Which Pokémon to keep or transfer – Pokémon Go Guide

Which Pokémon to keep or transfer - Pokémon Go Guide

Your biggest question in Pokémon Go is, which Pokémon to keep or transfer? We will answer this question for you today. So you want to be the master? (Of Pokemon) Do you have the skills to be number one?

First off we’re going to say that this is our opinion or what we look for in Pokémon that we’re looking to keep, upgrade, transfer or whatever. It is by no means the 100% guaranteed best way to play, but it is a very efficient way to keep from wasting stardust, candies, and those precious Pokémon slots in your inventory.
This guide is generally going to help you efficiently maximize and organize your Pokémon, because as we all know, the space you’re allotted is finite.

Which Pokemon to keep or transfer?

First Group

Firstly, you have to decide what’s worth keeping. For us, we keep Pokémon that fall into three major groups; Pokémon with battle potential, Pokémon with trade potential, and Pokémon that we’re collecting to evolve. The first group is by far the easiest to differentiate from the others because it generally only includes Pokémon you’re going to EVOLVE for EXP; such as, Pidgey, Weedle or Caterpie. Potential others with low evolve costs of 25 can also be added to this group but we generally don’t care for those.


Keep, upgrade, transfer or what to do with your Pokémon?

Second Group

The second group is essentially Trade Fodder. In here we put the Pokémon that we really don’t want to keep for ourself, but there could be future value in them for trading. For example, Pokémon with a CP of 1,000+ that either have less than favorable IVs, or are more Rare to encounter are Pokémon that we will keep. We ourself have no use for them as our goal in the game is to build the strongest team, but we can see the value they might have for other people. (Ex. our 1,200CP Gengar [12/0/12 IV], or our 1,700CP Dragonite [12/3/5 IV].)

Third Group

The third group is where things start to get tricky and a little more subjective so we will break it down as simply as possible and be adding links to other helpful resources.

Is it good?!

Ok, so you’ve caught/evolved/hatched yourself a Pokémon that you think might have battle potential. What now?

  • Well first, check to see if the Pokémon is in fact good at fighting by consulting a tier list. We prefer THIS ONE
    Trainer Tip: IF you’re looking to power up your favorite Pokémon and it doesn’t appear on this list, you can feel free to skip this first step
  • Secondly, check the IV’s for you Pokémon, if you want to choose which one to keep or not… Our general rule of thumb is to only KEEP Pokémon over 86% IVs or (13/13/13). This rule only changes for Rare and non-farmable Pokémon with good movesets. (Think Lapras, or Snorlax). For more info on what role IVs play in battle check out this link, from this you can clearly see that a 90% Pokémon is more than sufficient because it is only beat out by just over 2% compared to a 100% Pokémon of the same species.
    Trainer Tip: Here you have to weigh the likelihood of getting a higher IV rare Pokémon with a decent move set. With Pokémon such as Lapras are very rare so settling for a lower IV might not be a bad thing as long as the move set is good.
    Trainer Tip: A low CP Pokémon with perfect (or close to) IVs is generally worth leveling up. For example, a 10CP 15/15/15 Charizard is worth powering up because it’ll statistically be easier to farm the extra 50 candies/50k stardust than finding a higher CP Perfect Charizard.
  • The final thing you need to keep in mind, when choosing which pokemon to keep or to transfer, is one of the most important and can ruin a potentially perfect Pokémon, the moveset. You should consult THIS SHEET for a list of all the possible move combinations and their offensive and defensive viability. Make sure that your Pokémon has its optimal moveset for either offense or defense.
    Trainer Tip: Make sure to evolve any Pokémon you’re considering to see their final moveset before upgrading them with your stardust. Nothing worse than wasting a bunch of dust and candy training up a 15/15/15 Magikarp, only for it to turn into a Twister Gyarados.

Keep or transfer?

If each of these categories are to your satisfaction (again, no objective science here unless it’s 100% in all categories) then feel free to use stardust to power the Pokémon up to max. Personally we want to make sure that the Pokémon is in the TOP 10 for either role, with a Moveset that is either the 1st or 2nd best for whichever category along with a 90%+ IV before investing any stardust.

A lot of players keep mentioning that CP should play a role in determining, if a pokemon should be kept /upgraded or transferred. While we agree that CP is important it doesn’t factor into this equation. IV and MoveSet are both static variables, meaning they will not change. CP however, is dynamic and can be altered… You can power up a 10CP magikarp anytime by grinding all day but try as hard as you want you’re not making its IVs or Moveset change.

Important Links:
Battle Tier List
Optimal Movesets
IV Effects on Battle Performance


Make sure that each of the following three categories are to your satisfaction before powering up.

  • Pokemon Tier (we keep things in the top 10)
  • 90%+ IV Rating
  •  Optimal Moveset (or Second best)
    Being weaker in one category can be supplemented by a higher score in a secondary category.

Thanks to user ‘VedranG’ for help creating this guide.

We hope this guide on which Pokemon to keep or transfer was helpful for you. Don’t miss our other guides on Pokémon Go. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment.

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