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Since its debut in the Johto region Gameboy Color games Pokémon Gold and Silver, Unown (#201), has injected an air of mystery into the series. A trans-dimensional traveller that comes in 28 forms based on the Latin Alphabet, Unown retains its mystique in Pokémon GO by being an especially rare encounter in normal gameplay. In this guide, we’ll point you to the best options for finally catching one.

How to get Unown in Pokémon GO

There are currently two ways to obtain Unown in Pokémon GO:

  • Finding one in the wild via a remarkable feat of sheer luck you’d probably rather reserve for a lottery win
  • Attending an event such as a GO Fest or major comic/game convention that features increased spawning rates

Encountering Unown in the wild is possible, but all available evidence appears to point to spawn odds being vanishingly small. There are a handful of Silph Road threads featuring anecdotal accounts of chance encounters and mad community dashes when Unown turns up on a tracker. Meanwhile, a Pokémon GO Hub study of 6 million Generation 1 and 2 spawns saw just one Unown show up. It could happen to you – but it probably won’t.

If you really want to fill the gap in your dex, the only realistic option of the two is to attend an event – and we take an in-depth look at that below.

Of course, there is technically another option to consider – waiting to see whether Niantic decides to just change the way it treats Unown. It is possible that it will be featured in special raids, or community days.

Pokemon Go Unown Locations and Events

Unown events are currently the only truly viable way of encountering and catching this elusive Pokémon.

Events featuring Unown range from official Pokémon events to tie-ins with Comic/Game conventions and even major sporting events. There is some variation in access too – events such as GO Fest require that you pay or register for a ticket in order to access the Unown spawn. Other times, spawns are city or country-wide (though spawns are more commonly locked to the vicinity of the event).

For a full list of past events, we recommend this list on Serebii.net. However, keep reading for a simplified breakdown of the types of events you can expect to see Unown spawn at, so you can start to plan for when you could catch one.

Unown Events to Plan For:

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(Countries are listed in Parentheses)

  • GO Fest (DE, JP, US): Unown spawns are one of the features of GO Fest, an annual series of paid, ticketed events originally held in a park in Chicago, but expanded in 2019 to Dortmund and Yokohama. Unown only spawns for ticket holders
  • Safari Zone (AT, BR, CH, CZ, DE, DK, ES, FI, FR, JP, NO, NL, PL, PT, SE, SK, TW, UK): Unown spawns can also be found during Safari Zone events held at participating malls and parks in mainland Europe (later expanded to Asia and South America). Safari Zone events are free but require registration
  • GO Week/Weekend (KO, JP): Increased Unown spawns are a perk for a series of cross-promotional events in conjunction with participating retailers in South Korea and Japan – buy a qualifying product to receive a scannable ticket
  • Pokémon World Championships (US): Unown is consistently available around the venue for the finals of the Pokémon World Championships (the highest level of play for both the Video Game and Trading Card Game)
  • Large Comic/Fan/Game Conventions (AU, BR, DE, FR, IT, NL, NZ, UK, US, ZA). Unown spawns increase around the venues for various industry and consumer events, especially those covering games, comics, anime and other pop-culture subjects. Some examples include:
    • Gamescom
    • GDC
    • E3
    • Japan Expo, Paris
    • MCM London Comic Con
    • PAX East and PAX West
    • San Diego Comic Con
    • South x South West
  • FIFA World Cup (Host country): Unown spawns were increased during the 2018 World Cup in the host nation (Brazil) and a number of its South American neighbours
    • A reprise could be seen for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and could theoretically expand to regional football tournaments such as the European Championships (Euro 2020 is being hosted in 12 different European countries)
  • We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Unown spawns will increase for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics too, though this is pure speculation

Which Letters of the Unown Alphabet are Available in Pokémon Go?

All 28 letters of the Unown Alphabet are currently available in Pokémon GO including those corresponding with letters A through Z, and exclamation (!) and question mark(?) variants.

However, even at events, the boosted spawn rates apply only to a selection of variants (usually only between 2 to 9 different variants are available). These usually spell out things like:

  • The name of the host city or retailer (e.g. C, H, I, A, G, O)
  • The name of the event (J, A, P, N, E, X, O)
  • The initials of the above (M, D)

This of course means that if you want to track down all 28 variants, you’re going to have to attend a lot of events in a lot of different countries (and grind a hell of a lot of vowel shapes into Unown candy).

Using the above information to execute some kind of Machiavellian scheme where you influence friends to holiday in key Unown-spawning cities next year is beyond the scope of this guide. Please do let us know how you get on, in the comments below.