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How to level up fast on Pokémon Go: love the weaklings, love the grind

How to level up fast on Pokémon Go: love the weaklings, love the grind

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Play Pokémon Go for any length of time, and you soon internalize its rigid hierarchy. On the top are the elites — the rare and high-powered pokémon — and on the bottom, the commoners — low-level and of little interest to most players. However, unlike many people, I can't get enough of these weaklings. I go absolutely wild for Weedles, I cater only for Caterpies, and I'd rather pick a Pidgey than a Pidgeot.

And why? Because these are the pokémon that you need to succeed.

Pidgey Grinding means going hog wild with your evolutions

You may not have heard of Pidgey Grinding before, but essentially, it's the best way to gain XP fast and level up in Pokémon Go. You grab as many weak pokémon as you can, particularly those that take the fewest candies to evolve, then you crack open a Lucky Egg (which doubles your XP for half an hour), and go crazy with the evolutions.

Each evolution animation takes about 30 seconds, so ideally you're aiming to evolve 60 pokémon during your half-hour XP fest. The best pokémon for this are Weedles, Caterpies, and Pidgeys, as they're all common and take only 12 candies to evolve, but Rattatas, Evees, and Oddish are also good (25 candies for evolution), and you'll probably have enough Zubats (50 candies to evolve) to at least get one or two Golbats on the way.

That’s simple enough. But there’s a bit more to Pidgey Grinding for advanced players. And it involves a bit of math.

The tricky part is working out how many of your pokémon to transfer to the farm in exchange for the candies without giving away so many that you're missing out on potential evolutions. The best tool for working this out is PidgeyCalc — a website where you can just punch in the number of candies and pokémon you have, and it'll do all the math for you.

The site recommends that you wait until you have the 60 or so pokémon needed to fully fill your half-hour time slot with evolutions, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that's over-ambitious. Grinding is all well and good, but after a while, the monotonous repetition wears away at your soul. Humans cannot live on leveling alone: they need a little R&R too.

Grinding is all well and good, but don't forget to play the game too

I've been collecting low-level pokémon for a couple of days now, and yet according to PidgeyCalc I've still only filled nine minutes of evolution time, netting me 18,000 XP in the process. That's barely enough to improve my character by two levels (I'm currently level 11), but really, I can't be bothered to wait much longer.

Plus, while Lucky Eggs might be rare, they're not that rare: you get them for free every couple of levels. And double-plus, at some point I do actually want to power up a couple of pokémon so I can head over to a gym and show those Valor / Mystic / Instinct jagoffs a thing or two. (Select whichever team name fits your own personal prejudice.*)

Plus, the sooner I grind up all these Pidgeys into tasty Pidgey nuggets, the sooner I can hit the street again and find more weaklings for my XP pie. Happy grinding y'all.


*Just kidding, Instinct 4 life suckaaaas.