Massively on the Go: September brings Pokemon Go’s Season of Light and winds of change

    
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Hoo boy, trainers, we have a lot to unpack after that Pokemon GO Go Fest Finale. September to November will be The Season of Light, and with it are coming some interesting new additions and changes from a meta-perspective. No, Remote Raiding actually remains safe again this season (unlike the Friendship Damage Bonus, it seems), and Community Days are still only three hours (but shifting to 2 to 5 p.m.), but there’s room to be excited.

Fairy Wind is giving many pokemon a new Fairy Fast-Move, Double Kick may be giving new life to some Fighting-types who needed a better Fast option, we’ve got a new Mega pokemon coming out, there’s at least one new 5-star raid, and we’re expecting some new events – plus a lot more.

‘Tis the (Fairy Wind!) season

First, let’s go over the season-wide bonuses. Most of them are the same, like extra stardust from research and damage dealt by remote raiders; we previously noted the one-coin weekly boxes are dead, though Niantic’s infograph seems to indicate we’ll be getting a Premium pass for September’s Research Breakthrough. Double special trades will be gone, but we’ll be getting two daily raid passes instead. Keep that in mind, as that may be important once we start talking about September coverage.

Both the official Seasons site and LegendsLima visually lay out the bonuses for the next three months quite well, so let’s focus on what those mean. Litwick is a good pokemon to target for city spawns, especially with so many Legendary pokemon being Psychic-types, but also because October means we’ll probably have Ghost-type bosses to beat back. While Ghosts are weak to themselves, Litwick’s final evolution’s DPS is often hard to ignore, especially if you don’t have a lot of nearby players to play with. Fellow city spawners Umbreon’s strictly a PvP pokemon, but many people probably already have a good one by now, and without its event moves, its wild spawn is probably good only for vets who want the absolute best and have the Elite TMs to make it so or for new players, especially if they want XL candy for the Eeveelutions.

Espeon in the Forest habitats is in a similar situation, except Espeon’s more useful for raids. It’s an acceptable pokemon to use, it’s easy to invest in, and it doesn’t require any Elite TMs for its best moves. Unfortunately, its use may be limited in Five Star raids this month and most likely next month as well, again because Halloween brings out Ghost and Dark-types, which Espeon is a terrible pick for. The same holds true for potential new Mega raids, as you’ll see soon, though it could be useful for anyone trying to get Mega Lopunny done.

Mountain biomes are more interesting. While nothing feels super exciting, there are some good picks here. Snorlax remains one of the definitive gym defenders and has lots of use in various levels of PvP, so it’s always worth catching. Sneasel’s a bit of a glass canon, but both its Dark and Ice movesets are among the best DPS options, even outranking some Shadow pokemon. It also had its Hisuian form recently released, so you’ll probably want to stock up on its candy. Those who need a good Deino will also want to hit the mountains, and Clefairy fans may too, especially as the evolved pink puff has use in both PvP and gym defense.

Beach and water pokemon this season are mostly spice picks for PvP. Wailmer’s out there if you need the candy for its 400 candy evolution, and Feebas is there too for those who want its shiny (it’s also a decent gym defender). Carvahna’s out there too, and it gets a Mega, but one that’s far glassier than Mega Gyarados, which is already available and among the top picks now and in the foreseeable future.

This season’s egg picks aren’t so different from before, but the Hemisphere spawns are a little interesting. The North gets Scyther, Cyndaquil, and Teddiursa, which all have Hisuian forms. The South gets Chansey (do I need to explain that one?), Paras (the Hisuian scourge) for more stardust, Bagon as a good Dragon type with useable Mega form in the future, and Oshawatt, which has a Hisuian form.

We’ve got some big PvP changes and events too, the biggest being the two move additions I mentioned. The official rollout has details on that and upcoming PvP events, but we’ll save most of that for upcoming months when those are more relevant. A few things to note, though, are that some of these changes affect PvE. For example, Nihilego is getting Poison Jab, which goes beyond PvP help and makes it an even better Poison-type for raids (in those rare cases a Poison type is useful).

Fairy Wind is the story of the year here. Galarian Rapidash, Galarian Weezing, Mawile, Florges, and Slurpuff all benefit from it, but Florges is the only one that immediately strikes me as being useful in raids now just based on CP. Gardevoir does what both of the Galars do for the most part, though they may find some use in PvP, particularly Ultra League play as they both cap out around 2500, much like Slurpuff. Mawile is too weak to consider much in PvE but could find some PvP play. There’s also its Mega form, but we’ll get to that later.

Double Kick, the other new fast move, also helps Mega Lopunny as an attacker, though Machamp, Conkeldurr, and Lucario are most likely still more useful than regular Lopunny for raids and gym attacking. There are some spice picks that got new moves as well, but I’ll let PvP specialists handle those assessments.

It should be noted, however, that Ominous Wind, Silver Wind, and Ancient Power all saw slight damage buffs at the cost of the amount of Attack and Defense they can buff, and Zap Canon no longer guarantees its debuff, and Icicle Spear had its energy cost increase, which should be a hint that PvP centric players should be ready to do some homework, possibly even evaluate some long time teams.

9/1 Update: One of our favorite PvP analysts, JRESeawolf, posted their thoughts, which is especially helpful since there were undocumented move additions. While I’m sure hardcore PvPers already have more knowledgeable sources than myself, there are some points JRE makes that affect all players, one of which is that Superpower Dragonite was originally a potential Community Day pokemon, much like the Ninetails pair getting Weather Ball after they failed to get enough Community Day votes. This may hopefully mean Niantic won’t hold ‘mon hostage for CD and/or avoid doing the same pokemon for multiple Community Days, but as the company has now twice failed to push out a (largely useless, advertising based) Dev Diary for August, the one thing Niantic can be counted on is missing the mark.

Both Yanmask evolutions got Shadow Claw, which is nice for PvP, but still doesn’t make it the best for PvE. That being said, the Cofagrigus line does make for a spice pick as a gym defender, as it’s not weak to Fighting or Ice moves, which most pokemon people put into gyms are (though it is weak to Dark and Ghost, which some Machamp and Lucario attackers may have as a Charge move).

The biggest news may be in his analysis of Fairy Wind and Double Kick. While we knew Fairy Wind was giving new life to a lot of pokemon, Double Kick in particular helps what were perhaps some of the most useless Legendaries: The Swords of Justice. While it helps them all in PvP, it’s particularly useful on Terrakion, which rivals Shadow Machamp in damage but blows it away in bulk, making it a very good pokemon to invest in now, not just for raids, but also taking down gyms (though it’s secondary Rock typing does leave it vulnerable to common Water and Grass defenders).

Changes in the stars

We also know there’s a new questline that will involve Cosmog, which should prove interesting. Unlike other generational mascots beyond Gen 1, the Gen 7 mascots actually have to evolve, becoming Solgaleo or Lunala. There’s also some “Nebula Skies” thing Niantic mentions but has yet to explain.

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Official Niantic Infograph

This is partially why I wonder if Cosmog or its evolved form Cosmoem may be connected with upcoming raids, especially since we’re getting double daily passes all season long. Ignoring Yveltal (though it’s very useful, is getting its shiny released at the end of the month, and sadly hints that the done-dirty-Xerneas is coming in October), the pokemon coming from September 13th through 27th could be part of the Cosmog family. Granted, dataminers have noted the Cosmog line currently doesn’t evolve, and while Niantic may have ways of changing that in the background, it wouldn’t surprise me if the first two evolutions are just for looks so that the final two forms can only be gained via raids (though the current movesets will hopefully change).

This also feels possible as we’ve now seen Niantic officially teasing a premium pass with Medicham. That’s doubly relevant because there’s at least one new Mega pokemon coming September 6th. I say at least because you’ll note that, contrary to the teasing of the Five Star raid pokemon, Niantic has two separate window entries for the Megas.

8/31 Update: There may be hint in the new loading screen that Guzzlord is at least one of the upcoming Five Star raids. It was also datamined with Kartana. While neat, it should be noted that we basically already have seen the best Ultra Beasts, with only Blacephalon being a possible exception for Ghosts for PvE. PvP doesn’t look any better, but hey, they’re fun to collect.

9/11 Update: Dataminers have found moves for Kartana and Celesteela, so they be the September 13 raid ‘mon, plus is giving stronger vibes that the Test Your Mettle event is a pun on Mettle/Metal. Kartana is looking good as a Grass attacker in raids, just behind Mega Venusaur, but Celesteela isn’t looking good, as predicted by Gamepress.

Mega Medicham doesn’t currently have its assets, but Niantic previously released Onyx as the Breakthrough reward the same month Mega Steelix became available. Medicham is the evolved version, so it may be nothing, but still may be worth mentioning. Other options that would make sense are Mega Sableye and Mega Alakazam, as both have been datamined previously.

As there’s a Psychic Spectacular event September 6th-12th, either Medicham or Mega Alakazam could fit, as both are Psychics and the dates line up. There’s also a Psychic Cup event from September 8th-15thm which may be important to note. We don’t know anything else about the event just yet.

The Deoxys Raid Day is during this event too, which you may want to factor in, but recall that outside of its Defense Forme for PvP, it’s a largely useless pokemon that’s only good as a collector’s target, as all forms have shinies but cannot be traded in POGO (though they can be sent to Pokemon Home where they’ll revert to their normal form). Deoxys is the only Five Star raid option from September 1st-13th, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get one (or maybe just aim for other raid ‘mon, which have yet to be revealed).

9/1 Update: Niantic’s dropped full details on both the Psychic Spectacular and Deoxys Raid Day now. Not only is Mega Alakazam coming out, but it’s legacy (and most optimum) move Psychic will be available during the event. Elgyem will have its shiny released but it’s not particularly useful. Wild Slowpoke is good for people who still need a good one to Mega (which is far more useful than Alakazam for candy/xp gains, as are the Latis, which you may want to use during the event), Drowzee for PvP fans, and Ralts for Gardevoire (useful as both a Fairy-type and budget Pyschic) as well as its future Mega forms. People who are tired of Deoxys may want to raid Espurr as its usually locked behind eggs or rarely found via Daily Incense, or aim for Wobbuffet for gyms. Wynaut, Wob’s unevolved form, will be in 7k eggs but unless you really want that or the shiny, the pool is looking shallow and fairly far from useful.

Deoxys Raid Day not only gives 5 Daily Passes between 2pm-5pm, but also increased chances of being shiny. Again, recall that Defense is essentially the only useful form and none of them can be traded to other POGO players.

Then there’s the Test Your Mettle event running September 16th-21st. Again, we have no further information on that event yet, but it could be a Fighting event, as Fighting and Psychic are often seen as rivals and paired against each other. This is why Medicham could be for both, as a sort of bridge between them. If not though, Mega Sableye still slightly feels relevant, as like Medicham, it’s a powerful core-series pokemon due to an ability it lacks in POGO, relegating it to a strong contender in the Great League PvP scene, plus Sableye will be featured in a September 3rd event. Sable and ‘Cham also pair nicely, as Medicham is traditionally a wallbreaker and Sabeleye is the wall cited as a direct counter to ‘Cham.

Alternatively, “Mettle” could be a play on words for Metal. In that case, Mega Mawile or even Aggron are possibilities, especially as the latter was datamined the same day the new season was announced. Mawile is one of the pokemon getting Fairy Wind, which should drastically help its Mega as a Dragon slaying pokemon at the least. Mega Aggron was recently datamined with Sabeleye, is another tanky pokemon, and becomes a pure Steel type, which could also fit a theme based on testing oneself and metal. Again, though, we have no information beyond the event title and dates, so this is all just guesswork for now.

9/12 Update: Niantic’s just released the Test your Mettle details and it is a metal event. As noted above, Celesteela (only in Southern Hemisphere raids) isn’t look great in general while Kartana (in Northern Hemisphere raids) is looking quite good in PvE. Togedemaru is making its debut in raids and in the wild, but as it doesn’t even reach 2500 CP, it won’t be a raid useable option. PvE fans will want to focus more on catching Beldums and possibly Magnemites, though remember to hold your Beldums until a special event grants its final form Meteor Mash, as that’s the move that makes it a top Steel type. Mega Aggron is our next Mega, but luckily Niantic will also have quests for Mega Steelix and Mega Scizor energy, which are both far more useful Mega Steels.

9/1 Update: As Alakazam, Aggron, and Banette now all have their Mega Energy being displayed (but not yet available) on pokemon viewed in your bag, Mega Alakazam is most likely the Sept 6-16 Mega, Mega Aggron as the Sept 16-27 Mega, and Mega Banette will most likely be available in October. All of them are inferior Mega options when it comes to generating extra XL/regular candy and xp. Gamepress has previously discussed these ‘mon,  noting that Alakazam is frailer than Latios so possibly less useful in raids aside from a quick burst of damage, Banette being an inferior Gengar but at least lacking its Poison typing that makes Gengar even squishier against Pyschics, and Mega Aggron is not great, gaining some some DPS over the already released Mega Steelix at the cost of bulk (remember, Mega Aggron is pure Steel, losing its Rock sub-type). These pokemon should serve as a nice “free” Megas to evolve every few days, but Niantic took a lot of the bang out of their arrival both after better options and by putting so much emphasis on Megas giving loads of bonuses outside of combat based on types.

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More immediate is the September 3rd Inkay event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a fun pokemon as it’s got a neat design and typing and requires the players to turn their phones upside to evolve it, but its evolution, Malamar, isn’t of much value aside from some PvP niches. However, its shiny form is being released during the event. You also get double catch candy. Some players may want to focus on catching the aforementioned Sabeleyes that will be spawning during the event, as well as Houndour, both to get a better one to Mega Evolve and/or to get XL Candy to power one up. There’s also Murkrow, which is useful as a Flying-type, and the Galarian Zigzagoon will be around for people who didn’t get enough on its Community Day. And for the collectors out there, all of the previously mentioned pokemon have good-looking shinies.

Mega Gyarados is a good option for getting all that Dark candy during the event, Mega Houndoom also works, and Absol’s Mega is an option too, but sadly it’s a mono-type, limiting its overall use for the day. On the other hand, if you care only about Inkay candy and Deoxys XL candy from raids, you could go with either of the Mega Latis or Mega Slowbro, giving people plenty of options if they’ve invested in the Mega system at all.

Oddly, September 10th is Clefairy Commotion, a new event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., which are interesting hours, most likely coinciding with the Harvest Moon (the actual moon, not the game). Obviously it has something to do with Clefairy, but there are no other details at the moment.

9/2 Update: We were correct about the Harvest Moon association, as per the official event details. It essentially looks like a streamlined Community Day or Spotlight Hour at night. There are no bonuses aside from the higher shiny chance due to more spawns (not increased rate, that we know of), nor any new move. At the least, as shown above, you could use Mega Altaria for XL Candy, as Clefable’s not a bad Ultra League pick.

We know September 18th is Community Day, and the hours are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. this time, but that’s all the information we have at the moment. It does arrive during the Test your Mettle event, so in my mind, it may be a Fighting, Steel, or possibly Rock type (given Rock is often paired with both types, sometimes with all three when a trainer/leader’s theme is about being tough).

9/7 Update: Niantic’s revealed the next Community Day target is Roggenrola, a pokemon rumored to be released for Community Day back in July along with two other predictions. Functionally, it’s not looking like a great PvE pokemon, or PvP for that matter. There are some interesting things going on though. First, the event is 2pm-5pm. These hours may have been more suitable during the summer, and raids running until 10pm on a Sunday doesn’t make it seem like it’s aimed at kids or regular working adults trying to avoid a rough Monday. To note, evolving an untraded Gigalith from Roggenrola costs 250 candy: 50 candy for the first evolution, and 200 for the second. If the pokemon’s been traded, the second evolution goes from 200 to zero. Perhaps Niantic is thinking people will want to spend Sunday night trading and evolving, as 10pm is a nice, late cutoff time for getting the CD move. It is a nice shiny, no doubt, but between its uses and being previously released, the community largely seems divided aside from appreciating how good the shiny version looks.

9/7 Update 2: Someone’s being nice, because the dataminers have already found the full stats for the new move, Meteor Beam. PvE-wise, it’s serviceable unless you’ve got at least a full team of Rhyperior and Rampardos, if not better ‘mon. The jury’s still out on PvP, but the general consensus is that, while the move is good, Gigalith is the issue, mostly because Rock has many meta-relevant weaknesses and it’s more of an attack heavy ‘mon. Meteor Beam may work better with different pokemon, but so many objectively better pokemon can learn it, we’ll just have to see who else Niantic gives it to, whenever that day may come.

For anyone in Korea (or willing to travel), September 23rd to 25th is the Goyang Safari Park event, but as that’s extremely regional (and still not fully explained), it most likely will have little effect on the greater POGO community, outside maybe a new shiny coming.

And finally (for now), there’s Fashion Week, from September 27th to October 3rd. We’ve had the event twice before, so expect new costumed pokemon at the least, possibly some avatar clothing discounts, and maybe even evolved forms of previously locked ‘mon, like hat and sunglasses Sneasel. We may even see some new Furfrou cuts based on what dataminers have found, and the miners have already revealed that Croagunk at least will have its previous hat-form able to evolve. Hopefully Niantic will get hats on each of Dugtrio’s heads before release, or at least give one head a mustache and one a monocle!

9/20 Update: Niantic’s dropped full Fashion week details, and the above datamined content was accurate (sorry single-hatted, three-headed Dugtrio). Toxapex is the big pokemon to look out in terms of function for PvP fans, as it’s looking like it’ll cause big waves in Great League, though nothing higher (so raiders can ignore it beyond simply collecting it). Wild Frillish is also useful for PvP fans.

Collectors and travelers should grab some Furfrous, not only because of the new shiny, but because the pokemon only spawns during events despite all of its regional cuts.

All arounders should probably consider Mega Gyrados for this event, as that’ll give them extra candy and xp for Frillish, Toxapex/Mareanie, Absol, Murkrow, and Yveltal, who returns for fashion week with its shiny variant. Collectors not worried too much about Mareanie candy could instead go with Mega Pidgeot, as that’ll get more candy from Furfrou and Yveltal, among others. If you care about Mareanie, Toxicroak for PvP (especially if, for whatever reason, you need one for Ultra League), and Frillish but not Yveltal, you could instead go with Mega Gengar.

As always, we do still have Wednesday raid nights which are fairly self-explanatory (lots of five-star raids on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. local time), but let’s go over the Spotlight hours.

September 6th is double stardust but also offers Munna, a pokemon that only recently got its shiny during the Go Fest Finale. If you missed it then, this is a good time to grab it.

September 13th is probably more appealing for battlers, as Ralts’s Gardevoir evolution is still quite useful and its shiny is good looking. As it’s got two evolutions, each with a Mega Form (Gallade’s being of dubious combat value but occupying the same Psychic/Fighting niche as Medicham), you may want to stock up on XL candy too.

Aron’s interesting because we’re not sure what the Test your Mettle event is, but it falls during the same time as this spotlight hour. If Mega Aggron becomes a thing, this could be a good time to stock up on XL candy or shinies. To note, if you’re fine on Aron candy or don’t want to play incense, you could pop a Meltan Box and use Mega Steelix or Mega Scizor to get double candy for both/either of these pokemon, as they’re both Steel-types.

Finally, September 27th is Minccino, which isn’t very useful but is also a double transfer candy day. For some of us, with all the recent events and knowing Deoxys (a not-entirely-great Mythical pokemon) will be taking up raids for about two weeks, double transfers can’t come fast enough!

As always, we’ll be updating this page as Niantic gives us information, so check back often for news and analysis throughout the month.

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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