As players around the world sample the delights of Pokémon Go's free-to-play catch-a-thon, those that want to become the very best will at some point all ask a single important question: how do I evolve my Pokémon?

In Pokémon Go you'll start off with one of three of the series' classic starter monsters, but it won't be long until you'll want your Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle to reach the pinnacle of their power through level upgrades and evolution, especially with the so many gyms to conquer in Niantic's GPS-powered mobile treat.

With very little in-game advice on how to go about leveling and improving your squad of 'Pocket Monsters', IBTimes UK has done some serious Poké-detective work to bring you the best tips and tricks for powering-up your party of creatures.

Pokémon Go: How CP and HP works

In simple terms, Combat Power/Combat Points (CP) determine the strength of a Pokémon found in the wild.

The first thing to note is that CP is not specific to any given creature. Instead, the CP of an encountered Pokémon is influenced by your trainer level and random number generation (RNG) – as is the rarity of the Pokémon in any given area. You may come across a lowly CP 10 Pidgey while wandering about, but you could easily find a more powerful one in the exact same spot by chance – or if you increase your avatar's own level.

CP affects the power of your Pokémon's attacks in Gym battles, while the Hit Point stat (HP) determines how much damage your monster can take in battle before fainting. Increasing a Pokémon's CP also raises its HP stat, and to do that you'll need two specific items – Candy and Stardust.

Pokémon Go: How to level up and evolve your Pokémon

After selecting any Pokemon in your collection you'll notice the "Evolve" and "Power Up" options. You'll quickly realise after doing so, that Candy and Stardust are by far and away the most important collectable items in Pokémon Go, as you'll need a whole bunch of both of them to buff up your critters for those all-important Gym battles.

To power up any given Pokémon you will need a certain amount of Stardust, with the total required increasing with each CP raise. You'll also need Candy however, which is specific to each Pokémon (for example, a Drowsee will only scoff down Drowsee Candy).

To evolve a Pokémon you only need Candy, but the cost is much higher. While increasing the CP by powering up uses up Candy in the single digits, evolving takes a whole lot more. As an example, the flip-flopping fish Magikarp requires a whopping 400 Magikarp Candies before transforming into the magisterial hydra/dragon beast, Gyarados.

Pokémon Go: Where to find Candy and Stardust

Here are the different ways to obtain these key items:

Pokémon Go Candy

  • When you catch a Pokémon you receive a total of three Candies that corresponds to the caught Pokémon
  • Duplicate Pokémon can be sent to Professor Willow in exchange for a single Candy:
    • Go to your Pokémon squad menu and select the one you wish to transfer (pick the ones with low CP). Scroll down to the very bottom a select transfer. This permanently removes the Pokémon from your party so don't send any you may want at a later date!
  • When an Egg hatches you receive Candy based on the Pokémon which has hatched.

Pokémon Go Stardust

  • When you catch a Pokémon caught you receive a total of 100 Stardust
  • Once you have Pokémon stored in Gyms, you can obtain Stardust (and PokeCoins) from the Shop in the main menu:
    • Go to the Shop and tap the shield icon in the top right. The higher the number of Pokémon you have stored in Gyms (as long as they haven't been defeated), the more Stardust you will receive as a reward. These bonuses are available approximately every 20 hours.

Pokémon Go: How to farm Candy and Stardust

The best tactic to farm Candy and Stardust is to get as many encounters as possible for a specific Pokémon. To do this, make good use of Incense and Lure Modules to attract Pokémon to a single location that features the Pokémon you are hoping to power up or evolve.

Lure Modules can be used at PokéStops and draw Pokémon to that particular area for both you and any other trainers in the area. Incense on the other hand is exclusively helpful to you and follows you around as you move.

Both will last for 30 minutes, so grab a magazine or a good book, leave the app running and stick around an area full of your Pokémon of choice. Both catching them and trading them in will increase your Candy stockpile with each new capture (as well as giving you a small amount of Stardust). This method also gives you the chance to pick a high CP-level Pokémon to start with, as your base version may not be the strongest you can catch in the wild.

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