One of the most well-liked events in the Pokemon Go player base — particularly by those players who are more casual players — is Pokemon Go’s Community Day events. For the unaware, Niantic1The company that runs the Pokemon Go game. will feature one Pokemon a month for an event known as Community Day. During this event, the featured Pokemon will appear in the wild significantly more frequently than normal. The event has typically also coincided with the release of the featured Pokemon’s shiny variant(s), as well as other bonuses for playing during the event. The events themselves usually last three hours, though there have been three exceptions to this rule.
While I don’t typically talk about each individual Community Day as it happens — go read That Little Lola’s work if you want some of those — I did want to take a look back at each Community Day thus far and rank them to determine which one was the best representation of what Community Day done well looks like. In doing that, I took six different factors into consideration.
- How useful is the Community Day Pokemon’s end-stage evolution at the time of the Community Day?
- How much did I personally care about the Pokemon in question?
- How useful is the special Community Day move(s) given to the Pokemon?
- How good were the Community Day specific bonuses?
- How good were any other bonuses that you could take advantage of on Community Day?
- How good is the shiny evolution chain for the Community Day Pokemon?
This allowed me to rank 23 of the 25 Community Days through January 20th, 2020 and determine which ones were the best and worst so far. I’ve chosen not to rank the two super Community Days in December 2018 and 2019, as they were structured a little differently. That said, my very quick thoughts on those.
- December 2018 was bad because of the massively nerfed shiny rates for most of the event2The typical Community Day shiny Pokemon rate is around 1 in 25. This specific two-day event had a speculated shiny rate of around 1 in 100..
- December 2019 was better but felt very disorganized because of the split, yet overlapping spawn pool.
With all that out of the way, here are the rest of the Community Days from #23 to #1. Feel free to get angry at and/or love me in the comments.
#23 – Slakoth (June 2019)
To say Slakoth was the worst Community Day event we’ve had so far would be a massive understatement. In addition to being a fairly standard Community Day bonuses-wise, this day featured a Pokemon that has minimal use in the game as a whole. Even in its primary role as a gym defender, Slaking’s outclassed by many lower CP options, including things like Togekiss and Wobbuffet when warding off Fighting types. The featured move, Body Slam, was actually a downgrade to Slaking’s best move, Play Rough. Combine that with a below-average shiny3I’m okay with Slakoth’s shiny, but the evolved shinies are very bad. and this was the most skippable day we’ve had.
#22 – Cyndaquil (November 2018)
#21 – Chimchar (November 2019)
Cyndaquil day with better bonuses. At least Infernape’s shiny is better than Typhlosion’s.
#20 – Turtwig (September 2019)
In my spreadsheet ranking these Community Day’s, Turtwig, Chimchar, and Cyndaquil all tied with the same point total. Turtwig gets the nod over those two for two reasons. First, it’s a competent PvP fighter and decent lower-tier gym defender. Second, this is one of two Community Days to try introducing the featured Pokemon into raids for the day. It’s a good concept, but considering the low number of raid spawns — especially in comparison to the overload of Rocket stops featuring Turtwig4The longer the Team Go Rocket concept is out, the less I like it. It’s a massive grind for bad rewards. — and this feels like a poorly executed concept that should have been a good idea.
#19 – Trapinch (October 2019)
If Flygon had any relevance in Pokemon Go, this would be much higher on the list. But alas, even Earth Power can’t save Flygon. At least Flygon and Vibrava’s shinies make up for the trainwreck that is Trapinch’s teal sprite. I typically love green/teal shinies. Trapinch’s is bad.
#18 – Mareep (April 2018)
I wanted to like Mareep Community Day. I really did. Ampharos is one of my favorite Electric Pokemon. And if we ever get Mega Evolutions in Go, perhaps this day jumps up the list. But like Slaking getting Body Slam, Dragon Pulse is a straight downgrade to Ampharos’ other charge moves. Plus the pink shiny isn’t good. At all. If I didn’t like Mareep so much, this would have been a bottom two Community Day.
#17 – Pikachu (January 2018)
The very first Community Day ever had no right being this high on the list. The first event of anything is supposed to be a terrible, buggy mess. And it was buggy. And Pikachu got a horrid featured move. And its shiny is the second-worst one we’ve had featured on any Community Day. But this Community Day did two things very, very right that we’ve yet to see replicated.
- The featured Community Day move could be accessed via TM during the event.
- There was a flat 2x XP bonus for all activities during the event.
Seriously. Considering how unrealistic those two things are for ANY event now, it’s a bit crazy to see that BOTH were done for the very first Community Day.
#16 – Charmander (May 2018)
Let’s get the good out of the way. Blast Burn was not only the best possible news for Charizard, it made it meta-relevant at a time where Entei and Moltres were hard to come by. Its relevance didn’t last long, but it was good while it lasted. Now the bad. Average bonuses, a Pokemon whose end-stage evolution has one of the worst shinies in Pokemon history5Purple Charizard for life. — though not the worst…we’re getting there — and is the single most overmarketed Pokemon this side of Pikachu. At least Charmander itself is cute.
#15 – Chikorita (September 2018)
Chikorita day would have been just slightly better than Cyndaquil day by itself. Frenzy Plant is relevant on Meganium, so it’s not like this day would have been a total bust. That said, the reason this is at #15 rather than in the 20s is because of what happened immediately after the day. Meltan’s soft launch happened. I have not seen the Pokemon Go community as hyped about something as Meltan’s launch, either before or since, with the possible exception of trading. It was the most exciting 30 minutes of a Community Day thus far.
#14 – Bulbasaur (March 2018)
In PvP, Venusaur with Frenzy Plant is STILL relevant. Think about that for a second. It’s almost two years later and a Gen I starter that isn’t the face of the franchise or a prominent member of Ash’s team is still relevant in a mode of Go. That said, nearly everyone I talked to hated this day solely because of how similar Bulbasaur’s shiny looked to its regular sprite. And…yeah, that’s totally valid. It was terrible. This is still the day where I’ve caught the most Community Day shinies to date (11). But during a time where the game’s shiny indicator didn’t exist yet, this day was tedious.
#13 – Totodile (January 2019)
There was no hope for a Gen II starter to make the top 10. That said, Totodile day is what I think of as an average Community Day at this point. Nothing too exciting. The move is an upgrade to the end-stage evolution’s current moveset, making that Pokemon relevant if you have a week pool of Pokemon to pull from. Otherwise, it’s about the shiny (average in Totodile’s case) and spawn rate (same).
#12 – Bagon (April 2019)
I expected Outrage to be better on Salamance than it was. But Salamance’s movepool is just so weird. And Bagon day had one of the lower spawn rates of any Community Day to this point. So while Bagon day should be higher on this list, Niantic did a great job managing to disappoint on this specific event.
#11 – Treecko (March 2019)
One of two Community Days I’ve missed over the past two years, Treecko day comes across as Totodile day, but with a Pokemon with better stats. To this point, it’s the best Grass type Community Day we’ve had, though I’m sure that’ll change once Snivy comes out6I swear to god, if I run into one more Serperior with Leaf Tornado in PvP…. It’s a really good shiny at least?
#10 – Ralts (August 2019)
Ralts is a bunch of ifs mashed into one day. Ralts has great shinies…if we ever get Mega evolutions. Ralts has a great Community Day move…if Synchoronoise ever gets its secondary bonus effect. Dropping 10k eggs all day would be great…if they weren’t all Ralts. The Ralts line is one of my favorite evolutionary lines in the game. This was a disappointment though.
#9 – Squirtle (July 2018)
The biggest thing about Squirtle day that I think people forget in retrospect is that even with Hydro Cannon, Blastoise was never really meta-relevant. That said, no one remembers this because Squirtle day featured the first instance of being able to encounter shiny Pokemon from Pokestop tasks AND gave us sunglasses Squirtle from those tasks. Sure, the sunglasses aren’t the ones worn by the Squirtle Squad. But it was a unique Community Day concept that there really hasn’t been a way to repeat to this point.
#8 – Torchic (May 2019)
Torchic Community Day was the first of two Community Days we’ve had wherein the end-stage evolution of the featured Pokemon got its signature move released along with the Community Day move. While Blast Burn is objectively better than Blaze Kick in most scenarios, I tend to run Blaze Kick/Brave Bird on my Blaziken in PvP for better shield breaking. Torchic’s shiny is one of the more difficult ones to discern from the original in Go, but it’s not Bulbasaur levels of bad. We got a meta-relevant Pokemon (albeit on the fringes) in this Community Day with more than one move available to it. While I don’t like this exact format as much as Pikachu day or another day I’ll be talking about later in this list, doing the signature move release alongside the Community Day move has been pretty successful in the past.
#7 – Dratini (February 2018)
Dratini’s Community Day was really good. Dragonite was still a top tier Pokemon — one that candy was hard to come by for at the time. While Draco Meteor wasn’t an upgrade for Dragonite, it was a nice alternative to Outrage at a time before having a second charged move was a thing. Spawn rates this day were crazy, even by Community Day standards. So why doesn’t this day rank higher? I took a couple of points off for this being the first Community Day to set the precedent for specializing what bonuses you receive on Community Day. That by itself though only knocked it down from second to fourth. What dropped it all the way to seventh was the fact that Dragonite has the single worst shiny sprite in all of Pokemon. Which is a shame, considering how good Dratini and Dragonaire’s are. But it’s still true.
#6 – Larvitar (June 2018)
The second of two Community Days I missed on this list was likely one of the best. At the time, Tyrannitar was the best Dark type attacker. The Community Day fast move Smack Down also made it the best Rock type attacker. That’s insane to think about. That said, everything from #3 through #6 on this list was within 1 point of each other, so it came down to shiny version and personal preference for that Pokemon. In both of those categories, Larvitar is average, all while going up against Pokemon I like a lot and that have good to great shinies. Pupitar has the best purple shiny in the game…but Larvitar and Tyrannitar’s are just kind of there.
#5 – Piplup (January 2020)
The most recent Community Day was, despite the strange hemisphere time offsetting thing, one of the better Community Days we’ve had in a while. You got a Pokemon that benefits massively from its Community Day move, combined with some of the best spawn rates I’ve seen in months, plus a very good shiny, great typing, and a Pokemon whose evolution chain I loved. This specific day had me written all over it. It doesn’t make it higher than fifth on the list because Empoleon isn’t particularly relevant outside of PvP and because I recognize that unlike the four above it, Piplup day is boosted because of my bias for it.
#4 – Eevee (August 2018)
Eevee day was actually a two-day event, where there were two separate windows where Eevee spawns were boosted. This allowed players to catch an absurd amount of a Pokemon that you NEED a lot of, considering it has 8 possible evolutions (even though only five were out at the time). Both Eevee and its evolutions evolved between the start of the first day’s window and the end of the second day’s window got the special move Last Resort. While it isn’t the best move, it did have some light meta usefulness at the time, particularly on Umbreon and Jolteon. I’d personally love to see all Community Days follow this two-day, two window format, but I understand that Eevee was a special case. Considering how helpful this was to get a ton of budget7Aside from the fact that you were likely using a TM to get rid of Last Resort. PvE attackers in the form of Flareon, Jolteon, and Espeon8You could argue Vaporeon belongs here too, but considering the prevalence of Gyarados, Poliwrath, Suicune, and Kingdra by this point, nevermind the fact that Kyogre was also out (but not readily available), and Vaporeon was there to fill the back end of most teams, even by this point., it’s one of the better days we’ve had.
#3 – Beldum (October 2018)
Beldum day was the last Community Day I remember looking back on and being annoyed I didn’t plan ahead for it. While people online had a good idea at the time what the pattern for non-starter Community Day Pokemon was, it really wasn’t confirmed by any stretch by the point Beldum was released. So of course when I got my 100% Beldum on day 1 after it was released, I walked it and caught more and evolved it straight away. Too bad Metagross has terrible charge moves without its Community Day move, Meteor Mash. And Meteor Mash did make Metagross relevant, though not as much as you might think. But considering how much this Pokemon needed a Community Day, combined with the boost its signature move gave and the top-tier shiny it gets, getting a podium finish on this list was a foregone conclusion.
#2 – Mudkip (July 2019)
Is there a Pokemon — with the possible exceptions of Charizard and Larvitar — that benefitted as much from its Community Day move as Swampert? Swampert went from being a good but not great Pokemon to one of the best Water attackers around with Hydro Cannon. Before Hydro Cannon got nerfed recently, having a Hydro Cannon Swampert on your team was the best way to cheese any battle with Giovanni. Considering how terrible of a grind the Giovanni quests are, this was a massive blessing. The Mudkip line has good shiny forms, which helps. Plus this was the second Community Day to have a signature move released at the same time as the Community Day move, though Muddy Water didn’t have the same impact as Blaze Kick. If it weren’t for amazing timing that happened in February 2019, Mudkip would have been an easy pick for the top of this list.
#1 – Swinub (February 2019)
Let’s get the bad out of the way here. Ancient Power is only useful in PvP for Mamoswine9Generally speaking, that is. That said, I did use it as my way of handling Giovanni’s Articuno in the Rocket battles, as I desperately lack good Rock attackers.. Granted, you can use it for other things — see the footnote in the previous sentence — but it is a gimmick. And the Swinub line’s shinies are alright at best. But let’s talk the bonuses for this Community Day. During Swinub Community Day, players got the following bonuses.
- 3x catch stardust
- 2x catch candy
- 5x the rewards from trainer battles, including guaranteed Sinnoh Stones
- 6-hour lure modules
The first two items on this list are relatively standard Community Day rewards10Though we haven’t had a catch candy reward to this point, this is what I’d imagine it’d be if we did get one.. The trainer battle rewards were game-changing at the time, as most players were struggling to find ONE Sinnoh Stone, nevermind being guaranteed five just from doing PvP battles. Combine that with the fact that lure modules — which typically last 3 hours from Community Day — were further doubled by the Valentine’s Day event that was going on, and people were able to catch like crazy. This fact makes Swinub Community Day the bar a Community Day needs to beat in order to be considered the best…and it’s not particularly close.