Pokemon Sword and Shield may have taken some big steps forward for the franchise — particularly with the introduction of co-op play via Max Raid Battles — but from the so-called National Pokedex “Dexit” to the limited use of certain Key Items, Sword and Shield also gutted several features fans have come to expect from mainline Pokemon series. One of the most significant of these cut features involves trading with other players over the internet. In this Pokemon Sword and Shield online trading guide, we have answers for those wondering if Pokemon Sword and Shield have a GTS, how to trade for specific Pokemon, and how Link Trading and Surprise Trading work.
Pokemon Sword and Shield Trading Systems | Do they have a GTS?
While the Global Trading System, or GTS, has been a major feature in recent Pokemon games, Pokemon Sword and Shield do not have it. This means there is no in-game way to browse through potential trades offered by other players, to look for specific Pokemon being traded away, or to put up your own Pokemon in exchange for other specific Pokemon. Instead, you’re limited to trading directly with one player at a time via the following trading systems. (Note: When using any trade system, make sure to first connect to the internet by pressing Y and then the plus button.)
Link Trading functions basically like trades back in the days where players had to hook up a Link Cable between their systems to swap Pokemon. When beginning a Link Trade, you have two options. Your first option is to choose “Start trading.” The game will begin searching for a random other trader, and you can continue playing as normal while it searches. Once a match is found, you’ll be brought to the trade screen, where you can select the Pokemon you want to offer to the other player. You’ll then see the other player’s offer, and the game will ask you both if you accept the trade. If you both say yes, the trade will occur. If one of you says no, you’ll have the opportunity to offer up different Pokemon and try again.
Your second option is “Set Link Code.” Selecting this will allow you to create a password so that only a player who knows your Link Code will be able to trade with you. This makes it easier to trade with friends or other players you meet “IRL,” since you can agree on a code outside of the game and then use it to quickly start trading. Once the trade begins, it will work just like it would if you selected “Start trading.”
Surprise Trading has both advantages and disadvantages over Link Trading, depending on what your goal is. When you begin a Surprise Trade, you select a Pokemon to be traded. The Pokemon you choose will be traded no matter what, so Surprise Trading is useful for getting rid of unwanted ’mons. The catch is that, just like in Sun and Moon’s Wonder Trade system, you won’t have any say in whether or not to accept the Pokemon you receive. Since you’ll get a Pokemon someone else offered up for a Surprise Trade, chances are you’ll receive something fairly common, but the appeal of Surprise Trading is the chance you’ll get something great.
How to trade for specific Pokemon in Sword and Shield
With Link Trading and Surprise Trading being Pokemon Sword and Shield’s only online trading systems, players will have to look outside of the games in order to trade for particular Pokemon. While the best method for doing this may just be trading in the same room as a friend who also has Sword or Shield, there are places online to look for trades, too. Pokemon trading forums, such as the Pokemon Trades Reddit, are useful tools for finding trading partners is online. There, players post Pokemon they’re looking for or Pokemon they’re looking to trade away, making it easier to get the exact creatures you want. Keep in mind, though, that many forums have particular rules users need to follow when posting or replying to posts. The Pokemon Trades Reddit, for example, requires all discussion about trades — including the exchange of Friend Codes — to happen in public.