"Pokemon Go" Trading Guide

Updated on August 5, 2020
Jowy2000 profile image

Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.

How Trading Works

Trading is fairly straightforward; you simply exchange one eligible Pokemon with another from a nearby friend. However, there are several requirements:

  • You must be at least level 10
  • You must be friends with the other trainer
  • You must be within 100 meters of your friend
  • You must have enough stardust to make the trade (costing covered later)
  • You may only do 1 Special Trade a day
    A Special Trade is trading a Legendary Pokemon, Shiny Pokemon, or a Pokemon not currently in your Pokedex.
  • You may only trade a Pokemon once
  • You may not trade Mythical Pokemon

To execute a trade:

  • Bring up your profile by tapping the trainer icon in the bottom left part of the screen
  • Using the menu at the top, tap your friends.
  • Tap the friend you wish to trade with
  • Tap the trade icon
  • Wait for your friend to connect
  • Select a Pokemon to trade (Only Pokemon you are eligible to trade will be highlighted - whether you don't have the stardust to make the trade or if you cannot make another Special Trade)
  • Select Confirm to finalize the trade

On the final screen where you can confirm your trade, you will see a handful of important details. First, you will see the CP and HP range the Pokemon could end at. Traded Pokemon can have their levels altered if one of the trainers is lower level than the Pokemon. But really this varies because a Pokemon's Individual Values will re-roll upon trading. Yes, that means you can't trade your perfect IV Pokemon to your friend for money. If you're unfamiliar with Pokemon IVs or want more granular details on them, check out my guide on appraisals and IVs. I will call out that IVs floor based on your friend level:

  • Good Friends: Each IV has a minimum of 1/15
  • Great Friends: Each IV has a minimum of 2/15
  • Ultra Friends: Each IV has a minimum of 3/15
  • Best Friends: Each IV has a minimum of 5/15

This makes grinding for high IV Pokemon with trading actually reliable!

That final screen will also show you the cost of making that trade. Costs vary depending on the trade type and friend level. You'll see that trading for the really rare and desirable stuff is so expensive it's impractical unless you're really high level friends. Refer to the table below for details.

Trade Cost Table

Trade Type
Good Friends Cost
Great Friends Cost
Ultra Friends Cost
Best Friends Cost
Owned Legendary
Owned Shiny
Owned Regular
Unowned Legendary
Unowned Shiny
Unowned Regular

Lucky Pokemon

Every time you trade a Pokemon, there is a chance that both traded Pokemon become Lucky. A Lucky Pokemon has a special background, is counted in a separate counter in your Pokedex, costs half the Stardust to power up, and has a minimum IV of 80%, or +12 to Attack, Stamina, and Defense. This makes them incredibly useful for building offensive teams at a discount. Plus, with guaranteed highest tier of IVs, you can be certain that your discounted upgrading won't be used towards a sub-optimal Pokemon.

It's worth noting that the age of your, or your friend's, Pokemon will influence the likelihood that the Pokemon become Lucky in the trade. Really old Pokemon (caught in 2016 for example) are much more likely to become Lucky. And only one of the traded Pokemon needs to be old for the rate to be better.

You can also potentially get a Guaranteed Lucky trade with a new rule put in place by Niantic. If you've received less than 10 Lucky Pokemon in total, and are trading with a Pokemon that was caught between July 2016 to August 2016, the trade will be guaranteed to become Lucky!

Lucky Larvitar

Time to make a Lucky Tyranitar!
Time to make a Lucky Tyranitar!

Candy Rewards

There are a few extra tidbits that can be really useful to know, particularly if you need candy for evolving something.

When you trade a Pokemon, you will get candy for the Pokemon you trade away. This is to compensate for the 1 candy you otherwise would have gotten from transferring the Pokemon. However, you can get more than 1 candy by trading. The more distance between the catch location of the Pokemon you're trading and the Pokemon you're receiving, the more candy you will get.

  • 1 Candy: Catch locations less than 30km apart
  • 2 Candies: Catch locations between 30km and 100km apart
  • 3 Candies: Catch locations greater than 100km apart

This makes trading a good way to rack in candy for otherwise difficult to find Pokemon. This can be useful if you're desperate for a Gyarados, short enough candy to make a Slaking, or whatever it may be.

It's also worth noting there is a profile badge for trade distance. Racking in trades totaling over 1,000,000km in distance will get you the gold badge. There appears to be no reward for this badge, which is unfortunate given how incredibly difficult it is.

Final Thoughts

We expected trading to serve purely as a function for filling a Pokedex or collecting otherwise rare Pokemon such as Pokemon with hats, Shiny Pokemon, Alolan variants, etc. However, it seems we got that and more. Trading actually fills several meaning roles:

  • Collecting Pokemon
  • Farming for Candy
  • Building a team you can power up
  • Hunting for high IV Pokemon

All in all, I'd say trading is an incredibly useful system to engage in regularly, not just for grabbing something you want. The only trick is to find a good trade partner you can reliably trade with that catches stuff over 100km away from you!

© 2018 sigbog


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