Pokemon GO‘s January is looking like a mixed bag. On the one hand, we know the “mysterious door” quest line will resolve at the end of the month, but on the other, the known list of Pokemon being featured this month leaves a lot to be desired.
We are getting a new Mega Pokemon again, along with some potential catch-up events. PvP players may be winning January, though with a certain new Pokemon game coming out on January 28th, 2022, Niantic may be playing this one close to the chest.
Niantic’s official announcement is more visual than usual, but let’s break down the vital aspects of January’s events that may not be so easy to see in pictures. For example, January 7th’s release of Mega Aerodactyl, originally datamined in October 2020, marks our first Mega rock type. Barring any move shakeups, it should perform similarly to Mega Tyranitar whenever it’s released, but Aerodactyl’s part Flying-type means the candy generation bonus can be spread much wider than Ttar. Rock type candy generation is particularly important to have should we get a Fossil-based event, as all Fossil pokemon (which tend to run from rare to very rare) are part Rock-type, aside from Generation 8. You may want to consider investing in a good Aerodactyl.
Speaking of Megas and investments, January’s research breakthrough is not only Onix but Mega-Steelix Mega Energy. If you’re a cold-weather player, evolving a good Onix to Steelix can help you better farm steel-types, though Mega Steelix can also help new/returning players who lack Steelix generate Meltan candy, as the pokemon is quite useful, and thanks to its Mythical Status and three-day use “incense,” it’s one of the most accessible power-pokemon available, especially in terms of having access to XL Candy. We’ve talked about how useful Pokemon Home is in general, but for those who haven’t gotten it at least for easy Meltan access, go grab the app and follow this guide.
While Onix and its Mega Energy as a reward is a severe disappointment for most power players, it could be a nice catch-up mechanic for casuals, especially as January 19th through February 1st will see an electric-and-steel event stylized after the Kanto Power Plant. Mega Steelix should be useful to give bonuses in raids against any Electric or Steel-types, though the spawns from the games aren’t exactly impressive beyond the plant being home to Zapdos. We don’t have many details yet (though we’ll update when we do). Do note that the event falls during the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus; the game does have a new Voltorb, and this event is supposed to close out the “mysterious door” questline, so perhaps this event will be how it’s introduced into Pokemon GO.
1/17 Update: We’ve received news of the first part of the event, and it seems lackluster. Helioptile’s debuting with the event, but neither that nor Regice with Thunder seem particularly interesting in any way beyond collector’s items. The January 24 start of the second part of the event allows for shadow pokemon learn regular charge moves instead of Frustration, so mark that on your calendars. From there, its anyone’s guess, but I would hope something Zapdos themed will appear, as it is always the big boss of pokemon power plants.
1//24 Update: And the page has been updated for part 2. While the mentioned Shadow Pokemon aren’t terribly useful now, newer players may want to grab them at least for evolution candy, if not actually evolving during the Feb 26 Johto event when they’ll learn their Community Day moves. The 12k eggpool has been updated but aside from supposedly making exclusives Pancham and Sandile more common, they still seem underwhelming for daily players, especially with junk pokemon like skorupi being in the “rare” tier or players who avoid PvP. The Rocket Leaders also have new pokemon. Arlo’s Shadow Bagon is probably the most useful for PvE and (when purified) future Mega-pokemon investing, while Cliff’s Teddiursa and Sierra’s Poliwag are mostly relegated to collector’s Pokemon or PvP use.
Speaking of events, we do know there will be a short New Year’s event from December 31st through January 4th, and from dataminers we know Hoothoot and Slowking are getting outfits, but that’s about all so far.
12/23 Update: Niantic just dropped the official event details, and it’s mostly about party hats and hatching eggs. Egg-enthusiasts will enjoy getting double candy and stardust for half the walking distance, so maybe save those free single-use incubators for this event. Also note to readers in Japan, Korea, and Italy, this may be the first time you’ve had access to Nidorino and Gengar in party hats, as the event for them was canceled due to COVID and (from our understanding) never made available despite Niantic’s promises. We’re double-checking with the community and PR, but until then, you may want to be prepared to nab one (though we are asking if Niantic can give you guys passes or something).
There’s also the January 7th through 13th event that mentions both Johto (of February’s special event) and Sinnoh, where Legends is taking place. As you can imagine, information is short beyond something about “mountains,” so keep an eye out for updates. 1/5 Update: We now have details on the Mountains of Power event. Major highlights include halving the distance on buddy
candy, meaning that if you use a poffin on a legendary, you can get the distance down to 1 candy per 5km, down from 20km* Seems it’s buddy hearts, which is far less useful mechanically but makes things easier on players in cold-climate areas and players looking to walk multiple buddies. Machops will also be spawning more for those of you who still need good ones or XL candy, plus collectors have shiny Slugma coming into the mix. Mawile will also be a rare quest reward, and while it does get a mega form in the future, its PvE outlook looks grim beyond candy generation.
This month’s spotlight hours are really boring pokemon, barring any major gameplay or move shakeups, but it’s important to note that January 4th and 25th are double transfer days, so if you can save box cleaning for a bit, those are the days to take out the poke-trash. For newer players looking to get more meltan or certain quest-pokemon reward candy, save those for the double candy event on January 18.
The raid schedule isn’t much better. Heatran has some uses, but it and Regice are a bit more PvP-oriented. Shock Drive Genesect is new, but certainly not great for raiders, though an electric move does give it coverage against Flying-types in PvP.
Last, but not least, January 16th’s Community Day will feature Walrein. It’s not looking great as a raiding pokemon, but it may be interesting in PvP, though it also competes with fan-favorite Lapras. At least shiny spheal is relatively new and good looking, but cold weather players who have to brave the outdoors may be happy to have an excuse not to go hard for this community day.
With Legends coming out on January 28th, there may be some key details Niantic isn’t ready to share. Maybe even a whole event. We do feel certain that it’ll be tied in somehow as we mentioned while covering December and the Season of Heritage, but Niantic does enjoy its drip feed of info throughout the month, so we’ll continue to try to keep you readers in the loop as best we can.
1/4 Update: This was unexpected! A second Community Day been scheduled for January 22, 2pm-5pm (plus 2 hours after for evolution) for Bulbasaur and Frenzy Plant. It’s a nice little catch-up day for new players or people who found a new bulba to evolve, as it’s a top grass pick, especially its Mega Form.
Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!