Leveling up is a whole lot easier in Pokemon Sword & Shield. Using a few simple methods, you can grab a low-level Pokémon and instantly give them their final evolution. It’s all about creating a stockpile of items so you can rapidly level any Pokémon you want, and it’s extremely easy to do.
In the recent Pokémon games, your team of 6 Pokémon all gain XP whether they participate in a fight or not. That’s great for leveling as you play through the game, but when you reach roadblocks like the extremely tough Championship Tournament, it helps to quickly level up to outperform the competition. It’s all about raids and Exp. Candy.
More Pokémon Sword & Shield guides:
How To Evolve All The New Galar Region Pokémon | Evolution Guide | What’s Exclusive To Each Version? | How To Catch Shiny Pokémon | Pick This Starter Pokémon For An Early Advantage | How To Easily Evolve Farfetch’d Into Sirfetch’d | Brilliant Aura System | How To Catch Improved Pokemon | Combo & Ultimate Moves | Move Tutor Locations | How To Catch Pokemon Easier | False Swipe & Hypnosis Guide
How To Earn XP Fast | Level Farming Guide
The best, simplest way to earn XP and level up is by completing Max Raids. Max Raids are cooperative battles where you and three other trainers fight a giant Dynamax version of a random Pokémon.
Max Raids are initiated by interacting with Raid Dens — stone dens found all throughout the Wilds region. The deeper in the Wilds, the higher the star rating the Raid Dens will be. Higher star rated Max Raids are tougher, but they give better rewards. You can easily identify Gigantamax Pokemon by looking for the bright beams of light shooting upward — if a beam of light has swirling energy around it, that means it’s an especially tough Max Raid with a Gigantamax Pokémon.
Max Raids commonly reward participants with an item called Exp. Candy. Giving Exp. Candy to your Pokémon will give them free XP, and if you have plenty of these in your inventory, you can instantly level up a desired Pokémon. Exp. Candy comes in variants ranging from XS (Extra Small) to XL (Extra Large), but all types are useful.
Max Raids are also a great way to find rare Pokémon. As a collector, I farm Max Raids to search for Pokémon to catch — the Exp. Candy is just a bonus. It’s also worth noting that Max Raids DO NOT give you XP for completing them. You just get Exp. Candy and loads of items.
How To Complete Max Raids Faster
Max Raids are generally slow and plodding. The animations take longer, and if you’re playing online, you’ll have to connect with random trainers and work together to fight. Sometimes trolls bring worthless Pokémon to make fights last even longer.
- Max Raid Tips:
- Play Solo – Don’t Invite Online Trainers
- Go To Settings & Disable Battle Animations
- Use Exp. Berries / Rare Candy To Level Up
You can re-fight Max Raids multiple times if you fail, and raids will reset every 12-24 hours. You have to clear the Wilds of all beams of light to spawn more. Sometimes they’ll appear in high-level areas — only 5 Star Raids are difficult, but with the right match-up, you can win these solo too.
NOTE: Max Raids, when played Solo with NPC Trainers, seem to have a 100% catch rate at the end of a battle. It’s much lower if you’re not the host — guests only seem to have a 10% chance of capturing with a standard Pokeball.
Alternate Leveling Tips
If you’re looking for more ways to quickly level up your team, especially in the end-game, you can’t go wrong with these simple methods.
- After completing the game, you can re-challenge Gym Leaders and Championship Trainers.
- Or fight the highest level Pokémon you can. Select a high-level powerful Pokémon as the leader of your team, and fill the rest of the 5 slots with Pokemon you want to level up.
That’s basically it. All of these methods require a little bit of grinding, but I find that Max Raids are the best source for easy XP that you can share with whatever Pokémon you want to level up.