Pokemon Go Tips and Tricks



Welcome! For an introduction to Pokemon Go, please see our article

Get Fit with Pokemon GO!

Below you’ll find sections of content. This is intended to be an in-depth resource for those of you who want to take a deep-dive.


Finding Pokemon


Pokemon appear when you’re exploring while keeping the application open on your phone. You can’t be using any other application or it won’t work.

Screenshot_2016-07-18-09-14-22While Pokemon can spawn anywhere, they are far more likely to spawn in well-travelled areas. A walk around the neighborhood can reveal all sorts of interesting monsters, but if you’re not seeing anything in your current area you may have to travel to a park, mall, or campus.

The “nearby” map pops up when you hit the lower-right white bar on your screen. It shows you the Pokemon that are nearby; Pokemon that have been previously captured will be shown in their full cute glory while unknown Pokemon will be a grey outline (like the Ekans Pokemon shown in the screenshot).

The best way to find new Pokemon is just to get out an explore. You can also search for local Facebook groups where people can tell you the “hotspots” where there are multiple pokestops that people tend to group together and socialize at.


Catching Pokemon

Pokemon-GO-2The true test of the Pokemon trainer – catching the monsters you’ve found!

When a Pokemon appears on your map, you can tap it and you’ll zoom down to the catching screen.

Once there, hold your finger down on your Pokeball. You’ll see a circle appearing around the Pokemon you’re currently battling. Swipe your finger upward to toss the ball, and do your best to hit that little monster!

If you miss, swipe again. Try to work on your accuracy, since Pokeballs are a limited resource!

When you hit, the Pokemon will go into the ball. It may escape the ball and you’ll have to throw again. They’ll also occasionally vanish in a puff of smoke, which means you’ve lost them. Higher level Pokemon are more likely to break out of your ball after being hit, which can be frustrating! Use the tips below to maximize your chance of success.

  • We strongly recommend turning off AR (there’s a toggle at the upper right corner of the screen) for actually catching the Pokemon.
  • There’s still some debate as to whether the size of the circle around the Pokemon affects the likelihood of their escape, BUT it appears that the size of the circle only affects the bonus XP you get from the throw. For now, just focus on hitting the throw.
  • Once you reach level 8 you’ll start getting Razz Berries in level rewards and Pokestops. These can be fed to a Pokemon you particularly want to catch to increase the chance it stays in your Pokeball. If the circle around the Pokemon is orange or red, a Razz Berry is probably a good idea.
  • High level Pokemon will deflect straight throws by spinning it away. You can counter this by throwing curveballs! Once you’ve mastered the straight throw, start throwing curveballs at lower-level Pokemon until you have it down and can feel confident that you’ll hit the high level squirtle.
  • Great Balls are obtainable starting at level 12 and decrease the chance a Pokemon will break out after being captured. Use these only for rare or high level Pokemon.
  • Ultra Balls are an even stronger version of a Great Ball, obtainable starting at level 20.


PokeStopPokestops appear on your map as a blue circle. These have a couple of fun purposes:

You can restock your supplies (Pokeballs, revives, potions, and occasionally eggs) by visiting Pokestops and spinning the image disc in the middle when you click it. Once you’ve spun the disc, you’ll need to collect the items. You do have a limited inventory, but you can dump the items you’re not using as much if you need to.

toZNGd7Pokestops also have an empty slot for a “lure” module. These are awesome because when a player places one into a pokestop, everybody within range can catch the Pokemon that are lured there. Heavily travelled locations (such as that cool fountain in the park on your way to work) will often have lured and a few people hanging around catching Pokemon. Go join them!

Choosing a Team

When you reach level 5, you’ll have the choice of which team to join. The three teams are:

  • Team Valor (red)
  • Team Instinct (yellow)
  • Team Mystic (blue)

There are specific values to each team, but we encourage you to look into each team and see which fits you best. You may also want to talk to your friends who play, since it’s great fun to team up and go capture some gyms together.

This article has a great breakdown of the spirits of each team.


Powering Up Pokemon

You can increase the CP (combat power) of your Pokemon by spending the stardust you earn through various activities.

This will make your Pokemon stronger when you’re battling for gyms, as well as more badass when you’re bragging about how high level your Pikachu is.

Of course as Nerds we want to optimize our use of stardust, so the real question is when should you use stardust to power up a pokemon?

The answer is: rarely.

Note: this explanation is not 100%, but is the currently held belief.

Screenshot_2016-07-18-09-08-45 Screenshot_2016-07-18-09-08-53

If you look at the white arc above the Pokemon’s head, it indicates their current CP and the max CP for that pokemon with your trainer level.

Spending stardust to power up a Pokemon when you’ll most likely be able to catch something that will start with a higher CP is inefficient, don’t do it!

So when do I power up?

This gets a bit complicated, but stay with me.

When your Pokemon is fully evolved and you can see their relative CP strength and their combat moves, you can decide if they’re worth spending stardust on. You’ll also need to factor in things like types you need more or less, and what your likelihood of getting another max-evolved high CP version of that Pokemon is.

Of course, you can also always follow the strategy that Pikachu is awesome and you’re going to max him out. It’s a game, have fun!

What are Candies?

Candies have one purpose in Pokemon Go: evolve your Pokemon.

You’ll acquire candies in three ways:

  1. Capturing a Pokemon gives 3 candies of that type (capture one pidgey, get 3 pidgey candies)
  2. Transferring a Pokemon to Professor Willow gives one candy of that type. Even if you spent candies to evolve the Pokemon, you’ll still only get one back. If you have multiples of a Pokemon, it’s usually smart to transfer the lower-CP critters back to the Professor to keep your inventory organized.
  3. Hatching an egg will give you 20 candies of the type of Pokemon that hatched; this is a great way to evolve a Pokemon that you don’t frequently find and is part of why walking to hatch eggs is critical.

When you have enough candies to evolve, you can do so right away or save your candies up to do a lucky egg combination. See the “What’s the fastest way to level up” section for more information on this.


Evolving Pokemon

Evolving Pokemon has three purposes:

  1. Get you awesome new Pokemon.
  2. Create incredibly powerful fighting Pokemon
  3. Gain experience points

When you’re collecting to catch ’em all, evolving is fun to watch and exciting to see what you’ll get.

If you’re looking for a powerful fighter with some excellent attack moves, evolving Pokemon is the best way to go about it.

And finally, evolving a previously unknown Pokemon gives +1000 XP while evolving a previously known Pokemon gives +500 XP. This is a huge boost (and can be doubled up with lucky eggs!) and a critical part of your leveling strategy. Don’t disregard those pidgeys and ratattas because you have a ton; you’ll want the experience from the evolutions.

Using Incense

Thanks to some enterprising geeks, we know exactly how incense works.

When popped, it lasts 30 minutes. Incense will spawn 1 Pokemon every 5 minutes while standing still and every 1 minute/200 meters while moving. These Pokemon appear only for you, not any other players nearby.

We recommend holding on to your incense and doing a power-level up combo, but if you do want to pop one make sure you’re well stocked on Pokeballs and moving around to get the most benefit.

Interestingly, a look through some of the game code also reveals “spicy” and “floral” incense written into the directories too. Now, they are not currently part of the game, but perhaps we’ll see them with future updates? Could this possibly attract fire and grass type Pokemon, respectively? Only time (or Niantic) will tell!

Using Lures

Lure modules can be placed into a Pokestop and will draw Pokemon to them for the next 30 minutes for all nearby players. This is great for social play!

Using Lucky Eggs

Coming Soon!

What's the fastest way to level up?

Coming Soon!

Gym Battles

Coming Soon!

Understanding Pokemon Types

Coming Soon!

Understanding Attack Moves

Coming Soon!