Could Mateo lead to Wonder/Surprise Trading in Pokémon GO?

Mateo has recently been introduced as a character in Pokémon GO, with a new feature to accompany Routes, the Gift Exchange. Mateo appears at the end of a route, and offers you the chance to send a gift collected along your route to a mystery trainer anywhere in the world, with you receiving a mystery gift back! It is a cute new feature, helping trainers with their Vivillon collections, but so far hasn’t been seen as the most exciting. However, Mateo does have some major potential, and that potential is… Wonder Trading.

PS. Who else just realised that Mateo was actually in the sixth anniversary Pokémon GO art hiding behind Turtonator?!

What is Wonder Trading/Surprise Trading?

So just what is Wonder Trading? Wonder Trading was a type of trading first introduced in Gen VI that allowed Pokémon trainers around the world to randomly trade with another trainer anywhere in the world! You picked a random Pokémon to trade, and received a random Pokémon in return. By Gen VIII Wonder Trading was renamed Surprise Trading, though many players still call it Wonder Trading to this day. In Pokémon HOME there is also an option to do a similar form of trading via your Wonder Box, a random Pokémon, for a random Pokémon.

No longer did you have to physically connect your Nintendo device to another persons via a cable to trade, you could do it globally!

The fun of Wonder and Surprise Trading is that you have absolutely no idea what Pokémon you might get! A lot of players will send out game exclusive Pokémon in the hopes of helping another player add something new to their Pokédex! for example, in Pokémon Violet you could catch Gulpin, the water form of Paldean Tauros, Misdreavus, Bagon and a few others, but you could not obtain them in Pokémon Scarlet, which had it’s own version exclusives. Other trainers who shiny hunt via breeding may send out all their non-shiny hatched Pokémon to free up their storage space. And of course, there is always the potential you might find you constantly get the Route One Pokémon spawns, it isn’t always something cool! But it is fun to not know, and potentially get something cool in return. You might even get a shiny Pokémon!

Of course Wonder/Surprise Trading does have problems, like any mechanism in a game that involves trading. People ‘hack’ their games and send out Pokémon with website names that are maximum IVs, level 100, and shiny. Many trainers will simply release these Pokémon rather than keep them in their storage because they have been obtained via hacking.

Not all Pokémon can be traded, much like in GO Mythical Pokémon cannot be traded, along with ‘special Pokémon’, which are Pokémon banned from “certain official tournaments, battle facilities, and link battle formats” (source: Bulbapedia), for example, the box art Legendary Pokémon.

How Could Wonder/Surprise Trading Work in GO?

Mateo already partakes in a form of surprise trading, as you pick a gift, and send it to a random trainer somewhere in the world in exchange for another gift. You can pin it, and it can help lead you to a Scatterbug encounter. This mechanism could easily be switched so that instead of sending a gift, you choose a Pokémon to send out instead! It could be such a fun way to send out regionals to other Pokémon GO trainers around the world, and help each other complete your Pokédex. You could even send out some of those hoarding Community Day shiny Pokémon you’ve kept around for trading, but that no one wants!

Shiny Kanto Regionals
Shiny Kanto Regionals

Some may argue that this would potentially devalue regional Pokémon, but we’ve seen many regionals become more widely available at GO Fest and the various Tour events, so why not? If Mateo remained tied to Routes, and was only encounterable once per day, it would certainly make it a mechanism we have to work for, and that alone would make it quite a limited feature that would be difficult to take advantage of.


Pokémon GO players have long asked for global trading, especially during the pandemic, and with Wonder/Surprise Trading being a regular feature in the main series games, why not bring it to Pokémon GO? If the mechanism was kept to surprise only trading, it would do something to prevent abuse, and make it more fun. Sure you might get a Rattata one day, but you might get a Bouffalant or Hawlucha the next!

What do you think of the idea of Wonder Trading in PokémonGO? Would you like to see Mateo evolve to swap Pokémon and not just gifts?

Author & tags

Turtwig obsessive, real life Psyduck, Pokémon GO AR Photographer, found footage horror fan and Pokémon GO Hub AR Queen

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