When Niantic announced the new Lucky Friend feature, you could tell it was going to be a big deal. Niantic had delivered on a truly great idea that works to keep people playing the game and interacting with their best friends. People are opening and sending gifts left and right. People who have never done PVP before are trying it out just for the chance at a Lucky Friend. It’s been incredible. The excitement when people get a Lucky friend has rivaled anything I have seen in the community so far.
But, uh, now what? What will we actually do for our guaranteed Lucky Trade? Time that could be spent trying to become Lucky Friends again is being wasted deliberating over what to do. In this guide, we are going to go over Pokemon worth targeting in Lucky Trades and go over some recommendations and considerations. For more information on Lucky Friends and Pokemon Go friendships in general, check out the Friendship, Trading, and Gifting Guide.
Top Legendary Targets
One easy idea is to get a guaranteed Lucky roll on an elite Legendary pokemon. It’s not that hard to look a tier list and just pick one. This is a very reasonable and solid strategy, especially if you happen to have a lot of candy lying around. If the thing stopping you from leveling up or maxing out a certain legendary was either a) not having a great IV specimen or b) the enormous dust cost involved, then this is the trade for you.
Might be the best choice on a level. Rayquaza has the highest neutral DPS in game, other than the knocked out by a stiff breeze Deoxys Attack Forme, in addition to being the best Dragon attacker in the game for the foreseeable future. Yes, Outrage Salamence is now a close second, but why not use your Lucky Trade to have the best of the best?
The best Ghost attacker in the game. Fantastic opportunity for people who don’t have access to the other great (and now legacy) Ghost attackers like EX Mewtwo and Shadow Claw/Lick Gengar. This is the Pokemon you wish you had during the Mewtwo raid month. With plenty more Psychic raid bosses to come and little competition until future generations, you could do a lot worse than to get your hands on a Lucky Giratina Origin Forme
Legacy Move: Shadow Ball
If you are Lucky enough to have someone willing to trade you this legacy Pokemon then this is a solid option. It’s one of the best Ghost attackers, the best Psychic attacker (when you add a second move), and just a strong raid counter in general. Also, as someone who grew up on Gen One, having a Lucky Mewtwo is just a great feeling. Highly recommended.
Kyogre is the best Water attacker in the game and will continue to be so for quite some time. It’s worth noting that with Origin Pulse in the game code, a better version of Kyogre is likely to exist at some point. That being said, Kyogre’s current moveset is really good to the point where it’s not THAT steep of a downgrade and we have no idea how long it will be until Origin Pulse is a thing. I’d still list this as a solid and safe Lucky Trade target. Bonus points if shiny.
Groudon rounds out the weather trio for this section. I’m torn on Groudon, though. On one hand, it is the best Ground-type attacker in the game and will be for quite some time, likely only ever being beaten by Precipice Blade Groudon whenever that comes out. On the other hand, Ground attackers aren’t that useful. Decent Lucky Trade target if you are interested in Master League PvP. It’s more the limited need for a Ground attacker than Precipice Blade FOMO that keeps me from rushing to do a Lucky Groudon Trade.
Not a lot calls for a Fire attacker, but Moltres is best-in-show at the role. I would personally do the Lucky Trade on a Sky Attack Moltres and then give it Overheat as a second move. Given the overlap between what Fire and Flying are effective against and the fact that there aren’t any amazing pure Flying attackers right now, this double move Moltres can essentially fill two roles for the price of one. Neither of these roles are incredibly useful right now, but it provides good coverage in addition to being a decent generalist.
Maybe your trading partner doesn’t have a lot of Legendaries. Maybe YOU don’t have a lot of Legendaries to trade back. Maybe you just don’t have the candy situation to actually power up a Legendary Pokemon. Fear not, there are still many great useful targets to use your guaranteed Lucky Trade on. This section will focus mostly on Pokemon that a) are very useful in raids and b) you should have a decent amount of candy for due to either it not being that rare or it having had a Community Day. Another bonus of these Pokemon is that they don’t (or at least shouldn’t) use up your special trade for the day unless you are trading shiny versions. I have split these Pokemon into two sub-groups, the first being Pokemon with legacy/exclusive moves and the second being Pokemon you could catch/evolve today and have the optimal moveset. You should prioritize the first group in my opinion. You can, for example, farm Machops all day for a Lucky Machamp, but there a limited number of Meteor Mash Metagross you can trade for.
Legacy Moves: Lick/Shadow Claw
The longtime 1a and 1b of Ghost DPS. I would prioritize the Shadow Claw variant to its slightly better DPS and greater rarity. Both versions lose the TDO battle to Giratina Origin Forme, but Gengar is less likely to require a serious Rare Candy expenditure to power up.
Legacy Move: Smack Down
While it is outpaced by Rampardos as a Rock-type attacker, my guess that you and your trading partner will have both greater access to the far more durable Tyranitar and more Larvitar candy to further power it up.
Legacy Move: Meteor Mash
A very versatile raid counter in its own right, it has many resistances, great neutral DPS (Meteor Mash is busted) and really shines when faced up against Fairy, Ice, or Rock-type raid bosses. The best Steel attacker the game will see for years, Meteor Mash Metagross is a very safe and useful Lucky Trade target.
Legacy Move: Hydro Cannon
The best non-Legendary Water attacker available right now, you could certainly do worse than a Lucky Feraligatr. My main concerns would be that it’s simply not as a good as Kyogre and that Feraligatr will face stiff competition from Swampert once we have a Mudkip Community Day.
Legacy Move: Frenzy Plant
Worse than Roserade as a Grass attacker, but it is still pretty useful and exclusive moves are cool.
Not as cool or as rare as the above options, but still useful Lucky Trade targets.
Mafreakingchamp the Purple Punching Machine. Machamp’s utility is no secret. It is great for taking down gyms, great for raids, and great for when you need some extra hands to carry in the groceries. Considering that most trainers will have access to lots of Machop candy this is a great economical choice to seriously up your PvE game. If you were to receive a level 30 Machop in a guaranteed Lucky Trade it would only cost you 307 candy and 75,000 dust to evolve it and max it out.
Double bonus for filling one of the tougher to get spots in the Lucky Dex. If you care about such things then doing a guaranteed Lucky Trade on an Elekid and then evolving it gives you possibly the best Electric-type PvE attacker in the game and 3 Lucky Dex entries all in one trade! It can outpace Raikou as an Electric attacker in raids, especially if you have the candy to power your Lucky Electivire past where you would power up your Raikou. Great Lucky Trade target to prepare your raid teams for any Water or Flying type raid bosses.
Gyarados is worse than Feraligatr as a PvE Water attacker. However, Gyarados does not require you to a) find someone willing to trade you a Feraligatr with the Community Day exclusive move Hydro Cannon and b) have enough candy to power up said Feraligatr as much as you would/could power up a Gyarados. Solid choice in a pinch.
In addition to likely being a new Lucky Dex entry, Roserade is the strongest Grass DPS in the game by a decent margin. It also doesn't require a legacy/exclusive move to shine which makes it easier to trade for. Easy peasy Lucky Trade choice. Extra credit for that beautiful shiny.
A versatile PvE Pokemon, being among the best Ground Type and Rock Type attackers in the game. If you already have one of these roles covered (say you already have an army of strong Groudon) then Rhyperior is a great way to fill the gap in the other role on your raid teams.
The Gen 4 Ice King. Mamoswine sits on its frozen throne waiting for any Dragon or Flying raid boss to come its way. The best option by a mile for the inevitable return of Rayquaza raids. Might be the best Ice-type we ever get in the game, so I would say this is a very safe Lucky Trade target. If you want to duo Rayquaza, this is the Pokemon to go for.
The best Rock attacker in the game. How useful that is, and how much Rampardos candy you have lying around are real concerns, but if you want to use Rampardos, you will want a Lucky one.
Great and Ultra League Considerations
If you follow PvP closely, you know that great or perfect IVs are not often what you want. As a matter of fact, when trading for or rerolling Pokemon for trainer battles, getting a Lucky Trade is often a bummer. HOWEVER, there are some Pokemon who you actively want a perfect or near perfect version as they max out below or just above the Great League or Ultra League CP caps at level 40. In addition to ensuring yourself a great IV version to work with, halving the dust cost to take something to/near level 40 is nothing to sneeze at.
In addition to being one of my favorite shinies in the game, Azumarill is a force to be reckoned with in freestyle Great League or in any theme cup featuring Water or Fairy-types. Twilight Cup featured a ton of strong Poison-types, which should theoretically be a huge weakness for Azumarill and yet it still managed to be a cornerstone of many winning lineups, mine included. It needs to be powered up to the level 38-40 range, so saving a hundred thousand dust or so on the whole deal is pretty nice. If you do your Lucky Trade for an Azurill, remember to give it a second move BEFORE you evolve it.
A star of the current Kingdom Cup, Bastiodon is a bruiser. Has the powerful Smack Down fast move and the tankiness to go for days in trainer battles. It reaches 1539 CP at level 40 with 100% IVs so you can imagine the importance of having great to excellent IVs if you want to optimize old shield face for battle. Shieldon candy is not always easy to come by, but at least you can reduce the dust cost.
So good it had to be barred from the upcoming Nightmare Cup. Decent typing and solid survivability at level 40, where you must power it up to as it maxes out below 1500. The new Power-Up Punch only makes Medicham more of a potential nightmare (sorry) to see across the battlefield. It’s hard to say how consistently it will be barred from Silph Arena theme cups, but given Medicham’s strength when it is allowed, I would call it a reasonably safe Lucky Trade target for the PvP minded trainer.
Another Pokemon so good at what it does that it had to be banned from the Nightmare Cup. Maxes out at 1476 so you want as close to perfect IVs as possible for your Sableye. Weak only to Fairy attacks, Sableye is very solid in Great League when allowed.
A lot of times the best targets for this kind of Lucky Trade depends on what tournament or themed cup is taking place at the time. Lesser hyped Pokemon such as Kanto Grimer, Dustox, and Magnemite have all had potential as useful pieces in winning lineups. It depends on the meta and your team strategy. Stay tuned to the Meta Simplified series for future PvP Lucky Trade targets.
I don’t see Master League as the premier trainer battle format at the moment, but there is no reason not to go for a Lucky version of something you want to use in Master League. In Master League, having 100% IVs and being level 40 is optimal so guaranteeing a good IV specimen and halving the dust cost makes a lot of sense for your Master League mons. This is especially true when trading for rare legacy Pokemon like Dragon Breath Dragonite. Who knows how many of those you will be able to trade for, so may as well make sure the one you get is good. A nice bonus is that some of these mons are already really good for raids, so you get a lot of value when powering them up.
Not everyone cares about raids and gyms. Not everyone cares about tournaments and trainer battles. What some people care about most in the game are their trophies and their Lucky Dex. Is there a special shiny that you really want a Lucky version of? Are you sick of rerolling Legendaries one day at a time trying in vain for a Lucky? Maybe you just can’t seem to get that Lucky Lapras you need. The best part about this kind of Lucky Trade is that there is no right or wrong answer. It can be whatever you want it to be. That being said, I would recommend focusing on harder to fill Lucky Dex slots, like regionals and Legendaries before moving on to more common things. Guaranteed Lucky Trades is truly an amazing feature for the avid collector.
Lucky Trade Strategy Considerations
The mistake that I think everyone is making is that they are sitting on their Lucky Trades too long and trying to come up with the perfect Lucky Trade. We don’t know the Lucky Friend rate, but we do know that they aren’t impossibly rare and we do know that you can become Lucky Friends with the same person more than once. I would think it generally wiser to just do a Lucky Trade that you can both be happy with and work towards going Lucky again rather than spend forever agonizing over what Lucky Trade to do.
As the friendship feature continues to age, and as people have more and more best friends there is no reason to worry about every Lucky Trade being the perfect trade. There is no “bad” Lucky unless you trade for a Bidoof. We have been trading and trading Legendaries/shinies, forever without this feature and if they took it away tomorrow we would continue to do so.
Unless you and a friend have a specific trade in mind and are waiting for it to be a Lucky Trade, it will probably be a lot less stressful and a lot more fun to just go through a list like this, find a trade you can be happy with, and move on with your life. Treat it as a bonus for playing rather than a precious resource that you don’t want to waste. At the end of the day, this is a friendship feature in a mobile game, not a life-altering decision.
Another thing to consider is the coordination of the trade itself. You can only do one special trade every day and trades cannot be done remotely. If your Lucky friend(s) live in different areas and/or you rarely see them, this might affect what trades you want to do. If the only time you can Lucky Trade with multiple people is on, say, Community Day, then just doing some of them as non-special trades and trying to get Lucky again is probably better than holding on to Lucky Friends for months at a time.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas about how to think about your Lucky Trades and what to trade for. In addition to checking back for updates to this list as more Pokemon are released, I would recommend checking out this list of attackers and the rolling Flavor of the Month which accounts for the current raid bosses for more Lucky Trade ideas.