15 Hardest Pokémon To Evolve (From All Games)

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Evolutions are among the most important parts of a Pokémon game.

These allow the developers to pace out the level spikes, and evolution gives you a sense of growth and accomplishment on your journey.

Evolving your starter is always one of the big goals on your mind. So it’s important that the guys and gals over at Game Freak put some effort into it.

Sometimes, though, the devs get a little ahead of themselves.

I’m here to talk about the worst offenses of the absolute hardest (and basically craziest) Pokémon to try and evolve.


15. Kirlia to Gallade

Kirlia to Gallade from Pokemon anime

Evolving Kirlia to Gallade isn’t an enormous task compared to some of the little nightmares further on this list.

But I’m putting it here for two reasons.

One, because Gallade is my favorite Pokémon, and I’m biased.

And two, because you need a dawn stone.

Unlike the regular stones that you often come across on whatever merry adventure it is that you’ve set out on, dawn stones are in very short supply. Depending on the generation, there might only be one or two in the entire region.

This makes Gallade arguably the hardest stone-based evolution to get your hands on.

So I’m giving him a consolation prize.


14. Eevee to Leafeon/Glaceon (in Gen IV)

Eevee Pokemon anime screenshot

As I’m writing this, the Gen IV remakes are on my mind. And so Leafeon and Glaceon are on my mind.

Aside from being the two best-looking eeveelutions (I’ll fight you on that), these two had a nasty old evolution requirement.

Especially in an era before everything was on the Internet.

There was a moss stone and an ice stone in the game. Not evolution items, but actual stones in the overworld.

To get either of these evolutions, you needed to level your Eevee up in the corresponding areas where those stones were located.

It might not seem like much of a problem these days… but how is little seven-year-old me meant to figure that out?


13. Haunter, Machoke, & All the Other Old-School Trade Evolutions

Haunter Pokemon in the anime

If I needed to trade a Pokémon to evolve it today, I would hop on Discord, and it would be done in seconds.

Discord wasn’t around back in the day.

And I didn’t have many friends.

To make a long, sad, and depressing story short, I was never able to finish the old Pokédexes from R/B/Y or FireRed/LeafGreen.

The fact that the only way to get your hands on these guys was through trading, it kinda sucked. Basically required two Game Boys.

And I’m thankful that Game Freak has (almost) done away with that mechanic.


12. Shelmet and Karrablast

Shelmet Pokemon anime screenshot

Speaking of almost getting rid of trade evolutions, Game Freak decreased the amount of them, but made the remaining ones much more complicated.

In particular, evolving your Shelmet or Karrablast is nothing short of a pain.

It was one of the last entries on my Gen VIII Pokédex for a reason.

To evolve either one of these guys, you need to trade it for the other. No other Pokémon works.

Despite having access to a whole community of Pokémon fans from my phone, organizing a trade like this is still more difficult than you might think.


11. Deino/Zweilous

Deino/Zweilous Pokemon anime screenshot

Hydreigon is one of the few Pokémon that’s a nightmare to evolve, but doesn’t have any special conditions.

The first stage in the evolution, Deino, doesn’t evolve into Zweilous until level 50. Which is absurd if I’m honest.

What’s worse is that Zweilous doesn’t evolve into Hydreigon until level 64.

You’re still going to have a Deino by the time you reach the Elite 4, well your level is going to be too high to grind up on the wild Pokémon in Victory Road.

Hydreigon might be worth the effort. But they should have thought this one through a little more.


10. Toxel

Toxel Pokemon in the anime

I ran a Toxel on my SWSH story team. So I’m partial to the little bugger.

However, it has two forms that it can evolve into, one of which is a nightmare to get.

It’s based entirely on luck, if I’m honest.

Half of the natures in the game get one form, while the other half get the other form.

If you didn’t know this (like I didn’t) then you’re in for a very disappointing surprise.


9. Pre-Gen V Feebas

Pre-Gen V Feebas from Pokemon anime

Okay, getting your hands on Feebas is already a nightmare in and of itself.

But why is evolving it so difficult?

Admittedly, BW brought the prism scale that made evolving it ten times easier. But before that, it relied on the hidden beauty stat.

You had to feed your Pokémon things like Pokéblocks to increase this stat.

But the catch is that there are only so many blocks you can feed the ugly fish before it’s fat and ugly, meaning it won’t eat anymore.

If that happens and its beauty stat isn’t high enough, then no Milotic for you.


8. Larvesta

Larvesta Pokemon in the anime

Larvesta is Deino, but so much worse.

It only has one evolution, the pseudo-legend Volcarona.

But it doesn’t evolve into that until level 59.

Considering Larvesta has the stats of a baby Pokémon, and it was introduced before EXP share was overpowered, I’m sure you can imagine how much of an effort it was getting this thing to grow its wings.


7. Inkay

Inkay Pokemon anime screenshot

When I was filling up my Galar Pokédex and read about how to evolve this thing, I genuinely thought that I was getting trolled.

I didn’t think there was any way that Game Freak included such a ludicrous method of evolution. But I was wrong.

For anyone that doesn’t know what I’m talking about, you need to level up your Inkay past 30 while holding your 3DS Switch upside down in handheld mode.

I don’t know why, and it’s not too hard… but imagine trying to figure this out before the Internet became so popular.


6. Milcery

Milcery in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Milcery is in the same boat as Inkay, as in it has a very strange condition for evolution that isn’t so much difficult, as it is weird.

I’ll admit that the Internet has sort of ruined these two evolutions, considering it’s so easy to find out about them. But let’s pretend that you’re reading this in a book, and the Internet isn’t real.

To evolve Milcery, you need to give it a sweet. And then you spin your joystick around until your player does a little twirl.

I didn’t even know my character could do that at the time.

What’s particularly cool about this entry, though, is that there are 63 different types of Alcremie that Milcery can evolve into.

Trying to get a specific one is like trying to write a thesis (not that I would know, I dropped out).

The type you get changes based on the time of day, what sweet you give it, as well as the time you spend spinning and what direction you spin in.

That’s far too much effort for a Pokémon that I would just end up eating.


5. Kubfu

Kubfu from Pokémon Sword and Shield

I loved the way Game Freak made you evolve Kubfu.

The fact that you’re forced to build a bond with it is something that I appreciated so much, and it has since become one of my favorite Pokémon.

But holy hell, did it take too long.

It’s not just the photos, but the level requirement. And then climbing your tower of choice was a killer.

It took as long as the rest of the DLC combined.

It was still worth it, though, because now I have a big burly kung-fu bear shadowing me everywhere I go.


4. Tyrogue

Tyrogue Pokemon anime screenshot

Don’t get me started on Tyrogue.

And I’m specifically talking about Hitmontop here. The other two can eat a Slowpoke tail for all I care.

This little… Pokémon… took me hours to get. Hours.

I couldn’t find anyone to trade me one, either.

The issue is that your Tyrogue has to level up to 20 with the same attack and defense stats.

Anything, and I mean anything, can change that. If you don’t have one of the like five different natures that work, then bad luck buddy.

Oh, you battled the wrong Pokémon and messed up your EVs? Too bad.

It took a combination of mints, Pokésteriods, and a whole lot of numbers to make this glorified Inception totem. And I’m not happy about it.


3. Galarian Yamask

Galarian Yamask Pokemon in the anime

What the hell, Game Freak? Who was coming up with all these wacky evolutions?

I mean, first, your Yanmask needs to drop below 49 HP from one attack without fainting.

That’s already specific enough.

But then you have to go underneath this specific rock in the Wild Area to trigger the evolution.

Just, why? There’s no need for all that. Honestly.


2. Galarian Farfetch’d

Galarian Farfetch’d from Pokemon anime

Okay, a lot of people think Mr. Unibrow over here is the hardest Pokémon to evolve in SWSH, and I get that.

However, it’s very easy to get it done with a little bit of prep work.

To evolve your Galarian Farfetch’d into a Sir Lancelot cosplayer, you need to hit three critical hits in a battle while holding a leek.

Now, the leek already increases your crit chance. So what I did was slap Focus Energy on my Farfetch’d, which increases your crit chance, and then I just used Air Cutter.

This method pretty much guaranteed me a critical hit every turn.

The issue was finding a Pokémon that could survive three of them while not knocking me out.


1. Galarian Slowpoke

Galarian Slowpoke Pokemon in the anime

Never in my life have I had a Pokémon cause me as much pain and misery as Galarian Slowpoke.

Evolving this thing isn’t even hard.

It just requires a massive fetch quest in Isle of Armor.

You need to gather eight Galarica Twigs on the island and bring them to an NPC by the train station to make a cuff for you.

That cuff allows Slowpoke to evolve.

I mean come on, I’m playing Pokémon.

If I wanted a fetch quest, I would play Skyrim.

This Pokémon took me longer than any other on this list, purely because of that fact. It’s not even like the quest is even worth it! It’s only a Slowbro.

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