Massively on the Go: Pokemon Go goes to Hisui with poor timing


Pokemon Go has a lot to make up for after last month… nay, last season. The bonuses were terrible, the Research Breakthrough ‘mon were dull, Showcases frequently broke (and still won’t appear if you’re doing a Route), the Shadow Raids didn’t deliver on promised pokemon (and worse, pushed another month of Shadow Articuno after we dealt with three months of it just this summer), plus dropped the buggy and unrewarding Party Play on us.

While we have no single solid leak this time, several minor leakers at least had some elements on the right track, such as the release of Shiny Vanillite and the debut of Wyrdeer. What Niantic has released so far on Season of Timeless Travels is at best a return to decent seasonal bonuses with the other content being of dubious quality for any player outside of the most casual collectors. Let’s dig in to what we know right now.

First, let’s get PvP out of the way. This season belongs to Ingo in terms of style, and there are a lot of move changes/additions, but they’re mostly relegated to affecting the PvP scene. There’s a good thread on Reddit for those interested, but the main change that affects everyone will be Staraptor getting the charged attack Fly, increasing its viability in raids. Flying types in raids are rare and often limited to a few legendaries, nearly always with odd or limited-availability movesets. Staraptor was already the best budget option, but far away from the pack. The Fly addition helps close that gap and gives the Shadow Staraptor variant higher DPS than Shadow Moltres, though there’s no immediate raid need for Flying types in December.

Via ThePokeGoHunter

Then there’s the season-long bonuses you can see above. Additional (XL) candy from trades is the major feature, with higher odds to get XL candy from in-person raids also being nice, though keep in mind that the winter season in the northern hemisphere also means people in cold climate areas won’t be able to raid as much.

The normal spawns, which due to events are practically event spawns themselves, aren’t terrible. Klink being wild finally is nice, though it’s not a useful ‘mon. Same goes for Passimian and the return of Paldean Wooper from its Community Day exclusivity. While there’s always “and more,” advertising Pidove when Staraptor’s family just got some love is a weird move.

Egg-wise, the 10k eggs from Adventure Sync are better both in terms of use and collection (Rockruff is unpictured above but in the pool). The AS 5k eggs are not great unless you’re shiny hunting or get lucky with a Riolu, especially if it ends up with good stats. Regular 5k and 10k eggs are also pretty good, with 7ks basically only appealing to collectors at this point, as all but Alola Grimer (that we know of) have had a Community Day.

All of this seems better than the last season, but it seems like at best merely a return to form. Not COVID era form, but maybe soon after, when things only began going downhill, rather than when they were stuck in the valley. While Niantic’s web page put Routes, Party Play, and Showcases at the top of the page, there is no indication that any of those features have or will change. It’s just Niantic trying to make those features seem relevant when they’re old broken toys the company is still struggling to fix/make relevant.

Worse, as predicted from October, Niantic is pushing monthly research tickets as a way to increase profits. What we get from said research remains to be seen, but the October benefits were minimal at best, and offering incubators as a reward is actually more gross than incentivizing for anyone who recalls the company’s history of masking and changing hatch odds mid-event with no announcement or attempts to make amends for errors.

11/30 Update: We now have details on the December pass, and it’s not a terrible value, including the ability to open and receive more gifts than usual, bonus daily catch/spin xp, but most importantly a free daily single use incubator. If you value incubators at $1, each incubator from the ticket is about $0.33, meaning you spend $5 for $10.23 worth of stuff before considering other bonuses. If you’re going to spend money on the game anyway, it may be better to purchase this ticket than coins, especially if you were going to buy incubators.

Via ThePokeGoHunter

Looking over December’s schedule doesn’t help the situation much either unless you’re a collector. Again, we had four months of Shadow Articuno, which no one asked for. Shadow Zapdos for December feels like a make-up month, but it’s not that interesting anyway, so I can’t imagine too many people would have cared for a month less of it if we had gotten a more interesting Shadow ‘mon.

While at least the first two raid ‘mon, Reshiram and Zekrom, are useful, it’s doubtful they’ll be getting the signature moves that make them great. Same goes for Kyurem, and while there’s a rumor that Regigas will getting its signature move (Crush Grip), Normal types are basically irrelevant in raids. It would need to be hugely overpowered to make it anything more than a trophy ‘mon in raids, though it could possibly exist someplace in the PvP space. We also don’t get any new Megas this month, so it feels like everything will remain status quo as the year ends.

Via ThePokeGoHunter

Events are where things may see some spice. Hisui Samurott is predicted to have about 28 more points in attack than Greninja, but we have no idea what its move set will be, which is how Greninja is able to compete with other Water types so well. It’s complicated by the fact that its signature move, Ceaseless Edge, is kind of a bloated Nightslash in the main series games with no easy way to translate it into POGO. As its a Dark type move, it then makes it seem like H. Samu would be competing with Hydreigon, which has a good kit and boasts 24 more points in attack. That makes the December 3rd Hisuin Samurott Raid Day seem more about getting a new ‘mon and its shiny than anything else, but we’ll update this space as we learn more.

The December 5th-8th Along the Routes event seems ill-conceived from the get-go. Those dates all take place during the work week, but also at a time schools are milking young minds for the final stretch before holiday vacation. As we’ve said repeatedly, Routes are problematic and buggy, and while they’ve worked better than usual as of late, they seem frequently ignored and forgotten, especially in my circles. There are rumors of NPCs being added for trades and battles, and while that may immediately sound appealing, Niantic is known for low-quality rollouts. Combined with being limited to weekdays, this could be a highly buggy event, made worse if Niantic attaches quality prizes with its use. We’ll update this as we learn more about the event.

Via MikoGraphicsPE

11/30 Update: We now have details on the event. As predicted, there is a new NPC, Mateo, appearing near the end of routes. Once per day you can do a gift trade with him, which sounds like some kind of global gift exchange with other players he merely facilitates. It sounds cute but, again, expect bugs. It’s a very short event and with Niantic’s history, is probably more of a beta test, so keep expectations low.

As for the event contents, the egg hatching and stardust from gifts bonuses are nice. Shiny Hisui Sneasel looks good, but is basically a PvP pokemon (for all leagues at least), as is Wooloo (for Great and Ultra leagues).

The “Catch Mastery: Ice” (not “Mystery” as the typo on the infograph has) on December 9th is probably a bit simple, as historic events would imply: We’ll be catching something. This is only the third Mastery event, with the first being back in 2020, though that had various Ghosts involved. The second Mastery event focused on the Hitmon family. There are rumors that Cryogonal will be the featured ‘mon, but I would hope that other ice types will spawn too. Again, we’ll update this as details roll out.

r/PokemonSwordAndShield - My first cryogonal was a shiny, but it was so similar I didn’t even realize until someone pointed it out to me.

12/4 Update: As predicted, the event is being used as a roll out for shiny Cryogonal (comparison above), and luckily features Snorunt and Bergemite as part of the increased shiny odds pool. Unfortunately, none of these pokemon are meta-relevant in raids as is, being mostly outranked by Mamoswine (which will be part of the Community Days pool later this month) and Glaceon. Snorunt, however, has a Mega form that’s highly useful this time of year and will be in Mega Raids, so if you don’t have a good (shiny) one yet, that’s worth pursuing, or if you/a friend is brand new to the game, and needs ‘mon for Zekrom ASAP, Bergamite’s evolutions are useable. Catch mastery also gives an xp bonus for the quality of your catch, plus there’s a $2 ticket for 40 more Cryogonals, but overall, it’s mostly a collector and/or xp grinder’s event.

Adamant Time is a new event from December 11th-15th, which is again available only during the work/school week. Given the seasonal theme is related to Hisui (and there are a few Rock and Steel Hisuian variants), this could be a Rock/Steel event. That could involve the Steel Goomyfamily variants, but I hesitate to bet on that. Again, we’ll discuss this more as we get details.

12/1 Update: Not only were we wrong, but the announcement is sure to disappoint most active players. It’s basically a Kanto event, which is nearly useless to most players as the round-up Community Day alone will make nearly all of those meta-relevant ‘mon obsolete anyway, and that would be if the event included the ability to get their CD moves, which there is no indication of. There’s some marketing for future events in between the lines, but the vagueness isn’t worth it at this point. The main ‘mon you may miss out on during this weekday-only event would be Scyther and Chansey in raids, so not much loss. Pokemon from 2018 will now get a guaranteed lucky trigger if one player involved has less than 25 luckies, but that will be a permanent change.

Luckily, once that event ends, we’ll have the Community Day Round-Up events, from December 16th-17th. We’ll have a separate article on this, as it’s pretty heavy, but essentially every CD ‘mon from 2023 will be spawning on one of two days plus in Timed Research, while everything from 2022 will be in raids, eggs, and Timed Research. Evolving any of those pokemon aside from Ursaluna between 9 a.m. on the 16th to 9 p.m. on the 17th will grant that ‘mon its Community Day move. CD ‘mon will be spawning during the whole event, but featured ‘mon and bonuses are limited to 2 p.m.-5 p.m. on each day. The main ‘mon I’d recommend most players focus on are Togekiss (no CD move needed), Timburr, Axew, Froakie, Grubbin (no CD move needed), Swinub (no CD move needed), Larvitar, Starly, Litwick, Deino, Charmander, and if you don’t have enough good Rock Rhyperiors, Roggenrola.

After that is the Winter Holiday Part 1 event. Historically, it’s been a two-part event since 2020, but it’s used the specific Winter Wonderland title only since 2021, even though a weekend event as existed in some name since 2019. Part 1 lasts from December 18th-25th and most likely involves Ice type ‘mon and some new Avatar items in the shop, though we’ll update this as we learn more.

12/12 Update: And now we have details on the event. The big one is the predicted release of Cetitan, though it’s not terribly interesting in PvP and won’t be a top-tier raid ‘mon either. There’s a new pikachu that can evolve, a quest that lets you choose between double xp or stardust for the duration of the event, a few returning costumes (caped Glaceon, holiday hat Eevee, unevolvable scarf Spheal, ribbons for Delibird and Cubchoo line…), the promise but no pics of Holiday Psyduck, and a couple more paid research tickets. The $2 one basically gives you four Premium passes at about a 50% discount off the standard price, while the $5 gives a hot beverage drinking avatar pose while doubling your catch candy. Truthfully, neither seems particularly exciting given the state of things, but the $5 ticket probably benefits new players the most. For most of us, this seems not only old hat, but being asked to pay for what we previously got for free.

Winter Wonderland will take place December 23rd-24th, but between the name change and inconsistent way the event is handled, it’s hard to predict much beyond “holiday themed bonuses.” Wyrdeer Raid Day occurs on the 23rd, but as a Normal/Psychic type, its functional use will be dubious, especially without any move announcements that may help us make predictions. As you probably predicted, though, we’ll update this as we learn more.

12/12 Update: And now we have details on this event too. The Wrydeer Raid Day grants five daily passes during the 2pm-5pm hours it’ll be spawning in raids plus two hours after, and yes, it can be shiny. However, like Hisuian Samurott, don’t expect it to be useful in raids. The weekend-long “Wonderland” part of the event is simply a collection challenge that’ll award Wrydeer, double xp for raids, but most importantly, five 50% off special trades on each day, so make sure you get your Sunday trades in before 8pm local time!

Winter Holiday Part 2 then takes place from December 25th-31st. This is usually when the costumed pokemon come out, as well as more bonuses.

12/14 Update: And now we have details on Part 2. As predicted, this is when the costumed pokemon come out (the teased Psyduck and Golduck with costume, same winter Eevee, caped Glaceon, Xmas Stantler, ribbon Cubchoo and Delibird still around plus Scarf Spheal), same quest to choose between double XP or Stardust, plus bonus XP and Stardust from gifts. Raid-meta wise, there’s sadly nothing to be excited about in this event, so just enjoy the costumes, or don’t.


Finally, let’s talk about Spotlight Hours. December 5th’s Feebas Day is good as is, since Feebas is a bit expensive to evolve (100 candy) and isn’t exactly common, but you can also use your Meltan box or – if there are good rewards – any quests from the Along the Routes event. While it didn’t make our gym ranking guide, its evolution, Milotic, isn’t a terrible defender as long as you keep it out when Rhyperior, Tyranitar, or other Grass vulnerable ‘mon are lazily tossed in.

December 12th is a bit similar, in that you could transfer any junk from the Adamant Time event, but more importantly, use this event to make space for Community Day! Seel itself isn’t terrible for Great or Ultra League for PvPers, but that’s about all the use it’ll get. Considering we’re in a historic low for space, I wouldn’t count on getting more than 50 spaces again from Niantic this year. Start making your trash list now!

December 19th’s Snorunt hour is good for shinies, which are pretty neat, but its Mega leaves a bit to be desired, so functionally speaking, it’s not great unless we get new, evolvable pokemon to save for the event.

Similarly, Vanillite isn’t terribly useful, but it is new, though the shiny sadly doesn’t make it other flavors. Double stardust is a nice bonus though, and it’s a great pokemon to drop off at gyms attached to ice cream shops!

As always, we’ll be updating this article through the month as we learn more. Happy holiday, and stay safe out there, trainers!

12/15 Update: Ah, of course, Niantic can’t close out the year without making another major error, this time in the form of Kyurem Black and White randomly appearing unintentionally as GBL rewards when regular Kyrurem, without even a special move, was set to be released in raids. Of course, the issue has been fixed already and there have been no reports of Niantic surprising New Zealanders with them in raids, only the vanilla Kyurem thus far.

12/20 Update: While I doubt this will personally affect any of regular readers, it should be noted that despite them making the mistake, Niantic is currently taking back the affected Pokemon. No word yet on Fast Attack Drain Punch Bewares, also from the same day.

12/18: In a very Niantic move, the game got a 5pm-8pm event today that was announced at 5pm PST on the dot, after the event had ended for most of the world. During that time, Kecleon was at least spawning more often on Pokestops while there was also a Kecleon showcase running between the same hours.

While Kecleon isn’t the strongest pokemon in the least, it’s quite rare and required for at least one long-term quest that I can think of. This is exactly why we continue to have the cautionary note at the close of Niantic articles and will so for the foreseeable future.

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!
Pokemon Go studio Niantic is considered a controversial gaming company owing to multiple scandals and deceptions, starting with the Wi-Spy privacy scandal; over the years, it’s repeatedly failed to secure player data, endangered players during the pandemic, and refused to address documented stalking in POGO. It also rolled back popular accessibility features to incentivize data collection, faked data, and lied about event results. Following 2021’s community-driven Pokemon No boycott, Niantic vowed transparency and communication; it has not delivered.
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