Lucky friends: feature overview

Lucky Friends and Avatar Poses
Lucky Friends and Avatar Poses

The Lucky Friends feature was introduced six months ago. The initial thought was that this feature would be a bit too overpowered. However, things seemed to turn out differently due to the apparently low odds of becoming Lucky Friends with one of your in-game friends. Let’s analyze whether or not this is true.

Lucky Friends odds

Let’s keep things clear: no exact odds have been found and they will most likely never be found in the game data. Thus, all we can do is to get an estimate of the exact odds based on plenty of reports. Ideally, we would need a huge statistical sample in order to do that.

As of now, several individual studies were conducted by reddit users and the results where published in posts like this one. A common belief is that there was a drastic nerf to the odds of becoming lucky friends with someone after the first week of this feature going live, which seems to be true based on the number of reports claiming so.

Regardless, we will consider an average rate of 2% for this analysis (2% = 1 in 50). If TSR Research Group or any research group come out with better results or with a better statistical sample, the analysis would be updated accordingly.

Is the feature too OP?

Let’s consider that you get (on average) 1 lucky friend for every 50 interactions with your best friends. The IV floor for lucky friend trades is 12 for each stat, which means that the minimum IVs that you could get from a lucky trade are 12/12/12 (80% IV). For an IV floor of 12, the number of potential IV combinations is 64. Thus, the odds of getting a hundo (100% IV Pokémon) are roughly 1.56% per trade.

First things first, let’s see how many interactions with your best friends you would need to have a certain chance of becoming lucky friends with them. Remember that only the first interaction of the day with them will count.

Number of interactions to have a certain % of becoming LF

Alright, several lines have been plotted based on the estimated base chance for every interaction that counts. Since the common belief is that the rate is 1 in 50 as of now, we will focus on that line.

According to the graph, we would need around 114 interactions (remember, only the first one of the day counts with a specific person) to have a 90% chance of becoming lucky friends with someone. Let’s look at the numbers for several other percentages:

  • 50% of becoming LFs: ~34 interactions
  • 75% of becoming LFs: ~69 interactions
  • 90% of becoming LFs: ~114 interactions
  • 95% of becoming LFs: ~148 interactions
  • 99% of becoming LFs: ~228 interactions

And that’s it.

Funnily enough, if you want to become Lucky Friends with a specific person, by looking at those numbers you could say that it may take longer to become lucky friends with that person than to become best friends with a new friend (90 days), which (in my opinion) is a bit ridiculous. Plus, you’re not getting a guaranteed hundo out of it, just a lucky Pokémon that might end up being a 12/12/12.

Now, let’s analyse the chances of getting a hundo (100% IV Pokémon) out of a lucky trade. Remember, the base chance per trade is 1 in 64 (~1.56%), because there are 64 potential IV combinations. I crunched the numbers for you, and here are the amount of trades needed to get yourself a certain chance of getting a hundo from a lucky trade:

Number of trades to have a certain % of getting a hundo
  • 50% of getting a hundo: ~44 lucky trades
  • 75% of getting a hundo: ~88 lucky trades
  • 90% of getting a hundo: ~146 lucky trades
  • 95% of getting a hundo: ~190 lucky trades
  • 99% of getting a hundo: ~292 lucky trades

Of course not everyone will get a hundo from a lucky trade, and you don’t even need a hundo to perform well in raids or gym battles. However, the chances were calculated just to show that even if the base chance of becoming Lucky Friends with someone was raised, the feature wouldn’t be too OP.

Stardust cost reduction to power up

It’s also important to recall that lucky Pokémon are also a great way to reduce the amount of stardust you need to spend in order to power up a Pokémon. In fact, it’s split in half, which is very good news for trainers with less resources or newcomers.

You might think that IVs are overrated and so on, and perhaps you’re right. Most Pokémon won’t lose any particular breakpoint if they have an ATK IV of 14 or 13. All in all, it’s situational. However, for those trainers who want to power up the best Pokémon, getting a 13/12/14 out of a lucky trade would be a disappointment. Imagine that you spend 50 raid passes to get only one shiny Rayquaza, then it takes you around 60 interactions with a specific person (that’s 2 months of daily interactions) to become Lucky Friends, and when you do the lucky trade you end up getting that 13/12/14 shiny Rayquaza. That would be a bit of a letdown, wouldn’t it?

Conclusion

  • The odds of becoming Lucky Friends with someone seem to be a bit too low
  • The lucky friends feature is a great way to reduce the amount of stardust (the most valuable resource in the game) needed to power up Pokémon. However, since the odds are that low, plenty of trainers cannot enjoy this feature
  • Its IVs or the amount of resources needed to power up a specific Pokémon? What would you prioritize?
Pokémon fan since 2000. Played every single game without exception. I'm an engineer, a tech lover and also a big sports fan. Science is my religion :)