Top 10 Best Pokémon In-Game Trades (From Every Gen)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
For every game since the original Red & Blue, there have been several in-game trades.
Most you probably know, some you never knew about. There’s a lot though.
These trades can be very useful to help you get ahead at certain points of each game, and can offer you a previously-unobtainable Pokémon. Some are just ridiculous, but we love them all the same.
In this short piece I’ll go over some of the best trades throughout the generations of Pokémon games, ranking & reviewing some of the most notable ones. Let’s trade ‘em all!
10. Medicham for Haunter (DPPt)
Now I know this trade is effectively useless. But it truly cannot be a list of Pokémon trades by skipping the ultimate Pokémon troll.
In the gen 4 games you can talk with a woman in Snowpoint City, and she will offer to trade you a Haunter for a Medicham.
For most trainers, this would ignite a twinkle in their eye.
Yet once the trade is done, you’ll be mocked by this girl, having fallen for her ruse hook, line and sinker.
The Haunter that should now be an almighty Gengar? Well it’s still a Haunter since she made it hold an everstone prior to the trade.
Ironically, this is the only way to obtain an everstone in the generation four games.
Despite this trade sucking big time, it holds its place as a cult moment among Pokémon fans. This is where we were taught that the world isn’t always fair.
Fun Fact: players hate her so much that there’s literally a subreddit dedicated to her, with 10k+ subscribers.
9. Another Kalos Starter for Any Pokémon (X & Y)
After beating the Elite Four for the first time in the Kalos games, you’ll be greeted by the friendly Shauna.
For the first time ever in a Pokémon game, you have the opportunity to trade any Pokémon you have, for the chance to obtain a second Kalos starter!
This starter itself will be the type that was weaker to the starter you originally chose. So for example if you chose Fennekin, you would get Froakie the second time around.
This has little in-game benefits, with the story being over when you receive the trade.
But it’s still a nice touch to receive two starters in one save file.
8. Luvdisc for Steelix (X & Y)
We’ve got back-to-back generation six entries with one more in-game trade that can be of great benefit to players looking to sacrifice a weak Pokémon for a strong one.
In X and Y you can obtain a very strong and full evolved Steelix early on in the game. Specifically in Cyllage City through a trade with someone inside the Pokémon Center.
With Steelix only able to evolve through trade, this is something many first-time players might not have the opportunity to own.
However, it remains low on the list due to X&Y’s difficulty, and lack of needing an actual pick-me-up like Steelix while going through the main game.
7. Petilil/Cottonee for Cottonee/Petilil (Black & White)
In Pokémon Black and White there’s a lot of version exclusive entries to the Unovan Pokédex. As is standard with any new generation with Pokémon.
But there is a trade early on that allows you to obtain a Pokémon that normally wouldn’t be obtainable in each version, respectively.
In Nacrene City the player has the opportunity to trade a Petilil or a Cottonee (depending on your game version) to obtain the opposite.
This is a nice way to get your hands on popular grass Pokémon Whimsicott and/or Lilligant.
6. Ralts for Any Pokémon (X & Y)
Once you’ve beaten the Elite Four in Pokémon X & Y you can speak to Diantha in a café in Southern Boulevard of Lumiose City.
Once you chat up the former Champion you’ll have the chance to trade any Pokémon of your choosing for a Ralts.
This Ralts isn’t any ordinary Ralts, though.
It’s holding the Gardevoirite.
This trade remains the only way to obtain a mega-Gardevoir in Pokémon X & Y. Certainly one for the record books.
5. Poliwhirl for Jynx (FireRed & LeafGreen)
In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen you can get the beloved psychic-type Jynx.
In Cerulean City just bring a Polywhirl and get ready to rumble.
This is a notable trade mainly due to the lack of strong psychic types throughout Kanto.
This trade can also be seen as a very decent alternative when playing through these Kanto remakes today, since it’s tough to trade for an Alakazam without cheats nowadays.
As a result, Jynx is a strong alternative that’s fully-formed and can learn Psychic moves, as well as some of the powerful elemental punches, and some ice moves.
4. Bellsprout for Onix (Gold & Silver/HG/SS)
In the gen 2 & gen 4 games, you may arrive at the first gym slightly under-levelled.
Falker’s first Pokémon can be a breeze for many. But it’s when he sends out his Pidgeotto with mud-slap to lower your accuracy… that’s when things get challenging.
Especially if you chose the adorable Chikorita.
You can go and grind to level up, but the easier option is to make use of the brilliant trade to get an Onix, located in a house in Violet City near the Poké Center.
To snag this Onix, just trade a Bellsprout. Easy!
A decent deal if you ask me, and something to help you get your badge journey moving in style.
3. Cubone for Machoke/Machamp (Pokémon Yellow)
Gen 1 games are notoriously unforgiving when it comes to move variety.
However, you can get one of Kanto’s move powerful fighting-type Pokémon in exchange for a Cubone.
In Cerulean City you have the option of trading a Cubone for a Machoke, leading to its trade evolution, arriving on your doorstep as Machamp.
Machamp is a fighting type powerhouse. And a creature that’s absolutely worth having on your team in a compact game like Pokémon Yellow. This trade is even still available in some of the ROM hacks for gen 1, too!
2. Drowzee for Machop (Gold/Silver/HGSS)
Despite being the weakest form of the Machamp line, this trade ranks higher than the Machamp on this listing.
Because Whitney sucks.
In the Goldenrod Department Store you can trade a Drowzee for a Machop, which usually isn’t available until later in the game.
The real value of this Machop is wiping the gym’s floor with Normal-type tears.
Whitney has become a cult icon in the Pokémon world, due to her surprisingly overpowered Miltank.
With Miltank’s ‘rollout’ you can quickly find yourself on the back end of multiple losses. Especially with not many Pokémon learning fighting moves up to this battle, and the most popular starter being weak to rock-type moves like rollout.
Whitney also has Pokémon that make use of the ability ‘attract’. But with this Machop being female, it’s immune to the effects Attract.
You can see where I’m going with this.
Really, this Machop is a must-have for anybody looking to clear Whitney easily without too much grinding.
1. Clefairy for Mr. Mime (Red/Blue/Yellow/FRLG)
And… in at number one is the trade for a very rare psychic-type in the gen one games!
Red and Blue are notorious for balance issues. And the almost invincibility psychic-type Pokémon in the original games is noticeable rather fast.
In Red and Blue you can get your hands on a Mr. Mime, which is unobtainable in the wild or through any other means.
All you have to do is trade a Clefairy, and you can start this trade once you make your way completely through Diglett’s Cave.
The significance of having a psychic Pokémon so early in the game cannot go understated.
They lack any true weaknesses, are immune to ghost moves, and their only real weakness would be bug-type moves, and almost none do any real damage in the gen 1 titles.
This Mr. Mime is a powerhouse in that regard.
As well as his lack of weaknesses, Mr. Mime can also learn some nice moves.
Moves like Psychic will give you the upper hand in almost every battle.
So if you’re ever going back to play the classics, do yourself a favor and grab a Clefairy before heading to Cerulean. It’ll be worth the trade!