Pokemon Go tactics

Updated 06-Feb-2024

Some basic (very basic) Pokemon Go tactics:

Buddy system

Most efficient approach to hearts for Buddies:

  • Only feed buddies berries once per day
  • Start with play (rub the head of the Pokemon, for some like Regigas without any obvious head then torso).
  • Then take photo
  • Then feed berries
  • Then engage in battle with: Team Go Rocket, Gym, PVP, Raids (in that order of time / resources needed)
  • For Team Go Rocket there is a hack where once the battle starts, simply exit, and get the heart, repeat two more times
  • Each opponent in a Gym battle is a heart per each encounter. For a fully-loaded gym this could potentially boost the daily hearts for a dozen pokemon
  • For PVP need to complete the entire battle to gain hearts

Buddies with special requirements to evolve

There are several different requirements that some Pokemon need in order to evolve, and need to be done while the Pokemon is active as a buddy. The following is an incomplete list):

  • C - Catch certain Pokemon types - Pancham, Slowpoke
  • D - Defeat specific Pokemon types - Primeape
  • H - Get certain number of hearts as buddy - Kira, Floette
  • I - Use incense -
  • K - Walk number of kilometers - Sneasel, Tamao
  • R - Win raids - Qwilfish
  • T - Throw certain kind of throws - Farfetch'd

Some Pokemon require it be a certain time of day to evolve, or even a specific lunar cycle (Ursaring to Ursaluna).

Note that various Eevee evolutions require different things, including time of day to evolve, beyond the one-time-per-account-per-pokemon naming trick. See below.

Individual Variables (IVs)

Some trainers say to stick with 91% or higher in the Poke Genie app. For my purposes, 69% or higher is generally sufficient. Sometimes lower, even much lower, can result in a highly effective Pokemon. Actual combat experience is needed to evaluate.

Combat Points (CP)

While focusing on the PVP tiers (500, 1500, 2500, unlimited) is useful, sometimes an intermediate-powered Pokemon can make the difference in a Gym or Raid battle, and should not be disdained.

Lucky Egg and Star pieces

These should be used just before leveling and the weekly research bonuses. Also, anticipating XP from things like friendship leveling, can result in a multiple of a large amount.

Poke Genie

With 7+ million downloads and 4.7 rating, this is a very useful app. The main features are twofold: showing the IVs (and providing a useful percentage) which is an improvement on the simple 0,1,2,3 star system within the Pokemon Go app; organizing remote raids. Both are helpful though not without flaws. Paying the $2.99 monthly fee for improved queue access and weather preference is worth it (weather preference works more than half the time).

Eevee and Eevee evolutions

The Eevee pokemon is one of the best and most versatile, with eight different Pokemon types available, allowing for fairly quickly evolving and leveling of pokemon and having a battle-ready crew. For new accounts this is definitely the right approach, especially in seasons where the Eevee are plentiful. Evolving an Eevee only takes 25 candies, and the evolution increase to CP is generally quite good (with the exception of Umbreon).

For choosing one of eight evolutions, one can use a one-time name trick (one-time per trainer per name):

  • Espeon (psychic) - Sakura
  • Flareon (fire) - Pyro
  • Glaceon (ice) - Rea
  • Jolteon (electric) - Sparky
  • Leafeon (leaf) - Linnea
  • Sylveon (fairy) - Kira
  • Umbreon (dark) - Tamao
  • Vaporeon (water) - Rainer

I find Sylveon, Umbreon, Vaporeon, and Glaceon most useful but the others are also pretty great. Once the name tricks are used, then it becomes a bit more complicated:

  • Espeon - Walk 10k, collect 2 buddy candies, and evolve in the daytime
  • Flareon - Random evolution of Eevee
  • Glaceon - Use glacial lure at a pokestop and evolve
  • Jolteon - Random evolution of Eevee
  • Leafeon - Use mossy lure at a pokestop and evolve
  • Sylveon - Earn 70 hearts as buddy
  • Umbreon - Walk 10k, collect 2 buddy candies, and evolve at night time
  • Vaporeon - Random evolution of Eevee

Not able to select Vaporeon after using the name trick is a bit of a bummer, and I've got a lot of Flareon and Jolteon to show for it.

In any case, having evolved Eevee at each of the PVP checkpoints can be quite useful.


The optimal use of berries:

  • Pinap for the rare Pokemon which also need more berries to evolve or to level.
  • Raspberry for increase in chance to catch a pokemon, or
  • Banana for buddy, or Raspberry, or Pinap, etc.
  • Golden raspberry for must-catch pokemon
  • Silver Pinap for much catch and hard to get candies for Pokemon

Gym tactics

Put only low-CP Pokemon in gyms. At least where we are (only moderate traffic) it makes no sense to leave larger-CP Pokemon, or to feed the Pokemon. The goal is for the Pokemon to stay at a Gym at least 8 1/3 hours, but not forever. Longer is not better, and there is a limit of how many gyms (20) Pokemon from a specific trainer can be in. There are hard-to-reach locations with gyms that have Pokemon in them for years. Certainly beat the gym, but do not leave any Pokemon behind when in those places.

Build a Pokemon account that has a different color than the other ones and use that to battle gyms to ensure the 50 Pokecoins daily return to each trainer account.