Pokemon GO Special Trades - what are they and how to do them

pokemon go trade
(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon GO Special Trades will see Pokemon GO Fest 2021 lift the limit restriction for a limited time on how often you can trade with friends. Trading is an important feature in PokemonGO where trades can be performed between trainers to help players fill out their Pokemon Go Pokedexes and collect rare Pokemon. 

To prepare for the upcoming festivities, here’s a refresher on what Special Trades are in Pokemon GO, how to perform trades in general and everything else you need to know about the feature. 

What are Pokemon GO Special Trades

pokemon go trade

(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon GO Special Trades are transactions between trainers that involve rare Pokemon. It costs Stardust to perform and certain variants and species of Pokemon take more Stardust than usual to trade, but they are worth conducting. 

These are the types of Pokemon that are considered a Special Trade between trainers in Pokemon GO: 

  • Pokemon not already in your Pokedex
  • Legendary Pokemon
  • Shiny Pokemon
  • Pokemon with forms not already in your Pokemon (like Unown, costumed Pikachu, and Castform)

Only one Special Trade can usually be performed in Pokemon GO each day. However, Pokemon GO Fest 2021 will allow trainers to make up to six Special Trades each day over the weekend. The lifting of the Special Trades restriction in Pokemon GO starts Friday, July 16 at 4 p.m. EDT and ends Monday, July 19 at 2 a.m. EDT. 

This allows for up to 18 Special Trades to be made in Pokemon GO this weekend. 

How To Trade In Pokemon GO 

Pokemon GO trading is relatively easy but does require a surplus of materials to complete. Every trade requires both trainers to spend some Stardust to complete a trade. The amount of Stardust needed depends on the species of Pokemon being traded. Legendary Pokemon, Shiny Pokemon or Pokemon not found in ether player’s Pokedexes will require more Stardust. 

Players can decrease the amount of Stardust required by increasing the Friendship Level with your trading partner by sending gifts, battling and trading with one another regularly. Trainers can also stock up on Stardust by using a Star Piece. This special item increases the amount of Stardust earned by 50 percent for 30 minutes. Use this item and catch as many Pokemon as possible to increase the amount of Stardust you have. 

Once you’ve obtained enough Stardust, follow these steps to trade with another trainer in Pokemon GO: 

  1. Physically meet with another trainer - Unfortunately, Pokemon GO players must be physically in the same location in order to trad, even if you’re friends in-game. 
  2. Navigate to the trading screen - In Map View, navigate to your Trainer Profile in the bottom left corner. Tap the Friends tab at the top of the screen to open your Friend List and then tap on the trainer that you wish to trade Pokemon with. Tap on the Trade button to enter the trading screen.
  3. Select Pokemon to trade - Once your trading partner joins the trading session, you’ll be able to select a Pokemon to trade. You’ll be able to view the Pokemon details before a trade is made. It should be noted that the CP, HP and other stats of your Pokemon will be adjusted when you trade. Confirm the trade and the Pokemon will be sent to their new trainers. 

There are other restrictions to trading in Pokemon GO that trainers should be aware of. The first is that trainers need to be Level 10 or above to have the feature. Also, certain Pokemon  such as Mythical Pokemon and Pokemon that have been previously traded cannot be traded. 

Performing more Special Trades during Pokemon GO Fest 2021 is only one aspect of the special weekend event. Trainers will be able to catch exclusive Pokemon and work together to bring Ultra Unlock events to come to the game in the weeks following, and much more. 

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Phillip Martinez

I'm currently a GamesRadar guide contributor with a specialty in everything Pokemon GO. If you've wanted to know the best way to take down a Rayquaza, there's a good chance you read one of my guides. I previously have written for IBT Media, Newsweek and Screen Rant. I'm a huge fighting game fan and everything Pokemon, but I've grown to love RPGs.