Pokemon Go: How To Be The Very Best



Our journey begins in the year 1995 when the very first Pokémon adventure began. In the city of Pallet Town you were given your first ever Pokémon and began your quest to be the very best that no one ever was. Over the past 21 years fans of the illustrious Pokémon franchise have been excitingly waiting for the day they could finally venture out and catch ‘em all in the real world. On July 6th, 2016 our patience finally paid off as Niantic released the augmented reality game on mobile devices known as Pokémon Go! Players are able to travel the real world to find Pokémon live and even battle over control of gyms.


Pokémon Go is truly what everyone has been waiting for, but one flaw it did have was its lack of instruction and tutorial. I have been playing relentlessly to fully understand all the aspects of this game and here I will share my knowledge and help guide you as you start your journey to be a Pokémon master. These guides and tips will be based on the idea that most people know and understand the Pokémon world.


Let’s begin with the main thing the game is based around and that is capturing Pokémon beginning with your starter. As far as it goes, your starter is mainly just a practice round on catching Pokémon, so just pick your favorite! Wherever you log in is where the three starters will spawn so all you have to do is tap on the one you want and begin.


On your screen you will see the Pokémon in an augmented reality, which by sliding off the “AR” button you can save precious battery life. Now that the Pokémon is in front of you, all you have to do is tap and hold on the Pokéball to activate the capture circle. The capture circle depicts the difficulty of the Pokémon based on the color of the ring; green being the easiest, yellow being moderate, and red being the painfully difficult ones to capture. You will see the circle shrink the longer you hold it down with a gray outline left behind. The smaller the circle the harder it is to catch as you try to swipe the ball and make it in the circle. Hitting within the circle increases the strength of your attempt, do note that hitting in the circle when it is smaller gives you a better chance than when it is bigger but it is much harder to land. Each miss or failed attempt will cost you a Pokéball so may your aim be true as you try to catch them.


Be careful as it is possible to curve the ball by spinning it while you are holding it or swiping. Spinning it clockwise curves the ball to the right, whereas spinning it counter-clockwise curves it to the left. When curving it you will notice the ball begin to be shrouded in stars and dust, which indicates it will curve and give you an increased chance of catching the Pokémon.


Now that you caught your starter let’s get into how to understand your Pokémon, how to make it stronger, and even evolve that bad boy into a behemoth! On the main screen, tap on the Pokéball on the bottom center of your screen to bring up your backpack and tap on the Pokémon tab on the bottom left. Once you have tapped on your Pokémon you will get a screen like this, so let’s decode what is on this stat page.

  • CP – This translates to Combat Power, for it is the strength of your Pokémon which is the equivalent to its level in past games.
  • Type – the type(s) your Pokémon is simple enough
  • Weight/Height – No real effect it is just an aesthetic feature to let you know how heavy your Snorlax is.
  • Stardust – This is an item/currency used to help power up your Pokémons CP
  • “Pokémon” candy- These candies are specific to each Poké evolution tree and are used to power up and evolve your Pokémon.
  • Moves – Your Pokémon this time around only has two moves a basic attack and a special attack
    • Basic attacks are attacks from tapping repetitively
    • Specials are marked with a blue gauge you fill with each successful hit. Depending on the power of the ability determines how many gauges/uses you get.
  • The last thing you will see is a lovely white arch with a dot looming over your Pokémon. This arch shows you how many more times you can power up your Pokémon, as the higher level your trainer level is the more you can power up.


Alright now let’s learn how to turn your frail starter into a force to be reckoned with. To power it up you will need an (x) amount of stardust and ”Pokémon” candy unique to that evolution tree. Stardust is gained by capturing Pokémon and appears to always be 100 no matter the difficulty or rarity of the Pokémon. Also, you get stardust by hatching eggs and placing Pokémon in a gym and going into the shop menu and tapping on the defender bonus on the top right.


Candy is also required to power up and evolve, and in order to get them you have to either hatch more of that same Pokémon or hatch one or transfer it to Professor Willow, which always gives only one candy. Due to needing to catch more of the same Pokémon starters tend to be harder to level up and evolve, because of their rarity.


So now you know how your Pokémon works and how to catch more, so now it’s time to learn how to hunt them down. As far as it seems, most Pokémon stick to the general areas that would be their habitat. Also different Pokémon, like in the game, appear at different times throughout the day examples being; ghost, psychic, and fire types. In the map you will occasionally see areas that appear to be water, but clearly are a park or open field when you look at it. Those areas are known as “tall grass” areas, meaning more Pokémon tend to be hidden as well as better chances of finding rare and higher CP Pokémon. You may occasionally see what appear to be leaves rustling around in certain areas these just indicate there is a Pokémon hidden in that spot. Well now that you know how the terrain works and how to notice where nearby Pokémon may be let’s learn how to use that Pokéradar.


On the bottom right you will notice one to three Pokémon and tapping on those Pokémon can reveal up to a total of nine. All of those Pokémon you see are actually nearby and you can hunt them down like the predator. If you tap a specific Pokémon then you can focus on tracking just that one in particular as you navigate over fences and into your neighbor’s yard.


Underneath each Pokémon you will see paw prints ranging from zero to three. Those paw prints represent the distance you are from it with zero being approximately 150 ft, one paw print being 150-300ft, two paw prints being 300-450 ft, and three paw prints being 450-600 ft. Below is a graph on how to strategize finding Pokémon you are tracking, but please don’t use that method while driving.


Once you are out on your expedition you will probably start to panic as you begin to run low on Pokéballs. There are two options; the first being fork over your money to Niantic for making this glorious game and receive your futuristic capture orbs. Say you don’t have the money or just really want to be stubborn and don’t want to play well fret not my greedy little chipmunk there are locations throughout the world in which you can restock. As you explore, you will notice blue floating cubes those my friends are Pokéstops. All you have to do is get in range of them and spin it giving you some random items including xp. You can only spin each Pokéstop once every five minutes or so, but also be aware of trying to tap and spin too fast before it fully loads as you make lock it out from you and have to wait again.

Your journey began and now you are venturing off into the great unknown as Ash Ketchum did, but hopefully you don’t stay a 12-year-old forever. After skillfully hunting and catching Pokémon you have begun to level up and are now level five, well high-five! You can now battle gyms and no I don’t mean 24 hour fitness, maybe as there could be a gym set up there but who knows. When you first tap on a gym level five you will be given a life-altering choice of three teams to pick from. Valor which is the red team being represented by Moltres, Mystic is the blue team represented by Articuno, and finally is Instinct the yellow team being represented by Zapdos. It is currently unknown if the legendary birds truly have any real effect other than just being the mascot for each team. When picking a team choose one with your friends so you can play and fight gyms together. Other than just being opposing factions and fighting for control of gyms there is no real impact on gameplay for picking a certain team over another.


Once you have picked a team you can now challenge gyms controlled by opposing teams. Each gym will have a gym leader and an extra trainer for every level the gym is. Defeat trainers and gym leaders to lower a gyms xp and gain control of it for yourself. The gym leader is given to trainer that put the Pokémon with the highest CP in. When you do take over a gym, you may only pick one fully healed Pokémon to put in the gym as your representative to defend it. The chosen Pokémon will stay there until defeated and can’t be switched out. You also can not power up or evolve a Pokémon that is in the gym so pick wisely when choosing your champion. Also, after taking over a gym, you can level it up by training against your Pokémon that you put in the gym. Gyms are the only real way to battle right now, but are perfect for practice as you always benefit win or lose as you receive xp regardless and even more when you own the gym.


We know how to challenge the gym and what happens when you beat it and how it works, but let’s actually learn to battle now and work on those combat skills. Fighting consists of tapping to use basic attacks, holding to use special moves when the blue gauge is filled, and swiping left or right to dodge incoming attacks. Battling is fairly simple as your main struggle will just be learning when to dodge which just takes practice and recognizing the animations and timing of your opponents attacks. When you challenge a gym with a member from your team at the same time you will see their Pokémon appear in your fight. This is because you are both fighting at the same time and giving you the benefit of taking down the gym trainers and leader faster. One team one dream and I mean it, because gyms can hold up to ten trainers and you can only fight with six having more friend fight with you will make gym battling easier. At the end of this guide I will also post a chart of each type and its weaknesses so that you can better strategize your lineups for gyms.


You are now prepared to be a champion all it takes is practice. Before you venture off I want to help familiarize you with your items and how to use them. After hitting certain levels you will gain new items, mainly the basics like different pokéballs and potions as well as revives. New items are introduced that take the place of sweet scent and those are incense and lure modules. Incense is an item that shrouds the player in a pinkish cloud and attracts Pokémon to the player.Lure modules are used at pokéstops to attract Pokémon to that stop which gives all players in that area a chance to catch more as well. Razz berries are another item that makes an appearance as it is a berry used during capture sequences to make the Pokémon easier to catch. If you hit the Pokémon with the ball and it escaped, then you will need to use another berry. The last major item is the lucky egg, which is used to give you double xp for 30 minutes.


Finally there is the illustrious Pokémon egg. The only way to hatch these bad boys is by putting them in an incubator and walking around until it hatches. They come in three different lengths; 2km, 5km,and 10km. Eggs can apparently hatch into anything, the distance needed to hatch only increases your chances at a rarer Pokémon or one with a higher CP. Have fun and good luck becoming Pokémon breeders on top of being masters.


You now have the basics down and are prepared to get the most of your adventure. Now that you have had time to practice the game a bit, here are some tips to maximize your experience.

  • Pokémon found scale off of player level and possibly average/highest CP the trainer has
  • Wait to evolve until you have a lucky egg and multiple Pokémon to evolve as that would be 1000-2000 xp per evolution.
  • Incense and lure modules don’t seem to stack so don’t try to use both at the same time.
  • When a Pokémon evolve its moveset changes
  • Don’t worry about powering up Pokémon you don’t care about it would be a waste of stardust so just evolve them when you can.
  • Power up Pokémon you like the most to the maximum you can before evolving to max its potential CP when it evolves.
  • It appears that at around 10-15 mph you stop gaining distance on hatching eggs so no car rides.
  • Use incense when you have a stable connection or are in an area with tall grass to maximize the amount of Pokémon you find.
  • Turn off AR, sound, and music to save a lot of battery life.
  • If the game stops before the pokéball finishes capturing don’t fret just go to the home screen and then close the app. Reopen and you should have either caught the Pokémon or it would still be there to try to catch again.
  • Track Pokémon with buddies having one person always being the navigator and the rest on power saver mode as to save battery life. Switch navigators out every so often to save their battery as well.
  • When battling try not to tap as fast as you can because you could bug out your opponent and make them immortal and unable to drop below 1 HP.
  • If you miss a pokéball and it rolls on the ground you can tap it to get it back and save pokéballs.

Here is the chart for Pokémon and their weaknesses:


Here is a chart depicting the strategy of how to track Pokémon on your radar:


I hope this helps! Feel free to comment with any questions you may have and I will answer them to the best of my ability. Have fun catching them all!

Daniel Molinar

Daniel Molinar

Video Game Consultant at That Geek Show
I am a video game enthusiast as well as anime and cosplayer. If it is something geeky I am probably already into it! You can follow me on social media below and check out some of my streams on twitch.tv

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