When activating the evolution for a caught pokemon, it seems to amplify the CP. Thus it is most beneficial to evolve your pokemon with the highest CP, if you have multiple of the same kind. But what I am not sure about:

Does it make an efficiency difference, if you spend candies and dust to boost CP before evolving, to gain more from the amplification? Or is it more efficient to just evolve without spending, and then using the leftover candies afterwards, since they now give a bigger CP boost per candy? I only tested with a Rattata so far, which gained +8 CP per candy before evolving, and +15 CP afterwards. I collected no numbers on the amplification efficiency though, and now ran out of materials for further testing.

Or maybe it is a balanced calculation and makes no difference at all? I would love to have some insight on that.

Some data I collected this far: (GPC = CP gain per candy)

Weedle (GPC 6) evolved at 79 CP to a 84 CP Kakuna (GPC 6), evolved at 90 CP to a 297 CP Beedrill Note: The max-CP "half circle" in the profile stayed filled roughly at the same relative position throughout the evolutions.

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    I have a handful of 10cp Rattata. When I acquire sufficient candy, I will test this. – kcborys Jul 7 '16 at 19:05
  • @Captain any progress on those 10cp Rattatas? – Tom Pace Jul 10 '16 at 16:29
  • Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about this thread. I think I will test it this evening. – kcborys Jul 10 '16 at 17:45
  • I think the half circle for the cp is a factor of your current level. At level 10 I wasn't able to boost my Pokemon past 999cp, but after leveling I could go further. I think it's 100x your level is the max. But the scale could change the higher you get. – Brian Schlenker Jul 10 '16 at 20:49
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    @Tom Pace I posted my findings as an answer. If powerups are deterministic, then it appears better to do so after evolution (unless some wacky rounding error occurred...?) and if they're slightly random then it probably does not matter. – kcborys Jul 12 '16 at 15:57
up vote 58 down vote accepted

When you evolve a Pokemon, its CP circle stays as full as it did before.

As a result, it really doesn't matter in which order you boost a Pokemon. However, you should keep a few points in mind:

  • Powerups cost more Candies the more CP a Pokemon has (based on a Pokemon's level).
  • Powerups cost more Stardust the more CP a Pokemon has (again, based on level).

Cost will increase every second powerup.

Therefore, it makes sense to power up a Pokemon until it is near the upper end of your CP ring. As the ring stays in the same place, it will give you a rather decent CP per Candy ratio.

For example, if a Pokemon's max CP was 515 and it is currently at 425, it would make sense to power it up to 500 or more. At that point, you should evolve it, provided you have the candies.

Overall, you'll still be using fewer candies because you're doing most of your evolution on the lower side of the scale, and using the Evolution mechanic to sharply spike the Pokemon's CP.

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    You say evolutions cost less stardust the less CP you have? I have never even seen an evolution costing stardust. Don't you mean powerup? – Ivo Beckers Jul 10 '16 at 11:00
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    @kasoban imgur.com/a/TCWJ0 – Kaz Wolfe Jul 12 '16 at 15:32
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    @KazWolfe I just tested a little. I powered up a pidgey as far as my trainer level would allow. Even then I hit the limit where it started costing more than 1k dust and subsequently also 2 candies. I then evolved and directly evolved again. Dust and Candy costs stayed the same even when arriving at Pidgeot. It seems to just not matter, and only be bound to ratio of max CP, evolution stage irrelevant. – kasoban Jul 12 '16 at 19:52
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    This post suggests that powerup cost is based solely on raw CP value, which is incorrect. The costs do increase with a Pokemon's CP, but the cost increase thresholds vary across species and evolutions have proportional costs (e.g. it costs the same to power up a rattata at 90% max CP as it does to power up a raticate at 90% max CP). Perhaps an edit is in order? – mcargille Jul 13 '16 at 16:15
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    The top half of this answer is correct, but the bottom half deviates from that and is not correct. Yes, the cost to power up is based on a Pokemon's level. But, evolving does not change the level of the Pokemon. It changes the stats, including CP, of the Pokemon. But since powering up is based on level, the costs to power up do not change. In fact, I'd recommend not powering up pre-evolution so that you can see what attack abilities the evolved form will have. – Ellesedil Sep 15 '16 at 21:57

There is no difference.

The cost (in candies and stardust) to power up a Pokemon is based on the following factors:

  • The cost increases as the Pokemon's CP increases.
  • Each Pokemon species has separate thresholds for the increases in power up costs.
  • Evolutions have proportional thresholds for power up cost increases.

For example, a Rattata and a Jigglypuff at the same CP will have different power up costs. However, a Rattata and a Raticate with proportional CPs (Same place on the semicircle and same percentage of maximum CP) will have the same power up costs.

Since CP increases from power ups are also proportional across evolutions, you'll get the same results for the same amount of stardust and candies whether you power up the Pokemon before or after evolving it.

It should make no difference at all.

Each Pokemon you obtain will have two sets of values and a level, which are all used to determine the CP value. All Pokemon of the same species will share the same base stats, while each individual Pokemon will also have a unique set of individual values (IVs).

If you look at Pokemon at the same level, you'll find that the possible CP values are dependant on the IVs of each Pokemon. That is, at each level, there's a range of possible CPs for each type of Pokemon.

For example.

A level 1 Bulbasaur can have a CP value between 11 and 15, depending on the IVs of the Bulbasaur.

If you power up a Pokemon, its level will increase by one half level. The now level 1.5 Bulbasaur, will have a CP value between 24 and 31.

If you had two identical Bulbasaurs (not likely), you would find that either way you chose to power it up, you'd end up with the exact same Pokemon.

Keep in mind that you can only ever power up a Pokemon, to 1.5 levels above your trainer level. So for a level 1 trainer, you can only power up a Pokemon to level 2.5.

For the following example, the trainer level is 1, and we have two of the worst level 1 Bulbasaurs ever (0% IV). So in both scenarios, the Bulbasaur starts out at CP 11.

In the first example, we'll power him up to level 2.5 (the max we can). At this point, we'll have a Bulbasaur with a CP of 49. Once the Bulbasaur is at max level, we'll evolve it all the way up. After the first evolution, we'll have a 79 CP Ivysaur. Evolving again leaves us with a 131 CP Venusaur.

Starting with the second Bulbasaur, We'll evolve it into a 18 CP Ivysaur, and further evolve it into a 31 CP Venusaur. After powering up the Venusaur to level 2.5, we'll be left once again with a 131 CP Venusaur.

Low level Bulbasaur values


As you can see, in both scenarios we ended up with the same exact Pokemon.

Keep in mind, however, that as your trainer level increase, you'll catch more powerful Pokemon. So if you evolve a Pokemon when you're at lower trainer levels, you could find that you're catching more powerful wild Pokemon later.

All that being said, there's at least one advantage to evolving first. And that's knowing the evolved Pokemon's move set, prior to spending large amounts of stardust to power it up. If you evolve a Pokemon and the final evolution has a bad move set, you might not want to spend stardust powering it up. If instead you powered it up before evolving, you'll be stuck with a high CP Pokemon with cruddy moves.

Data courtesy of The Silph Road

  • While your comment about the move set does not exactly fit the original question about CP levels, it's very very relevant for the core idea behind the question: Cost efficiency. Thanks! – kasoban Aug 23 '16 at 8:44

I'm level 15, and what I have found is that the higher your level is, the higher max CP your Pokemon will have.

If you want the highest court, then save your dust for later levels. I maxed out a raticate at around level 7 and it had 387 cp. Later, I evolved a new Ratata and the Raticate was at 562 with no leveling.

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    In your example, were you able to continue upgrading your 387 Raticate when you leveled up? – Taegost Jul 11 '16 at 14:00
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    @Taegost everything i've read suggests that max CP increases for your existing pokemon when you level up - so yes – CodeMoose Jul 12 '16 at 22:58
  • Yeah, I started researching after I read this and looking at my Pokemon, everything I've seen backs up what you're saying – Taegost Jul 13 '16 at 12:33
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    Leveling up over several days also yields ever increasing wild CP, although I'm stating the obvious there. In game, I had a 590 Pidgeot burning like 10k of dust, after a few days of playing the game, but yesterday now a week into the game, I spotted my first wild pidgeot, cp 969. Great balls + razz berries + great throws, lost 30-40 balls, all I had, no success. But next week I'll probably catch a 1000+ pidgeot. – Tom Pace Jul 15 '16 at 16:15
  • I suspect this is closer to the correct answer based on what I've read and discussed with other players. (I'm currently level 8). While I see a lot of people discussing CP, damage points should also be taken into consideration when deciding which creatures to send to Prof. Willow vs which ones to keep IMHO. – Rick Henderson Jul 22 '16 at 15:47

I collected some data. I started with two CP 10 Weedle. I evolved one and then powered it up, and I powered up the other and then evolved it.

1) Evolution then powerup yielded 11 CP. Powerup then evolution yielded 10 CP.

2) From experience powering up another Pokemon earlier today, the powerup seems to give a slightly randomized amount (unless the server lagged and somehow calculated multiple powerups at once for part of it). If there is in fact a range rather than a fixed increase, then this question becomes much harder to definitively answer. However, I speculate that the order does not really matter.

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    That's a heuristic I've adopted as well, before now finding your comment/answer. Also this is after tracking all stats on about 3-4 pokemon of each of pidgey, eevee, rattata that with altering powered-up/evolve experiments. The order does not really matter. So we're both on the same page, awesome. For myself, I'm now focussed on grander level game play, like choosing to primarily hunt in an dedicated area of a city/town to get recurring powerful pokemon. I've been hunting eevees almost exclusively the last week, and starting a bulbasaur collection. – Tom Pace Jul 15 '16 at 16:08
  • I love that you were able to test this carefully. I would still be interested to see what happens in a case where evolving the pokemon causes their power-up cost to rise. Then it comes down to the question of which is more valuable...the cheaper and lower power-ups that stack with the evolution boost or the expensive and higher power-ups that won't be stacked with evolution boost. – Hagelt18 Jul 19 '16 at 17:20
  • I realize this is an old answer, but in order to truly test this, you would need to find two Pokemon at the same level and with the same IV's. Just depending on CP will provide enough variation that any results from a test would be very suggestive, but not completely conclusive. – Ellesedil Sep 15 '16 at 22:00
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    @Ellesedil I posted this before people realized that IV's were part of the game, but based on the fact that calculators exist to compute IV's, I assume somebody figured out how CP works when some players were decompiling the code. From this, I think it's safe to assume CP is deterministic. – kcborys Sep 16 '16 at 18:05

Every time you power up your pokemon, the cost of powering up will increase. Since powering up will cost one or more candies, the more cost-efficient strategy is to evolve the pokemon and then powerup it.

My strategy here is to catch the highest CP pokemon from the same species, then look at his attack and decide if it coulds fit my needed: more powerful attacks or a type-based attack?

Then evolve, then power up.

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    Well, that's exactly the question. If the evolution CP amplification is at factor 2 or above, it will actually be more efficient to powerup before evolving. – kasoban Jul 8 '16 at 8:30
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    More importantly, you seem to be focusing on Dust cost. There you are definitely mistaken, as dust cost seems to scale on current CP level compared to max. Examples: I have a CP10 weedle costing 200 dust, a cp25 weedle costing 400 to boost, and a CP71 weedle costing 800 to boost. All never boosted before. – kasoban Jul 8 '16 at 9:48
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    Not every time. It goes up with every 20% or so. I also don't see the logic in the first paragraph. – poepje Jul 20 '16 at 12:24
  • The moves after evolving are randomized, so looking at them before evolving is moot. – scenia Sep 16 '16 at 4:49

You should wait to feed your pokemon until after you have evolved it.

The reason is simple: At any time you may come across a pokemon of the same species with a higher CP. Now you want to evolve that one instead, and the candy-investment you did on the first pokemon was in vain.

Edit: Most relevant for low-level players, check comments below

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    While your answer is correct, your reasons are not necessarily true for all players. I'm at a high enough trainer level where I care about two other things more than what CP the Pokemon has: it's moveset after evolving, and it's IV's. If I catch a very weak Pokemon but it has perfect IV's, I'll evolve it. And if it gets a desirable set of attacks, I'll power it up. – Ellesedil Sep 15 '16 at 22:04
  • @Ellesedil: Good points, thanks! – Abulafia Sep 16 '16 at 7:28

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