It wouldn’t be a Pokémon game without the franchise’s mascot, so it’s no surprise to see Pikachu return for Pokémon Sword and Shield. If you want to evolve Pikachu into Raichu and upset Ash in Sword and Shield, though, how do you do it?
The method of evolving Pikachu is the same as it’s always been, but first you have to catch the little mite himself.
The earliest you will be able to encounter Pikachu is along Route 4 in the fields, where you can also catch Eevee and Milcery.
Here’s Route 4 on the map.
You can also find Pikachu out in the Stony Wilderness of the Wild Area when there is a thunderstorm.
Once you’ve sufficiently powered up your Pikachu enough, it’s time to hunt down a Thunder Stone, which has always been the method of evolving Pikachu.
There are quite a few Thunder Stones all around Galar, but the easiest one to get is to the east of Motostoke along the ridge of a small hill.
Simply follow the hill all the way up and you should see the Thunder Stone item lying there.
There are other Thunder Stones, one being over near a Stonehenge in the northwest of the Wild Area.
There’s a different Evolution Stone behind each rock, so circle around them all and hoover them up.
These Evolution Stones will regenerate over time, so return to this spot at another date to pick up more.
Once you have your Thunder Stone, press X > Bag > Other Items > Thunder Stone > Use this item > select Pikachu and then watch as Pikachu evolves into Raichu.
Raichu is a stronger version of Pikachu, whose main weakness is low HP. The added HP makes Raichu a better pick overall, despite what Ash may think. As an Electric-type Pokémon, Raichu is strong against Water and Flying-take Pokémon but very weak again Ground-type Pokémon.
Pikachu’s predecessor, Pichu, is unfortunately not in Pokémon Sword and Shield.
Pokémon Sword and Shield are out now on Nintendo Switch.
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