Pokémon Scarlet & Violet: Controls Guide for Switch and Tips for Beginners

Pokémon is back with Scarlet & Violet! Here’s what you need to get started in the Paldea region.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Controls Guide and Tips

The newest Pokémon core series games have released with Generation IX’s first installments in Scarlet & Violet. You’ll explore Paldea, a region inspired by Spain, in another adventure that blends the traditional aspects of the series that fans have come to love with well-received changes implemented in the most recent game, Pokémon Legends: Arceus. 

Below, you will find a complete controls guide for Pokémon Scarlet & Violet. Following the controls will be gameplay tips geared at beginners of the Pokémon series, those who haven’t played in some time, and those who didn’t play Arceus and may be unaware of the change in gameplay mechanics. 

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet general controls for Switch

Player card
Your enrollment application for Uva Academy.

Here are the controls for Scarlet & Violet on Switch. Most of the controls are the same from previous core series games, though some of the open-world mechanics that were introduced in Arceus are present in Scarlet & Violet. 

  • Move and Dash: LS
  • Control Camera: RS
  • Investigate or Talk: A
  • Crouch or Rise: B
  • Focus on Nearby Target: ZL
  • Aim and Throw Pokémon: ZR (hold and release)
  • Switch Item or Pokémon: L and R
  • Check Arc Phone and Open Menu: X
  • Check Pokédex:
  • Ride Pokémon: + (once unlocked)
  • Ride Pokémon Dash: B (while riding)
  • Ride Pokémon Jump: Y (while riding)

By the way, for Pokemon Infinite Fusion fans there is a great infinite fusion calculator with awesome illustrations.

Pokémon Scarlet & Violet battle controls for Switch

Uva Academy
Uva Academy.

Battle controls are much like Arceus and the seamless transition from the open-world to battling makes the gameplay experience even smoother. While Agile and Strong Styles are no longer in Scarlet & Violet, you can Terastallize your Pokémon once per battle, just like mega evolving your Pokémon in previous generations. 

  • Move Cursor: LS
  • Control Camera: RS
  • Select Move: A
  • Run Away: B
  • Ready Item or Pokéball: X
  • Check Status: +
  • Check Items: D-Pad Up
  • Check Party: D-Pad Down
  • Terastallize: A (after highlighting option with fully charged Tera Orb)

Note that the left and right joysticks are denoted as LS and RS, respectively. Pressing on either is marked as L3 or R3.

Below, you’ll find some gameplay tips for beginners. However, with some of the new aspects of the game, the tips should be helpful for veterans of the series. 

1. Starter choice doesn’t have much bearing on Pokémon Scarlet & Violet

Scarlet & Violet starters
The three starters in Scarlet & Violet.

Basically, choose the starter you want! Throughout your adventures in Paldea, you’ll come across many Pokémon with the same types and eventual dual-typing of the starters you didn’t choose. 


First is the Grass starter Sprigatito. This feline evolves at level 16 to Floragato and 36 to Mewoscarada. The latter becomes a dual Grass- and Dark-type. They have the traditional Grass-type starter ability Overgrow.


Second is the Fire starter Fuecoco. The fire croc evolves at level 16 into Crocalor and 36 to Skeledirge. The latter becomes a dual Fire- and Ghost-type. They have the traditional Fire-type starter ability Blaze.


Last is Quaxly, the Water-type starter. This duck that looks like it could be in DuckTales (with the names to boot) evolves at level 16 into Quaxwell and 36 to Quaquaval. The latter becomes a dual Water- and Fighting-type. They have the traditional Water-type starter ability Torrent. 

However, there is one aspect that may have you soft resetting for the starter you want, and no, it’s not shiny hunting as their shiny forms seem to be locked…

2. Work to understand Tera Type and Terastallizing

Terastal Eevee
Image Source: Pokemon.com.

…and that feature is Tera Type. Tera Type can be a revolutionary change to the game as it randomly adds a tertiary type to your Pokémon. However, unlike the traditional typing of Pokémon, Tera Types must be activated through a Tera Orb

Basically, you can work to nab your starter of choice with a Tera Type that either enhance their typing or seeks to address weaknesses. However, there are drawbacks, including only being able to use them once per battle (and then recharging the Tera Orb) and becoming the sole Tera Type. Still, it could turn the tide of battle for you.

3. Use the mini map to find areas for certain Pokémon

Map and objective
The mini-map shows your objective, and can also show the habitat of wild Pokémon.

Unlike previous games, the game’s mini map has a fun function that could make it easier to find some of those peskier ones that are difficult to locate. The mini map will indicate a certain Pokémon inhabits the area. Importantly, it also tells you if a Pokémon is disguising itself as other Pokémon! This, of course, applies to Ditto and Zorua.

4. Be on the lookout for Paradox Pokémon

Paradox Pokemon
Donphan has TWO Paradox forms.

Paradox Pokémon are literally paradoxes as they represent already featured Pokémon, but only in a “past” or “future” form. The “past” forms are exclusive to Scarlet and the “future” forms to Violet. 

There are seven Paradox Pokémon per version. Each Paradox also has a different design, typing, and name from their previously introduced counterparts. Crucially, every Paradox Pokémon has a 570 or 590 Base Stats Total. 

The catch graphic, which can happen in mid-air should you catch something flying or floating.

To put that in perspective, 600 BST is the realm of pseudo-legendary Pokémon like Salamence, Tyranitar, and Hydreigon, each of which has a Paradox counterpart (the 590 BST). While it represents a slight step down for those three Pokémon, most Paradoxes see an increase – and sometimes hundreds of points – to 570. 

Aside from Paradox Pokémon, there are also regional variants for you to do discover, such as Wooper, and three different Tauros regional variants. There are also convergent species, such as Toedscool, for you to encounter.

Here are the (non-Paradox) version exclusive Pokémon, first for Scarlet:

  • Drifloon-Drifblim (Ghost and Flying)
  • Armarouge (Fire and Psychic)
  • Stunky-Skuntank (Poison and Dark)
  • Oranguru (Normal and Psychic)
  • Larvitar-Pupitar (Rock and Ground) and Tyranitar (Rock and Dark)
  • Stonjourner (Rock)
  • Skrelp (Poison and Water) and Dragalge (Poison and Dragon)
  • Deino-Zwellous-Hydreigon (Dark and Dragon)
  • Koraidon (Fighting and Dragon)

Here are the (non-Paradox) version exclusive Pokémon for Violet:

  • Misdreavus-Mismagius (Ghost)
  • Gulpin-Swalot (Poison)
  • Ceruledge (Fire and Ghost)
  • Bagon-Shelgon (Dragon) and Salamence (Dragon and Flying)
  • Dreepy-Drakloak-Dragapult (Dragon and Ghost)
  • Passimian (Fighting)
  • Eiscue (Ice)
  • Clauncher-Clawitzer (Water)
  • Miraidon (Electric and Dragon)

Suffice it to say you should have no problems finding a nice combination of Pokémon for your party.

5. Save in front of shiny Pokémon and reset if you fail or faint them!

Wild Pokemon
You’ll be able to see Pokémon before battling them, including shiny ones…which this Hoppip is not.

As in Arceus, you can save before encountering or attempting to catch a shiny Pokémon without losing that Pokémon should you need to reset! With the overworld mechanics from Sword, Shield, and Arcues, a shift was made to the latter where players could see shiny Pokémon in the open world. Whereas previously, shiny encounters were based on the random encounters in bushes, caves, or surfing, Arceus allowed you to see shiny Pokémon as you would see them as if actually playing the game.

Using Pokéball
Hitting X to use a Pokéball on the wild Hoppip.

Of course, some shiny Pokémon are easier to spot than others. Thankfully, there’s a handy way to know if a Pokémon is shiny in the overworld. These games have a “Let’s Go!” feature where your Pokémon will follow you outside of its Pokéball and randomly defeat wild Pokémon. However, if your roaming Pokémon refuses to battle one, then it’s because that one is shiny! Save and proceed accordingly. 

6. Work to understand the new breeding system

Registered in the Pokédex
Breeding will help you complete that Pokédex.

No longer can you just leave compatible Pokémon at a day care and have an egg produce. Rather, you must now start a picnic with two compatible Pokémon in your team to initiate the process. From there, you should get notifications that there is an egg in your picnic basket. 

You can also boost the egg production rate if you use the associated S-Power. By starting a picnic with the compatible Pokémon and using the S-Power, you can hatch several eggs within a few minutes! Since you’ll also be spending a lot of the game riding on Koraidon (Scarlet) or Miraidon (Violet), you can hatch them even faster as well!

Lastly, look for shiny sandwich recipes! These recipes, one per type, will boost your shiny encounter rate of the chosen type for a limited amount of time. Depending on the area you’re in the types available, you could end up with multiple shiny Pokémon within an hour!

7. Use co-op multiplayer to help in raids, shiny hunting, and even to evolve Pokémon

Science is amazing!
A throwback quote for longtime players and fans of the anime.

There’s a new co-op multiplayer feature where a friend can join your adventure and help you in your quests for raids, catching, battling, and more. Luckily, they won’t be stuck only doing what you want to do as they can also pick up on their own adventure after joining your game.

There is one vital element to playing multiplayer. At least one new evolution is tied to playing with a friend. To evolve the dolphin Finizen, you have to be at least level 38 and defeat a Pokémon while another player is watching through the co-op multiplayer function. Finizen evolves into Palafin, who has a unique ability of its own that is similar to All Might before he bequeathed his One for All to Izuku Midoriya (“Deku”). 

Finding item
items have a glowing red light, making them easy to spot!

Regardless of if you only use it for evolving Finizen or you genuinely want to play with your friends, the co-op multiplayer feature is a nice addition for those who have Pokémon friends in many places. 

Now you have everything you need to know to begin your quest in Pokémon Scarlet & Violet. Explore Paldea, look for Paradox Pokémon, and invite your friends to play!

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