Evolution (Japanese: 進化 shinka) is a process in which a Pokémon changes into a different species of Pokémon. This change is not merely physical, however, as Pokémon of a higher evolutionary stage have different (and usually more powerful) base stats than their predecessors, may have different moves that can be learned, and sometimes change their types, though usually at least one of the types of the previous form is preserved. Other statistics, such as Nature and EVs, as well as shininess, are preserved. In the real world, it is more similar to metamorphosis than evolution.
Professor Elm and Professor Rowan are the leading experts in Pokémon Evolution. According to the latter's research, over 90% of all Pokémon are connected to at least one other through Evolution. Rowan is currently investigating whether Evolution is a form of maturity in Pokémon, and looking at the implications this process has on Legendary Pokémon, which don't evolve.
An evolution family is a group of Pokémon who will all, if bred with Ditto or a Pokémon in the same Egg Group, make a Pokémon Egg that will hatch into the same Pokémon, excluding baby Pokémon. This also means that the most basic form has the potential to become any of the rest of the family, although it will ultimately be able to follow only one evolutionary path.
Stages of evolution
Pokémon can be divided into different evolutionary stages, based on where they appear in their evolution family. All Pokémon fall into one of four groups: baby Pokémon, unevolved Pokémon, first-evolution Pokémon, and second-evolution Pokémon. These groups are also the basis for the TCG's grouping of Baby Pokémon, Basic Pokémon, Stage 1 Pokémon, and Stage 2 Pokémon, respectively.
Due to the fact that no evolution family contains both a baby Pokémon and a second-evolution Pokémon, many regard baby Pokémon as the most basic form, while moving their evolved counterparts one level higher. For example, originally, Pikachu was regarded as an unevolved Pokémon, however, with the release of Pichu in Generation II, many now consider it to be more on par with Pokémon like Charmeleon, though its TCG classification remains the same.
- Main article: Pokémon that are part of a three-stage evolutionary line
Perhaps the most well-known types of evolution families are those that feature two separate evolutionary events in the Pokémon's development. Indeed, this type of evolution family is what all of the starter Pokémon in the core series are a part of (excluding the starter Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow, as Pichu did not yet exist and it could not be evolved into Raichu; and Eevee, which could only be taken by Blue), as well as all pseudo-legendary Pokémon. An example of this type of evolution family is below.
- Main article: Pokémon that are part of a two-stage evolutionary line
By far the most common type of evolution family, these families are based in a Pokémon that will only ever evolve once in its development. About one third of all Pokémon that would later get a baby form were part of this kind of evolution family before their baby form was revealed. An example of this type of evolution family is below.
Pokémon that do not evolve
The least common type of evolution family is that in which no evolutionary event takes place, meaning that it is made up of only one member. Many of the Pokémon that have no evolutionary relatives are Legendary Pokémon. However, there are still 61 other Pokémon that do not evolve. Below is a list of all non-Legendary Pokémon that do not evolve (Phione isn't included due to its status as a Legendary being disputed).
Not belonging to an evolutionary family is not indicative of strength, or a lack thereof. Some Pokémon, such as Heracross and Skarmory, are comparable to fully evolved Pokémon while others, like Delibird and Luvdisc, are more comparable to unevolved Pokémon. Often this indicates a Pokémon's possibility to be eligible for future new evolutions or pre-evolutions.
Branch evolution families
- Main article: List of Pokémon with branched evolutions
Several families, while also one- and two-evolution families, are also branch evolution families. What this means is that there is a split in the evolutionary line at some point so that even though two Pokémon of the same species evolve the same amount of times, they can become one of two or more entirely different creatures. Eevee is the best-known example of this, evolving eight different ways depending on the method used. An example of this type of evolution family is below.
A major difference between the final forms of an evolution family with a branch in evolution is in the way that their base stats line up. For example, Kirlia can evolve into both Gardevoir and Gallade, which both have 518 total base stats. However, Gallade's base stat in Attack is 125 and its base stat in Special Attack is 65. The reverse is true for Gardevoir, whose Special Attack is 125 and whose Attack is 65. This is true of many opposing evolutions, with one focusing in one specific stat, the other focusing in a separate stat, and both having the same total stats. This is especially obvious in the Eeveelutions, who each have exactly the same base stats, though organized differently.
A listing of the stat focuses is below.
|Oddish||Vileplume||Grass||Poison||Defense is 85, Special Attack is 110, Special Defense is 90|
|Bellossom||Grass||Defense is 95, Special Attack is 90, Special Defense is 100|
|Poliwag||Poliwrath||Water||Fighting||Defense is 20 higher, Attack is 20 higher|
|Politoed||Water||Special Attack is 20 higher, Special Defense is 10 higher|
|Slowpoke||Slowbro||Water||Psychic||Defense is 110, Special Defense is 80|
|Slowking||Water||Psychic||Special Defense is 110, Defense is 80|
|Eevee||Vaporeon||Water||Highest stat is HP|
|Jolteon||Electric||Highest stat is Speed|
|Flareon||Fire||Highest stat is Attack|
|Espeon||Psychic||Highest stat is Special Attack, tied with Glaceon|
|Umbreon||Dark||Highest stat is Special Defense, tied with Sylveon|
|Leafeon||Grass||Highest stat is Defense|
|Glaceon||Ice||Highest stat is Special Attack, tied with Espeon|
|Sylveon||Fairy||Highest stat is Special Defense, tied with Umbreon|
|Tyrogue||Hitmonlee||Fighting||Attack is 120, Defense is 52, Speed is 87|
|Hitmonchan||Fighting||Attack is 105, Defense is 79, Speed is 76|
|Hitmontop||Fighting||Attack is 95, Defense is 95, Speed is 70|
|Wurmple||Beautifly||Bug||Flying||Attack and Special Attack higher than Defense and Special Defense|
|Dustox||Bug||Poison||Defense and Special Defense higher than Attack and Special Attack|
|Ralts||Gardevoir||Psychic||Fairy||Special Attack is 125, Attack is 65|
|Gallade||Psychic||Fighting||Attack is 125, Special Attack is 65|
|Snorunt||Glalie||Ice||All stats are 80|
|Froslass||Ice||Ghost||HP, Defense, Special Defense each 10 lower, Speed 30 higher|
|Clamperl||Huntail||Water||Attack is 104, Special Attack is 94|
|Gorebyss||Water||Attack is 84, Special Attack is 114|
||Burmy||Wormadam||Bug||Grass||Special Attack and Special Defense higher by 10|
|Wormadam||Bug||Ground||Attack and Defense higher by 10|
|Wormadam||Bug||Steel||Equal special and physical stats|
|Mothim||Bug||Flying||Lower Defenses but higher HP, Attacks, and Speed|
Methods of evolution
- Main article: Methods of evolution
The various triggers for a Pokémon's evolution are almost as varied as the Pokémon themselves, and some Pokémon have a unique evolution method. The most common of them is Evolution by leveling up at or above a certain level. Other methods include the following:
- leveling up when friendship has reached a high level
- leveling up while holding an item
- leveling up while knowing a certain move or a move of a certain type.
- leveling up in a certain location
- trading the Pokémon
- trading the Pokémon while holding an item
- trading the Pokémon for specific Pokémon
- using an evolutionary stone on it.
- leveling up with a certain Pokémon or Pokémon of a certain type in the party.
Additionally, holding an Everstone prevents a Pokémon from evolving, as well as surprising a Pokémon via the B Button. The latter method is known as "Evolution cancellation".
Pokémon that get knocked out during a battle will evolve at the end of that battle if its requirements have been met. However, before Generation VI, losing a battle would make Pokémon not evolve even if the conditions have been met.
Pokémon that can evolve into more than one Pokémon will usually have the ways in which the evolution is activated being slightly similar, such as having both being initiated by evolutionary stone or by trading while holding an item. Closely-related Pokémon, such as Nidoran♀ and Nidoran♂, will also have very similar, if not identical, evolution methods.
Some Pokémon have different evolutions depending on their gender. For example, only female Combee can evolve into Vespiquen; male Combee cannot evolve at all. Meanwhile, Snorunt can evolve into Glalie, but females ones have the option of evolving into Froslass instead. This instance occurs in a similar way with Kirlia, albeit with males having split evolution instead.
Also, there have been situations in which the current party must be configured in a specific manner for some Pokémon to evolve. So far, only three Pokémon need to have these special requirements. Mantyke will evolve into Mantine if leveled up with a Remoraid in the player's party. Nincada will evolve into Ninjask when it reaches level 20. However, if there happens to be an empty space in the player's party (and a spare Poké Ball in Generation IV onward), a Shedinja will also appear in the party. Pancham evolves into Pangoro if its level is 32 or higher and there is a Dark-type Pokémon in the player's party.
Some Pokémon evolve in other unique ways. If one trades a Karrablast for a Shelmet, they will evolve into Escavalier and Accelgor, respectively, though neither will evolve if one of them holds an Everstone. When Inkay reaches level 30, the player must hold the 3DS upside-down for it to evolve into Malamar. Also introduced was a weather-based evolution: Sliggoo will evolve into Goodra beginning at level 50 only if it is raining in the area that the player is in. Finally, Sylveon can only be obtained be leveling up an Eevee that knows any Fairy-type moves and has at least two hearts of affection in Pokémon-Amie.
In the anime
In the anime, Evolution happens in much the same way as it does in the games; though level-based evolutions and trade-based evolutions do not occur using those methods, there are similarities in the way they come about. For example, Misty's Poliwhirl evolved into Politoed because it found Ash's King's Rock and was holding it when Misty sent it out, while in the games it is required that Poliwhirl be traded while holding the King's Rock for the evolution to take place (It should be noted that Poliwhirl had been through a machine in connection with it being healed at the Pokémon Center, while holding the item). When a Beedrill attacked Ash's Metapod, it caused a crack to appear on its shell, which Butterfree came out of.
Additionally, a difference can be seen in the fact that Pokémon evolve during a battle, as opposed to after it. Pokémon may also evolve when they are needed to, for an extra boost of power, instead of after a set amount of training, such as when Ash's Charmeleon evolved into Charizard. In addition, Pokémon can sometimes choose not to evolve, even if they evolve by a 'natural' method such as leveling up. It appears that Evolution has emotional implications for Pokémon - some Pokémon, such as Team Rocket's Meowth, dislike their evolved forms, while others such as Ash's Pikachu simply want to prove they can be powerful without evolving. Conversely, when Pokémon do evolve, this can often be linked with an experience that causes them to mature emotionally or deal with an emotional issue, such as when the Poochyena in A Bite to Remember evolved, or the Paras in The Problem With Paras. Poochyena, for some reason, had an aversion to using the move Bite, while Paras was extremely timid and weak in battle. Both of them evolved shortly after overcoming these issues.
For a list of all evolutions that Pokémon belonging to the main cast have undergone, see List of anime Pokémon by evolution.
In the TCG
Evolution in the Pokémon Trading Card Game is very similar in some aspects to its counterpart in the core series. However, it differs mostly in the fact that there are no different methods needed to evolve a Pokémon, but instead, all Pokémon evolve simply by placing the next stage on top of a Pokémon in play that it evolves into.
Pokémon cannot be evolved on the first turn of the game or on the first turn they come into play. They also cannot be evolved if on the same turn they were previously evolved or devolved.
Stages of evolution
There are four different stages of evolution in the TCG, Baby Pokémon, Basic Pokémon, Stage 1 Pokémon, and Stage 2 Pokémon. Of these, only Baby and Basic Pokémon may be placed onto the Bench during the setup phase and during play; Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon are considered to be evolution cards and therefore unable to be played except on top of their corresponding pre-evolved forms. The stage of evolution is indicated in a conspicuous place on each and every Pokémon card, though the placement differs among the four generations of cards.
Within the deck and discard pile, only Stage 1 and Stage 2 cards are considered to be "evolution cards" for the purpose of a Trainer card or Pokémon Power which allows them to be searched for. In play, a Basic Pokémon card can be considered an evolution card if it is evolved from its Baby stage.
A Baby Pokémon is much the same in the TCG as it is in the core series of games. In fact, as with baby Pokémon released beyond Generation II, it is not even necessary for a Pokémon to even go through this stage of their evolutionary line, as the Pokémon can just start from their basic form. Baby Pokémon are among the weakest in the TCG, most often having 30 HP, as well as one of two special Poké-Bodys: one prevents all damage done to the Baby Pokémon while it is Asleep (Baby Pokémon with this Poké-Body also usually have an attack that changes their status to Asleep), and the other forces a Pokémon attempting to attack the Baby Pokémon to flip a coin, the attack doing nothing if that coin ends up tails.
A Basic Pokémon is the most basic of Pokémon cards, as can be deduced from its name. Commonly basic Pokémon will have low HP, a common rarity, and low damage and Energy costs. These cards can be placed directly into play without another Pokémon card needing to be in play first. Pokémon that evolve from a Pokémon released in a later generation, such as Electabuzz or Pikachu, always are basic Pokémon, despite being the second Pokémon in their own evolutionary lines. Baby Pokémon, Shining Pokémon, Pokémon , and Pokémon-EX are always Basic, the latter three cannot evolve.
Stage 1 Pokémon
A Stage 1 Pokémon are the first kind of evolution card, being able to be evolved from a Basic Pokémon. Stage 1 cards are most commonly uncommon in rarity. Stage 1 Pokémon are also able to be Dark Pokémon and Light Pokémon.
Stage 2 Pokémon
A Stage 2 Pokémon is the highest of evolution cards, commonly rare or holographic in rarity, and can only, in normal conditions, be evolved from a Stage 1 Pokémon. Stage 2 Pokémon are also able to be Dark Pokémon and Light Pokémon.
Ability to evolve
A Pokémon card that is in the player's hand must say specifically that it evolves from a Pokémon card that is in play on the player's side. For example, Dark Blastoise states on the card "Evolves from Dark Wartortle". This means that any card named Dark Wartortle may be evolved into Dark Blastoise. However, a card simply named Wartortle cannot. Likewise, Pokémon such as Rhyhorn cannot be evolved into a Pokémon that says on it "Evolves from Team Magma's Rhyhorn".
However, Pokémon cards from different sets may evolve into one another. For example, Dark Crobat can evolve from either Dark Golbat of the Team Rocket set or Dark Golbat of the EX Team Rocket Returns set. So long as the card names match precisely both TO (here Dark Crobat) and FROM (here Dark Golbat), the evolution is legal. This rule, of course, can be circumvented by certain means, such as Pokémon Powers and Trainer cards, however, this is not common.
In relation to the real world
Evolution in Pokémon, for most species, is more akin to metamorphosis than to actual evolution. This is because real life evolution happens to a population rather than to individuals, and happens over much larger time scales than in the Pokémon world. In the Pokémon Adventures manga, it is mentioned that Pokémon Evolution is an entirely separate phenomenon from the normal process of evolution, and is a mysterious ability exclusive to Pokémon that is still not fully understood.
However, this does not necessarily mean that evolution in real-world terms does not exist in the Pokémon world. The existence of "extinct" Pokémon backs this up, as do the alternately colored Pokémon of the Orange Archipelago. Pokédex entries for Magikarp also state that modern Magikarp are much weaker than their prehistoric ancestors were, suggesting a genetic change in the Magikarp population.
- Eevee and Feebas are the only two Pokémon that reach their next evolutionary forms in multiple ways. Whereas in the handheld games, Eevee becomes Espeon or Umbreon with high friendship when leveled up depending on the time of day, in Pokémon XD it evolves when raised a level when the Sun Shard or Moon Shard is in the bag. This is because Pokémon XD, like Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, lacks a time function. Feebas, meanwhile, evolves into Milotic when its Beauty condition is high, which cannot be done in the Generation V or VI games unless the Feebas is native to a Generation III or IV game and has had its Beauty raised to maximum prior to use of Poké Transfer to send it forward from Generation IV's games. Due to this, the Prism Scale was introduced, so that Feebas caught in the wild or bred in Generation V onward would be able to evolve freely.
In other languages
- List of Pokémon by evolution family
- List of Pokémon with cross-generational evolutions
- Form differences
|Catching • Nickname • Battles • Evolution (Mega Evolution) • Trading (Outsiders) • Breeding • Releasing|