How to Train & Breed for Competitive Pokemon | Pokemon Sword and Shield

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This is a guide to the best methods for breeding and training your Pokemon in the games Pokemon Sword and Shield. Read on to find out how to breed or catch an ideal Pokemon, and how to train strong fighters ready for competitive play. All the steps you will need to train a powerful Pokemon are written in order below.

Crafting an Ideal Environment for Training

Gather the Necessary Equipment

Item Explanation
Destiny Knot When a Pokemon holding Destiny Knot lays an egg, five of its twelve IVs will be passed down to the child Pokemon.
Everstone When a Pokemon holding Everstone Knot lays an egg, its Nature will be passed down to the child Pokemon.
Power Item These items cause Base Points in a specific stat to improve by 8 each time it gains experience in battle. 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.
Oval Charm Increases the chance of finding an egg at the Day Care.
Lucky Egg Increases the rate of gaining Exp. Points in battle to 150%.

First, gather these items, which will be invaluable in the training process. Starting without these items will only cause the training to take longer, so avoid putting yourself through unnecessary grief by going ahead and preparing these before getting into the whole rigamarole.

Find a Ditto with high IVs


Ditto, the Genghis Khan of the Pokemon world.

Because of its unique ability to create eggs with almost all Pokemon, even those with no gender, to the exclusion of Legendary Pokemon, Ditto is renowned by Pokemon Breeders as an essential. As a child Pokemon inherits some of its IVs from its parents (usually three of the twelve total from both parents, but five with the Destiny Knot), using a Ditto with high IVs is a crucial step in reducing the difficulty of Pokemon breeding.

Find a Pokemon with the Flame Body Ability


The Ability “Flame Body” has a special side-effect of reducing the time needed to hatch eggs by half. When spending hours running around hatching eggs, having a Pokemon with this ability in your party is a godsend.

Infect Your Pokemon with Pokerus

“Pokerus” is a virus affecting Pokemon which has the effect of doubling the number of EVs an afflicted Pokemon obtains from battle. Despite the name, Pokerus has no negative effects, and will spread throughout your party as you battle with the Pokerus-afflicted Pokemon in your party. As it is difficult to obtain Pokerus on your own, trading online for a Pokemon with Pokerus is the quickest way to obtain it.

Choosing a Pokemon to Train

Necessary Factors

IVs How to Increase IVs
Values which will affect the stats of your Pokemon. Their values range from 0 to 31 in each of a Pokemon's six stats, and the closer to 31, the better. Parent Pokemon will pass on three IVs each to their children, but if it is holding Destiny Knot, it will pass on five IVs.
Nature How to Change a Pokemon's Nature
An extra factor affecting the balance of a Pokemon's stats. We can keep these consistent using the Everstone, allowing a parent to pass on their Nature to their child, and the Synchronize ability, causing all caught Pokemon to have the same Nature as the Pokemon with Synchronize (if that Pokemon is leading the party), so we won't need to struggle with this one too much.
Ability When the Pokemon in question can have two or more possible abilities, we'll need to be careful with this one. A female parent's ability has a higher chance of being inherited.

First of all, we'll want to select the Pokemon we want to train. The main aspects we should focus on when making this decision are IVs, Nature and Ability.

Our main techniques for finding candidates for training will consist of the Breeding method, and the Catching via Synchronize method.

Steps for Breeding

1 Prepare a parent Pokemon. Don't worry about its IVs to start off with; just ensure that it has the intended Nature.
2 Have the Pokemon with the intended Nature hold the Everstone, and have your Ditto with high IVs hold the Destiny Knot.
3 Leave the two of them at the Day Care and hatch any eggs that appear.
4 Whenever a Pokemon with high IVs is born, switch it out with the non-Ditto parent Pokemon.
5 Continue the process until a Pokemon with high IVs, the intended Nature, and the intended Ability is born.

While hatching the eggs, be sure to keep the Pokemon with the Flame Body Ability in your party to halve the time taken to hatch them.

Be sure to check our complete guide on efficient breeding and hatching of Pokemon eggs below!

How to Breed & Hatch Strong Pokemon

When teaching Egg Moves

When teaching Egg Moves to the child Pokemon, you may need to change Ditto out for the Pokemon knowing the Egg Move which you intend to pass on.

However, in Pokemon Sword & Shield, for the first time in the series, Pokemon can learn Egg Moves after they are born by placing them in the Day Care with another Pokemon of the same species knowing the Egg Move. So, in this generation, we won't have to worry about Egg Moves when breeding a Pokemon to train.

How to Learn Egg Moves

Steps for Catching via Synchronize

1 Prepare a Pokemon with the intended Nature and the Ability “Synchronize”.
2 Allow the Pokemon with Synchronize to faint and place it at the front of the party.
3 Save before starting the process.
4 Catch as many Pokemon as possible until you find one with high IVs.

This method is mostly used for Pokemon such as Legendary Pokemon where only one is available in the game. For these Pokemon, we'll need to save before encountering them, and then keep resetting the game after catching them until we find one with IVs as high as possible.

Increasing IVs

It's OK if the Pokemon's IVs are not perfect

We can maximize a Pokemon's IVs using an item called a “Gold Bottle Cap”. Pokemon in the Undiscovered Egg Group, those which cannot breed with Ditto i.e. Legendary Pokemon, will automatically have 3 perfect IVs, so you can afford to relax on this point to a degree.

There are also more ways to increase IVs like Hyper Training. See our guide below to learn more.
How to Increase IVs

Acquiring EVs

Ways to Acquire EVs

  1. Defeat wild Pokemon
  2. Use Vitamins
  3. Send your Pokemon on Poke Jobs

The three EV Training methods existing in the game are Vitamins, Seminars, and battling wild pokemon. For our detailed guide of how to EV Train your Pokemon as quickly as possible, check our full guide below.
How to EV Train Fast and Reset EVs

Vitamins are the fastest method


Vitamins such as Carbos and Zinc have the effect of raising a Pokemon's EV in a given stat by 10. Previously, there was a limit to how much a stat's EV could be boosted by Vitamins, but the limit no longer exists in Pokemon Sword and Shield, so as long as you have the money to buy them, it's possible to complete EV training in an instant using Vitamins alone.

Sending your Pokemon to Seminars

Pokemon Seminar.jpg

Under the Poke Jobs menu at the Rotomi terminal in any Pokemon Center, you can send your Pokemon to seminars at Hammerlocke University to increase their EVs in a given stat.

Note that the effects of seminars are boosted by Pokerus and Power Items, so it's recommended to prepare these before starting your training to save time.
All About Poke Jobs

Fighting Wild Pokemon works as well

Fighting Wild Pokemon.jpeg

Fighting Wild Pokemon is another way to acquire EVs; however, Pokemon Sword and Shield don't include features from previous games, such as Hordes and SOS Battle, which allowed for players to fight multiple Pokemon at once and acquire more EVs, so the two methods above are considered more effective for EV Training.

Leveling Up

Leveling Up to Level 50 is generally enough

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.

Exp. Candy cuts through the grind

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 can be farmed simultaneously with hunting for Gigamantax Pokemon.

How to Easily Collect Exp. Candy

Using the Gold Bottle Cap

When using the Gold Bottle Cap, Keep Going until Level 100

The Gold Bottle Cap item is useful for raising all of a Pokemon's IVs to the maximum level. However, to take full advantage of it, we'll need to level up the Pokemon all the way to 100, so use this method only when training a Pokemon with less than ideal IVs.

For Fixing Up Imperfect IVs

The Gold Bottle Cap is quite a rare item in the game, so be sure to save it for a Pokemon you're sure to use down the road.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Related Links

Beginner Tips and Guides

Train & Breed Like a Pro How to Learn Egg Moves
How to Get Hidden Abilities Type Effectiveness and Damage Output
Which Starter Pokemon Should You Choose? Shiny Hunting Guide
How to Catch
Legendary Pokemon
How to EV Train and
Reset EVs
How to Level Up Fast Getting All 3 Starters
How to Build
the Best Team
How to Get Money Fast
How to Increase Friendship How to Collect Watts Fast
How to Win
Max Raid Battles
Useful Characters and Their Locations
How to Battle and Trade with Friends How to Change Your Clothes and Appearance
Dynamax and Gigantamax Access Pokemon Boxes on the road
Removed Features How to Play Ranked Battle
How to Get and Use the Y-Comm How to Release Pokemon

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