Massively on the Go: Pokemon GO’s Season of Wonder is evasive, but March scores critical hits


Pokemon Go‘s Sinnoh Tours and Season of Timeless Travels are both behind us, and we’re left with… World of Wonders? Based on the latest announcements and leaks, apparently we’ll be adventuring “with” baby Ultra Beast Poipole (which should evolve into Naganadel at some point), getting buffer Tapus thanks to their signature Fairy move being featured, and as usual these days, dipping into more (paid) events Niantic doesn’t detail in full. Already I’m left wondering what some of the upcoming events are, let alone whether they’re worth the purchase, especially after the poor communications we normally get made only worse for the recent Sinnoh Tours.

“Wonder” clearly isn’t inspiring confidence here, so Massively on the Go will try to break down both the season ahead and March’s content. Just be forewarned: At the time of this writing, Niantic still hasn’t even released details for this Sunday’s March 3rd event.

Let’s start off with the PvP updates, as they often include more long-term changes, mostly in terms of new/changed moves. It’s nice we got a new Steel fast move (Metal Sound), but without buffs to the common Steel charged move Flash Cannon, the meta in raids at least won’t change much, and I doubt we’ll see a lot in PvP either. New Psychic fast move Psywave is similarly not terribly exciting for raiders, as pokemon receiving it have absolutely no hope of competing with the likes of Espeon and Alakazam, let alone the legendary Mewtwo. Ground’s already been pretty good, but fast attack Sand Attack is looking to be a good move for unleashing charge attacks faster.

The move changes all affect the PvP side of the game, and as we barely touch on that, I’ll simply note that Origin Palkia will really be cashing in on that Aqua Tail buff, while Fighting types will see some interesting play with the new Brick Break changes (more expensive but guaranteed to debuff defense one stage) and higher-damage Cross Chop. Similarly, the new move distributions also don’t help any raid-relevant ‘mon, aside from Ground Kanto Golem if you’re still using those. If so, Mud Shot is your new best friend.

Next we have the season-long changes. Niantic has said there’s a season-long paid ticket event, but the teaser image below we were given in place of exact content details doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, especially as it costs $10 US for what I perceive as maybe $3 worth of items and mystery encounters. Each month clearly has a different bonus, with a Poipole hat and not-meta-relevant ‘mon being the rewards for March. April is probably something with Fairy or Grass types, and clearly May is about Poison. As Niantic is once again hiding the true value of the tickets, it’s hard not to wonder whether this’ll be worth the costs.

While last season’s trade candy bonus was nice, this season is giving us two Daily Raid Passes per day. It’s nice in theory, but with the continued storage issues made possible by the XXL/XXS ‘mon and their use in showcases, it would be nice to get extra special trades or trash bonuses as well. For those who don’t have local raid partners/groups, you’ll miss out on the raid damage bonus with friends, but I guess you could enjoy the XP bonus from one- and three-star raids you probably do instead of the legendary ones most of us prefer.

The various wild spawns, research breakthrough “rewards,” and eggs aren’t that different from what we’ve had in the past and barely seem worth mentioning. However, Mateo will apparently be also giving out 7k eggs as Route rewards. It is my sincere hope that these won’t be forced onto players like the 12k eggs that go into the bonus egg slots, as I could see a lot of people skipping Mateo, thereby robbing players who have gotten used to the daily Route NPC as a source for new foreign gifts and non-local Scatterbug ammo. We’ll have to just see how this goes.

After two seasons of Shadow Raids mostly taken up by Shadow Articuno, we’ll be getting the legendary beasts in Shadow form. Of them, Suicune is completely raid-irrelevant, Entei is a smidge better than Shadow Starters (namely, Charizard and Typhlosion), and Raikou sits up near the top among even Megas (though still below Kartana in many cases). Maybe this will drive some interest in the mostly dead feature, as Shadow Raids haven’t been noted to be dropping their local-only raid requirements. Unfortunately, I fear Niantic could flood us with useless Shadow Suicune as it did with Shadow Articuno, which was more raid relevant but sadly sat below non-shadow, non-legendary options.

Taking it all as a season, I find it really hard to get excited about anything Niantic has announced at the moment. Truthfully, I’m more filled with dread, especially as last year we saw multiple nerfs to COVID-era bonuses in the most inappropriately timed/named season, Rising Heroes.

March at least hints at some nice bonuses…

Raid-wise, things are looking up if we ignore the weekend Shadow Raikou struggles. Tapu Koko getting Nature’s Madness could be neat for PvP, but without a Fairy move, it won’t offer much. Regice almost seems like an insult after both it and its Shadow version were available at Sinnoh Tour(s), but I’m sure someone out there wants more. Tapu Lele is interesting, though, as even though it lacks a Fairy fast move, Fighting types are weak to both Psychic and Fairy, which Lele gets. That could mean the new Lele will be useful for Terrakion or future Rapid Strike Style Urshifu, but at the same time, it competes with Mewtwo, so it would probably be more like a distant third or so.

Speaking of which, the month actually closes with the return of Shadow Mewtwo, probably to boost flagging sales even more. The Primal Kyogre and Groudon days, March 17th and 23rd respectively, will not only do the same but should help newcomers (yes, they still exist) get access to some of the best Mega investments currently in the game. In terms of Megas, Mega Venusaur isn’t exciting at all since both regular research and Party Play tasks can reward the energy, plus roughly half the playerbase just got access to free Mega Tyranitar energy during the Sinnoh Tour lead-up. Mega Salamence would have made more sense than Venu here, even if the theme is “green” since Sal’s shiny is green.


Events are where things start to break down. First is the March 3rd Charged-Up Research Day. We have no details on this beyond a datamined image of some electric pokemon for a ticket, which makes it seem like another Niantic cash grab. None of the pokemon there is new, and few are useful. It also sounds like a new event, unless it’ll be a super condensed version of the March 2021 Charge Up event. That event was several days long, though, and also included electric pokemon while focusing on powering up for various Mega Energies. As usual, we’ll update this section as we learn more.

Then there’s the March 5th-11th Pokemon Horizons: The Series Celebration Event. We briefly touched on this earlier this week, but it’s essentially meant to promote the new Pokemon anime series. The simple stuff is a double catch XP bonus, having Paldea starters back, which is kinda nice, plus photobombing from some new anime characters. The new Pikachu with a hat may have some use in limited evolution cups, but I’d be willing to bet money that it won’t evolve (#JusticeForRaichu).

But the Charcadet family is going to be interesting. As I previously mentioned, its evolutions  Ceruledge and Armarouge both get access to Flame Charge to boost their attack in PvP, though Ceru is only a little bulkier than Chandelure and Arma is a higher-attack Delphox without a great closer.

Neither will end up being very raid-relevant unless they get their signature moves, as Ceru has less attack than Chandelure and Arma doesn’t have any moves like Blast Burn that Delphox wields. Their being only from eggs (and most likely rare), combined with an annoying buddy evolution requirement, is certainly going to limit their overall usefulness. While they are fairly annoying to evolve in the main game series, you can also raid for their final forms, both of which have some good use Tera raid use thanks to their abilities, which uh… probably won’t translate well into POGO. Ah well.

March 14th-18th will be 4 days of weather Weather Week, which may also be a callback to a 2021 March event by the same name. This was when Rainy Castform was first released. It was basically about Rainy and Windy weather-themed pokemon, and since the previously mentioned Kyogre Raid Day falls within that time, it’s probably safe to assume it’ll be similar.

3/6 Update: And as predicted, via the official event page, it’s similar to the last Weather Week except includes additional event spawns during specific weather types. However, at this point in the game’s life and so soon after the electric day event, there’s not much to be excited about aside from Paras for stardust farming.

At the same time, we have Community Day falling on the 16th. I was half worried Castform would be the themed pokemon, but in a now-deleted Reddit post, dataminers found Darkest Lariat as a charge move. Being Incineroar’s signature move, it was a strong– and more importantly, correct – hint that we’d have Litten Day, which is two months earlier than many people predicted. Blast Burn is the CD event move, but Darkest Lariat will be available to any and all Incineroars going forward. The prime bonus for the event will be triple catch XP, so if you have a research stack for that, be ready to cash in!

The March 17th Primal Kyogre Raid Day will hopefully function like many raid days, in that you’ll have five free passes for the day or 14 with bonuses with a paid ticket, but we won’t know until Niantic gives us the details.

Same goes for the March 23rd Primal Groudon Raid Day. Groudon’s day falls between the March 21st-25th Verdant Wonders event and Zarude Ticketed event. My guess is that while they overlap, the Zarude event will be paid and separate. We have no details on either, though I would assume the Verdant Wonders event will heavily feature Grass types (but maybe also Ground thanks to Groudon’s presence), and Zarude’s will include Zarude, which is a fairly useful but rare Mythical Pokemon. Again, we’ll update y’all as we get more details.

3/11 Update: And the official information proves our guess about overlapping events, Grass types being featured (but not Ground), and Zarude true, though Zarude is only available via the $7.99 ticket, which also includes a couple of raid passes and some other stuff plus an incense event, which will spawns basically everything above in the Wild Enouncters section (within your region) aside from Bulbasaur, Oddish, Tangela, Hoppip, Poochyena, Nuzleaf, and Shroomish. It’s not the best buy, but Zarude is a good Mythical so it’s your call if you wanna pay for potential power.

3/4 Update: We now have official details on the Primal Raid Days. Neither Primal will have its signature move, but otherwise these will be the same as past raid days: 5 free extra passes (don’t forget, we get 2 per day as a season bonsu), 8 more with a ticket with some other bonuses, and increased shiny odds. This is a good catch-up event for many casuals/new players, and these pokemon are certainly worth using an Elite Charged TM on if you get a perfect (or are a big fan of the shiny versions).

On a quick side note, unless you are barely able to take these two down, I would advise players not use the “Top Counter” as it’s a Mega. Your Mega should be something that generates extra XL candy. For Primal Groudon, Mega Swampert is more than fine, as it’ll still do quad damage and net you bonus XLs. For Primale Kyogre, oddly enough, you can use Primal Kyogre in the final slot, as it’ll at least boost Electric damage for the raid and net you that extra XL candy.

The March 27th-31st World of Wonders: Taken Over certainly sounds like a rocket-themed event, especially since Shadow Mewtwo will be available that closing weekend as well. Normally this means we’ll see more rockets to battle plus be able to TM away Frustrating, but yet again, we’ll have to wait and update readers once Niantic makes its proper announcements.

3/13 Update: We now have official event details and this admittedly is seeming like the best multi-day event of the month. As predicted, it is a rocket takeover event, there will be more rockets to battle, and you’ll be able to TM Frustration away. The big surprise is that Shadow Groudon will be featured as the Giovani reward ‘mon, and it’s very powerful. I’d value it over Shadow Mewtwo for most raiders, but the latter is the only one we’ll see in raids during the event.

From the infograph above, you’ll see we’re getting a few new Shadows too. Pidget is surprisingly the most useful, but glass canon lovers will want to grab Shadow Darumaka to burn fast and hard. Sandile only from 12k eggs will have its shiny released, and as usual, I will caution players against going hard in hopes of getting one. That being said, 12k eggs do pack the most bang for your buck in terms of stardust, but the other meta-relevant pokemon have had Community Days before so I wouldn’t go into this for them. Vullaby, however, will be spawning in the wild for the event, which is new. There’s also some store stuff but none of it seems like a super deal, and the advertised “new” pose is an old one formerly tied to a recent (perhaps poorly sold) Rocket real-money event.

Last but not least are the Spotlight Hours. March 5th’s Pawmi and double evolution XP aren’t bad, but Pawmi does require a lot of work (25km walked with its evolution, Pawmo, as your buddy) to reach its final form, and it’s not really meta-relevant at all. Nidoran female has some limited use, but the March 12th Spotlight’s more useful for its double Stardust bonus, so be ready to empty your research stacks at that time, unless you stacked for candy. In that case, March 26th is a better date for you, though Hoppip is just super underwhelming and probably a holdover theme from the Verdant Wonders event ending the day before.

March 19th is the most confusing looking Spotlight I think I’ve ever seen. It lies between two events but doesn’t match either the Weather Week event in my mind nor the Verdant Wonders event coming after it. Poliwag has some good PvP uses, and double catch XP is nice, but this spotlight really seems random. Unless we’re getting some interesting new mechanics or big announcements related to these ‘mon, it seems like a highly skippable Spotlight Hour for veteran players.

And that’s that, trainers! As always, watch this space for updates and stay safe out there!

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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