You’ll all be surprised, I’m sure, to learn that Pokemon Go and Niantic did not do anything during our month-long coverage blackout here in this column to even suggest it’s learned anything from months of player feedback. It’s even generated new problems with its PR and marketing!
The same leaker who mostly predicted last season has continued to correctly leak info the new Hidden Gems season, none of which hurts the game but has been useful in helping some of us make plans. Even worse, while Niantic released two “teasers” that built no tension for upcoming features, dataminers had already uncovered one of them years ago. So for today’s Massively on the Go, let’s actually start with some teased info.
Normally we’d ignore ads because that’s basically all Niantic does anyway. But this one’s an example of Niantic not just failing to communicate with players but failing to even properly hype its own content. What the above video mostly communicates is that features dataminers had found ages ago are finally going to be accessible to players. The problem is that usually Niantic says little to nothing about a feature’s functionality before releasing it. Mega Evolution is perhaps the most infamous example of this, as we questioned Niantic’s vague descriptions from the start, it launched badly enough to create a movement against it, and Niantic tried not one but two system revamps to try to fix it.
Starting at the two-second mark, there’s a pretty clear-looking tease for Route Maker. We’ve mentioned it as far back as June 2022, but Pokeminers found details as early as August 2019. Basically, it seems like players will be able to link Pokestops to create a “route” other players can follow for rewards, and it looks as if Niantic will add some kind of daily route incentive. Of course, who can make routes, how long it’ll take for them to be approved, how easy they’ll be to complete/create, and how (un)rewarding they may be is all up in the air, as is the feature’s release date. While it’s nice that Niantic teased this, it also leads previously ignorant fans down a path that will lead to the dataminers Niantic is currently trying to fend off.
That isn’t the only time Niantic has done this for this summer’s season. As already datamined back in January of this year, Contests are hinted at around the 25-second mark. These seem to be pokemon contests, primarily of size, attached to pokestops. And again, we know nothing of rewards, frequency, or other specifics at this time, and this teaser does nothing to help with that. Worse, perhaps, is that Niantic thematically missed the boat here, as contests were most strongly associated with Gen 3’s Hoenn region, which had a disastrous tour event this year.
6/9 Update: To no one’s surprise, Niantic finally concretely announced contests and routes. They’re playable at Summer Game Fest June 9th-10th, and the first contest will be for the biggest pokemon.
We’ve already suspected Pokemon GO Fest 2023 would involve Diancie, but the green pillar of light on top of a building does give some Sky Pillar vibes, which could mean Mega Rayquaza is also coming to the event. This is one thing I don’t think people were expecting, so it’s not a terrible teaser – as long as you forget that the Hoenn Tour is over and was bad enough for me to try (and sadly fail) to get a refund for the event.
6/21 Update: As predicted, Mega Rayquaza is officially coming to POGO during Go Fest, but will require new items, Meteorites, to learn the charge move Dragon Ascent, which is required for it to Mega Evolve. In-person events will have a head start on this, and people who purchase the Global Event Ticket will get related bonuses.
And that ends up being a bit of a theme for not only this month but this season.
— The Poke GO Hunter (@thepokegohunter) May 30, 2023
Let’s dig into Shadow Raids, the newest sore spot. Niantic introduced these local-only raids in May, which means players without a local community were fairly upset with how inaccessible the events were before considering physical mobility issues. Niantic is doubling down on these, as the newest target, Shadow Articuno, will supposedly be available to raid every weekend in June starting on June 10th – or the whole season. We’ve noted that the official infograph and the seasons website have conflicting messages; we asked Niantic and its PR for clarification, but right now, it’s ambiguous.
Assuming that Shadow Articuno is only for June has me guessing that we’ll be seeing these weekend Shadow Raids for Zapdos in July and Moltres in August, as the birds come in a set, for those who missed the “uno, dos, tres” joke in their names. Hope you all have an active raiding community this summer!
Shadow Raid Bosses – From Monday, June 5, 2023, at 6:00 a.m. local time.
✅Shadow regional Pokémon
・Throh – North America,South America,Africa
・Sawk – Europe,Asia,Australia
・Shiny Shadow Articuno appears for the first time
— GOFRIEND for Remote Raid (@WorldwideRaid) June 5, 2023
6/5 Update: While there’s no clarification on how long we’ll be stuck with Shadow Articuno, after many bugs and a major misrelease, Niantic has started unannounced Shadow Raids. Shadow Articuno (as mentioned above) is largely only available for weekends (and only available then at the time of this edit), while Sawk and Throh Shadows are regional.
While Niantic also (in very small font) mentions that the remote raid “damage bonus,” which keeps remote raiders dealing the same damage as local raiders, will not be going away and has been made a permanent feature, the pass price hike combined with the five-remote-raids-a-day-limit effectively did far more damage to the feature and Niantic’s relationship with its players.
Niantic failed to shake up the PvP and raid scenes with moves last season, but this season’s move changes have at least one major change: Tyranitar gets Brutal Swing. This makes it about equal to Community Day Hydreigon, so once the update goes live, many players will want to change Crunch to Brutal Swing on their ‘tars. While there are tons of other changes, few seem to majorly impact the raid scene. As for the PvP scene, we still need some details on some of the new moves added, and our usual PvP reference, JRE, is still going through the massive pile of changes. We’ll update this section if anything huge and accessible seems to shake things up enough for our casual readers.
Season-wide, the spawns are hard to get excited for when we spend so little time with them and so much more on the constant mini-events. Eggs aren’t looking too different either. Having an extra special trade while also receiving bonus (XL) candy from all trades is pretty big, though, so make sure to take advantage of that.
You won’t really be getting much from research to write home about: Not only are the research breakthroughs fairly common pokemon at this point (aside from Audino, which is more rare and worth more stardust), but Niantic has added in small print that monthly research tasks have been changed to seasonal tasks. Already the tasks barely changed every month, but now we have one less thing to look forward to each month.
The painful reminders of the past haven’t ended with the seasonal announcements. Niantic is starting June off with the Lake Trio, legendary pokemon that require plane tickets or remote raid passes to complete the regional set. I’m not sure whose bright idea it was to remind players that remote raids are an upsetting topic right now, but here we are. For new players, these pokemon are largely useless and only something to get for your pokedex or personal enjoyment. There’s no real reason to buy remote passes to raid these often unless you simply enjoy them. For the rest of us, we can save our passes to be used elsewhere.
For many players, aside from weekend Shadow Raids (if you’ve got the people for it), there will be Mega Swampert, Mega Sceptile, and thanks to their own accidental leak, Mega Sableye. Mega Swampy and Scepty are technically repeats, but their only major release was a few hours on a single day for a last-minute event in December. Vegas Hoenn Tour players had a chance to get them at their costly event, but the free one’s “inclusion” of their energy from Pokestop quests was embarrassingly bad, with many players noting their inability to get enough energy even in pokestop-dense areas. Swampy and Scept are also both considered soloable.
Mega Blaziken is missing from this release list but may come later, if not truly for June 29th if Niantic is trolling players.
Assuming June 29th is Mega Sableye, I highly suggest players get enough energy to Mega one. Being both Dark and Ghost means it’s the perfect Mega to use during Halloween events. If you dislike walking for Mega Energy, you may even want to grab enough energy to Mega three of them so that you can use them about daily during October.
While we’re on the topic of raids, we have to note that Niantic seems to have (again, accidentally?) leaked its own raid schedule going forward for the rest of the season. It’s why we’re fairly certain Sableye is the June 29th Mega and not weirdly Blaziken: because Blaziken could be seen on the site calendar as coming July 13th-25th.
Also note Mega Tyranitar in July and Mega Salamence in August. Tyranitar is a solid one and also works well in Halloween season if, for whatever reason, you don’t get those Sableye. It’s also quite useful against the many Psychic legendaries that exist. Salamence, on the other hand, is quite useful already, but releasing it at that point may help drive home the hint of Mega Rayquaza on the horizon. We’ll talk about this in August, but there may be a reason why not to go overboard on Mega Sally energy.
As for regular raids, things are looking a bit complicated. While Niantic’s calendar doesn’t have specifics, the date ranges for Regieleki and Regidrago seem to indicate they will be not elite raids but normal 5-star raid targets. We figured it would happen, but this both makes elite raids feel less special and makes it seem as if we were used as guinea pigs to push features the playerbase majority seems to dislike, and I say that based more on my local communities being stressed than the online rabble.
Even forgetting about their painful history, the upcoming raids for the next few months seem fairly underwhelming aside from the possibility of Shadow Moltres (details on why it’d skip Zapdos below), and again, that assumes you have free weekends and a local community to help with that. Raid fans seem to be getting a rather dry summer except for Mega-loving-raiders.
We do have some other events that may help with that in June, however.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) May 30, 2023
First is the Searching for Gold event June 3rd from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time. In a vacuum, it’s maybe a time players lacking regular access to Golden Lures can get coins to evolve a Gimmighoul, which requires 999 coins. Most of the featured pokemon have dubious use or value; Magikarp was the first shiny available in the game and has had multiple shiny events in the past, though it’s a useful Mega. Sableye, as mentioned above, is a very useful Mega for an entire yearly event, arguably even the month. Its shiny is fairly popular too. Lickitung spawning in the wild is a nice bonus for PvP players, as is Azumaril for any new players looking to get into the PvP scene. For active players and/or veterans, though, it’s quite tempting to skip the event altogether.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) May 30, 2023
June 6th-12th is Water Festival: Beach Week, which is a little confusing. The Water Festival has been a near-yearly event since 2017, so adding the “Beach Week” part is throwing me off a bit. Maybe it’s simply a marketing thing, as the Sandygast family makes its POGO debut. It’s not terribly useful in raids, but could be a better PvP Golurk according to JRE. As usual, we’ll have to wait until its release to see what Niantic does with it.
The rest of the event isn’t terrible. Assuming we make the global goals involving Nice throws, we get bonus (XL) candy based on our throws, which is always appreciated. Rainy Lures lasting four times as long is nice if you really care, but it’s not too important. Clauncher’s line will see its shiny released, which is nice but not terribly useful, much like Lapras with its “scarf.”
That’s opposed to wild-spawning Shellder and Staryu for their extra stardust, Frillish for PvP fans, and the rare Poplio for a myriad of reasons. Using any water Mega is a no brainer, but especially if you’re going to the beach on a sunny day, Mega Swampert would be a good choice for wild catches, while Mega Slowbro will help get Lake Trio candy if you actually bother with the raids. And of course, there’s Kyogre, which helps if you have a more rainy summer and are aiming to catch some Bug and/or Electric pokemon. It’s not a terrible-looking event, and it drops some egg themes we’ve seen in the past.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) May 31, 2023
Then we have Axew Community Day June 3rd from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (evolve for Breaking Swipe lasts until 10 p.m.). While hardcore raiders may have better dragons already, Haxorus with Breaking Swipe is quite useful, with Teban54 showing it as the best non-shadow, non-Mega/legendary Dragon option to date in terms of raiding viability. Current PvP discussion suggests it’s a good side-grade to Dragonite but working in a different niche, being one of the few useful mono-type dragons and using Counter as its Fast-move, as opposed to a Dragon-type attack. The event also grants triple catch XP and three discounted special trades, so it’s a good event to do. Latias or Latios’ Megas work for those hoping to do a Lake Trio raid while catching dragons, but any other Dragon-type Mega will do.
June 16th-25th is the Solstice Horizons + Team Rocket Takeover event. Summer Solstice is an infrequent event but generally involves Solrock and Lunatone coming to share a region before switching their exclusive region locations for a while. Nihilego will be out during this time with its shiny, but I’m really not sure if that will be connected to the event. Team Rocket returning hopefully means we’ll finally get to TM some of these Shadow-raided ‘mon that we couldn’t TM during the last odd Rocket event. Of course, we’ll update this once we have more details on the event.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) June 13, 2023
6/13 Update: We now have official info on these events. First, the Solstice event, which is the whole June 16th-25th range. Yes, Solrock and Lunatone will be together again as predicted, plus we get double stardust gains for catching. What’s interesting, though, is that the pokemon available to catch differs between night and day. Hisuian Sneasel is an interesting rare pick that has some use (both evolved and unevolved) in PvP, while Petilil has a future Hisuian form so you may at least want to harvest some extra candy for it.
Night is a bit better. Foongus is one of the pokemon to give extra stardust when caught, Trevenant’s unevolved form being wild is good since Trev is useful in Great and Ultra Leagues at the least, and the bugs Venipede and Joltik have evolved forms useful in some PvP. Vanilla Sneasel still has some use, at least for (XL) candy in raising its other form or Shadow variant, though some newer players may still want to use it for a Dark or Ice type raid attacker.
The big news is we’ll finally get a second Cosmog for free (or third if you pay $5 for this month’s research). Readers may recall it was originally released in September 2022, but as the pokemon has two final forms and a middle form, players obviously wanted the ability to get more. As a reminder, Solgeo is the more useful one for PvP, while Lunala is sadly not that useful at all.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) June 13, 2023
Then there’s the Rocket Takeover, which is only from June 21st-25th. As usual, this is when you can TM away Frustration, so if you got a good Shadow Mewtwo or Shadow Articuno (which, sadly, isn’t as useful as normal Weavile in raids) from previous raids, this is the time to use it. 12k eggs don’t look like they’re getting much change, though Pancham can hatch as a shiny starting with this event.
While Giovanni is bringing Shadow Regirock, it’s out-shadowed by Shadow Gible. As Teban54 notes, Shadow Garchomp with its CD move will outclass both regular Groudon with Precipice Blades and Shadow Mamoswine, and will be the best Dragon-type attacker for awhile (future Shadow Rayquaza and maybe some other legendary dragons if they get a good signature move).
Finally, we have the Dark Flames event from June 29th-July 2nd. This is a new event, but it does seem to be when Mega Sableye comes out (Dark), and Shadow Moltres may be out July 1st-2nd (Flames). Interestingly, Moltres’ Galarian form is firey Dark/Flying type, but unless Galarian Articuno and its mask come out for the solstice event, I don’t think anything will be happening on the G-bird front. As usual, we’ll update this as we learn more.
— Miko🐽 (@MikoGraphicsPE) June 22, 2023
6/22 Update: We now have official Dark Flames event info. We were correct about Mega Sabeleye and Dark and Fire types being featured (meaning Mega Houndoom is your go-to Mega this event), but Shadow Moltres is still unknown. The event does have Rockets using more Fire and Dark types though, and as Rocket Leaders take over gyms, it’s still possible Arlo will use Moltres in July. Speaking of raids, while there are bonuses to raid xp and (XL) candy, there’s no indication of us getting more passes, so this is essentially Niantic trying to get you to spend more.
One thing to note, though, is Heatran’s appearance, as it has a new move that was datamined (among other moves) which will put it below Reshiram for Fire damage. While I have a perfect one I’ll invest in, for the most part, most casual players will be fine using their Reshis still.
Turtonator makes its debut via raids and quests,but its low cp means it’s not a raider, and JRE notes it’s not looking good for PvP either. Wild Litten for future Community Day is nice, as is Litwick for its general usefulness, but everything else in the wild is basically stuff we’ve been seeing a lot of.
Lastly, Niantic noted you’ll have a branching quest where you choose either Dark or Fire type pokemon to pursue via incense. Again, this largely looks to be an event geared more towards boosting Niantic profits, though having a new Pokemon, new Mega, and making Heatran more useful isn’t terrible.
Finally, there’s the spotlight hours. As you can see, the June 6th spotlight is just crabs. Lots of different crabs. Lots that can be shiny. And triple catch XP. Not bad, but it does seem overly saturated. While a Water-Mega will give you the most candy/XP, those who are desperate for it may want to use a Fighting-type for Crabrawler, as it’s not a Water-type and is the only pokemon not appearing during the Water Festival in terms of spawns. It’s also not terribly useful, though, so take that advice with a
punch pinch of salt.
June 13th’s Binacle is another water type and double catch-candy, which doesn’t seem like much. However, you can save Sandygast caught from the Water Festival research after it ends to catch during this event. It’s a very specific use, but without knowing what other rare ‘mons may be available through research, and given the timing and bonuses of the Water Festival, I’d say this may be one of the more skippable spotlight hours. Put June 27th on there too, unless the Dark Flames event gives us something to write about.
June 20th’s Sunkern is largely skippable, but you should have pokemon ready to transfer if you’re able to. This year’s deluge of new ‘mon and variants from new costumes to sizes means many people are lower on storage than usual. As it’s so late in the month and Axew is so early, I’d personally advise players with limited space to trash sooner than this event. The timing is just way, way too poor.
As always, we’ll update this article as Niantic rolls out information or gets caught making trouble. Stay safe out there, trainers!
6/1 Update: Another previously datamined-but-not-dev-diaried-features, the Style Shop revamp, is now live, and naturally comes with some style sales. It includes the ability to preview clothes with other clothes before buying them, add said clothes to a shopping cart to buy all at once, and the ability to save outfits. As usual, it is buggy, with clothes you try-on-but-don’t-purchase sometimes remaining on your character. The workaround is to simply restart the app.
Trainers, we apologize for the technical issues that occurred during the recent appearances of Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf.
To make up for this, Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf will appear in their respective regions in five-star raids on June 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time. pic.twitter.com/ZdxJ9Wv0tZ
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) June 8, 2023
6/8 Update: As feared, Niantic had stealth-nerfed Remote Raid shiny odds. Upon being caught (as Niantic began hiding the rates from dataminers in May when we held off coverage), Niantic blamed it on “technical issues” and eventually offered the above “event,” which essentially refunds the remote passes to those who used them only for the Lake Trio raids (no comment on the previously suspected issue with Kleavor remote raids), one extra remote raid pass, and the ability to do 15 remote raids that day. Obviously this is good if you did less than 15 Remote Raids and have the time/patience to raid them more, but it largely seems like a way for Niantic to keep their whale money at a time they are struggling to maintain cashflows, especially when the Shadow Mewtwo raids that propped them up also were bugged.