There's more than one objective to Pokémon Go, but one of the most obvious is of course collecting 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 while 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 catching 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?
While this isn't a definitive list, based mostly on anecdotal and community-sourced evidence (from ourselves, and the likes of such as Reddit user RotomGuy and OhAeroHD) it's evident 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. Either way, hope the below gives you an idea of what you should be saving your Ultra Balls for.
Note the following only contains the first evolution of each type of Pokémon, and if they have them, their evolutions tend to be even more elusive.
- Gen 1: Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie, Zubat
- Gen 2: Sentret, Swinub, Hoothoot, Ledyba
- Gen 1: Eevee, Venonat, Oddish, Magikarp, Drowzee, Meowth, Spearow, Bellsprout, Paras, Krabby, Horsea
- Gen 2: Spinarak, Murkrow, Wooper, Natu, Marill, Hoppip, Remoraid, Sneasel
- Gen 1: Clefairy, Nidoran (M), Nidoran (F), Ekans, Cubone, Goldeen, Poliwag, Shellder, Jigglypuff, Magnemite, Gastly, Exeggcute, Slowpoke, Slyduck, Jynx, Staryu, Tentacool, Ditto
- Gen 2: Chinchou, Sunkern, Aipom, Snubbull, Dunsparce, Teddiursa
- Gen 1: Dratini, Growlithe, Geodude, Onix, Ponyta, Vulpix, Koffing, Sandshrew, Magmar, Abra
- Gen 2: Yanma, Slugma, Mantine, Sudowoodo, Pineco, Gligar, Shuckle, Phanpy, Skarmory, Qwilfish
- Gen 1: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Electabuzz, Machop, Grimer, Rhyhorn, Voltorb, Lickitung, Scyther, Pinsir, Tangela, Omanyte, Kabuto
- Gen 2: Chikorita, Cyndaquill, Totodile, Misdreavus, Houndour, Larvitar
- Gen 1: Lapras, Snorlax, Porygon, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Chansey, Aerodactyl
- Gen 2: Miltank, Girafarig, Stantler, Mareep, Togetic, Hitmontop, Unown
Special Item evolution only
Not currently available
Want more help with Pokémon Go's Gen 2 update? Our list of new Gen 2 Johto Pokémon can teach you where to find each one, what you need to know about new Pokémon Go Berries, Special Items to evolve Pokémon such as King's Rock, Sun Stone, Up-Grade, Dragon Scale and Metal Coat, and how to get Eevee evolutions Umbreon, Espeon, and updated Egg distances and best Pokémon charts, as well as other Pokémon Go tips, tricks, cheats and guides.
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. As you can probably guess, 10km Eggs can offer rarer Pokémon than 5km and 2km Eggs, so use them whenever you can.
- 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.