Pokémon Sword & Shield: How To Find And Evolve Eevee Into Espeon, Umbreon, And Sylveon

With all the changes to Sword and Shield, we've put together a handy guide to evolving the best Eeveelutions in the game.

For Eeveelution enthusiasts, there’s only one thing on their mind when a new Pokémon game rolls out— how do you evolve Eevee into the different Eeveelutions?

Much like the genetic makeup of the coveted Evolution Pokémon itself, the methods for evolving it into its myriad of possible forms has been rather unstable over the years, changing like shifting sands with every generation. Methods ranged from leveling up near certain places, or having certain items in your bag, or making sure it was a certain time of day, and more. Overlook even one component, and you were sure to get an Eeveelution other than the one you intended.

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Well, no more— with each generation comes change, and Pokémon Sword & Shield brings a significantly simplified system of evolving Eeveelutions. The Moss and Ice Rocks needed for Leafeon and Glaceon have been done away with altogether, allowing the two Eeveelutions to be evolved via a Leaf Stone and Ice Stone respectively. That makes five Eeveelutions acquired by evolutionary stone, whittling down the tricky ones to just the remaining three.

So, let’s get into it: how exactly do you evolve an Eevee into an Espeon, Umbreon, or Sylveon?

Getting An Eevee

Let’s start with the basics— getting an Eevee to start with. The only place they appear in the Galar region on Route 4, in the hay fields just before getting into the town of Turffield. Though they’re quite a rare encounter, there’s no need to run around for surprise encounters: they spawn in the overworld. You can simply walk around until you hear their tell-tale baby-like cry that’ll let you know they’ve appeared.

Once you catch one, it’s time to set up camp and win their affection!

The Friendship System

Previously, these three Eeveelutions evolved based on two different systems of affinity a Pokémon can have for their trainer: the Friendship system (introduced in generation II with Pokémon Gold & Silver) and the Affection system (introduced in generation VI with Pokémon X&Y). In Pokémon Let’s Go games, these two systems were merged— and that seems to be the case in Sword & Shield as well.

Espeon, Umbreon, and Sylveon all only evolve from Eevees who have at least three levels of Friendship with the player. Friendship can be increased by setting up camp to play with and feed your Pokémon— the fastest method is to call them over, let them punch at the feather toy until they’re hungry, feed them, and then rinse and repeat.

You can check what level they’re at by the amount of hearts that pop up when you call them over to speak with them. One heart means the first level, two hearts means the second, and so on— if three or more hearts pop out of the Eevee, they’ll evolve into one of the three Friendship-based Eeveelutions on their next level-up.

If you want to double-check, there’s also a boy who lives in the house to the right of the first Pokémon center in Hammerlocke who will tell you what your friendship level with a certain Pokémon is. While he doesn’t tell you exactly what the friendship levels are, you can roughly infer them from what he says:

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Day, Night, and Moveset Considerations

True to their titles, the Sun and Moonlight Eeveelutions still evolve based on the time of day: Espeon during the day, Umbreon at night. This sounds simple enough until you factor in the odd way that the day/night system works in Sword & Shield, which allows for either Pokémon to be evolved during the same time in the evening.

If you have not completed the game yet, the areas outside of the Wild Area will be locked in plot-relevant times of day (usually daytime), with only the Wild Area registering the actual time of your Switch's internal clock. This means that at 8pm at night, an Eevee will evolve into an Espeon instead of an Umbreon if the level-up takes place outside of the Wild Area.

So for those of you who want an Umbreon before reaching the post-game, beware: nighttime only registers when you are in the Wild Area and can visually see that the sun has gone down in-game. If you’re impatient, you can simply set your Switch’s clock to the evening and hop to the Wild Area to get your Umbreon.

That is, of course, if your Eevee does not know any fairy-type moves— no matter the time of day, if it knows even one fairy-type move, it will evolve into a Sylveon. For those of you who want the fairy-type evolution, most Eevee are found with the fairy-type move Baby-Doll Eyes. Otherwise, you can hatch an Eevee who has inherited Charm from a Minccino father.

Conversely, if you definitely do not want a Sylveon, make sure to have Eevee forget Baby-Doll Eyes before levelling up!

So, to recap:

  • Eevee: Found in Route 4’s hay fields as a rare overworld spawn
  • Sylveon: Eevee must be at a friendship level of three hearts or more and know at least one fairy-type move
  • Espeon: Eevee must be at a friendship of three hearts or more, have no fairy-type moves, and be levelled up during the day in the Wild Area or any time anywhere else
  • Umbreon: Eevee must be at a friendship of three hearts or more, have no fairy-type moves, and be levelled up in the Wild Area at night and nowhere else (anywhere in the post-game)

It might seem complicated, but it’s really a matter of making sure a few factors are just the way you want it— so long as you pay attention, you’ll have the exact Eeveelution you were aiming for in no time.

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