2:00 pm EDT, July 12, 2016

‘Pokémon GO’: 7 tips for success from a dedicated trainer

Pokémon GO has been controlling our lives for a week now. Here are some tips to help you become a master trainer!

So you’ve downloaded Pokémon GO. You’re feeling pretty excited about this new game that has seemingly everyone in a frenzy. But then you look down the street, and see a Gym with a level 1,200 Charizard, and you, with your level 10 Pidgey, are not quite there yet. So what do you do?

Luckily, the answer is not just to spend money, though it helps. Pokémon GO has been designed so that anyone willing to put in the effort can become a Pokémon Master. In-game purchases only speed the process along somewhat. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.

‘Pokémon GO’ tips and cheats

Catch EVERYTHING (‘Gotta catch ’em all’)


Yeah, I know, you already have like 12 Caterpies, but trust me, catch this one too. It’s worth your time to catch everything that appears on the map. When you catch a Pokémon, you don’t just get a Pokémon. You’ll also get XP, which makes you level up, and as you level up, Pokémon in the wild will be at higher levels. The same Pokémon will appear with a higher level for a level 10 trainer than a level one trainer.

You’ll also get that Pokémon’s Candy. Get enough of a certain Pokémon’s Candy and you can evolve it. Different Pokémon require different amounts of Candy to evolve — for example, Caterpie only takes 12, but Magikarp needs a whopping 400. Pokémon in the same evolution line also use the same Candy. So for example, the evolution to Butterfree goes, Caterpie > Metapod > Butterfree. To evolve a Metapod into a Butterfree, you’ll need Caterpie Candy.

Pokéstops (‘The power that’s inside’)


Pokéstops are those blue cubes you see around town. When you get close enough to one, it’ll turn into a Pokéball. Tap on it, and start spinning the disc in the middle to get supplies to drop. Usually these will be Pokéballs, Potions, and Revives, but sometimes you’ll get more rare items, like Eggs, Berries, and other goodies to help you out. You’ll also get 50XP every time you get supplies in this way. You can do this every five minutes, so if you find an area with three or more Pokéstops all right next to each other, it’s worth hanging out there for a little while.

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In addition, trainers can attach Lure Modules to Pokéstops. They last 30 minutes and will increase the amount of Pokémon that appear next to it. You should also expect a few fellow trainers to appear as well, as everyone can see where Lures have been placed. If you want to catch a lot of Pokémon, look for these.

Team Up! (‘You teach me and I’ll teach you’)


Pokémon GO is not a game meant to be played alone. Finding a specific Pokémon in the wild can be a struggle, and defending a Gym all by yourself is near impossible. Friends make both of these tasks easier (and more fun!)

The best way to find new Pokémon is to use the “Nearby” section. That’s that gray box in the bottom right. Pokémon nearby will appear here with a certain number of footsteps under them. The less footsteps, the closer they are to you. While this is helpful, it doesn’t tell you which direction to go, you basically have to play Hot & Cold with your phone. This is where friends come in. Split up with your friends à la Scooby Doo to find that rare Pokémon in no time.

Now that you’ve caught and trained some Pokémon, it’s time to defend a Gym. Each player can assign only one Pokémon to a Gym, so defending by yourself is a tall order. You’ll need some friends on your team to help. They’ll be able to train against your defending Pokémon to make the Gym stronger, and add their own defending Pokémon (up to six), to make it the strongest Gym in town.

Some other quick tips:

  1. Do your best to catch Pokémon on the first throw. The better the catch, the more powerful the Pokémon, and the more XP you’ll get.
  2. If you have a Pokémon currently defending a Gym, make sure to stop by the shop, and tap the button on the top right to claim your Defender Bonus.
  3. Transfer away any weak/duplicate creatures to get an extra Candy from the Professor, this way you’ll be able to focus more on powering up your stronger critters.
  4. This is the one GO cheat we can offer: At the start of your quest, you can get a Pikachu as a starter Pokémon by running away from Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle a bunch of times. Eventually Pikachu will show up next to the other three, and then he’s yours for the taking!


Did I miss anything? How are you becoming a master trainer? Share your ‘Pokémon GO’ tips below!

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