The Pokémon world is filled with weird and wonderful creatures, from sentient trash to actual gods. Many of these pocket monsters can evolve, which causes them to change shape and powers. Evolution is an effective way to build up a Pokémon team with powerful creatures – even if some evolutions are completely unnecessary. Evolution can also be a fickle topic in Pokémon lore due to the variety of causes at play.
From stones to location and time-based evolutions, the franchise has been doling out new methods of evolution every generation. As newer evolution methods get introduced, the Pokémon series shows just how weird some of its requirements are for evolution. Whether it’s beauty or twirls, evolution requirements in Pokémon games evolve just as frequently as Pokémon themselves.
Updated on November 22, 2022, by Michael Colwander: The Pokémon ecosystem is constantly growing, and with each new game comes strange Pokémon with weird evolution requirements. Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have some of the weirdest evolutions of them all.
20/20 It Takes A Few Steps To Evolve Rellor Into Rabsca
Rellor is the Bug-type Rolling Pokémon, based on a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung. To evolve Rellor into the Bug and Psychic-type Rabsca, the player must take 1000 steps using the Let’s Go feature, which allows the lead Pokémon to follow the player much like the Pokémon Let’s Go games among others. Afterward, Rellor will need to be leveled up while still the lead Pokémon.
With such a unique way to level up a Pokémon, it’d be a shame if it was only utilized for one evolution. Thankfully, Rellor isn’t the only Pokémon that evolves this way. Pawmo evolves into Pawmot and Bramblin evolves into Brambleghast in Let’s Go mode.
19/20 Finizen Evolves With The Power Of Real-Life Friendship
Finally! After years of hoping and asking, there’s actually a dolphin Pokémon! Unless Tapu Fini counts, of course. Finizen is the Water-type Dolphin Pokémon. To evolve Finizen into Palafin, Finizen must level up to level 38 while the player is in a Union Circle.
Yes, the player is required to play in multiplayer to evolve Finizen, which is a modern take on trade evolutions. Players don’t have to interact with each other, however, just be in a Union Circle group. While Palafin may look similar to Finizen, its Hero Mode ability greatly changes its appearance.
18/20 Bisharp Needs To Take Out Fellow Bisharps To Evolve Into Kingambit
While fans weren’t as eager for a Bisharp evolution as they were with Dunsparce, Bisharp’s evolution into Kingambit is still a welcomed development. Kingambit is a reference to the aggressive opening chess move, King’s Gambit, where a player sacrifices a pawn to open up a path to the opposing King, assuming the opposing player accepts the sacrificed pawn.
To evolve Bisharp into Kingambit, the player’s Bisharp must level up after defeating three Bisharps that lead a group of Pawniards. While evolution methods have used combat as a means to evolve in the past, defeating one’s own kind is definitely a new one.
17/20 Gimmighoul Evolves Into Gholdengo Once The Player Is Wealthy Enough
Gimmighoul is a Ghost-type Coin Chest Pokémon that, in its chest form, is akin to the classic mimic enemy in JRPGs where unsuspecting players open up a chest only to find an enemy. Gimmighoul can be found by similar means in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.
In battle, the player receives Gimmighoul Coins from Gimmighoul. To evolve Gimmieghoul into Gholdengo, the player will need to amass 999 Gimmighoul coins and level up while in chest form. After which, the Gimmighoul Coins will disappear. The number of Gimmighoul Coins is likely a reference to its Pokédex number being 999 and Gholdengo being 1000.
16/20 Tandemaus Will Evolve Into Maushold When They’re Ready, So Stop Pestering
Tandemaus is the Normal-type Couple Pokémon. Tandemaus takes the form of two adorable stuffed animal-like mice. Its evolution, Maushold, adds one or two little mice. Whether it’s a Family of Three or a Family of Four is based on an internal value. The Family of Three form is much rarer as it’s a 1/25 chance.
Tandemaus evolves into Maushold randomly after a level up starting with level 25. Mid-20s is a common age point for a couple to begin starting a family, so Tandemaus might hit a little too close to home for adult Pokémon players, especially couples who share in their love of Pokémon. Tandemaus will evolve when the time is right.
15/20 Eevee Covers Most Evolution Methods
Eevee is one of the most popular Pokémon in the entire series. Beyond its adorable looks, Eevee can evolve into eight different Pokémon based on different typings: Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Espeon, Umbreon, Leafeon, Glaceon, and Sylveon. Vaporeon, Jolteon, and Flareon require evolutionary stones based on the desired typing.
Espeon and Umbreon require a level up with a high enough friendship during the day or night. Leafeon and Glaceon require a level up with a high enough friendship within specific locations. Sylveon requires Eevee to know a Fairy-type move and be leveled up with a high enough friendship. Previously, the Sylveon evolution required a high affection stat instead of friendship.
14/20 White-Striped Basculin Must Cause Damage To Itself
Regional variants can breathe new life into old Pokémon by introducing different looks, typings, and evolutions. Pokémon Legends: Arceus introduces trainers to the Hisui region where a White-Striped Basculin lurks in the waters, acting as the Hisuian variant of Basculin.
The Hisuian exclusive White-Striped Basculin can evolve into Basculegion. To do so, trainers will need to cause damage to White-Striped Basculin through recoil. It takes at least 294 damage, without fainting, to pull this off. Thankfully, this doesn’t need to be done in one battle. Wave Crash (learned at level 34) and Double Edge (learned at level 43) will cause recoil when used.
13/20 Hisuian Qwilfish Requires Move Mastery
Much like Basculin, Qwilfish is another forgotten Pokémon that received some much-needed love in the form of a new regional variant. Generation 2’s Hisuian Qwilfish loses its water typing in favor of dark while keeping its poison typing.
To evolve Hisuian Qwilfish into Overqwil, trainers will need to use Pokémon Legend’s Move Mastery mechanic, which increases a move’s speed or power. An Agile Style move is faster, but less powerful and effective. A Strong Style move is more powerful, accurate, and effective, but slower. Hisuian Qwilfish will need to use the Barb Barrage move in Strong Style at least 20 times to evolve into Overqwil.
12/20 Stantler Finally Received An Evolution In Hisui
It wouldn’t be right for one Generation 2 Pokémon to evolve using Strong Style moves without having another evolve using an Agile Style one. This was where the classic Normal-type Pokémon Stantler came into play. Its evolution, Wyrdeer, was one of the first new Pokémon revealed in Pokémon Legends.
Wyrdeer adds a psychic type while keeping its normal typing, making it formidable against ghost types. To evolve a Stantler into a Wyrdeer, trainers will need to use the Psyshield Bash move in Agile Style at least 20 times. This move is exclusive to Pokémon Legends, and Stantler learns it at level 21.
11/20 Ursaring Can Only Evolve Under The Full Moon In Hisui
Ursaring became another Generation 2 Pokémon that received an evolution. Unlike Qwilfish and Stantler, Ursaring is already an evolved form of the Pokémon Teddiursa. Pokémon Legends provided the Teddiursa line with one final evolution, Ursaluna.
As its name suggests, evolving into an Ursaluna requires help from the moon. Players will need to use the rare item Peat Block on Ursaring during a full moon. Ursaluna adds ground typing on top of its normal typing, which actually adds many weaknesses in water, grass, and ice. Despite this, Ursaluna has an electric immunity.
10/20 Feebas’ Evolution Requirements Were Changed For Later Generations
As one of the least intelligent creatures in the Pokémon universe, Feebas has had a tough time since its introduction in the Hoenn region of Generation 3. Its popularity diminished to almost nothing when trainers tried to catch one in the wild only to bet met with incredibly low encounter rates.
In the Hoenn games, players evolved Feebas into the beautiful Milotic by increasing its beauty stat to 170, then leveling it up. Feebas was the only Pokémon that evolved like this. In later generations, it evolved with a Prism scale instead.
9/20 Raining On Sliggoo’s Evolution Parade
Sliggoo was introduced in Generation 6 and is the middle evolution of the generation’s pseudo-legendary Dragon-type. While cute, Sliggoo has a darker side as it eats by secreting an acidic mucus that melts its prey, before slurping it up.
Evolving a Sliggoo is a difficult process since it must be done in certain locations and requires rain or fog conditions to evolve. These conditions can’t be achieved in battle using moves like Rain Dance, rather it must be an overworld condition. This method of evolution is the same even with Hisuian Sliggoo.
8/20 Nincada Has A Simultaneous Branching Evolution
A burrowing Pokémon, Nincada spends most of its life underground until a trainer catches it or it needs to forage for food. Much like its real-world counterpart, the cicada, Nincada can be noisy. However, the wings on Nincada’s back aren’t as strong, so it doesn’t fly.
A Nincada evolves regularly at level 20 into Ninjask. If there is an open slot in the party and an empty Pokéball, Nincada leaves its husk behind in evolution, making Shedninja. Nincada is the only Pokémon that creates a second evolution at the same time.
7/20 Mantyke Needs Help From Another Pokémon
Introduced in Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, Mantyke is a Generation 4 Pokémon that serves as the pre-evolved form of the Generation 2 Pokémon, Mantine. Mantyke is a baby Pokémon that swims the seas and hops through the sky as a water/flying type.
The evolution method for Mantyke is strange because it relies on another Generation 2 Pokémon, Remoraid. Considering Mantine is accompanied by a Remoraid, this makes perfect sense. As long as a Remoraid is in the party while Mantyke levels up, it will evolve into Mantine. This can happen at any level from two onward.
6/20 Tyrogue Evolves Based On Its Stats
Tyrogue is a special Pokémon. Outside the Eevee line, it has the most evolutions. As a fighting-type baby Pokémon, it spends most of its time in training. It should be noted that Tyrogue and its evolutions are a male-only species.
The basics for evolving a Tyrogue is to get it to level 20, but which of its evolutions depends on this fighting baby’s stats. Hitmonlee requires an attack stat higher than its defense, Hitmonchan requires a higher attack over defense, and Hitmontop requires a balanced attack and defense.
5/20 Shelmet and Karrablast Need To Be Traded For Each Other
Shelmet and Karrablast will be rivals for life. Introduced in Generation 5, Shelmet is a snail-like Pokémon that lives in a shell reminiscent of a helmet while Karrablast is a simple tiny beetle Pokémon. Karrablast typically eats Shelmet, but this is mostly done when a Karrablast feels it’s time to evolve.
How Shelmet and Karrablast evolve is entirely unique to them. They have to be traded for each other, meaning player one trades a Shelmet and player two trades a Karrablast, which results in them evolving as they pass each other.
4/20 It’s Critical That Trainers Evolve Galarian Farfetch’d In Battle
Galarian Farfetch’d, the Galar regional form of everyone’s favorite leek-carrying duck, provides the Generation 1 Pokémon a long-awaited evolution. In the roaming fields of Galar, the Farfetch’d have become tougher in the wild, leading them to become a different species.
Galarian Farfetch’d can evolve into Sirfetch’d using a unique method in battle. The way to achieve this evolution is to enter a battle with Galarian Farfetch’d and score three successful critical hits. While it doesn’t matter if the opposing Pokémon faints afterward, it’s key that this happens in a single battle.
3/20 Galarian Yamask Is A Painful Evolution
Another regional variant from Generation 8, Galarian Yamask takes some of the immense sadness of traditional Yamask. Yamask normally carries around a mask of its human face, cries while looking at it, and trades that for a darker runic shape.
While Yamask evolves by reaching level 34, Galarian Yamask requires much more detail. The trainer must have their Pokémon lose at least 49 hit points and then travel under a specific stone bridge in Dusty Bowl. Galarian Yamask can’t faint or be healed, making it one of the series’ most savage evolutions.
2/20 Inkay Turns The Squid Pokémon Upside-Down
A Generation 6 Dark and Psychic-type Squid Pokémon, Inkay is often mistaken for a water-type Pokémon due to its design and origins. While Inkay isn’t a Water-type, it swims around in the air using its mental abilities to hover around, using its tentacles to move.
Inkay was the bane of many trainers’ Pokédex filling journey due to its unusual evolution method. Players had to evolve Inkay by getting it to level 30, then flipping the game system (3DS/Switch) upside down, triggering the evolution.
1/20 Milcery Practically Needs A Recipe To Evolve
Milcery is a cream-based Pokémon that looks like an everlasting drop of milk given life. This Fairy-type Pokémon is a female-only species that smells sweet. While not great for competitive matches, Milcery is the perfect companion for cooking and baking trainers like Chefs.
The most interesting Generation 8 Pokémon evolution-wise, Milcery’s evolution process added several factors. These includes held items, time of day, spin length, and spin direction, which could result in 70 different versions of Alcremie. As an example, a Vanilla Cream Alcremie was achieved after spinning clockwise for less than five seconds during the day.
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