Well hello, Trainer! As you are currently reading this guide for returning players, we can only assume you have decided to open up Pokémon GO again!

While we are happy to see returning players, you should know Pokémon GO has changed A LOT. Whether it’s been from the very beginning, or just a year ago since you have last played, you’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do! When we say ‘a lot’, we mean ‘a lot’. Therefore, this guide will appear in 3 parts. As new content will continue to be added, these Guides will be updated in the future! Without further ado, welcome to

Returning to Pokémon GO Part 1: Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

In this guide, you’ll get an overview of what may have changed since the last time you’ve played in terms of obtaining Pokémon in Pokémon GO.

Available Pokémon

Generation Pokémon Available
Pokédex Badge Kanto Kanto – Gen I All 151 Pokémon have been released.
Currently only available to obtain by special means*: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo
Mew can only be caught once.
Pokédex Badge Johto Johto – Gen II
All 100 Pokémon have been released.
Currently only available to obtain by special means*: Raikou, Entei, Suicune
Smeargle is only available through the GO Snapshot feature and trading.
Celebi can only be caught once.
Pokédex Badge Hoenn Hoenn – Gen III 133 Pokémon out of 135 have been released.
Kecleon and Jirachi are not yet released.
Currently only available to obtain by special means*: Shedinja, Regirock, Regice, RegisteelKyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza
Pokédex Badge Sinnoh Sinnoh – Gen IV 99 Pokémon out of 107 have been released.
22 Pokémon are not yet released. 
Currently only available to obtain by special means*: Dialga, Palkia, Heatran, Giratina (Altered), Giratina (Origin)Cresselia
Spiritomb can only be caught once.
Unknown Meltan and Melmetal.

*Special Means: Trading, Events, Research Tasks, etc. Trading is the only option which is available at all times.

All Released Generations

Over the past, almost, three years, several new Pokémon have been released in Pokémon GO. A full Pokédex today counts 483 Pokémon.

Baby Pokémon

Baby Pokémon in Pokémon GO are only available in Eggs, or by trading. All Baby Pokémon can be hatched in Pokémon GO, except for the Gen IV Baby, Mime Jr. More reading about Baby Pokémon can be found here.

Legendary Pokémon

Legendary Pokémon were released through Raid Battles*, but as of today can also be obtained by claiming your Research Breakthrough Reward (see later on), or by trading. All Legendary Pokémon of Gen I, II and III have been released in Pokémon GO.

As for Gen IV, at the time of this article’s publication, Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf (The Lake Trio) were released as the very first wild Legendary Pokémon found in different regions. You can find more about the their release here. Lastly, Regigigas, is not currently available. Legendary Pokémon can NOT be put in Gyms.

* We’ll talk about this in Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends – Coming Soon

Mythical Pokémon

At the time of this writing, only Mew (Gen I), Celebi (Gen II), and Meltan (Gen Unknown) are available in Pokémon GO. These Mythical Pokémon are available through Special Research (see later on), with the exception of Deoxys being available through EX Raid Battles*, and Meltan being available through a Mystery Box**. Mythical Pokémon can not be Traded*, and just as Legendary Pokémon can not be put in Gyms.

Pokémon GO Meltan
Pokémon GO Meltan

While Mythical Pokémon cannot evolve, the newly introduced Meltan is the exception to the rule. Meltan requires 400 Candy to evolve into Melmetal. Meltan really got the special treatment, as both Meltan and Melmetal can be Traded, as well as be placed in Gyms.

* We’ll talk about this in Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends – Coming Soon

** We’ll talk about this in Part 3: Creative Catchers and Enormous Events – Coming Soon

Regional Pokémon

With the release of the game, certain Pokémon only appeared in a specific area of the world. As more Generations (thus more Pokémon) got released, more Regional Exclusives were introduced. These Pokémon can only be caught in the Region they’re bound to.*

Regional Pokémon
Pokémon Location Pokémon Location
South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong Australia
Europe The United States and Southern Canada
Central and Southern American Regions Between 31N and 26S Latitudes (Coastal Regions only)
Worldwide (Formerly North and South Americas and Africa) Worldwide (Formerly Europe, Asia, and Australia)
Europe, Asia, and Australia North and South Americas and Africa
Western Asian and South-Eastern Asian Regions Europe, Asia, and Australia
North and South Americas and Africa North and South Americas and Africa
Europe, Asia, and Australia African and Middle-eastern Regions
New Zealand and Oceania Arctic Hemisphere Regions
(Parts of Canada, Alaska, and Russia)
Southern Hemisphere Southeastern United States
Asia-Pacific Region Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and india
Americas and Greenland East of the Prime meridian
West of the Prime meridian

* Exceptions are made for Pokémon GO Live Events/Region Swaps.

You can find more about Regional Pokémon in Pokémon GO here.

Shiny Pokémon

Today, 222 Pokémon (+26 costume variants) have their Shiny variants available in Pokémon GO. Some things you should know about Shiny Pokémon:

  • They feature a different color palette from their normal counterparts
  • They do not appear as shiny on the Nearby/Sightings tracker
  • Whether a Pokemon is shiny is randomly determined for each Trainer, so the same Magikarp can be shiny for your friend, and normal to you, this is commonly known as RNG
  • The chance of encountering a Shiny Pokémon in the wild is believed to be around 1/450
  • Once a Shiny Pokémon is released, it stays available! The exception is Meltan, which is available for limited periods during some Events.

New Evolution Mechanics

Buddy Distance

Some Pokémon require walking it a certain distance as your Buddy to evolve. These Pokémon are:

Eevee Feebas Bonsly Happiny
Pokemon GO EeveeEevee Pokemon GO FeebasFeebas Pokemon GO BonslyBonsly Pokemon GO HappinyHappiny
Walk 10 km* Walk 20 km Walk 15 km Walk 15 km
Evolve to Espeon or Umbreon Evolve to Milotic Evolve to Sudowoodo Evolve to Chansey

* Eevee’s evolutions have some additional tips/tricks/requirements which can be found here.

Evolution Items

In Gen I, Pokémon only require a certain amount of candy to be evolved. With the release of Generation II, we saw the addition of Evolution Items in Pokémon GO. Certain Gen I Pokémon with an evolution in Gen II, require an Evolution Item to evolve. There are 5 Evolution Items that each can be used to evolve certain Pokémon:

Dragon Scale King’s Rock Metal Coat Sun Stone Upgrade
Dragon Scale Evolution Item King's Rock Evolution Item Metal Coat Evolution Item Sinnoh Stone Up-Grade Evolution Item
Seadra to Kingdra Poliwhirl to Politoed Onix to Steelix Gloom to Bellossom Porygon to Porygon2
Slowpoke to Slowking Scyther to Scizor Sunkern to Sunflora

Trainers get a guaranteed, random, Evolution Item on their 7-day PokéStop Streak, but Evolution Items also have a small chance to be obtained through regular PokéStop Spins. You can find more about these Items and on which Pokémon they can be used here.

With the arrival of the Sinnoh Region, a new Evolution Item was introduced: the Sinnoh Stone. This item can be used to evolve certain Gen I, Gen II, and Gen III Pokémon with an Evolution in Gen IV:

Lure Modules

Three new Lure Modules have been introduced to Pokémon GO! Glacial Lure Modules, Mossy Lure Modules, and Magnetic Lure Modules can be obtained in the in-game shop and will be available as rewards for completing new Special Research tasks. These New Lures each attract different types of Pokémon, as well as causing some Pokémon to evolve!

Lure Module Evolutions
Glacial Lure Module Pokémon That Can Evolve
Pokemon GO GlaceonGlaceon
Magnetic Lure Module Pokémon That Can Evolve
Pokemon GO MagnezoneMagnezone Pokemon GO ProbopassProbopass
Mossy Lure Module Pokémon That Can Evolve
Pokemon GO LeafeonLeafeon

More info about these Lure Modules can be found here.

New Berries

When the game launched, only the Razz Berry was there to help you catch Pokémon. Today, there are five different kinds of Berries available in Pokémon GO.

Golden Razz Berry Nanab Berry Pinap Berry Silver Pinap Berry Razz Berry
Golden Razz Berry Pokemon GO Nanab Berry Pokemon GO Pinap Berry Pokemon GO Silver Pinap Berry Razz Berry Pokemon GO

More info about Berries and their effects can be found here.

Egg Hatching

Since launch, Trainers were able to collect Eggs from PokéStops. In the Summer of 2018, a new sort of Egg was introduced: the 7 km Egg.

2 km Egg 5 km Egg 7 km Egg 10 km Egg
Egg 2 km Egg 5 km Egg 7 km Egg 10 km
Receive at PokéStop Receive at PokéStop Receive from Gift* Receive at PokéStop

To find out which Pokémon can be hatched out of these Eggs, visit this complete Egg chart (coming soon!).

* We’ll talk about this in Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends – Coming Soon

Incubators

Besides of the Unlimited Incubator and the Regular Incubators, a new type of Incubator was introduced in the past years. The Super Incubator reduces your Egg distance by 1/3. It is available in the in-game Shop at the cost of 200 Pokécoins each but also appears regularly in Box Sales.

Regular Incubator Distances Super Incubator Distances
Super Incubator
2 km 1.3 km
5 km 3.3 km
7 km 4.7 km
10 km 6.7 km

The Regular Incubator (Blue) and the Super Incubator (Purple) break after 3 uses. The Unlimited Incubator can be used an infinite amount of times.

Adventure Sync

The Adventure Sync feature allows you to hatch your Eggs while Pokémon GO is idle! When connected to your phone’s health app, the game tracks your steps while the Pokémon GO isn’t running. With this, a new reward system was introduced. Reaching one of the three Tiers (5, 25 and 50 km) per week gives you some awesome rewards such as Rare Candy and Stardust! You can find more info and a full list of rewards here.

Field Research and Special Research

Field Research

Field Research is a new type of quest system that is available by spinning PokéStops. Field Research sends you on tasks with different rewards given after completion. You can obtain one Research Stamp every day by completing a Field Research assignment.

Field Research rewards include:

  • Various items: Poké Balls, Berries, Stardust, Rare Candy
  • Pokémon encounters:
    • the Pokémon can’t flee
    • the Pokémon is always Level 15
    • the Pokémon can’t be weather boosted
    • you use your Poké Balls and Berries for catching it
    • thematically tied to the Field Research assignment and/or current in-game events
    • Shiny rates appear to be higher than on wild Pokémon encounters

You can complete as many Field Research Tasks per-day as you please, but you can only get one Stamp towards your Weekly Research Breakthrough daily.

Why would you complete more tasks per-day, I hear you say? As well as getting more Pokémon Encounters and Items, you can also achieve an in-game medal with three unlockable Tiers.

  • Bronze Tier (10 tasks completed)
  • Silver Tier (100 tasks completed)
  • Gold Tier (1000 tasks completed)

By collecting seven Stamps, you unlock the weekly Research Breakthrough which is mostly a Legendary Pokémon encounter in addition to Items, Stardust and XP.

Special Research

You’ve read it right: Mythical Pokémon are now available in Pokémon GO! Similarly to Field Research, the Special Research system is a series of story-driven quest chains that lead to unlocking an encounter with a Mythical Pokémon (except for Spiritomb).

As of the time of publication, there are 4 Special Research Story Lines:

Each storyline can only be done once. This also means all Mythical Pokémon (and Spiritomb) can only be caught once. (with the exception of Meltan)

* Meltan can also be obtained by opening a Mystery Box. More about this will appear in a later part of this guide series.


Returning to Pokémon GO: In Closing

Well, that’s it for Part 1 of Returning to Pokémon GO, Trainers! As you can see, a lot has changed since the game was released in Summer 2016. I hope this guide will encourage you to take on new adventures, and help lots of other Trainers returning to Pokémon GO. Need more catching up? Be sure to look out for:

Returning to Pokémon GO:

  • Returning to Pokémon GO Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends – Coming Soon
  • Returning to Pokémon GO Part 3: Creative Catchers and Enormous Events – Coming Soon