Top 15 tips for Pokemon GO

There is a lot of information floating around the internet for really intense advanced play, but not much for newer players. So I’ve put together this handy little guide so shine some light on a few of the more important aspects of Pokemon Go, and give a few pointers to the up-and-comers and more casual players. I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment and I’ll try to get to it!


This is a biggie. By the time you find this article you’ll likely have powered up your starter a bit and maybe a few others. That’s ok, but from here on out, don’t spend any of it! It doesn’t seem like it now, but the cost to power up increases as you level, making it incredibly costly to keep things maxed out. I know you want those pokemon to have the highest cp they can get, but try to be patient. In the beginning you level up pretty darn quick, and as you do so you naturally catch stronger pokemon, and without having to spend your all-too-precious stardust. More on this later.

Save that stardust for later

2. Those gyms? Ignore them. At least for a while.

“What?! Isn’t that the whole point of the game?! I’m finally allowed to click them and you want me to ignore them?!” Yeah, pretty much. At level 5 Pokemon GO lets you finally pick your team (choose carefully, there is no redo on this one). You will probably also notice that the pokemon defending those gyms are massive compared to yours. Now, it’s important to mention that you don’t need to have equal or higher cp pokemon to give you a chance at winning, but putting a 100cp pidgeotto against a 1600 arcanine definitely isn’t going to happen. Right around levels 10-15 you can probably start practicing a little bit and you’ll find a few gyms you can actually beat on your own. If you have some higher level friends to play with maybe they’ll help you get your foot in the door, but you won’t be able to put a good hurtin’ on gyms for quite a while. And that’s ok. Spend that time leveling up and learning the mechanics and how to dodge and all that fun stuff. There are tons of articles and all kinds of conflicting opinions on how best to attack and defend and boost a gym, so I won’t cover that here. Just work on getting some stronger pokemon and learning, and you’ll be taking down gyms in no time.


When you finally are able to attack gyms and get a pokemon in there, For every pokemon you have in a gym at the same time, you can collect 10 free coins and 500 stardust. Doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up. When you’re confident

you have the most gyms you’ll be able to hold at a given time, go in to the shop tab and on the top right click the green shield icon. You can only do this once every 21 hours though, so click wisely!

4. Don’t evolve incrementally.

This is also part of the “Save your startdust” tip, but with a bit of explanation behind it. You may know from the original Gameboy games that some pokemon have multiple evolutions. Anything with 2 evolutions will cost either 62 candies (12 for the first, 50 for the second) or 125 candies (25 for first, 100 for second). As you play, keep transferring things out. You can do this pretty safely without worrying about in-depth points like IV tracking for a long time. For example, if you have a cp 50 bellsprout and catch a cp 60 bellsprout, go ahead and transfer the cp 50 one, and keep doing this until you’re ready to evolve. Do NOT evolve incrementally. That means, if you have 25 oddish candies and want vileplume, don’t evolve your best oddish in to gloom. Wait until you have all 125 candies. If you have a cp 200 oddish and make it a cp 370 gloom, it’s entirely possible it’ll take you 5 or 10 more levels to get the next 100 candies, and by then you’ll be catching 350 oddishes. “So what? I have a 370 gloom!” So… If you had waited until you had 125, you would have a 350 oddish that could become a 500+ gloom, then immediately a 1200 vileplume (I’m guessing here a bit, but close enough). You’ve effectively made your gloom worthless to you, and wasted 25 candies. Do this with every 3 tier pokemon. Always wait ‘til you can go all out. If this doesn’t make sense, think about the numbers. It took you until level 10 to collect the first 25 candies to evolve it once. It will take you 4 times as long to collect the next 100. That will be quite a few levels and quite a few much bigger base pokemon. This only stops being true in the mid to high 20’s, when leveling slows down significantly, and you’re probably focusing on more advanced strategies like IV’s.

5. Catch everything you can.

You get experience and stardust which is important, but it also teaches you a lot about the pokemon in your area. By level 10 you’ll have an idea of which pokemon are common, uncommon, rare, and ultra rare. Don’t be afraid to evolve more common pokemon as you get the candies either, JUST ONCE THOUGH, TO GET THE POKEDEX ENTRY (more in tip 7). For the most part, if you’ve managed to get enough candies to evolve to its last stage by the time you’re level 15, you’ll probably be finding a ton more. So go ahead and evolve them to fill out your pokedex, just don’t waste stardust beefing them up because you’ll naturally

find a bigger one anyway. Once you’ve played for a while (to the point where this guide stops being helpful) you’ll start to get a handle on which pokemon will be important to your gym fighting strategy, and which ones you’ve been saving up all of that stardust for. So keep an eye out for the things you want to walk out of your way for, find those nests (rare areas of dense specific pokemon populations), and start building your core team (don’t spend that stardust yet though!). The only rule I have against this, and you can take it however you want, is I will often give up and run away from evolved pokemon I already have like pidgeotto and pidgeot. This is just because they have much lower catch rates and if I’m running low on pokeballs, it isn’t really worth the effort for 100 exp and 100 stardust for me to blow through 15 pokeballs. I set a “3 ball limit” for these guys, but your mileage may vary.

6. The exception to stardust rules…kind of.

I don’t know that I would call it an exception but I would say I understand why you would spend stardust in this one instance. You can spend stardust ONLY for pokemon you can’t reasonably expect to find again for a very long time, and EVEN THEN, ONLY IF YOU PLAN TO USE THEM. For example, if you’re level 12 and you just hatched a snorlax, MAYBE go ahead and power it up if you’re desperate for lowbie gym action. But I’ll promise you this, if you hatch another snorlax at level 20, you’ll wish you saved all that stardust and candy (hatched 10 kms can come with 25+ candy, which is insanely valuable for higher level hatched pokemon). So do so with caution. And I’ll say this as well; if you message me saying you’re level 12 and you have a super-awesome-rare-pokemon and ask if it’s safe to power up, I will say you don’t need to. I don’t care what pokemon it is. At low levels, literally nothing is worth powering up in my opinion, and you’ll be happy at later levels when you still have all that stardust and candies. But…I do understand if you just really want to.

7. The Power-Leveling trick or the pidgey/weedle trick

Power leveling xp in pokemon go

Better get used to this fella if you plan on using this trick

SAVE YOUR LUCKY EGGS! This is a big one. It’ll come in to play around levels 14-25 pretty heavily. As you play and follow the other tips, you’ll likely notice you’re getting a bus load of pidgeys/weedles/rattatas/whatever. By the time you’re level 14 or 15, there’s a good chance you’ll have saved up 200 or more of the candies for each of those, what with transferring and all (seriously…there’s tons of them). This is what you’re saving those lucky eggs for. Once you’ve accumulated 200+ candies for pidgey, weedle, and/or caterpie (and a bunch for rattata probably) you want to stockpile those pokemon as well. To take full

advantage, you’ll want at least 20-25 pidgeys and weedles, and a handful of the others (about 60 in total of these super common pokemon). To evolve a pidgey or weedle in to pidgeotto or kakuna, you’ll need 12 candies. You get a candy for evolving, and another for transferring the pidgeotto and kakuna (don’t think about this part, it’s just extra info). When you have em all saved up, turn on your lucky egg by clicking it in your items menu then do the following as fast as possible. Click a pidgey/weedle, hit evolve, wait for the animation, close it out, repeat. DO NO EVOLVE ALL THE WAY TO PIDGEOT OR BEEDRILL UNLESS YOU NEED IT FOR YOUR POKEDEX! With the lucky egg on, you’ll get 1000 experience for each evolution. If you go fast enough, you’ll get between 50,000-60,000 experience for each lucky egg. There are some ways to get even more out of your lucky egg, but we’ll keep it simple for this guide. Evolving all the way to pidgeot will waste 50 candies, you want to only do the first stage so you can evolve the most amount of pokemon to take advantage of the trick. When you run out of weedles and pidgeys, move on to caterpies (also 12 for the first evolution) and rattatas (25 per evolution). Do this until your half hour is up, and you’ll likely have boosted yourself 2 or 3 levels in just 30 minutes. Pretty awesome right? Save your lucky eggs to do this whenever you get enough candies to take up the full 30 minutes.

8. Adjust your roster.

Just a quick one: When attacking gyms, the game will give you what it thinks is a good roster. It isn’t always. You can click individual pokemon in that roster to change em out with better ones, and adjust the fighting order. I think it matches type before power. I.e. it’ll play my 900 electabuzz against a 1000 vaporeon before playing my 1450 vaporeon even though my vaporeon runs through everything. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t matter. You’ll figure out your best rosters with experience, and there are more advanced techniques for matchups and battling, but don’t worry about that too much for a long while.

9. Don’t put garbage in gyms to train against.

Please. You’re only hurting your team. There are a few very specific strategies some people use, like putting a cp 60 magikarp in and beating it with a cp 30 or lower pokemon. While it does work and can be pretty fast while saving you potions, I personally don’t like that it wastes a gym slot. To me, a better strategy is to put a good cp fire type so it at least helps defend the gym a little bit. Also, in order to boost a gyms prestige (which raises its level, opening up more slots for pokemon) you only need to beat 1 pokemon, not the whole roster.

Usually this means you can train against the first pokemon and run away, saving time and sometimes saving potions. Holding gyms isn’t about having an unstoppable gym, it’s about using up all of your enemy’s potions so they can’t take over gyms for a while. So if you can train against something that will still do damage to them, while still building it up pretty quickly, do that instead. But if you’re still a pretty low level, its understandable if you put something not-so-great in the gym, and other players probably won’t give you a hard time about it.

10. ALWAYS have an egg in your incubator.

Always fill those incubators with eggs

Always fill those incubators with eggs

Hatching eggs gives a good chunk of stardust, a fair amount of experience, and it also lets you get those pokemon you’re probably not seeing in the wild. Also, don’t waste your limited-use incubators on 2km eggs. Save them for 5km or 10km eggs, and use the infinity incubator on the 2km eggs. If you don’t know already, the starters come from 2km eggs (albeit rarely), so don’t just ignore them. There is some debate as to whether or not the hatched pokemon’s cp is determined at hatch or at pick-up also. But that shouldn’t make too much of a difference. Just keep hatching!

11. Don’t worry about IV’s.

You’ve likely heard some higher level players talking about IV’s. You can ignore this for quite a while. It really only matters for higher level play and doesn’t make much difference until AT LEAST level 25, if not much higher, so don’t concern yourself too much. By the time it matters, you’ll likely have learned about them naturally through other players anyway, so it’s not worth spending hours digging through forums trying to figure it out or freaking out over a getting ONLY a 50% snorlax. Just catch stuff and hit stuff for a while. Super simple.

12. Learn to curveball.

You get a bonus 10 experience for a catch with a curveball. What’s more, if you get a “Nice!” “Great!” or “Excellent!” shot, the experience bonus stacks. I know it doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but it adds up. It also helps with catch rate as well (supposedly), so get good at it as soon as you can, you’ll level faster for a few reasons.

13. Try to find a big path to walk.

I realize this will be difficult for a lot of players, so maybe just keep it in mind for when you’re in a more pokestop-rich environment. If you can find a loop of 10 or

more pokestops to hit up, you get a bonus to experience every 10th one. You also get extra items from that 10th stop as well. It’s a small point, but if you get in the habit early it’ll add up, especially if you’re always trying to top up your pokeballs or potions.

14. Manage your inventory!

I want to include this because it comes second nature to some people and is totally ignored by others. If you are in an area where you rarely have to worry about having enough pokeballs, you’ve probably gotten the “full bag” alert. Keep your inventory nice and organized with the appropriate number of items for your particular level. For example, if you’re only 10, you probably don’t need 120 revives in your bag. You get a limited amount of bag space, so make sure you’re stockpiling the things you’ll actually use. When super potions and hyper potions become a thing, though, go ahead and save those up. But The game seems to be overly generous with revives and regular pokeballs, so you can thin those out if you find you’re getting 3 times as many as you use. Up until you start battling in gyms, you can probably drop most if not all of your potions and the same for revives. That’ll give you plenty of bag space for berries and pokeballs. Then when gyms become a thing, you may want to thin out your regular pokeballs in favor of super potions and great balls, just make sure you don’t take it down to 0, you may run out of great balls pretty quickly. Keep tweaking your inventory until you find what works best for you. Bag upgrades aren’t a bad idea if you get too overwhelmed.

15. This is going to sound cheesy, but always remember IT’S JUST A GAME!

Have fun with it! Don’t concern yourself with people you think are cheating. I used to hate people who drove their car everywhere, especially because where I play there are more pokestops than I can count. I thought “What the hell? That’s cheating! They’re not playing the game right!” But then I realized it doesn’t matter. While you’re out walking or riding your bike playing pokemon, you’re getting all the advantages the game was designed around. You have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends (seriously, I’ve met tons of people playing). And you get the exercise! I lost about 15 pounds in the first 2-3 weeks the game was out, got a tan, and walked over 200 miles (to date). There’s all kinds of great things that come with being a traditionalist. But if you wanna avoid all that to drive around in a car, go ahead, do that too (just to let you know, though, pokemon handheld games have been out for… a while….so if you wanna play pokemon while sitting down, those won’t cost gas money).

Everyone will play the game differently, so just have fun with it, and decide what you want to get out of it.

The items in this guide are in no particular order. All of the information is stuff I’ve learned playing myself, or from reading on forums. If anything is incorrect, please let me know. If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments and I’ll try to get to them. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more how-to’s for some more in depth topics if there is enough interest. So keep an eye out for that.

Check out what happened when someone used a incense while traveling at sea.

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About Ryan Ellis
Ryan Ellis is a student of geosciences at Penn State University and a hobbyist level writer. He spends his free time writing and playing video games, mostly Pokemon Go Rocket League and Mario Kart 64.

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