How to Trade Pokemon in Scarlet and Violet

Here's how to trade with friends online or offline in Scarlet & Violet!

by J.R. Waugh

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet may be pushing a huge game world with a new generation of Pokemon, but some mechanics have stayed more or less the same for several generations. In addition to collecting, training, and battling with your Pokemon, the series has always enabled you to do this all with your friends as well. One particularly popular and useful feature is the Trade feature in Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, potentially saving you the trouble of finding Pokemon or helping others evolve if a trade is required, like Haunter to Gengar. There are multiple ways to trade in Scarlet and Violet.

There is More Than One Way to Trade in Scarlet and Violet


Gone are the days of link cables, and that’s been the case since after the Game Boy Advance days, and you can trade once you’ve gone to your first Pokemon Center. The Poké Portal is your main asset in Scarlet and Violet, accessible from the Main Menu (press X.) The main methods you can initiate a trade are the following:

  • Link Trade
  • Surprise Trade

Any of these methods are reasonable ways to trade in Scarlet & Violet, but we preach caution not to rely on Surprise Trade for anything special on most days, it’s more of a gamble than anything.

The Link Trade Method

From the Poké Portal, simply select from the Link Trade if you have a friend you wish to trade with, hitting ‘+’ to set a Link Code (which you then give to a friend, so make it unique) and hit ‘Begin Searching.’ Once you’re connected, you’ll be able to navigate through your boxes to select a Pokemon you wish to trade, hit ‘A’, then select the ‘Trade it’ option. Your friend will be able to send a trade offer too, and if you like it enough, you can accept it and complete the trade!


This can be done online or offline. Online is genuinely the best option for trading with friends outside the same room, as even if you try to do this in Online Mode with a friend next to you, you’ll have difficulties or have someone else potentially join your room. Offline Mode, along with proximity (just a few feet away) will be enough, along with the Link Code.

The Surprise Trade Method

This method is a gamble. It brings you to the same type of menu as with regular Link Trades, but with the added element of surprise. Once you select the Pokemon you wish to trade and hit ‘Trade it’ you’ll send it off and be sent back to the overworld while the trade carries through. You’ll then get a notification banner at the top where you can press ‘Y’ to reopen the menu and select Surprise Trade once again to see what you get. More often than not you won’t get a huge reward, but there’s no guarantee, as some players could be unexpectedly generous. But more often than not you’ll be getting Yungoos.

Can it be called a Surprise Trade if this keeps happening?

While these features are helpful, it’s a tad disappointing that the Union Circle function to gather with friends doesn’t have a more streamlined way to start a trade like by going up and talking to a friend. Maybe something for a later Pokemon game?

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet released on November 18, 2022, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on November 19th, 2022

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