Massively on the Go: Here’s to hoping for proper Pokemon Go pranks in April


If the earlier mention of Niantic wildly and disappointing experimenting with a shorter, stationary incentivized Community Day hasn’t scared you off, then maybe Pokemon Go’s April offerings will appeal to you. After all, the company’s had some fun April Fools’ Days, and a few of us appreciate its Earth Day-inspired sustainability events. As always, though, events have been announced but not fleshed out, so check back regularly as our event round-ups update month-round.

What we do know is that despite the Community Day fiasco, April’s looking fairly normal, with the usual weekly 1-coin Remote Raid Passes remaining in play with the damage bonus intact, and our monthly breakthrough pokemon is Alola Marowak, most likely not with its special preferred Shadow Bone Charge move (though we’ve asked PR to confirm this). We are seeing a new legendary pokemon, though, plus a new Mega Pokemon at the end of the month.

First, let’s talk a bit more about April Community Days. Yes, days, because after announcing this season’s CD dates, Niantic gave players less than 2-weeks warning of an April 10 Community Day for Mudkip, complete with the same 3-hour window both Bulbasaur and the following weekend’s Stufful 2pm-5pm hours. Much like the Bulbasaur CD, Mudkip’s final evolution is a highly relevant PvE and PvP pokemon plus has a future Mega Evolution. CD Box prices will also be reduced to 850 coins for this event, but they’re also once again only giving Elite Fast TMs, which just like the April 23 CD, doesn’t provide much value to those unable to attend because the exclusive move is a Charged attack, not a Fast Attack.

The stationary lure xp bonus will not be active during the Mudkip event, but just the same, Niantic is once again is conducting an “experiment” that is blatant data manipulation, something a science-based company should be avoiding. By comparing two years worth of underwhelming CD pokemon to pokemon relevant in multiple areas of the game and/or are brand new and quite expensive to evolve, Niantic is, as JRE noted, “comparing apples and watermelons.”

The previously mentioned interview JRE, one of our biggest sources for understanding PvP trends, conducted with Michael Steranka, Niantic’s Pokemon GO Director and Legend ranked PvP player for 10 seasons, had noted that we’ll be locked into the 3-hour model through May. Steranka also noticeably avoided JRE’s question about data manipulation before throwing “(some) Youtubers” under the bus. As we mentioned, Niantic’s changes to pandemic-era CD amid the pandemic is tone-deaf, but also misses the mark in terms of how the changes made their game more accessible to a wider audience, which Niantic is now shunning.

Pivoting back to more standard monthly features, for April’s spotlight hours, each pokemon does have some use in PvP, so if you’re still getting into the scene, don’t miss those. Shiny collectors may also want to hit April 19th hard, as Oddish has two Stage-2 evolutions: Vileplume and Bellossom.

In terms of raids, Therian form Thundurus isn’t a terrible choice for an Electric-type, but remember that it’s part flying, so it’s less advisable to use against, say, Zapdos or Articuno when compared to a pure Electric like Raikou or (Shadow) Electivire. Tapu Bulu is more promising, especially as the other Tapus aren’t that useful in PvE, and this one might make a good grass attacker, depending on the moves Niantic gives it. Therian Landorus is pretty good as a ground attacker, but also suffers from the issue of being part Flying. As Electric is only weak to Ground but does increased damage against flying, Landorus will take a bit extra damage. As it’s also a legendary, Garchomp (being a previous Community Day feature with a featured Ground move and quad resistant to Electric) is generally a better investment option outside of a few situations, as are Excadrill and Rhyperior (with or without its CD move Rock Wrecker, as we’re talking about Ground damage and not Rock).

Then there are the Megas. Charizard Mega Energy is fairly plentiful from recent quest pushes, and unless you’re Mega’ing for damage, Mega Ampharos being an Electric/Dragon-type makes it more useful for generating candy. Mega Pidgeot is one of the best Megas for candy collection, though, as some of the most powerful gym defenders are Normal types, some rare spawns (like Dragonite and Noibat) are part Flying, and Flying and Normal are very common types. It’s why Mega Pidgeot or Mega Lopunny will be very useful for the upcoming Stufful Community Day, being that Stufful is Normal/Fighting, is brand-new, and requires a whopping 400 candy (though double catch-candy should make that less slightly less painful).

The new Mega announcement is interesting as we haven’t gotten a new Mega since Aerodactyl in January 2022. As dataminers have found that the assets for Mega Kangaskhan and the LatiX family have been uploaded, it’s most likely one of them, especially as those are the only pokemon missing from an earlier asset update. The LatiXs are noteworthy because they’d be the first Legendary Megas, which may be why there was a new Perk system uncovered (so you may want to take advantage of it now before it potentially gets messy). Details are scant, but considering we’re expecting “mega” news on May 29th, I’d wager that the LatiXs will be in May and Kangskhan will be in April. It’s not very useful, as POGO lacks abilities that made the ‘roo OP in the main series games, but it is a regional pokemon that will most likely be catchable outside of the region for a bit, so that should be fun.

As for events…

April Fools’ 2-Oh?-22 will start on Friday, April 1st, 2022. No details, but the “Oh?” has people wondering if it may be related to Ditto, as that’s the message players see when catching a pokemon hidden as it. The same message occurs with eggs hatching as well though, and then there’s the fact that Zorua’s family, known for illusions, has been missing from the Gen 5 release for years now, so Niantic may finally be adding it. 3/31 Update: Seems the event is very Ditto-centered. They’re out in force, so if you have a catch Ditto quest, now’s the time to complete it!

All-Hands Rocket Retreat: April 3rd, 2022, to Thursday, April 7th, 2022, will have additional Rocket activity. We haven’t been able to TM Frustration off in awhile, so we may get that opportunity as well. Consider tagging good Shadow Pokemon for that day. 4/2 Update: We’ve got full details of the event now, and while the content is PvE, the rewards largely seem to benefit PvP players, aside from Shadow Luxray, if there’s a way players can get it. As you can see below, we correctly predicted Salandit’s release for this event.

What we didn’t guess, however, was that the Pokemon would be locked in 12k eggs as a rare reward. This is problematic because it’s looking to be an above-average PvP pick but only the female versions evolve which have low odds (12.5% female, so most salandits will be unevolvable males). Niantic may be trying to tackle this by awarding 15 Rocket Radars (assuming it’s not a mistake 4/3 Update: It was and has been corrected to 1) as part of the quest, but that’s still a whole lot of walking and low odds to get not only a rare pokemon, but its rarer gender.

Worse, the Rocket Bosses aren’t giving very exciting pokemon. I’d argue Sierra’s Drowzy as the only reasonable one to pursue, as Hypno’s a spicy pick in Great League (but non-shadow feels tends to rate higher) while also being a unique defender, both because of its bulk and very wide range of charge move typings. Exeggcute and Cubone are fun to look at, but not very useful in PvE or PvP these days except the former if you’re a new player, but the upcoming Tapu Bulu will be better, though also involve a bigger investment.

The only real PvE thing to consider is TMing your good pokemon with Frustration, as we predicted. This is especially important as Mudkip is an available Shadow Pokemon and has its Community Day coming April 10. Again, it does get a Mega Form down the line, and Shadow Pokemon can’t Mega evolve, so that’s also a factor to consider when debating about purification.

Spring into Spring: I’m guessing that the Tuesday, April 12th, 2022, to Monday, April 18th, 2022, event will be the Easter-themed event, which usually involves some nice pokemon in 1k eggs. To note, some previous Easter costumed pokemon that were unable to evolve before have had assets mined showing that they may be getting new forms, thus enabling them to level. Hope you kept the good ones and maybe a few spares to trade to friends!

4/6 Update: And we’ve once again got details about the event with less than a week’s notice, which is especially troubling given that Niantic is once again throwing a last-minute, 3-hour event on Saturday, though the April 16th event will be from 11am-2pm. While Exeggcute will not be spawning in the wild, it will be available from quests and can evolve into its Alola form to gain Draco Meteor. It doesn’t make it very meta-relevant, but it does make Arlo’s Shadow Exeggcute potential more worthwhile, as the Shadow Alola Exeggcute does get quite a bit more of a boost. It is, however, still lacking bulk compared to other dragons.

This event may also be a hint of more to come, as Cubone can also evolve into an Alola form, also had a Spotlight hour last month, and currently can be caught in its Shadow form from Cliff.

We were correct about the Easter theme though, as Riolu, Happiny, and Togetic will all be available from 2k eggs, and previous flower-themed pokemon that couldn’t evolve will have their evolved forms in game. In addition, during the event, players will get double candy from hatching and hatch at half the distance, so clear out some of those old eggs. People upset about Salazzle’s great PvP situation while being locked hard behind a lockbox can also use this time to work hard on hatching those 12km red eggs, preferably with the free incubator.

Sustainability Week: I love this event, and no matter what I usually think of Niantic, I appreciate this push. Wednesday, April 20th, 2022, to Monday, April 25th, 2022, “Trainers will be able to reflect on the importance of sustainability while another Pokémon originally discovered in the Alola region makes its Pokemon debut!” This event often requires the community to participate in some kind of environmental clean-up activity, and last year it allowed for solo projects. Hopefully this continues, as I got a few people to help clean up parks around town for the day and bring local awareness to Earthday. Also, I got a good workout for my glutes, so consider that too. As for which pokemon it may be, the Dewpider family was datamined too, as was the Salandit family. I partially wonder if perhaps the latter could be related to the Rocket event, especially being part Poison, but it could be during Sustainability week. Dewpider, being a clean water type (well, and bug) just seems more “Earthy” to me though.

As always, expect us to expand on these as Niantic doles out information throughout the month.

4/14 Update: And with the new official announcement, we strike out on our Dewpider guess. Instead, the Normal/Psychic-type Oranguru will be released, which has promising use in PvP (Hint: it can take out Azumaril in Great League 1v1). Speaking of PvP, Phantump will also be available in the wild and via research tasks, though Oranguru also takes that out in PvP. Cherubi’s coming too (more on that soon) but will have its shiny available.

As we mentioned in the 4/6 update below, Niantic’s also shoehorned in an Earth Day walking event that only further muddies the Community Day we’ve exhaustively covered as being poorly designed. Every 1km you walk there’s a chance to encounter Cherubi, but that pokemon already (and will continue to) spawn from Mossy Lures, be in the wild now, and in 7km eggs, and found via research. Those Lures are important though, as Gloom and Weepinbell, will only be found via lures and are required for the new challenge.

What’s missing, however, is organized pushes for actual Earth Day volunteering. Last year’s sustainability event was motivating for some of us, but ultimately players only managed to snag the first tier of rewards, probably due to a mix of social media requirements and players being unaware of the event. We’ve checked in with PR to see if maybe there’s more coming and will update this should we hear anything back. At least if you travel someplace new during the April 20-25 event, you’ll get double XP for spinning new-to-you Pokestops.

There’s also a new widget on iOS and coming to Android that’ll show your eggs on the homescreen, for those who are interested. It’s a neat idea and makes me wonder if Niantic could include interactive widgets to help flesh out the game a bit more, but it’s best not to get our hopes up.

4/6 Update: As part of Stufful Day, Niantic shoved in a blurb about Earth Day donations. The problem, of course, is that this particular event promotes stationary play, so offering to donate a tree for every 5km achieved by a player (up to $100,000) seems like a very ignorant move at best, or an active way to weasel out of donations at worse. As usual, the community is not having it.

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!
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