Evolution. Most Pokémon have at least one evolved form for trainers to work towards. Aside from the obvious change in appearance, evolution gives you stronger Pokémon with new moves and in some cases learnsets that really help you out as a trainer throughout your adventure. Pokémon either have one or two evolved forms, usually triggered by simply leveling the Pokémon up. It isn’t always as simple as that, however, and there are plenty of alternative methods out there, depending on which Pokémon you’re trying to evolve.
The most typical alternative to leveling a Pokémon up has been evolutionary stones. Though not the rarest items in the game, they are fairly tough to come by and therefore must be used with some thought. Evolution via held item or trade is also a common trigger and sometimes a mixture of the two as well.
As these are some of the most common in the game, don’t expect to see them on this list. In some cases, evolving certain Pokémon has gotten to be more and more of a convoluted chore as the games have gone on. But it’s a fun way to keep things interesting while introducing some cool new mechanics.
Here are 20 weird Pokémon evolution methods that you wouldn’t have figured out on your own.
Mamoswine is a massive Ice/Ground-type that many trainers would be interested in having in their party. The final evolution of Gen II’s Swinub, Mamoswine was first introduced in Gen IV – and came with a pretty strange method of evolution.
Depending on what moves you teach your Pokémon, they may or may not evolve.
In order to move on from Piloswine, trainers must have it learn the move Ancient Power and then level it up. Only then will they be able to get their hands on Mamoswine. In order to do this, you’ll either need to make use of the breeding mechanic or a move tutor.
Of all the Pokémon on this list, Mantine is the only one that gives you a hint as to what conditions need to be met in order to pull of its evolution via its character design. Introduced in Gen II, Mantine received a baby Pokémon form in Gen Iv by the name of Mantyke.
You’ll need two Pokémon to pull this evolution off. The first is the baby Mantyke, while the second is the Gen II Water-type Remoraid. In order to get their hands on Mantine, trainers will have to level up Mantyke with a Remoraid in their party. If you ever wondered why Mantine’s design was what it was, now you know.
Fairy-types have become fairly desirable in the Pokémon community, in large part to their lack of weaknesses. As far as pure Fairy-types, Slurpuff is on the average side stat-wise. That doesn’t make it an easy Pokémon to obtain though.
Players wanting to get their hands on Slurpuff will first need to catch a Swirlix, and then do some scavenger hunting. In order to evolve, Swirlix needs to be traded while holding a Whipped Dream. It’s as easy as that, but not exactly the most intuitive method out there.
One of the newest Pokémon on our list, Crabominable is an intimidating brawler that serves as a fantastic party member throughout your Sun & Moon and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon playthroughs. However, getting it to evolve from Crabrawler can be a little tricky.
When it comes to training your Pokémon, the location is sometimes the key.
No matter how much effort you put into training it, Crabrawler won’t evolve unless you’ve been doing so in a certain part of Alola; Mount Lanakila. That means you’ll be going through a decent chunk of your journey without any way of evolving this Fighting-type like it or not.
Another one of the newer Pokémon on our list, Salazzle is a pretty useful glass cannon that hits opponents quick and hard with its high speed and special attack stats. However, trainers hoping to evolve one from Salandit must be careful of one thing; the Pokémon’s gender.
Salandit evolves starting at level 33, but that only applies to the female ones. You won’t ever see a male Salazzle anywhere in the Pokémon community. If you don’t have this information before hand, you might get stuck fruitlessly training a male Salandit with no hopes of it ever evolving.
Next up are some pretty popular Eevelutions introduced in Gen IV with some pretty similar evolution conditions. Eevee has always been a dynamic Pokémon in the series. Despite being a Normal-type, its evolved forms branch out all over the board, with Leafeon and Glaceon covering the Ice and Grass-types respectively.
In order to obtain one of these two, players will need to level up their Eevee either by a Moss or Ice Rock, depending on which you want. Evolving Eevee has gotten less straightforward with each new Eevelution. But on the plus side, it’s always been a rewarding experience.
Here’s another Gen IV evolution of a previously introduced Gen II Pokémon. Aside from its mischievous design, there wasn’t really anything all that notable about Aipom. It wasn’t the strongest Pokémon out there and wasn’t really a viable party member for late-game challenges.
Getting an evolved form is really beneficial to weaker, less utilized Pokémon.
Aipom can only evolve if it levels up and knows the move Double Hit, which in the current generation comes at level 32. This might seem simple enough, but chances are players who’ve stuck with it that long already have a set learnset they’re comfortable with. So teaching it such a mediocre move might not be too high on their priority list.
This next method of evolution is pretty much random, and therefore out of the players hands. Wurmple isn’t all that impressive of a Pokémon, as most Bug-types aren’t. But what really makes this a notable companion is the sporadic way in which it evolves.
Wurmple has two final evolutions; Beautifly and Dustox. Whether it evolves into one or the other depends on its assigned personality value, which is out of the player’s hands. Seeing as it reaches its final form at level 10, the best thing to do would be to train a couple early game and choose your favorite.
Sometimes, too much choice can be a bit of a bad thing – or in this case just plain overwhelming. Tyrogue is a baby Pokémon introduced in Gen II. While not all that impressive, it evolves into three fairly useful Fighting-types; Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, and Hitmontop.
Depending on which of its stats are higher, Tyrogue will evolve into one of the three aforementioned brawlers. Attack for Hitmonlee, Defense for Hitmonchan and a balance of both for Hitmontop. This makes training it all the more important unless you’re okay with whatever.
This next one is quite a challenge, as it involves some less than straightforward methods of evolution every which way. Blissey is a great Pokémon that can take a ton of damage and really tire out opposing Pokémon. However, acquiring it is a fairly challenging task.
Staring with its baby form, Happiny; trainers must evolve it while having it hold on to an Oval Stone during the day time. Those are a lot of parameters to get right. Once that happens, it’s a matter of leveling up your Chansey with high enough friendship.
We’re back with some more Eeveelutions, this time arguably two of the most popular out there. Umbreon and Espeon were introduced in Gen II and made good use of the newly introduced day and night as well as friendship mechanics.
Make sure to treat your Eevee with care, or you’ll never get one of these solid evolutions.
There isn’t all that much to getting one of these two; just treat your Eevee right and pay attention to what time of day you’re training it at. An Eevee that finally evolves in the day will turn into Espeon while one that evolves at night will give you an Umbreon.
Some Pokémon’s evolution conditions are easier to guess than others, but it’s really hard to tell when a Pokémon’s evolution will vary depending on its gender. That’s the case for Burmy, a weak Pokémon even by Bug-type standards.
Burmy has two final evolutions, and as you might’ve guessed, they vary depending on whether it’s a male or female Pokémon. A male Burmy evolves into Mothim while a female one evolves into Wormadam. Regardless of the gender, it evolves at level 20.
Here’s another Bug-type with a pretty strange way of evolving. There are a bunch of interesting and unique methods of evolution on this list, but this one seems to be one of the more obscure and chance discoveries you’ll hear of.
As many trainers know, Nincada evolves into Ninjask at level 20. However, this evolution offers players a kind of two-in-one experience. If the player has room in their party as well as an extra Poke Ball in their bag, they’ll also receive a Shedinja. Failing to meet one of the two parameters will cause trainers to lose out on this cool evolution altogether.
Another Eeveelution on our list, Sylveon is the cream of the crop when it comes to Fairy-type Pokémon. It’s up there as one of the best Eeveelution’s in the games, with both incredible special attack and defense.
Trainers wanting to get their hands on this useful Pokémon must first put some effort into raising their Eevee’s affection level by at least two. But most importantly, Eevee has to know at least one Fairy-type move in order to kick off the evolution. It only learns two; Baby-Doll Eyes and Charm – at levels 9 and 29 respectively – so making sure not to replace them throughout your training is key here.
Pancham doesn’t look like much of a fighter, and just by looking at its stats that seems like a pretty good guess. The scrappy looking dark-type Pokémon doesn’t really have all that much going for it except for its attack stat. But patient trainers know that investing some time in Pancham will pay off once you get its evolved form; Pangoro.
Pancham evolves into Pangoro starting at level 32 – which means a lot of tough grinding. However, the evolution is only triggered if the player has another Dark-type Pokémon in the party. It might seem silly to carry two of the same type of Pokémon at once, which is what makes this such a tricky evolution.
Pseudo-legendary Pokémon have always been more work to train and evolve compared to the more common Pokémon out there. Goomy is no exception as getting through its evolutionary line is a grind. But there method of obtaining its final evolution – Goodra – is worth noting.
Be sure to pay attention to the weather when training your Sliggoo.
Trainers must get their Sliggoo to level 50 in order to evolve it into Goodra. But this absolutely must happen while it is raining or foggy in the overworld. One important thing to note down is that any rain that’s generated via Rain Dance, Drizzle or Primordial Sea won’t count.
Rockruff is something of a unique entry to this list. Like Eevee, it has a handful of different evolutions triggered by various conditions. However, in this case, all of the evolutions are reliant on the time of day and in one case, a learned move.
Lycanroc has three different forms. Each evolution is triggered starting at level 25. Its Midday form is obtained when leveled up during the day. The Midnight form during the night, and the Dusk form is obtained when training a Rockruff with the move Own Tempo between 5:00 and 5:59 pm.
When you first take a look at Feebas, it doesn’t give you the impression that it’s all that strong. Much like its Gen I counterpart; Magikarp, Feebas is a Pokémon that pays off with its evolved form; Milotic. Obtaining Milotic however, is less of a straightforward process than say getting a Gyarados via evolution.
Evolving Feebas was made much easier from Gen V onwards.
Feebas will only evolve into Milotic once its beauty condition is high enough. Considering what Feebas actually looks like that’s a pretty tall task. However, an alternative to this is to simply find a Prism Scale and trade one while holding it.
Of all the methods of evolution out there, this one remains one of the most unique in the entire Pokémon series. On their own Shelmet and Karrablast might not seem like all that much. But each plays a vital role in the other's development.
We’ve never seen two Pokémon so dependent on one another.
In order to get things started with these two players must trade them for one another. That means you trading your Karrablast for Shelmet or vice versa. This trade will then trigger an evolution for both of them. A first in the series.
We finally get to the absolute weirdest evolution on this list, and one that most people would have never figured out on their own. Introduced in Gen VI, Inkay is a cute little Pokémon that doesn’t look like it has all that much to offer in terms of fighting ability. But its evolution Malamar is a different story.
You’ll have to do something outside of the game itself if you want to get your hands on Malamar.
Inkay evolves into Malamar at level 30. But that’s not the only thing that needs to happen. In order for the evolution to trigger, Inkay must be leveled up while the 3DS is held upside-down. That’s an incredibly creative and tricky method of evolution to figure out.