While the aforementioned types only fill out your Pokédex, Lucky Pokémon status also provides a direct benefit - allowing that creature up at a much cheaper cost than regular Pokémon.
Update (September 6th): Niantic has outlined a method for players to receive guaranteed Lucky Pokémon, and has increased the strength of all Lucky Pokémon trades. More details on both throughout the article.
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What are Lucky Pokémon in Pokémon Go?
Lucky Pokémon is a special status, separate to Forms or Shinies, that Pokémon can have attached to them.
If a Pokémon is Lucky, then the Stardust required to power it up is reduced by 50%. The feature is particularly welcome as Stardust is one of the more scarce resources in the game, especially at high level play, allowing creatures to reach maximum CP at a lower cost.
Additionally, the number of Lucky Pokémon you have caught will appear in the Pokédex (alongside 'seen' and 'caught') as well as the Pokémon stats screen, with a unique background:
How to get Lucky Pokémon in Pokémon Go
Lucky Pokémon come from the game's trading feature. When you trade, there's a chance both creatures will have the Lucky status afterwards.
The success rate isn't yet known, but the longer the Pokémon has been in storage - in other words, the longer you've owned the Pokémon - the higher the chances of it becoming Lucky by the end of it.
So if the Pokémon are from when the game launched in 2016, your chances of them being Lucky will be much higher than if they were caught this year. (It can actually be a 100% chance - read the following section to see how.)
If they are caught at different periods, it's suspected the game will take the average age of both creatures in the trade as the calculation, as either both will or won't be Lucky together.
That's not to say a freshly caught Pokémon can't be Lucky - members of the community have been successful with trading recent catches. But the older it is the better, and since you can only trade one of a specific Pokémon, you want those chances to be as high as possible.
How to get guaranteed Lucky Pokémon in Pokémon Go
In September 2018, developer Niantic made some changes to increase your chances of receiving Lucky Pokémon.
If you have discovered less than 10 Lucky Pokémon, then a Pokémon in your inventory caught in July or August 2016 (in order words, when the game first launched) will 100% become Lucky after a trade.
To clarify, if either trainer has had less than 10, then both creatures in the trade will be Lucky. So in theory, even if you have more than 10, if you can find others with less than 10, you can keep getting guaranteed Lucky Pokémon. Thanks to the Silph Road reddit for clarifying this!
It should also be noted as part of this change, all Lucky Pokémon stats have became now stronger. They were previously started from around the 10/10/10 mark, and it's now increased to 12/12/12 (the highest you can get is 15/15/15).
There is no end date to these changes, which suggests it's more of a permanent feature than a timed event. So take your time and consider which Pokémon you want to become Lucky!
Pokémon Go Battles have arrived! Now's a good time to refresh yourself with our Best Pokémon lists and pick up some Sinnoh Stones. Elsewhere this month, the big Pokémon Go Christmas Holiday event 2018 is here, introducing new Baby Pokémon, as well as the usual new January Field Research and additional Shinies. Meanwhile, new Pokémon Go Gen 4 Pokémon continue to be slowly released, along with the return of Legendary Kyogre and Groudon and their counters, and the latest EX Raid Deoxys form, and there's been an update to the Type Chart and type effectiveness multipliers, details of the latest Community Day Pokémon Totodile, and finally what we know about the new Limited Research and Feebas Day and Hoenn event, too.
What else you need to know about Lucky Pokémon
There are a few other small details to know about Lucky Pokémon:
- Lucky Pokémon have high IVs, starting from 12/12/12 for HP, Defence and Attack. This means you can turn a rubbish Pokémon into a more competitive one!
- There doesn't appear to be a cap on how many Lucky Pokémon you can get in one day. Originally there was thought to be, but reports from the Silph Road suggest either a cap was lifted or it was incorrect information.
- Lucky isn't a search term when looking through your Pokémon collection (right now at least!)
- Pokémon can be both Shiny and Lucky - thanks Reddit!