Pokémon GO is all about catching, collecting, and filling out your Pokédex with elusive and powerful monsters. There are hundreds of Pokémon to collect, and some even have exclusive costumes or variants in Pokémon GO not found in any other Pokémon games.
Some Pokémon in Pokémon GO are more difficult to get ahold of than others, and for many different reasons. Some require players to play console games on the Nintendo Switch, some require them to travel to specific destinations, and some just have an unbelievably rare spawn rate.
Unown deserves an obligatory spot on the list. This Pokémon is very sought after with its 20+ different variations. This Pokémon used to be incredibly rare in Pokémon GO, and it still is, but Niantic has begun releasing this Pokémon from time to time during different events.
Unown has been featured in several events, though only a few at a time. Some of the iterations of the Pokémon have only been released at paid-ticketed events as well, which means it is unlikely that many trainers have more than a few different versions.
Salazzle’s base evolution, Salandit, nearly deserves its own spot on this list. The Pokémon is only available in 12km Strange Eggs, which are more difficult to come by than regular eggs. Once players get ahold of a 12km egg, they have to get lucky enough to hatch a Salandit.
What makes Salazzle even more difficult to obtain, is only female Salandit can evolve into Salazzle. To get the Pokédex entry for Salazzle, players need to get a 12km Strange Egg, get lucky enough to hatch a Salandit, and get lucky enough for that Salandit to be a female. There are a lot of hoops to jump through.
8/10 The Legendary Lake Trio (Azelf, Uxie, & Mesprit)
Individually, the Lake Trio may not seem that difficult to get your hands on, but getting all three can be nearly impossible unless you have friends in other parts of the world. Each of the three has a different spawn region, and the regions span massive distances, making it very difficult to get all three of these Legendary Pokémon.
Azelf spawned as a raid boss in Greenland and the Americas, Uxie was a raid boss in Asia, and Mesprit was found in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India. At the time of writing, these Pokémon have not swapped regions which means only players that battled in these regions during their first appearance have obtained them.
7/10 Pikachu (Libre Costume)
This Pokémon is not impossible to get, but it is tough. To obtain this costumed Pikachu, players need to invest a good chunk of time and skill into the Battle League. Players will need to compete in PvP matches against other players until they complete enough matches and also reach rank 25.
This may not seem like much of a task, but playing through enough battles in the Battle League to reach rank 25 can be a daunting task. The reward is well worth it, though, with this Luchador Pikachu being one of the rarest Pokémon in the game.
6/10 Meltan & Melmetal
Meltan and Melmetal are not rare because of their low spawn rate, as they don’t naturally spawn in Pokémon GO at all. These Pokémon were added to the game as a collaboration for the release of Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s Go: Eevee.
To obtain these strange and exclusive Pokémon, players must own a Nintendo Switch, a copy of either Let’s Go: Pikachu or Let’s Go: Eevee, and then play through the game until they reach Fuchsia City. This is a considerable time sink, not to mention the money that it costs to purchase the Nintendo console and game.
5/10 Armored Mewtwo
Armored Mewtwo is one of the coolest designed Pokémon in the game, but also remains one of the most elusive. This variant of Mewtwo has been available in raids a couple of times in Pokémon GO, but only for a very limited time.
Catching this Pokémon was difficult due to its strength, which required players to team up with other trainers to take down the raid boss and add it to their Pokédex.
4/10 Cloned Pokémon (Charizard, Blastoise, and Venusaur)
Cloned versions of Venusaur, Blastoise, and Charizard were available in four-star raid battles for only a brief period of time. Like Armored Mewtwo, these Pokémon were available as a part of a collaboration with a Pokémon movie that debuted around the same time.
Because of this overlap, many players obviously used their limited number of raid passes to prioritize the Armored Mewtwo, which was the strongest of all of these event Pokémon. These Pokémon are distinct in their patterned bodies, with each of them having a more primal appearance.
There are many regional Pokémon in Pokémon GO, and some are rarer than others. Because of the region where Sigilyph spawns, it remains not only one of the rarest regional Pokémon, but one of the rarest catches in the game.
This Pokémon is only available in Greece and Egypt. This may seem like a large spawn area, but the number of people native to this region combined with the number of tourists that visit the region, make Sigilyph extremely hard to come by in the game.
2/10 Snorlax (Cowboy Hat Costume)
The Cowboy Hat Snorlax was a costumed variant of the sleepy giant and was only available at the in-person Pokémon GO Fest 2022 events. These events were held in Berlin, Seattle, and Sapporo, and participants had to pay a ticket price to get the chance to catch this Pokémon.
Cowboy Hat Snorlax was available in the wild, within the confines of the event space. This means that quite a few players there were able to catch this Pokémon, but it is still incredibly rare in the Pokédex of most players.
1/10 Rotom (Mow Form)
Rotom is a strange Pokémon in Pokékmon GO. This Pokémon has many different forms, but only two have been released in Pokémon GO. Rotom-Wash was available as a photobomb encounter for players who played during Pokémon GO Fest 2020. This form was widely obtained during the event, but the far more elusive Rotom-Mow is the rarest Pokémon in the game at the time of writing.
Rotom-Mow was similar to Rotom-Wash and could only be caught at a GO Fest event, but this time only players who traveled to the in-person GO Fest 2022 locations and completed Special Research got the chance to catch a Rotom-Mow. The event was held in Berlin, Germany, Seattle, USA, and Sapporo, Japan. The event was ticketed at a high price and, for players living outside of these cities, the cost of travel was also included. This makes Rotom-Mow the rarest Pokémon currently in the game.