Obedience level is a special concept within various iterations of the Pokemon games. In Previous generations, although not all of them, there was a requirement to beat a certain number of Gym Leaders to command a certain level of Pokemon. This was a mechanic dating back to Generation I, and was designed to prevent hackers and traders from exploiting the game by just grabbing a Level 100 Pokemon and dominating the game. This was further reinforced by Game Freak designing progression within the games as a set path.
But in Generation VIII and Sword and Shield, the mechanic was changed to be more accessible, with Pokemon that you originally caught obeying you regardless of level. The idea was that Trainers were restricted in the Pokemon they could catch, but not necessarily in the ones that they could command. If Trainers tried to capture or use traded Pokemon above a certain level, depending on the number of Badges they had, the Pokemon wouldn’t obey their commands. This method has been tweaked back to pretty close to its original form in Generation IX.
Obedience level in Scarlet and Violet Explained
The first limit to be aware of is the capture limit. Depending on the number of badges, a certain level of Pokemon will be much harder to catch. Obedience level in Scarlet and Violet scales up and if you catch a Pokemon below your threshold, you will be able to control them in battle. For example, if you have zero badges and catch a level 10 Pokemon, it will obey you. But if you somehow level it to beyond level 20 without gaining any more badges, it will still obey in battle. Also, any monsters caught above your level threshold will refuse to obey.
Traded Pokemon are considered Outsiders once they have been traded at least once. So even if you are the Original Trainer of a valid Pokemon, trading it will then mark it as an outsider. If that Pokemon is returned to you above your level threshold it will no longer obey you. This counts for both Surprise and Link Trade Pokemon.
So at the start, you will only be able to command monsters caught up to Level 20. As players collect subsequent badges, they’ll be able to command stronger Pokemon. Here’s the order in how you unlock new levels to command.
- One Badge – Monsters caught at level 25 or lower will obey.
- Two Badges – Monsters caught at level 30 or lower will obey.
- Three Badges – Monsters caught at level 35 or lower will obey. 3-star Tera Raid battles are unlocked.
- Four Badges – Monsters caught at level 40 or lower will obey.
- Five Badges – Monsters caught at level 45 or lower will obey.
- Six Badges – Monsters caught at level 50 or lower will obey.
- Seven Badges – Monsters caught at level 55 or lower will obey. 4-star Tera Raid battles are unlocked.
- Eight Badges – Monsters of all levels will obey regardless of the level they are captured at.
You will want to fight your way through the game to get through the 8 Gyms and Elite Four, that way you can use any Pokemon you wish. Take on the early Gyms, Titans, Crews and other tests as you progress through the story. There’s the Electric Gym, Water Gym, Normal Gym and several more. There’s also Academy Classes to pass.