I've been playing Pokémon Go since it launched. I'm currently level 40, have completed my regional Pokédex, and have beaten over 200 Raid Bosses, including 100 Legendary Raids. Over the last many months, levels, events, and encounters, I've picked up a few tips and tricks 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!

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1. Gyms: Attack in waves

The new Gym system is very different from the old one. Thanks to CP decay, almost anyone can destroy almost any Gym in a short amount of time. Still, there are a few things you can do to destroy the faster.

Ready attacker 1

It typically takes three rounds to take down a Gym in Pokémon Go. If there's only one defender, that's three battles total. If it's a full six defenders, that's 18 battles total. If you attack in groups, usually you all go together and it still takes three rounds or up to 18 battles each. If you attack in waves, though, you can get that down to one round each.

  1. Attacker 1 enters the Gym and battles defender 1.
  2. When attacker 1 defeats defender 1, attacker 2 enters and starts battling defender 1.
  3. When attacker 1 defeats defender 2, and attacker 2 defeats defender 1, attacker 3 enters and starts battling defender 1.
  4. When attacker 1 defeats defender 6, they can either stop or jump in and help attacker 3 with defender 4. Either way, by the time attacker 3 is done, the Gym should be done too.

If you have more than 3 people, you can team up for the waves. Two people can do the first wave, for example. You only ever need three waves, though, because that's usually how many battles you need to take down the Gym.

Break the berries

There's one aspect of the new Gym system that can complicate taking down Gyms, even with the wave method: Remote berry feeding. Not just because a defender can be fed remotely to restore their health but because Pokémon Go is so buggy it can cause errors that prevent you from being able to enter the Gym or beat the defender.

One way to minimize the problem is to take the Gym down Pokémon by Pokémon.

  1. Attack the first defender.
  2. Dop out.
  3. Attack the first defender a second time.
  4. Drop out.
  5. Attack the first defender a third time.
  6. Drop out.
  7. Make sure the first defender is gone. If not (if someone is remotely feeding it), attack it again. If so, move on to the second defender.
  8. Repeat until all defenders are defeated and the Gym is empty.

By focusing your attacks on one defender at a time, you minimize the chances of that defender's player seeing the notification that the Pokémon needs attention, or checking the Gym to see if it needs to be fed. They get one battle as a window instead of a full round of up to six battles as a window.

It's still possible for them to catch you and feed Golden Razzberry, and alert teammates to also feed, so you it''s still possible you'll need to come back later or outlast them to take the Gym. This just increases your odds of taking the Gym before any one player notices.

2. Raids: Pick your Pokémon

First, the old Gym system encouraged everyone to "evolve the Pokémon with the highest CP possible so they sit as high, and last as long, in Gyms as possible". Then, the new Gym system punished any Pokémon over 3000 CP with 10% decay per hour, so 2999 CP became the new normal. Now, the Gym system punishes all Pokémon with CP even remotely over 2000, so it really doesn't matter any more. And so, focus is shifting towards attackers in general, and Raid Battle attacks in specific.

Know your counters

This list is informed not just from DSP or type-matching, but a lot of real world testing. What I've found is that, due to how hard Charge Moves from Raid Bosses are to dodge, and how glitchy the Pokémon Go servers are in general, that Pokémon like Gengar just don't last long enough to really take advantage of their high damage output. Same is, unfortunately, true for Golem. It can get shredded before getting off a single Stone Edge.

Also, because Stardust, Technical Machines (TM) and other resources are scarce, Pokémon that can be used against several Raid Bosses, like Tyrantiar, are better than unitaskers who're only useful against one, like Piloswine.

Pokémon Fast Charge Use to counter
Tyranitar Bite Crunch or Stone Edge Alakazam, Gengar, Weezing, Electabuzz, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Lugia
Golem Mud Slap Earthquake Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Flareon, Jolteon, Charizard, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos
Machamp Counter Dynamic Punch Lapras, Snorlax, Tyranitar
Rhydon Mud Slap Earthquake Quilava, Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Arcanine, Flareon, Jolteon, Charizard
Vaporeon Water Gun Hydro Pump Rhydon, Tyranitar, Charizard, Arcanine, Magmar, Flareon Moltres
Exeggutor Bullet Seed Solar Beam Blastoise, Rhydon, Vaporeon, Croconaw, Machamp
Venusaur Vine Whip Solar Beam Blastoise, Rhydon, Vaporeon, Croconaw, Tyranitar
Jolteon Thunder Shock Thunderbolt Blastoise, Lapras, Croconaw
Flareon Fire Spin Overheat Exeggutor, Venusaur, Bayleaf
Charizard Fire Spin Overheat Exeggutor, Venusaur, Bayleaf
Alakazam Confusion Future Sight Machamp, Snorlax
Espeon Confusion Future sight Machamp
Scizor Fury Cutter X-Scissor Exeggutor, Alakazam
Dragonite Dragon Tai* Outrage Muk, Weezing, Electabuzz, Magmar, Machamp, Venusaur, Snorlax, Bayleaf

Best Pokémon to Evolve, TM, and Power-up to beat Raid Bosses in Pokémon Go

Use your TMs

Previously, if you evolved a Pokémon with less than an ideal moveset, it was just your tough luck. Now, Technical Machines (TMs) let you re-roll movesets and try to get something ideal. You have to win Raid Battles for a chance to get TMs, but once you get them, you can start putting them to use.

Best movesets to change with Technical Machines (TMs) in Pokémon Go

Glass goes first

If you do want to use a Gengar or some other high DPS, low toughness Pokémon, put them first in your Battle Team. That way, hopefully, they can get off a charge or two move before the Raid Boss squishes them.

Prepare for the worst

If you're lucky enough to have a lot of good counters, pay attention to what Pokémon Go auto selects for you. If they're decent and you think you will have to jump back into the raid, pick other Pokémon to start. That way, when you feint, the auto select will be good enough and you won't have to waste time healing or choosing all over again.

Also, if you notice odd auto selections, it might be an indicator of movesets you should worry about. For example, if you don't get Tyranitar for Lugia, it might mean Lugia has Hydro Pump, which hurts Tyranitar. You can still use Tyranitar, of course, but you could also consider a Bite + Crunch Gyrados, for example, as well.

3. Finding: 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 a random sampling.

In a perfect world, if a Snorlax spawned close by, it would override everything else and pop straight to the top. But we live in a very, very imperfect world. So, Nearby if that Snorlax wasn't 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 a person can't live by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) alone. If you do have a few moments here or there, though, tap open Pokémon Go and take a peak.

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

4. Finding: 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, Totadile, and Jinx do.

How nests and migrations work

Nests currently "migrate" every two weeks. These migrations occur at 12 a.m. UTS. (4 p.m. PST / 7 p.m. EST or 5 p.m PDT / 8 p.m. PST) 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, Marril, Drowzee, Yanma, then Growlithe, and so on. Nest migrations are seemingly random, though, so you never really know what you'll get.

Water and other spawns

Water spawns aren't nests because they don't migrate and have multiple water-type Pokémon that spawn together. For example, Staryu, Slowpoke, Polywag, Psyduck, Chinchou, Remoraid and Magikarp often all spawn at the same water-side points. And if Magikarp are spawning hourly...

... Dratini may just be spawing daily.

Same goes for a few others, like electric spawns. Find a big electric center at a university or other large strucure and don't be surprised if you find Magnamite and Voltorb aplenty along with it.

Learn about Pokémon Go nests and how to find them

5. Catching: 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!

How to get every medal in Pokémon Go

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.

Golden Razz Berry raises the catch rate even higher, and after a few Raids you'll have plenty. Don't be shy to use them on the Pokémon that mean the most to you.

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.

6. Maxing: 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 Pidgey, Caterpie, and Weedle for XP

Pidgey, 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.

None of the Gen 2 Pokémon are at the same 12 candy level, so while you can catch Sentrat, Hoothoot, and the rest, they're more like Rattata — a slower grind. Still, grab 'em if you need 'em.

If you're swimming in Lucky Eggs, and you have a Pokemon Go Plus, you can even drop an egg and then go to place with a ton of spawns, like a big mall parking lot. Each catch will net you 300 XP, each miss 50 XP, and it'll add up fast. Almost as fast as mass-evolving.

How to get max XP and level up faster in Pokémon Go

Double-dip on Stardust

With the new Gym system you no longer get the 500 Stardust per Gym, per day, for your Defenders Bonus. So, if that's what you were used to, you'll need to make up the difference somehow. Feeding Berries is both slow (20 stardust per better) and resource draining (you lose the berries). Catching as many Pokémon as possible, on the other hand, is faster (100 stardust per catch) and means you have as much Stardust as possible to power up.

And since you're catching for XP anyway, it's a great way to double-dip.

How to really rack up the stardust in Pokémon Go

Get all the candy too!

Once upon a time you had to wish for rare hatches or chase down nests to get the candy you needed to evolve and power up your Pokémon. Now there's rare candy. Sure, you can still hatch and catch your way to a lot of candy but, rare candy can be used as any candy.

Hatch all the eggs you can, catch all the Pokémon you can, and Raid when you can, and you'll have all the candy you need.

How to get all the candy you need in Pokémon Go

7. Hatching: 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!

If you go to a new part of town, or a new town, you can also hit a ton of new PokéStops in a row. Each one of those will net you 250 XP — 500 XP with a Lucky egg. City centers can have dozens of PokéStops down a single street, which can mean massive XP hauls.

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.

How to get XP and level up faster in Pokémon Go

8. Evolving: Measure twice, tap 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. Or get one from a Raid Battle!

If all you care about is finishing your Pokédex, it may not matter to you. But if you care about getting the best Pokémon possible, ones with the highest stats (IV) and HP (Hit Points) to attack in Raids 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 completely before doing any evolutions at all. Then, if you get a higher IV base Pokémon, you can evolve that one instead. Or, if you get a third evolution by capturing a Raid Boss, and it's perfect or near perfect, you can save yourself evolving and spend those 125 Candies powering up.

Here are the best Pokémon to evolve and power up for Raid Battles!

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 Espeon
  • Tamao 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.

How to get multiple Espeon or Umbreon in Pokémon Go

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.

How to evolve Tyrogue into Hitmontop in Pokémon Go

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 Slowking
  • Metal Coat: Evolve Onix to Steelix, Scyther to Scizor
  • Dragon Scale: Evolve Seadra to Kingdra
  • Up 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, you get one — and very rarely more than one — during your 7-day streak spin. You can get them randomly from other spins at any time but the odds seem to be around 1/300. So spin. A lot.

How to get evolution items in Pokémon Go

9. Looping: 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 — including an evolution item.

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.

To really stock up on items, get a Pokémon Go Plus, put it in PokéStop only mode, and then go somewhere with high-density stops, like downtown. You'll be overflowing in no time.

Spin the Gyms

With the big Gym update, Pokémon Go has added Photo Discs to Gyms. So, now, you can spin those as well. If your team controls the Gym, you get a bonus time. You can also earn Gym badges, from basic to bronze, silver, and gold. The higher you go, the more bonus items you get.

If your team controls a Gym, you have a gold badge, and you spin it for a streak, the number of items you get can really add up. Like 30+ for a 7-day streak.

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.

10. 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.

Pokémon Go Plus power

Get a Pokémon Go Plus. Seriously. You can set it to catch Pokémon and/or spin PokéStops. Either or both ways, it can greatly speed up the Pokémon you catch and the items you collect.

5 reasons you should buy a Pokémon Go Plus — and a couple reasons not to!

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. So, if you're out and about, it's always worth checking a Gym to see if it has a free slot, or has lost motivation and make for an easy take down.

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!

  • Magnemite to evolve Magneton into Magnazone.
  • Lickitung to evolve into Lickilicky.
  • Rhynhorn to evolve into Rhyperior.
  • Tangela to evolve into Tangrowth.
  • Elekid to evolve Electabuzz into Electivire.
  • Magby to evolve Magmar into Magmortar.
  • Eevee to evolve into Leafeon and Glaceon (Split).
  • Porygon to evolve Porygon2 into Porygon-Z.
  • Aipom to evolve into Ambipom.
  • Yanma to evolve into Yanmega.
  • Murkrow to evolve into Honchkrow.
  • Misdreavus to evolve into Mismagius.
  • Gligar to evolve into Gliscor.
  • Sneasel to evolve into Weavile.
  • Swinub to evolve Piloswine into Mamoswine.
  • Togetic to evolve into Togekiss

So, get those high-start 'mon and all the candy you can!

Pokémon Go Gen 3 and Gen 4: What you need to know!

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!

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