Nintendo / Pokémon

I traded 41 Pokémon on Surprise Trade for an hour. Here's what I learnt.

Creating the perfect Pokémon team takes hours. It’s a lot quicker than it used to be but it’s still time-consuming. Hatching eggs to get the best IVs means a bunch of rejects you no longer need. You can either release them or send them out on a Surprise Trade to see what you get. I’ve been using this feature since it was known as Wonder Trade back in Generation VI and VII and it’s pretty cool if predictable and sometimes annoying. Tonight, from 7:01pm to 8:01pm (UK time), I decided to Surprise Trade as many Pokémon as I could and see what I got. These are my results.


I had two boxes of Pokémon ready for Surprise Trading and I used as many as I could. In most cases, I traded back the Pokémon I got from Surprise Trades except for some of the hacked Pokémon (I won’t use them but I also won’t be putting them back in for reasons I’ll explain later).

The full spreadsheet of data can be found on Google Sheets.

What is Surprise Trade?

Surprise Trade is a mechanic introduced in Generation VIII (Pokémon Sword/Shield). It’s similar to Wonder Trade in that you pick any Pokémon from your boxes, put it up for trade and get a Pokémon in return. The “surprise” is that you don’t know what you’ll get until the trade is complete.


I didn’t go into this with any kind of hypothesis but I expected to get a lot of unevolved Pokémon and some hacked Pokémon. Yes, that was an expectation and I wasn’t disappointed. In total, I received 3:

  • Guzzlord (shiny)
  • Venusaur (shiny)
  • Regidrago

Since late last year, I’ve been getting hacked Pokémon on Surprise Trade, often from trainers called and I can’t say it’s a growing problem necessarily but it’s bad enough that nearly 8% of my trades were hacked. The sites that create these Pokémon make them for profit so putting these “freebies” out for trade is a form of marketing, which is clever albeit crooked. I won’t be using them because they’re also nicknamed “” and “” so everyone would know they’re hacked. Also, I don’t want to risk getting banned. So I’ll either release them or do a Link Trade with someone who might want them. No judgement to anyone who wants or uses them even if there is a current controversy surrounding some of the top VGC players right now using hacked Pokémon. I won’t go into that too much here as it requires a nuanced conversation but for me, I don’t care if you use them as long as they don’t have illegal moves or illegal EV spreads.

As for the others, they fell into the usual categories of egg rejects and Max Raid den rejects. I was lucky enough to get a Spiritomb for the first time which I was pleased about. The others were standard and I threw them back into the Surprise Trade ocean, so to speak.

Some quick stats

  • Average level traded: 13.46
  • Average base stats of Pokémon traded (rounded to the nearest integer): 320 – equivalent to Pikachu, Oddish, Psyduck, Cubone, Goldeen, Natu, Axew, Skrelp, Rowlet, Litten, Popplio, Salandit, and Sandygast.
  • Average level traded: 21.44
  • Average base stats of Pokémon traded (rounded to the nearest integer): 342 – Spritzee and Swirlix are the closest with 341.
  • 5.13% of Pokémon received were shiny
  • 7.89% of Pokémon received were hacked


If you’re on the market for some free competitive-ready Pokémon and don’t care if they’re hacked, this might be a good way to go (as opposed to paying the sites that put them out there on Surprise Trade). But that’s not what Surprise Trade is about. During Christmas, people have been putting good Pokémon out on Surprise Trade for kids who’ve received the game for the first time. It’s a way to make them happy with getting their favourites and enjoying the wonder of Pokémon. It also fuels content or new ways of playing such as Wonderlockes/Surpriselockes where you make Nuzlocke teams out of the Pokémon you received in Surprise Trades.

Whatever you do, enjoy the feature and don’t muddy the waters with Pokémon you wouldn’t want to receive.

(featured image via Tumblr)

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