For the first time you'll now be able to complete your full 890-strong National Pokédex - but with a small catch: you'll have to do it in the new Pokémon HOME app instead of an actual game.
Pokémon HOME launched overnight and consists of two different apps - one for your Nintendo Switch and one for your Android or Apple smartphone. Both apps allow you to search and view your entire Pokémon collection - once they've been imported into HOME's boxes - but they otherwise have pretty different functionality.
On the Nintendo Switch, you'll be able to transfer Pokémon from the Switch games, Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee and Sword/Shield into HOME, as well as organise your up to 200 Pokémon boxes. You can then also retrieve those Pokémon from HOME and return them to those games - but with a few specific catches:
- Pokémon transferred from the Let's Go games can not be transferred back to the Let's Go games once they've been sent to Sword/Shield. So long as they only ever travel between HOME and Let's Go, however, you can move them freely.
- You can only transfer Pokémon that appear in the relevant Switch game's Pokédexes - with some specific exceptions for Sword/Shield (see below).
- If you transfer a Pokémon that knows a move it cannot learn in the game you're transferring it to, that move will be deleted from the Pokémon.
For the next month, Pokémon Bank and the PokéTransporter apps on the 3DS will be free to download and use, so you can transfer Pokémon from all 7 previous generations (with the use of the Virtual Console 3DS games and some roundabout effort) into HOME.
The free tier of HOME will only allow you to deposit 30 Pokémon - and has some other limitations on trading and other features on the mobile app. The subscription cost is fairly cheap, though - clocking in at £2.69 for 30 days, £4.49 for 90 days and £14.39 for a full year. In the UK and Europe those prices will be slightly higher if you subscribe via the mobile app, so it's worth making sure you subscribe via the Nintendo Switch eShop instead if possible!
The mobile version of the app swaps out the ability to manage your Pokémon for a pretty wide range of trading features:
Each version of the app also features a set of 'challenges', or achievements, for importing specific Pokémon, types of Pokémon, etc. In the mobile app, completing these will reward you with stickers that you can customise your 'room' with.
- The Wonder Box allows you to select up to 10 Pokémon that will be surprise traded for you in the background. You won't know what you'll get until you check the returned Pokéball in this box later on.
- The Global Trade System (GTS) returns, with the ability to select up to 3 Pokémon to trade at once.
- Room Trades are like Wonder Trades, but within a small group of people. These can either be total randomers or you can set up a room yourself/join a friend's room to trade within a group of people you already know.
- Friend Trades will allow you to directly trade with friends you add via the app. Considering how terrible Sword/Shield's online trading system is, this should be a considerable improvement.
Importing Pokémon into HOME and completing specific challenges will also reward you with HOME points - which you can transfer into Sword/Shield as BP to spend in the Battle Tower - and occasionally Pokémon as Mystery Gifts.
The mobile app version will gift you a few different Pokémon right away:
- Japanese Pikachu - for logging into HOME (either the Switch or mobile app) for the first time
- Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle - for logging into the mobile app for the first time.
- Pichu - for adding a sticker to your profile
- Eevee - for using the Wonder Trade feature for the first time
- Rotom - for using the GTS for the first time
Eventually, you'll also be able to import Pokémon from Pokémon Go and to view your battle data from ranked online competitions - but neither of those features are available today.
While for the most part, you won't be able to transfer Pokémon into Sword/Shield that aren't in the Galar Pokédex, there are a few (relatively random) exceptions that you can transfer in now. More Pokémon will be available throughout the rest of the year, as the DLC packs are released. You won't need to purchase the DLC to be able to transfer those Pokémon in.