Lucky Pokemon mechanics in Pokemon GO

Lucky Pokemon GO
Lucky Pokemon GO

Lucky Pokemon are a special form of Pokemon introduced in Pokemon GO in July 2018. Lucky Pokemon exhibit special properties when compared to their non-Lucky counterparts and they are not available in the wild:

  • Minimum IVs for Lucky Pokemon are 12 / 12 / 12 (80%) (* see end of article for comprehensive explanation)
  • Lucky Pokemon require 50% less Stardust to power up
  • Lucky Pokemon are exclusively available from Trading with other Trainers

In this article we’re outlining everything we know about Lucky Pokemon, including the chance to get a Lucky Pokemon with respect to Pokemon age and our observations on the overall system behavior.

Our research into Lucky Pokemon and mechanics we’ve observed

GO Hub has a data form available online (link) through which more than 3600 trades were recorded at the moment of writing this article. We analysed the results and came to the following conclusions:

  1. Your chance to get a Lucky Pokemon is only influenced by the age of Pokemon participating in the trade
  2. We strongly believe that the game only takes into account age of the older Pokemon participating in the trade. This is the only hypothesis we tested that supports Niantic’s official statement that older Pokemon yield higher chance to get a Lucky.
  3. According to our testing and observations, trading two “old” Pokemon doesn’t benefit you in any substantial way, as the game will take into account only 1 age – the age of the oldest Pokemon in the trade
  4. We did not observe any correlation between Lucky Pokemon and following data points:
    1. Pilot medal level
    2. Gentleman medal level
    3. Friendship level
    4. Trainer level

Guaranteed Lucky Pokemon mechanics

On September 5th 2018, Niantic has announced that Trainers will receive guaranteed Lucky Pokemon if they’re traded under specific circumstances:

  • Must have received less than 10 Lucky Pokemon from trades
  • The traded Pokemon must be caught between July 2016 – August 2016

The guarantee works if both conditions are met for at least one participant of the trade. In other words, the minimum required condition under which a guaranteed Lucky Pokemon can be obtained is as follows:

  • Trainers Bob and Alice perform a trade
  • At least one of the trade participants, so either Bob or Alice, must fulfill the conditions listed above

If both Bob and Alice fulfill the conditions above, nothing changes, because the game only takes into account 1 participant that fulfilled the conditions, similar how it takes the older Pokemon in normal, non-guaranteed trades.

Kudos and final words

We want to say thank you to everyone who filled out our Lucky Pokemon data collection form, we know it has been a long and tedious efforts, but alas, the effort is not in vain as  we can confirm two things:

  1. Niantic is using the “one Pokemon per trade should qualify the condition set” approach in building the Lucky Pokemon system, as observed from two examples: chance to get a Lucky by age and chance to get a guaranteed Lucky
  2. Niantic’s wording was accurate – the only factor that benefits your chance is Pokemon’s age

Due to time limitations and real life obligations, we decided not to test if the number of Lucky Pokemon you already have influences your chance to get a Lucky (diminishing returns), therefor that question remains unanswered. There were speculations for and against, but we just didn’t have the time or manpower to test it. Maybe it’s a question for another data collection project, or maybe someone out there will figure it out – we’ll let you know in any case.

We hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, hop on to our Discord server, we’ll start recruiting writers again soon.

(*) Before September 5th 2018, the minimum IVs for Lucky Pokemon were 10 / 10 / 10, and before that a bug was live that allowed Lucky Pokemon to have IVs as low as 1 / 1 / 1. Niantic has acknowledged both changes.

Antonio started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. Software developer. Discord username: Zeroghan. 28 years old.