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Pokémon Go's rarest Pokémon and how to increase your chances of getting rare Pokémon

What are the rarest Pokémon in Pokémon Go?

Collecting rare Pokémon and, in doing so, completing the Pokédex is one of the main goals in Pokémon Go.

Pokémon rarity in Pokémon Go, however, is not an exact science like it is in the mainline Pokémon series, since some Pokémon will become easier to find if you visit certain real world locations or partake in in-game events.

Now that the Pokémon Go Pokédex spans from Gen 1 to Gen 8, we’ve created a rare Pokémon list, so you know which creatures you need to be on the lookout for - whether it’s in the wild, during an event or from a research quest.

On this page:

Battling and catching the latest Ultra Beast, Guzzlord, in Pokémon Go.

Rare Pokémon list: What are the rarest creatures in Pokémon Go?

While this isn’t a complete list of every rare Pokémon, it does cover the majority of creatures which are currently difficult to find in Pokémon Go.

Dragon-type Pokémon are quite hard to find.

When hunting for rare Pokémon, it’s important to remember that certain factors, such as where you live, have an effect on which specific Pokémon are rare for you. If you live by the sea, for example, you’re more likely to encounter rare water-type Pokémon than someone who lives in a city.

How often you play Pokémon Go also has an effect, with regular players often finding a rarer Pokémon more frequently due to having a higher Trainer Level. This is because your Trainer Level sneakily gates a selection of Pokemon from the wild spawn pool if you’re not certain levels - so the higher your Trainer Level, the more Pokémon species you can encounter.

Finally, don’t forget that in-game events, like Community Day, have an effect on which Pokémon appear in raids, occasionally egg pools and in the wild, such as boosting specific types or particular Pokémon.

Considering the release of new Pokémon, like the Ultra Beasts, and Daily Adventure Incense, we've updated our list of the Pokémon which are considered rare in Pokémon Go in January 2023:

Armored Mewtwo

Armored Mewtwo is one of the rarest Pokémon in the game, because, at the time of writing, the only way to obtain it is via trading.

This is because Armored Mewtwo is a special costume variant of the Gen 1 legendary, which was originally available in five-star raids between 10th July to 31st July 2019. It has only returned once since this date during the Pokémon Day 2020 celebrations in February of that year. There has been no sight of Armored Mewtwo since these days and no sign of its return.

Interestingly, Armored Mewtwo is the only costume Pokémon to have different stats when compared to its non-costume form, along with having a different moveset.

Clone Pokémon

Clone Pokémon are a set of four Costume Pokémon - Clone Venusaur, Clone Charizard, Clone Blastoise and Clone Pikachu - that, at the time of writing, have only been available in Pokémon Go between 25th February to 2nd March 2020. Due to their very limited release, the only way to currently obtain a Clone Pokémon is through trading.

The Clone Pokémon were part of the celebrations for Pokémon Day 2020 and the release of Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution, which is the remake of the first Pokémon movie, in Pokémon Go. As a homage to these films, the Clone Pokémon all share the same design as the clones Mewtwo creates, such as Clone Charizard having brown stripes.

At the time of writing, there's been no sign of the Clone Pokémon returning to Pokémon Go or the release of new Clone Pokémon, such as Ninetails or Vaporeon. Nor can you recreate the famous Clone Pikachu slap.

Clone Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise in Pokémon Go.

Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres

Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres can only be encountered while using Daily Adventure Incense. This means you have 15 minutes per day to cover as much ground as possible in hopes of randomly finding one of these legendary birds.

Catching Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres involves a good amount of luck, because they all share a base catch rate of 0.3% and a flee rate of 90%. It's very reminiscent of hunting roaming Pokémon in the mainline games - you have that wonderful moment of finally finding them in the wild, only to have it vanish as they escape the Poké Ball before vanishing from sight.

Just remember to use your Daily Adventure Incense every day, so you can, eventually, add these Pokémon to your collection!

Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres in Pokémon Go


While Rotom has six forms, only two have been been released into Pokémon Go at the time of writing and, if you weren't able to catch them during their small release windows, the only way to obtain Rotom is by trading with another player.

Wash Rotom was originally only available to players who purchased a Go Fest 2020 ticket and had it photobomb one of their Go Snapshot pictures. It did, however, become available to all players during the Sixth Anniversary event in July 2022 and was the final reward for completing this event's timed research quest.

Mow Rotom was the second form to be released and, at the time of writing, was only avaliable to players who attended Go Fest 2022 Berlin. There it could once again be found by having it photobomb Go Snapshot pictures.

Hopefully Wash and Mow Rotom will return in the future, along with the release of this Pokémon's other forms - Regular, Heat, Fan and Frost!

The Lake Guardians - Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf

Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf are the Lake Guardians of the Sinnoh and, despite being the only legendary Pokémon to appear in the wild outside of events and Daily Adventure Incense, they’re three of the rarest Pokémon in the game.

This is due to two very important factors - they’re very rare spawn rate and that all three are regionally exclusive Pokémon.

The Lake Guardians can be found in the following regions:

  • Uxie - Asia and Pacific regions
  • Mesprit - Europe, Middle East, Africa and India
  • Azelf - Americas and Greenland

So, even if you’re lucky enough to encounter one of the Lake Guardians in the wild, you’ll only ever find the one which lives in your region.

Uxie, Mespirt and Azelf do make the occasional appearance in five-star raids and, through the power of Remote Raid passes and apps like Poke Genie, it’s possible to battle each of them no matter where you are.


The easiest way to find Unown is in the wild and in raids during special in-game events like Go Fest. They are also incredibly rare spawns outside of events - with emphasis on incredibly. If Arceus blesses you with such an encounter, we highly recommend using Golden Razz Berries to catch the Unown!

The true challenge Unown offers, however, depends on how much of a completionist you are, because there are 28 Unown forms to collect! Since only a specific selection of Unowns appear in a small number of events each year, this is a challenge which will take you years to complete.

Salandit and Salazzle

At the time of writing, Salandit and Salazzle are two of the rarest Pokémon in the game.

If you want to add their entries to your Pokédex, your quest begins by hatching a Salandit from a 12km egg - the only way to currently obtain one. These strange eggs can only be obtained by defeating a Team Go Rocket Leader, so you’ll need to start gathering Mysterious Components.

We recommend gathering a good number of 12km eggs, because Salandit is part of Tier Three - the rarest tier - for this egg pool alongside Absol, Deino, Skorupi and Skrelp. This, however, isn’t the only area where you need luck on your side…

Only female Salandits can evolve into Salazzle through the use of 50 Salandit candy, so, if you’ve hatched a male Salandit, it’s back to hatching those 12km eggs. At least you’ll have gathered Salandit candy for when you finally hatch a female one.


The promised day occured in January 2023 when, nearly four years since the last release of a new Gen 3 Pokémon, Kecleon finally arrived in Pokémon Go.

To catch Kecleon, you must find a PokéStop with a mostly invisible Kecleon clinging to it. Once you've found a PokéStop like this, press on the Kecleon until it jumps off the Photo Disc and appears on the map near the stop. Now all you have to do is catch the Kecleon!

Tap on the invisible Kecleon until it appears on the map alongside the PokéStop.

The downside, however, is that it can be quite hard to find a PokéStop with a Kecleon on it; at the time of writing, despite checking multiple stops daily, I've only found one PokéStop with a Kecleon on it. So, if you're unlucky like me, it may take you a while to find a Kecleon. Maybe the upcoming Go Tour: Hoenn will make catching Kecleon a little easier for a time...

If you'd like to learn more about chameleon in Pokémon Go, visit our how to catch Kecleon guide.

This picture still feels relevant.

Jangmo-o, Hakamo-o and Kommo-o

Jangmo-o is the latest member of Pokemon Go’s rare dragon-type gang.

While the Gen 7 Pokémon does appear in the wild and through Daily Adventure Incense, it’s a very rare spawn; so, if you find one, make sure you use some Pinap Berries to double your catch candy. Jangmo-o can also hatch from 10km, but it’s currently the rarest Pokémon in the 10km egg pool alongside Riolu and Goomy.

Once you’ve caught a Jangmo-o, you’ll need 125 candy to fully evolve it into Kommo-o.

Sandile, Krokorok and Krookodile

Sandile is afflicted by the same curse as Salandit - 12km eggs. Thankfully, both male and female Sandiles can evolve, but, the downside, is that you need 125 candy to fully evolve this Pokémon. This means you either need to hatch a lot of Sandiles, spend a good amount of Rare Candies or start walking with it as your buddy.

Sandile’s have, however, become slightly easier to hatch since they now sit on the second 12km egg pool tier alongside Pancham.

Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus

Axew is currently one of the rarest wild spawns and 10km egg hatches.

If you’re lucky enough to spot Axew in the wild, we highly recommend using Pinap Berries, or the silver variant if you have one spare, to increase the amount of candy you’ll receive from catching.

This is because you need 125 Axew candy to fully evolve the Pokémon into Haxorus and you may also want some extra candy to either power it up or unlock its second Charged move.

When it comes to 10km eggs, Axew is currently sitting on the second tier alongside Espurr and Niobat.

Axew is finally having it's own Community Day on Saturday 10th June 2023 between 2pm to 5pm (local time), so, if you're in need of some Axew's, make sure you partake in this event.

Tirtouga and Carracosta

Tirtouga debuted in Pokémon Go during January 2020 and it now appears in the wild, when you're using Daily Adventure Incense or hatches from 10km eggs.

The problem with finding Tirtouga in the wild, which you can probably see coming, is it’s incredibly rare spawn rate and, by that, we mean super rare - even when you're using Daily Adventure Incense. If you spot a Tirtouga on your Pokémon radar, we highly recommend finding them as quickly as possible, because who knows when you’ll encounter one again.

You'll have better luck hatching it from a 10km egg due to Tirtouga sitting on Tier One - the lowest tier in the 10km egg pool.

Once you’ve caught a Tirtouga, you can earn the 50 candy required for evolving it into Carracosta by either spending Rare Candy, hatching it from 10km eggs or having it as your buddy. Get ready to do a lot of walking - it may be some time before you see another Tirtouga again.

Archen and Archeops

Archen, like Tirtouga, can be found in the wild, hatched from 10km eggs or when using Daily Adventure Incense at the time of writing and shares the same rare spawn rate.

When it comes to finding Archen in the wild, the only time I've ever seen one is at four in the morning and, while I did go out to catch it, I obviously don't recommend wandering about in the dark hunting for Pokémon. For this reason, you'll most likely have better luck hatching an Archen, because it sits on the Tier One of the 10km egg pool.

Evolving an Archen into Archeops requires 50 Archen candy, so, again like Tirtouga, the easiest way to collect what you need is through Rare Candy, hatching it from a 10km egg or having it as your buddy Pokémon.

Noibat and Noivern

Noibat is currently a rare spawn in the wild and on the third tier of 10km eggs alongside Riolu, Goomy and Axew.

Obtaining this Pokémon, however, is only half the battle, because you need 400 Noibat candy to evolve one into Noivern. This means you’ll need to either get lucky when it comes to finding Noibat, spend a lot of Rare Candy or get ready to have it as your buddy Pokémon for a long while.

Luckily, Noibat is having it's own Community Day on Sunday, 5th February. During this event, you'll easily be able to catch a Noibat and collecting enough candy to evolve it into Noivern. You may even catch a shiny Niobat...

Goomy, Sliggoo and Goodra

While Goomy does appear in the wild, it is currently quite a rare spawn. Goomy can also be hatched from 10km eggs, but, like finding it in the wild, you will need a tad of luck, because it sits on the three tier alongside Axew, Riolo and Jangmo-o.

It is also one of the Pokémon you can earn an encounter with by having a Research Breakthrough during the Season of Mythical Wishes, alongside Galarian Mr. Mime, Delibird, Bagon, Deino and Furfrou.

To fully evolve Goomy, you need 125 Goomy candy and a Rainy Lure Module. This is because you can only evolve a Sliggoo into a Goodra at a PokéStop which is currently holding a Rainy Lure Module.

These lures can be brought from the in-game 180 PokéCoins, but, if you don’t want to spend any money on the game, they are occasionally research quest rewards or you may find a PokéStop where someone has already used the Rainy Lure Module.

Meltan and Melmetal

Every player can obtain a Meltan through the Let’s Go, Meltan special research quest, but the ease at which you’ll evolve it into Melmetal depends on whether you own Pokémon Home, Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Eevee.

This is because, to open the Mystery Box which activates Meltan spawns, you must transfer at least one Pokémon from Pokémon Go to any of these three games. Once opened, the Mystery Box will last for an hour with a spawn rate of one Meltan per minute and you’ll have to wait three days until you can use it again.

You’ll need 400 candy to evolve Meltan into Melmetal, so, even with Pinap Berries, you’ll have to use the Mystery Box a number of times.

Without the Mystery Box, be prepared to use a lot of Rare Candy and have Meltan set as your buddy for quite a while.

Yamask, Cofagrigus, Galarian Yamask and Runerigus

Yamask makes this list, because it’s only available during the yearly Halloween event. So don’t play during Halloween? No Yamask for you.

When Yamask is available, however, it can be found through a variety of means - from in the wild to event-exclusive field research tasks.

Galarian Yamask and Runerigus.

While Galarian Yamask is a little harder to track down, it has been known to appear in raids, as a reward from field research, special research quests and, during the 2021 Halloween event, it was in the 7km egg pool.

Yamask and Galarian Yamask evolve into different Pokémon - Cofagrigus for traditional Yamask and Runereigus for the Galar variant - and, while both require 50 candy to evolve, you need to get a Runereigus.


While Spiritomb has, over the years, become easier to find, it can still only be caught during the yearly Halloween event.

Originally it could only be obtained by completing a special research quest - A Spooky Message in 2018 and 2019, and A Spooky Message Unmasked in 2020 - but, in 2021, it was added to the Halloween event-exclusive field research tasks.

In 2022 Spiritomb was, sadly, confined to the pay-to-play Halloween timed research quest. Hopefully we'll be able to obtain Spiritomb for free once again during the 2023 Halloween event, but we'll have to wait and see how its disturbed. Just remember to play Pokémon Go during this event if you don't have a Spiritomb!

Ultra Beasts

Ultra Beasts are a collection of extradimensional Pokémon who hail from Ultra Space and debuted as part of Gen 7. There are 11 Ultra Beasts in total, with seven so far appearing in Pokémon Go via five-star raids and one special research quest.

The Ultra Beasts rarity comes from how their part of the rotating five-star raid pool, so, if you miss one, you'll have to wait until it returns to the raids. Celesteela and Kartana are also regionally exclusive - with Celesteela appearing in southern hemipshere raids and Kartana in the northern hemipshere raids.

The first Ultra Beast to visit Pokémon Go was Nihilego, which appeared in five-star raids and as one of the rewards for the A Radiant World special research quest as part of Go Fest 2022 on Sunday, 5th June. In the following months, Pheromosa, Buzzwole and Xurkitree all saw their intial releases at Go Fest Berlin, Seattle and Sapporo. All three were then made available worldwide as part of the Go Fest 2022: Finale event.

The next two Ultra Beasts - Celesteela and Kartana - were then released as part of the Test Your Mettle event in September 2022, before Guzzlord was released in November 2022.

We don't know when the eighth Ultra Beast will arrive in Pokémon Go, but hopefully we won't see Blacephalon for a long while. Not a fan of Blacephalon...

Regionally exclusive Pokémon

When it comes to regionally exclusive Pokémon, rarity is a subjective matter. European players plagued by Mr. Mime may long for a Corsola or Tauros, while American trainers may desperately want the sinister Gen 1 Pokémon and its tiny offspring, Mime Jr.

No matter where you live, regionally exclusive Pokémon can be found in the wild or hatched from eggs depending on your region.

The expections are Celesteela and Kartana, the regionally exclusive Ultra Beasts, which, when they're avaiable, will appear in the five-star raids of their specific regions.

Corsola, Relicanth and Maractus are all regionally exclusive Pokémon.

Some regionally exclusive Pokémon, like Solrock and Lunatone, rotate their locations during specific events and remain in these locations until the next year’s event occurs. This gives players who’ve not caught these Pokémon yet the chance to add them to their Pokédexs.

Meanwhile, special events, like Go Fest, have also seen specific regionally exclusive Pokémon appear in the wild or raids. It should be noted, however, that you may need to purchase a ticket to said event for these Pokémon to appear.

The regionally exclusive factor of Pokémon Go also plays a part in collecting of all the Vivillon forms, but you can learn more about that in Vivillon's own dedicated section.

Shiny Pokémon

Shiny Pokémon are rare Pokémon with alternative colourings to their traditional forms and, while not every Pokémon has had their shiny form released in Pokémon Go, those which have are very collectible.

The shiny forms for Ninetales, Mareep and Poochyena.

Encountering shinies all depends on having that Pokémon’s shiny odds be in your favour for the encounter you’re currently having. Certain events, like Community Days, do increase the odds of shiny Pokémon appearing, while catching Pokémon of the same type will naturally increase your chances of finding shiny Pokémon.

It’s important to note that certain shiny Pokémon are rarer than others and you can learn more on our shiny Pokémon guide.

Hisuian Pokémon

Hisuian Pokémon are regional variants hailing from the Hisui region; each one is a reworked version of a Pokémon from a past generation differing in both appearance and type.

Like Galarian Pokémon, a number of Hisuian Pokémon, such as Sneasler, can only be obtained by evolving a Hisuian Pokémon. Some of these evolutions involve completing a special requirement, but, thankfully, the candy you collect for that specific Pokémon will work for its Hisui version.

At the time of writing, Hisuian Pokémon can only be found by hatching 7km eggs obtained outside of in-game events that change this egg pool.

The caveat, however, is that only four Hisuian Pokémon can be hatched from 7km eggs - Hisuian Voltorb, Hisuian Qwilfish, Hisuian Sneasel and Hisuian Growlithe - spread across the first four tiers of the egg pool. Both Galarian and Alolan Pokémon appear in the 7km egg pool, so you may need to hatch a number of 7km eggs to get the Hisuian variant you desire.

All four of these Pokémon have Hisuian evolutions that have also been released into Pokémon Go. To add these creatures to your Pokédex, you'll have to collect enough candy, which is thankfully shared with their original form, and, for some, fulfill a special requirement.

Two Hisuian Pokémon - Hisuian Braviary and Hisuian Avalugg - havebeen released as part of special Raid Days and, if missed these events, you'll have to wait until they return to three-star raids.

Hisuian Voltorb was the first Hisui Pokémon to be released in Pokémon Go to celebrate the launch of Pokémon Legends: Arceus back in January 2022; it's evolution, Hisuian Electrode, was then released in February 2022.

The next batch of Hisuian Pokémon, along with their evolution, arrived in July 2022 as part of the Hisuian Discoveries event. Hisuian Growlithe and Hisuian Sneasel could only be hatched from 7km eggs, while Hisuian Qwilfish also appeared in the raids. Meanwhile, Hisuian Braviary was only avaliable in three-star raids during a three hour window on Sunday, 31st July.

Hisuian Avalugg was the next Hisuian Pokémon to be released in Pokémon Go as part of the Raid Day for the Holiday 2022 event on December 24th 2022.

If you want to add their evolutions to your Pokédex, check out our guides on evolving Hisuian Growlithe into Hisuian Arcanine, Hisuian Qwilfish into Overqwil and Hisuian Sneasel into Sneasler in Pokémon Go.

There are still a number of Hisuian Pokémon waiting to be released, including Wyrdeer and Hisuian Zoruna!

Hisuian Arcanine, Sneasler and Overqwil.

Galarian Mr. Mime and Mr. Rime

Galarian Mr. Mime has become easier to find since its release in December 2020 as part of the special research quest, Tap... Tap... Tappity-Tap. At the time of writing, Galarian Mr. Mime is one of the Pokémon encounters you can earn from Research Breakthroughs during the Season of Mythical Wishes.

Similar to Holiday 2021 event, you could earn Galarian Mr. Mime encounters by completing the Collection Challenges and timed research quests released as part of the Holiday 2022 event. This Pokémon also appeared frequently during Go Fest 2022, but this bonus was only available to players who purchased a ticket to this event.

Still, you may find it hard to catch a Galarian Mr. Mime due to how their availability is usually connected to an in-game event, meaning, if you miss said event, you'll have to wait until another featuring this Pokémon rolls around.

To get Mr. Rime, you need 50 Mr. Mime candy to evolve your Galarian Mr. Mime. Obviously, this task is easiest for European players who have the ‘pleasure’ of seeing Mr. Mime on a regular basis.

If, however, you live outside of Europe, then the easiest way to obtain this candy is through Rare Candy or having the Pokémon as your buddy.

Alolan and Galarian Pokémon

Alolan and Galarian Pokémon are alternative variants - in both appearance and typing - for Pokémon from previous generations. Hisuian Pokémon have also started appearing in Pokémon Go, but, since some have only been available for limited time windows, we've given them their own section.

A number of the Galarian Pokémon evolve into new Pokémon, such as Galarian Farfetch’d into Sirfetch’d, which, in Pokémon Go, requires you to meet a special requirement to complete.

The easiest way to obtain these Pokémon is by hatching 7km eggs you’ve collected outside of in-game events, due to how many events change the 7km egg pool. Both Alolan and Galarian Pokémon have also been known to appear in the wild or in raids during specific events, such as Community Days.

Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres, however, can only be found while using Daily Adventure Incense. You can learn more about these legendary bird variants at the top of this list!

When it comes to collecting these Pokémon we recommend focusing on those which evolve into new Pokémon, such as Galarian Meowth and Galarian Yamask.

Scatterbug, Spewpa and Vivillon

Scatterbug, Spewpa and Vivillon's rarity doesn't come from how hard it is to get these Pokémon (unless your friends are refusing to send you gifts), but from the 18 different patterns Vivillon can have.

These patterns are spread out across the world, technically making Vivillon a regional Pokémon, so this means, if all of your friends live in the same region, you'll only be able to collect one Vivillon pattern. Remember - you must pin the postcards that comes with your Gifts to make progress towards a Scatterbug encounter.

If you'd like to learn more about this butterfly Pokémon, visit our Vivillon patterns and map guide.

Meanwhile if you want to expand your Vivillon collection, try visiting sites like The Silph Road on reddit where you can connect with Pokémon Go players from around the world. You may even get lucky when conducting Remote Raids via apps like Poké Genie.

You only need to pin three postcards from a specific region to unlock its first Scatterbug encounter - the required number of postcards will increase after this point. Once caught, you next need to gather enough Scatterbug candy to evolve it into Spewpa and, finally, Vivillon.

Since it may be quite a while between your Scatterbug encounters, we recommend always using a Pinap Berry when attempting to catch this Pokémon. You can also gather extra Scatterbug candy by using Rare Candy and having it as your buddy Pokémon, because you'll earn one piece of candy for every 1km.

Costume Pokémon

Costume Pokémon are special outfit-wearing-Pokémon which appear throughout different events across the year in Pokémon Go. These outfits can range from Halloween costumes to hats to flower crowns, which, honestly, look like three flowers stapled to a Pokémon’s head.

Pokémon have worn Halloween costumes.

Their rarity stems from how each Costume Pokémon’s availability is linked to an event and how some, like the Clone Pokémon or Star Hat Pikachu, have only been available once. Some also require you to buy a ticket to an in-game event like Go Fest or Go Tour: Kanto.

This means if you missed the event, didn’t wish to pay for an event ticket or hadn’t started playing Pokémon Go at the time, the only way to obtain this Pokémon by trading with another player.

Thankfully some Costume Pokémon - though mostly those with flower crowns - do make repeat appearances in different events.

The method used to catch a costume Pokémon depends on the event, but they have been known to appear in the wild, in raids, hatched from eggs and rewards from both research quests and Collection Challenges.

Pikachu Libre, however, can only be obtained by reaching Rank 24 in the Go Battle League.

Obtaining this special Pikachu can be quite the task, especially if you’re not experienced in Pokémon Go’s PVP side. Thankfully, we have guides on recommended Pokémon for the Great League, Ultra League and Master League to help you achieve this goal. We also recommend starting your journey to Rank 24 at the beginning of a new season, so you have a full three months to achieve this goal.

Finally, there is also currently one regionally exclusive Costume Pokémon - Okinawan Kariyushi Shirt Pikachu - which can only be found in the Okinawa prefecture of Japan, which, unsurprisingly, makes it a very rare Pokémon for many players.

Legendary Pokémon

Since the majority of legendary Pokémon debut in five-star raids, rarity stems from how hard they are to defeat and how long you need to wait for them to appear in said raids rather than their spawn rate.

If you don’t have many legendaries in your Pokédex - be it because you’re a new player or don’t partake in many five-star raids - then we recommend either joining a local Pokémon Go group or using Remote Raid Passes and apps like Poke Genie.

When it comes to actually catching the legendary - always make sure you’re using either Golden Razz or Silver Pinap Berries to increase your chances of catching the Pokémon. It’s also a good idea to watch the Pokémon for a bit to learn their move pattern and know when the best moment to throw your Poké Ball is.

Outside of five-star raids, legendary Pokémon have also been known to appear as Research Breakthrough rewards - though, at the time of writing, it has been a considerable while since this last occurred - and Shadow variants can be caught by defeating Giovanni.

They also appear as rewards from the Go Battle League once you reach Rank 20. To obtian a legendary through this method you need to win enough matches in a set to unlock a Pokémon reward, then catch Pikachu Libre. After doing so, any Pokémon reward you unlock has the chance of being the current five-star raid boss.

As mentioned previously, the Galarian variants of the legendary bird trio can only be found when using Daily Adventure Incense. Meanwhile, Azelf, Mesprit and Uxie also appear in the wild, as have the legendary dogs during Go Tour: Johto.

Mythical Pokémon

Mythical Pokémon, such as Mew, Celebi and Meloetta, make an appearance on this guide, because the only way to obtain them is by completing their special research questlines.

How long it takes you to complete each questline depends on your experience with Pokémon Go and how often you play. Once you’ve completed it, however, you’ll be rewarded with a mythical Pokémon that you can’t trade, which means each account can only have one of each mythical Pokémon.

Unless, of course, you’ve gained access to a shiny mythical Pokémon quest.

At the time of writing, only three of such quests have been released in Pokémon Go - All-in-One #151, Distracted by Something Shiny and Wish Granted. Despite not having a deadline, all of these quests were only available for a short period of time - All-in-One #151 was only available to players who purchased a Go Tour: Kanto ticket - so these shiny Pokémon are no longer available for newcomers.

Shaymin - the mythical Pokémon released as part of the ticketed Go Fest 2022 experience - was released globally for free in April 2023 through the Grass and Gratitude quest. You can transform this Land Form Shaymin into its Sky Form Shaymin by spending a certain amount of Shaymin Candy and Stardust.

Below you can find a list of all the mythical Pokémon currently released for free in Pokémon Go, along with their associated quest and when they’re unlocked:

There are, however, three mythical Pokémon who are harder to obtain…


These Pokémon are Zarude, Hoopa and Keldeo - all of which can only be obtained by completing special research quests, which themsevles were only available for a limited amount of time. Zarude's quest, Search for Zarude, could only be obtained between 1st October to 10th October in 2021, while Hoopa's quest, Misunderstood Mischief, was only unlockable from 1st September to 1st December 2021.

Meanwhile, Keldeo's special research quest - Something Extraordinary - was only available between 10th December to 11th December 2022 and needed to be purchased from the in-game store. Hopefully we'll be able to obtain Keldeo for free some time in the future.

Since mythical Pokémon can not be traded and neither special research quest is currently available, it is, at the time of writing, impossible to get Zarude, Hoopa or Keldeo in Pokémon Go. If you're missing one of these mythical Pokémon, you'll simply have to wait and see if they return in the future.

The Season of Hidden Gems has arrived, bringing with it a new Go Battle League season. Depending on your region, you can currently battle Uxie, Mesprit and Azelf in five-star raids. Elsewhere, be sure to compete in Shadow Raids, use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres. This incense may also give you encounters with other rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go.

How to increase your chances of getting rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go

Here are some tips which will help you increase your chances of finding rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go:

  • Increase your Trainer Level! As your Trainer Level increases, so does the variety of Pokémon you can encounter. This means a Level 30 player has a higher chance of encountering a rare Pokémon than a Level 10, so make sure you’re catching Pokémon, completing research quests and using Lucky Eggs to double the amount of XP you’ll receive.
  • Use Incense and Lure Modules. Both of these items attract Pokémon to your location and, if you’re lucky, one of these may be a rare Pokémon. Incense is especially useful for rural players who may not have many Pokémon appearing in their location naturally. Meanwhile, once a Lure Module has been used on a PokéStop, any player can enjoy the bonus.
  • Use your Daily Adventure Incense every day! Daily Adventure Incense may only last for 15 minutes, but it gives you the chance to encounter some rare Pokémon - from Jangmo-o to Tirtouga. It's also the only way to find and, hopefully, catch Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres.
  • Trade with other players. Thanks to the inclusion of trading in Pokémon Go during 2018, you can now trade rare and even legendary Pokémon with other players. This is perfect if you meet someone who has a regionally exclusive Pokémon you don’t have or one you’ve been searching for. Just remember - you can’t trade mythical Pokémon and you must be in a specific range to the person you’re trading with.
  • Hatch eggs. Eggs are one of the easiest and most effective ways of obtaining some of the more elusive Pokémon on the above list, because they offer you the chance to find creatures which don’t typically appear in your local area. It’s best to prioritise 12km and 10km eggs, because they offer rarer Pokémon than 5km and 2km eggs. When it comes to 7km eggs, however, it’s always best to check the egg pool as it can change during events.
Getting and hatching a Strange Red Egg in Pokémon Go
  • Pay attention to in-game events. The Pokémon Go events are the best time to catch new Pokémon whose spawn rate might drastically drop after the event ends or to find rare Pokémon like Unown. These events are also when you’ll be able to find costume Pokémon or special research quests which are only available for a limited time.
  • Certain types of Pokémon prefer specific habitats. While it’s not obvious on the in-game map, the real world locations you visit while playing Pokémon Go will have an effect on which Pokémon you encounter. You’re more likely to encounter water-types while playing near the sea or a lake, while steel-type Pokémon are more likely to appear in urban areas, such as cities. Playing in different locations will help you find new Pokémon and maybe even that rare spawn you’re been looking for.
  • Use Remote Raid Passes for five-star raids. If you want to add some legendaries to your Pokédex, then Remote Raid Passes are the way to go. With them and apps like Poke Genie, you can easily access raids against legendary Pokémon from across the world. Currently one Remote Raid Pass costs 100 PokéCoin, while three Remote Raid Passes costs 300 PokéCoins, which can either purchase using real world currency or earn by keeping Pokémon in Gyms.
  • Look for, or research, Pokémon nests in your local area. Pokémon nests are clusters of Pokémon, from common to rare spawns, which repeatedly appear in the same location. Sometimes, however, they can only appear once, so make sure you catch as many Pokémon as possible if you find one. You’ll naturally encounter the occasional Pokémon nest as you play, but, if you want to find the one nearest to you, The Silph Road subreddit has created this hand Global Nest Atlas.
  • Earn Catch Bonus medals. Every Pokémon type has a related Catch Bonus medal, which you level up by catching Pokémon of that specific type. The Hex Maniac page, for example, is the Catch Bonus medal for ghost-type Pokémon and increasing its level - such as from Bronze to Silver - will give you a bonus every time you catch a ghost-type Pokémon. This means that catching low-level Pokémon naturally increases your chances of getting rarer creatures.
  • Complete your Special Research quest. Staying on top of your special research quests will help you catch mythical Pokémon like Mew and Shadow variants of legendary Pokémon. These Shadow variants are especially useful, because it may help you add a legendary Pokémon which hasn’t been available for a while to your Pokédex.
  • When in doubt - catch every Pokémon you see. Just because a Pokémon is a common spawn, doesn’t mean catching it won’t assist you on your journey to becoming a Pokémon Master. Every Pokémon you catch will give you some XP and count towards a Catch Bonus medal, while others may provide you with candy for an evolution which hasn’t been introduced into the game yet. It’s also worth catching any evolved Pokémon you see, because they will provide you with more candy than their pre-evolved form. All of these factors will help you slowly gather every Pokémon you need to complete the Pokédex.

Good luck completing your Pokédex!

About the Author
Lottie Lynn avatar

Lottie Lynn

Guides Editor

Lottie Lynn is Eurogamer's Guides Editor. She likes exploring new games and still has nightmares about the moon from Majora's Mask.

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