Like previous Pokémon titles, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield allow you to trade your Pokémon with other trainers to complete your Pokédex. Some Pokemon only evolve after trading. Some Pokémon are only available in one version. Therefore, trading is essential to catch them all. This guide is for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, as the two games are one side of the same coin.
How to trade Pokémon with friends in Pokémon Sword
See the following steps to access trading features. You can skip step 1 if you already have access to the Y-Comm menu when you press the Y button.
Step 1 - Access the Y-Comm Menu
To be able to trade, you must first have access to the Y-Comm menu. You cannot access the Y-Comm screen right away, but it is possible to access it early in the game. After progressing through the early stages, you will receive the Dynamax Band after meeting Professor Magnolia at her house on Route 2. This will grant you access to the Y-Comm.
If you're just getting started, check out these steps to unlock the Y-Comm menu:
- After completing the game intro, collect the bag from your room and leave your house.
- Go to Hop. Then leave and go to 'Wedgehurst' using Route 1.
- Choose a starter Pokémon and answer "yes".
- Win your battle against Hop.
- As an additional convenient step, head to your house. Then go to “Slumbering Weald”.
- Once there, fight with “??? and go home to talk to "Mom" to get your 5 free Pokeballs.
- Now you should meet Professor Magnolia. Complete his dialogue.
- Go to Hop and talk to him for the battle.
- You will get the Dynamax band. The wristband unlocks the Y-Comm menu.
After receiving the Y-Comm, new icons on trading requests, invitations, events, etc. will appear on the left side.
Step 2 – Trade using the Y-Comm menu
The Y-Comm has different trading options. See these instructions to access it:
- To access Y-Comm, press the Y button on the controller.
- Press the + button if you want to connect to the Internet. You do not need the Internet to use "Local Connection".
- Select your preferred business function.
The Y-Comm menu allows you to use features such as trading, exchanging "league cards", and battling locally and even online. Specifically, the trading features available are Link Trade, Surprise Trade and Swap Cards.
You need a Nintendo Switch Online account to access Y-Comm online only. Therefore, making transactions via the Internet requires a paid Nintendo subscription. You don't need Nintendo membership to trade via Local Login.
Trade Pokémon using the link
Link Trade allows you to trade your Pokémon with other trainers. You can trade with a random trainer or by inviting a specific player via a link code. Check out these steps to trade:
- Open the Y-Comm menu by pressing the Y button.
- Press + to connect to the internet and select Link Trade.
- Choose "Start Trading" to trade with anyone or "Set Link Code" to trade Pokémon with friends.
- If you press "Set Linking Code", you must enter the same code as your partner.
- Once logged in, select a Pokemon to trade.
- After viewing the Pokémon offered by your trading partner, you can accept or decline the trade.
- The exchange will be successful once both parties have pressed “accept”. Otherwise, you can try again.
You are free to move around while the game searches for a trading partner, as the game will notify you once it finds a partner. Note that traded Pokémon are immediately available for use.
Additionally, you can switch between internet and local communication using the + button.
Trade Pokemon Using Surprise Trades
As the name suggests, a surprise trade is a non-standard trade that trades your chosen Pokémon with a random player's chosen Pokémon. Neither party knows what they will receive. Note that you will need an active Nintendo Switch Online service.
Check out these steps to make surprise trades:
- Press the Y button to open the Y-Comm menu.
- Select Surprise Transactions.
- Choose a Pokémon to trade.
- Press Start to begin searching for a trading partner.
Since this is a surprise trade, it can be completed automatically in the background as you don't need to confirm it by pressing accept. The game will inform you with “Trade completed” after a successful trade.
Swap League Cards
League cards are used as profile introductions for players. You can get them from Gym Leaders and other trainers after defeating them. It is also possible to create your own.
You can trade your custom league cards with other coaches. Follow these steps to trade cards:
- Open the Y-Comm screen by pressing Y.
- Unless you want to trade locally, press + to connect to the internet.
- Choose "Trade Cards".
- Choose between “Link Trade” or “Set Link Code” to trade with friends.
Play Link Battles
Additionally, you can battle against a random trainer or friend using Link Battle. To do this, select Link Battle from the Y-Comm menu and play locally or online.
Swap to catch them all!
If you are a finalist, trading is essential to complete your Pokédex. Trading allows you to obtain exclusive Pokémon from the other version of the game. In other words, it is possible and necessary to exchange between the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield versions to sometimes evolve and capture the 400 Pokémon available in the games.
As a bonus tip for your journey to catch them all, note that you can get all three entries by trading locally for free. To do this, you need two Nintendo Switches and two copies of Pokémon Sword or Shield. To get the starters to your main account, keep restarting the game from scratch on the Nintendo which will send the starter Pokemon to your main account via trading.
What is your ideal Pokemon trade? Which Pokémon did you receive after a surprise trade? Let us know in the comment section below.