There’s lots to love in Pokemon Go’s February update and new events

    
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Ah, February. A time for love. For nostalgia. For fighting back criminals who steal items and monsters. Well, at least in Pokemon Go. Niantic has jammed the month full of events, from holidays from Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year to a retro-Rocket week and the regional tour finale that is the Kanto Tour. We’re hearing official hints about a new Mega release, Love Cup in PvP, two opportunities to snag Earthquake Ho-oh, and some quality-of-life changes for those of you who have too many legendaries that need to be transferred.

But before that, you may want to jump in for a little Sneasel action. On Saturday, January 8th from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, POGO is holding Sneasel-themed Limited Research quests (1/30 Update: Red Pokeballs are not consumed in sneasel catches for this event). Not only can this turn into a nice opportunity to get a shiny Sneasel with good stats, but you can also complete the current Johto Celebration event, which requires 15 dark types some people are struggling to find right now. Completing that gives you Ho-oh with Earthquake #1 this year, as the Rainbow Pokemon had one previous event that granted it Earthquake. Getting Incinerate as a fire-fast move has improved Ho-oh’s usability, but it will still need a better fire charge move to be anything more than a niche PvP use.

Fortunately, the Johto research will run until early February, overlapping with several February Events, such as the Feb 2nd-7th Rocket Invasions. Rumor has it that you will not be able to TM away Frustration on shadow pokemon. 2/5 Update: A Niantic spokesperson would not confirm that Rocket Events that will allow Frustration to be TMed away would be once per season, but said they would let us know when these events occur.

You will, however, get hatch distances reduced by half during the event, increased rocket encounters, Rocket Leader stickers upon their defeat, new shadow pokemon (such as Nosepass and Aron), and a research quest for that other Ho-oh, plus the literal garbage pokemon Trubbish will no longer hatch from 12km Red Rocket eggs. Those who are leveling up (and have space) should make sure to grab and save some shadow zubats, weedles, and magikarp for the level 45 purification requirement (yes, there has been an official level 50 at this point).

February 9th is also the start of the Lunar New Year event. Right now we know the Spotlight hour will feature the cow pokemon Miltank plus double stardust for catches. A new Mega Pokemon is also set to be released, but we’ll have to wait and see what it is. My money’s on Camerupt at this point, as it’s the closest pokemon on the Mega list to a bull and is in the “red” pokemon category in the Pokedex. 2/2 Update: We’ve got news on the event. 40km distance trades will be active, increased chance for lucky trades and friends, a Tauros timed research, plus more. Weirdly Niantic went with Mega-Gyarados, which feels a little stereotypical given the whole “Chinese dragon” thing.

Speaking of red pokemon, Feb 8th through 15th will be the Love Cup for you PvP fans out there. As you might expect, it’s limited to red and pink pokemon, which is a long list, but LegendsLima on Twitter has a visual that’s sure to make team-building easier.

To note, shiny versions are allowed, so if you’re feeling anti-love, may I suggest using Shiny black Charizard, Shiny blue Medicham, and Shiny blue Electrode? As usual, this is the GBL format, which means only pokemon up to 1500 CP are allowed.

The actual Valentine event will be from February 14th through 18th, which we’ve been told will feature some new pokemon being added to the game. Oh, and avatar items, of course. Hopefully, as with previous Valentine’s Day events, we’ll see some Chansey spawns so people can get some XL candies for our hard-working gym defenders. 2/8 Update: Well, no mention of Chansey, but we have details: new Pokemon Munna (evolves with Unova stone), evolving Kirlia gives its final forms Synchronize (it’s Community Day move), increased chances to become lucky friends, increased lucky pokemon triggers, plus more.

For raiders, we’ve previously mentioned the return of the legendary dogs (of which Raiko’s Jan 31st Feb 4th window is the only real useful option), but we also suspect that Latios and Latias will be returning from Feb 9th through 20th. Their uses have always been less than stellar, and their Mega forms aren’t predicted to fix that much. The legendary birds and Mewtwo make a return from Feb 20th through March 1st, so you may want to hold out for them, as Mewtwo’s quite strong, Moltres is very useful, and all three legendary birds have Galarian variants that will mostly use the same candy.

Other things to consider watching out for, aside from the aforementioned Kanto event (2/9 Update: New details on hourly themes!), are the Roserade Community Day during the “big game,” weekly Monday 1-coin boxes (including things like a remote raid pass or multiple incense to make playing the game from home safe and easy), screenshot-free “social shares” of leveling up as an option, and the ability to mass transfer Legendary and Mythical pokemon.

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