Pokemon Can I Make Battle-Ready?

Which Pokemon Can I Make Battle-Ready.jpg
Contrary to popular belief, you can make any Pokemon ready for competitive battling, but some Pokemon are more viable than others. Nothing is stopping you from preparing any Pokemon you want, however. Less frequently used Pokemon can even be beneficial in some ways as other players won't be used to countering them.

It's important to identify this because we need to know if you'll be breeding the Pokemon, or catching them in the wild.

What About Legendary Pokemon?

Most Legendaries require you to raise them after catching them since you won't have the chance to breed them. Sword and Shield introduced many quality-of-life changes though so it's now possible to make battle ready Legendary Pokemon! Keep in mind that they cannot be used in ranked battles, though.

What Moves Should I Get?

What Moves Should I Get.jpg
Most Pokemon have a good learnset from a combination of their Level-Up moves, Move Tutor moves, and TM/TR moves. But, if you want to breed your Pokemon to have an Egg Move, this will be the first thing you should consider.

Alternatively, you could leave the Pokemon you want to learn an egg move in the daycare making sure they have an empty move slot. Then, leave another Pokemon with the move you want the other to inherit.

After some time, the first Pokemon should learn the egg move you need.
How to Learn Egg Moves

Which Ability Should I Choose?

What Ability Should I Get.pngNormally, a hatched Pokemon's ability will be randomly selected among its default abilities.

If you want to hatch a Pokemon with its Hidden Ability, it's parent needs to have the Hidden Ability, too.

Note: Keep in mind that female Pokemon are more likely to pass down their ability compared to male/genderless Pokemon. If breeding with Ditto, please note that Ditto's ability doesn't have an effect on the offspring.

Ability Capsules and Ability Patches

Alternatively, you can also use an Ability Capsule to switch between a Pokemon's regular abilities, or an Ability Patch to switch from a regular ability to a Hidden Ability.
How to Get Hidden Abilities

What Nature Should I Get?

What Nature Should I Get.jpg
Normally, a hatched Pokemon's nature will be randomly selected among the different natures it can have.

If you want to control which nature a Pokemon is born with, you can have a parent with the desired nature hold an Everstone. The parent holding an Everstone will always pass it's nature to its offspring.

Use the Sychronize Method

You can also take advantage of The Synchronize Method. This is especially useful for choosing the nature of Legendary Pokemon.

Placing a Pokemon with the Synchronize Ability at the front of your party guarantees that the natures of all wild encounters will match that Pokemon's nature.

Note: Keep in mind, this doesn't work with Max Raid Battles nor Gift Pokemon.


Alternatively, you can use Mints to change the effects of a Pokemon's Nature. Take note that Mints do not change natures themselves, but only the effect that the Pokemon's nature has on it.

This means that if a Timid-natured parent holding an Everstone received a Modest Mint, it's offspring would still have Timid natures.
How to Change a Pokemon's Nature

What IVs Should I Get?

What IVs Should I Get.png
Ideally, the closer a stat's IV to 31 is, the better. This makes sure that the stat is as high as can be. Although there are niche instances where you may not want a high IV stat.

For example, for Trick Room Teams and Pokemon who benefit from moving last, you may want a lower Speed IV.

On the other hand, you may want a lower Attack IV for Special Attackers to receive less confusion and Foul Play damage - both of which rely on your attack stat.
How to Check Your Pokemon's IVs

Breeding for IVs

If you're breeding for IVs. You would ideally want your High IV Ditto holding a Destiny Knot and a Pokemon of the same species with the nature you want, holding an Everstone as your non-Ditto parent.

Using the Judge function, check the IVs of the newly hatched Pokemon to see if they have good IVs. If they are better than that of the parent's, replace one of the parents so that you can continue to get better offspring. You're free to do this until you produce the Pokemon you want with your desired IVs.

Hyper Training

Hyper Training.jpg
Understandably, breeding for IVs can be tedious, which is why Bottle Caps and Golden Bottle Caps are a godsend.

These items allow you to Hyper Train any Pokemon to have the maximum 31 IVs in each stat. It comes with the caveat that your Pokemon needs to be at level 100 first. However, some may argue that this method is a lot easier (and faster) than breeding for the right Pokemon, provided you have enough Exp. Candies.
How to Increase IVs

What EVs Should I Invest In?

What EVs Should I Invest In.jpg
Aside from IVs, EVs affect how your Pokemon's final stats will end up. EVs can be acquired naturally by battling other Pokemon. However, there is a much more efficient, albeit expensive way to EV train.

Poke Jobs

job selection.jpg
Making use of the time skipping glitch, you can use Poke Jobs to quickly max out one or more Pokemon's EVs without spending any cash! Once your Pokemon have begun the job, simply go to any active Raid Den, begin recruiting other players, and make your way into your Switch's settings to change the time by one day. Exit out of the raid den and return to a Pokemon Center to collect your Pokemon and repeat for the desired EVs. We recommend the Raid Den directly south of Hammerlocke's entrance.

How to Do Poke Jobs


Vitamins are quick way to distribute EVs to your Pokemon. We recommend unlocking the vending machines from the Dojo as this allows you to purchase Vitamins at a steep discount.

Resetting EVs

Resetting EVs.jpg
In the event that you want to try a different EV spread for a Pokemon, but don't want to start the entire process over, there are ways to simply reset your EVs. This can be done with the use of EV reducing berries, or Lady Clear who can be found in one of the islets in the Workout Sea.
How to EV Train Fast and Reset EVs

Leveling Up

Levelling Up.jpg
You've caught/bred your Pokemon, made sure it had the right moves, ability, and nature. You've made sure to EV train it properly as well, now the only thing left for it to be battle-ready is for you to level it up!

In online battle, all Pokemon above Level 51 are regulated to Level 50 by “Flat Battle” rules. For this reason, with the exception of Pokemon who evolve after Level 50, we'll generally only need to continue Leveling Up until Level 50.

However, if you weren't able to breed for the best IVs, you may continue levelling your Pokemon up to Level 100 so that you may participate in Hyper Training.
How to Level Up Fast

Exp. Candy

Exp. Candy
The new item known as Exp. Candy is used to acquire Exp. Points instantly, and its XL size will grant a whopping 30,000 Exp. Points at once. These are gained by completing Max Raid Battles, so they can be farmed simultaneously while hunting for Gigamantax Pokemon.
How to Easily Collect Exp. Candy

Step-By-Step Breeding and Training Example

By now, you should understand how to make a Pokemon Battle-Ready. Let's put this knowledge into practice and prepare a Competitive Pokemon.

Which Pokemon Should I Make?

If you head on over to the Best Competitive Pokemon section of our wiki, you'll be able to check out plenty of builds and suggested movesets for Competitive Battling.

For the purposes of this example let's say we want to prepare a Competitive Quagsire. Our Best Build for Quagsire suggests a Physically Defensive set which is built as follows:

Unaware Physical Defender
Pokemon Quagsire.png
Nature Bold (+Def, -Atk)
EV Spread HP 252 / Def. 252 / Sp.Def. 4
Final Stat Values HP 202 / Def. 150 / Sp.Def. 85 / Sp.Def. 86 / Spd. 55
Ability Unaware
Held Item Leftovers
Rocky Helmet
Moveset Scald

With this goal in mind, let's get started by getting a Wooper/Quagsire.

What Pokemon Should I Make.jpg
Finding a random female Wooper is a great starting point. Let's begin with the next step!

What Moves Should I Get?

Looking at the best build for Quagsire as a reference, we can see that two of the moves for the Unaware Physical Defender Set include Recover and Stockpile - both of which are Egg Moves.

Thankfully, our page lists suggestions on how we can get the Egg Moves we need.

Recover Inherit from Shellos (Learned at Lv. 10)
or from Mareanie (Learned at Lv. 20)
Stockpile Inherit from Cramorant (Learned at Lv. 1) or from Greedent (Learned at Lv. 15)

We're going to want both of these Egg Moves for our Quagsire, which means we'll have to breed for Egg Moves twice.

Let's take our Female Wooper and first pair it up with a Male Cramorant knowing Stockpile. After leaving them in the daycare, the first egg they produce should be a Wooper who will now know Stockpile.

Let's try to keep going until we can have a Female Wooper with Stockpile, because we will then need to pair it up with a Male Mareanie knowing Recover. After leaving them in the daycare, the first egg they produce should be a Wooper who will now know both Stockpile and Recover.

With the Egg moves out of the way, we have Toxic and Scald left. Toxic is a level up move for Quagsire, and Scald can be learned via TR84. With the moves now settled, we can proceed onto the next step!
How to Obtain All TRs

What Ability Should I Get?

Let's again refer to the best build for Quagsire. The recommended ability is Unaware. Since this is Wooper and Quagsire's Hidden Ability, we have two options.

The easiest way to get their Hidden Ability is by using an Ability Patch which can be bought at the Max Raid Lair. Introduced in the Crown Tundra DLC, this item allows players to change a Pokemon's Ability to a Hidden Ability. It can get quite expensive, so if you'll be using this method, be sure to stock up on Dynite Ore
Dynite Ore Farming Guide

Quagsire Raid Den.jpg
Alternatively, the traditional way of getting the Hidden Ability is through breeding. This requires you to first have a Wooper/Quagsire with their Hidden Ability. The easiest way to get one is by catching Wooper/Quagsire from Max Raid Dens. Pokemon caught from Raid Dens have a small chance of having their Hidden Ability.

Breeding for Hidden Ability.png
Ideally, we should have a Female Wooper with the Hidden Ability as they have a higher chance of passing down their ability. But, if you get a Male Wooper with the Hidden Ability, don't fret! You can breed your Hidden Ability Male Wooper with a Ditto, until you get a female Wooper with the Hidden Ability.

What Nature Should I Get?

By pairing up our Male Wooper with the Egg Moves we got, and the female Wooper with the Hidden Ability we need, we can now breed for the Wooper with the right Nature. Referring to our best build for Quagsire, the recommended nature is Bold (+Def, -Atk).

Unfortunately, there's no way to speed this up. Natures, for the most part, are completely random. We now have to continue hatching eggs until we find one that has a Bold Nature, the Egg Moves we need, and it's Hidden Ability.

Bold HA Wooper with Egg Moves.png
If you've made it this far, you're doing great! We're more than halfway done!

What IVs Should I Get?

We're nearing the end of the process! If you don't have a High IV Ditto, or would rather do Hyper Training, you can skip to the next step. This is the part that intimidates most breeders, as a bit of luck is involved when it comes to breeding for the best IVs.

We're going to take our Bold, Hidden Ability Wooper with Stockpile and Recover, and make it hold an Everstone. This Wooper will then be paired up with a High IV Ditto holding a Destiny Knot. The Everstone guarantees that the Bold nature will be passed down, while the Destiny Knot will help pass the High IVs down.

Breeding with 6IV Ditto.png

Before you place them in the daycare, take note of the Judge function, and notice how many (if any) of the parent Woopers have the Best in their stat. Our goal is to produce a Wooper that has the Best IVs in HP, Def, SpAtk, SpDef, and Spd.

5IV HA Bold Wooper with Egg Moves.png
Every egg that we hatch that has the Best stats in the right places can replace the parent Wooper to better our chances at getting the IV spread we want. Eventually, we should hatch the Wooper with the spread we are looking for! Give yourself a pat on the back, we're almost at the end.

What EVs Should I Invest In?

One last look at our best build for Quagsire, the recommended EV spread is HP 252 / Def. 252 / Sp.Def. 4.

Let's not make our lives any more difficult than it already has been. Purchase 26 HP Ups, 26 Irons and 1 Zinc, and give them all to our newly hatched Wooper!

EV Training Wooper.jpg

Remember that each stat only receives up to 252 EVs in each stat. So even though 26 HP Ups should give 260 HP EVs, Wooper will only receive 252 HP EVs. Likewise the 26 Irons will allow Wooper to receive 252 Def EVs.

Finally, remember that each Pokemon can only make use of 508 EVs in total. With 504 of them invested in HP and Defense, Wooper will receive 4 out of the last 10 EVs provided by the Zinc.

Levelling Up

EV Trained Wooper.png
If you've completely and successfully EV trained your Pokemon, you should be able to see their EV distribution glowing gold on the Stats Tab of their Summary Screen when you press X. With that, the last thing you need to do is to level your Pokemon.

Quagsire Wants to Learn Toxic.jpg
Make sure to level them up to get the level-up moves you need, and also reach the minimum level cap of 50. Also if you skipped the IV Breeding section, be sure to level the Pokemon to level 100 so that you may Hyper Train them to get the best stats.

Battle Ready Quagsire.png
Once you've levelled them up, you're done! Feel free to compare the stats you've reached with the stats in our guide. You can now sit back and congratulate yourself on preparing your first Battle-Ready Pokemon!

The competitive journey doesn't end there! Now you're going to need a whole team! Head on over to our Competitive Team Building guide to read on about how to put a team together before heading to the ladder!
Competitive Team Building

Related Links

Breed & Train Competitive Pokemon

Training Pokemon.png

How to Check Your Pokemon's IVs How to Increase IVs
Natures & Abilities
How to Change a Pokemon's Nature How to Get Hidden Abilities
Eggs & Breeding
How to Learn Egg Moves How to Breed & Hatch Strong Pokemon
EVs, Pokerus, & Leveling Up
How to EV Train Fast and Reset EVs Pokerus Effects and How to Infect Your Pokemon
How to Level Up Fast
Building Good Teams
How to Build a Defensive Team

How to Breed & Train for Competitive Pokemon


2 Anonymousover 3 years

Aye this was so helpful, thanks!

1 Anonymousabout 4 years

This guide has helped me in creating my own Pokemon team. Now im gonna try and put it up to the test on rank battles


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