Marks are a new feature introduced in Pokemon Sword and Shield. In this guide, we will go over what a mark is, how to hunt for marks, and the best strategies for mark hunting Pokemon using rare Pokeballs.
What is a mark?
Whenever you catch a wild Pokemon, there is a chance for it to have a mark. This mark can then be attached to its Pokemon. This gives the Pokemon a title that shows up next to its name whenever it is sent into battle. These title will even show up in the ranked battle tower.
To see if a Pokemon has a mark, simply open up the Pokemon’s summary page and go to the right-most tab, the one with a ribbon icon. This will display any marks on the Pokemon as well as any ribbons they have.
It is important to note that while ribbons can be earned by performing certain tasks or reaching a specific milestone with that Pokemon, marks can only appear on a Pokemon caught in the wild. Pokemon bred from eggs or caught in raids will not have marks, and Pokemon cannot receive a mark after being caught.
However, with the addition of Max Soup in the Isle of Armor and the Ability Patch in the Crown Tundra, it’s easier than ever to get nearly any marked Pokemon ready for a competitive team. The one exception is if you need a Pokemon with minimal speed for Trick Room. You are far better off breeding in this instance, as there is no way to force a minimal stat on a wild Pokemon.
What kinds of marks can you find?
There are currently 45 different marks in Sword and Shield. There is some variety in how rare each mark is. To see a complete list of marks, the titles they give, and their rarity, check out the entry on Pokemon community resource Serebii.
Some marks will only be found when the Pokemon is caught under certain conditions. Weather marks will only be found on Pokemon caught in the corresponding weather. Time marks can appear on Pokemon caught at certain times of the day. The Fishing Mark has a chance to be found on any Pokemon caught via the fishing rod. The Curry Mark is guaranteed to show up on wild Pokemon that visit your campsite after cooking. At the time of writing this, there doesn’t seem to be any way to obtain the Destiny Mark.
The 30 remaining marks – called the Personality Marks – have a chance to appear on any wild Pokemon caught regardless of factors like time of day or weather. They all have a 1 in 100 chance to be found on a wild Pokemon, with two exceptions. The Rare Mark is much more elusive, with a 1 in 1000 chance to be found. The other exception is the Uncommon Mark. While Serebii may claim the Uncommon Mark has a 1 in 100 chance of showing up, in my experience it is far more common than any other Personality mark. Other sources have estimated the Uncommon Mark to be closer to 1 in 50 odds.
If you have the Isle of Armor expansion, you can get the Mark Charm. This will triple your chances of running into a marked Pokemon. To get this item, you must first complete the Isle of Armor Pokedex. After that, simply talk to the woman wearing a white lab coat inside the Isle of Armor train station.
Mark hunting wandering Pokemon
Mark hunting is, for the most part, pretty straightforward. Simply catch the desired Pokemon over and over again until you find a marked one. I recommend heading over to your target Pokemon’s page on Serebii to find the best location to hunt them.
However, wandering spawns require a different approach. Wondering spawns are a single, visible Pokemon that spawns in a set location. These Pokemon will stay in that location until the player engages them in a battle. After the battle, regardless of the result, the Pokemon will despawn until the next day.
Since these Pokemon will despawn after battle, they cannot be farmed like most wild Pokemon. There is, however, a technique we can use to continually farm a wandering spawn. Though it is usually more tedious to mark hunt on wandering Pokemon, it can be worth it on certain Pokemon that are difficult to find outside of a wandering spawn. There are even a few Pokemon that only appear as wandering spawns.
To mark hunt a wandering Pokemon, simply approach the wandering Pokemon’s spawn location until it appears. Once you see the target Pokemon, save your game. Now, even if you reset your game, that exact same Pokemon will still be there, marks and all. Once you catch the Pokemon, check if it has the desired mark. If not, simply reset your game. Once your game loads with the Pokemon in front of you, walk away until the Pokemon despawns. Then, approach the spawn again until the Pokemon reappears. By doing this, everything about the Pokemon will have been randomized again. This includes stats, natures, and of course, mark chances. At this point, save your game again to lock in that Pokemon and catch it again. Repeat this process until you have your desired mark.
If you have a Masterball, I recommend using that to catch the wandering Pokemon. You will be resetting your game each time anyway, so you’ll get your Masterball back. Once you do catch a marked Pokemon, simply reset and catch it again with your desired Pokeball.
With the release of the Crown Tundra expansion it is possible to get marks on the Galarian forms of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. As far as I know, these are the only legendary Pokemon that can have marks. To mark hunt them, you can use the same technique you would with wandering Pokemon. However, instead of walking away to re-randomize the Pokemon, you have to reset the area by doing something like going inside a building and coming back out.
Getting marked Pokemon in rare Pokeballs
If you want to catch your Pokemon in a rare Pokeball like a Lure Ball or a Beast Ball, then you don’t want to be throwing them at every Pokemon you see in hopes they have a mark. There is a way to conserve these scarce Pokeballs until you find a marked Pokemon.
Similarly to the wandering spawn hunting technique, you can save your game when you target Pokemon is on the screen. Then catch it with a more easily obtained Pokeball. If it doesn’t have a mark, you can simply find another of your desired Pokemon and save again before catching it. If the Pokemon does have the mark you want, just reset and catch the Pokemon again in the rare Pokeball. Just like with wandering spawns, when you reset your game the exact same Pokemon – marks and all – will be right in front of you again.
If multiple of the Pokemon you want are on screen when you save, you can catch all of them before checking for marks.
Unfortunately, with random spawns there is no way to preserve the Pokemon by saving before hand. Therefore, if you are determined to mark hunt a random spawn Pokemon, your best bet is to catch it in the rare ball. If it doesn’t have a mark, reset your game and find another.
Useful abilities to keep in mind
Mark hunting can be tedious, but there are a few useful abilities that can make it much easier.
Synchronize is incredibly useful if you are mark hunting for competitive use. If a Pokemon with Synchronize is in the first slot on your team, then all Pokemon caught will have the same nature as the synchronizer. This can save you from having to buy costly mints to change their natures later.
There are a few abilities that cause Pokemon of certain types to spawn more frequently. These can save you a lot of time while mark hunting. Keep in mind that the Pokemon with this ability has to be in the first slot on your team in order for it to have an effect. The abilities are as follows:
- Static and Lightning Rod – Electric types
- Harvest – Grass types
- Flash Fire – Fire types
- Storm Drain – Water types
- Magnet Pull – Steel types
You can also increase all Pokemon spawns with the abilities Illuminate, No Guard, and Arena Trap. Again, the Pokemon with the ability must lead the party in order for the effect to take place.
That’s all I have for now. Have you been able to catch any marked Pokemon? Do you have questions that weren’t answered here? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to check out some of our other Pokemon content!