Update 3: Turns out Niantic jumped the gun, and Lucky Pokémon aren’t actually live yet. As far as when they’ll actually be available, the developer has only said “soon.”
Update 2: There’s now a blog post with the full explanation of how Lucky Pokémon work. The key, new bits of info include how Lucky Pokémon spawn: Pokémon that have spent more time in storage are increasingly likely to be lucky. The Pokédex keeps track of them as well. To compensate for all of this, Gifts now include stardust so that players have additional incentive to power up their luckiest monsters.
Update: Niantic has released the patch notes for July 23’s new Pokémon Go version, and it notes the inclusion of Lucky Pokémon. The company says that “when Pokémon are traded, there is a chance that both traded Pokémon become Lucky Pokémon.”
Players have yet to discover all of what that may include, but more information should become available sooner than later. What we know for now is that these Pokémon will require 50 percent as much stardust in order to power up, as predicted.
The original story about the signs that Lucky Pokémon were on the way is below.
Original story: Pokémon Go updates are often leaked ahead of time through data mines, but the next potential upgrade arrived in the form of a photo. An official tweet from July 22 seems to hint at a new category of Pokémon heading to the game in the near future.
The message seems innocuous, as does the picture, embedded below. Niantic posed a question to players about the recently added trading component, and the photo seems like an illustrative tool to highlight that; it’s of two hands, each holding a cell phone that has the game open. The pair have just completed a trade, with one getting a Pikachu, the other a Chansey.
But if you zoom into the phone with Chansey on the screen, you’ll notice there’s unusual text under the Pokémon’s name. It says “Lucky Pokémon,” a phrase players have never seen used in the game. Even harder to see is a never-before-used “Lucky” counter on Pikachu’s profile as well. As soon as players — including huge personalities in the Pokémon Go YouTube community, like Nick of the Trainer Tips channel and Brandon, a.k.a. Mystic7 — zeroed in on the Lucky Pokémon line, there was theorizing as to what that could mean.
A Trainer Tips video goes particularly in depth about the image, trying to make sense of what a Lucky Pokémon could be.
“Lucky Pokémon seem to have reduced stardust power-up cost [and] reduced candy cost,” he says, after analyzing the stats on the Lucky Chansey’s page.
“It seems like lucky Pokémon will be another incentive to trade with friends,” he goes on to say. “If a Pokémon becomes lucky and costs less stardust after trading then that’s gonna make you wanna trade more often so you can get Pokémon maxed out for lower cost.”
Fast forward to the 12-minute mark or thereabouts in the video above to hear Nick talk about the photo.
As the tweet was specifically about the trading feature, it’s not a bad suggestion. And, as Nick also mentions, this could mimic a facet of trading in the mainline games. When you and friend exchange Pokémon, they get an experience gain boost when used in battle. “Lucky” could be Pokémon Go’s equivalent of that, although it’s not clear if the status will be applied to all traded Pokémon or just a select number.
Niantic hasn’t commented, nor have we seen anything else pertaining to this seeming feature update. Nick’s video goes heavier into hypothesis territory as he says that the time Niantic tweeted the photo could be a clue as to when lucky Pokémon will arrive in-game; his idea is that they’re coming today, July 23.
There’s no sign of them yet, but it seems fair to say we should keep an eye out for a new class of Pokémon sometime soon. We’ve reached out to Niantic for confirmation. The game did just receive a version update, however, which allows you to add nicknames to people on your Friends list and gain experience from sending gifts to one another.