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How to get mystery gifts in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Everyone, say hi to Flying Tera Type Pikachu (aka Pikachu with balloons)

Flying Tera Type Pikachu with balloons on its head. Image: Game Freak/The Pokémon Company, Nintendo via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet players who pre-ordered the game can redeem a flying Tera Type Pikachu wearing a little hat with crystal balloons. It’s very cute, and it knows the move Fly, a flying-type move Pikachu can’t typically use.

To get this special Pikachu, you need to meet two requirements beyond pre-ordering Scarlet and Violet: You need to be able to connect to the internet, and you need to have unlocked the Pokémon Center’s Poké Portal — which should be anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes into the game.

Press X to pull up the menu. Choose Poké Portal, then select Mystery Gift from there. (It’s the last option on the menu.) You’ll then choose to Get via Internet button, and from there, you’ll be able to choose “Flying Tera Type Pikachu Gift” from the next screen. Hit A to select it. A level 5 balloon-adorned Pikachu will be sent to your boxes. When you see it in game regularly, it’ll be a normal Pikachu. But when it Terastallizes, you’ll see the balloons.

Pikachu will be available as a Mystery Gift until Feb. 28, 2023.

Pikachu is the only Mystery Gift right now, but there will likely be more coming. As for special events, The Pokémon Company is running a Black Crystal Tera Raid Battle with Charizard, from Dec. 1 to 4 and Dec. 15 to 18, but you’ll have to earn those in a raid — they’re not free Mystery Gifts. And raids are the only ways to catch Charizard.