How to level up Pokémon fast in Sword and Shield

Everyone loves candy, even Pokémon.

Image via Nintendo

Any longtime fan of the Pokémon franchise knows leveling up Pokémon can be a hassle. And even though Pokémon Sword and Shield have removed the option to turn off the game’s EXP Share, getting a lower-leveled Pokémon up to par with the rest of your team can still be a tedious task.

Luckily for fans, generation eight has introduced a new way to level up Pokémon—and it’s much quicker than just battling.

Of course, players can still level up their Pokémon through battling wild encounters or dueling with other trainers. With the automatic EXP Share, all Pokémon in a player’s party will gain experience points for defeating a Pokémon from their comfort of their own Pokéballs, even if they never appeared on the battlefield.

Similarly, Pokémon will gain experience points from the new Camping mechanic. In addition to making curry for their team, players can play with and talk to their Pokémon while camping. The longer a player engages with a Pokémon, the more experience points they’ll gain.

Leveling with EXP Candy

But if those two methods are still too slow, there’s an alternative. Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced Max Raid Battles to the franchise, and with it came a new way of leveling up: EXP Candy. These sweet treats act like Rare Candy, which level up your Pokémon by one level. EXP Candies, however, grant Pokémon experience points based on the size of the candy.

The candy ranges in size from extra-small to extra-large and grant between 100 to 30,000 experience points. Lower-leveled Pokémon can jump in levels rapidly with just one EXP Candy XL, although the largest candy can be difficult to come by. Smaller candies will still get the job done with weaker Pokémon, but higher-leveled creatures will need larger EXP Candies to level up quickly.

To get EXP Candy, players have to win Max Raid Battles, which are found in Galar’s Wild Area. Max Raid Battles appear in the form of dens scattered across the open fields. Players can also find Max Raid Battles by going online via the Y-Comm feature and searching for open parties using the search function.

Related: How to get EXP Candy in Pokémon Sword and Shield

Once players find an open Max Raid Battle, they’ll need to take down the Dynamaxed or Gigantamaxed Pokémon to win rewards, which will feature a mix of berries, Technical Records, and EXP Candies. More difficult Max Raid Battles will yield larger candies, but players will still only get one EXP Candy XL for the most difficult battles.

Upon earning the candy, players can then venture into their inventory and choose which Pokémon they want to give the candy to. After consuming one or more candies, the Pokémon will automatically earn experience points and level up quickly depending on the size of the item.