The Pokemon Gen With The Weirdest Evolution Methods? – A Numerical Breakdown

Inkay_and_Malamar_(Facing_the_Grand_Design!)

Hello, and welcome to the post that literally no one asked for but now exists I guess. Pictured above is Malamar, a Pokémon with an objectively stupid evolution method. How do you evolve it? Well obviously you just have to raise an Inkay to level 30 with the 3DS held upside down.

So I started wondering about all the other oddly specific evolutionary methods and conditions. How did we get to the point where we have to hold a 3DS upside down?

In order to answer this question, I wrote up a script to go through some Bulbapedia source files and dumped out seven csvs, one for each of the first seven generations (there’s not enough gen 8 data out yet). Then I just went through each of them manually and counted them all up (so there might be some user error here so feel free to let me know if you happen to catch anything).

What did I learn from this? I don’t really know. Well Gen 1 is pretty simple, which was expected. Surprisingly Gen 5 is really simple. Gen 1 rules on evolutionary stones, but Gen 5 isn’t too far behind. If anything, it almost feel like there aren’t very many Pokémon that evolve off of the base elemental stones (Fire/Leaf/Thunder/Water). And then the only thing I’d consider oddly specific in Gen 5 is the Karrablast and Shelmet trade evolution.

I think the big offenders for crazy specific and unique are Gen 3, Gen 4, and Gen 6. Gen 3 has Nincada, Feebas, and Wurmple and I have very strong memories of messing up the Nincada evolution as a kid and I’m also reminded of those episodes of the anime where Jessie gets a Dustox instead of a Beautifly.

I think Gen 4 has the most raw number of different evolution methods. Many of them I’ve grouped into categories, but there’s a lot of unique ones that are only tied to one Pokémon.

And then we come back to Gen 6 with our best friend Malamar.

Numbers below.

GEN 1
Stones: 16
> Fire Stone: 3
> Leaf Stone: 3
> Moon Stone: 4
> Thunder Stone: 2
> Water Stone: 4

Trade: 4

GEN 2
Friendship: 8
> Friendship (Day): 1
> Friendship (Night): 1

Sun Stone: 2

Trade with an item: 6
> Trade with Dragon Scale: 1
> Trade with King’s Rock: 2
> Trade with Metal Coat: 2
> Trade with Up-Grade: 1

Tyrogue: 1
> Level 20 (Attack < Defense): 1
> Level 20 (Attack > Defense): 1
> Level 20 (Attack == Defense): 1

GEN 3
Friendship: 1

Stones: 3
> Leaf Stone: 1
> Moon Stone: 1
> Water Stone: 1

Trade: 2
> Trade holding Deep Sea Scale: 1
> Trade holding Deep Sea Tooth: 1

Level ups, but weird: 4
> Level 7 with a personality value mod of 10 < 5: 1
> Level 7 with a personality value mod of 10 >= 5: 1
> Level up with maximum beauty: 1
> Level up Nincada to level 20 with an extra Poké Ball in the bag and an empty space in the party: 1

GEN 4
Stones: 6
> Dawn Stone: 2
> Dusk Stone: 2
> Shiny Stone: 2

Female vs Male: 5
> Female that has a different secondary type based on where it evolves: 1

Friendship: 5
> Friendship (Day): 2
> Friendship (Night): 1

Trade with an item: 5
> All 5 items are unique, so I’m not going to bother here

Level up with a specific move: 7
> Level up with Ancient Power: 3
> Level up with Double Hit: 1
> Level up with Mimic: 2
> Level up with Rollout: 1

Level up at a specific place: 4
> Level up in a special magnetic field: 2
> Level up near a rock: 2

Level up with a specific thing: 4
> Level up with Oval Stone: 1
> Level up with Razor Claw (Night): 1
> Level up with Razor Fang (Night): 1
> Level up with a Remoraid in the party: 1

GEN 5
Stone: 9
> Dusk Stone: 1
> Fire Stone: 1
> Leaf Stone: 1
> Moon Stone: 1
> Shiny Stone: 1
> Sun Stone: 2
> Thunder Stone: 1
> Water Stone: 1

Friendship: 2

Trade: 4
> Trade with a Prism Scale: 1
> Trade for one specific other Pokémon: 2

GEN 6
Stones: 3
> Dusk Stone: 1
> Shiny Stone: 1
> Sun Stone: 1

Trade: 4
> Trade holding Sachet: 1
> Trade holding Whipped Dream: 1

Level ups, but weird: 6
> Level up with a Dark-type in the party: 1
> Level up with the 3DS held upside down: 1
> Level up with 2 levels of Affection and knowing a Fairy-type move: 1
> Level up at a certain time of day: 2
> Level up in rain or fog: 1

GEN 7
Stones: 4
> Ice Stone: 2
> Leaf Stone: 1
> Thunder Stone: 1

Trade: 1
Friendship: 2
Level up as female: 1

Level up at a specific time of day: 7
> Level up (day): 3
> Level up (night): 3
> Level up between 5:00 and 5:59 PM but only if it’s a special event version of the Pokémon with a specific ability: 1

Level up, but weird: 4
> Level up at a specific place: 2
> Level up with a specific place: 2

Level up in a specific game or time of day: 4
> Level up (day, with no other conditions): 2
> Level up (day but only in Sun or Ultra Sun): 1
> Level up (night, with no other conditions): 2
> Level up (night, but only in Moon or Ultra Moon): 1
> Level up (any time in Moon/Ultra Moon): 1
> Level up (any time in Sun/Ultra Sun): 1

(11/12/19 Addendum) – I forgot about Phione in Gen 4, a Pokémon that seems like it should evolve into Manaphy, since breeding Manaphy gets you a Phione…but then Phione can never evolve…

(11/19/19 Addendum) – This got so much weirder in Sword and Shield. It easily takes the crown for weirdest gen – especially with Farfetch’d, Yamask, and Milcery, with Milcery being the worse offender in all of Pokémon I’ve ever seen. Check it out here.

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