Best Pokémon Go tips and tricks — Updated for Gen 2!

What are the best Pokémon Go and for Pokémon Go now that it’s hit Gen 2? These!

I’ve been playing Pokémon Go since launch day. I’m currently level 36, have completed my Gen 1 North American Pokédex, have hatched all the Pokémon babies, and am getting close to completing the medals and Gen 2. Over the last many months, levels, events, and encounters, I’ve picked up a few and that have helped me immensely. It’s the stuff I know now that I wish I knew back when I started. Heck, I wish I knew some of it back when I hit level 30!

Check out these Pokémon Go cheats as well!


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1. Check your Nearby and Sightings

Pokémon Go now includes two distinct forms of detecting the Pokémon in your immediate vicinity. The first is Nearby, which shows you Pokémon hanging around the PokéStops in your area. The second is Sightings, which shows you the Pokémon hiding anywhere close by, ready to spawn.

The Pokémon tab at the bottom right of your travel screen shows you up to three Pokémon. Tap on it, and you’ll see up to nine. Depending on what’s in your area, they’ll be all Nearby, all Sightings, or a mix of both.

Nearby squashes Sightings

Neither Nearby or Sightings shows you every Pokémon around you. If there are a lot of PokéStops in your area and a lot of Pokémon loitering at those Stops, Nearby will only show you one or two from each Stop.

Theoretically, rare Pokémon will be highlighted so you don’t miss them. Theoretically. Nearby tends to overwhelm Sightings, though, so if a Snorlax is in the area but not at a PokéStop, you’d have to walk within 40m or so or risk missing it. Catch some of the Pokémon at the PokéStops, though, and you thin things out, letting Sightings back in. Then you might see that Snorlax sooner.

FOMO vs. YOLO

You can’t watch Nearby and Sightings 24/7, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is best avoided, but if you do have a few moments here or there to tap open Pokémon Go and take a peak, do it. I was once out filming a video review, took a spare second to check, and found a Snorlax had spawned right on top of me.

When I arrived at a friend’s house for dinner, I popped it open and saw a Lapras right on the street corner. It’s only happened a handful of times, and I’ve no doubt missed more than I’ve caught, but catching any super-rare Pokémon that just happen to be around is better than none.

See how to find rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go

2. Know your nests

Most Pokémon have “nests”, or consistent places where one to four of the same Pokémon will spawn regularly, sometimes even hourly. Sadly, very rare Pokémon like Tyranitar, Mareep, Dragonite, Snorlax, Lapras, and even Grimer don’t have any known nests, but others like Electabuzz, Magmar, and Jinx do.

How nests and migrations work

Nests currently “migrate” every two weeks. These migrations occur at 12 a.m. GMT. (4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET) every second Thursday. That’s good, because it gives you a couple weeks to stock up on any good Pokémon at your local nests, but also changes things up fairly quickly if you get stuck with a bad nest. So, over the course of a few months, your Charmander nest might become Slowpoke, Charmander again, Diglett, Drowzee, Paras, then Growlith, and so on. Nest migrations are seemingly random, though, so you never really know what you’ll get.

Regular spawns vs. cluster spawns

Some nests only spawn one Pokémon type or only one interesting type along with some commons like Pidgey and Rattata. Others spawn multiple interesting Pokémon. For example, Staryu, Slowpoke, Polywag, Psyduck, and Magikarp often all spawn at the same water-side points.

Higher-level spawns

Occasionally, evolved Pokémon can spawn at base Pokémon nests. For example, a Starmie will once-in-a-very-while spawn at a Staryu nest, or a Slowbro at a Slowpoke nest.

Dratini spawn

And even though there are no Dratini nests, Dratini can very occasionally spawn from Magikarp nests. For example, if Magikarp spawn hourly, Dratini may spawn at the same place once or twice a day and, even more rarely, Dragonair.

Learn about Pokémon Go nests and how to find them

3. Always throw Curve Balls

ABC: Always be Curving. Throwing a Curve Ball in Pokémon Go is believed to give you a 1.7x bonus to catch a Pokémon. (Catching means they don’t break free from your Poké Ball or, worse, flee.)

The 1.7x bonus for a Curve Ball is higher than the 1.5x bonus you get for using a Razz Berry or switching to a Great Ball, and it consumes no resources. It’s also cumulative, so if you do use a Razz Berry or Great or Ultra Ball, you still get a 1.7x bonus for curving. It’s basically free bonus. All you have to do is get good at throwing it.

Learn how to throw the perfect curve ball every time

Get your medals — and bonuses!

Each Pokémon has one or two types, and each type has a medal. Typically, if you catch 10 of the same type, you get a bronze medal. Catch 50, and you get a silver medal. Catch 200, and you get a gold medal. Why bother? Bronze medal earns you an extra 1.1x bonus for catching Pokémon. Silver gets you a 1.2x bonus and gold gets you 1.3x. It’s not as high as a Curve Ball bonus, but it’s also effortless once you have it. And any bonus you get to catching that Dragonite might matter!

Read how to stack your bonuses to catch any Pokémon

Stack, stack, stack

Bonuses stack together, so if you use a Razz Berry then throw a Curve Ultra Ball at a Pokémon you have Gold Medal for, and hit the Excellent Bonus, you catch rate multiplies through the roof.

Poké Ball: x1.Curve Poké Ball: x1.7.Curve Ultra Ball: x3.4.Curve Ultra Ball + Razz Berry: x5.1.Curve Ultra Ball + Razz Berry + Excellent: x10.2.Curve Ultra Ball + Razz Berry + Excellent + Gold Medal: x13.26.

How to stack bonuses and catch any Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Don’t throw good balls after bad Pokémon

When you a see a Pokémon on your catch screen you also see the CP (Combat Power) of that Pokémon. If the CP is low we tend to think the level is low, making it easier to catch. But CP doesn’t just depend on level, it also depends on stats (IV).

So, a Pokémon with low CP could be a low-level Pokémon with good stats… or it could also be a high-level Pokémon with lousy stats that’s super hard to catch.

In other words, if a low CP Pokémon has a red or orange ring around it and keeps escaping your Poké Ball, odds are it’s a lousy Pokémon that just happens to be high level and may not be worth your continued time and resources to catch.

4. AR = Augment your range

Augmented Reality (AR) Mode, where Pokémon are superimposed on the real world as seen through your phone’s camera, is the default in Pokémon Go. Conventional wisdom is to turn it off to prevent distraction and reduce battery drain.

Most of the time that’s exactly what you want to do. Sometimes, though, AR can be your best friend.

That’s when a Pokémon is standing or flying further away and it’s more challenging to hit them successfully. Flying Pokémon like Golbat love to do that. So does Dragonite.

Sure, you can practice on long-range Pokémon to hit those long-range Curve Balls and Nice, Great, and Excellent bonuses. But you can also tap on AR mode, tilt your phone, and bring those long-range Pokémon into close-range.

It can be especially useful if you’re missing a lot and wasting a lot of Pokéballs, Great Balls, or Ultra Balls.

So, give it a shot. (Haha!)

5. Catch ’em all, seriously

You may be tempted to ignore more common Pokémon or Pokémon you already have for rare Pokémon and the ones you still need to complete your Pokédex. Don’t. If you have enough Poké Balls, there’s more than enough reason to keep catching the more common or already registered Pokémon.

Grind Pidget, Caterpie, and Weedle for XP

Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedle only require 12 candies to evolve. So, basically, you want to catch as many as possible to get as much candy as possible, then drop a Lucky Egg and evolve them all at once to get as much XP as possible. It’s called grinding and it’s a huge accelerator when it comes to leveling up. (Even Rattata at 25 candies can be used to grind.)

None of the Gen 2 Pokémon, even the common ones, require so few candies, so stick to the Gen 1.

That Stardust

To power up Pokémon you need candy and Stardust. Candy has to come from the specific Pokémon you want to power up (or one of its evolutions — Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, and Venusaur all use Bulbasaur candy). Stardust, though, can come from any Pokémon you catch or hatch, among other ways.

In other words, if you want to evolve a Rhydon, you need to catch, hatch, or walk Rhyhorn or Rhydon as much as possible to get as many candies as possible. If you want to power up your Rhydon, though, you can catch or hatch anything for the Stardust.

Catching as many Pokémon as possible means you have as much Stardust as possible to power up.

6. Eek the most out of Eggs

There are two kinds of eggs in Pokémon Go: Pokémon Eggs that hatch Pokémon and Lucky Eggs that double the XP you get for catching and hatching Pokémon and performing other in-game actions. Pokémon Eggs are free and you can only get them from spinning PokéStops. You can buy Lucky Eggs but you also get them as rewards for hitting some levels.

Regardless of the kind of egg you have, you want to get the most out of it.

Hatch as much as you can

Incubators are one of the very few things I’ll pay for if I need to. Sure, you’ll get a lot of common Pokémon, but you’ll also get some rare Pokémon that would take you a long time to catch in the wild, and it’s currently the only way to get the Gen 2 Pokémon babies.

How to hatch Pokémon Go eggs faster

Stack your Lucky Eggs for max XP

If you have a Lucky Egg, a bunch of Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle, and Rattata you want to mass-evolve for leveling, and a slew of Pokémon Eggs available to hatch, start your 10 KM eggs incubating. When you get to 5 KM on them, start your 5 KM eggs incubating. When you get to 8 KM / 3 KM, start your 2 KM eggs incubating.

Coordinate your KM

When they’re about to hatch, drop your Lucky Egg and start your mass evolution. You can do one evolution every 20 seconds, so if you have enough Pokémon and enough candy, you can really make an XP dent. (Some people like force-quitting each evolution to speed up the process — your mileage may vary.)

Fold in your Stops and streaks

If you can time your daily PokéStop spin bonus (see below) — or better, your weekly spin bonus — all the better. And if you happen to hatch something new, your Pokédex bonus will get doubled as well!

When everything comes together, you can not only get some new Pokémon, candy and Stardust to evolve more great Pokémon, and a huge amount of XP towards your next level.

Here’s how to hatch Pichu, Topegi, and the other Gen 2 Pokémon babies

7. Measure twice, evolve once

I know the feeling. You finally have the 25 candies you need to evolve Larvitar to Pupitar or Dratini to Dragonair. But then those 25 candies are gone and you need to hatch, catch, or Buddy walk another 100 candy to evolve Tyranitar or Dragonite.

And during that long, long span of time, you might just hatch or catch a better Larvitar or Dragonair.

If all you care about is finishing your Pokédex, it may not matter to you. But if you care about evolving the best Pokémon possible, ones with the highest CP (Combat Power) and HP (Hit Points) to attack or defend Gyms — or just show off! — then you’ll need the best base levels to evolve from.

Hard as it may be, wait until you have the full 125 candies to evolve to the final stage before you pick which base Pokémon you want to evolve. Also: Don’t power up before you level up for similar reasons.

Best Pokémon to evolve and power up for attacking and defending Gyms

The Pyro, Sparky, and Rainer trick — Now with Sakura and Tamao!

Remember how you could evolve your first Flareon, Jolteon, or Vaporeon by naming your choice Eevee after the original cartoon trainers, Pyro, Sparky, or Rainer respectively?

Well, the same trick works for the Gen 2 Umbreon and Espeon. Just use:

Sakura for EspeonTamao for Umbreon

If you want more Espeon or Umbreon, you have to make an Eevee your Buddy, walk 10 KM with it, then evolve during the day (Espeon) or at night (Umbreon) while it’s still your Buddy.

The Tyrogue trick

Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee have a new base form in Pokémon Go Gen 2 named Tyrogue. If you had Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan before, their Candy has now been merged into Tyrogue Candy and you can use it to evolve any future Tyrogue you catch or hatch into any of the Hitmon.

Everyone is still trying to figure out what the trick is for determining which Hitmon you get, but the leading theory is that it involves an homage to the original game. If true, when you evolve Tyrogue, you get:

Hitmonlee when Attack is the highest stat. Himonchan when Defense is the highest stat.Hitmontops when HP is the highest stat.

Scoring evolution items

Evolution Items are items that trigger new or newly split evolutions. You collect them from PokéStops, like you do Pokémon Eggs, and use them to unlock the new Gen 2 evolutions and splits.

Sun Stone: Evolve Gloom to Bellossum (and Gen 2 Sunkern into Sunflora).Kings Rock: Evolve Poliwhirl to Politoed, Slowpoke to SlowkingMetal Coat: Evolve Onix to Steelix, Scyther to ScizorDragon Scale: Evolve Seadra to KingdraUp Grade: Evolve Porygon to Porygon 2

They’re less common than Pokémon Eggs so you’ll have to hit a lot of PokéStops to get them. They’re also single-use only, which means you’ll need to get one for each evolution you want to perform. Yeah.

Right now, most people seem to get at least one — and very rarely more than one — during their 7-day streak spin. There are reports of people getting one — and very rarely more than one — during other spins as well. That’s after 300 to 500 spins, though, making Evolution Items the lowest drop-rate items in the game, by far.

Speaking of streaks…

8. PokéStops and Bonus Streaks

Pokémon Go encourages you to play regularly by giving you daily and weekly bonuses not just for catching Pokémon but for spinning PokéStops. They’re called “streaks”. Your first spin of the day will get you extra items and XP. Spin every day and you get an even bigger weekly bonus on the seventh day. Also, if you spin ten PokéStops in a row, with no more than ten minutes between each one, you also get extra items. So…

Stocking up from spins

Spin as often as you can. Once you get comfortable with the PokéStops near where you live, work, learn, and play, and along your regular travel routes, spin them whenever possible. It costs you nothing but can significantly boost your stock of Pokémon Eggs (so you can hatch more Pokémon), Poké Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls, Razz Berries, Potions, Super Potions, Hyper Potions, Max Potions, Revives, and Max Revives.

Using rather than losing

With the new items, your backpack can run out of space. Rather than trashing items to make space for additional Pokémon and spins, you can use it. More than that, you can let your items lead you and help you to decide what to do while you’re out playing.

Have an excess of Balls? Go hunting for Pokémon to catch. (And walk off those extra Pokémon Eggs at the same time!). Too many Potions and Revives weighing you down? Go battle at some Gyms.

Not only is it a great strategy for getting as much free stuff as possible, it helps keep storage open so you never lose out on a Pokémon Egg or anything else you desperately need just because your bag is full of stuff you don’t.

9. Pick your Pokémon

While the number of Pokémon in the Pokédex expanded, and the movesets have been remixed, one thing that hasn’t changed is how Gym placement works. The Pokémon with the highest CP (Combat Power) sits highest on the Gym and has the best chance of staying there the longest. That means a max CP of 3000 or more. Preferably more. So, when it comes to the top ranked Pokémon, the only thing that’s really new is the addition of a couple Pokémon from Gen 2:

Tyranitar — Max CP 3670Dragonite – Max CP 3581Snorlax – Max CP 3355Rhydon – Max CP 3300Gyarados – Max CP 3281Blissey – Max CP 3219Vaporeon – Max CP 3157

That also means those are the Pokémon you’re most likely to fight on a Gym, so you’ll want their counters available as well:

Machamp to counter Tyranitar, Snorlax, and BlisseyCloyster or Lapras to counter DragoniteVaporeon to counter RhydonJolteon or Ampharos to counter Gyarados and Vaporeon.

Here are the Pokémon you should evolve and power up first

Know your types

Every Pokémon has its strengths and weaknesses. You can learn them all if you want to, and figure out precisely the best attacker or prestiger for every possible defender, but odds are you’ll be seeing the same high CP Pokémon in most Gyms, most of the time. So, even if you only remember those, you’ll be off to a good start.

12. Play smarter not harder

Pokémon Go has really helped me get out and go. Going for hikes of 5KM or more is a lot more fun when I’m catching and hatching Pokémon along the way. That said, sometimes my schedule or the weather makes it hard to get all those KM in. So, I play smart.

Make your movement count

You can leave Pokémon Go on while you’re doing housework, shopping, walking the dog, even riding in slow-moving transports like ski lifts, trams, ferries, buses in traffic, and more. Around 10KM is the sweet spot for hatching eggs and walking Buddies, but stop and go can still add up.

The Apple Watch advantage

If you have an Apple Watch, the Pokémon Go extension can make all of the above even more efficient. It counts steps and can credit you for distance the phone app sometimes misses.

The lazy way

Stuck at home or in the office? GPS drift — where your trainer runs around because Pokémon Go can’t get an exact fix — can add up to extra KM for hatching eggs or walking your Buddy as well. Even if there’s no PokéStop where you are, there might be a spawn point that’ll still bring you ample Pokémon to Catch. And you can always drop an Incense, which will bring you a bunch of common Pokémon every few minutes and maybe even one or two more exciting Pokémons.

Gym wins

Gyms are easier to take down now than the use to be. As a result, Gyms are getting taken down more often — even level 10 gyms. So, if you’re out and about, it’s always worth checking a Gym to see if it has a free slot, or would be trivial to take down or prestige up to get you a free slot.

Taking advantage of travel

Traveling fits right into this as well. I’ve built up series KM walking through airports, being stuck in cabs and Ubers on the way to hotels, and having my trainer run around while I’m in the hotel. Many big city hotels have multiple PokéStops within range as well, perfect for Lures if you have them. (Likewise coffee shops — warm, safe, and PokéStopped!)

Bonus: An ounce of Gen 4 preparation…

Pokémon Go Gen 2 has just arrived but it’s never too early to start preparing for Gen 4! These are the Pokémon that will be getting new evolutions in the not-so-distant — we hope! — future. Catch more so you’re ready when they arrive!

AipomGligarMisdreavusMurkrowPiloswinePorygon2SneaselTogeticYanma

Your best Pokémon Go tips and tricks?

These are my Pokémon Go tips and tricks. Others have their tips but these ones are mine. I’d love to learn yours, so if you have any — or you have any questions! — drop them in the comments below!

Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go Resources

Pokémon Go Ultimate GuidePokémon Go tips and tricksPokémon Go cheatsWhere to find rare PokémonHow to catch rare PokémonHow to hatch Pokémon Eggs fasterBest Pokémon to evolve and power upBest Pokémon movesetsFix Pokémon Go problemsPokemon Go help and discussion forum

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