Massively on the Go: Pokemon Go’s January events start cold, but the raids are hot


The new year won’t be starting strong for Pokemon GO players, as Niantic has outlined a rather recycled-sounding New Year’s event starting at 8 p.m. on December 31st and ending on January 4th. Party hat pokemon and previous New Year’s ‘mon (minus Slowpoke’s family) are being trotted out, though last year’s Hoothoot with hat will become a Noctowl with hat. Pikachu and only Pikachu gets a new hat, though hopefully we’ll see less of him with Ash and Pikachu retiring soon (I doubt this means Raichu is getting any love soon though). Unless you really like hats or various baby pokemon from 7k eggs (Togepi and Wynaut have uses, especially for newer players, but don’t go crazy on gambling for shinies), it’s not a great start.

Niantic is also pushing the egg widget again, with the first three eggs incubating while using the widget getting reduced to 1/4 of the normal requirement, not on top of the 1/2 distance that will be active for the whole event. There is some hope, though, as Reshiram with Fusion Flare is coming though, and it’ll be a step up from the current Flareless version previously released. And that’s just the start of what seems like a month that’ll require more than a little hype-building.

For raids, we have Zekrom coming on January 10th as Reshiram leaves, and in a very similar position to Reshiram, meaning you won’t want to miss it. Regice will replace it on January 25th, but we have no idea if the Ice Golem (which has limited PvP uses outside of Ultra League) will have a unique move, though Tapu Koko is coming back with at least a shiny chance for the first time between January 25th and February 1st. Unusually, it seems as if raid ‘mon will start off strong and get weaker as the month goes on.

For Mega Raids, Mega Steelix (January 1st-10th), Mega Lopunny (January 18th-25th), and Mega Aerodactyl all have some use for (XL) candy generation, but the big news is the “mystery” pokemon for January 10th-18th. Niantic has been releasing Generation 3 Megas in preparation for the upcoming Hoenn Tours in February, and we know the next Mega’mon will be a dragon from Generation 3 to fit that theme. That leaves only Mega Salamence at this point, a Dragon/Flying type that will be very useful at least in terms of candy generation, and maybe also raid DPS.

For January’s Community Day on January 7th (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.), we finally have Chespin, meaning the long-awaited Froakie Community Day is coming later this year. I say that because as much as I love Chespin, it won’t make much of a dent in the raid scene unless you missed Roserade over the course of a couple of Community Days now. It may have more PvP use, but as Flying types were recently buffed and Chespin’s final form is quad-weak to Flying, there are difficulties on the horizon. The 1/4 egg hatching bonus, however, could be a good way to once again clear our egg space, especially for free-to-play players preparing for the Hoenn Tours in February.

1/7 Update: After Community Day has ended, Kecleon has finally arrived in Pokemon Go, several years and generations later than the rest of Gen 3. First found by dataminers, Kecleon is already bugged, so be aware. As you can see, there’s a faint outline of the pokemon when tapping on Pokestops. Players are not supposed to see it unless they are within spin range, so take advantage of this while you can. Once you are close enough, simply keep tapping on the pokemon until it leaps off the pokestop, at which point it should spawn nearby. Assuming it’s not bugged, you may need to get closer to the stop if Kecleon doesn’t appear. For now, it can’t be shiny, but that will change for Las Vegas Hoenn Tour attendees during the event and everyone else the weekend after that.

January 10th-16th is the Twinkling Fantasy event. We have no idea what this entails, but as Swirlix has a spotlight hour on the starting date, we’ll guess that it may involve Fairy types and possibly Dragons too to match Mega Salamence’s predicted release.

1/4 Update: We now have official news on the Twinkling Fantasy event. As predicted, this is the introduction of Mega Salamence. While Mega Rayquaza will outclass it in nearly all ways once its released, it did receive special mention in our Mega guide as the typing is very useful for the Mega evolution catching bonuses. Also as predicted, the event is about Fairies and Dragons, and aside from Salamence’s unevolved form, Bagon, there’s also Ralts, Deino, Clafairy, and even Goomy as arguably useful pokemon (Goomy’s final form being not weak to Fighting and having decent coverage with bulk makes it above average as a short-term gym defender). Goomy is also good for collectors, as is Noibat, and the newly shiny Dedene. Zekrom is also getting its new move, Fusion Bolt, so Mega Altaria is perfect for your catching needs during this event. The event also brings back the catch-skill mechanic, rewarding players with not only double xp for Nice, Great, and Excellent throws, but incrementally increases the (XL) Candy rewards as you catch with a higher rating, so have those pinap berries ready, and maybe Vivillons ready to catch (don’t forget your Mega Beedrill either)!

During that time, we have Battle Weekend from January 14th-15th. We already know this at least involves being able to do 100 PvP battles per day (up from 20), 4x stardust rewards, and a quest that will grant Steven Stone-esque avatar rings (the same from the rank 20 reward) and an Elite Charged TM.

January 19th-23rd is Lunar New Year. Historically, that at least means increased chances of triggering lucky trades, lucky friends, red pokemon, and featured pokemon based on the zodiac sign. As 2023 is the year of the rabbit, expect something rabbity. Wigglytuff would be an easy pick, both because it’s rabbit-like and is associated with the moon. The Nidorans would work too, as they’re also rabbity and traditionally require a moonstone to evolve. Niantic may do Plusle and Minun though, as they’re rabbit-like, Plusle is red, and they’re Gen 3 pokemon, fighting the current Gen 3 emphasis. A case could be made for Azumarill, whose shiny variant is gold and could be linked to the holiday’s hopes for good fortune, plus 2023 is also the Water element for rabbit, but I’m not sure Niantic knows this.

There are other bunny pokemon, but their cases feel weaker or sketchy, such as Cinderace’s line being both red and certainly a rabbit, but I would be utterly surprised to see this one as a starter.

1/12 Update: And Niantic’s dropped official information on the event (and already fixed one mistake, sorry Shiny Fennekin fans!). While we were correct about Azumarill not being the featured pokemon despite being a perfect fit, we were somehow wrong about Niantic even using a rabbit.

While rabbit pokemon such as Azumarill, Buneary family, and Bunnelby family are event pokemon, it’s the Darumaka family that’s getting all the attention. While admittedly more useful than the other rabbits being featured (mostly as a raid attacker for either version), the Daruma dolls the pokemon are based on are Japanese, a culture that now largely does not celebrate Lunar New Year but Gregorian New Year. Back to the main topic at hand though, we did correctly guess that increased chances of triggering lucky trades, lucky friends, and red pokemon would be part of the event. We’re told that we also get an additional special trade, double stardust from gifts, and a branching timed research Niantic has yet to explain.

In addition to the Darumas, players may want to focus on Torchic and Magikarp if they don’t yet have good ones, particularly because they have useful Mega forms. They may also want to stack Paras rewards from quests for February 5’s Community Day triple stardust bonus.

January 21st is Community Day Classic, and as it occurs during the Lunar Festival and before the Hoenn Tour, I’ll guess that this may be Torchic. It’s a Gen 3 starter, becomes red, gets a Mega, and is fairly useful, so it matches both the holiday season and the criteria that probably helped Mudkip get featured recently. Alternatively, it could be Bagon (if Niantic really wants to drive home Mega Salamence), Ralts (because it’s Gen 3 and also popular/useful), or – as a long shot – Beldum (it’s useful, but Niantic’s also increased the events that grant the Community Day move Meteor Mash, so it probably won’t get featured).

1/4 Update: Niantic threw us a curve ball and all our above Gen 3 predictions were wrong. Instead, Classic Community Day is getting Gen 2’s Larvitar. While its final form, Tyranitar, is largely outpaced by other previous Community Day picks at this point unless using its shadow variant (in both quad Rock and quad Dark weakness raid scenarios), it does get a Mega form with two useful typings, which earned it a shoutout in our review of the most useful (potential) Mega pokemon to invest in. If you don’t already have a good Smack-Down Ttar (as that’s the featured move), this is the time to correct that. If you do, and if you’ve got other, better Rock attackers, Larvitar Community Day is still good for finding a potential Dark-type Larvitar to evolve and invest in after the event, plus getting the XL Candy to power them up. Until we learn more about the Lunar New Year event, I recommend using Mega Aerodactyl during this event, as not only will it get you more (XL) Candy, but you can also use it in the very rare chance your Daily Incense spawns any Galarian Bird Legendary and allows you to catch it.

Finally, January 27th to February 5th is the Crackling Voltage event. Niantic’s released no details on this event, but obviously it’ll feature electric pokemon. If Niantic continues the Gen 3 theme, it may be linked with New Maudville, an underground power plant filled with the Voltorb family and Magnemite family, and in later generations, allows players to evolve pokemon into Magnezone and Probopass, so those could be some featured pokemon. These are just guesses, though, and we’ll update this section once Niantic releases some info.

1/20 Update: Oh boy do we have a lot to cover. Niantic’s released info on the Crackling Voltage event, and it’s a bit of a two-fer that’s spilling into February. We’ll save the Rocket aspect for our February event guide, but suffice to say, get your usable Shadow Pokemon ready to have Frustration TMed away on February 1.

Back to the main part of the event, obviously you’ll want to use either Mega Manectric or Ampharos for the bulk of the event, though Mega Scizor works too if you don’t care much about Tapu Koko which, honestly, isn’t great. 7ks eggs aren’t great either, unless you PvP and want extra chances for good Stunfisk (both versions), Skarmory, and/or their candy.

And that’s basically the summary of the event. While there are plenty of event spawns, at this point, the only real winners are Beldum and Grubbin, though recall that Beldum’s final form needs its Community Day move to be usable as a Steel type. Magnezone, which we correctly predicted would be somewhat involved, isn’t a terrible choice for PvP or PvE, though I’d keep it out of gyms due to its Fighting weakness. Galarian Weezing will be a raid option for those who don’t want Tapu Koko, as it has some use as a gym defender with Fairy Wind and Play Rough thanks to its quad resistance to Fighting, and some use in Ultra League.

Overall though, for January, Crackling Voltage won’t be a big event except for collectors looking for the new shiny Helioptile or Koko Tapu, but February’s Rocket portion of the event will really make things surge.

For the Spotlight Hours, January 3rd’s Alola Sandshrew hour has a double xp for evolution bonus for those who have new evolves they want to utilize. It’s also good for those of you who may live in non-snowy places but still lack Ice Medal to increase catch rates. January 10th’s is strangely tempting in my opinion since it’s got both double stardust and Swirlix, which has a shiny that’s previously released but constantly eludes me. If you’ve been saving Shellders from December’s research events (or even the event Glaceons), this may be the night to cash in. Seedot on January 17th is fairly negligible at this point unless you’ve saved targets for making use of the double xp gains.

Depending on what happens for the Crackling Voltage event, the last two spotlight hours’ use is a bit tougher to predict. January 24th’s featured ‘mon is Tynamo, which isn’t terribly common and is expensive to evolve all the way through, but it’s not particularly useful (at best, it’s spicy for PvP), though the double catch candy makes that easier. However, it’s also a good time to cash in your Vivillon medal bonuses, preferably by using a Mega Beedril or Scizor to up the candy count even more.

Blitzle’s January 31st spotlight hour is more obviously a mixed bag, as it’s just not that useful or hard to evolve. However, between the lack of new storage and the upcoming Hoenn Tours in February, this may be the last time we get a double transfer event until after the event’s over (especially given Niantic’s track record). Poké-hoarders may want to have less desirable ‘mon lined up under a tag to exit prior to the event so they can simply “select all” and send them on their way.

As always, this page is prone to updates throughout the month as Niantic slowly rolls out with new details. At least in terms of raiding, there’s some good stuff here for the first half of the month, but the initial New Year’s event isn’t inspiring, so it may be Lunar New Year that saves the day.

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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