PvP is here in Pokémon GO, and it only took two years. I kid, but only just. Niantic Labs just unlocked one of the largest updates this game has ever seen, giving us the opportunity to engage in combat outside of Gyms for the first time ever. But while the ability to battle friends, strangers and gym leaders is by far the biggest addition to the game, it’s not the only one. We can now unlock a second charged move for all of our Pokémon to use in PvP, gym battles and even raids, allowing a single creature to pull double duty. Unlocking those moves costs both stardust and candy, and in some cases, a lot of it.
Different Pokémon take a different amount of stardust and candies to unlock, loosely correlating to their rarity and power. In a broad sense, the unlock costs are tied to a given Pokemon’s buddy distance. If you’re unsure of what a Pokémon’s buddy distance is, just equip it as your buddy as see how long it takes to earn a single candy. There are four major tiers:
1km: 10k dust / 25 candies
3km: 50k dust / 50 candies
5km: 75k dust / 75 candies
20km: 100k dust / 100 candies
Note that Lucky Pokémon do not get any kind of discount for unlocking the second move.
There are some differences here, however. All starter Pokémon and their evolutions are in the lowest tier, which goes against their buddy distance categorization. And some baby Pokémon are classified in the lowest tier as well, despite their evolutions being classified in higher tiers. This leads to interesting situations for Pokémon like Magby and Elekid: if you teach them their second move while they’re little, it only costs 25 candies and the second move carries on to their next evolution stage. If you wait until they’re evolved, however, it will take 75 candies, so there’s actually a significant savings for nabbing it earlier.
There are also some un-evolved Pokémon that don’t appear to get a second charged move at all, like Magikarp, Caterpie or Wynaut. Their evolutions do get second charged moves, however. It’s complicated.
All in all, these are likely going to change the meta in interesting ways for right now, particularly because these moves are both available in Raids and PvP battles. I was able to quickly unlock a bunch of new moves on my low-cost Golems, but it’s going to be ages before I can get a Tyranitar with both Crunch and Stone Edge, which still seems like one of the best creatures in the game right now. And my Sky Attack/Overheat Moltres is likely never going to happen, unless I grind out an absolutely massive number of rare candies.
Which might be the idea, of course: after a year of largely making top-tier Pokémon easier to obtain, Niantic seems to be introducing more endgame grinds to give level 40 players something to do. Which I’m just fine with, especially as I close in on the end of my experience grind.
I’m a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Republic, IGN.com, Wired and more. I cover social games, video games, technology and that whole gray area that happens when technology and consumers collide.