There's more than one objective to Pokémon Go, but one of the most obvious is of course the collecting of rare Pokémon. As with much of Pokémon go however, Pokémon rarity is an inexact science, with much of it down to a combination of anecdote and community-sourced findings.
That being said, there's still something of a structure to be found, and so we've compiled the information we have on Pokémon rarity into a list of Pokémon by rarity below.
This, alongside our other guides, should hopefully help you with your other goals of leveling your Trainer as high as you can, and evolving and powering up your creatures to attack and defend Gyms, all whilst filling out that Pokédex.
On that topic, you'll find that all three are connected, as the higher your trainer level, the higher your chances of finding rare Pokémon become, and in many cases, rarer Pokémon tend to be the best in Pokémon Go, with higher base stats that give them the advantage. (Though remember that rarity doesn't automatically make it the best, as our CP meaning and hidden stats explainer will tell you.)
Whether you're working towards a powerful team, or are curious to know how elusive that Pokémon you just found is, it pays to know what creatures are rare and how to increase your chances of finding them!
Rare Pokémon list: What are the rarest creatures in Pokémon Go?
Reddit user RotomGuy created a helpful chart outlining Pokémon by rarity in the early days of Pokémon Go's release, and much of this still holds true now. While this isn't a definitive list, based mostly on anecdotal and community-sourced evidence - some Pokémon will appear in some areas more than others, and you can read about such caveats and points with our 'how to find rare Pokémon' section below - it provides an idea of what you should be saving your Pokéballs for.
Oh, and before you dive in, don't forget to check out our separate guides on catching the rare, special edition Santa Hat Pikachu, and the brand new baby gen 2 Pokémon Togepi, Pichu and more as well! We have more info on the rarity of those included in our listing, below, and note that Ditto has since become available since this image was created, which we mention with a little more detail below.
If you're unfamiliar with the Pokémon in the below image, here's their specific names:
Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie, Drowzee
Eevee, Zubat, Venonat, Oddish, Magikarp
Meowth, Spearow, Bellsprout, Paras, Krabby
Clefairy, Nidoranˇâ, Nidoranˇá, Ekans, Cubone, Goldeen, Poliwag, Shellder
Jigglypuff, Growlithe, Gastly, Geodude, Exeggcute, Slowpoke, Psyduck, Jynx, Onyx
Ponyta, Vulpix, Koffing, Sandshrew, Staryu, Tentacool, Horsea, Magmar, Tangela, Ditto
Abra, Machop, Grimer, Rhyhorn, Voltorb, Lickitung, Scyther, Pinsir
Dratini, Magnemite, Electabuzz, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey
Lapras, Snorlax, Porygon
Farfetch'd, Mr. Mime, Tauros, Kangaskhan
Not currently available
Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno, Mewtwo, Mew
Want more help with Pokémon Go? Read our Pokémon Go tips, tricks, cheats and guides for insights on how to improve your skills, how to choose your Eevee evolution, and how CP works. Plus details of Pokémon Go's secrets and Easter Eggs, how to get the new baby Pokémon, a guide to Egg groups, charts, and Egg hatching, details on the Daily Bonuses, finding Ditto, and even which team to join from Team Valor, Mystic, and Instinct.
How to increase your chances of finding rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go
- Eggs are perhaps the easiest and most effective way of obtaining some of the more elusive creatures on the list, since you can receive Pokémon that might not naturally occur in your local area - even those exclusive to far away regions. As you can probably guess, 10km Eggs can offer rarer Pokémon than 5km and 2km Eggs, but that's guaranteed - you can still find a Zubat or a Drowzee in a 10km Egg. (Commiserations to you if that happens.)
- Certain Pokemon Types - such as Steel or Fire - can be found in some places rather than others. This can be mostly down to their real-world Type locations; for example, central Brighton (home of the Eurogamer office) is regularly filled with Steel Pokémon such as Magnemite and Voltorb, while a common complaint by some players is all they can catch are Doduos, which are very difficult to find for others. Areas with monuments and museums seem to attract rarer Pokémon, but in general, it pays to travel and explore new players to increase your chances of seeing something new.
- Clusters of specific rare Pokémon can reappear in a certain spot over and over again over time in Pokémon nests, so read up to see whether there is one of these near you. They can also spawn individually too; for example, my local golf club seems to spawn Jigglypuff in around the same place fairly frequently. Observe your local area over time and learn where hotspots tend to be.
- Earning Pokémon Go Medals will give you a Catch Bonus for specific types. For example, unlocking the Kindler medal by catching 10 Fire Pokémon will give you a bonus for catching all Fire Pokémon from then on. This essentially means that by catching common low-level Pokémon you can better your chances of getting rare creatures later, so it'll pay to hoover up every Pokémon you see.
- Evolved Pokémon are rarer than their pre-evolved counterparts, but can still be caught in the wild. Some of the more powerful Pokémon in the game have been caught out in the wild by Eurogamer staff, including a Blastoise and a Dragonite. The advantage of catching a fully evolved Pokémon is you save a lot of Candy on each evolution stage, which can be better spent on powering up instead.
- It's also important to remember that just because a Pokémon is easy to find doesn't meant it can't be put to good use, as some of the most common creatures in the game - Pidgey, Weedle and Caterpie - can be used for incredibly fast and easy XP gains, which in turn, can help you find rarer Pokémon.