Sword and Shield's evolution methods can be a bit obscure, so we clarified them all for you, including how to get all Alcremie forms.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Special Evolution Methods

Sword and Shield's evolution methods can be a bit obscure, so we clarified them all for you, including how to get all Alcremie forms.

Pokemon Sword and Shield introduce a number of new evolution methods for some of its quirkier Pokemon, while tweaking some of the location-based evolution methods from previous games.

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Our handy Sword and Shield evolution guide covers them all to help you get those elusive ‘mons you want.

Applin Evolution Methods — How to Evolve Applin

Applin is the Grass/Dragon Pokemon that’s basically a Dragon worm living in an apple. You can find it in the Wild Area, but the easiest way to find it is Route 5 as a surprise encounter.

Applin’s evolution split is version-dependent, because each version gets a different evolution item for Applin.

In Sword, it evolves into Flapple after you use the Tart Apple on it. 

Alternatively, in Shield it gets Appletun after you give Applin a Sweet Apple.

Where to Find Tart Apple and Sweet Apple

Both items are found in two specific places in their respective versions.

The surefire way to get a Tart Apple or Sweet Apple is by heading to Hammerlocke. Near the Route 6 exist is an NPC who tells you how much he wants to show his love to his beloved — with an Applin.

He asks for yours, but fret not. He eventually gives it back, gets his own, and in return, gives you a Sweet Apple (Shield) or a Tart Apple (Sword).

These also randomly spawn on the island in Axew’s Eye in the Wild Area near the tree, and there’s a small chance you’ll get one by visiting a Battle Cafe and battling the owner, but the Hammerlocke NPC is your best bet if you just want one.

From there, give the item on your Applin as a hold item, and the evolution will start.

Sinistea Evolution Methods — How to Evolve Sinistea

Sinistea, the Ghost-type teapot, also requires an item, though it’s available in any version. You’ll use either the Chipped Pot or the Cracked Pot, but it gets a bit confusing here.

There are two kinds of Sinistea: normal (Forged) and rare (Authentic). Both are found in Glimwood Tangle as surprise encounters, and the only way to tell the difference is a little stamp of authenticity on the bottom. You can see it when you Dynamax Sinistea, but the easiest way to tell which kind you have is just by checking the evolution item required.

Normal/Forged Sinistea can only be evolved using the Cracked Pot item.

The Rare/Authentic Sinistea can only be evolved using the Chipped Pot item.

Once found, give it to Sinistea as a hold item for it to evolve.

Where to Find the Cracked Pot and Chipped Pot

Finding the Cracked Pot to evolve a normal/Forged Sinistea is simple.

In Stow-on-Side, there’s a ladder on your right as you’re heading towards the Gym. Climb it and follow the path to get a Cracked Pot. Alternatively, you can sometimes find them for sale at the Bargain Store in Stow-on-Side.

The Chipped Pot for evolving a rare/Authentic Sinistea can only be found in Stow-on-Side’s Bargain Store. The shop’s selection rotates daily, so if you don’t see it one day, there’s a high chance of finding it the next day.

Milcery Evolution Methods — How to Evolve Milcery

Milcery’s evolution method is a bit of a doozy, with a bunch of different outcomes depending on how you go about it. It has seven different evolution options!

Just to note: Milcery itself can be found on Route 4 as a surprise encounter or in Max Raids, the Bridge Field, or Giant’s Mirror sections of the Wild Area.

After that, head to one of the game’s Battle Cafes. These can be found in

  • Motostoke
  • Hammerlocke
  • Wyndon

You can challenge the Cafe Master in these once per day, with a chance of getting a special evolution-related item. Some of these are for Pokemon like Swirlix, but there’s also a chance you’ll get one of seven different Milcery evolution items.

  • Strawberry Sweet
  • Berry Sweet
  • Love Sweet
  • Star Sweet
  • Clover Sweet
  • Flower Sweet
  • Ribbon Sweet

Any of these items will work for evolving Milcery into Alcremie, with the only change in outcome being what Alcremie has adorning its head and its eye color.

With sweet item in hand, give it to Milcery as a hold item. Then, spin to whip its cream up and evolve it into Alcremie.

Alcremie Forms Guide

You’ve probably seen videos of the cute little spin your avatar can do, where you rotate the left stick continuously to put them into a spin, and then when you stop, they strike a pose like Champion Leon’s.

For evolving Milcery, when and how you spin determines what Alcremie will ultimately look like.

Alremie Result Spin Requirements
  Vanilla Cream (plain white) Spin clockwise during the day.
  Ruby Cream (pinkish tinge)  Spin counterclockwise during the day.
Matcha Cream (greenish tinge) Spin clockwise at night.
Salted Cream (pure white) Spin counterclockwise at night.
Mint Cream (blueish-green tinge)  Spin counterclockwise for more than five seconds at night.
Lemon Swirl (white with yellow streaks) Spin clockwise for more than five seconds at night.
Caramel Swirl (white with light brown streaks) Spin clockwise for more than five seconds during the day.
Ruby Swirl (white with pinkish streaks)  Spin counterclockwise for over five seconds during the day.
Rainbow Swirl (all possible colors) Spin counterclockwise for over 10 seconds at dusk (between 5pm and 5:59pm).


Farfetch’d Evolution Method — How to Get Sirfetch’d

Farfetch’d finally gets an evolution, but it’s exclusive to Pokemon Sword.

You’ll need a Farfetch’d obviously, so head to Route 5 for that, and then you need to get three critical hits in one battle.

The easiest way to do that is to teach Farfetch’d Focus Energy. To do that, go to Motostoke and speak to the NPC outside the record store. He’ll give you Technical Record 13, which teaches Focus Energy, but only once.

If you’ve already used TR13, you’ll just have to hope you get lucky in a Max Raid battle in the Wild Area.

From there, get into a fight with a sturdy opponent. Use Focus Energy, then choose a weak attack like Peck. Repeat until you score three critical hits.

Alternatively, you could use False Swipe instead of a weak move. It never knocks your opponent out, and you can buy the TM94 for it early on.

Clobbopus Evolution Method — How to Get Grapploct

Grapploct is one of Sword and Shield‘s more popular new Pokemon. You can technically catch one outright in the Wild Area as a possible strong spawn, but it’ll probably be way too high level to catch and/or demolish you with a suction cup.

So, the easiest way is just to raise it from a Clobbopus. You’ll find these on Route 9, or you might get lucky and come across one in a Max Raid or the Wild Area’s Dusty Bowl and North Lake Miloch.

Clobbopus evolve into Grapploct once it levels up while knowing the move Taunt.

You can do one of two things:

  • You can raise it to level 35, when it learns Taunt naturally, then level it up once more (EXP Candies from Max Raids would help here).
  • Or, if you can check the Watt Vendors in the Wild Area to see if any of them are hawking TR37, which teaches Taunt.

Toxel Evolution — How to Get Each Toxitricity

Toxel’s evolution branch isn’t quite as complicated as Applin’s. Like Milcery, the changes are largely aesthetic.

Toxel is the adorably sullen Poison/Electric baby-looking Pokemon, and while you can find it on Route 7, you can also get a level 1 Toxel free of charge by visiting the Day Care on Route 5 and speaking with the NPC in the lobby.

Toxel needs to level up to 30 to evolve into Toxitricity, and its nature determines which kind of Toxitricity you get.

The only difference apart from how they look is that Amped Toxitricity can learn Venoshock, while Low-Key Tocitricity learns Venom Drench.

Amped-Form Toxitricity

Level Toxel up to 30 if it has any of the following Natures:

  • Adamant
  • Brave
  • Docile
  • Hardy
  • Hasty
  • Impish
  • Jolly
  • Lax
  • Naive
  • Naughty
  • Rash
  • Quirky
  • Sassy
Low-Key Form Toxitricity

Level Toxel up to 30 if it has any of the following Natures:

  • Bashful
  • Bold
  • Calm
  • Careful
  • Gentle
  • Lonely
  • Mild
  • Modest
  • Quiet
  • Relaxed
  • Serious
  • Timid

Galarian Yamask Evolution — How to Evolve Yamask

Galarian Yamask lives in Route 6, and its evolution is as finnicky as Farfetch’d’s.

You’ll need it to take 49 points or more of damage in one hit, and then walk under the Giant Arch in the Dusty Bowl portion of the Wild Area. After that, it’ll evolve into Runerigus, a Ground/Ghost type.

Pokemon with Changed Evolution Methods

There are a few Pokemon who evolve differently in Sword and Shield.

Eevee — How to Get Glaceon and Leafeon

Since there aren’t any location specific evolution methods in Gen VIII, you just need to use an Ice Stone to get Glaceon and a Leaf Stone to get Leafeon. The Digging Duo near the Wild Area Day Care is the best way to get elemental stones.

Galarian Darumaka — How to Get Galarian Darmanitan

This one’s equally as simple. Use an Ice Stone on the Sword-exclusive Galarian Darumaka (after catching one on Route 8 or Route 10), and you’ll have your Galarian Darmanitan

Charjabug — How to Get Vikavolt in Sword and Shield

Charjabug might pop up in the Wild Area, or you can just find Grubbin on Route 1 if you’re lucky. Either way, once you’ve got your Charjabug, you’ll only need to use a Thunderstone to get Vikavolt.

That’s it for Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield‘s weird evolution methods, but be sure to check out our other Pokemon Sword and Shield guides for more tips and tricks to make you a Pokemon master.

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Josh Broadwell
Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.