Stardust is one of Pokemon Go’s most important resources, but it’s also one of the least explained and hardest to understand mechanics of the game.
No matter how much or little you’ve played Pokemon Go, you’ll already likely have a few thousand Stardust, while veteran players will probably have over a million. Here, we’ll explain not only how to get Stardust, but why it’s important in the first place.
Getting Stardust From Pokemon
The reason you’ll already have some Stardust even if you don’t really know what it is is because you get 100 Stardust for each Pokemon catch. In the economy of Pokemon Go, 100 Stardust isn’t really very much, although over time it will add up. Also, if you catch a Pokemon every day for seven days, you’ll get 3000 Stardust, and this can be repeated every week.
You’ll also get some Stardust for hatching eggs and defending Gyms. How far the egg distance is will influence how much Stardust you get, but again, these are the small totals which add up in the long run. As for defending Gyms, you get 20 Stardust for every Berry you feed to a Gym defender, though there is a cooldown which stops you from earning more than 100 Stardust every five minutes.
Considering all of these are the basic functions of Pokemon Go, it’s impossible to play the game and not gain Stardust, even if you don’t really know what it is or what it’s for.
Getting Stardust From Battles
Another small way to keep your Stardust topped up is through battling. Defeating Team Rocket will net you 100 Stardust a time, so again it’s a little and often approach which will make the big difference. You’ll also get 500 Stardust when you win a Raid, but as we explain later on, you might have to spend Stardust to make Stardust here, as getting your Pokemon in tip top shape requires some Stardust expenditure. The difficulty of the Raid does not influence the Stardust you get, so it might be worth using that free Raid Pass every day on the easier Raids if you’re looking to raise your Stardust.
Getting Stardust From Research
The Stardust boost you get from research tends to be the biggest boost, but is also less reliable. After all, you can catch unlimited Pokemon per day - Pokeball supply and Pokemon spawns permitting - so you can always count on that to provide some Stardust. Research tasks can’t be repeated in the same way, so can’t be counted on as regularly.
However, they’re still a very helpful resource. There are essentially two types of research; daily tasks and special research. You can get three daily tasks per day by spinning different Pokestops, and Niantic also gives you a daily task for logging in, though this feature was added for the pandemic and may eventually be removed. It is rare though not unheard of for these daily tasks to reward Stardust; in most cases, these Stardust rewards happen during events, when the event comes with its own tasks.
Special research is different. These are themed, storyline quests, which often tie into either catching a Mythical Pokemon or participating in a seasonal storyline, say for Halloween. These special research quests are broken down into lots of individual tasks, and several of these reward Stardust in significantly higher quantities than the platry 100 a pop from catching a Pokemon.
Pokemon Go has an item called a Star Piece. These can be bought from the shop for 100 Coins, or you can get eight for 640 Coins. Aside from buying them, they’re pretty rare. You can only otherwise get them from leveling up, or from special research rewards. While you can’t rely on these methods consistently, as leveling up takes a long time and special research can’t be repeated, 100 Coins is pretty good value.
Regardless of how you get your Star Pieces, what you need to know is that they last for 30 minutes and make all Stardust earned in that time increase by 50%. It’s therefore best to use Stardust right before you know you’re due a big boost, like your 3000 Stardust weekly reward.
Niantic is nearly always running some kind of event in Pokemon Go, and this often means a Stardust boost. You can check the boosts active for any specific event in the game’s Event tab or the News section, but a lot of them will offer increased Stardust. In those cases, using a Star Piece can be even more valuable.
What Is Stardust Used For In Pokemon Go?
Now that you’ve got more Stardust than you know what to do with, we should probably explain what you’re supposed to do with it. While you can get by catching Pokemon and expanding your PokeDex without the need for Stardust, if you want to make your team the very best, like no one ever was, you’ll need to keep some Stardust on hand.
Stardust’s primary purpose is to power up your Pokemon. You can level your Pokemon up until that white curve above it is as far to the right as it will go. Slightly confusingly, every time you level up your trainer, each Pokemon gets two extra segments to the curve, so a fully levelled up Pokemon can be levelled up twice more for everytime you level up. Levelling up Pokemon will cost Stardust and Candies, though it will cost more of each depending on how high your Pokemon’s level already is.
Considering how small the quantities of Stardust you get for any individual action, levelling up is incredibly expensive. Getting a Pokemon from level 1 to level 40 costs 270,000 Stardust, for example. For that reason, you should only focus on Pokemon you’re likely to use in Raids, and ideally Pokemon with good IVs. IVs are individual values, and refer to their rating out of 15 for Attack, Defence, and HP. These can be found by selecting a Pokemon then choosing Appraise from the menu.
Stardust is also used for trading, and this can be expensive too. The Pokemon costs more Stardust to trade if it's going to be a new PokeDex entry, if it’s a shiny or Legendary, and if you aren’t Best Friends with the trader. There is a huge amount of fluctuation here, too. Trading a non-Shiny, non-Legendary Pokemon you both already have in the PokeDex costs just 100 Stardust; very easy and cheap. This cost is not influenced by your Friend rank.
However, trading a Legendary Pokemon one of you doesn’t have, with someone who is only a Good Friend (the lowest rank), costs 1,000,000 Stardust. This lowers to 40,000 Stardust if you are Best Friends (the highest rank), or drops to 20,000 if the non-Dex registered Pokemon is not a Legendary or Shiny. That’s the total for Good Friends, and if you’re Best Friends with the trader, a non-Dex, non-Shiny, non-Legendary trade costs just 800 Stardust. It pays to keep your Friend rank topped up with as many people as possible.
With that, you know every possible way to get Stardust in the game, and exactly what it’s used for. That’s all you need to be a Pokemon Master!