Pokemon Sword and Shield: How-to Trade – With Friends & Online!

We're taking a look at how-to trade in Pokemon Sword and Shield! This whole system is quite a bit different from the past games, so you'll want to to know what you're getting into before you go looking to swap your Pokemon. This generation has removed GTS, but includes Link Trading both online and locally. You can also use Surprise Trade to hopefully get something awesome at random for a Pokemon of your choice!

How-to Obtain Trading

You will need to move forward in the story enough to get the Dynamax Band which is about 30 minutes to an hour into the story of the game. A couple of Wishing Stars will fall from the sky and Magnolia will create you a Dynamax Band to wear. Once you obtain this band, you will be able to access Y-Comm by pressing the Y button. Y-Comm is the hub where you will be able to engage in trades as well as battle your friends.

Link Trading

Link Trade is going to be the main hub for trading that you will need to focus on. You can trade locally with a friend who has a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite, or you can go online and trade at random or with a specific person.

Trading Locally

You do not need to be online to use this method, but you will need to be nearby someone with an additional Switch or Switch Lite. Just hit the Y button and press Link Trade while not connected to the internet. It will say "Local Communication" in the top right if you aren't connected. If you are connected, just hit the + button to disconnect. Press Link Trade and hit Start trading in the menu. It will attempt to locate someone nearby to trade with. Have your friend do the same on their device and it should connect you both. If you're near a lot of people who are attempting to engage in trade locally, you can set a link code and tell your friend to enter it on their device to only connect to each other!

Trading Online

Unfortunately, there's no GTS in Pokemon Sword and Shield. This would allow you to search for specific Pokemon across the globe! It was a pretty nice system, but it could be a bit frustrating if people were asking for super rare Pokemon for their more common types. In Sword and Shield you have two options when trading online. You can just enter a Link Trade while connected to the internet (make sure you have WiFi on your Switch and then press the + button to connect to the web in Y-Comm), or you can create a Link Code that someone else can enter which will connect you directly to each other.

Just pressing Link Trade without a code will seek out a random person who is also looking to trade. This can be a very mixed bag because you don't know what Pokemon they will have and it can be somewhat hard to communicate with each other. The better method is finding someone online via Reddit's PokemonTrades or looking for someone to trade with in the Pokemon Subreddit's Discord! Once you find them, just go to Link Trade and hit set a Link Code. Put in any four numbers and then give those numbers to the person you want to trade with. They can then do the same and you will connect to each other in game!

Surprise Trade

Surprise Trade is the replacement for Wonder Trade. This system gives you the ability to add any Pokemon you have in your PC box to Surprise Trade. The game will then seek another player who has added a Pokemon to the system and will send you that Pokemon in place of the one you submitted. It is basically just trading at random. It will sometimes yield some pretty great results if you're lucky, but most of the time you're likely just going to get a low level common Pokemon.

If you want to engage in this style of trading, I would recommend waiting for a week or so after the release. This gives people sometime to collect better Pokemon and breed their starters. Once this starts up, you can usually get some of the exclusives from the other version of the game or maybe the starter you didn't decide to pick! However, you might still just get a bunch of Skwovets!

That's everything we know on trading in Pokemon Sword and Shield for now! We'll be updating this guide with additional methods and tips if anything should show itself.

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About the Author

Shaun aka Evident is a lifelong gamer and creator of websites. He mostly focuses on shooters, but has been known to dabble in the occasional card game as well. You can find him binge watching TV shows in his downtime.

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  1. If you’d like to trade with me, please let me know! (you HAVE to trade mew for a gygantamax charizard (the mew MUST be lvl 55)) the code is 1111 and let me know to set it!