Trainers farm many things in Pokémon Go: pocket monsters, candy, evolution items, balls, revives, potions, experience. Of all the things that trainers try to acquire, Stardust may be the most valuable of all.
The way the game is structured, there is a sliding scale of stardust required to power up your favorite ‘mons. For trainers level 20 and higher, to power a Pokémon that was hatched or caught in a raid to the max Pokémon level of 40.5 requires 245,000 stardust.
To put this in perspective, you would need to catch up to 2,450 Pokémon to get enough dust to power just one, and if you wanted to field 2 full teams of fully powered monsters it would require 2,940,000 stardust to accomplish this.
How to spend Stardust wisely
Stardust in Pokémon Go is the equivalent of a paycheck and much like a paycheck it can be tempting to go on a spending spree as soon as you get it. With this game as with life we have to make choices on when to save and when to spend. When you add a new Pokemon to your Dex it can be tempting to start dumping dust and powering them up right away. This is especially true when you are starting out, as you want powerful monsters to battle.
Early in the game is the time when you should hold on to all the stardust you collect, until you start getting high IV Pokémon that are useful for battling your best bet is save that dust until you get a specimen you feel you must power.
Focus on Pokémon with good IVs. Utilize apps capture a screen shot and in conjunction with the in game checker allows you to determine the IV without violating the games T.O.S.
It is in your best interest to be patient and to not invest in Pokémon below 82%. Personally, I have 91% is the current cutoff point, I have drawn a hard line that will not invest stardust in Pokémon with IVs lower than this, and truth be told most Pokémon I power up are 96-100% IV. There is not right or wrong answer to determining what to power up, it is a choice you will have to make based on how much you play and how patient you chose to be.
On Level 30 and powering up above it
Remember to power up to Level 30, but (often) not above. Up to level 30, your Pokémon’s stats increase at a much faster rate than above level 30. You might gain 40-50 CP/power up when you start, but once you are over 30 your CP increase is cut in half. In addition, there is a ton of research done on a subject called “breakpoints”, but we won’t go into that much detail here. Take the level 30 mark as a rule of thumb, not as an absolute rule.
By level 30 your Pokémon is to almost 90% of its max strength, and for many Pokémon this is a great stopping point. It allows you to strength a variety of Pokémon for ½ the stardust. The following graph shows the relationship between Stardust power up cost and Pokemon strength:
Some Pokémon are worth investing dust to power them all the way others are not worth investing at all. There is no reason not to max out a high IV Dragonite or Tyranitar, these are very strong Pokémon with value in gyms, raiding & PvP.
On the other hand a perfect IV Mantine has less value in raiding and battling and it may not make as much sense to invest 245,000 stardust to power it to max. Mind you, just because you do not invest stardust to power up a Pokémon does not diminish its value to your collection. Sure, you may not use the lower CP Pokémon in raids does not mean you can’t enjoy them. Whether you put them in gyms, occasionally look over your collection and remember the day you captured the beast or find some other way to appreciate it, there are ways to enjoy Pokémon without investing stardust.
If a Pokémon has special value and you feel you want to power it up, by all means do so, just be aware that not all Pokémon have equal value in the meta.
Best Pokemon to Power Up and spend Stardust on
These are candidates that are good in the current meta with raids and also as both attackers and defenders in gyms. These are also Pokémon expected to be good in PvP when that is released.
- Dragonite – Probably the best generalist in the game. Only takes standard damage from most types of attacks, decent HP, defense and high damage output. Also has the 3rd highest CP of any available Pokémon in game at this time.
- Mewtwo – This is a no brainer, the strongest Pokémon in the game needs to be powered up without question. Just remember to see how these raids pan out before dumping your stardust into your first catch. If you have the ability to catch multiples like you can with the birds and Lugia then your best bet is to wait for a strong one before spending piles of hard earned stardust.
- Tyranitar – Best Dark Type attacker in the game, one of the strongest Pokémon against legendaries, 3rd highest CP behind only Mewtwo and Ho-Oh. Available in raids.
- Raikou – Best Pure Electric type attacker, slightly higher attack power than Zapdos, but the other attack stats balance out.
- Golem – The destroyer of legendary Pokémon. Does super effective damage to all the legendary birds, and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with against many of the future legendary releases.
Strong and useful additions to your team
- Gyarados – One of the highest CP Pokémon in the game, enough HP/Defense to hang in a fight and decent enough DPS to make in a viable attacker/defender. Useful in current raids, and especially useful in legendary raids.
- Zapdos – The most useful of the birds, finally a strong electric attacker. Highly recommend powering one up to at least level 30. Even stopping at level 30 this Pokémon will out damage and outlast Jolteon who was the former champ of the electric Pokémon.
- Machamp – Destroyer of rock Pokémon, normal Pokémon and many other ‘mon that try to stand in his way. Strongest fighting type attacker in the game.
- Eeveelutions – All the Eeveelutions are handy pokemon to have in your arsenal. As Eevee is a fairly common ‘mon, discretion is key. If you want Eeveelution for immediate use, find a wild Eevee with high CP and evolve it for use without powering it up, that will allow you to hold off for Eevees with high IVs so you get the most out of your stardust investment.
- Rhydon – High CP and has a beast mode evolution in Gen 4 (Rhyperior), good for solo raiding against Pokemon like Muk, Gengar, Arcanine, Jolteon.
- Snorlax – Lick/Hyperbeam does decent damage, and the tankiness of this beast allows you to staying power in the fight.
- Blissey – This is a pure tank. The incredible HP and defense of this Pokémon compensate for the weak DPS.
How to farm Stardust
There are 4 ways get dust in Pokémon Go:
- Catching Pokémon gets you 100 stardust for each catch 1st evolution catch; 300 stardust for each 2ndevolution catch, and 500 stardust for each 3rd evolution catch.
- Hatching Eggs garners you 400-800 stardust for a 2 KM egg, 800-1600 stardust for a 5 KM egg, and 2000-3000 stardust for a 10 KM egg
- Feeding berries to Pokémon in gyms gets you 20 stardust for each berry and works for both remote feeding and feeding on location (you restore more motivation on sight, except when using golden raspberries which always fully motivate Pokémon.
- Daily Bonus from catching Pokémon get you 600 stardust for days 1-6 and 3000 stardust for day 7 giving you 6600 a week stardust just for catching one Pokémon every day.
This guide is built around raiding, gyms and speculative PvP. There is no completely right or wrong way to use this resource. How you choose to use stardust depends on your style of play. If you are a pure collector and want to max out Regional Birds or Starters then by all means do what makes you happy.
The only thing I can tell you is patience is your friend, regardless of which pocket monsters you chose to power up, you will be glad you waited for a good specimen in which to invest.
I can tell you from my own personal experiences that if you evolve and power up the first 84% Pokémon you get your hands on, you inevitably will be disappointed when down the road you hatch or capture a ‘mon with much higher IVs and starting CP.