6 Tips You Need to Know to Be Better at Pokemon Go

While doing “research” for my previous video on explaining the Pokemon Go phenomenon (aka running around NYC trying to catch ALL the Pokemon), there were a lot of tips I learned well into playing that I wish I knew when I started. Things to help you level up faster, catch Pokemon easier, and just some basics on how the game works that Niantic failed to tell you.

In this video, figured I’d show you the best tips for Pokemon Go I learned so you don’t have to suffer like I did.

I. How the Green Ring Works When Catching Pokemon

So I had a hard time figuring this out. One article on the web told me when the green ring is bigger it’s more likely to be caught, another told me when it’s smaller, so I decided to experiment.

First up, there are four different colored rings: green, yellow, orange, red. Green means you have a good chance of catching the Pokemon, yellow is a tad more difficult, orange is significantly more difficult and red is really freaking hard. You can change the colors by using things like GreatBalls and MasterBalls (yes, Masterballs exist in Pokemon Go apparently), as well as Razz Berries indicating you have a better chance of catching it.

Regardless of the size or color, the goal is to get the Pokeball inside the ring. If it’s larger and you get it in (you’ll get a “Nice!” message) that’s a fair chance you’ll get it (depending on the color, of course). Smaller and you’ll get a “Great” or “Excellent if it’s really small. The smaller the ring, so long as you get it inside, the better chance you have of catching the critter.


Also, along with the better chance of catching the Pokemon, getting a “Nice” throw and catching the Pokemon will get you an extra 10XP, a “Great’ one will get you an extra 50xp, and an “Excellent” one will get you an extra 100XP (essentially doubling your XP from the catch).

II. When a Pokemon Appears, Pay Attention to the Rings Around It

There are three colored rings around a Pokemon that just appeared. Each one signifies why the Pokemon appeared in the first place and can be helpful.

  • White Ring – Pokemon appeared naturally. They might even reappear nearby there later if you come back.
  • Purple/Pink Ring – He’s here because of a lure module.
  • Pink Cloud – Here because of an incense you used. This one is important because it means only you can see him, so don’t scream at your friend next to you to hurry up and catch it.

III. Gain XP Quick Using a Lucky Egg

Occasionally, you’ll get a lucky egg or two in the game. Save them. These guys double whatever experience you gain over the course of 30 mins from when you activate it. So the trick is, what gains a lot of experience that you can actually control the timing of? Evolving Pokemon.

You get 500XP whenever you evolve a lowest level Pokemon to it’s next level. You do this buy using candies that you get whenever you catch the Pokemon and also by giving your extra ones (I know I live in NYC, but how many freaking Pidgeys can there be in this city?!). Instead of just cleaning out the duplicates, save a few that are common and have a low candy requirement to evolve (i.e. Weedles & Pidgey cost 12 candies to evolve for example and are pretty common).

Save up as many of the candies as you can so you have enough to evolve a few of them at one time. When you are ready with this, activate the lucky egg by clicking on it from your items and tapping it, and then start evolving them. You’ll get 1000XP instead of 500 for each one.

Lucky Egg

It might be tempting to then upgrade them to their next higher evolution because that’ll get you 1000Xp normally so 2000 while using the lucky egg. Math, however, would disagree. Upgrading 4 Weedles will cost you 48 candies and net you 4000XP compared to upgrading 1 Weedle fully for 62 and only 3000xp. Make sense?

IV. You Can Track Pokemon

Ever wonder what that little bar at the bottom right of your screen with the Pokemon in it was for? Me, too. I knew it had something to do with nearby Pokemon, of course, but it isn’t very easy to understand.

How it works though, is not the most accurate of concepts and requires some trial and error, but people on the web are saying it does actually work at least.

Pokemon Tracking Grid

Basically if you tap on that bar, it’ll bring up a grid of the closest Pokemon along with footprints under each one. The idea being that the Pokemon in the top left of the grid is closest to you and the one in the bottom right, the furthest. The footprints indicate the distance, people online speculate that 3 prints is 1km away, 2 is 100 meters, and 1 is 10 meters. If you don’t see any footprints, then you’re basically on top of it.

Knowing this you can pick a Pokemon from the list and walk in one direction to see if it moves up or down the list. If it moves up, keep going that way. Down? Turn around and head the exact opposite direction until it gets to the highest point you can get it. After you do that, then you can now walk left or right and repeat the process.

Again, pain in the butt, but helpful if you’re looking for a specific Pokemon to fill up that Pokedex.

V. Don’t Spend Your Candies on Powering Up Pokemon

So you might be tempted to start spending candies on your fully evolved Pokemon to get their CP up and that’s great! Issue is, as you gain levels and XP, you will start to find much higher CP versions of those same Pokemon and it’s better to upgrade them instead (when you actually are at a high enough level to go battle gyms where CP even matters).

Spending a bunch of candies on your 100CP to get him to 200CP and then finding a 298CP version in the wild and catching later is a crappy feeling. Stupid, Dodrio…

VI. How to Win Gym Battles Easier

First up, don’t even attempt this at a low level, it’s just depressing. But once you get to a level where you have some higher CP Pokemon, it’s worth trying to take down an enemy gym.

Pokemon Gym Victory

To help with that it helps to know a couple of things:

  • Make sure you use your 6 strongest Pokemon and that they have a variety of types. Sometimes the type of Pokemon makes a bigger difference than CP. In the Rock, Paper, Scissors type of world that Pokemon is, certain ones are more effective against others. You can get a full list on that here.
  • Defending Pokemon attack at regular intervals (1.5 secs each time according to some) and you have the ability to dodge. Try and time your dodges when there is a yellow flash on the screen, this is when the Pokemon is about to attack. You can then get a few of your own in real quick and get ready to dodge the next one. Don’t get overzealous with the attacks though or you won’t be able to dodge the next oncoming one.
  • You can see the defending Pokemon before going into the gym. Make sure your Pokemon are close in CP at least and plan your 6 to use based on that and their types.

Here’s a full chart of what Pokemon Go types are good/bad against other types:

Pokemon Go Type Chart

There you go, 6 quick tips that should definitely help you do better in Pokemon Go (and just enjoy the game more in my opinion). Good luck, and let me know how these tips helped if they did!

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