Everyone wants a Charizard. Everyone. He’s a fire-breathing lizard dragon and is a BAMF and his old holographic card was the holy grail of all booster packs back in the day. Now, in Nintendo and Niantic’s Pokémon Go, no doubt people are vying to nab or evolve their Charmanders and Squirtles into Charizards and Blastoises. (Nobody wants a Venosaur.)
But unlike in the Game Boy games, in which players could level-grind their starter until the little pipsqueak evolves into a ferocious monster, Pokémon Go is about hunting for more Pokémon of the same type and transferring them for Candy. That sucks because that means your low-level Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur (or Pikachu) can’t evolve unless you find more of them, and that’s hard to begin with.
But there are other ways. You’re just not going to like it.
All About Eggs
At various Pokéstops, you may have picked up unhatched Pokémon Eggs. Don’t make them into omelettes. Instead, put them in Incubators. In your Items menu, scroll to the bottom until you see available Incubators. Everyone has an incubator they can use an infinite amount of times, but you can pick up additional Incubators that break after several uses, often three.
To put an Egg in an Incubator, select “Pokémon” from the menu and you’ll see an “Eggs” tab at the top. Pick an Egg, then press “Start Incubation.” If you have an available Incubator, put them in that.
To unhatch an Egg, you have to walk. A lot.
Types of Eggs, Measured by Kilometers
If you’re from the U.S., get friendly with the metric system. To unhatch an Egg, you’ll have to walk a predetermined amount of distance. There are, so far, three types of Pokémon Eggs: Eggs that hatch at 2 km, 5 km, and 10 km.
Most people are trying to hatch 5 km and 10 km Eggs — the Pokémon in those Eggs are the rarest. But if you want a Charizard, you’ll have to hatch those 2 km Eggs. Why? Because it’s in the 2 km Eggs that you can find more starter Pokemon.
I told you you weren’t going to like this answer.
On Reddit (and credited to Pokémon fan portal, Serebeii.net), users have created a chart showing which Pokémon Eggs hatch which Pokémon species. As you can see, the starters you want like Charmander are attainable by hatching 2 km Eggs.
This is straight up gambling. There’s a chance that you’ll march all these miles — I’m sorry, kilometers — only to hatch your hundredth Rattata, and that would really blow (though you’ll probably make a lot of new friends). But when you do hatch that Squirtle, you can either keep it or send it — if it has a very low CP (“Combat Power”) — to the Professor. You’ll get a Pokémon Candy — a Charmander Candy, a Squirtle Candy, a Pikachu Candy, etc. — and if you accumulate enough, you can evolve them. It’s grinding at its worst, but how much do you want that Charizard?
There Is Another Way …
There have been a few flimsy reports of wild Charizards and the like, such as in the case of a beta tester finding one during the game’s pre-release. But now, the best way to find a wild evolved starter is to explore, particularly where wild starters in their earlier forms tend to frequent. Squirtles, like other water-type Pokémon, can be found in lakes, rivers, and other sea areas, whereas Bulbasaurs tend to frequent in grassy parks. Let me know where you find a Charmander, though. I’m still trying to figure that little bastard out. Because I really want a Charizard. I’ll go anywhere. Even the Westboro Baptist Church.