Massively on the Go: Pokemon Go teases strong spotlights coming in July


Niantic has now released the July events for Pokemon GO and, so far, it’s not exactly exciting. July Community Day is Starly, and as it’s using the same model that disappointed us in June, but with a vastly inferior Starly getting a move that will make it only about 1% more useful in raids, we were already in for a rocky start. The other two events mentioned are mystery events; we’re getting no new legendaries unless you got to a region-locked event, and no new Mega, just the return of the Charizard if you somehow still need them. Mega Pidgeot and Gengar are coming back, which are both top picks but also have seen a lot of action already.

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. This month’s spotlight hours actually look quite promising. If you don’t already have a Mega Lopunny prepped, you might want to work on that until we get details on the mystery events Niantic has cooking.

First, to reiterate: Starly Community Day is looking skippable. As our favorite PvP analyst JRESeaswolf noted, Starly needed a better charged attack for PvP, and Gust helps it only a little in PvE. We do expect two Ultra Beasts from the previously noted regional Go Fests to be Fighting/Bug, making them quad weak to Flying, but Starraptor isn’t too high on the list unless you’ve got a good shadow version. I will probably pursue getting a better one myself, but there are largely better options.

One of the better options is Moltres. As you can see from the above infograph via LegendsLima, the Legendary Birds are making a comeback. It should be noted, however, that the legendary birds’ Galar variants have been datamined, so they may be coming soon. As variants share candy with all their versions, doing the Kanto bird raids is a future investment, though between the stats and typings, I don’t think any will reclaim the glory of the original bird trio’s heyday.

That being said, Moltres in particular acts as a good Flying-type. If you don’t have a good one with Sky Attack, I would recommend using July 14th-22nd to get one with good stats and use an Elite TM to teach it the Flying-type move, as Niantic most likely won’t be giving out the event move. It should also be noted that Moltres will be out during the Starly Community Event, so you may want to consider a poultry-themed meal, either of the meat or what the birds may eat that humans may also enjoy. Hot wings or a nice kale salad seem like good themes to me!

In terms of events, there’s the previously mentioned Berlin and Seattle Go Fests, but as they’re available only to people physically in those locations who buy tickets, we’ll largely skip over those aside from the fact that we think the smaller 2022 Go Fests may be recycled for the August 27th global Go Fest finale.

Niantic has its anniversary event set for July 6th-12th. Traditionally, these events try to bring in or back new and lapsed players with a new shiny or two (not including hat pikas) and a few costumed pokemon. That much is still happening from official notes on the event, such as party-hat Charmander finally being able to evolve and a tease at perhaps globally releasing Pansear, but Niantic is also doing a Battle Weekend for Rocket and PvP fans. That means have Shadow Pokemon and Charged TMs ready for July 9th-10th to get rid of frustration. New shadows are also coming, with Shinx being a potentially good investment, and Shadow Latios is en route too, which isn’t too bad. As usual, there’s a hat pikachu that can’t evolve into Raichu.

7/4 Update: As you can see from the updated infograph, Niantic’s revealed what the Ultra Unlock bonuses are. As strongly hinted, Pansear, usually a regional pokemon for players in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, will have a global release both in the wild and raids during the event, but Niantic added an additional cherry: the first 5 generations of Starters will get their Community Day moves if evolved any time on July 9 until 11:59pm July 10. Charizard actually gets both of its Community Day moves, which is good for players looking to build a Mega Charizard X (the Fire/Dragon variant). You’ll need to unlock its second move for Dragon Claw, but having Blast Burn helps extend its use.

The game’s July 27th-August 2nd mystery event may prove more interesting, but again, there’s little to no information on that. It could be a Bug Out event, especially with some of the neat (intentional) bugs that have been datamined, as Niantic’s done only two in the past and the seasons changed quite drastically between both. It could also be related to the above mentioned Galarain Bird Trio or even (and this is a long shot) Hisuian pokemon, whose groundwork has been found via data mining, but we’ll have to wait and see.

7/26 Update:  The event’s not the Bug Out (that’ll be in August, so check for that post), but we are getting the Hisuian event I had also considered. Mostly, the new pokemon are restricted to eggs and a July 31 raid day from 11am-2pm, with up to 5 free passes for Hisuian Bravery that also include the re-release of Palkia. While Hisuian Bravery is new, it’s not exactly looking great, so players may want to consider saving a pass or two for Palkia, unless they’re shiny hunting. Data miners have found some info on the new ‘mon, and while they look promising in PvP, the Galarian birds (if you can get one) are looking not good for raids.

What we do know, however, is July’s got a couple of good spotlight hours. July 12th is great because Machamp is still one of the most useful and accessible Fighting-types out there. Whether you need candy for PvE or PvP, this’ll be a must-do spotlight hour for many players. Remember, Dialga comes at the end of the month, and it’s a very good pokemon for Steel and not bad for Dragon. Dialga’s Steel typing makes it weak to Fighting, so having some Machamps on hand for Cloudy Weather would be a good call.

July 26th’s event is interesting because it falls at the tail end of the mystery event Niantic’s advertised as bringing new pokemon. Again, we’re waiting for details, but you may want to remember to hold off on evolving anything new until this spotlight hour. Meditite’s evolution, Medicham, is also a top Great League pick that will get a Mega form in the future. It’s more of a PvP pick unless Niantic adds abilities, which is a reason Medicham isn’t a useful raid pick, but its Fighting/Psychic typing gives it flexible candy generation and raid damage boosting, especially if its Mega is released when either of the aforementioned Bug/Fighting-type Ultra Beasts are out.

As always, that’s the limit of what we know for this month, but keep an eye open for updates as we learn more!

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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