It’s a little confusing, but Pokémon GO’s holiday event is both over, and not over. Over is the segment that let you get one free incubator a day, that spawned holiday Pikachus everywhere, and that sold special holiday items in the store.
Not over is the part that makes lures last 60 minutes and is raining down starter Pokémon — Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, and their evolutions — all over the map.
This half-segment of this holiday event is arguably the most significant limited time offering Niantic has ever introduced to Pokémon GO, and players should make the most of it. Anyone playing even a little bit regularly should be able to catch and/or evolve themselves a Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur by the end, when previously it was agony to save up candy or walk buddies for hundreds of kilometers for the same result.
Now, you can just go about your business and catch whatever shows up, but if you really want to squeeze every last drop out of the event, I have a few pieces of advice for you. The event ends on Jan. 8, and I think you would be wise to heed at least a few of my tips before then.
Don’t Evolve Any Starters Until The Event’s Over
I know, I know, you hit 25 candy and really want that Charmeleon. You hit 100 candy and can’t wait to get your Blastoise. But if you care about how powerful your Pokémon end up being, you would be wise to wait until this event is totally over before evolving anything at all.
I’ve long been a proponent of the “125 candy rule,” meaning you wait until you have 125 candy to evolve both second and third stage evolutions at the same time. The reason being is that if you evolve a Pokémon right when you hit 25 candy, in the time it takes you to get 100 more, you probably would have found a better Pokémon of the same type who you should have evolved. As a reminder of what “better” is, you can use the appraisal system and this chart to deduce whether your Pokémon are good or terrible. Just because a Pokémon has high CP off the bat does not mean it’s good, but rather one with higher IV shown by analysis will ultimately have higher max CP when fully upgraded (and better battling stats), so keep that in mind.
But in this case, I would advise you to wait until the end of the event to evolve anything, even if you do get 125 candies. There are so, so many starters spawning that you might evolve something today and catch another two or three starters closer to a perfect IV before the event ends. I understand many people don’t care about this in the least, but if you want your starter evolutions to be as powerful as possible, wait and see.
Consider Not Catching Middle And Final Starter Evolutions
I know this is really counter-intuitive, and I haven’t really followed my own advice here, but even though it’s tempting to catch middle and final tier evolutions of the starters which are now spawning everywhere, there are a pair of reasons not to.
The first is relatively minor. If you don’t have the middle or final tier evolution already, when you go to evolve your 125 candy starter, you can use a lucky egg. Not only will you get 1,000 XP per evolution, but you will get a bonus 1000 XP for each because it’s a new Pokédex entry. Catch it in the wild, and you’ll only get half that.
But more importantly, middle and final tier starter evolutions are enormous item sinks. This is an event where you are more than likely going to catch enough stuff to evolve the starters yourself. But you can easily waste dozens of Ultra and Great Balls and berries on trying to catch Wartortles or Ivysaurs or that 600 CP Charizard that looks cool but will never actually be useful. Outside of the “cool factor,” it’s only three or four candy, and these evolutions are probably only as valuable as a 60 CP base starter would be. If you are starving for items, sometimes you might just want to let a few of these go.
Save Your Great And Ultra Balls For Starters Only
I have been playing GO a lot the past week since the starter event kicked off, and even as someone who sometimes has to delete Poké Balls to make room for new items, I am running lower than I ever have before in regular, Great and Ultra Balls. This is because I was on vacation, and was catching everything in sight, but now it’s catching up with me and I can’t replenish my supplies fast enough.
Starters are the priority here, and deserve your Ultra Balls, and if you don’t have those, then Great Balls. While I’m not going to tell you to avoid catching that Dragonite or Gyarados that magically spawns, it might be time to let a few other things go so you can save your resources for starters while they’re still around. Maybe you don’t need to waste a Great Ball on that 449 Spearow that keeps breaking out. Maybe that 700 Weepingbell isn’t worth using five Ultra Balls on. Obviously this is up to you, and is based on your needs (I’m still using good balls on Magikarps as I save for my Gyarados), but you might want to make some sacrifices to make sure you’re not out of proper balls when notoriously difficult starters show up. Remember, everything else will still be spawning after this is over, but starters will go back to being incredibly elusive after this event ends.
Car Hunting Is The Fastest Way To Get Starter Candy
This is the first event where the new tracking system is incredibly valuable in maximizing your capturing potential. For Halloween, those Pokémon spawned literally everywhere and took over the whole map. Ditto is a random spawn that barely ever shows up. Gen 2 babies only hatch from eggs. Santa Pikachu is nice to get once or twice but you don’t need to farm him past getting one Santa Raichu.
Not so with starters, and tracking is now a roadmap to get Squirtle after Charmander after Bulbasaur on repeat. Honestly, and Niantic may kill me for saying this, but the best way to farm these starters is through driving. I mean, have someone else drive, and you catch stuff as a passenger. You can see where Pokémon are, so you can go there and just pull over once you reach the stop you’re looking for. Sit there for five seconds, the starter will spawn, and you move on to the next one. This is a valuable tactic A) in places where it’s freezing right now and B) in places where PokéStops are really spread out.
Yes, walking is ideal, but circumstances may not allow that for one reason or another, and the fact is, this really is the best method to make sure you get at least 125 candies for each starter before this event ends. Car farming is fast farming, in this instance.