Pokemon Go’s Johto Event adds twist to shadow issue, plus new Community Day dates revealed


While we’re still waiting for Pokemon Go’s hourly pokemon spawns for February 26th’s Johto Tour event, Niantic released a surprising update concerning the Masterwork Research event for paid ticket holders. While many of us assumed it would just be the shiny shadow version of the Gold and Silver mascots (Ho-oh and Lugia respectively), it seems Niantic gave us a bit of a curveball: It’s looking like previously datamined effects may be used for the Apex versions of the mascots, but we now understand how the advanced Sacred Fire and Aeroblast moves function.

Paid ticket holders who complete the Masterwork quests will get both a Shadow Lugia and Shadow Ho-oh as their rewards, which come with the + version of their signature moves. However, purifying them grants a ++ move. Normally, there might be concern about PvP impact, but both the + and ++ moves are the same as the regular moves in PvP, so these are just PvE and visual choices. However, granting a higher damaging ability to purified pokemon helps nudge the game’s lore to match its function.

When looking at the most powerful pokemon, Shadow pokemon tend to outrank even legendary pokemon, thanks to a damage multiplier they receive. Lore-wise, however, these Shadow pokemon have been made to suffer, which is also why Shadow pokemon take more damage and require more resources to level up. Since raids in particular are a DPS race, the extra damage taken is often negligible in the long run, sometimes even in PvP. Purified pokemon are said to have been relieved of this and form a better bond with the trainer, resulting in lower costs to raise them but no other benefits. Granting moves with a higher DPS helps address the DPS gap, but it’s still far from perfect.

Previous comparisons of the new moves on both Shadow and non-Shadow Ho-oh are still applicable as long as one remembers that Sacred Fire++ is not possible on Shadow Ho-oh. Previously, even with the defense nerf, Shadow Ho-oh’s damage versus bulk still won over a regular Ho-oh, but the upcoming +/++ versions will narrow that margin, especially in terms of total damage output (TDO). While it’s still disappointing that Shadow Pokemon still seem to win in terms of looking awesome and DPS, narrowing that margin helps purified pokemon and playing a good trainer seem more like a suitable option than a handicap. The only minor concern about this is that the +/++ moves are currently behind a paywall, so depending on how these abilities are rolled out in the future, free-to-play players may become discouraged if too many future updates and events monetize this concept.

2/20 Update: It seems our analysis was onpoint. Gamepress has put out a more in-depth article on this topic, which also agrees that while the margin between shadow and purified are narrowed, the result is still that the shadow pokemon are stronger, so it may be best to not purify Shadow Lugia or Ho-oh.

Raid-focused ticket holders aren’t the only winners in this update, though. Ticket holders will get both Ho-oh wings and a Lugia mask, plus a shirt based on the version type they choose, in addition to all the other previously described bonuses.

Finally, for players who care more about keeping it free, we have details on the Pokeball Event coming from February 18th through 25th (which, as we summarized in the February event post, is basically pokeball research tasks to stock up on Johto Tour supplies along with a new costume and evolved Hisuian Electrode). Plus Niantic revealed the next three Community Day event dates: Sunday, March 13th; Saturday, April 23rd; and Saturday, May 21st. We have no further details on which pokemon will be featured or any bonuses, but as we’ve finished the Generation 5 starters, perhaps one of those dates will be for Chespin, the Gen 6 grass starter.

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