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Pokémon Go: How to find, hunt, and catch rare Pokémon


How to catch rare Pokémon: A guide to finding, hunting, and catching Pokémon, with tips on basic capture techniques and how to track down rare creatures.

Pokémon Go. It's a phenomenon like no other, with millions of Android and iOS users around the world joining the hunt to catch 'em all.

But what if you don't want to catch 'em all as much as you want to catch the good ones – or to follow what seems to be proper Pokéslogan parlance, catch the good'uns.

However you're looking to catch 'em, you're probably doing it wrong. Or at least, you could be doing it better. Luckily we've got a few tips for you. Sorry, for ya.

Here's all you need to know.

Related: 7 clever Pokémon Go hacks

How to find Pikachu in Pokémon Go

Before we get start explaining how the hunting and capture system works, you might be interested to know this easy tip. When the game first starts, you'll be asked to choose between three starting Pokémon: Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander. What you may not be aware of is that you're not limited to these choices.

If you fancy nabbing Pikachu as your starting Pokémon, all you have to do is walk away from the three creatures you've been offered. Keep walking until your phone vibrates and they reappear. Repeat this about five or six times and Pikachu should pop up alongside the other Pokémon. Tap on him to start the capture screen and he should be yours. Simple.

Watch: Pokémon Go tips and tricks

Although Pikachu won't come with any particular power advantage, the little beast is an electric-type Pokémon, which seem to be quite rare in the game. As they can be effective against water-type creatures, it's worth trying to capture Pikachu if you can.

That said, you may well run across him in your travels throughout the rest of the game, although he seems to be quite rare.

Related: iPhone 7 news, rumours and release

Finding Pokémon – The Basics

So, you've signed up and you're ready to start catching Pokémon. By now, you should be aware that the game uses real-world maps, so finding the little beasts is a matter of actually walking around your local area.

Pokémon will crop up as you walk around and the ones closest to you will be represented by small rustling grass symbols. Walk towards these symbols and, providing the seemingly constant server issues don't prevent it, the creature should appear on the map. Once it's visible, simply tap it to start the capture screen (more on this in the next section).

Related: How to battle in Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go White House

The type of Pokémon that appear depend on the environment you're in. Parks are more likely to yield grass-type beasts, while going to the beach, or anywhere near water, should ensure you get a good helping of water types.

If you want to start finding the rarer ones, you'll have to up your player's level. We'll go into that more in a later section.

There are certain things you can do to draw Pokémon to you as well. If you find yourself in possession of Incense (see our Pokémon Go beginner's guide for more information), you can use it to attract creatures to your location for 30 minutes.

Alternatively, if you've got a Lure Module in your backpack, you can drop it at a Pokéstop to bring Pokémon to that location. Again, see the beginner's guide for an explanation of these terms.

Of course, looking for Pokèmon can be somewhat taxing on your phone's battery. If you're looking to keep your phone going long enough to ensure a decent hunting session, check out some of our favourite battery packs:

Buy Now: Pokemon Go Plus at Amazon.co.uk (£68) | Amazon.com ($45)

Finding Pokémon the easy way

For those less concerned with following the rules, you'll be pleased to know that the indefatigable ingenuity (read: unrelenting desire to cheat) of the internet has made finding Pokémon a whole lot easier. There's a tonne of maps and guides strewn across the web, dedicated to showing you exactly where to find the little beasts.

Related: Pokémon Go Problems: How to fix the most common Pokémon Go issues

Pokemon Go Pokedex

For a long time, Pokévision was the most popular of these. It used the Pokémon Go API to provide up to date information on Poké locations, and generally meant you had to exert a lot less effort in the pursuit of Blastoise.

But it seems Niantic is none to pleased with recent efforts to game its system, as it's been shutting down these third-party apps left and right. But there's still a fair few online, and we just happen to have a full guide to the best ones in our Pokevision Alternatives article. You're welcome.

Catching Pokémon

Once you've found a Pokémon, whether through your own efforts or by using a third-party app, you'll have to capture it in order to add it to your line-up of creatures. Although the capture system is fairly straightforward, there are a few tricks you can use to make things easier.

Related: Pokémon Go: Tips and tricks to become a Pokémaster

What is Pokemon Go & How Do I download it?

The basic mechanic involves you swiping upwards on your screen to launch Pokéballs at the Pokémon. Using your index finger rather than your thumb should improve accuracy. If you manage to hit it, the ball will open up and the Pokémon will be encased.

Mostly, you should find that's the end of it, but sometimes the creature will break out. In which case there are some things you can do to try and up your capture game.

Capture circles

First of all, you'll notice when you tap and hold the Pokéball, before you swipe to throw, a circle appears around the Pokémon itself, with a coloured circle within it. This coloured circle gets progressively smaller and will be either green, orange or red depending on how difficult the Pokémon itself is to capture.

Wait until the circle is as small as possible, then try and throw the Pokéball so it hits the creature right in the circle itself. The smaller the circle was when you threw the ball, the more chance you have of ensuring a capture – as long as the ball lands within the circle.

Related: The secret history of Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go Capture

For lower-level Pokémon, it doesn't really matter whether you hit the coloured circle or not – a direct hit on the Pokémon should end in a positive result. But for the higher-level creatures, you're going to want to try and hit the the circle at its smallest. You'll know if you've been successful in doing this, as a 'Nice' or 'Great' message should appear on-screen. What's more, you'll gain extra XP for performing these moves correctly.

Buy Now: Pokemon Go Plus at Amazon.co.uk (£68) | Amazon.com ($45)


Trying to catch one of the more belligerent Pokémon? Some of the creatures have taken to batting Pokéballs away or dodging throws, so you might run into some trouble every now and then. If you find yourself in this situation, you can try throwing a curveball to make things easier.

Just use your finger to spin the Pokéball before you throw it. Doing so will add a curve to its trajectory, making it harder for the Pokémon to dodge. It takes some getting used to, but can make the difference between nabbing a rare creature and walking away empty-handed.

Better Pokéballs

When you first start the game, you'll be using the normal Pokéballs, but as you progress through the levels, you will start getting more powerful versions. Other than the standard type, you'll also start to get Great and Ultimate balls from Pokéstops as you move up the levels.

We started noticing Great Pokéballs at around level 11, and are yet to encounter any Ultimate balls – which, from the sound of it, is a good thing. Once you start picking up these upgraded Pokéballs, you'll want to save them for the rarer Pokémon.

Related: Pokémon Go Teams explained

Pokemon Go HospitalThis Pokémaster has his priorities in order

Throw from the top

Some Reddit users are claiming that throwing the ball from the top of the screen improves your chances of hitting the shrinking coloured circle. We haven't tried it yet, but by all means, give it a go and see what you think.

Switch off AR

A simple way to make throwing Pokéballs easier is simply to switch AR mode off by tapping the slider in the top-right of the capture screen. This will centre the Pokémon, making them easier to chuck Pokéballs at.

Related: Pokemon Go Eevee Evolution explained

AR Pokemon Go


You should find yourself picking up a few Razzberries from Pokéstops as you travel around. During a capture scenario, tap the backpack icon in the bottom-right and select the fruit from the list. Now just tap the screen to throw it at the Pokémon. This should endear the little creature to you, making them easier to capture.

Using the Nearby tracker

When it comes to hunting down rarer Pokémon, the first tool at your disposal is the Nearby, or Sightings, tracker, which can be opened by tapping the icon in the bottom-right of the screen

The whole Nearby tracking feature and how it's developed has been nothing short of a debacle, with Niantic removing the feature, then tweaking it, then putting it back, and generally confusing everyone. For now it exists in the form of the Sightings menu, which still shows you nearby Pokémon, with the nearest in the top right and the furthest away in the bottom left (at least that's how some people think it works – others say the order doesn't matter).

Related: Best Pokévision Alternatives – Best Pokémon Go maps and trackers


While some lucky players in San Francisco are currently testing out a new Nearby tracking menu, which gives you a top-down view of the map and uses Pokéstops to guide you to specific creatures, the rest of us are stuck with Sightings for now.

Which isn't all that bad really – especially when compared to the previous Nearby menu, which many complained about not being responsive enough. Now, the Sightings menu will refresh much quicker, to keep you informed about what creatures are nearby (within an area of about 200 metres).

If you walk around and the creature drops of the list, you're going the wrong way, or the creature has disappeared from the map. Turn around, and try again, until you happen upon your desired beast. A bit laborious, we're sure you'll agree, but it's only a temporary measure until Niantic rolls out the full new Nearby tracking to everyone.

Related: Pokémon Go bots explained

So how the hell do I get some rare Pokémon?

There are two types of rare Pokémon: Rare and Legendary. Obviously, the Legendary beasts will be more elusive than the Rare ones, but both are difficult to come across. It seems that rare creatures in one area could be quite common in another, so the best advice for capturing these Pokémon is to travel around as much as possible.

The other way to ensure you start seeing rarer Pokémon is to move up the levels. The higher you are, the more likely you are to see rarer and higher-level beasts appear. Of course, once you've moved up the levels enough, you could always use one of the third-party maps to go straight to where the rare creatures are – if you don't mind being accused of cheating.

And finally, the guys over at Poké Assistant have compiled a list, based on user feedback from thousands of players, of what they say are 20 rare Pokémon:





















If you fancy catching one of the above, you can find out where nests (spawn points where multiple creatures appear on the map) are located near you. If you happen to live in London, we've a got a little guide you should check out (click the link below), otherwise, the internet is full of maps showing the location of specific nests and which Pokémon will spawn there.

And that's all there is for now. We'll be updating with more tips as we discover them, so check back over the coming weeks for new ways to become a Pokémaster.

Related: Pokémon Go London Nests

Watch: What is Pokémon Go?

Got any other capture tips? Having trouble finding the rarest Pokémon? Sound off in the comments below.


July 15, 2016, 4:26 pm

I thought this sounded like a good fun idea until I found out how irresponsibly placed these things are. Not just like certain places that are disrespectful but two people fell from a cliff.

Luis Rizo

July 16, 2016, 4:35 pm

they were just staring at the their phones and fell from a cliff? and that's somehow the games fault?


July 17, 2016, 2:01 pm

It was the game they were playing and the game places the Pokemon and it's all about capturing them. Is this too difficult to understand?

Arturo Tapia

July 18, 2016, 12:55 am

i think, if they are too young (like to fell from a cliff for misatention) it's not the game fault, it's their parents fault i mean what were they doing there in the first place?, second if they were not that young, well thats their foult for being childish enough to risk their lifes for a pokemon.


July 18, 2016, 4:10 am

This is an adult speaking. Have you ever heard of personal responsibility? People who get so caught up in a game that they run off a cliff, trespass on other people's property, or run around a cemetery with total disrespect for the dead, haven't grown up or been taught right. Should the people who set the location of the Pokemon(s) not use certain spots? Maybe, but it doesn't really matter. Even THEY aren't responsible for what you do. So let the players go out and play the game and do it aggressively while having fun, but at the same time use common sense, for their own sakes. Above all, don't blame the game creators or the game for players getting hurt, or the stupid things they do to find their Pokemon characters.


July 18, 2016, 5:51 pm

Caroljane this is also an adult speaking so what's the point you are trying to make there? I can advise being an adult doesn't mean you can't be a fool. Of course adults and children make the choice to chase them but also adults will do stupid things just as kids do. Also you can't nanny teenagers always and they will dare to do stupid things.

So the bottom line is the only way to stop disrespectful and stupid acts is not to encourage them. Do you or Arturo think drug pushers should be left a!one to do it as adults make choices and if children take drugs it's their mothers faults?

Majestic Gazelle

July 19, 2016, 12:21 am

With the greatest of respect and I don't mean this to be rude, but people like yourself drive me insane.

So what if someone ran out into the road/fell into a lake etc, frankly that's them being an idiot, you can play the game responsibly and achieve the same as someone playing irresponsibly.

Don't try and hold a game responsible for these actions. Ultimately you're just defending people without any common sense.

Oh also, let's just gloss over the countless people who are benefiting from the game from not only a fitness point of view but also a means of getting people with mental illnesses to venture out and explore etc, but we can just slide past that as you'd rather see the darkness in anything and everything.

/rant over.

Kyle Win

July 19, 2016, 5:04 am

So.. if someone dies in a car, it's not because of a driver's fault, correct? It's the car maker's, because without it they wouldn't have been in the vehicle for their own convenience, leading to their death.

I thought so..
EDIT: To add, if the game put a Pokemon on the top of Mt.Everest, are you obligated to go there? If they put one in the center of the ocean are you obligated to boat (or in this case if you're ignorant, swim) there as well?



July 19, 2016, 12:11 pm

Better to teach respect than construct a world without choice.


July 19, 2016, 12:48 pm

Respect can be learned, it can't be taught. It can be explained but it needs traits that need to be natural to a person or gained through personal growth. There is no mention of making a world without choice but when choice is given to many people they choose to take it away from others. Freedom for some can mean others losing their freedom. The world is too complex for a simple statement such as yours.


July 19, 2016, 12:50 pm

Perhaps if people were to congregate or trespass somewhere you deemed inappropriate you may change your mind.


July 19, 2016, 1:01 pm

If we drive you insane perhaps it's because we are more aware than you are and more aware than you want to be. The game has good points which I didn't gloss over as I didn't even touch on them. I never argued the game should stop.

Simply the placement of the Pokemon is unnecessary and just cynical publicity seeking such as placing Koffing in the Holocaust museum. The game has great value so this is unnecessary.

If a Pokemon was placed somewhere you find unsuitable like a family grave or your back garden and people crowded or trespassed then maybe you would change your mind. Would you forever want to be standing there telling people to move on or would you want it removed?


July 19, 2016, 1:10 pm

You seem to be suggesting we take away peoples choice to be respectful by taking away their ability to play a game or by modifying a game in such a way as to remove their choice. How is this going to help them? Better to "explain" what they are doing is disrepectful and encourage them not to be.
My statement is simple for a reason, a world without choice is a dictatorship and not something I want anything to do with.

Jonas Johansson

July 19, 2016, 9:51 pm

Darwin award got its name because of a reason, If someone fell of a cliff for the sake of a Pokemon and didn't bring a hangglider or similar they are just unprepared. :) And I understand your Point of view TheHulkMothersCousin, but you must agree that it is like blaming Mother nature if a pretty butterfly flies over the edge and a lepidopterologist(Butterflyscientist) follows it and falls down. I think each person is responsible of their own action. The game is using Hotspots presented by actual players in the game Ingress, and they act as Pokestops, as for the pokemon they must use a random generator system or it would only be in highly populated areas where people could play, and i guess you would complain about that instead :)

Maybe those
two who fell atleast catched their precious pokemon before realizing they forgot the laws of gravity. Shit happens, Darwinism will fix this.
And ofcourse it is tradic when people die, but people need to take responsability to their own actions and stop blaming others.

Charles S Bush

July 20, 2016, 12:19 am

You are some kind of special. I bet you'd be one of the idiots to poor coffee onto your crotch and then sue McDonalds as well wouldn't you?

Charles S Bush

July 20, 2016, 12:20 am

The fork made me fat the fork made me fat!!!!


July 20, 2016, 6:40 am

You're inane. Talking with you would be pointless.


July 20, 2016, 6:41 am

this is infuriating to read.... First off, regardless of the situation you cannot blame the game. I don't care if there's a Pokemon on one of my family members grave. You know who I'm going to pissed at? The person playing frickin Pokemon at a funeral. That's what's wrong with the world today. No one takes responsibility for anything. always looking for an opportunity to pass blame... truly sad.

Secondly, People who don't understand how the game works shouldn't comment. The Pokemon aren't placed in a super specific location. They are detected as soon as you come within the general vicinity. That Pokemon would've likely shown up just outside the haulocast museum as well.... Or even in the parking lot. My wife caught a pikachu at the same time as me and we were 40 yards apart... The game doesn't strategically place Pokemon in super specific locations....

EDIT: thirdly, Pokemon Go is a business. If they start "blacking out" the game in certain areas, that wouldn't be good for business. (Plus I don't feel like they should be morally obligated to do so). What if I'm picking someone up at the museum and want to play Pokemon while I wait in the parking lot? As a consumer, I'd be disappointed not being able to access my app at all times.


July 20, 2016, 8:40 am

you're making me cringe


July 20, 2016, 4:19 pm

Ditto Some people think they should be allowed to do what they want even if it upsets or hurts other people or worse.


July 20, 2016, 4:26 pm

You are the some kind of special with that reply. The crudeness of this and other replies reflects what I'm saying along with an anger that seems very disproportionate and unreasonable. Suffice to say many replies dont make sense and I don't have the time to deal with everyone's points. But carry on regardless.


July 20, 2016, 4:30 pm

Ok I didn't mention anyone playing at a funeral but was referring to hundreds of people congregating around a grave throughout day and night.

Charles S Bush

July 20, 2016, 5:57 pm

The fact that not one person (including you) has been able to argue your point shows that you are the one that does not make sense. You have yet to be able to refute any one of the number of analogies used to discredit your ridiculous idea that personal responsibility does not exist and it is everyone else's fault, not the irresponsible party's fault.
Even if they do put pokemon in bad spots are you really that naive that you think these programmers pick the exact location for each pokemon? It's a program with codes and logarithms and metrics that place them based on a number of factors, most importantly traffic (which is why Walmart tends to be a gold mine for pokemon). You are the one getting angry and unreasonable by blaming a game for other people's stupidity. People get angry because idiots like you ruin the fun for everyone. When I was a kid we would go play with fun stuff at the park and do crazy things and if we got hurt then our parents told us to suck it up cause we chose to do it. You people started suing and now it's hard to even find swings at parks in many places.

Charles S Bush

July 20, 2016, 6:01 pm

The two who fell were in their 20's. They are just idiots who need to pay attention to what they are doing.


July 20, 2016, 9:28 pm

Either way.... It was just an example... is the game any more at fault if it's not at a funeral??? Completely irrelevant. I can make the same argument regardless if it's a funeral or just a graveyard. Is it the game's fault people are congregating around graves? Or the people doing it?

There are plenty of other places to play the game. U don't have to go into a grave yard. If your kids got in trouble for playing Pokemon in a graveyard, are you going to call the Pokemon hotline and complain or are u gonna discipline your children? Blaming the game teaches kids that they won't be held responsible for their actions because they can just pass the blame. People need to buck up and take responsibility.

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