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Pokémon Go guide: Friendship and Lucky Friends

Raising friendship rewards some sweet perks

A hand holds an iPhone playing Pokemon Go, displaying the player profile screen Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Every Pokémon Go trainer needs friends, whether it’s to help with raids or trade Pokémon. Our Pokémon Go guide will explain how to raise your friendship, get the Lucky Friend status, and make the most of your gains.

Pokémon Go friendship levels and trade costs

When adding a friend in Pokémon Go, there are four levels: Good, Great, Ultra, and Best. Raising friendship every day will improve this level over time. The higher your friendship is with somebody, the better. You’ll be able to trade Pokémon for less Stardust, do more damage if you raid together, and even get a bonus Premier Ball or two when you complete a raid.

Special trades that feature Legendary or Shiny Pokémon not in your Pokédex can cost up to 1,000,000 Stardust to trade, so get your friendship levels up first. The trade cost decreases to 800,000 for Great Friends, 80,000 for Ultra Friends, and 40,000 for Best Friends. Higher friendship has no effect on trade distance.

How to raise Friendship in Pokémon Go

You can raise friendship once per day by sending and opening gifts, raiding together, trading Pokémon, battling in a gym together, or battling each other.

You can only raise your friendship level once per day, so if you’re trying to maximize your gifts or save time, make sure you haven’t raised your friendship already that day. You can check this by looking at your friend’s portrait on the friend screen. If there is a thin, light blue circle or halo around the friend’s circle, that means your friendship has already been raised that day. Don’t confuse the halo with the flat circle behind the player, which is just an indicator of what team they’re on.

Two examples of different friendship portraits in Pokémon Go
The friend on the right has raised friendship today, but the friend on the left has not
Niantic via Polygon

How to become Lucky Friends in Pokémon Go

Once you’re Best Friends with another player, anything that would normally raise your friendship levels has a chance to turn you both into Lucky Friends. This means that your next trade with that player will turn both traded Pokémon into Lucky Pokémon.

While Niantic hasn’t announced the Lucky Friends chance, some researchers on The Silph Road subreddit note that the Lucky Friends odds is a little bit below 2% per exchange.

Lucky Pokémon have their Stardust required to power up cut in half, so it’s pretty nice to have one of your powerful Pokémon Lucky, since it’ll cut down on the required resources.. But beware — individual values or IVs shift around quite a bit when you trade them, so the high IV Kyogre you might want to swap with your Lucky Friend may end up being a little weaker than before. That said, Lucky Pokémon are guaranteed to have at least 12 in all three main stats, which means an 80% IV or higher.

How to boost XP Friendship gains in Pokémon Go

Getting to Best Friends with other players takes several months of daily friendship raising, but the payoff is worth it. In addition to the bonuses mentioned above, you also get heaping amounts of XP every time your friendship with another player ranks up. We recommend using Lucky Eggs before hitting Ultra or Best Friends to double that XP. With a Lucky Egg, reaching Best Friends with a single player rewards a whopping 200,000 XP.