Massively on the Go: October brings new treats to Pokemon Go

    
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Pokemon GO’s Season of Light continues into October, and while a lot of the announced content looks as familiar as that candy corn you still have, there are some juicy new treats.

We already know October 15th’s Community Day will be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (evolution bonuses ending at 10 p.m.) and will finally feature Litwick. The featured move, Poltergeist, makes it slightly better for PvE and may have little effect on PvP, but that’s fine because its final evolution, Chandelure, is already a highly useful raid pokemon for both Ghost and Fire. That’s not the only Ghost to be looking out for this season, though (10/13 Update: Actually it’s currently worse)! Let’s dig in.

A few full-sized bars

For October, the Research Breakthrough ‘mon will be Shedinja, possibly a shiny one if you’re lucky. It’s not a useful one, but Gen 3 players probably have fond memories not only of getting it but of using its unique Ability that has no equivalent in POGO. As well, feast on the nostalgia or abuse that value in trades. The Premium Raid Pass we got in September’s Breakthrough is sadly being replaced with Incense, and… well, we won’t talk about that again.

For upcoming raids, we’ll already have Yveltal until October 8th, and as predicted, Xerneas comes October 8th through 20th. Yveltal, as previously noted, is pretty useful as both a Dark type and Flying attacker, mostly for newer players, but it’s expected to get a Signature move in the future to make it better. It is useful in PvP at the least, much like Xerneas, which sadly hasn’t gotten any PvE help but is expected to see its shiny released. (We’ve asked PR to clarify the media mailer we were sent on this, as Niantic’s post-embargo infograph says this, but the embargoed information did not.)

Speaking of October 20th, players will finally have a new Mega option for Ghost types: Mega Banette. The problem with Mega B, though, is that it’s a mono-type Ghost with lower DPS than Mega Gengar (which is available) and lower survival than Mega Sableye (coming soon™). That means fewer pokemon for which it can generate candy and XP, though as Ghost is one of the few types that is weak to itself, it’s still useful for raids where you’re fighting a Ghost boss and want to boost Ghost damage.

For Mega cheapos, it’s better than nothing, and lacking a Poison typing, it’ll last longer against Psychics than poor Gengar, but don’t worry too much about this one. Get it, Mega Evolve it, and if you like it, walk it, but unless you lead a lot of raids, I wouldn’t put too many resources into it. You’ll have until November 8th to grab one, so you’ll have plenty of time. The October 8th Mega Gyarados Day is most likely going to be more useful as it’s one of our top picks for Megas if you don’t already have one, but we don’t yet have the full details on that.

Competing for your raid passes during Mega Banette’s reign will be both Giratinas, with the Altered version coming from October 20th through 27th and the Origin Forme coming from October 27th to November 8th. While we still get double Raid Passes, I know people have limited time and passes. Raiders will want to focus more on Origin Giratina, and while PvP fans can make great use of both, I often find myself struggling to make good Ultra League teams, so Altered Giratina may be preferred if you’re also in that situation.

For the Tuesday Spotlight hours, we have the following:

  • October 4th: Purrloin, 2× XP for evolving
  • October 11th: Haunter 2× Stardust for catching
  • October 18th: Misdreavus, 2× XP for catching
  • October 25th: Shuppet, 2× XP for evolving

Note that there are no double candy events. I’ll get into that later, but Halloween season is usually when we have that. If you’re really worried about double candy (or even XL candy), save research rewards for Litwick’s Community Day, as both candy types will be doubled during the event.

Now, of the Spotlight hours, note that October 11th is Haunter. That’s an evolved pokemon, so combined with the double Stardust bonus, it’s probably the best time to catch anything you’ve been holding on to for dust. You may want to hold on to a few to trade to friends, as October 25th is an evolution bonus. Remember, Haunter is a free evolve if it’s been traded. That does mean holding on to a few during Community Day, so I’m suggesting this only to people with lots of free inventory.

In addition, Niantic’s noted that people should “bring [their] Buddy Pokemon to witness something special at the beginning and end of [Shuppet’s] Spotlight Hour.” Given the date, I half wonder if Buddy Pokemon will have their walking distance lowered during this time. It’s not much, but Niantic hasn’t granted this bonus for a while. We’ll update this as we’re given new details.

10/24: Pokeminers have found that Zorua will be spawning at the start of the October 25 spotlight hour, disguised as your buddy and spawning en masse. It’s not looking like a great PvP ‘mon (yet), but it is a new release. Early reports make it seem buggy, so we’ll see how much can be planned for in the coming hours, and how much is simply bugs, possibly carried over from Ditto code that may be used to allow for Zoruo to also transform.

10/25 Update: In typical Niantic fashion, the event is on hold due to bugs.

10/28 Update: Niantic’s now released Zorua, and early reports seem to indicate it takes up a wild spawn but shows up as your buddy. While early reports are saying that the level appears to be the same for everyone, its appearance is tied to your buddy and IVs seem to be random.

10/28 Update 2: And once again Niantic proves themselves incapable of properly launching a bug-free feature, as Zorua initially caused some cloned pokemon to be caught as their disguise form (i.e. Disguised Mewtwo caught on a Go+ remained Mewtwo), so all auto-catching Bluetooth devices are been disabled for now.

Speaking of new details, there are a few events Niantic hasn’t fully spelled out yet. Beyond the previously mentioned October 8th Mega Gyarados Raid day, there is Evolving Stars Event (October 5th through 11th). This is most likely a continuation of September’s event with Cosmog. As we previously mentioned, Cosmog evolves. It’s evolution is shown on Niantic’s official infograph above, and its evolution was recently datamined, so I would assume this event will involve that before wrapping up in December with the ability to evolve into one of its final forms, and maybe having them available for raids. We’ll just have to wait for further updates on this though.

9/28 Update: Niantic’s released more details on both the Evolving Stars Event and the Mega Gyarados Raid Day (Oct. 8 2pm-5pm local time). There is an issue that the PR mailer seems to indicate that Mega Gary’s going to bring not only 5 free Daily Passes from spins, increased shiny odds that you’ll get a red ‘Dos, and that there’ll be more Mega Gyarados raids, but also that there’ll be special Field Research and a Collection Challenge.

That being said, we believe this is in error. We’ve requested clarification from PR, but much like with Xerneas, we’re going to side with what we traditionally expect based on Niantic habits in addition to the official release site over the media mailer we received. As you can see above, influencers are doing the same.

10/7 Update: The event’s been live and bugged as usual, but the rest of the world will have to endure now 6 hours of Mega Gyarados, from 11am-5pm, because Niantic screwed up in the earlier territories. Those who were hoping to get in extra time with Xerneas are sadly out of luck.

With that in mind, the main thing about Mega Gyarados is that it’ll be useful for boosting Dark types against the Giratinas coming up. As of this writing, Fashion Week is spawning more Murkrow, so if you’re low on Ghost and Dark-types, grab some of those for Honchkrow, but maybe wait to evolve them, as we’re told the Evolving Stars Event will involve, well, evolving. Haunter, Scyther, Pidgeot, and Kakuna all have a final evolution with a useful Mega, and Kadabra, as you may recall, recently got its final form’s Mega as well (though it’s less useful). Swinub, Rhyhorn, and Litwick are all useful too, especially as Rhyhorn’s Rhyperior evolution with it’s Community Day move is very meta-relevant for raiding, and Litwick will have its CD later this month. Ralts’ Gardevoir evolution is still great and, as you may recall, both genders have Mega forms later on, so find a good one while you can. Tynamo tends to be rare, and that’s basically the only reason to be on the lookout for it unless you’re a particular fan of its line.

Finally, as predicted, Cosmog will be able to evolve for 25 candy we’re told, and that we’ll be able to get more Cosmog “in the distant future.”

Next is the Festival of Lights event (October 14th to 17th). This is only the second time this event will have been done, but if it’s like the first, we can at least expect candy bonuses and friendship bonuses, and maybe a new pokemon being released. As always, we’ll have to just wait and see.

10/5 Update: At about 11:30pm PT today, Niantic dropped details on the event. As previously datamined, Morelull and Shiinotic are coming to town, but with their low CP and current moveset, may not make much of an impact. As we guessed, there’ll be double candy for catching and double xp for catching too, though no Friendship bonus. Oddly, Litwick will be a featured pokemon during the event, and also gets its Community Day in the middle of the event too. Chinchou, which has some PvP use, has increased shiny odds during the event, while raiders can focus on the Darumakas via incense if they choose to do so. It’ll last 2 hours during the event, and as it’s this month’s Research Breakthrough reward, it may be worth using incense once or twice. Galarian Ponyta in the wild is simply icing on the cake, as it has some nice new moves but it’s not very useable.

Finally, there’s the Halloween Event (October 20th to 31st). This is one of the oldest events in the game, involving Ghost pokemon and increased candy at the least. Dark types also become more common, get your Megas ready, especially Ghosts if you’ll be raiding for Giratina and its two forms. Turn on your music once or twice too, as there’s usually a beloved Gen 1 remix playing in the background. We don’t expect Guzzlord to be released, as it’s been teased for November. This is the one time of year Yamask (both types) are available, as well as at least one Spiritomb, but as usual, we’ll just have to wait and see what Niantic has planned.

10/13 Update: Niantic’s revealed some information on their Halloween event. Part 1 will be from October 20-27, and both Yamask’s can be shiny now, as can Noibat (more so from eggs than in the wild). It should also be noted that while the event will feature double catch, hatch, and transfer candy, Niantic is offering paid research, with the $1 option for guaranteed Yamasks (both variants) from quests, and a $5 variant that includes a new animated pose, “additional Halloween-themed tasks,” and some other candy bonus. The two tickets seem to be different things, and we’re unsure of what the other candy bonus is, but have contacted Niantic PR in hopes of getting an answer. 10/20 Update: Apparently the $5 ticket also upgrades your account to get x3 catch, hatch, and transfer candy, plus 2 XL candy from walking instead of 1, making walking a legendary pokemon even more tempting. This also makes it the most Pay-to-Win offer Niantic’s ever released. While Premium Raid Passes were largely the only offender that largely affected Master League (and, to a lesser extent, Ultra League), this event grants easier access to pokemon that have yet to be in the raid rotations, such as meta-relevant Mythicals Jirachi, Meloetta, and Zarude.

Speaking of avatars, the old Spooky pose is getting an animated upgrade for no extra cost, plus there’ll be some new costumes (pictured above). In fact, the whole game world will have Halloween decor for the first time, so we’ll see how that plays out.

For raids, yes, Mega Bannette is officially arriving, but so is Giratina with its signature move, Shadow Force. In PvP, it could bring the bulkier Altered Gira in line with its Origin forme, or surpass it and potentially become broken, depending on the energy costs. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.

In terms of spawns and priorities, Yamask is both rare and potentially useful in its Galarian version for PvP in both Great and Ultra Leagues, though Phantump’s evolution is more so, just not seasonal, so stock up on them (and the candy thanks to the x2 catch, hatch, and transfer bonuses). Obviously Gastly and Haunter are still valuable if you still lack good ones, especially for its Mega form, while Pumpkaboo is seasonal but not really great for anything beyond collecting. Golett isn’t seasonal, just rare, but in a similar position to the Pumpkin pokemon. A Ghost Mega is best for this event, and while Banette is fine, Mega Gengar’s battling Poison type isn’t a liability but an advantage in terms of candy and xp generation, even in this event.

10/14 Update: While not EX Raids, Niantic has just announced something similar starting this month: Elite Raids. While EX Raids sent you an invite to meet at a certain time, Elite Raids are eggs visible to all but take 24-hours to hatch. They also are in-person only raids which last only 30 minutes. The first ones will be on October 16, and the target will be Hoopa Unbound, which isn’t particularly good as a Dark, Psychic, or even pseudo-Ghost type, being overshadowed by Community Day Hydreigon, Mewtwo (which may be legendary but appears far more frequently and is thus more accessible), and non-Community Day Chandelure. It is double weak to Bug types, so Bugs can finally shine, but it’s not exactly a feature the community is supporting thus far on social media.

10/19 Update: We now know what Halloween Part 2 is and it’s simply new pokemon: a new Gengar from raids (new new, not the Banette costume one), plus wild Pumpkaboo and Vulpix with costumes, both of which evolve with the costume. Costume Drifbloom will also return to raids, and wild Pikachu and Piplup will return with their non-evolving costumes as well. Second update: We also are hearing that Spiritomb is locked behind a paywall for the first time, as the four previous years all had it available for free.

 

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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