How To Chain Trade Your Way Through the Global Trade Station To A Complete Pokedex

A guide to completing a Pokedex for the ambitious Pokemon Trainer. Use the GTS to your advantage and keep trading up!

A guide to completing a Pokedex for the ambitious Pokemon Trainer. Use the GTS to your advantage and keep trading up!

So you’ve beaten your way through the story of Pokemon Omega Ruby or Pokemon Alpha Sapphire (or Pokemon X/Y) and have decided to take up the ultimate Pokemon challenge: completing your Pokedex. Since there are currently 721 revealed Pokemon including the yet to be released Hoopa and Volcanion, you have your task cut out for you. 

The good news is this: through Pokemon Bank, the Global Trade Station, and a Good Rod, you have all the tools you need at your disposal. As long as you have a little patience, your Pokemon Professor should be singing your praises within a month or so. So here’s our list of trading tips to become a Pokemon Master. 

Sidenote: Chain trading differs from a Living Pokedex in that a chain-trading user trades all her Pokemon after receiving their Pokedex entries while a Living Pokedex creator attempts to have all 721 Pokemon in order and in boxes. 

Step 1: Your starter Pokemon is the key to all starters (and less valuable ‘mon). 

If you’ve been playing Pokemon since the beginning, then the wide availability of starter Pokemon on the GTS may be surprising to you. Back in the days when you had to use Link Cables to trade, getting all available starter Pokemon was problematic, particularly in the Red/Blue/Yellow days before breeding. 

Since the introduction of the GTS, that is not the case. Starters from every generation are available, and breeding a few starters from your initial Pokemon gains you access to all them. 

That said, the starters from Pokemon Diamon/Pearl/Platinum and Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver are in slightly more demand since those games (and their Pokemon) are not as widely played as newer games. It takes some additional steps to get Pokemon from Generation IV and later, you have to first transfer them to Pokemon White/Black use the PokeTransfer and then use the Pokemon Bank to transfer them to Pokemon ORAS

So to recap: breed your starter Pokemon to trade for other starters and don’t be surprised if it’s slightly more difficult to come by Cyndaqil, Totodile, Chikorita, Chimchar, Piplup, and Turtwig. 

Step 2: Trade a Starter for a Version Exclusive

Once you’ve obtained all the starter Pokemon you could ever dream of, try to trade up to a Version Exclusive Pokemon. Version Exclusive Pokemon are those little monsters that are only available on one game of its generation. For example, Skrelp is only available in Alpha Sapphire while Clauncher is only available in Omega Ruby

It’s very easy to trade Version Exclusives for their direct counterparts, a Mawile for a Sableye is a good example of this, as is trading a fossil Pokemon like Kabuto for Omanyte. Trades like that also go through very quickly on the GTS, saving you time and allowing you to go through more trades in a day. 

Step 3: Use your Good Rod/Great Rod

I hate fishing in Pokemon games. You have to pay just enough attention to push the “A” button to reel in your catch, which gets repetitive and boring. Since almost everybody hates fishing, that means that certain fish Pokemon carry great weight in the GTS. 

Skrelp is one such Pokemon. They’re obtainable fairly early in both Pokemon X and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and they evolve into the Poison/Dragon type Dragalge which is highly sought after.

In other words, you can breed a sought-after fish Pokemon like Skrelp all day to fill in some of those pesky Pokedex holes. If you’re playing X/Y, try to chain-fish Huntail or Gorebyss. Under normal conditions, a Clamperl can only evolve through trading, but X/Y gives you the chance to fish for Clamperl’s evolutions instead. 

Step 4: Trade a Version Exclusive or Fish Pokemon for a Mega Pokemon

People love Mega Pokemon (especially Mega Slowbro) so most Megas are hot ticket trade items in the GTS, even without their Mega-stones. Try to trade your Skrelp (or whatever) for an easy to find in-game Mega Pokemon like Haunter or Kadabra. Both Haunter and Kadabra will evolve upon receipt, making them even more valuable for your net trade. 

Other easily obtainable Megas like Charizard, Gyrados, Sharpedo, and Camerupt can also be traded for at this stage. The key here is to start trading up your Version Exclusives/Fish for Mega Pokemon that are easy to find. Like your starter Pokemon, these Megas will be your ticket to rarer Megas. 

Step 5: Trade Your Mega Pokemon for a Better Mega Pokemon

Not all Mega Pokemon are created equal, which is the only way I can explain why we have a Mega Beedrill. So you’re going to want to trade a Charizard, Medicham, or Sharpedo for a Tyranitar, Salamence, or Aggron. 

Tyranitar is my personal pick at this stage, it’s one of my favorite Pokemon and their never bad to have on your team. Also, Tyranitar was the closest thing to perfect stat-wise when it debuted in Gen II. 

Alternatively at this stage you could trade your Mega Pokemon for Dragon-types. While Dragonite, Hydreigon, Goodra, and Haxorus don’t have Mega evolutions, they’re rarity and power can be a good trade-up from more common Megas.  The Fairy-type may have balanced out the Dragon-type dominance, but they’re still heavily in demand. 

Step 6: Trade Your Mega Pokemon for Pokemon that have special evolution requirements

Not all Pokemon evolve through leveling up, many require certain items in order to take their evolution to the next stage. Sneasel, for instance, has to be leveled up at night while holding the Razor Claw. Scyther can only evolve into Scizor if he’s holding a Metal Coat. Lickitung only involves unto Lilicky when it knows a certain move, and don’t even get me started on Eveelutions. 

The combination of item and (sometimes) trading makes these Pokemon doubly hard to obtain. Getting the necessary items alone can require long treks through caves, or long hours spent gaining BP. Trading for these types of Pokemon cuts down on a significant amount of time. So get rid of your Megas and start getting some Magenzones, Mamoswines, and 

Step 7: Trade Up for better special evolution types

You probably know what I’m talking about, the group of Pokemon in Generation IV that were just final evolution stages for previous Pokemon. Included in this category are Pokemon like Electivire, Magmortar, Dusknoir, Porygon-Z and Rhyperior. 

Besides Porygon-Z, these Pokemon are extremely large and in charge. Rhyperior, in particular, can just destroy your in-game opponents and he’s fun in competitive play as well. 

These are Pokemon that are almost legendary in and of themselves, and pack quite a punch in trade value. If you can’t jump straight from a Weaville to a Rhyperior, that’s okay. Try to go from a Weaville, to a Tangrowth, to a Rhyperior. Just continue working your way up to this level. 

Step 8: Start Trading for Legendaries

This is probably the step you’ve been waiting for all along, that cheerful moment when you can finally start catching the dozens of legendary Pokemon available to you. 


You’ll first want to trade something like a Magmortar for an easily accessible legendary Pokemon like the Swords of Justice Trio, the legendary birds, or Kyogre and Groudon. Then, you just have to keep trading (up and sideways) until you’ve gotten all the needed dex entries. 

This chart from Reddit user MistaWhiska is a great resource. While it’s a bit outdated since many legendaries are newly available in Pokemon ORAS, the chart can tell you how valuable a legendary is. Just remember, getting your first legendary is the hardest. After that, you’ll find that it should get easier. 

Step 9: Bonus! Trade Legendaries for Event Exclusive Legendaries

By this point you should have obtained all the non-event exclusive legendaries. This means that your Pokedex is done, and you’re taking on the bonus challenge of obtaining the rarest of the rare Pokemon.

These Pokemon like Mew, Celebi, Victini, Darkrai have only been available through sponsored events. You feel special inside knowing you own just one of these beauties. 

Unfortunately, you can’t actually trade these on the Global Trade Station. In order to obtain these, you’ll need to hit up trading boards, such as r/PokemonTrades and hope a stranger will befriend you and help you out. 

In order to convince someone of trading you an event exclusive legendary you’ll need to upgrade yet again. Shiny legendaries are often enticing enough to get you an event exclusive, as are competitive Pokemon with 5 ivs and rare abilities. 

With some hard work, and vigilance you’ll find your in. Now you can finally pat yourself on the back and add the title of “Pokemon Master” to your business cards.  

About the author