Part 5: Upgrading Pokémon
After you’ve caught your Pokemon, we need to make them stronger (increase their CP, Combat Power), and that’s achieved via two methods: Power Up and Evolve.
This uses one candy and some stardust, and will only moderately increase the CP of your Pokemon.
While catching Pokemon is the fastest way to get new Pokemon, you can also evolve your existing Pokemon to new ones (the 151 Pokemon in your Pokedex include both base/unevolved Pokemon and their evolved counterparts). Doing so requires a lot of candy (12, 25 or 50), and so you’ll have to catch and transfer same Pokemon many times (catch earns 3 candy, transfer earns another one, so 4 candy for every one you catch and transfer) before you can evolve.
Evolve will not only change your Pokemon to its stronger form, it will also dramatically increase the CP of your Pokemon. It will also change the Pokemon’s Move Set.
Power Up or Evolve First?
You should always Evolve before you Power Up, and the reason for this is explained below. Once you’ve evolved your Pokemon, and it has a good move set (see next section), then you can Power Up to your heart’s content.
Your Pokemon’s CP is determined by its HP (Hit Points, health) and its Move Set. Move Sets are randomized every time you catch or evolve a Pokemon, so not all Pokemon are equal in this regards.
So what makes a good Move Set? As you can see in the screenshot above, the first listed move is your normal attack move (activated by tapping during Gym battles), and the second one is your special attack/move. Your special attack has to be charged (by using the normal attack) before you can use it (see screenshot below).
Attacks have a type (eg. Normal and Ground as seen in the screenshot above), and it’s better if your attack’s type matches your Pokemon’s type. You will receive a 25% combat bonus (STAB – Same Type Attack Bonus) this way. The number next to the attack indicates how strong the attack is – the higher the number, the better.
So what does the blue bar next to the special attack mean? The number of bars indicates how many special attacks your Pokemon can use when the special attack energy bar is fully charged. The length of the blue bars indicates how long it takes to charge up a single special attack, and is usually in direct relation to how powerful the special attack is. It’s usually better to have a greater number of shorter bars, than just one long bar, as the special move may take too long to charge and your Pokemon might have lost the battle long before then.
Still confused? Here’s a website that lists all available moves for a Pokemon, as well as providing a recommended move set for each.
Keep or Transfer?
Transferring Pokemon allows you to earn candy for that Pokemon, which you can then use to evolve or power up your Pokemon.
You should transfer duplicates of non evolved Pokemon, keeping the one with the highest CP (Pro Tip: For Pokemon that can still be evolved, you might consider keeping the two highest CP ones – if you evolve one and it doesn’t have the best move set, you will have a chance to evolve another relatively high CP one). Don’t pay too much attention to the move set of Pokemon that can still be evolved – the move set will be randomly re-assigned at evolution, so even if you have a good move set, once evolved, it may be changed into a bad one.
For Pokemon that’s already at its final evolved form, you might have to consider transferring them if their move set is not good enough. If it’s the only one you have of that type, it’s probably best to keep it until you catch or evolve another one and you can do a comparison of their move sets (and you can always put Pokemon with bad move sets in gyms to battle, while you keep the good one for powering up).
Got a Tip? Or spot something not quite right on this page (my bad)? Post everything in the comments below.