Pokémon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer guide: How to trade, play together, Tera Raid Battle, and more

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer selfie
(Image credit: iMore)

Since Pokémon Scarlet and Violet both have exclusive Pokémon that the other game doesn't have, it's a good idea to trade with another player to fill out that Pokédex. Trading is extremely easy to do and you can choose between trading with someone you know with a specific code or trading a random Pokémon in a Surprise Trade. We'll step you through the process and explain there differences between the various trading options. 

NOTE: In order to participate in online trading and hosting, you must have an active Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) membership. However, you can also participate in trades and hosting without NSO if you are physically near someone you want to play with. 

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Pokémon Scarlet

Explore the first-ever open-world Pokémon game on your own or with friends. The Scarlet version offers exclusive Pokémon like the Legendary Koraidon.

Buy from: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8428&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FPok%25C3%25A9mon-Scarlet-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB09TM8XRND%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Amazon | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6464087&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fpokemon-scarlet-nintendo-switch-nintendo-switch-oled-model-nintendo-switch-lite%2F6464087.p%3FskuId%3D6464087&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Best Buy 

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Pokémon Violet

See what the first open-world Pokémon game has to offer. The Violet version has exclusive creatures to capture like the Legendary Miraidon.

Buy from: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8428&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FPok%25C3%25A9mon-Scarlet-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB09TMHDVLD%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Amazon | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6464088&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fpokemon-violet-nintendo-switch-nintendo-switch-oled-model-nintendo-switch-lite%2F6464088.p%3FskuId%3D6464088&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Best Buy | <a href="https://goto.walmart.com/c/1943169/565706/9383?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FPokemon-Violet-Nintendo-Nintedo-Switch%2F776638564" data-link-merchant="walmart.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Walmart

What can I do in Union Circle multiplayer?

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer Tera Raid

(Image credit: iMore)

Scarlet and Violet's multiplayer is awesome because it allows two to four players to run around together in the same game and see each other's avatars. Additionally, each player can run off in a different direction and continue their storylines from within the host's game. Just remember that any wild Pokémon that appear can only be caught by one player. Similarly, only the host can initiate a Tera Raid Battle and their guests can choose whether or not to join.

Union Circle: How to play with friends in multiplayer

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet multiplayer

(Image credit: iMore)

Here's how to set up multiplayer and host friends in Scarlet and Violet. 

  1. Press the X button to bring up the menu. 
  2. Tap L to connect to the internet
  3. Press A to get past the notification that you're online. 
  4. Select Poké Portal from the right side of the screen. 
  5. Choose Union Circle. 
  6. If you're creating a group for friends to join select Form a group. If you're wanting to join another friend's group select Join a group. 
  7. Select Yes. 
  8. If you're the host, a Link Code appears at the bottom left of the screen. Tell your friends what the code is
  9. Friends looking to join another friend's group need to select Enter the code and then enter the code.
  10. The host needs to wait until everyone's name appears on the right side of the screen. When everyone is there select Set out together and then select Yes.
  11. Everyone in the group will now appear at one of the game's Pokémon Center Union Circle areas and will be able to see each other's characters in the game. Have fun playing together!

You can also play with friends without the internet as long as your Nintendo Switch systems are near each other. If you do want to play in local multiplayer without internet then skip steps two and three.

How to leave Union Circle multiplayer

When you're done playing in multiplayer, you want to make sure you leave the group the right way or you might trigger some game data loss. Here's how to leave multiplayer safely. 

  1. Open the menu by pressing X
  2. Select Poké Portal. 
  3. Choose Union Circle. 
  4. Select Disband your group if you're the leader or select Leave your group if you're one of the guests. 
  5. Select Yes to completely exit. 

Tera Raid Battles

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Tera Raid Battle Rolycoly

(Image credit: iMore)

There are a few ways to participate in Tera Raid battles. We'll start with how to do it when you're already in a Union Circle, followed by finding friends online, and last end with Tera Raid battling with random players. Note that only players who have beaten the main story can participate in 5-Star Tera Raids and higher. 

How to do Tera Raid Battles with friends when in Union Circle

Only the host can initiate a Tera Raid Battle. So they will need to go up to a Tera Raid den (the sparkly crystals coming out of the ground), and interact with it. 

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Tera Raid Battle crystal

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. The host needs to find a Tera Raid den and interact with it. 
  2. To allow others to join it with you, select Challenge as a group.
  3. Everyone else will get a fast notification that a Tera Raid Battle is going to start. They can quickly tap Y while the notice is still up to choose the Raid. Alternatively, if you miss the fast notification, select X, Poke Portal, and then Tera Raid Battle. 
  4. Guest players need to select the Raid that the host is engaging with. 
  5. Now Change your Pokémon if you need to. 
  6. Then select All ready to go!
  7. When all players have a green checkmark by their name, select Start raid battle!

How to do a friend Tera Raid when not in Union Circle

  1. The host needs to find a Tera Raid den and interact with it. 
  2. To allow others to join it with you, select Challenge as a group.
  3. Now select Invite friends with Link Code
  4. A Link Code will be created and will display at the top of the screen. Share the Link Code with friends via text or some other means. Players will have three minutes to join the Raid before the option times out. 
  5. The Tera Type of the Raid Pokémon is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. If you need to, select Change your Pokémon and choose a different Pokémon from your team or boxes. 
  6. When you're ready to participate in the Raid select All ready to go!
  7. When all player's icons have appeared on the page and every player has selected All ready to Go, select Start raid battle! If there aren't a total of four players going in to the Raid Battle, an AI will join the fight. 
  8. Get the Tera Pokémon down to no health and then throw a Poké Ball to catch it. 

How to do a Tera Raid with random players online

  1. The host needs to find a Tera Raid den and interact with it. 
  2. To allow others to join it with you, select Challenge as a group.
  3. Now select Let anyone join
  4. The Tera Type of the Raid Pokémon is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. If you need to, select Change your Pokémon and choose a different Pokémon from your team or boxes. 
  5. When you're ready to participate in the Raid select All ready to go!
  6. When all player's icons have appeared on the page and every player has selected All ready to Go, select Start raid battle! If there aren't a total of four players going into the Raid Battle, an AI will join the fight.
  7. Get the Tera Pokémon down to no health and then throw a Poké Ball to catch it.
  8. If you fail to defeat the Tera Pokémon, you can try the den again

Link Trade vs Surprise Trade

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trading animation

(Image credit: iMore)

You have two trading options in Scarlet and Violet. First off, there's Link Trade which lets you connect with a specific person. If you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership then you can use the online aspects, otherwise, you'll have to Link Trade locally with someone nearby. Additionally, you can either search for a random Link Trade partner or enter a Code to find a specific friend to trade with. The other nice thing about Link Trade is that it allows you to refuse a trade offer if you don't like the Pokémon the other player wants to trade. 

Meanwhile, Surprise Trade connects you with a random player and is basically what was known as Wonder Trading in previous Pokémon games. While you get to choose which Pokémon you trade in, you don't get any say on what Pokémon you get in return for it. The trade will carry out automatically. 

How to Link Trade in Scarlet and Violet

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Poke Portal

(Image credit: iMore)

If you want to trade locally without the internet, you'll need to be near each other and just need to skip steps two and three. 

  1. Press the X button to bring up the menu. 
  2. Tap L to connect to the internet
  3. Press A to get past the notification that you're online. 
  4. Select Poké Portal from the right side of the screen. 
  5. Select Link Trade.
  6. If you want to find a random person to trade with, select Begin Searching. But if you have a specific friend you want to trade with, select Set Link Code and then enter a four to eight-digit code that you two know (you might want to text each other). 
  7. Choose a Pokémon from your boxes or team that you're willing to trade. 
  8. Select Trade it
  9. Once the other player has offered a Pokémon you can agree to the trade by selecting Trade it or refuse the trade by selecting Never Mind
  10. If you selected Trade it, you'll need to Save before continuing. 
  11. If you both agree to the trade then an animation will follow and you two will officially swap Pokémon

How to Surprise Trade in Scarlet and Violet

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet trade Diglett

(Image credit: iMore)
  1. Press the X button to bring up the menu. 
  2. Tap L to connect to the internet
  3. Press A to get past the notification that you're online. 
  4. Select Poké Portal from the right side of the screen. 
  5. Select Surprise Trade.
  6. Select Trade it
  7. Select Save. 
  8. Press A  to get through the next set of instructions. 
  9. Keep playing and eventually, you'll get a notice that the Suprise Trade has been completed. Open the Poké Portal with the Y button if the notice is still up or Tap X and open it the way you did before. 
  10. Finally, tap Surprise Trade to see who you got.
  11. If you'd like to Surprise Trade again, select Yes and repeat the process.

Get the Pokémon you need

If you want trading to be more effective it helps to trade with someone you know and can agree to a trade to before entering Link Trade. Of course, if you just want to throw a random Pokémon out there via Surprise Trade and hope it trades in for something better that's fine too. With any luck, you'll get all of the exclusive Pokémon your version of the game doesn't have in no time. 

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Pokémon Scarlet

Explore the first-ever open-world Pokémon game on your own or with friends. The Scarlet version offers exclusive Pokémon like the Legendary Koraidon.

Buy from: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8428&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FPok%25C3%25A9mon-Scarlet-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB09TM8XRND%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Amazon | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6464087&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fpokemon-scarlet-nintendo-switch-nintendo-switch-oled-model-nintendo-switch-lite%2F6464087.p%3FskuId%3D6464087&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Best Buy 

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Pokémon Violet

See what the first open-world Pokémon game has to offer. The Violet version has exclusive creatures to capture like the Legendary Miraidon.

Buy from: <a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=8428&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FPok%25C3%25A9mon-Scarlet-Nintendo-Switch%2Fdp%2FB09TMHDVLD%2F%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Amazon | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6464088&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fpokemon-violet-nintendo-switch-nintendo-switch-oled-model-nintendo-switch-lite%2F6464088.p%3FskuId%3D6464088&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Best Buy | <a href="https://goto.walmart.com/c/1943169/565706/9383?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FPokemon-Violet-Nintendo-Nintedo-Switch%2F776638564" data-link-merchant="walmart.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"">Walmart

  • The host needs to find a Tera Raid den and interact with it. 
  • To allow others to join it with you, select Challenge as a group.
  • Now select Invite friends with Link Code
  • A Link Code will be created and will display at the top of the screen. Share the Link Code with friends via text or some other means.
  • The Tera Type of the Raid Pokemon is displayed in the upper right-hand corner. If you need to, select Change your Pokémon and choose a different Pokémon from your team or boxes. 
  • When you're ready to participate in the Raid select All ready to go!
  • When all player's icons have appeared on the page and every player has selected All ready to Go, select  
Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.