The most efficient way to farm Best Buddies

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Earning the Best Buddy ribbon is not an easy task, as you need to get a total of 300 hearts. In this guide, I will show you the most efficient method to reach the final stage of friendship between you and your Pokémon in the least amount of time.

The basics

I know, the system is very tedious and it feels like work, but it is what it is. Let’s start with the basics and some pro tips:

  • You can swap your buddy 20 times per day, so that means that you can interact with 21 buddies every single day
  • If you want to get rid of all the “work” at once, it usually takes up to ~45-60 minutes per day to get it done. You can do it while watching TV, while doing exercise or whatever
  • The max amount of hearts you can get without moving or spinning new stops is 6 (Treat, Play, Battle (x3), Snapshot). 3 if you don’t want to Battle
  • You need to feed your buddy if you want the “Walk together”, “Battle together” or “Visit a new place” tasks to count
  • You don’t need to use your buddy in battle to get the “Battle together” heart. You could just have it in the third slot of your team and let your Smack Down Tyranitar / Rampardos defeat Candela alone
  • Renaming the Pokémon you want to Best Buddy is very important, otherwise you’ll lose a significant amount of time each time you want to swap them in and out. For example, adding a single dot at the beginning of their name would speed things up, as the only thing you’d need to do is to search “.” in the search bar and all Pokémon you renamed would pop up. Another option would be to create a search string or take advantage of the redesigned UI for custom searches
  • Disabling Niantic AR and revoking app permissions to access your storage is very important as well. If you don’t, then you’ll lose plenty of time and you’ll end up with hundreds of useless “AR” pictures in your gallery

The buddy interaction routine

Now that we know the basics, let’s describe the buddy interaction routine.

  1. Feed your buddy, and press on the camera button to take a screenshot while the Pokémon is eating a berry. This will save you time. You’ll get 2 hearts
  2. Pet your Pokémon until you get the “Play with your buddy” heart. Now you have 3 hearts
  3. Battle Candela (Team Valor’s leader) in the Master League using a Smack Down Tyranitar or a Smack Down Rampardos. You don’t even need to use charge moves (because they’ll get shielded and you’ll lose some time), just shield opposing moves and Smack Down till the end. Done, now you got 4 hearts. You can just repeat this step to get 2 additional Battle hearts, if you want (total of 6 hearts). If your Pokémon aren’t strong enough to beat Candela, look for alternatives. If you want to speed up the process a bit more, you can create a team with your buddy + 2 10 CP Pokémon and lose vs. the Team leader on purpose. A lost battle still counts as a battle!
  4. Swap your buddy out and tap on the next one
  5. Repeat the previous steps for the amount of buddies you want to level up. You can do this 21 times per day (20 swaps, 21 buddies total)
  6. If your buddy brings you a gift, tap on it and open it. This will give you an extra heart

Speeding things up: Excited mood and Poffins

Poffins would speed things up, but they are VERY expensive. Feeding your buddy with a Poffin would make it reach the “Excited” mood, meaning that you could get 2 times the maximum amount of hearts you were able to get before. But only for a limited period of time, until the next day.

So basically you could get:

  • 6 “Walk together” hearts
  • 6 “Give your buddy a treat” hearts (you need to wait until the motivation drops below the first mark, otherwise it won’t count). If you feed your buddy a Poffin, your “Give your buddy a treat” hearts will be maxed immediately
  • 2 “Play together” hearts
  • 6 “Battle together” hearts
  • 2 “Take a snapshot” hearts
  • 2 “Visit a new place” hearts
  • 3 extra bonus hearts (souvenir, gift, location)

Total: 27 hearts (max.)

And 2 x hearts per action while the Pokémon is excited.

As you can imagine, you can’t get all these hearts with 21 buddies each day. Just look at the distance you’d need to walk and you’ll see why.

In my opinion, 100 coins for a Poffin is just too much, so I wouldn’t recommend following this method unless you really need to reach the additional breakpoint in a specific League. The difference ain’t really worth it.

Getting your Pokémon excited without using Poffins (F2P)

Yes, you can reach the excited mood without buying poffins, but the process is not easy. I will explain how to do it, but first we need to know the basics:

  • There’s a hidden point system, and all you need to do is to get 32 points to reach the excited mood. Here’s our guide explaining how the hidden system works
  • Several actions make you earn points towards that goal. These actions include feeding your buddy (2 points) and taking a snapshot (2 points), among others
  • Most of these points have a cooldown of 30 minutes. What this means is that if you don’t want to lose your progress, you will have to set an alarm or a reminder every 30 minutes and repeat the action to get an additional point
  • When you reach 32 points, your buddy will reach the excited mood. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to track your progress precisely, all you’ll have is the little icon at the upper right-hand side of your screen
  • But the job’s not done though! The excited mood also has a cooldown associated with the number of points you currently have. Let’s say you reach 32 points, your buddy reaches the excited mood and you put your phone down for an hour. After opening up the app again, your buddy will have lost all the points you won in the last hour, so you’ll have to grind them again to reach the excited status. Thus, I’d recommend taking advantage of the excited mood as soon as you reach it

Phew… the system is clearly flawed, but that’s a different topic. Now you know how to get your buddy excited without spending 100 coins for each Poffin. But is it really worth it? You decide.

Alright, now that you know the basics, here’s the regimen you could follow to reach the excited mood as fast as possible:

  1. Feed 1 Berry, Take a snapshot, Battle with your buddy in your team (6 points), t=0
  2. Set an alarm/reminder 15 minutes later, Play with your buddy (8 points). This has to be done before the 30-minute mark, otherwise you will lose one point if you haven’t interacted with your buddy
  3. Set another alarm/reminder 30 minutes after t=0 (15 minutes after the last action), repeat step 1 again (14 points)
  4. 15 minutes later, repeat step 2 (16 points)
  5. Do it again until you reach 32 points
  6. If you time it correctly and don’t lose any points in between, you will reach the excited mood in a bit less than 2 hours (previously you’d need 4 hours, so that’s a welcome change!)
  7. If you walked 2km with your buddy in between these steps, you should get 3 additional points

I will repeat the same question: is it really worth it? You decide.

Is this how you should use the buddy system?

When Niantic designed the system, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have this kind of gameplay and strats in mind. In fact, this is not enjoyable at all. It’s tedious, repetitive and boring.

However, the Platinum Best Buddy Badge requires you to get 200 Best Buddies. Two. Hundred.

I will crunch the numbers for you. If you play casually with your buddy, you’ll probably get 6-8 hearts per day on average. If you want to complete all 3 Battles, then you’d get ~8-10. Remember that getting your buddy excited without Poffins is not easy, unless you follow a very strict regimen like the one I described. At this pace, it would take you ~1.5 months to get a new Best Buddy (300 hearts, 6-8 hearts per day), ~1 month if you get all Battle hearts. Getting the Platinum medal would take you ~24 YEARS or ~17 YEARS if you get all the Battle hearts.

Now let’s say you train two buddies per day. On average, you’d probably get 10-12 hearts per day, 12-14 if you complete all battles –> ~15 years (~12.5 years if you complete all battles). 20 hearts per day? –> ~8 years.

Even if you maximize the number of hearts you can get by swapping your buddy 20 times a day, it’d still take a lot of time. That’d mean 4 hearts per buddy (maybe 5-6 with the last one, if you walk with it once you’re done with the routine). 4 * 20 + 6 = 86 hearts per day –> ~2 years. Assuming you get all your battles done, 6 * 20 + 6 = 126 hearts per day –> ~1.3 years.

And worst of all, assuming it takes you ~45-60 minutes on average per day to follow the full regimen, this would mean ~25 days of your life petting, feeding and walking buddies just to get the platinum badge. Yikes.

Last but not least, I wanted to show you the projected progression towards the medal with different curves. I actually had this article finished before Niantic increased the amount of Battle hearts you can get from 1 to 3. So I decided to redo all the math and rework the charts a bit. I finally decided to include two charts: one where I take into account a scenario where the trainer decides not to battle and a second one with the best case scenario (doing all the battles). Thus you now can compare them and see if they’re worth your time or not.

Time of completion for the BB Platinum Badge assuming no battle hearts
Time of completion for the BB Platinum Badge assuming all battle hearts

Before you start yelling at me, let me clarify three aspects:

  • You don’t have to get the platinum badge. It’s optional
  • We’ve had some Buddy Up events in the past. They are not common and thus it’s hard to predict when they will happen again. But they’re needed, as you can see
  • Reaching the excited mood is doable without much effort after the latest update to the buddy system. This would speed things up for sure, so if you have the time, try it out!

Parting words

The purpose of this guide was to let you know the most efficient method to farm Best Buddies and get closer to the Platinum medal requirements. You don’t have to follow this regimen, it’s just a guide for those who want to get the platinum medal as fast as possible, so please keep that in mind.

If you don’t like this strat, just don’t do it and take your time. Don’t forget that Pokémon GO is a game and it shouldn’t feel like work.

My constructive feedback would be: increasing the number of hearts you can get and reducing the requirements to get your buddy excited a little bit more are two needed changes. The platinum badge requirements are way too high and unbalanced if we compare them to the ones of other medals. Having more Buddy Up events would be nice, too!

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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 :)

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