Massively on the Go: 10 Mega Pokemon Legends Z-A could add to help Pokemon GO


We have very little information about Pokemon Legends: Z-A, but one thing for sure is that it can make a big impact on Pokemon Go, especially when it comes to the Mega Evolution teaser. Mega Evolution was incredibly poorly implemented at first but is now bloated with bonuses that are hard to ignore, for good or ill. Using Megas totally changed the game. New generations bring new pokemon, but Z-A’s teased Megas could really shake up our tier list.

For this edition of Massively on the Go, we’re going to talk about how The Pokemon Company (TPC) in particular could implement some new Megas that could eventually trickle down into Pokemon GO and help Niantic with some balancing issues. That is, assuming another feature doesn’t beat it to the punch.

The Dynamax problem/solution

Niantic may have screwed things up a bit releasing Mega Evolution and “fixing” it when Pokemon Sword and Shield already had a feature that was quite similar: Dynamaxing/Gigantimaxing (which is Dyanamaxing with a form change and Move upgrades).

The issue, is that, in Pokemon GO terms, it would currently translate to be similar to Megas. Both are temporary forms (though not Dynamax, and Gigantimaxing is a matter of turns rather than a full battle a la Megas) that grant additional stats (but the ‘maxes give only HP) and power (Megas often come with new abilities, Dynamaxing gives a type-based move upgrade, and Gigantimax gives a species-specific move). Mega forms are more drastic for the most part in the main game series (MSG), affecting not only appearance and stats but also abilities that make some pokemon crazy powerful. Some of this translated well into POGO, but Niantic got a bit creative with the raid-wide buffs and utilities. That’s the start of the issue.

As mentioned above, Dynamaxing increases any pokemon’s max HP, which shouldn’t be too hard for Niantic to implement. The main series games convert the Dynamaxed ‘mon’s moves into new Max Moves based on the moves’ type, but there are a lot of variables involved before we even talk about converting all that to work for POGO. G-Max moves are even worse as they’re species-specific instead of just type-specific. As such, Niantic could just do a straight Attack multiplier and/or grant a raid-wide bonus to damage as with Megas, since most of the attacks have a secondary ability, such as buffing ally speed or healing allies. You can see why – short of a new combat system – this is why many players think Niantic will simply make the Maxings basically a different flavor of Mega Evolution, if even that.

If we keep things lazy, Dynamaxing could simply multiply the HP stat, while Gigantimaxing could add an Attack stat increase to mimic power increases from moves and/or grant the same Mega damage bonuses Megas give. The other utility aspects, like same-type candy and xp bonus, could apply too, at the very least to Gigantimax forms. Again, it would be kind of lazy, but there is a sort of precedence for Niantic doing things that way, aside from the already mentioned mechanical translation similarities.

On the one hand, we’ve kind of seen this with forms. Niantic basically picks and chooses on that end, such as Hoopa and even Zygarde having form changes while the Forces of Nature and Deoxys’ forms are all treated as separate pokemon. On the other hand, we also expected Niantic to sleep on Megas and simply treat them as a regular, always-there pokemon, which didn’t happen, though in some ways that may have been less a headache; Megas have helped greatly speed up leveling and access to (XL) candy, especially in terms of non-legendaries that spawn in the wild or through event incense (like the Gimmighoul bag or Meltan box).

But if it’s not obvious, that’s already a lot of speculation for a speculatory list. So as a heads up, this whole list assumes Dynamaxing won’t be treating Mega ‘mon utilities to every pokemon. In case the Gigantimaxes do, I’m going to steer clear of combinations we get from the Giganticmax forms. That being said, I’ll note things like how Water/Ice via, say, Lapras, clearly should get Mega treatment if Gigantimaxing fails to deliver.

Determining what’s best for Pokemon Go

First, let’s be honest: The Pokemon Company probably won’t be making any pokemon specifically to address meta-issues with a spin-off game. However, spin-offs often inherit problems from main series games/IPs, and POGO is no different. Let’s go over some of POGO’s issues in terms of balance right now:

  • Limited Mega-Ice options
  • Limited Mega-Electric options
  • Normal, Poison, Bug (will shine more in Gen 8 and 9), and Flying are quite weak as types
  • Psychic is best as a neutral pick

Now, since Mega Evolution isn’t a standard series feature, TPC probably doesn’t consider balancing it much, though I do know a few other spin-off games also make use of Megas. That could be a reason why TPC is revisiting the feature and may even be looking at spinoffs to slightly guide its designs.

For power, Normal, Bug, Poison, and Flying are not exactly topping the Smogon Overused-tier list, let alone Ubers. While the types have good moves (especially Poison), the types themselves often have limitations, especially Normal not being super effective against any other type. How much TPC cares about this is debatable, but we won’t address it here.

Psychic being best as a neutral pick for POGO is kind of similar in the MSG. Normal is similar except Psychic is super effective against two types. Normally that isn’t a huge issue, but as noted, Poison’s already weak. The other issue is that most Psychic pokemon are fairly well-balanced, except for Mewtwo. Trying to balance Psychics in particular would require a major rebalance of at least Mewtwo alone, and I just don’t see that happening. In fact, I don’t see Megas being able to solve that kind of issue period. It’s why we’ll mostly be focusing on Mega’s using the same utility-based criteria as our tier list (but only showing the combined scores) while also considering the missing niches in the feature, as not only would that help POGO, but Megas also represent more merchandising options and nostalgia hits TPC can cash in on.

We’re also putting some limits on this list so there may be a slight chance of seeing actually making it into the game. No, I don’t think for a moment a Pokemon Company representative will see this list and change the game accordingly. In fact, I’m sure most of the pokemon are already in the design phase. This is more of a combination of wishful thinking and prediction. That being said, here are our rules:

  • No Megas will be suggested as if they could fix a whole typing
  • Largely ignoring Dynamaxing, as if we were to allow all pokemon to get Mega bonuses, this list wouldn’t matter anyway
  • Gigantimaxing is mostly ignored
  • No tri+ typings like Primals or Mega Rayquaza, as they’re already pretty powerful
  • Suggested representatives will largely be from Gen 1 (TPC’s nostalgia targets), Gen 6 (which is the setting of Z-A), and the Gen 2 starters (as they got skipped for Megas and even Dynamaxing)

And with that, here’s our list.

10. Rock/Ground

This is such a classic typing, and while it’s not the best, it’s still super odd that we don’t have this as a Mega. It often confuses older Gen 1 players that this doesn’t exist as a current Mega, and rightfully so. Rock and Ground are also part of different weather typings, would get a Team Frag bonus (Rock is weak to Ground), and would be useful during Adventure Week raids. Admittedly, it’d only be 12 points on our list, not making the top 10 but still filling a niche I’m sure any casual Pokemon fan is surprised to know is open.

While TPC could make a new form for Onix or give Kanto Golem a Mega, it could also give Diggersby a Mega. It’s a Gen 6 ‘mon in case the devs don’t want to go the nostalgia route, but it’s also an early-game pokemon. While it’s normally Normal/Ground, Mega’ing into a new typing isn’t unheard of, and going from Normal to Rock does sound like an evolution in strength to me.

9. Ground/Electric

Yes, another part-Ground Mega. Part of this is because Mega Groudon is a bit too good. There’s a reason it was at the top of our tier list and will probably stay there. But having options is good, and Ground/Electric has some advantages Primal Groudon doesn’t, aside from being double weak to Water instead of quad weak.

The main thing we’re looking at is being strong against Electric types. They’re not super common, but it’s where Ground really shines. Garchomp already tears through them thanks to its quad resistance, even when it’s a Shadow ‘mon. However, adding an Electric typing to a Mega would give us that coveted Team Frag bonus. While Groudon has many of those, it doesn’t have it for Electric types, so this typing would really benefit Electrics.

Again, this wouldn’t be overpowered on our tier list, being worth only 9 points, but it’s a niche I feel one or two times a year when certain raid bosses come back or we have Electric-themed events.

We even have some good candidates for the Mega! The first one that comes to mind is Raichu, as it’s long been neglected and would cement the Pika family as the (media) rulers of Electric types. If TPC isn’t feeling super generous to poor old Raichu (which lacks a Mega, lacks a Gigantimax, and has been left out in spin-offs with evolution like Pokken and Pokemon Unite), it could also go with Heliolisk, as it’s Gen 6 and dropping Normal for Ground still makes some sense, as lizard warm themselves on the ground in real life.

8. Fighting/Flying

For those of us with a ton of candy for wild ‘mon but not so much for legendaries, Flying is often an important Daily Incense type in the rare chance we find and catch a Galar bird. We have flying with lots of types already, but Fighting would be an interesting one, sitting at 16 points on our scale. That breaks out of the 15-point massive tie we kept noting, and for good reason.

It gets the coveted Team Frag point, and we do get a good number of Flying Legendaries, though this Mega wouldn’t want to engage them in combat. It’d be more of a utility ‘mon until fighting one of the few Fighting-type Megas or Legendaries, at which point it would be a champ. It could also be good for gym clearing and make Fighting events a bit easier to farm, like Medicham alternative.

Gen 6’s Hawlucha feels like a perfect Mega-fit for this, as it’s already got the typing and is quite popular.

7. Electric/Ice

No, I’m not just combining the two least represented types into a single Mega, though it did start off like that. It would only be 11 points on our tier scale, but it does a few interesting things.

First, for combat, it’s very anti-Flying. Ice is good against Flyers, but it doesn’t resist it. This Mega would be one of the few that gets that benefit. It could also take out some fellow Ice types, in that Ice/Water is a common typing, though not exactly for 5-star raid bosses. However, if Iron Bundle or Gigantimax Lapras become a 5-star raid boss, this Mega would get a Team Frag point-by-association, as Water vulnerable to Electric, though its score wouldn’t reflect that since it’s a very specific situation and few meta-relevant ‘mon are in this situation.

Second, the winter holiday events always feature at least two things: Ice pokemon and Pikachus in hats. I don’t think anyone but the newest of players needs Pikachu candy, but this combination would give a lot of bonus XP between the two types.

Fittingly, this is another case for a Mega for Raichu, as it’s been left out in the proverbial cold nearly since the game came out, and a Santa-chu Mega Merchandise would further fatten TPC’s wallet during the holidays. It would also help the Pika-family fight back against Ground types that usually destroy it, so with the right look, Pikachu-loving kids could feel better about using a mascot-adjacent ‘mon in a real battle, plus the Mega could have the power to be relevant and not a liability in raids.

Aside from poor Raichu, there are already two non-Mega Electric/Ice types, but Rotom as a fridge getting a Mega seems awkward, and Arctozolt is too firmly associated with Gen 8’s fossil atrocities. Instead, looking to Ice and keeping with the holiday theme, I think Mega Delibird could be a thing. I’m not sure why Iron Bundle is a Water/Ice ‘mon while looking like Robo-Delibird, but a Mega Delibird with a Santa’s Workshop Engineer look fits the holiday theme while also possibly giving an in-game lore reason for the eventual Iron Bundle ‘mon.

6. Water/Fire

Now, Water isn’t exactly hurting for Mega options, nor is Fire. However, both have Primals that kind of hog the scene. Primal Groudon also covers Fire and Grass for starter events, so it dominates those scenes. Water/Fire would give players an alternative in those cases, but also this would have the much-loved Team Frag bonus for raids. It’s also a rare typing we don’t have access to in POGO yet, and honestly seems as if it should be more common at this point. It would be a niche, but it would also be fairly powerful, getting 17 points on our tier list, which would actually put it above Primal Kyogre.

Remember, though, that it would also be a Fire ‘mon that only takes neutral damage from Grass, its weather types don’t intersect, and as a Mega, it won’t make a big impact on PvP for the most part, so it’s not totally OP. Since Charizard gets a lot of attention, to the point that it was weirdly given two separate Mega forms, Blastoise maybe could handle this one, trading its signature water-canons in for flamethrowers. Alternatively, this is where Gen 2’s Feraligatr could come in. We just had a fire gator starter, and I’m still surprised TPC didn’t make Water/Fire its final typing. Feraligatr could handle it until TPC decides to give us a non-Mega to hold that crown.

5. Grass/Water

I know, another Water Mega, but this is the other side of the Primal Groudon coin. It gives players more options during starter-based events, and Grass actually could use some help from an actual Grass type, which Groudon is not. It would also be a nice seasonal ‘mon. Spring and summer are both often seen as largely sunny seasons in the west, but “April showers bring May flowers” recognizes the chance for rain, and large parts of the world have a rainy summer season. So while Niantic may push more sunny-weather event ‘mon during those times of years, this Mega could account for the rain parts of the world often experience.

It’s not as powerful as a Water/Fire type would be, falling into that 15 point tie zone many ‘mon on our tier list did, but that should also highlight the usefulness of this typing.

We also have some fun options here. Ludicolo already has this typing, has dance moves, and is associated with dancing to a hot beat, so it deserves honorable mention. Oh, and Gen 3 got Mega love so I wouldn’t put it past TPC to at least have considered giving it a Mega.

But again, for nostalgia, TPC could make a Grass/Water Mega Venusaur typing. The Poison typing rarely helps Venu, as it protects it only from Bug and Poison, two weak types, and opens it to being vulnerable to Psychic. Ew. And this would still go with Venu’s flowery theme as flowers do need watering. Heck, there’s even kind of a precedent for it!

There’s also Meganium, the final form of Gen 2 starter Chikarita. It’s a fan favorite, and being a flower brontosaurus, it could be right at home as a part water-type, swimming in lakes, maybe even hanging out with Lapras. That would just print cash, Mr. Pokemon Company employee reading this!

4. Ghost/Psychic

If you thought the last two picks were spicy, get a load of this one! Ghost and Dark often compete in similar circles, mostly because of Psychic types. Dark tends to win out because it essentially has quad resistance to Psychic in POGO, but also because one of the most powerful Ghost types, Gengar, is weak to Psychics thanks to the fact that it’s part Poison. Gross.

But a Ghost/Psychic Mega would do some interesting things. Like Sabelye, it would still get a Team Frag against fellow Ghosts, but it would also get it against Psychics. Interestingly, though, it would also take quad damage from Ghosts, giving it a niche separate from Sableye. The typing would be 17 points on our scale too, beating out Sable but certainly not replacing it as the scary-season sultan.

The irony of a Ghost becoming double weak to other Ghosts really makes it seem as if it could be a good second Mega form for Gengar. It’s already known for playing mind games and using Dream Eater, one of many Psychic moves it can learn, so it’s not much of a stretch. It could also go to Gen 6’s creepy cat twins, Meowtastic. They’re Psychic, creepy, and already super popular, so giving them both a Mega and the Ghost typing isn’t a stretch there either. Either way, the merchandising options here are pretty obvious.

3. Ice/Fire

Now we’re cooking with gas! While not as good as Abomasnow, 16 points on our tier scale is nothing to sneeze at. Like Aboma, this Mega would be good for the holidays in sunny weather areas, but it would also get the Team Frag point against fellow Ice types.

It would also have a very fitting Mega possibility: Pyroar. It’s a Gen 6 Normal/Fire, but the remake could change that. Pyroar is strongly associated with Lysandre and his Team Flare, who already have a kind of hot/cold dynamic built into their personas. Ice also has a kind of cold beauty, and Flare’s goal is to create a “beautiful and better” world through wealth and eliminating enemies, which seems very Fire and Ice. Pyroar already fits a lot of these motifs, so changing to Normal to Ice seems like a natural evolution, especially for a Mega.

This is also where I’m going to note how good an Ice/Water Mega would be if POGO doesn’t get it from Gigantimax Lapras. While it doesn’t have the theme power an Ice/Fire Pyroar has, an Ice/Water Mega would hit a whopping 18 points on our scale, which would be in the top 5 Megas. Water/Ice is a common typing, and Water types are more numerous than Fire, though this combination would lose its Team Frag bonus. It’s a tough call, and while both would be great, Ice/Fire is way too fitting for this game for TPC to leave out.

2. Bug/Dark

Despite being only 11 points on our scale, adding a Bug/Dark Mega almost feels required. Again, the assumption is that no single Mega will fix anything in POGO, let alone the main series, but this one could benefit both. Dark types are generally the safest bet for taking out Psychics, though many Psychics have Fighting moves to save themselves. Bug/Dark takes only normal damage from Fighting while also resisting Dark and Ghost, two other typings Psychics usually have to fight back with. That would narrow down options quite a bit and make future Mewtwo raids in the main series a tad less painful.

It would also be nice to have a strong, anti-Psychic Bug to rally around. In the original games, the only Ghost type was Gengar, and its Poison sub-typing meant Mewtwo just had to sneeze to take it out. Most Bugs were also in this situation, though Parasect’s use of Spore or Stun Spore to incapacitate Mewtwo and then whittle away its HP made it one of the few Bugs that had even a chance to take down the big bad cat. Gen 2’s Scizor is not a bad ‘mon per-se, being a Bug/Steel type, but Mewtwo can learn Fire moves to easily dispose of it. Bug may have some cool looking Pokemon, but rarely are they useful. A Bug/Dark Mega won’t fix that alone, but it would give MGS players something to rally around and build pride for Bug lovers everywhere.

In POGO, though, a Mega Bug/Dark would do much more. We have had some challenging content that uses things that are quad-weak to Bug, but most players are severely underprepared for that content. Admittedly, a good part of this is because Niantic has limited the major offender to an Elite Raid, the Hoopa Unbound encounter that really showed how small many of our local communities are and how ill-prepared the bulk of the playerbase is as well.

A Bug/Dark Mega ‘mon would not only help fix that up specifically with Hoopa but also encourage investing in other Bugs for some other Dark raids. For example, it’s very specific, but Darkrai in rainy weather has some very viable Bug options. Some are prohibitively expensive right now (looking at you, Volcarona), but others, like Vikavolt, have had events and don’t need Community Day moves to work. Again, Scizor is not a bad ‘mon, but Steel isn’t super effective against Psychic, and as we’ve said before, POGO is more about racing the clock than your HP, plus Dark protects HP better than Steel anyway. Bug/Dark still makes Dark ‘mon a good choice and makes investing in Bug-types safer.

Only one pokemon family has this type, but its final form, Lokix, has overall stats that are fairly underwhelming, even if the pokemon is has fairly aggressive AI in the MSG). If Lokix isn’t deemed worthy of a Mega, especially since it’s so new, Pinsir could get this as a second Mega, since TPC seems to favor its counter-part, Scyther, which has two evolutions. Poor Pinsir’s only got the one Mega, and it doesn’t translate well into POGO because of its reliance on an ability.

1. Flying/Ice

I never realized how much this Mega typing could bring to the game until I was making this list. Yes, Flying is already super common, and yeah, it would be in that dreaded massive 15-point tie we keep referring to, but like Bug/Dark, it would help better prepare the raiding community.

While it didn’t make it to the top 10 of our list, I mentioned Mega Aerodactyl as a recommended ‘mon to invest in for bare-minimum players because it has a useful niche: getting the Team Frag point off of many legendaries and some Megas. Flying/Ice would be similar.

Not only does this combo get the Team Frag, but we kind of have a problem in POGO: The game often recommends Fairy types against Flying/Dragons who take quad-damage from Ice. Because of this, a lot of casuals just go with the recommended teams, which leads to longer battles and even failures, much like the previously described Hoopa situation. Introducing this type would not only help solidify Ice’s strength in raids but help push players to invest in it more while also potentially rewarding them with more XL candy. I know people who won’t use certain pokemon because they’re ugly, but they’ll still Mega them for benefits. The combination alone would be “cool” (sorry not sorry), but good design would push it over the edge.

The most obvious choice for this would be Articuno, as it’s got the typing, legendary Megas hype-up the playerbase, and it already has one (uno) in its name, so it should get the Mega treatment before the other legendary birds. I’m sure if TPC did make Mega Articuno, the other two birds would also get Megas, but without changing types, Flying/Ice would have a much bigger impact on the POGO 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!
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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