PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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Recently in Sword I had been catching a lot of Machokes, thinking I could Surprise trade them away and give everybody Machamps. But there's been no way for me to know if this works... and I've been doing it for a while. Am I wasting time, or does this work?

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Like regular trading, Surprise Trading can trigger trade evolutions.

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It's basically like regular trading. It'll still evolve when traded (while holding an item OR while being traded with a certain mon).
Thanks!