If you want to play Pokemon seriously online, you’ll need to build a competitive team. But building a team for the big leagues isn’t as easy as just catching a few Pokemon and leveling them up. When playing competitively, Pokemon turns from a relatively simple game to deceptively complex, with enough hidden numbers, stats, and calculations to make a mathematician’s head spin.
The key to building the perfect team all comes down to proper breeding techniques. With our Pokemon Sword and Shield Breeding guide, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge to create the Pokemon party of your dreams.
Breeding Basics - Why you should breed
Pokemon has a number of statistics and other abilities hidden under the hood that can greatly affect each Pokemon. No two Ponytas are alike, and the difference between a competitive ready Pokemon and one that lags behind is often in the numbers you can’t normally see.
A Pokemon’s strength in battle is measured by two things--Individual Values (IVs) and Effort Values (EVs). These two values could take a whole guide itself, but the gist is this: You want your Pokemon to have maximum IVs in at least every stat important to it, but preferably max IVs in every stat, while EVs need to be manipulated to give you the max stat gain in each level to the two or three most important stats for the Pokemon in question.
You can’t easily find a 6 perfect IV Pokemon--a Pokemon with max IVs in every stat--in the wild, and even if you do, it may not have the move set or Nature you need.
This is where breeding comes in. You can breed Pokemon, and with careful planning and a lot of patience, you can create the extra Pokemon you need for a competitive team.
When you should start breeding
Honestly, it’s best to wait until you’ve beaten Pokemon Sword or Shield and have the post-game content unlocked before you should delve into breeding. This will give you access to the Battle Tower, where you can buy a number of items that are helpful for competitive play, as well as the ability to see a Pokemon’s IVs, which is essential for breeding.
This will also give you time to gather up the Breeding items necessary to manipulate the breeding odds in your favor.
Breeding preparation - Ditto hunting
Ditto is like the holy grail of breeding. It can breed with any Pokemon, which cuts out a lot of the nonsense with things like Egg Groups and trying to figure out which Pokemon can breed with one another.
So, you’re going to want some of these little guys. You can learn where to catch them in our Ditto Catching guide, but for competitive breeding purposes, you’re going to want to keep something in mind--their IVs.
Unlike most other Pokemon, you can’t breed more Ditto, but it’s beneficial for Dittos that you use for breeding to have good IVs to make the process easier. You’ll want to catch a bunch of Dittos, then check their stats in the Battle Tower. Any Ditto that has at least one perfect IV can be useful. If you manage to catch one with 6 perfect IVs, keep that Ditto and cherish it forever, as it makes your life that much easier.
Also, try collecting Ditto in Raid battles, they tend to have way better IVs.
When to not use Ditto
There are a few rare times you won’t want to use a Ditto for breeding. If you’re trying to get an Egg Move to a specific Pokemon, you’ll have to look into Egg Groups and figure out which Pokemon can breed to get the move to the correct Pokemon. This complicates things immensely, so we will be omitting the Egg Move process from this guide.
Breeding - What to look out for
Now you finally have a bunch of Dittos and the Pokemon you want to breed, so it’s time to make some eggs. You’ll want to give a Destiny Knot to one of the Pokemon. Destiny Knots will pass down 5 IVs from 12 pulled from the parents down to the child. If you're breeding with one Pokemon with 6 perfect IVs and one Pokemon with no perfect IVs, you can keep breeding with the newly hatched Pokemon to slowly get more and more perfect IVs on subsequent breeds. This is why a 6 perfect IV Ditto is so valuable, as it makes the process that much easier.
From there, you need to worry about Natures. Natures will boost some stats at the cost of others, so it’s very important to boost your most important stat at the cost of the least important one. In normal circumstances, the Pokemon will obtain the nature of the female Pokemon; however, if you make a Pokemon hold an Everstone the holder will pass on its Nature to the child.
There is a way around Nature breeding this generation with the Mints, however. Mints can be bought with 50BP, and change a Pokemon’s Nature, flat out. However, Natures obtained from Mints DO NOT carry over to children Pokemon, so don’t try to use it to breed more Lax Snorlaxes!
From there, if you’re not interested in Egg Moves, all you need to do is EV train your Pokemon through Hyper Training, make sure to teach it the correct moves, and you have one competitive Pokemon! Now, just complete those steps five more times.
Breeding for Shinies
Shiny breeding is less about careful calculation and more about luck. There’s the Masuda method, which will raise the chances of a shiny hatching from an egg if you breed Pokemon from two different regions. If you have a Spanish Ditto and an English Wooloo, your chances of a shiny Wooloo are that much better.
Also, obtaining the Shiny charm also works for breeding shiny Pokemon, as well as catching them. It’s not yet known the exact chances these methods will give you, however.
But, if you’re trying to breed shinies, you might as well attempt to give them perfect IVs to boot. Nothing is better than a competitive Shiny Pokemon!