Massively on the Go: Preparing for Pokemon Go’s Las Vegas Hoenn Tour


Pokemon GO’s Hoenn Tour is swiftly approaching, but the event is a little different than usual. While GO Fest often has had Niantic sponsored events, the first two Tour events didn’t. Moreover, the tours are usually a single day and have a paid ticket component, while this year it’ll be two days and mostly free (aside from the shiny mythical part). Thanks to these changes and the fact that I know more people than usual going to the Vegas event (including me!), I figured Massively On the Go could do something a bit different for this Tour’s guide.

While we’ll still do an event checklist closer to the global event, for Vegas part of the tour we’ve recruited a few well-known guides and experts to give readers advice on both travel and target ‘mon to acquire. Even if you’re not going, we’ve got some food for thought to help you prep for the coming weeks, especially during the current events.

Massively on the Go’s tips

Above is our usual checklist in its purest form, but as always, it’s distilled down from longer explanations. While our Guest-Guides will help with some areas, especially for Vegas travelers, some aspects will be event-wide.

For example, while Niantic hasn’t been completely straightforward with a summary of what each version gets, it seems fairly similar to past Tours, just less restrictive in terms of captures – it’ll be more like joining a team. Vegas attendees, remember that your team is for both Vegas and the Global Tour. No side switching!

Sapphire version and Ruby version have different pokemon as shown above, with the exception of the team captains. Those are not exclusive, but you will get quests to help your “captain” appear in more nearby raids every so often. As the exclusive pokemon aren’t too special (aside from Illumise and dying-to-live Volbeat, which are largely useless regionals but occasionally have crossed territories), you may wish to focus on the Primals.

Sapphire’s Kyogre buffs rainy weather (Bug, Electric, and Water) pokemon when Primal evolved (basically Mega evolution that focuses on a weather group), while Ruby’s Groudon buffs rainy weather ‘mon. On the one hand, getting a good pokemon of your local weather tendency means you can use a very strong pokemon often to potentially rack up the XP and (XL)candies fairly reliably. On the other, don’t exactly need good ones for that, at least at the moment. Most raids can be beaten by 3-4 competent players around level 35. Megas can help in a pinch for sure, though. The only major difference in terms of combat is that Mega Groudon’s Ground/Fire typing leaves it quad-weak to Water, a common type in gyms and PvP, giving Kyogre a slight edge if Niantic ever allows Megas/Primals in cups again.

There’s also the Lati twins. For reference, Latias (red) is tanky, Latios (blue) is DPS. Whichever version you choose also decides which one you may encounter in the wild and possibly get a second shot at capturing it if you remember to take a picture of it! Update: The Lati you encounter is the opposite of your color choice, so Ruby gets Latios (blue) and Sapphire gets Latias (red). The legendary beasts did this during the Johto event, and it was pretty fun, but I cannot stress enough that you need to be paying attention to spawns and taking pictures of the wild legendaries to get the most out of this feature, which can be tricky with everything going on.

Storage may be an issue this year, but with the Valentine’s event (February 8th-14th) having double or triple transfer candy bonuses plus the current (XL) candy bonuses, you have some good opportunities to make room, especially as Niantic is giving players the option to buy 50 spaces more.

For Buddy Pokemon, this may go hand-in-hand with Megas or even Primals. In terms of raids, Mega Swampert is the best ‘mon to use as it’ll generate extra (XL) Candy from both Groudon and Kyogre. However, some players plan to walk Groudon or Kyogre up to 19/20km required to generate candy, then after getting access to Primal forms, switch that buddy in and walk it to generate energy (even better if you pop a poffin). It’s not a bad idea, especially as Primal forms are powerful enough for me to recommend players invest in 3 Groudon and 3 Kyogre. This makes it so that you can eventually consistently have their bonuses running every day if need be.

Just remember to Mega them only when their rest period is over, unless you’re in a rush to max them all out (which I wouldn’t suggest). Again, you don’t need to pump candy and stardust into them for bonuses, just remember to Mega/Primal them when their timer is up, unless you plan to use them in combat. That’s when you want to get some with good IVs, but that’s another story.

ImageTips from the Go Hub PvP analyst

First, we have advice from JRE Seawolf, PvP analyst. Initially, JRE called dibs on recommending “good underwear,” which is a fine suggestion. Then he decided to bless us with a list of pokemon PvP players may want to consider when looking for ‘mon to use in various PvP scenarios. Here are some pokemon JRE says to watch out for:

Open Play:
Master League:
Cup Play:

Pokemon with asterisks denote a Community Day move, special raid-event move, and/or that an Elite TM is required for efficiency. While some of us expect Niantic to allow evolved pokemon to learn these moves during the events or that raid ‘mon will come with them, this has yet to be announced. With JRE’s permission, I’ve linked some notable sources to at least get people started on how/why each ‘mon may be of interest to those who really want to participate in PvP. For casual players, I would personally suggest focusing on Great League picks, Master League picks, and obviously Swampert, which you’ll see is going to be a theme.

Tips from the Gamepress PvP analyst

Another PvP analyst we often cite is YouTuber and writer for Gamepress RyanSwag, but while JRE offered PvP suggestions, Mr. Swag gave us general travel advice, namely to bring “sunscreen, hat, shoes that can handle mud decently/don’t mind getting dirty, and an emergency poncho.” Indeed, “preparing for sun and rain is straightforward, but a lot of people underestimate how muddy it can get regardless of weather,” he says. Truth be told, I feel called out and will be packing that poncho in case that forecasted rain comes early.

Tips from the dataminers

Naturally, we also reached out to the PokeMiners, who offered this piece of advice: “Save enough coins in case you need to make last-minute in-game purchases for supplies.”

Tips from the raid analyst

Next, we have Reddit raid analyst and fellow blogger Teban54. Teban gave us a trove of tips, which he’s allowed us to edit and summarize, especially where there’s overlap with previously written content, so watch for more of his tips in our Global Hoenn Tour piece coming after the Vegas event. That being said, let’s start Teban’s contributions off with his travel suggestions.

General advice
  • Bring a water bottle! This is especially true for the in-person tour: Las Vegas is very, very dry, and you will need a lot of water to survive the day. There will likely be water stations, but you still want to carry a bottle with you wherever you go.
  • Bring a power bank! Very few phones can last through eight hours of active gameplay. You may be able to borrow power banks at the Las Vegas site, but it’s much safer to have your own.
  • Start clearing your 5km, 7km and 10km eggs before the event. Regional Pokemon (Torkoal, Tropius, Relicanth) with their shiny debuts will hatch from 10km eggs obtained during the event. Ideally, you want to enter the event with as many 2km eggs as possible so that you can walk them quickly and get new eggs during the event, which can possibly contain regionals. [MOTG note: Vegas players with the paid Hatching bonus are the opposite. You’ll want to have plenty of high-walk-requirement eggs ready to hatch soon into the event for the bonuses. I walk a lot, so having 12k eggs saved for this is an obvious play for me. -Andrew]
  • Make a list of Pokemon and habitats to focus on. Whether your goal is shiny hunting, getting good Pokemon for PvP and raids, or just filling your dex, there will be some Pokemon you need more than others. Find out what habitats they’re in. For in-person attendees, you may want to play in that specific region of the park more than others. For global event attendees, make the best use of those hours corresponding to that habitat. [MOTG note: Emphasis added here as first timers like yours truly aren’t used to having to go to a different physical habitat during these events, plus this is a first for the Tour events. -Andrew]
  • Use a Mega Evolution. Once you activate a Mega, you get extra candy when you catch a Pokemon that shares a type with the Mega, and higher Mega levels also give you boosted Candy XL chance and extra XP. For each habitat, decide which Pokemon you need candies and XLs for, then find a Mega that covers as many of their types as possible. You can also switch Megas between habitats.
  • Check field research from pokestops. It appears that ghost-type Pokemon (Sableye, Shuppet, Duskull) will be available only from those research tasks, and they also give Mega energy. This feature is confirmed for Las Vegas but may not be for the Global Tour.
  • Don’t forget the Special and Timed Researches, but also don’t stress out if you can’t complete the Special Research. While they’re generally designed to tie in with the gameplay, Special Researches never expire and will still be available after the event.
  • Don’t forget to take a snapshot to get the Pokemon photobombs.
  • If you’re joining the in-person event, have a plan for lunch. On-site eateries, if any, will likely have long queues during the event (it took me 30 minutes through the queue at Go Fest Seattle). You may also bring your own lunch if you prefer.*

*2/8 Update: [MOTG note: As you can see, the Event Map has been released and food trucks are included. That being said, the Event FAQ notes you are allowed to bring pre-made food and that there will be on-site hydration stations if you bring a reusable water container. -Andrew]

How to beat the Tier 5 and Primal Raid Bosses

While in-person attendees will likely find most raid lobbies filled up with 20 players, during the global event, players who need to rely on local raiders and remote invites may need to build proper counters to beat the raid bosses. This is especially true for Primal raids (which are hypothesized to have the same difficulty as “Tier 6” Mega Legendary raids), which will be hard even for a typical remote lobby of six players. [MOTG note: As Teban noted, attendees will have fewer issues with taking down raid bosses, especially Primal Kyogre and Groudon as they’re brand-new, so we’ll abbreviate the explanation for those and focus on raids I predict other Vegas raiders may not be so focused on. -Andrew]

Affordable options for Primal Groudon:

• Swampert (Water Gun/Hydro Cannon*), featured during the recent Gen 3 starters Mega Raid Day and December Community Day. (Hydro Cannon is also likely to be obtainable again upon evolution during Hoenn Tour itself, but there has been no official confirmation.)
• Gyarados (Waterfall/Hydro Pump), featured during the Lunar New Year event
• Kingler (Bubble/Crabhammer)
• Empoleon, Samurott and Feraligatr (Waterfall/Hydro Cannon*)

Premium options for Primal Groudon:

• Shadow Swampert (Water Gun/Hydro Cannon*)
• Shadow Gyarados (Waterfall/Hydro Pump)
• Shadow Feraligatr (Waterfall/Hydro Cannon*)
• Kyogre (Waterfall/Origin Pulse* or Surf)

It’s highly advisable to run a Mega Swampert on your team. Not only is it the best counter, but you can also get extra candies and extra Candy XL chance when catching Primal Groudon. The candy bonus also applies when catching Primal Kyogre.
Other usable Megas include Primal Kyogre, Mega Gyarados and Mega Blastoise.

Affordable options for Primal Kyogre:

• Magnezone (Spark/Wild Charge), featured during the recent Crackling Voltage event
• Chesnaught (Vine Whip/Frenzy Plant*), featured during January Community Day
• Sceptile (Bullet Seed/Frenzy Plant*), featured during the recent Gen 3 starters Mega Raid Day. (Frenzy Plant is also likely to be obtainable again upon evolution during Hoenn Tour itself, but there has been no official confirmation.)
• Venusaur (Vine Whip/Frenzy Plant*), featured during the recent December Community Day
• Electivire (Thunder Shock/Wild Charge)
• Roserade (Razor Leaf/Grass Knot)
• Tangrowth (Vine Whip/Power Whip)
• Luxray (Spark/Wild Charge)
• Torterra (Razor Leaf/Frenzy Plant*)

Premium options for Primal Kyogre:

• Kartana (Razor Leaf/Leaf Blade)
• Zekrom (Charge Beam/Fusion Bolt* or Wild Charge)
• Xurkitree (Spark/Discharge)
• Shadow Raikou, Shadow Electivire, Shadow Magnezone and Shadow Luxray (Thunder Shock or Spark/Wild Charge)
• Shadow Zapdos (Thunder Shock* or Charge Beam/Thunderbolt)
• Shadow Tangrowth (Vine Whip/Power Whip)
• Shadow Venusaur and Shadow Torterra (Vine Whip or Razor Leaf/Frenzy Plant*)
• Thundurus (Therian) (Volt Switch/Thunderbolt)
• Tapu Bulu (Bullet Seed/Grass Knot)
• Shadow Mewtwo (Psycho Cut/Thunderbolt)

If you want to use a Mega to boost your power in raids, Mega Sceptile, Venusaur and Manectric are all great options, though they will not give bonus Kyogre candies.


Deoxys raids:

All four forms of Deoxys are in Tier 5 raids. They’re all Psychic types and are all weak to Dark, Ghost, and Bug attackers. In practice, Dark and Ghost attackers are the best counters.

The best non-mega counter also happens to be a relatively accessible one: Hydreigon (Bite/Brutal Swing*), which was featured during December Community Day. It is highly advisable to have six Brutal Swing Hydreigon at high levels (30+), as they have great utility against Deoxys and many other psychic-type raid bosses.

If you missed December Community Day, the next most accessible option is Tyranitar (Bite/Crunch) from January Community Day Classic, but without its Community Day move Smack Down.

Other accessible options:
• Chandelure (Hex/Shadow Ball), also featured during December Community Day
• Gengar (Shadow Claw or Lick*/Shadow Ball)
• Weavile (Snarl/Foul Play)
• Houndoom (Snarl/Foul Play)
• Honchkrow (Snarl/Dark Pulse)

Other premium options:
• Shadow Weavile (Snarl/Foul Play)
• Shadow Tyranitar (Bite/Crunch)
• Shadow Mewtwo (Psycho Cut/Shadow Ball*) – Note that an ETM is required, I don’t recommend it if you have enough Hydreigon
• Giratina (Origin) (Shadow Claw/Shadow Force* or Shadow Ball)
• Darkrai (Snarl/Foul Play)
• Yveltal (Snarl/Dark Pulse)

If you need additional power from Mega boosts, Mega Gengar, Banette, Houndoom, and Gyarados are good options. Alternatively, Mega Alakazam (Psycho Cut/Shadow Ball) doesn’t provide as much of a boost to other raiders but can be used to both counter the raid boss and get boosted candies from catching it.

The difficulty of a Deoxys raid differs substantially based on its form. Attack form is by far the easiest, and can be beaten with a single player using a team of any decent counters from the list above. Defense form is the hardest, and requires at least four to five players. Normal form requires at least two players, and Speed form at least three. [MOTG note: It may not work, but you may wish to check with friends on who might be willing to do which Deoxys raids on the off-chance Niantic allows players to invite Remote Raiders, as this has worked at previous Go Fests. There’s even a note that people who are in Vegas without a ticket can participate in “event-specific raids during event hours.” -Andrew]

Featured Pokemon worthy of powering up as raid attackers

Teban gave us some great explanations, but as we’ve discussed many of these pokemon earlier in this article and in the past, we’ve condensed it down to a list of pokemon you may wish to focus on. We may go over Teban’s specifics in a future article, depending on how the Vegas event may or may not end up changing some things. And as mentioned before, Teban and I would like to remind players that there’s been no confirmation on Community Day and similar limited moves coming back for the event, so wait until there’s a confirmation before evolving anything on this list. Top picks include:

  • Groudon
  • Kyogore
  • Salamence (including the Shadow version)
  • Metagross (including the Shadow version)
  • Swampert (including the Shadow Version)
  • Sceptile
  • Blaziken

Some secondary picks include:

• Gardevoir
• Roserade
• Manectric, Glalie, Absol, Aggron, Bannette [MOTG note: Mostly as potential Mega attackers, not for candy/XP generation utility. -Andrew] • Breloom and Hariyama for non-Machamp budget options
• Gallade, Altaria, Latias, and Latios for their Megas, particularly for candy/XP generation utility.
• Pokemon with future Mega evolutions that are less relevant or completely irrelevant as raid attackers, but they can still be candy boosters: Mawile, Medicham, Sableye and Sharpedo. [MOTG note: Teban also included Camerupt, but it should be noted that its Mega provides the same bonuses as Primal Groudon but without the Grass benefits. As they’re the same types as well, Mega Camerupt will be mostly a dex filler and useful candy/XP generator for people who miss Primal Groudon, don’t keep multiple Primals for free Mega-evolution rotations, and/or people who don’t have plenty of Primal Groudon energy. -Andrew]

Teban really supported a lot of what we wanted to say, and we’ll be referencing him more in the near future for the Global Hoenn Tour!

Tips from the Trainer’s Trainer

Infograph maker and fansite owner Leek Duck offered a simple piece of advice: “Try to take a second to look around to take in the moment.” I admit that I often forget to do this, but my more casual friends often get excited during events when they see lots of people playing the game. That, in turn, makes the events memorable to me at least.

Tips from POGO’s Global Community Manager

Finally, we have Pokemon GO Lead Global Community Manager Mx. Kelsey Danger. For general event tips, Kelsey offered the following.

  • Plan for lots of walking and talking! Wear comfortable shoes and carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated.
  • Bring a battery pack! Playing the day means you’ll want to make sure you have some extra juice for your phone.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break! Sometimes events can feel overwhelming. Taking a break to rest, recharge, and take a few moments for yourself can make all the difference in your day.
  • Enjoy the environment! Pokémon GO is all about exploring new places, so don’t forget to read about the pokéstops you’re spinning while you visit!
Kelsey also offered a few pieces of advice specifically for the Vegas event, as many of us are traveling to the location:
  • Stock up! Make sure you have plenty of stardust for trades, extra revives and potions for raids, and postcards from home to trade with new friends.
  • Speaking of friends — make sure you have some space in your friend’s list to make some new ones. Events like this are a great opportunity to make friends around the world or sneak in some postcards to get some new Scatterbugs and Vivillon!
  • Grab some extra regional Pokémon from your area to trade with! It’s a great chance to trade with folks from all over the world to fill out your Pokédex. [MOTG note: Don’t forget about various Furfrou regional forms! -Andrew]
  • Come with a plan! I always like to think about what my top three or five goals are at an event that I can focus are — like getting a specific regional or a shiny. Goals help give structure to your time!

See! Even though we’ve got a ton of advice for y’all, sometimes just having a simple plan going in that summarizes what you’ve gotten out of all this is the best way to approach these massive events. So, as my last piece of advice, stay in touch! If you come with someone or meet someone cool, don’t be afraid to schedule some time to meet up and do some trades. As the world continues opening up, we may bump into people we haven’t met before or seen in years. Stay safe, not only by remembering that COVID is still a thing but by keeping your meetups comfortably public, especially for first-timers.

Finally, a big thank-you goes out to all of our guests who contributed to this piece. We often cite them when covering the game, and we appreciate not only their contributions to this article but constant contributions to the general Pokemon GO community.

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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