20 Hidden Tips for Pokemon Go Fanatics
Pokemon Go is taking over the world. The game provides little in the way of guidance on the nuances of Pokemon catching, collecting, and evolving.
In fact, there’s barely even a tutorial. But the following advanced tips and tricks go beyond basic to help you truly master Pokemon Go.
Turn Off AR to Make Capturing Easier
Capturing Pokemon with AR on is part of the fun, especially when the pocket monsters pop up in inappropriate places, but it’s way easier to capture Pokemon without worrying about aiming your phone camera. And strangers, for the most part, don’t like having phones pointed at them. Why not turn off AR and relieve them of social anxiety? You can do that by tapping the AR toggle when you’re capturing wild Pokemon. Pokemon will then sit perfectly still on a grassy field, though they will occasionally hop or gyrate to make capturing difficult. But at least this way you can focus on just the Pokemon, and not worry about reorienting the camera or suffering the death stares of real-life NPCs.
Can I Optimize Egg Hatching? And What’s a Kilometer?!
While visiting Pokestops, you’ll probably pick up some eggs, from which Pokemon hatch. But first, you need to incubate them, and then walk around. To do that, go to your Pokemon collection, and in the upper-right you’ll see an Eggs tab. Tap that, choose an egg, then an incubator. Then you walk around and wait for the hatch.
Here’s some advice: Don’t waste your time incubating the 2K (kilometer) eggs unless you really want more low-level Pokemon (though that isn’t a bad way to get a starter you missed or snag yourself a Pikachu). The 5K eggs can net you some decent ones like Cubone, Porygon, Machops, or Sandshrew. The 10K eggs get you more powerful, uncommon ones like Snorlax.
You can even hatch eggs if you’re on a bicycle, bus, or train. The app just registers that you’re moving; it won’t actually care that you’re not walking. So, you can hop on your bike and keep the app open to not only get some exercise, but hatch some sweet Snorlax bros as well. Another great way to incubate and hatch eggs is to go for a run!
To pick up more incubators, you can either buy them outright in the real-money Shop or by getting lucky at Pokestops, though they are rare. You also gain more incubators and other more rare items as you level up. And remember: Pokestops replenish every 10 to 15 minutes, which is remarkably fast for a free-to-play mobile game!
By the way, 5 kilometers is about equal to 3.1 miles. Pokemon Go, not only does it bring us together, it educates.
When capturing wild Pokemon, you can throw a curveball to gain more XP. All you have to do is jiggle the ball! Jiggle it good! Basically, you tap the ball, hold it, and spin it around clock- or counterclockwise until it sparkles. Once it’s shining up, toss it and boom! If you capture the critter you’ll get a curveball XP bonus.
But wait, there’s more: Where you throw the curveball depends on how you throw after the spin. Apparently, it helps to throw the ball in the opposite direction of the initial spin. So, if you’re spinning it clockwise, you’ll want to toss the ball to the left. How the ball moves after a spin seems pretty random to me, though.
Supposedly, if you botch a toss you can tap the Pokeball when it bounces or rolls away in order to retrieve it. But I’ve been tapping away and trying this out for a while, with no real indication that it works. But some people online have say it works for them. Huge, if true.
The Razz Berries Taste Like Razz Berries!
We explained in our primer that razz berries are items you can feed a Pokemon to slow it down before you capture it. More importantly, you can use razz berries in tandem with a stronger Pokeball (especially once you start leveling up and unlocking Great Balls and Ultra Balls) to catch particularly feisty or extremely rare Pokemon that cross your path.
One of the aspiring trainers right here in the PCMag Labs caught themselves a Dragonair doing just that. Feed the Pokemon a razz berry, take out a Great Ball, give it some good arc on your throw, and catching just got a whole lot easier.
Gain More XP! Faster!!
The best way to grind XP is to capture multiple low-level Pokemon, pay attention to the number of candy they require to evolve, and wait until you have enough Candy for multiple evolutions at the same time. By capturing the same type of Pokémon over and over you gain more Stardust and Candy. So, don’t think ill of all those Doduos, Caterpies, and Weedles! They’re potentially useful because you can transfer duplicates, which will earn you 1 candy of that Pokemon type. Then, use a Lucky Egg and evolve all of the Pokemon at the same time to gain double the amount of XP. Pidgeys are especially pretty good for this.
Some words of wisdom on Stardust and Candy, though: think carefully about what Pokemon you want to power up now, and which ones you want to save for after you evolve. The more you power up a Pokemon you eventually plan on evolving, the longer it’ll take you to collect the 25, 50, or 100 candies you need to evolve that little guy and see the Pokemon’s CP skyrocket anyway. Pro tip: evolve the Pokemon first, then power it up. Better to use your stardust on Pokemon that are finished evolving or only have one form to optimize your battle lineup, with a bunch of even stronger Pokemon waiting in the wings, piling up candies to take your squad to the next level once they evolve.
Just like in the core, handheld Pokemon games (or real-life animals) certain Pokemon types only dwell in certain locations. Do you want to collect a lot of Magikarps to evolve one of them into a fearsome Gyrados? Or fetch yourself a Squirtle? Then head down to the river, lake, or reservoir, because that’s where Water-type Pokemon will appear! Want to catch Beedrill, Bulbasaur, or other Bug- and Plant-type critters? Take a stroll through the woods. And big-city dwellers may wonder why there are so many Electric-type Pokemon like Magnemite and Voltorb around. That’s because they like to hang around electric billboards (maybe).
CP simply means Combat Power, and it’s the number above each wild Pokemon. It indicates their battle prowess, and as you gain more experience points (or XP) and level up as a Trainer, the CP of the Pokemon you find will become higher.
We’re still learning about Combat Power, but here’s what we know so far. In an individual Pokemon’s stat screen, you’ll see a semi-circle at the top. The part that’s bold with a dot at the end indicates that Pokemon’s current maximum Combat Point potential. Some Pokemon have higher maximum CP than others. For example, an intimidating, spiky Pinsir will likely be stronger than a tiny, wormy Caterpie. But, if you find a 50 CP Pikachu, that doesn’t mean it’s stronger than a 20 CP one. For efficiency’s sake, though, you’ll probably want to Power Up the 50 CP Pikachu with Candies.
Whether you Power Up or Evolve a Pokemon first is up to you. Some believe powering up a ‘Mon before evolving it results in even higher CP, but there’s no confirmation of that yet. But, your Pokemon’s max CP rises along with your Trainer level, so don’t neglect those curve balls (more on that shortly) and be sure to visit Pokestops whenever you can! Get dat XP!
Extra Note: It looks like your Pokemon’s weight/size (XL or XS) could affect their stats, like CP, HP, and dodge speed. Again, there’s a lot of rumor mongering and unconfirmed info out there at the moment, so that could be a bunch of Bouffalant hockey.
Check the Moves
You might catch a few different Staryus that are all around the same CP, but take a look at the two moves each Pokemon has when you catch it, and the power level of each move. If you catch a 98CP Staryu and a 105 CP Staryu, and the slightly weaker one has Water Gun and Psybeam, while the stronger one only knows how to Tackle and Body Slam, go for the better move set.
Next to each move you’ll also see how much damage it does, along with a blue power meter for the second (more powerful) move, which indicates when your Pokemon’s power move is ready to rock in a battle. Better moves, more power, better Pokemon. You can always make up some CP points later.
But, Wait! What the Heck Is a Lucky Egg?!
It’s an egg that’s lucky! Really, it’s filled with happiness and most importantly, grants you double the amount of experience points you can gain for 30 minutes at a time. You can only buy these in the Shop, with Coins. If you’ve got a couple Pokemon you’re almost ready to evolve, save up those candies until you’ve got a Lucky Egg, then evolve them all one after another while the Lucky Egg’s dank XP aura is in the air to double down on that extra CP and XP.
Used Incense?! Then You Gotta Move!
Wily Reddit users found a way into the game’s code to figure out how Incense works. In case you need a reminder, Incense covers your Trainer in a pink, fluffy fragrance that attracts wild Pokemon to your location for 30 minutes. But you can’t just be complacent and sit there waiting for Pokemon. If you stay still, you’ll only see one Pokemon every five minutes, which isn’t a great way to spend your time. Instead, take a walk and you’ll lure one Pokemon every 200 meters.
Evolve That Eevee! Rename It!
If you remember the original Pokemon cartoon, you may recall the three Eevee Brothers, who each owned one of Eevee’s evolutions: a Flareon, Jolteon, and Vaporeon. If you nickname your Eevee one of the brothers’ punny names, then it will evolve into your desired evolution! Want a Flareon? Then name it Pyro. Want a Jolteon? Name it Sparky! Jonesing for a Vaporeon? Then call it Rainer. This may not work all the time, however; it’s an almost-guaranteed way to evolve one of your Eevees, but this weird method may not work 100 percent of the time.
Who’s That Pokemon? It’s Pikachu!
If you’re already a Level 30 trainer, then you may not care about this tip. But if you’re just starting out and you’re about to select your starter Pokemon (Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle), don’t! Like Lord Humongous says: “Just walk away!” Instead, walk away from the starters, and keep ignoring them, and eventually, the plump electric mouse himself will appear for you to recruit. Finally, you, too, can be just like Ash Ketchum.
More Pokemon Scanning! Track Them With Your Compass!
Remember that tab in the lower-right corner with the footsteps? Well, after you select a Pokemon you want to track, you can turn on your compass (the icon in the upper right), then slowly turn yourself around in a circle. The lower-right tab will begin to pulse green when you’re facing the direction of the Pokemon you’re tracking. Not only that, the pulse will quicken as you near your target.
Lighten Your Load, Throw Away Potions!
If you’re anything like me, you shoot from the hip and let Pokeballs fly where they may. And, if you’re anything like me, eventually, you’re going to run out of Pokeballs that way. And if you stroll by a Pokestop, chances are your bag will be full and you will be unable to collect more Pokeballs! Well, don’t let that stop you. Just open your inventory and chuck some potions. Chances are you don’t need 99 of every Potion type, so get rid of some and you’ll get your Pokeballs back in no time…so long as you stroll by more Pokestops, or wait around for them to refresh.
Have Patience, Kricketot! You Can Capture All Pokemon!
You don’t have to evolve everything you come across. With patience, you could potentially find a Blastoise, or even a Charizard, out in the wild. Maybe even a Gyarados. Just don’t expect Mew or any of the legendary birds, however—although their existence has been found in the game’s code. They’re locked away for now, but one day, we’ll get ’em.
It’s Over 1,000!!!
That’s right. This is some advanced stuff. Just like in the core games, there are hidden stats called Individual Values, or IVs, that affect a Pokemon’s strength. Wild Pokemon IVs are randomly determined, so that Pikachu with high CP and HP that you caught may actually—ultimately!—evolve into a weaker Raichu than a Pikachu with lower CP and HP, but higher IVs. That’s why it’s important to catch as many Pokemon as you can, so you can whittle them down to the best of the best.
If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry about it. Just plug in your Pokemon’s CP, HP, and the Stardust needed to evolve it into this IV Calculator. With that, you can figure out exactly which of your Pokemon to evolve. This is especially helpful if you have multiple candidates to evolve but a limited amount of Candy. It’s like the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s, but with Snorlax!
Want the Best of the Best? Pay Attention to IVs!
Having a tough time battling gyms? Well, Reddit user Kyurun figured out how to guarantee your evolved Pokemon will have over 1,000 CP. Turns out, your unevolved ‘Mon needs to have a minimum amount of CP before it can evolve. Refer to the handy chart above to find what those numbers are! It’s not exact, however. You may evolve a Raichu with a CP number outside of the predicted range. For more accurate results, you’ll have to pay attention to your Pokemon’s IVs