As I noted in my last Massively on the Go column, for the entire month of May, this column will not be covering Pokemon Go, as Niantic is continuing to refuse to address the ongoing trainwrecks in the community. My expectations are low, but I am hoping to use this break to at least help me reassess how to handle the one game worth talking about here going forward.
Still, while overall issues will most certainly continue, some people at Niantic do seem to understand that the company needs to do something. The same leaker who mostly predicted this season accurately released gobs of potential reveals from May to August, and it’s already proving true, as – maybe because of the leak or negative press – Niantic shocked everyone by posting May’s schedule nearly a week in advance.
Either by accident or hoping to get in a joke, Niantic is featuring quite a few Bug pokemon this month. Aside from Shock Drive Genesect and Tapu Fini getting their shiny debuts, there’s nothing new in May for 5-star raiders. The new shinies are pretty useful (Genesect in general is, but Shock Drive is generally best for Ultra League PvP, though raiders could TM the move off), but it’s basically going to be a slow month.
Megas have some good picks, though, for people who want to catch up. Especially with the Primals covering all Rainy and Sunny weather now, dual-type Megas that cross weather types can help for events.
May 11th will supposedly be Mega Pinsir’s entry date as the first point the above leak has proven correct. Mega Pinsir not only looks to be one of the strongest Bug types (which has dubious value) but also has a Flying/Bug typing that also makes it oddly useful, as Flying and Bug are very common types. Flying is also super effective against Bugs, so when Pheramosa or Buzzwole return, Mega Pinsir will both help make them go down even faster (as they both take quad-damage from Flying types) and generate extra bonus XL Candy. It takes quad damage from Rock types, with has been a bit of a theme for raids since April’s Remote Raid nerfs. Keep this in mind, as this month’s main raids may not be easily duo-able after Genesect’s May 9th exit, so Mega Pinsir could be a simple raid you can do with a friend or two.
Those who were hoping to be free of Elite Raids are a bit out of luck. After nearly a month without following up on its apology, Niantic has announced a rescheduling of the fourth and worst Elite Raid Day for Regidrago. The Elite Raid Makeup Day is set for May 13th at the usual times. Buried in the official post is word that players will be able to claim a free box that day, which will include three Premium Raid Passes and two Silver Pinapps. While I appreciate the gifts, the fact that Niantic didn’t advertise that on its tweet and buried it at the bottom of its post makes it look as if it’s trying to hide it to prevent it from losing a few bucks more. Don’t let them get away with it! Tell your friends to claim it that day, even if they won’t be raiding.
For other events, An Instinctive Hero event running May 2nd-8th obviously will be about Spark, the Team Instinct leader. Via Pokeminers, we knew we’d be getting an Elekid with an Instinct armband that can thankfully be fully evolved. This probably has to do with the Team being known for breeding and hatching, as I’m guessing that event will involve hatch bonuses instead of Blanche’s evolution bonuses last month. In fact, there was an early leak of the event from the Indonesian POGO accounts that within hours led to an official English blog post, revealing higher odds of shines from hatching eggs (except 7k and 12ks), double hatch xp, and double hatch stardust.
A new pokemon, Larvesta, will finally be released, but as our favorite PvE analyst Teban notes, Volcarona’s prime time is already past. It’s still worth having one or two for whenever Hoopa Unbound or Celebi enter raids (again for Hoopa), as they take 4x damage from Bug types. Don’t feel pressured to hatch too much, though, as supposedly Larvesta is hatching from 2k, 5k, and 10k eggs, meaning the main difference when getting one will be the amount of stardust and candy you receive.
Alternatively, players could pursue 7k eggs, as Mime Jr. (a regional), Axew, and Timburr are all rare pokemon. While there’s no bonus to shinies for 7ks, all but Goomy (which has been less rare this season) have shinies. Of course, we’re admittedly talking about Niantic, so there could be errors or outright fibs present. As always, keep expectations low.
Chansey and Snorlax are good research reward ‘mon for candy, while players may wish to save Chimecho’s for their extra stardust, which can be multiplied during certain events.
Oddly, during that time is a May 6th Raid Day. What that entails is anyone’s guess, but could simply be Niantic spawning Genesect more from 11 .a.m to 2 p.m., with or without extra raid passes. It is using the Shock Drive, which matches Instinct’s electric theme, but we have no actual information on what the event will bring yet.
May 11th-17th’s A Valourous Hero, like the Instinct one above, will obviously feature Candela. This bonus is a bit harder to predict because Valor focuses on training and strength. This could mean bonuses for anything from bonuses from Team Leader training to potential raid bonuses. The latter seems even more possible with the previously mentioned Elite Raid Day falling into the event dates with free premium passes, but we’ll simply have to wait and see. Thanks to the previously mentioned leak, we know Ponyta is said to be Candela’s reward; she’s known to have trained with one before parting ways with Arlo while also using Rapidash during the Johto Tour.
May 21st is set to be Community Day, and leaks indicate that it’ll be Fenekin.
Finally, the May 22nd-28th Mystery Event is most likely Rocket-related. Already players have noted some new boxes selling the formerly highly limited Super Rocket Radars, which makes the game seem more pay-to-win, as Giovanni’s Shadow Legendaries are among the strongest pokemon in the game. That seems to indicate their presence, especially with the boxes being labeled “spring” so close to the summer season. We also know via the Pokeminers that there are data surrounding a feature called Shadow Raids, which Niantic’s Ed Wu didn’t directly address when Eurogamer asked about it. While the Pokeminers noted the feature seems to be rushed, Rockets are associated with Go Fests, but the 2023 one still lacks a date. Conversely, it could be related to The Master Ball, Route Making, or Contests. Despite all of those being older works, the Shadow Gym stuff seems to be moving fastest, so that’s where I’d place my bets.
Finally, we have what looks like the worst Spotlight Hour lineups in months, if not years. Unless one of the above events has some neat overlap with the dates, the above bonuses don’t really work with much. Bellsprout transfer day on May 16th could be good for transferring junk Larvesta from the May 2nd-8th Instinct event, and Houndour day could be good for extra stardust from saved Chimecho’s also from that time, but that’s about it. The other pokemon have limited uses, outside of Houndour, which has a Mega for which people may want a good/shiny version, and Bellsprout’s Shadow Evolution can be useful, but I’m reaching a bit here.
Do note that unlike my usual monthly guides, this post will not be updated after May 1st. Anything datamined or released between now and then will be added, but after that, I suggest players either check The Silph Road Reddit or join me and consider taking a news break for the month. This column will resume coverage in June, but in what capacity remains to be seen. Good luck out there, trainers!
4/26: Vaguely related since it requires long term planning, but Go Fest 2023 has been announced. We’ll cover this more as details roll out, but unlike Go Fest 2022, there’s only an ending Global Event, not one at the start. Again, as someone who recently experienced a paid-travel-required POGO event, I cannot recommend attending.