Massively on the Go: April showers didn’t bring Pokemon GO May event flowers


April was a rough month for Pokemon Go, as the game failed to deliver on Earth Dayan event Niantic used to champion – and added a battery-draining feature, all compounded by the avatar update debacle, storage bloating event, terrible Community Day pick, another boring Kanto event, and Hatch “Day” somehow being worse than before.

With all that, you might think Niantic would make a serious effort to come back strong in May, but you would be wrong, starting off with a now-deleted marketing lie about said avatar update. At least content wise, it’s not all bad, and we are getting some new pokemon to raid, but as you’ll read in this edition of Massively on the Go, Niantic is once again sabotaging itself at the players’ expense, sometimes literally.

Let’s start with the raids. Weekends for May mean the dreaded Shadow raids, which are limited to only local raiders. No Remote Raids. This month is Shadow Suicune, which isn’t a great pokemon, Shadow or not. While April’s Entei also wasn’t great, it has some uses and could be taken down reasonably well with two raiders. Shadow Suicune is probably closer to four. Most of y’all will probably want to focus on the normal five star raid options, unless you’re missing Mega Alakazam, Mega Gyarados, or Mega Pidgeot.

Tapu Fini is basically a PvP pick, especially in Ultra League, so look for that between May 2nd-16th. Regirock is traditionally more so, coming from May 16th-23rd. That makes most of May PvP pokemon in raids.

After that, we get two new Ultra Beasts from May 23rd-June 1st. Unfortunately, Niantic is once again releasing them as region-locked legendaries. The western hemisphere gets Blacephalon, which should do well enough as a Fire attacker until it gets its signature move, potentially making it a very high-end pick. Unfortunately, the eastern hemisphere gets stuck with Stakataka, a decidedly OK-ish PvP pick for at least Ultra League. Doing so in May seems like a bad call, as last year around this time was when the Remote Raid nerfs went live and May 2023 once again rammed the broken and buggy Elite Raids front and center. Bringing out a regional exclusive 5-star raid where one hemisphere gets a decidedly better ‘mon feels equivalent to applying thick makeup to a zit that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Then there are the events. First is May 1st-3rd’s Diance Global Special Research, which seems like a mini-event even Niantic half forgot, as it’s not on the above (but merged) infograph but did get its own tweet. If you didn’t get Diance from last year’s paid Go Fest ticket, you can get it for free from this research. Those of us who already have it get bonus candy. There’ll also be Field Research awarding Mega Energy for her and encounters with Carbink. We’ll update this should we learn anything more of interest.

Niantic’s first remembered event is the May 4th-5th Battle Weekend. As usual, expect additional stardust, a quest (possibly with an Elite TM and/or avatar clothing), and, oh, it’s tied to another event.

May 4th-9th is Rivals “Week” (yes, at this point it’s clear Niantic doesn’t understand what “week” means). If you’re into the PvP scene, you’ll see a few useful ‘mon families on here, like Machop, Mankey, Poliwag, Ralts, Lickitung, and Galarian Stunfisk. Of them, Mankey’s final form is a useful gym defender too, Machamp is still good for raiders, and Ralts has two Megas (with Gallade yet to be released), so there’s some stuff here for PvE fans. Casual Collectors can also nab Zangoose/Seviper, Throh/Sawk, and/or Heatmor/Durant, depending on what’s not usually their regional variant, plus the shiny if they really try hard. Bonus candy and a bit more xp from spins aren’t terrible either.

During that, and also unlisted, is the May 7th “Rediscover Your Reality” event teased last month when Niantic turned heel by releasing the previously mentioned energy draining feature on Earth Day. So far, we know there are both new photo options and “Pokestop connections” via live server “testing” and datamining. The photo options include using multiple pokemon in a shot, positioning them better, “reality blending” (meaning ‘mon can be behind real-world objects), and adding stickers, though in that thread and elsewhere people are noting issues, from crashes to just adding another screen to skip. The “Pokestop connection” is also rather vague, kind of sounding like Ingress gameplay that requires you to give Niantic data in exchange for your pokemon waving at people…? We’re still waiting on the full details here, folks, but as usual, Niantic’s operating on a gotta cash’em all motto these days.

May 11th is something called Flock Together Research Day. I would love it if this were a Citizen Science project on tracking real world bird migrations, but peak migrations around at least the US end in some places before then. My guess is that this will be some kind of multi-player Party research event with some special spawns, as it lasts only a few hours as opposed to, well, an actual day. As always, we’ll update this section as we learn more.

5/2 Update: As predicted, the full event details confirm that this is a bird-themed research event with bird spawns, and that it has nothing to do with citizen science or real-world bird watching. If you’re new, Hoothoot’s evolution has some use in Great League pvp, Fletching becomes a bit of a monster in several pvp scenes, Pidgey has some use (but mostly as an above average Mega), and Starly and Murkrow’s evolution are above average budget choices for Flying types in raids (though both are better when it’s the Shadow version, and Starly wants its CD move for a small boost in Fast Attack damage), though Braviary works better than Murky without needing to be Shadow.

May 14th-19th is another new event called Catching Wonders. No idea what this is, but I would hope that it may kick off allowing players to evolve Poipole to Naganadel, as we haven’t done much with our free baby Ultra Beast and May is the end of this blasé season. That being said, as we’ll talk about it later, Abra gets a Spotlight hour during this time, so maybe it’ll be Poison vs Psychics? Again, we’ll update this as we learn more.

5/2 Update: And the official information so far is simply that it’s Masterball research with some “First [X] of the day!” bonuses, which is a bit underwhelming. Hopefully something more interesting will be revealed at a later date.

May 19th is also Community Day. Assuming Niantic sticks to the pattern, I’m guessing this will be Popplio’s CD, which would help save the month. Its final form, Primarina, is already vaguely useful as a gym defender and would be usable as a raid attacker. Of course, Niantic could throw us a curveball, so as always, watch this space for updates.

5/6 Update: It seems the theories of one starter per season will remain true, as the above CD teaser is clearly not Popplio. From the color of the blurred pokemon and, more importantly, its cry, it’ll be Bounsweet, which is preyed upon by Toucannon, hence its shadow at the video start. This isn’t bad, though, as Teban54 predicted nearly a year ago that it could end up being better than Roserade, depending on how Niantic releases its signature move, Trop Kick. Let’s wait and see what Niantic does when the full details are revealed.

5/7 Update: We’re officially correct about it being Bounsweet Community Day but, woof, even with us realistically knowing not to hope for it being a two-fer (some people thought Toucannon’s line would also be featured due to its appearance in the previous tease), the CD move is not it’s signature move but the new Fighting Charged Attack High Jump Kick… which was one of Hitmonlee’s signature moves.

With the new Ultra Beasts comes a new event, Ultra Space Wonders, from May 23rd-28th. The new Ultra Beasts leave the morning of the 29th, so I think it’s safe to assume this event is about them. Maybe we’ll have Ghost/Fire types in the west and Rock/Steel types in the East, but per the usual theme, come back later when we find out more.

5/13 Update: And now we have the official event detailsThis is when Poipole can evolve, and of course, you can raid (regional) Ultra Beasts mentioned above. Mareanie can also be shiny, and Trubbish is in the research rewards pool for you to hoard. As you can see above, there are other bonuses but unless you’re very new and/or a big spender, that’s about all you should really worry about for this event.

While not a day, May 26th’s Incense Day does run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., same as the COVID-era Community Day hours. Traditionally, these events heavily feature a single pokemon, often a dual type. Each hour changes between the featured ‘mon’s types, such as Beldum’s day switching between spawning Psychic and Steel types for an hour each. We’ve got no leaks or rumors on this one, so come back later to see if this’ll be worth the effort.

5/16 Update: As predicted, the official details confirm it’s a dual type ‘mon (Ferroseed), alternating between Grass (11am-12pm, 1pm-2pm, 3pm-4pm) and Steel ‘mon (12pm-1pm, 2pm-3pm, 4pm-5pm). Obviously Ferroseed will be attracted to incense at all times, but it should be noted that Daily Incense will be doubled during the event too. Grass has more shiny and stardust possibilities, plus Phantump’s evolution is useful in Great and Ultra Leagues at the least. Steel is also tempting, as Beldum’s final form is quite useful even before we have its Mega, but it seems as though Galarian Meowth is the first in its line to not award bonus stardust when caught, so keep that in mind. In addition, if you’re really looking for the Galarian birds, you could use Origin Forme Dialga’s ability to increase your Daily Incese timer a bit during the event. Some bird seed for thought on an otherwise average event.

Finally, let’s talk about the Spotlight Hours. Nothing this month is looking good from what we know thus far, so your Tuesdays may be more free than usual. May 7th coming during Rival’s Week unsurprisingly has the Hitmons, which while neat aren’t useful, but that double transfer candy sure is, so consider this a trash day. Abra on May 14th isn’t much unless you’re a new player dying for Psychic types and double evolution xp. Elgyem isn’t a great ‘mon, but it’s not terribly common either, so going out for double stardust and an uncommon pokemon is probably the highlight of the month, unless you’re a big PvP fan. In that case, May 28th’s Mareanie is a good time to grab some XL candy to power up Toxapex, a pretty good PvP ‘mon and an above-average gym defender.

As always, watch this space for updates and stay safe out there, Trainers!

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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