What year is it? 2020? Good. Don’t mind me, I’m just a little bit dizzy from traveling through time and space. That means I’ve just gone through the process of transferring my Pokemon from my old 3DS games to Pokemon Shield. A few things surprised me so I thought it was worth doing a writeup to clear things up and explain the process. The most important thing to say first is that this requires the Premium Plan of Pokemon HOME. That means, unfortunately, you have to pay for this transfer. The Basic version you get for free on Switch is very barebones. You can only store 30 Pokemon, and Let’s Go and Pokemon Sword & Shield are the only compatible games. All you can really do with that is get a free Pikachu, some starters, and Mewtwo.
Let’s be real, it’s worth downloading Pokemon HOME just to see what happened to Professor Oak. He’s been through some tough times lately but he’s still as passionate as ever. Now, here are the steps to transfer 3DS Pokemon to the Switch.
Step 1. Get your Pokebank ready
I haven’t really touched my 3DS games in a while, so this was a blast from the past. When I tried to open Pokemon Bank it required an update. Upon clicking update, I then found out the 3DS eShop needed an update. Luckily both of these were quick. If you’ve been using your 3DS actively you might not need to do this.
Doesn’t Pokebank cost money? No, not immediately. Unlike Pokemon HOME, you get a free 30 day trial of this that includes every feature. This applies to everyone, whether you have a membership to it or not. In fact, it’ll overwrite your membership with “30 days left” on the screen, but after the trial it’ll just resume whatever you had normally, so there’s no need to worry about losing an existing membership.
Now drag ALL those Pokemon you want from Pokemon X / Y / Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby / Sun / Moon / Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon into Pokebank. While not all Pokemon can be transferred to Sword & Shield, every single Pokemon can be moved to HOME itself. Don’t forget that if Pokemon are in your party in the game, they won’t show up in the boxes for transfer. It’s a good idea to boot up your actual 3DS games just to have a look. Also keep in mind that you can’t nickname Pokemon after this whole process. Muk is going to be Poop forever.
Step 2. Get your Pokemon HOME ready
A relatively small 707mb download on your Switch will get you the basic version. Right now it shows up as a New Release on the eShop, but just search “Pokemon HOME” if it doesn’t. Now we are going to need the premium version. This allows you to store 6,000 Pokemon instead of 30, and allows 3DS transfers. You can find the option to upgrade inside Pokemon HOME itself after opening it up. The cheapest option is one month for $2.99 US (or $4.49 AU). That’s low enough that if you’ve bought anything on the eShop recently, you might have some gold coins lying around that you can apply. Make sure to turn OFF automatic renewal if you don’t plan on keeping it, you can find this in your eShop account settings.
Step 3. Let’s Transfer!
Start off on your 3DS, by hitting “Transfer to Pokemon HOME” inside Pokemon Bank. This is the new menu option that the recent patch would have added. You’ll have the option of just moving certain Pokemon from Bank, or every single one in bulk. Now it’ll ask you for a “Moving Code”, so switch your attention to Pokemon HOME on your Switch now.
Hit the “MOVE” button on the main menu of HOME, follow the prompts, and it’ll give you a Moving Code. Input that in your 3DS within three minutes (it expires) and that’s the final step done. Now… it takes you back to the Pokemon HOME menu and tells you to wait a few minutes. You won’t be able to log back in straight away, but this is normal. I went and made some food, and it was done when I got back.
Now… which Pokemon can I move to Sword & Shield?
This is the exciting part. There’s a list here on Serebii of all the Pokemon that you can immediately use in Sword & Shield. Of note is Cosmog, a bunch of legendaries, Alolan forms of existing Galar Pokemon, and a bunch of starters including Popplio, Litten, Rowlet, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. These aren’t in the Galar Pokedex and won’t have any entries, but you’ll be able to use them just like any other Pokemon. These are all the ones I successfully transferred. Feels good to see some fresh new faces.
On the right are the Pokemon I moved to Pokemon Shield. On the left you see the Pokemon now in HOME, from my 3DS games. The circle with the cross through it means it can’t be transferred to Sword & Shield. The exclamation point means it has moves that don’t exist in Sword & Shield, but you can still transfer them. You will just have to delete the move in the game, and won’t be able to relearn it. A small price to pay for Dugtrio’s luscious locks.
So now what? What happens to all my Pokemon in HOME if I don’t renew my subscription?
They all die. Just kidding. They will stay there, but everything after the first 30 Pokemon will be locked until you renew the subscription again. There’s no real way around this, so copy as many as you can to Sword & Shield or Let’s Go while you can, or embrace the huge Pokemon freedom and keep your sub. When the Pokemon DLC comes out, I’m sure more of these will be transferable to Sword & Shield. Until then I hope everyone has fun with the Pokemon they have, and I hope this was somewhat helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions. Now I’m off to have a beer with Grand Oak.