Skip to main content

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet: 8 tips and tricks to get started

Calling all Pokémon trainers, new and old! The next generation of the most popular IP in the world is here and is breaking new ground for the series. While every entry in the Pokémon franchise introduces at least a few new features or mechanics here and there, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have made arguably the biggest leap in the series to date by giving trainers access to an entirely open world in the Paldea region. This one change means a ton of the things that longtime fans have always known about the series have changed.

Even though you begin your journey, as always, as a brand new trainer in the world of Pokémon, there are plenty of things you’re better off learning ahead of time to make your quest to catch ’em all that much easier. We’ve gone ahead and filled out our Pokédex, acquired all the gym badges, and thwarted Team Star’s plans to bring you these essential tips and tricks for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Further reading

Your map is your friend

The Pokedex entry and habitat map for Ditto.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Maps are nothing new to the Pokémon franchise, but never have they been so important as in Scarlet and Violet. In prior games, they basically just told you which route connected to which towns and later let you use Fly to fast-travel between places you’ve already been. Now, it is something you will make use of all the time.

The map will display icons for all sorts of things, such as your objective, Pokémon, and points of interest. Get used to using it to navigate and place your own waypoints to make exploring easier. We also recommend pressing in on the right thumbstick on the map to lock the orientation so that north is always up, rather than having the map rotate based on your character’s position.

Climb those Ubisoft towers

Klawf on an orange beach.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Speaking of your map, if you ever spot any giant stone tower that looks like a perfect spot for an assassin to leap from, drop what you’re doing and make a detour for it. Climbing all the way up to the top will unlock that location as a fast-travel point. Paldea is quite massive, so having access to all of these will be a major help as you progress.

Also, most towers have a Chest Form Gimmighoul Pokémon at the top that you can battle. If you catch or knock it out, you will get 50 Gimmighoul Coins that are required to evolve a Gimmighoul.

Claim your rewards

A misty city street at night in from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet..
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Scarlet and Violet have tons of little objectives for doing things like catching Pokémon and fighting trainers. Each one you complete has a reward, but while you can accomplish these tasks without even knowing, you won’t get the reward automatically.

Make sure to check in on your Pokédex to see what tasks you’ve completed and what rewards are waiting for you. You might have a bunch of XP, Candy, or other items just waiting to be claimed!

For rewards related to battling trainers, you need to talk to a man in a suit near all the Pokémon Centers. When you talk to him, he’ll tell you your current totals for trainers defeated in that area. Once you reach certain numbers, he’ll gift you a reward.

Fight everyone!

Pawmi charging up an attack.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In the Pokémon world, it’s just kind of accepted that basically everyone has a team of monsters ready to go at any time. However, unlike past games where other trainers were so bloodthirsty that they would challenge you just for entering their line of sight, enemy trainers in Scarlet and Violet are completely passive. Unless you approach a trainer and interact with them yourself, they won’t battle you. You can tell what trainer is ready for a fight if you see a speech bubble over their head.

We already mentioned that trainer battles can help you earn rewards, but there are plenty of other reasons why testing your team against other trainers is worthwhile. For one, they’re far more fun than fighting a single wild Pokémon. Trainers have teams of multiple Pokémon that force you to play a little more strategically. Because they’re a bit tougher, they also reward much more XP for your team, as well as some cash.

Go to class

A Spanish inspired landscape and castle from Pokemon Scarlet and Pokemon Violet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Who would want to go to school when there are so many Pokémon to catch?! Well, despite how enticing it is to dive straight into the wild world of Paldea, you’re better off at least getting a little education under your belt first.

If you enter the academy and speak to the receptionist, you can enroll in different classes. Each class will have a mid-term and a final exam, and if you pass them, you will earn some EXP Candy for your trouble. Plus, if you’re paying attention like you should be, you will also learn some of the game’s mechanics and some of the cool history of Paldea you otherwise wouldn’t get.

Walk with your Pokémon

Ceruledge with a sunset behind.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A concept we first got a taste of all the way back in Pokémon Yellow was the ability to have a Pokémon travel alongside us in the open world instead of only appearing during battle. That first time the feature was exclusive to Pikachu and didn’t impact the gameplay in any real way, but that idea has become a fully featured system in Scarlet and Violet. By hitting the R button and throwing out a Pokémon, they will not only wander around on their own but also engage in auto-battles.

If there’s a wild Pokémon close by, your Pokémon will automatically fight them. Depending on level and type, they will either win with no problem, win but take some damage, or just flee if they would otherwise lose the fight. Since you don’t have to control your Pokémon during these encounters, and they still gain XP and items, it makes grinding your entire team that much easier.

If you’d rather just have your Pokémon stick by your side and not go off picking fights, you can also set them to just walk beside you by hitting ZR. They can still find items this way, but some Pokémon also need to walk a certain number of steps to evolve.

Don’t go out on an empty stomach

A picninc sandwich in Scarlet and Violet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Food in RPGs almost always means the same thing: buffs. Sure enough, that is also true in Scarlet and Violet. There are tons of food stands around Paldea you can visit and purchase various meals and treats from if you’ve got the cash. Each one comes with a set of buffs that affect your entire party, which are great to stack up before challenging a boss or gym leader. These buffs won’t last forever, of course, so hit Right on the D-pad to see what buffs you currently have and how long they will remain active.

Here are all the different buffs and what they do:

  • Egg Power: more likely to find Pokemon Eggs
  • Catching Power: more likely catches will succeed
  • Exp. Point Power: more Exp. Points gained
  • Item Drop Power: more materials found after battle
  • Raid Power: more rewards from Tera Raid Battles
  • Title Power: more likely to find Pokemon with titles
  • Sparking Power: more likely to find Shiny Pokemon
  • Humungo Power: more likely to find large Pokemon
  • Teensy Power: more likely to find small Pokemon
  • Encounter Power: more likely to find certain types

With the exception of Egg Power, each buff will also be listed with a specific Pokémon type that they will affect. For example, Encounter Power could have the Ice tag on it, meaning you would encounter more Ice types specifically. Each buff also has a level, with higher levels meaning a greater effect.

Craft TMs

The TM Machine in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Technical Machines, or TMs, are the only way to teach Pokémon certain moves. Unlike past generations, where you would primarily find or purchase TMs, Scarlet and Violet now allow you to create them yourself. By visiting the Pokémon Center, you can access the TM machine (ignore the redundancy of the name) and see all the possible TMs you can make.

Each TM requires resources to create. Most resources require you to battle specific Pokémon. What Pokémon you need to fight should be self-evident based on the name, such as Wooper Slimes being dropped by Woopers. Another resource you will need are League Points. These are rewarded for completing quests and beating various bosses, but can also be crafted by sacrificing materials.

TMs can be some of the best moves in the game, especially early on, so craft them as soon as you can to equip your team of Pokémon with the best moves possible.

Editors' Recommendations

Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
Where to get Hylian rice in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Link looking shocked holding rice.

While technically an action-adventure game, you could easily call The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom a collectathon game as well. You will be scooping up hundreds of items, from ingredients and ores to weapons and monster parts. These are all useful for at least one thing, if not many, and the more difficult they are to find, the more useful they tend to be. Hylian rice may not sound all that valuable or rare, but it has already stumped many players looking for it, especially when trying to complete the "Gourmets Gone Missing" side quest. If you need this versatile cooking ingredient, here's where you can find it in Tears of the Kingdom.
Where to get Hylian rice

Buying Hylian rice is by far the easiest and most reliable way to get this cooking ingredient. It's also cheap, so you won't have to farm a ton of Rupees to afford it. There are five places where you can pick some up, and they all sell it for the same price of just 12 Rupees.

Read more
Get Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for less with this Switch Voucher trick
Link stands near allied humans and Gorons in Tears of the Kingdom.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is out, and you probably want to pick it up based on its rave reviews. However, it's the most expensive first-party Nintendo Switch game ever at $70. But did you know that if you're willing to spend a little more, you can technically snag Tears of the Kingdom, plus another game, at a discount? To do this, you'll need to buy some Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers.
How to get Tears of the Kingdom with Game Vouchers
To get Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers, you need to be a Nintendo Switch Online member. The most basic version of the service costs $20 a year, but you are most likely already subscribed to it if you play games online or use your Switch to play classic NES, SNES, or Game Boy games. Once you affirm that you're subscribed, head on over to the Nintendo Switch Online tab in the eShop, and scroll down until you find the store page for Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers.
Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers cost $100, which is about $30 more than you'd typically pay for Tears of the Kingdom. That said, spending that money gives you vouchers to use on two of the games from this list.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Pikmin 4
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
Fire Emblem Engage
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
Pokémon Scarlet
Pokémon Violet
Splatoon 3
Xenoblade Chronicles 3
Live A Live
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
Mario Strikers: Battle League
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Bayonetta 3
Pokémon Brilliant Diamond
Pokémon Shining Pearl
Pokémon Legends Arceus 
Triangle Strategy
Mario Party Superstars
WarioWare: Get It Together!
Metroid Dread
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD
Mario Golf: Super Rush
DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power
New Pokemon Snap
Bravely Default II
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury
Fitness Boxing 2: Rhythm & Exercise
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Paper Mario: The Origami King
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Pokémon Sword
Pokémon Shield 
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Luigi's Mansion 3
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 
Daemon X Machina
Astral Chain
Fire Emblem: Three Houses 
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
Dragon Quest Builders 2
Super Mario Maker 2
Yoshi's Crafted World
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
Fitness Boxing
Super Smash Bros Ultimate 
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu
Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee
The World Ends with You: Final Remix
Super Mario Party
Go Vacation
Octopath Traveler
Mario Tennis Aces
Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Kirby Star Allies
Bayonetta 2
Dragon Quest Builders
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
Super Mario Odyseey
Fire Emblem Warriors
Pokken Tournament DX
Splatoon 2
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Read more
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s DLC lets players venture outside of Paldea
Key art featuring new characters and Pokémon that are in The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero: The Teal Mask.

During a Pokémon Presents showcase to celebrate Pokémon Day, the DLC for Scarlet and Violet was revealed. The Pokémon Scarlet and Violet DLC is titled The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero and will release in two parts, both planned to launch in 2023.
The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero ✨| Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet
Both pieces of DLC take place outside of the Paldea region and will be accessible once players start the Treasure Hunt in the main game's story. The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero: The Teal Mask, which comes out first, sees players go on a school trip to the Japan-inspired land called Kitakami. While there, players will encounter new Pokémon, such as the monkey-like Munkidori, dog-like Okidogi, bird-like Fezandipti, and the mask-wearing Legendary Pokémon Ogerpon. The Teal Mask comes out this fall.
Then, this winter, The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero: The Indigo Disk will arrive and let players transfer to Blueberry Academy, where they will meet lots of new students and teachers. It will continue the story established in The Teal Mask and ultimately culminate in an encounter with another new Legendary Pokémon called Terapagos. Over the course of both DLCs, over 230 older Pokémon will come to Scarlet and Violet, including Chingling, Milotic, Shiftry, Vikavolt, Yanma, Ninetales, Zebstrika, Metagross, Dewgong, Espurr, Whimsicott, and Alcremie.
Additionally, once players preorder The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC by October 31 will get a Hisuian Zoroark that knows the moves Happy Hour, Tera Blast, Bitter Malice, and Nasty Plot and has a Dark Tera Type as a bonus alongside some new outfits. 
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are available now for Nintendo Switch. The Teal Mask launches sometime during fall 2023, while The Indigo Disk will arrive during winter 2023.

Read more