The Pokemon Go buddy system is on its way, and thanks to the lucky trainers who have gotten their hands on the update, we now know much more about how it work.
With this new feature, trainers will be able to select one Pokemon in their inventory as a “buddy.” From then on, the Pokemon will walk with them at all times, and for every few kilometers you travel, you will earn a piece of that Pokemon’s candy (1km, 3km or 5km depending on the species). Once a Pokemon is your buddy, though, you can’t station it as a gym, transfer it to the professor, or perform any other actions that might separate it from you.
But you can, as it turns out, make use of the buddy at a gym. According to a trainer on the Pokemon Go subreddit who received the update earlier than most, it’s possible to train at a friendly gym with your buddy. Not only that, but the buddy will continue to make progress even if it has fainted. For example, let’s say you train with your buddy in a friendly gym and it faints, with the HP draining down to zero. If you keep it as your buddy and keep on walking, the distance you travel after the Pokemon faints still counts towards that Pokemon’s progress.
You can also use your buddy Pokemon to attack an enemy gym. This information may affect which of your Pokemon you want to select as a buddy. If Pokemon theoretically couldn’t attack gyms while also being your buddy, players might have felt the need to hold off on selecting their most powerful Pokemon, but thankfully this is not the case.
It should be noted, though, that there does not seem to be any added incentive to train with your buddy. You don’t, for instance, receive extra candy for it. Instead, your buddy will just function exactly the same as a regular Pokemon. The only two actions it’s restricted from doing as a buddy are being transferred and being stationed at a gym as a defender.
So given this information, which Pokemon should you choose as your buddy as soon as the update goes live? It’s obviously up to each individual player, but in general it’s wise to pick a Pokemon that is relatively rare. That’s because aside from walking Pokemon, the other ways to get a species’ candy is to catch it in the wild or hatch it from an egg. So if you have a Dratini, you won’t exactly be stumbling upon more of its every day, and so the candy is quite difficult to come by. Therefore, making Dratini your buddy and getting candy from walking it would be a good use of your time and energy. You should also, of course, pick a Pokemon you actually need to evolve, not one that is in its final form.
If you change your mind, don’t worry; you can change your Pokemon buddy at any time.
The Pokemon Go buddy update is beginning to roll out to players around the world, though the majority still do not have it yet.