The RPG mechanics in the Pokémon series have always had some odd balancing. The core systems of each Pokémon type having strengths and weaknesses is usually solid, but it’s the areas around this base that seem to change from game to game. Leveling up your Pokémon is one of these areas. Originally, leveling up a Pokémon was as simple as using it in battle enough times to gain enough XP to level up, but by the time we hit Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, things have gotten a bit more complex.
Leveling up your team is in some ways much easier, but also more difficult. From the start, all your Pokémon will benefit from full XP share, meaning even the pocket monsters you have sitting on the bench will still earn XP as though they were in the fight themselves. However, getting new Pokémon in the late and post game, when even more Pokémon become available, will leave new catches potentially dozens of levels behind without many obvious ways to earn good XP. Fear not, because there are a few ways you can level up your team fast in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl to cut down on the grind.
Grind with Riley on Iron Island
If you’re still progressing through the story, the first great spot to grind battles much faster is when you go to Iron Island. This will happen near the middle of your adventure in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, but you only get one shot at exploiting this situation. The first time you go to Iron Island, which you trigger by speaking to the sailor at Canalave City docks, Riley will join you as a partner until you complete the objective of beating the Galactic Grunts on said island.
There are two main benefits to grinding at this time with Riley. First is that, because you have a partner, every Pokémon you encounter in the wild will automatically become a Double Battle. That effectively doubles your XP gain since you’ll be getting XP from both Pokémon you beat. The real kicker here is that Riley will also fully heal your team’s HP and PP after every single battle if you just talk to her. That means no more running back to a Pokémon Center to recover after a couple of battles. You can grind and grind to your heart’s content.
Get the Vs. Seeker item
Fighting wild Pokémon is fine, but we all know trainers are where the real XP gains are. But trainers, for the most part, will only challenge you once. With a handy item called the Vs. Seeker, though, you can challenge any trainer you already beat, and they will even have a more powerful roster than the first time, too. That means even the early game trainers are worth backtracking to and battling a second time for a nice chunk of XP.
The Vs. Seeker is a Key Item, meaning you will pick it up automatically as you play the game, specifically on Route 207. When you use it, any trainer currently on your screen that can be battled again will get two exclamation points above their head. Just keep in mind that the Vs. Seeker has a recharge mechanic where you can only use it after walking 100 steps after the previous use.
The only exceptions that the Vs. Seeker won’t work on are any trainers inside of caves or buildings. This includes the trainers on Victory Road, so you can’t double-up on those high-payout battles.
Hold the Lucky Egg
There are plenty of different Hold Items you can give your Pokémon to add different buffs and effects, but the only one you should be worried about when trying to level up fast is the rare Lucky Egg. This item will boost the amount of XP you earn in every battle by 1.5x. You won’t stumble upon a Lucky Egg naturally, though, but there are a few options for you to snag one. Just know that the XP multiplier of Lucky Eggs does stack. That means the more you have and have more Pokémon holding, the higher that multiplier will go, to a maximum of six for your active roster.
The first place you can find a Lucky Egg is in the Grand Underground. On the far northwest section of the map is an area called the Acuity Lakefront. Look for the Pokéball in the middle of the Ice Room here that holds a free Lucky Egg.
Lucky Eggs are also a prize for the Loto-ID in Jubilife City. This is luck-based, so not a very reliable method. For a more consistent way, you can purchase them from the Battle Tower with your BP, but at a very high cost of 77 BP.
Finally, and this is also somewhat random, you can occasionally get a Lucky Egg if you encounter Chancey and steal one from it. You can do this by either using the Thief skill, but if none of your Pokémon know that move, you can just catch the Chancey. If it happens to be holding a Lucky Egg when you catch it, you can take it and give it to a different Pokémon.
Grind the Elite Four
Again, trainers are some of the most lucrative sources of XP in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and some of the strongest trainers in the game are none other than the Elite Four. These are essentially the highest-level foes you can repeatedly fight before facing end-game challenges like the Battle Tower. These trainers will have very high-level Pokémon that give tons of XP and are the only special trainers you can actually repeatedly face multiple times, even without the Vs. Seeker. In fact, there are two versions of the Elite Four you can rematch.
Once you’ve beaten the Elite Four, you can battle them again by simply entering the Pokémon League and passing through the main door as usual. This will pit you against the same lineup exactly as they were the first time you encountered them. When you’re ready for a tougher fight and a bigger XP payout along with it, they will get a new lineup of Pokémon once you get the National Pokédex.
Hunt in the Hideaways
If you’re in the Grand Underground anyway, Hideaways are your best bet for fighting wild Pokémon that are actually worth your time all the way until end-game levels. This is because the Pokémon that spawn in Hideaways specifically will scale to your level. Plus, you can see which Pokémon are in the area to fight. In general, seek out evolved Pokémon for more XP. Some good Hideaways are the Bigblugg Cavern, Glacial Cavern, and Fountainspring Cave.
Eat Rare Candy
Finally, there’s always Rare Candy. This rare item does exactly what it always has and instantly raises any Pokémon’s level by one. These are best saved until your Pokémon are at the later levels, which take more XP to reach. There is a limited amount of these powerful items in the game, however, if you’re really desperate, there are some methods people have found you can use to duplicate Rare Candy.