'Pokémon Sword and Shield' Breeding Guide: Egg Moves, Hidden Abilities, IVs and More

Catching Pokémon is a big part of the franchise, but another that many trainers - especially those looking to battle competitively - want to take advantage of is the breeding feature in Sword and Shield.

Each generation of Pokémon games keeps many of the breeding methods the same, but every new title offers something new to make it simpler for trainers to create their dream team. Sword and Shield makes breeding easier than ever.

If you're looking to breed Pokémon in Sword and Shield, here's everything you need to know.

pokemon sword shield breeding egg
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BASICS

The basics of breeding in Pokémon Sword and Shield are relatively easy. Leaving two Pokémon of different genders of the same species, or of the same Egg Group, (more on that later) at the Nursery will produce a Pokémon Egg. If two different species are being bred, the Pokémon hatched will be the same species as the mother.

Also, Baby Pokémon like Pichu cannot breed.

In Sword and Shield, there are two Nurseries. The first is on Route 5 and is Corviknight Taxi accessible. For 1,000 PokeDollars, you can leave up to two Pokémon at the Nursery

The other is in the Bridge Field section of the Wild Area and is also Taxi accessible.

Egg Groups allow Pokémon of different species to breed. Each Pokémon belongs to at least one Egg Group based on its physiology. We recommend looking through Serebii's Egg Group lists to find the group your desired Pokémon belongs to.

Once you've left two compatible Pokémon in the Nursery and walked around, the worker will cross their arms to signal that an Egg was produced. After speaking with them, you can add the Egg to your party.

An Egg hatches after a certain number of steps. The amount of steps needed to hatch an Egg varies depending on the species. The best way to make the hatching process move quicker is by having a Pokémon with the Flame Body ability in your party. This will incubate the Egg for faster hatching. We also recommend hopping on your bike and riding around for a bit as well.

We recommend using the Nursery on Route 5 for breeding, as it's next to a long bridge that you can ride back and forth on with no interruptions.

DITTO

Ditto is a special Pokémon that can breed with any species. These are useful for a variety of reasons, like getting the Nature you desire, passing on IVs or trying to yield a female-gendered Pokémon.

The Normal-type Pokémon can be caught in the Wild Area of Sword and Shield via Max Raid Battles or in the Lake of Outrage section. As the Pokémon that appear in Max Raids are random, you will want to continuously look for a Ditto raid or find someone online looking for trainers to battle one.

Ditto is also the only Pokémon that can breed with genderless Pokémon.

NATURES

A Pokémon's Nature is a way to determine its best and worst stats.

By looking at that Pokémon's summary page, you can see the Nature and which stats it affects. The stat that is increased is in red, while the stat in blue will grow slower than normal.

Through breeding, there's a way to guarantee a Pokémon's Nature via the Everstone. This item can be found in Turffield near the Stadium.

Have the Pokémon with the desired Nature hold the Everstone while breeding, and its Nature will be passed on to the offspring.

In Sword and Shield, the effects of Natures can be manipulated even further using the new Mint items. Mints can alter a Pokémon's stats based on the name of the Mint. For example, if you give a Pokémon the Adamant Mint, the Attack stat will grow faster while the Special Attack will grow slower regardless of the Pokémon's actual Nature.

It should be noted that the Pokémon's Nature doesn't change, but the stats affected do. So if you want to bypass this step in the breeding process, you can purchase one for 50 Battle Points at the Battle Tower.

ABILITIES & HIDDEN ABILITIES

Pokémon have Abilities that can help them in battle, and obtaining the one you want is not easy to guarantee.

Most Pokémon in Sword and Shield have two Abilities that are it's "normal" abilities. In the case of breeding, the Ability that's passed down will be randomized between the two parents. But if you breed a Pokémon with the right Nature and IVs but the wrong Ability, you can purchase an Ability Capsule in the Battle Tower for 50 BP to switch the Ability. This doesn't work on Hidden Abilities, however.

Hidden Abilities are ones that are rare for certain Pokémon. In Sword and Shield, a Pokémon caught in Max Raid Battles have a chance of having its Hidden Ability.

Once you have the Pokémon with the Hidden Ability you desire, you can breed it to its offspring. In the past, only the female Pokémon could pass it down, but now the male can as well.

The female Pokémon with the Hidden Ability has a 60 percent chance of passing it down. It's around 60 percent if any gender Pokémon with the Hidden Ability breeds with a Ditto, but it is crucial for the female parent to have the Hidden Ability.

EGG MOVES

Pokémon with Egg Moves can be caught in the wild as long as they have the "brilliant aura" surrounding them. Trainers can find Pokémon with this aura randomly in the overworld, and they can be identified by the yellow ring around them.

These Pokémon will have guaranteed three max IVs and an Egg Move that's specific to that species. The Egg Move that's given to that Pokémon may be random, but this is a great way to get the desired attack without having to breed for it.

However, the easiest way to guarantee a certain Egg Move is through breeding.

As long as one of the parents have the Egg Move, it will be passed down to the offspring.

Another new feature introduced in Sword and Shield is Egg Moves being passed through parents. If you have one parent who has the Egg Move, it can pass it on to the other if they are both left at the same Day Care Center.

The only pre-requisite is that the parent you want to learn the Egg Move needs to have an empty slot for each attack learned.

So after leaving both parents, wait some time and you'll see the Egg Move in both Pokémon.

INDIVIDUAL VALUES (IVs)

Individual Values ,or IVs, are a Pokémon's specific character that affects how much stock is put into individual stats. Each stat of a Pokémon ranges from 0-31 with 31 being the maximum.

To figure out how strong your Pokémon's IVs are, you'll need the IV Checker in the Rotom PC. To obtain this handy feature, trainers will need to defeat Leon in the Battle Tower.

Once the IV Checker is obtained, access the Rotom PC to look at the stats of your Pokémon including their IVs. Press the (+) button to "Judge" the highlighted Pokémon and see its IVs. The stats marked with "Best" are maxed out.

When it comes to breeding IVs onto a Pokémon, the easiest way is to obtain the Destiny Knot from the Pokémon Center in Hammerlocke for 10 Battle Points. Three IVs of the parents are passed down to the offspring at random, but using the Destiny Knot guarantees five of the 12 stats of the Pokémon holding the item to be passed down.

If both parents have perfect IVs in HP, for example, that stat is more likely to be passed down. So try and get both parents' IVs close to perfect in the stats you want.

This part is the most time-consuming to breed for a five or six perfect IV Pokémon, but if you want to circumvent the process, you can use Bottle Caps and Gold Bottle Caps to maximize stats with Hyper Training.

Located in the Battle Tower, the Hyper Trainer will maximize one stat's IVs when you use a Bottle Cap or all the stats with a Gold Bottle Cap.

Pokémon Sword and Shield are available now for Nintendo Switch.

Have you begun breeding for a competitive team yet? Let us know your method in the comments section.

'Pokémon Sword and Shield' Breeding Guide: Egg Moves, Hidden Abilities, IVs and More | Newsgeek