So I have been playing Pokemon Go a little differently than most people.

I haven’t been focusing on training and battling at Gyms nor have I been hunting
the rarest and highest CP Pokemon I can find. Instead I have been focusing on comparing the Pokemon I catch with one another to find out what makes them all different and researching the hidden potential of Pokemon that so many others overlook. What makes one Pokemon of the same breed stronger than another and how can we trainers weed through the average ones to find the best? How can we find the ones with hidden strength?

The answer centers around the CP Arch.

pokemon go cp arch

Most people view the CP Arch as the half-circle that visually shows how close a Pokemon is to reaching it’s maximum CP, but it is much more than that.
The CP Arch is the closest thing to the “levels” of the normal Pokemon games and it is the best tool we have to compare Pokemon gauge their potential.
How is it like a a level?

Well, the farther along the Pokemon is on it’s Arch, the higher “level” it is. The same goes for the reverse, if a Pokemon is just starting on it’s Arch then it is at a low “level”. So how does this help determine which Pokemon are stronger? It’s simple, if two Pokemon are at the exact same point on their Archs then they are at the same “level” and their CP and HP can be compared to see which one is the best.

And believe me, there will be a best.

Pokemon in Pokemon Go are not created equal, some have higher HP, some have higher CP, and some have both higher HP and CP. What determines this isn’t clear, some people have looked to the weight and size for answers. Trying to determine if XS or XL Pokemon have different HP or CP values.

From what I have seen, XS and XL might have some effect, but if they do then it is small and definitely not the deciding factor. I have personally seen many XS and XL Pokemon with all sorts of different stats. Sometimes an XS will have more HP than a XL, sometimes it’s the other way around, other times the XS will have more CP than the XL and vise versa. It’s all over the place with no clear consistent patterns.

So, if it’s not weight and size, then what is causing the difference? I believe that Pokemon have hidden values, much like Internal Values or IVs in the normal Pokemon games. IVs are essentially hidden bonus stats that cause Pokemon to be stronger in some areas. Of course Pokemon Go’s IVs are much simpler as there are only two stats, CP and HP.

This brings us back to the CP Arch and using it to compare Pokemon to find those with the best IVs and the most potential. The only effective method I have found of discovering which Pokemon are the strongest is by comparing them to others of their kind. And I don’t mean just one comparison, if you really want to have the best of the best you will have to continuously compare your Pokemon to their counterparts.

First off, it helps to have several Pokemon of the breed you want to compare at various
“levels” (various postions on the CP Arch). Then, you start with the Pokemon at the lowest “level” (the one furthest back on it’s Arch).

Wait what?

If we are trying to find the best, why are we starting with the weakest one?

Well, because the way you will find the strongest is by making a chain of comparisons by moving from the bottom to the top and systematically eliminating the ones that fall short.

Once you are finished, you be left with the figurative cream of the crop.

So, here we are with the lowest “level” Pokemon of the chosen breed, let’s use Zubats as an example because we all probably have a dozen laying around (if you don’t, finding
more won’t be much of a problem).

What you do is power-up that lowest “level” Zubat until it’s Arch is at the exact same spot as the Arch of the second lowest “level” Zubat you have. It can be tough to try and eyeball the Archs, so what I do is put a strip of paper over the screen so that only the little ball at the end of the arch is visible, then you can swipe back and forth between the two Pokemon to see if the Archs match. Once they do then you can compare the two Pokemon. Look at their CP and HP, and the one with the better stats is the stronger Zubat.



In this case the lowest “level” Pokemon is 150 CP and the one it will be compared with is 177CP



After powering up the 150 CP Zubat and matching Archs with the 177 CP Zubat, I am now in a position to compare their stats.

Now, I recommend marking the winner of the comparison with the star at the top right of the screen. This will list it as one of your favorites and differentiate it from the others.


Now it will be easy to find on your roster if you take a break, and it will help make sure you don’t accidentally use your weaker Pokemon for the next step. The next step being a repeat of the first.

You take your star marked Zubat and again power it up so that it’s Arch matches the next Zubat in line, and again you compare their CP and HP to determine which is the better Pokemon.

Should your star marked Pokemon end up being the weaker of the two, then it is time to take back the star and give it to the new winner.

The winner will continue to advance up the ladder and you will repeat the process of powering up and comparing over and over until your left with a high powered Zubat that has proven itself superior to all the rest.

You may run into a few bumps along the way, for instance, what happens if the comparison doesn’t have a clear cut winner? One such example would be if one Zubat has higher CP but the other has higher HP (like the two I compared in the above screenshots).

This comes down to personal choice and preference, but I usually take the one with more HP. Why? Because HP generally has smaller gains per power-up and is therefore
a more valuable statistic in my opinion.

That said, if the CP is significantly higher (I usually draw the line at +10 CP) then I will take the one with more CP over HP as the CP difference is simply too big to ignore.

The other time things can get tricky is after you’ve gone through the whole comparison process and start catching new uncompared Pokemon. It’s pretty easy if the
newly caught Pokemon is higher up on the CP Arch or at a higher “level” than your star marked champion. You just power-up your star Pokemon to match the Arch of the newcomer and then compare like usual.

Where things get tricky is if the new Pokemon is farther behind on it’s Arch or at a lower “level” than your star Pokemon.

Do you spend the stardust to power-up the newcomer so you can compare it to your star Pokemon which has already proven itself stronger than so many others? Isn’t that just going to be a waste of stardust?

Well, yes and no.

It is good to see if your star Pokemon is still on top and to make sure you don’t overlook a Pokemon that may be the one-in-a-hundred that can surpass it. But you can’t realisticly
spend all your stardust powering up every single new Zubat just to make that comparison.

So, there are two ways you can deal with the situation:

#1 – Do a little guesswork to see if the new Zubat is worth powering up and comparing. I’ve found that the average gain from a power-up for most stage one Pokemon (Pokemon
who are in their basic unevolved form) is 8 CP and 1 HP per power-up. With those figures you can use your star marked Zubat’s CP to get a good idea of how many times you would need to power up the newcomer to match it. So if the star marked Zubat is at 220 CP and the newcomer is at 150 CP, that means you’d need to power the new one up about 9 times. Now you look at the HP, whatever the newcomer’s HP is just add 9 to it (+1 HP for each power up) and then compare it to your star Zubat’s HP. Let’s say the newcomer has 32 HP and the star has 44 HP, even with the 9 point increase bringing it to 41 HP it would still be weaker than your star Zubat, so it would not be worth powering up as the estimate is not in it’s favor. On the flip side, if the newcomers HP were to be equal to or above the star Zubat, then it would mean that the estimate shows that it does have the potential to be better than the star Zubat and is worth powering up to get a genuine comparison.

#2 – Do nothing with the new Zubat for some time. Just save up your newly caught Zubats until you have a dozen or so and then do what you did the first time.
Start with the low “level” one and work your way up until you end up with a second star marked super Zubat. Then you compare your two star Zubats and see which is the best.
The nice thing about doing it this way is that you end up with another above average Pokemon that you can use as a backup for Gym stuff later on or you can save it for the day
when trading Pokemon with other players becomes a thing.

Lastly there are a few important tips and suggestions regarding this strategy.

When I talk about starting with the a low “level” Pokemon, I mean one within reason. If your highest CP Zubat is at 230 CP and your lowest is 26 CP, that is a HUGE gap to cover and it will take a ton of stardust and time to get there. You’re better off choosing a more reasonable starting point at something like 100 CP instead and simply sending anything below that point off to Professor Willow.

Another thing to remember is that your quest to find the best Pokemon of your chosen breed comes with a price, and that price is stardust.

Seriously, you will use A LOT of stardust doing this.

Not only will you be using your stardust, but you will also be “wasting” some of it. It’s inevitable that some of the Pokemon you power-up to compare will fall short and find their
way to the transfer list. You could see this as wasted stardust but I view it as just part of the process. After all, there is no other way to get a true and honest comparison
so don’t sweat it too much. Another downside is that you will have to put any focused powering up and training of a single Pokemon for Gym stuff on hold while you power-up and compare your other Pokemon.

However, given that Gyms are currently pretty glitchy and unreliable, I think now is the optimal time to try to find your Pokemon with hidden strength.

Because once Gyms stabilize and are working properly, you will have some top tier Pokemon in your arsenal that you can freely train and power up without having to worry about coming across something stronger. It also means that your Pokemon will likely end up being stronger than those of many other trainers in the long run, as their Pokemon will cap out with lower CP and HP once trainer levels start to stagnate due to ever increasing exp requirements.

After all, isn’t one of the main goals of being a Pokemon trainer to be the very best? And to do that you will naturally need some of the very best Pokemon. It won’t be easy to find them, it will take patience, time, and loads of stardust (I know because I’ve done it). But I believe the end result to be worth all the effort.

Weather you use this strategy or not I’d like to thank you for your time and for reading this. It took awhile for me to gather enough Pokemon to properly research this, and it took even longer once I had them in order test my theories and gain the knowledge that made this guide possible. I’d also like to thank my wife putting up with my babbling about Pokemon and helping drive me around in order to hit up Pokestops and catch a good variety of Pokemon.

Speaking of babbling…. 😉


Silvus Sol, self-proclaimed Pokemon Professor (Pokemon Go Hawaii)