Pokemon Go: Advanced Tips for Getting Level 20+

Pokemon Vaporeon

Attacker of All Gyms

This week I am again traveling, although this time for work instead of vacation.  While that hurts my ability to be interactive, it enhances my ability to play the monster that is Pokemon Go.  While I previously wrote a short guide for basic tips about the game last week, I wanted to add a little more advanced help for those getting into the much slower paced level 20+ range.

Before getting into my observations, it should be noted that once you get into the 20’s, it becomes a much slower grind.   The experience between levels ramps up significantly, making the lucky egg trick your biggest asset to get sizable experience.  While the number of new Pokemon encountered will diminish (which also hurts experience), the wonderful world of gyms begins to open up.

How to Choose When to Evolve and Powerup

One of the biggest questions is: what are the optimal conditions to evolve?  The question has a couple criteria to consider, but they all mostly deal with efficiency.

First, the higher your user level, the higher level of wild Pokemon you will see.  For example, if you see a wild Goldeen at level 15, it is likely to be a higher CP if you encounter it at level 25.  Why does this matter?  When choosing the base Pokemon to evolve, the higher the CP the better for efficiency purposes.

The higher the CP of the Pokemon you want to evolve, the higher the resulting CP of the evolution form.  You can use this to determine the range of CP the evolution might have.

Pidgey Evolving Pokemon Go

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ve entirely missed out by evolving a slightly lower CP level Pokemon.  The CP half-moon bar scales to your user level.  This means that you can evolve a lower CP Pokemon but still have the ability to max out its CP.  The inefficiency comes from the candy and dust investment to raise it up to the CP it might have already attained by evolving a higher CP base Pokemon.

For example, say you have a 200 CP Goldeen you caught at level 18, and a 400 CP Goldeen at level 22.  Let’s say you decided to evolve the 200 CP Goldeen.  The resulting Seaking would be in the range of 423-462 CP.  If you had waited and instead evolved the 400 CP Goldeen, the Seaking would be between 847-923 CP.  However, you could use Goldeen candy and dust to raise the lower level Seaking to equal the higher level Seaking.  This uses up dust and candy, but both would end up with the same CP, regardless of their original levels, or your trainer level.

Many people wonder, should I power up a base level Pokemon before evolving?  Or should I powerup the evolved form?  The answer is to wait to power up its evolved form.  As mentioned, when you evolve the base Pokemon, the CP bar is scaled up to the evolved form, so you do not receive any bonus by powering up beforehand vs after evolution.  The big reason to wait is to see what moves the evolved Pokemon ends up with.  This is critical, and if you dumped a bunch of candy into an Exeggcute and the evolved into an Exeggutor without Zen Headbutt, you wasted your candy.

There are two considerations in choosing which Pokemon to powerup among similar CP leveled base Pokemon.  The first consideration is IV’s and the second is the moveset.

Eevee Pokemon Anime

First, IVs are the hidden values of Attack/Defense/Stamina of each individual Pokemon.  These hidden values make a difference among equally leveled Pokemon, and the higher the IVs, the higher the ceiling for that Pokemon.  You can roughly calculate the IV values of a certain Pokemon here.  The calculator makes a close approximation of how strong the IVs of a Pokemon are.  The higher the % returned, the better IVs a Pokemon has.

Second, the moveset may actually be the biggest determination of which evolved form you may want to power up (perhaps moreso than IVs).  Optimal move sets depend on whether the Pokemon is used in attack or defense, and come down to damage per second or DPS.  For instance, one reason Vaporeon is so strong is that his basic move is always Water Gun, a strong same-type move that attacks quickly.  For a list of the strongest moves, look here.

In sum, the following are the key considerations of choosing when to evolve and powerup:

1. Base CP of the Pokemon

2. IVs of the Pokemon

3. Moveset of the evolved Pokemon

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs

When you have farmed your local area for all the basic types available, you may want to try to catch some more exotic Pokemon.  Or you don’t want to grind 400 candy for Gyarados.  The key to efficiently get rare or out of area Pokemon and candy is through eggs.

5 and 10 km eggs will hatch the more exotic lists of Pokemon (check here for a list).  2 km eggs mostly have the local common stuff you probably have hordes of.  Eggs drop from Pokestops, and you can only hold 9 at a time.  You also only get one infinite incubator.

Pokemon Go Incubator

Are you frustrated that you go to gyms with multiple trainers with 1500+ Snorlaxes and Lapras?  Given the extremely high rarity of finding these in the wild, and finding decently high CP ones at that, makes stumbling upon one a waste of effort.  The key is to crack one in a 10km egg, and reap the candy rewards that come with it.

You can hatch a 1300 Snorlax and get 8 candies to immediately power it up.  Beats catching one 300 CP Snorlax with 3 candies that does nothing more than fill the Pokedex slot.

Players receive incubators at certain level advances, but only one infinite one.  Maximizing simultaneous egg incubation is key (incubators thus are a valid store item to spend some money on).  Having 4-5 eggs (or more) going at the same time will net you rarer Pokemon, and their associated candies.

Now, the inapp calculator for distance traveled is incredibly frustrating. The best way to maximize steps is this: walk in a straight line for a minute.  The game calculates position after 60 seconds, and does so “as the bird flies.”  That means if you ran straight back and forth for 60 seconds, and ended up where you started, you would get 0 km.  Annoying.

Of course, this strategy works best if you can walk in a straight line continuously through multiple Pokestops in order to get more egg drops.  Sadly, you cannot drop eggs, so at times its best to just burn through multiple 2 km eggs to make room for 10 and 5s.  Once you get 4-5 of 10s and 5s you can do them all simultaneously.  Wash and repeat.

Attacking Gyms

The key component to attacking gyms is to have numbers, plain and simple.  If you go out alone to take a gym, it will take awhile to whittle down the prestige, and will be impossible to hold since you can only deposit one Pokemon to defend.

When you spot a gym for attack in a populated area, ask those around if they are on the same team.  Getting a small group of 3-4 (or even more) will do wonders in being able to effectively take down gyms.


When a group attacks a gym, they all attack together.  That means its not just your 6 vs the gym, its 6 x Amount of Team Members vs the gym.  This really helps take down those big boys that often sit atop gyms (Dragonite, Snorlax), as 4 attackers can really deplete HP fast.

The second consideration is to use Pokemon that have high DPS and, to a lesser extent, type advantage for their moves.  Attacking users can actively battle and click as fast as they can while dodging.  Defenders are AI controlled and attack in a set pattern.  This is what makes Vaporeon so strong as an attacker: high DPS and decent type advantage.

Holding Gyms

Once you’ve attacked a gym, you want to be able to hold it for longer than the 10 minutes it takes a team to tear it down.  Again, the key is in the numbers.  If you attack a gym with multiple team members, the resulting takeover will have higher prestige, and you can instantly dump a couple of Pokemon into the gym without rebattling as a lone individual.

The second consideration in holding a gym, is to add your best defending Pokemon over your best attacker.  Vaporeon is an awesome attacker, so much so that his defense is also strong, but high HP, high damage move Pokemon are optimal.  This is where you see the Lapras, Snorlax, and Dragonites come out.

Pokemon Go Gym

The computer defender will only attack every 1.5 or so seconds.  Therefore, high DPS moves like Water Gun are not necessarily a big advantage.  Bigger, slower moves like those on Snorlax, combined with higher HP to tank the inevitable attacking Vaporeons, work best.

Also, given the ubiquity of Vaporeon, having a high CP Exeggcutor or Vileplume can be a useful deterrent to attackers.  Slowbro is also a solid defender against Water Gun, given his type.

Upgrades in the Shop

Finally, if you’ve held out into the 20’s without spending any coins in the shop, good for you.  But for those who are willing to put in a little, or perhaps have multiple gyms on lockdown, there are a couple of items that are very useful in the later stages.

Pokemon Go Shop Coins

Bag upgrade – Having higher item capacity becomes critical at the higher levels because the lower level Pokemon become very difficult to catch.  Pidgeys will start to take 3-4 balls (or more), and that quickly depletes a Pokeball stash.  The pack upgrade can be done multiple times up to 1000.

Egg incubators – Given the tip above, egg farming can be a huge resource in getting rare Pokemon and stacks of candy.  Incubators are few and far between for free-to-play, so if you have coins, this is a strong option.

Lures – Lures are fun for everyone, they bring in Pokemon to Pokestops, and give a social aspect to the game.  While the benefits can sometimes be meh (ie. oh yay another Pidgey), they create some hotspots for trainers to sit around, which in turn can help with spawn rates.



7 thoughts on “Pokemon Go: Advanced Tips for Getting Level 20+

  1. Pingback: State of the Blog: One Year Anniversary, Stats, Posts, and Updates | Particlebit

  2. I rely on evolving Pidgeys while Lucky Eggs are in effect. It gives me motivation to actually catch the common birds, haha. It’s hard to believe that there are calculable IVs here too, but I guess it makes sense to have statistical differences just like in the real games. Too bad it seems you can’t control them or breed for them at this point.


  3. Incubators are where it’s at for me as far as purchases go. $10 worth of Pokecoins gets you 7-8 incubators which each hatch three eggs. Since you can’t discard the 2km eggs that you don’t really want, being able to turn and burn them is big.

    If you need more bag space and don’t want to splurge on the upgrade, consider discarding potions and revives. Unless you’re seriously into gym battling, chances are you don’t need the 50+ of each potion type and the 75+ revives in your bag.

    Liked by 1 person

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