The basics of Pokemon Go are simple and fun. You walk, you catch Pokemon, you collect as many as you can and you visit PokeStops to load your backpack up with goodies to help your Trainer along the way.
But when it comes to mastering the game, there's a lot more you need to consider. Here are some top tips to help you become a Pokemon Pro.
1. Hatch your eggs and use your incubators wisely
The eggs you collect at PokeStops will help you get some Pokemon, once you've put them through an incubator and walked the required distances - 2km, 5km or 10km. But you have one incubator that offers infinite use and you'll often have a 3x used incubator. Use the infinite use incubator for the short 2km eggs, or you'll soon use up that incubator and not on great eggs. Save your limited use incubator(s) for those 10km eggs.
2. Build your XP first, then evolve and hatch
The skill of your Trainer is dictated by the XP you have. You move through the levels of XP, needing more XP each time to level up. But as you do so, the rewards get higher and you'll evolve and hatch Pokemon at a higher level, as well as being able to power them up to higher levels. Powering up when your XP is low means it costs you more candies to do so.
3. Build an army
To be a powerful player, you need a lot of Pokemon ready to battle. You need a variety of different types - fire, water, etc - and they all need to be powered up. There's no point in starting a battle with a weak selection of Pokemon, because you'll likely lose or run out of time in battles. Variety is key, as is developing those Pokemon to fight.
4. Transfer Pokemon for candies
There's an option to Transfer Pokemon to the professor, in return for candy for that Pokemon variety. Having captured a Pokemon and got the stardust and candies they bring, you can then transfer out Pokemon you don't need. If, for example, you already have 20 Rattata, you can probably swap some for candies to power up those who will actually battle for you as Raticate. Ultimately, you can only carry a finite number of Pokemon and you want them all to be effective.
5. Use your Lucky Eggs wisely
Sometimes you'll collect a Lucky Egg. This will double your XP for a time of 30 minutes. Don't just randomly drop it, however, try to use it for maximum gain to help level up your Trainer. That might be when you arrive in a new, busy, place and you know you're going to be catching or hatching Pokemon, or where there's lots of Gyms for you to battle or train - and win.
6. Turn off AR mode
Sure, the AR mode is fun because it brings it to real life, but it uses battery and it makes the game more difficult. Switch it off and play in the game world and you'll find it's easier to catch Pokemon because the environment is always the same. It will save you battery life too.
7. Master the PokeStop
When you visit a PokeStop and spin the sign, you don't have to tap all the things released. Just hit the X at the bottom to close the Stop and you'll automatically claim your rewards. It saves a tonne of time, meaning you can casually collect as you walk past. Remember that if you're near a PokeStop having lunch or coffee, you can visit that Stop again and again – it just takes a few minutes to become available again.
8. Get in some Gyms
Gyms are where the real glory lies, as they are the route to Coins. Ideally, you want to target a Gym that's near where you work or live so it's easy for you to return to. Ideally you want to get in a Gym when there's either a space (unlikely), or you'll have to train at a friendly Gym to raise its prestige and increase the Gym level. When the Gym level increases, there will be a space for you to step into. Leave a Pokemon there to defend it and earn Coins to help you progress.
9. Recce target Gyms
You need to go full Sun Tzu on battles and learn as much about the Gym you're taking on as possible before you start. Firstly, what level is it: this tells you how many Pokemon, and secondly, what defending Pokemon are you facing? You'll need to make sure you have effective Pokemon with high enough CP to win. Remember you can change Pokemon mid-battle, so if you're facing a fire Pokemon, make sure you have a strong water Pokemon ready.
10. Only fight fights you can win
This might sound like a cowardly approach, but there's little point in pitching your 86CP Squirtle against a 1000CP Porygon. Winning gets you XP and raises or lowers the Gym prestige. If you lose your first fight, you get nothing, apart from a Pokemon with no health.
11. Restart the app
Pokemon Go crashes frequently in busy times and you don't want to waste time with the app open if it's not actually working. If there's nothing happening, try tapping the Pokeball to open the menu. If it's not, stop, restart, open the app and keep going. Otherwise you're wasting steps and wasting battery.
12. Travel far and wide
This might not be possible for some, but going to as many places as possible will help you gather more types of Pokemon. Your home town it likely to be dominated by a certain variety, so make sure you go to new places to find more. That might mean getting off the bus early and walking, or taking the weekend to head to a different area. Perhaps visit the family or distant friends, then say you want to see all the local sights so you can gather Pokemon.
13. Drop incense and lures
Incense attracts Pokemon to you for 30 minutes. If you're heading out for a Pokemon Go sessions, dropping incense can attract more Pokemon to you during that time. But don't waste it. Don't use it if you're going to be getting on the train or driving, or going into shops. You want to use it when you know you'll be able to catch everything that comes along. As for Lures, these can be dropped at PokeStops - but will also benefit everyone else. If you're feeling lonely, drop a Lure and watch the other players come rushing.
14. Play off-peak to avoid server problems
Pokemon Go has been blighted with server problems and that means that the game fails and can sometimes be unplayable. You can avoid this by playing off peak. The weekends at around 2pm (UK time) are extremely and server fails have been common. Get up and walk the dog at 8am, however, and you'll find no server problems, because the demand is so much lower - you'll get fewer crashes and make better use you your Pokemon Go playing time.
15. Check the evolution path
The Pokedex shows how Pokemon evolve and it's worth checking out what a Pokemon can evolve into before you drop Candy on it. For example, if you have lots of Pidgy, and a few Pidgeotto, you probably don't want to spend Candy evolving Pidgy into more Pidgeotto: you want to save them until you can evolve Pidgeotto into Pidgeot, because it costs more. Making more mid-tier Pokemon is less useful than getting the rarer who will be more useful in battle.
16. Don't re-enter Gyms when you get kicked out
We've said that being in Gyms is key to success - but if you've just been kicked out of a Gym, there's no reward for taking that Gym back and entering it again. That's because once you've claimed the defender award as soon as you get into it, you still have to wait 21 hours before you can get another. So, if you get into a Gym, collect your rewards and get knocked out 10 minutes later, there's no point in re-entering that Gym that same day - unless you're doing it for team spirit, of course.
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