A Beginner's Guide to Pokemon GO

(If you are a beginner, start here for some helpful tips. I’m unsure if this’ll be pinned or should be pinned, but I’m here to offer some advice for those who are just starting off.)

So, you’ve decided to download Pokemon GO and play it for the first time. Welcome aboard! I am SupaAnimegal, or Amber and I’ve been playing Pokemon GO since launch and a lot has changed from back then. However, since you’re new to Pokemon GO, I’ll explain the basics.

Getting Started and catching

Professor Willow will help you out, since he is the professor of this mysterious world. He’ll give you some Poke Balls and you can choose from Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle or… Pikachu. A little unknown fact: You can choose Pikachu, as a starter, if you don’t catch any of the main three Kanto starters. This isn’t a bad move, since Pikachu is harder to find, for some reason. However, I’ve heard that this condition to find Pikachu only exists in some areas. Unlike picking the starter in the main Pokemon series, picking a starter here doesn’t affect your performance or playability, so you can pick any one of them.

For catching, it’s better to not use the AR (Augmented Reality) feature, since it can make catching the Pokemon a lot harder (especially if it can fly around). Some phones don’t even support the AR function, but you can still play the game without the AR feature on. For throwing the Poke Balls, they’re thrown in an arc or parabolic shape, so you’ll have to throw it as best as you can. If you spin the Poke Ball and throw it slightly sideways, you can catch the Pokemon in a curveball throw (Curveball throws offer a small amount of additional EXP). Also, I’ve found it easier to catch Pokemon, in a curveball, for some reason.


Here, you can see that Pidgey and Ratatta have different colored circles around them. Usually, different colored circles can tell you how much harder it’ll be to catch a pokemon:

  • Green: usually easy
  • Yellow: usually moderate
  • Orange: tough
  • Red: hard

Also, the circle is there, to kinda show you where to aim, when catching the Pokemon. Occasionally, you can land nice, great or excellent throws on the Pokemon. Catching the Pokemon in a nice, great or excellent throw will give you more EXP. Also, I’ve heard that if the colored circle is smaller, that might make the Pokemon a little easier to catch.

If you’re having a hard time catching Pokemon, you can use Ultra Balls and Great Balls, but your trainer needs to be a certain level before you can find these items. In the meantime, you should use berries.


Here, someone used a berry on a wild Jolteon and this made it easier to catch it. The different types of berries are:

  • Razz Berries: makes it easier to catch a Pokemon
  • Nanab Berries: makes the Pokemon act less erratic
  • Pinap Berry: makes the Pokemon give extra candy, associated with its species.

First, the Razz Berries. They generally make Pokemon easier to catch. Say, you keep having a Pokemon easily break free from the ball, while catching it. If you use a Razz Berry, it’ll make it easier to catch.

Next, the Nanab Berries. When catching a Pokemon, they have a tendency to dodge your Poke Balls or they can swat/attack/deflect the Poke Balls away! How irritating! Nanab berries can help make a Pokemon not act so erratic, so you can not only save your Poke Balls, but also so that they won’t fight back as much.

Lastly, the Pinap Berries. Each species of Pokemon has something called a Candy. These candies help power up your Pokemon, but they can only power up certain species of Pokemon. For example, Pikachu candies can only help power up Pichu, Pikachu and Raichu, since they’re in the same evolutionary line. Pikachu candies can’t power up any other Pokemon, except for Pichu, Pikachu and Raichu. If you use the Pinap berry and catch the Pokemon, while the effects of the Pinap berry are sill in use, the Pokemon you’ve caught will drop extra candy.

For each berry, there are silver and gold versions that can also make the Pokemon easier to catch, but they’re only obtainable through research missions or raids. Also, keep in mind that if you fail to catch a Pokemon, after using a berry on it, the effects of the berry will wear off, if the Pokemon breaks free. If the Pokemon runs away, you can’t recapture it, and if you want that Pokemon again, you’ll have to search for it again.

Leveling Up

In this game, your trainer can level up, depending on how much experience points you get. The maximum level your trainer can be, is currently Level 40, and boy, does it take a WHILE.

You start off at level one, but it is easy to level up, for now. Catching Pokemon in curveballs, making nice, great and excellent throws, spinning Pokestops, hatching eggs, and other things will help you increase your EXP. There are also special tasks that Professor Willow can give you, if you either visit a Pokestop, or he’ll outright give you some missions which can lead to some rare Pokemon. Doing these special missions can also give you EXP.

By leveling up, you can find rarer Pokemon, get better items, and even buy some gear/apparel for your trainer. At each level:

  • Level 5: You can join a team, earn potions and revives. You can also now join gyms.
  • Level 8: You can now find Razz Berries
  • Level 10: You can now use Super Potions
  • Level 15: You can now use Hyper Potions
  • Level 20: You can now use Ultra Balls
  • Level 25: You can now use Max Potions
  • Level 30: You can now use Max Revives
    -Level 40: MAX.

For an in-depth list on what item rewards you’ll get from leveling up:

Choosing Teams

So, you’re now Level 5! What team should you pick? Well, there are three main teams in this game: Team Mystic, Team Valor and Team Instinct (The one I’m on)


Back then, it kinda mattered on what team you were on, since Team Mystic and Team Valor pretty much dominated the early days of Pokemon GO. Team Instinct was left in the dust and often got a lot of flack for being “The team that no one picks.” Nowadays, Team Instinct has gotten a lot more attention (albeit through memes about Spark, the team leader) but it’s not picked on, and THANK GOD TEAM INSTINCT ISN’T BEING PICKED ON!! Everyone probably picked on Spark because of how unique he is, but little does everyone know that Zapdos is competitively the best out of the three legendary birds. It doesn’t have to worry about being quadded by rock types (especially Stealth Rock), it can defeat Articuno and Moltres, since both are weak against Electric-Types. Plus… Spark is a dreamboat!! Why pick on him!?

Sorry about the mini-rant. Anyways, you can join any team you want. There aren’t any drawbacks to picking teams, aside from not being able to join certain gyms, and the occasional player giving you a dirty look, but… There aren’t any drawbacks to joining a team that you want to join.

For information on the leaders:

After you’ve joined a team, you can fight gyms, or deposit your Pokemon in one of the gyms.

How Gyms Work


Gyms are locations in Pokemon GO that have other trainers’ Pokemon there. There are four different types of colors for gyms: Red for Valor, Blue for Mystic, Yellow for Instinct, and white for an unclaimed gym.

Back then, Gyms worked a little different. For gyms, you could only deposit 1-2 Pokemon at a time, and if you wanted to make it so that you could have more Pokemon at the gym, you’d have to fight against your own allies, to make the gym have a higher level, so that others could put more Pokemon in the gym. It was an awful mechanic, and now that they’ve taken it out, there is a medal that you can’t get. The Ace Trainer medal isn’t possible to get, since the gyms work differently.

Today, gyms are places that can have up to 6 Pokemon, at one time. You can deposit your Pokemon at a gym, if the gym is claimed by trainers that are on the same team as you are. You can also claim an unclaimed gym (white gym), by depositing a Pokemon there. The gym also functions as a Pokestop that can be spun and you can obtain items from there. At gyms, your Pokemon will stay there, until it is knocked out. If your Pokemon is at a gym, you can’t fight other trainers with that Pokemon, because it technically isn’t with you. If you come across other gyms that aren’t part of your team, you can fight them. By fighting a gym, you’ll always bring 6 Pokemon with you and it’s best to balance your teams out. After knocking a Pokemon out, the foe’s CP (Combat Points) will lower at the gym. You might need to rematch the gym, if you want to completely knock out a Pokemon. If the foe’s Pokemon’s CP reaches 0, it’s knocked out and can no longer fight. After all Pokemon are knocked out, you can claim the gym as your own and have team allies join that gym. If your Pokemon is knocked out of a gym that you’re defending, you’ll be rewarded with Pokecoins, based on how long it has been at the gym (you can earn a maximum of 50 pokecoins per day). Also, if your Pokemon is knocked out from a gym fight, you’ll need to revive and heal them, if you want to use that Pokemon again.


Here, all Pokemon have their CP displayed. If this gym is on the same team as you are, you can give the Pokemon here berries (The same used to catch Pokemon) and these berries will bring their CP back up. Another thing can also happen at gyms.



Sometimes, a weird egg/cocoon and a timer will appear on top of the gym. This signifies that a raid will start soon. The three main raids are:

  • Pink egg: 1-2 star raids
  • Yellow egg: 3-4 star raids
  • Gray egg: 5 star raids

The cocoons will only appear for a little while, but after the timer reaches 0, the cocoon/egg will go away and be replaced by a Pokemon. 1 star raids are the easiest and 5 star raids are the hardest. Also, if a raid is going on, you can’t join the gym. Here is an example of what you can find at a raid:


you can usually find starter Pokemon in 1 star raids. For 5 star raids, you’ll often find legendary Pokemon and each legendary Pokemon will change periodically. Right now, Heatran is featured the most in 5 star raids. If you want to fight in a raid, you’ll need something called a raid pass. These are given out daily, if you don’t already have a raid pass. You can also buy raid passes for 100 Pokecoins. Once you’ve decided to join a raid:


The game will pick out some Pokemon to use in the raid, but you can always pick your own pokemon. There’s also a code that can let you join raid groups, if you don’t have a pass. After waiting for 2 minutes (use this time to prepare against the boss), you’ll fight the raid boss. The raid boss’ CP will be a lot higher than usual (usually about 10-15 times higher than its actual CP). If you beat the raid boss, you can earn some rewards. This depends on how rare the raid was. The rarer/harder the raid was, the better rewards you’ll get. You’ll also get to catch the raid boss, but its CP is significantly lower than before. Based on how many people contributed and which team contributed the most, how much damage you did, etc, you’ll be rewarded with Premier Balls, to catch the raid boss. Sadly, the only way to catch raid bosses is with Premier Balls, which have the same modifier as a Poke Ball does. If you run out of Premier Balls, the Pokemon will run away and you’ll have to do their raid over again, in a different location, if you want to catch the Pokemon again. This is where those berries can be helpful, for catching these types of Pokemon.


So… What are Pokecoins? They are an in-game currency that is used to buy things, such as items for healing Pokemon, Catching Pokemon, hatching pokemon, and even clothes that your trainer can wear. You can get up to 50 Pokecoins for free each day, if you have a pokemon defend a gym for long enough, before it is knocked out.

You can also purchase Pokecoins, through the Google Play or iTunes/iOS app store. However, you should spend your money wisely and only buy Pokecoins, when you really need it.

Hatching Pokemon

Let’s say, you’ve spun a Pokestop and you got something called an egg. That egg has a Pokemon inside! Here’s how to hatch the egg. First, you’ll need an incubator that you can use. Professor Willow gives you a free incubator that has an infinite amount of uses, so it’ll never break. You can buy incubators for 150 Pokecoins and Super incubators for 200 Pokecoins. Super incubators speed up the process of hatching the egg by a little bit. You can also get incubators by leveling up occasionally and during some events, Pokestops can hand them out for free.

Next, put the egg in the incubator and then walk, until it hatches.


The four types of eggs are:

  • Green (2k eggs)
  • Orange (5k eggs)
  • Pink and Yellow (7k eggs)
  • Blue (10k eggs)

Kilometers are used here, by the way. For those who don’t know, a kilometer is less than a mile. Walking with the egg will make it hatch and depending of the color of the egg, you’ll get certain Pokemon from them. Green, Orange and Blue eggs are easy to get from Pokestops, but you can get Pink and Yellow eggs from friends as gifts. Pink and Yellow eggs usually contain baby Pokemon and regional Pokemon, so hatch as many as you can! It’s better to walk to hatch the egg, because the game doesn’t track your movement well, if you’re on the road/bus/passenger side of a car. Also, NEVER DRIVE WHILE PLAYING POKEMON GO, OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!

That’s all I have for now! If you want more tips, I’ll add on to this, but I have to get going! HAPPY PLAYING!! :3


I was disappointed that for Gyms and Raids you didn’t just say “They’re too scary, don’t do them”

As for Pokecoins, it would be good to point out that the best things you can buy from them are Bag Storage, Pokemon Storage and Ultra Boxes (which happen to be decent again today :smile:)

Ah that too. Extra Bag storage and Pokemon storage is very good to have.

Also, I didn’t tell anyone to not do raids or gym fights, since Gym fights and raids don’t scare me (unless if you want me to solo Heatran or a Tyranitar raid.

Also, some Pokemon currently can only be found in raids, like Alolan Marowak, Shinx and Klink, besides the Legendaries

Oh, and none of the pictures expand. Might be hard for some to see, especially on mobile devices

Sorry, I was doing this on a computer

You now earn it by battling the team leaders.

Really? I didn’t know that until now. It’ll be a while before I fight Spark with some ground and rock types, I’ll need some that are capable of fighting in the Great and Ultra Leagues. I only have ones that can fight in the master league, and he HAS a Tyranitar!

Apart from the part saying that gyms don’t work the same, you wrong. The Ace Trainer badge can be obtained by fighting against Team Leaders (Valor, Mystic and Instinct) in any league.

For the Bronze badge you need to win 10 times, Silver badge for 100 and for the gold badge you need 1000 wins against said team leaders.

Also, I’ll update the post next week, when I can get to a computer, but also for Raids:

  • If you’re going to challenge a harder raid, it’s best to go with a larger group of people.
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Also, just to clear the misunderstanding, of the pokemon you mentioned above, in response to Cordi, only Alolan Marowak is raid exclusive, since Klink and Shinx can be found in 10km eggs, and they are a pain in the ass to hatch.

As a suggestion, use the “thesilphroad.com” website to fact-check things like current egg pool or raid pool (It also can be useful to find nest around you and current reearch tasks along to what their reward is)

Ah, sorry about that. I’ve never hatched a Klink or Shinx ever, or never encountered them in the wild, so I just assumed that you could only find them in raids

Lucky you.

Then again, just for safe measure, use the website to see the current egg and raid pool.