TagPokemon Go

Ranking Every Pokemon Go Community Day…So Far

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.

  1. How useful is the Community Day Pokemon’s end-stage evolution at the time of the Community Day?
  2. How much did I personally care about the Pokemon in question?
  3. How useful is the special Community Day move(s) given to the Pokemon?
  4. How good were the Community Day specific bonuses?
  5. How good were any other bonuses that you could take advantage of on Community Day?
  6. 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)

I know a lot of people liked Cyndaquil day, but it wasn’t my thing. Typhlosion was a middling Fire type even with the release of Blast Burn into its move pool. Considering it couldn’t even outclass Charizard in terms of usefulness, there was definitely a ceiling here. Plus this was the one outlier Community Day where none of the bonuses were 3 or 4 times bonuses, which was very strange at the time. But combine that with an underwhelming shiny line and my dislike for Gen II starters and Cyndaquil is near the bottom of this list.

#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.

  1. The featured Community Day move could be accessed via TM during the event.
  2. 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.

5 Quality of Life Improvements I’d Like to See in Pokemon Go

While I’ve been one to talk about Pokemon extremely frequently on this blog — I have a monthly post dedicated to the game at this point, after all — I’m not one to heavily talk about Pokemon Go. While I’ve played since its launch day in the US, I’m not one to do a lot of theorycrafting about the game. After all, you’re much more limited as to what you can do in Pokemon Go in comparison to other games in the series. There’s just not as much to possibly talk about. Combine that with the fact that there are bloggers like PokeTraveller Lola who do a fantastic job with this already and I feel like there’s not a ton for me to say on the matter.

That said, I did want to take a swing at suggesting some quality of life improvements I’d like to see in Pokemon Go and how they could be implemented. My ultimate goal with this post is not to get Niantic to change the game. Let’s face it, my 150 Twitter followers are barely enough to get me the occasional double digit liked tweet. What I would like to see come out of this though is discussion. While my ideas are just things I’d like to see, I’m sure they could be built off of and turned into great ideas.

I’ve decided to limit myself to five total ideas for this post, as well as to spread those ideas out so that no more than one idea is present per major game mechanic. I could have written a whole post based on improvements I’d like to see to the current raid system or friend-related activities, however I feel like that would come off as bashing those two aspects of the game1While the friendship system is flawed in many ways, it’s better than how a lot of mobile games handle friends. That said, raids are bad right now. I’ll get into why below.. That certainly isn’t my intent with this post. I do generally enjoy Pokemon Go even though I’m currently sitting at 1550 Murkrow wild/hatched encounters without a shiny2Technically, I’m at 1650, but I know that I was in the high double digits before shiny Murkrow was released. For ease of math, I just make it an even hundred.. I’m not bitter at all.

Friendship – Allow Remote Trading

The Idea: Allow trading between friends who aren’t in the same room.

How to Implement it: Ideally, this is a system where the better friends you are with someone, the further distance you can trade with them from. Good and Great friends might have very short distance limits like the current structure. However, Ultra friends could have a 1,000km trade distance limit, while Best friends could trade from anywhere on the globe. If there needs to be some sort of limitation for Ultra and Best friends, maybe there could be a one trade per day limit for trades where the friends are located more than a certain distance apart.

Why This Should Happen: I currently have six lucky friends on my friend list. Of those six friends, four of them are people who aren’t local to me in Northeast Ohio. One is in North Carolina, one is in Canada, one is in Spain, and one is in Australia. Many Go players have sought out friends online from other countries in an effort to get 7km eggs from far away places, only to end up with lucky friends they’ll never be able to trade with. This remedies that.

Why It Won’t Happen: Of all the items on this list, I feel like this is the most likely to happen in some capacity, even if it isn’t the exact why I’ve described it.

Gyms – Give Defense Bonuses to Themed Gyms

The Idea: The first trainer to place a Pokemon in a newly defeated gym sets a theme. If that theme is followed, the stats of the Pokemon defending it are buffed.

How to Implement it: Upon defeating a gym and dropping their Pokemon in, the first trainer to place a Pokemon in a gym gets to choose from one of three themes generated based on the Pokemon they pick. These would essentially be themes of escalating difficulty. Let’s say our first trainer puts Squirtle in the gym. A one-star theme would be simple to follow (Water types). If followed, this theme would give a small bonus (say 5%) to one stat (say Defense) of all Pokemon in the gym. A two-star theme would be a little more complex (Water- type starters), and would give a bigger bonus to a single stat (say 10% to Defense), with a smaller stat boost for other stats of the defenders. A three-star theme would have the most complex difficulty (blue Water type Kanto Pokemon), but would provide the biggest boosts.

Why This Should Happen: Let me tell you how boring it is fighting a gym with Chansey, Blissey, Slakoth, Snorlax, Metagross, and Dragonite for the ten thousandth time. I love seeing gyms with good variety. Did a group of people manage to create a gym with only first-stage Flying types? Awesome. You can bet that I’m not attacking that beautiful thing unless I have to.

Why It Won’t Happen: Considering how little attention has been given to this feature since the rework in 2017, I feel like Niantic might have forgotten gym battles exist.

Battling – Merge the Team Go Rocket and Team Leader Battle Concepts

The Idea: Take the Pokemon battle variety and strategy that the Go Rocket battles provide and move it out of the Pokestop setting — making Go Rocket a fourth team leader battle option.

How to Implement it: I like the Go Rocket battles. They’re one of the harder non-PvP battle options in the game without requiring the massive people investment of a big raid. But players in Pokestop-poor areas may have limited chances to battle team Go Rocket. So, at least for three battles a day3The reward acquisition limit for team leader battles., move the Rocket grunts into the team leader screen and let players battle them from there. Keep the random type and Pokemon choices. Keep the shadow Pokemon reward concept the same. Just give those who don’t have access to Pokestops a chance to play this mode more frequently.

Why This Should Happen: After you’ve done ten or twenty Go Rocket battles, they become boring and tedious. Just like the team leader battles. At least make them like the team leader battles and allow me to do them from my couch rather than having to leave in the winter.

Why It Won’t Happen: Niantic is leaning HARD into the Go Rocket battles in game right now. They clearly think they’ve struck gold here. If anything, I could see team leaders getting moved out of their current implementation and out to gyms or Pokestops, making things even worse for rural players.

Raids – Introduce a Scaled Difficulty Raid System

The Idea: Make every raid beatable regardless of group size…just scale the difficulty based on the Pokemon you’re fighting.

How to Implement it: The current raid system has a suggested number of trainers that should fight each raid boss. Most tier 1 raids are easily soloable, while tier 5 raids range from 4-6 high level players to typically beat4Attack form Deoxys can be soloed despite being a tier 5 raid. I’ve done it. It is not worth the effort for such a bad Pokemon.. This requires coordinating with medium to large groups — which isn’t always practical aside from Community Day for people who can’t afford to spend their entire day playing Pokemon Go. Instead of this, make all raids where the stats of the Pokemon you’re battling are determined by the number of trainers in the raid lobby. From there, tier 1 raids would remain the easiest (and can be beaten with limited, underleveled Pokemon) all the way to tier 5, which will be difficulty to beat within the timer unless you have a fully optimized team.

Why This Should Happen: People have lives. I’ve done one tier 5 raid outside of Community Day in the last 3 months. It’s not worth the effort, especially for Pokemon that are largely just Pokedex fillers. Unless it’s a tier 1 to tier 3 raid, I straight up ignore raids at this point. For a feature that has such awesome potential, it might be the worst feature in the whole game.

Why It Won’t Happen: You know how Niantic does the weekly legendary raid hour? And how an significant percentage of the raid hatch pool is 5* raids? And how Darkrai is effectively the first 6* raid? If anything, Niantic is already going as far away from this suggestion as they possibly can.

Acquiring Pokemon – Thin the Current Spawn Pool

The Idea: Create a limited, rotating set of Pokemon that spawn at a given time in the wild.

How to Implement it: With the start of Generation 5 rolling out in Pokemon Go, there are 500+ Pokemon available in Pokemon Go. While some of these Pokemon can only be acquired through raids, there’s still several hundred possible Pokemon that can appear in the wild. My thought is to thin the pool out — similar to how current type-specific events have boosted spawn rates — and then remove all non-pool Pokemon from the spawns. You could keep a pool active for a month or so, then rotate to the next set of Pokemon. This could even be built within the current event structure5You know, if any of the events had a consistent length with one another.

Why This Should Happen: Gen V’s Pokemon release REALLY made the problem we have currently with a diluted spawn pool hit home for me. I live in a VERY Grass/Rock/Poison/Rock heavy biome (think Mt. Moon in Gen I). In the just over 1 month since Gen V was released in Pokemon Go and when I wrote this6I finished the post on October 25., I’ve seen 6 Drilbur, 10 Foongus, and 2 Ferroseed. TWO. When half of the spawns I see on a daily basis are Bellsprout/Hoppip/Diglett/Cherrim. I get that some Pokemon are more common than others, but if you’re actively advertising that new Pokemon have been released, at least make them spawn frequently. That is to say nothing of the problems with the current egg pools…Gible….

Why It Won’t Happen: There nearly always seems to be an event running in Pokemon Go messing with the spawns. If we could get two weeks straight without an event, this might happen. That said, the last time that happened was….2016? I wish I could give an accurate timeline of this, but it certainly feels like there’s constantly been an event of some sort going on for at least two years straight now.

Where My Pokemon Go Nicknames Came From

Surprise mid-week bonus post? Yes, yes it is. It’s also a massive length post, so go grab yourself some popcorn or lunch and get settled in.

I recently had a discussion with a fellow Pokemon blogger, Lola, regarding our experience with Pokemon. In a post she wrote in late August, she talked about how one of her Pokemon Go friends refers to her as Nicknamer due to the number of Pokemon she gives nicknames too. This led to a discussion about how I do this too, almost to ridiculous levels. Both Lola and I decided we should write a post about the nicknames we give our Pokemon in Pokemon Go. This lead to me reviewing my Pokemon Go box and realizing that I have a ton of Pokemon I’ve nicknamed.

You should go read Lola’s post here: https://poketravellerlola.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/explaining-my-pokemon-go-nicknames/

How best to go about this then? I’ve decided to share all of my Pokemon Go nicknames here, albeit with a few parameters.

  • I’ve excluded nicknames that are labels for ease of searching for the most part. For example, I name all of my Pokemon I save to trade for distance with a left parenthesis, that way I can find them quickly. There are two exceptions to this rule.
    • All Pokemon I use to quickly drop in gyms I pass have an asterisk at the start of their nickname. When I refer to them in this post, I’ll use the nickname without the asterisk unless it’s part of the name.
    • All Pokemon with perfect IVs1aka perfect stats have names that begin with and accented e at the beginning (é). As with the last point, I’ll refer to them by the nickname without the extra character unless it’s part of the name.
    • Prior to lucky Pokemon being searchable, I preceded all lucky Pokemon names with an L with a stroke (Ł). While I removed this from most Pokemon once that search came out, if it made sense in the name, I kept it.
  • I’m also excluding Pokemon whose nicknames are solely informational, such as:
    • I have a Pokemon currently called Evolve Me. This is so I don’t forget to evolve it at some point.
    • Any Pokemon whose IVs/stats are part of the name.

I’ll add in a few pictures here and there, but not very many, otherwise this list would be even longer than it’s already going to be. There are also SO. MANY. links out, as some of these references are obscure. The list that follows will be in national dex order. Pokemon whose names are in bold and italics are my perfect IV Pokemon

Generation I

  • Venusaur – Way back in July of 2016 when I started playing Pokemon Go, I made an effort to theme some of my nicknames. All of my Gen I starters I caught had names of Greek or Roman philosophers, causing me to have a Venusaur named Socrates. Also, within hours of posting this, I caught my second perfect shadow Pokemon, this time a Bulbasaur. Its name is Aristotle.
  • Charizard – My only named Charizard is called Overrated. I’ve talked about this before.
  • Blastoise – As was the case with Venusaur, I have a philosopher starter here, this one named Parmenides.
  • Beedrill – You’ll find as I go through this list there’s a lot of music jokes. Beedrill is Bug Dentist because…TO BE BUG DENNNNNTISSST
  • Rattata – Both my perfect Rattata and shiny Rattata are named Rat God as a play on Eminem’s song Rap God. I’d also like to note that I once had a Pidgey named Tim Horton. I called it this just so I could trade it to my wife, who had not (at that point) been to Tim Horton’s. It ended up being her best Pidgey by a mile.
  • Fearow – In what might be the longest running joke in my Pokemon nicknames, I have a Fearow named Circle. When playing Pokemon Blue on the bus to a wrestling meet in high school, I asked someone to name my Fearow. They said A Circle. It stuck.
  • Arbok – It is Also Snek. There’s also Snek, but it’s later in this list.
  • NidoqueenNidoran And….Nidoran and…Nidoran and…
  • Nidoking – When I finally got a lucky Nidoking, it immediately got named George III. He was pretty lucky for the US.
  • Clefable – Much like the Minions, Clefairy is annoying and obsessed with the moon. So when I got a perfect one, it got named ThaMooooooon!
  • Ninetales – I love me some Ninetales. All of them have Fire Emblem nicknames. The Kantoian ones are named Selkie2I understand that Selkie is the only Ninetales name that isn’t a reference to Fire Emblem: Awakening. That said, it’s also the only perfect Ninetales I had, so I had to differentiate it somehow., Luna, and Sol, while the Alolan ones are named Lucina, Chrom, and Aether.
  • Parasect – I’m not saying I’m annoyed Leech Life isn’t in the game, but I did name a Parasect after the move.
  • VenomothThe dragonslayer lives. All hail the ATV.
  • Dugtrio – My very first lucky trade ever netted me an Alolan Diglett. Upon evolving, the Dugtrio’s headbobs timed out really well to the song I was listening to at that time, Le Disko by Shiny Toy Guns. So it’s LeDisko.
  • Persian – Alolan Persian is fat. I got a perfect one, so it’s just Bigglesworth.
  • Golduck – In the SUPER early days of gym battling, Golduck was annoying as hell to deal with, winning far more battles than it reasonably should have as a defender. Considering how often it was victorious, I chose to pay homage to the Glorious Bomb by naming it Glorious.
  • Primeape – In the anime, Primeape steals Ash’s hat. So…AshHatThief.
  • Poliwrath – Ivan Drago seemed like a good choice to shout out with a punching Pokemon. It’s Drago.
  • AlazakamTwo Spoon. Because this video. This series comes up again.
  • MachampMy favorite throwaway joke from an episode of Family Guy netted me two different Machamp nicknames, Reagan and Sleepy.
  • Victreebel – Nothing says sexual tension like a Bellsprout wiggling its hips. Hence how this became Allureabel.
  • Golem – There’s a few Tolkien jokes here, as I have Kantonian Golem named JRR and Precious. That said, I also have a perfect Alolan Golem named Magnet Rock. It’s not a great name, but it fits.
  • Rapidash – I am…Photo Finish.
  • Dodrio – You’re familiar with the cerberus, right? You know, three headed dog that guards Hades? Well, this is Cerbirbus.
  • Shellder – The very first shiny I ever caught in a main series Pokemon game was a bright orange Shellder I named Scallop. Thus, once I found a shiny Shellder in Pokemon Go, it became Scallop II.
  • Hypno – I have a Hypno named Biggie. I just love his flashy ways.
  • Kingler – I get that Kingler is not a lobster. But considering mine has perfect IVs, it is JIBBERS CRABST. Yes, the all caps is necessary.
  • Hitmonlee – Both of my Hitmonlee are named after wrestlers who love to kick, Funaki and Tajiri.
  • Hitmonchan – Meanwhile, my two Hitmonchan I’ve nicknamed have been named based on female MMA fighters, named Tate and Kowalkiewicz, respectively.
  • Weezing – Oh how I wish Galarian Weezing was out for this. That said, it’s Trump’s EPA. Their track record speaks for itself.
  • Seaking – One of the few times I wished Pokemon allowed curse words, I’m referencing a VERY old meme when I call this MF Seaking.
  • Magikarp – If you ever see my CP 10 shiny Magikarp in a gym, know that its name is Gym Shame and that I’ve placed it in a gym after kicking out someone who annoys me. I have a Meditite with the same name and CP. I also have a Magikarp named LivedOn1HP, as a shoutout to my favorite Poketuber.
  • Lapras – I actually have three named Lapras, all with completely different name sources. The first is named Tree Fiddy, as Lapras looks an awful lot like the Loch Ness Monster. Second, we have one named White Rose, because while Bumbleby is finally a thing, the OTP in RWBY will always be White Rose in my mind. Finally, my shiny Lapras is Liopleurdon, because Charlie needs to see this magical creature.
  • Kabutops – My two Kabutops are named Coheed and Cambria. It’s the Cambrian explosion! Well, plus a Coheed reference.
  • Snorlax – Calling Snorlax fat is too easy. Calling it a Michael Jackson parody (or MJ Parody for short) is at least thinly veiled.
  • Zapdos – Zapdos was the first legendary Pokemon I caught in Pokemon Go3I went 0 for my first 22 attempts at catching a legendary Pokemon in a raid, including 0 for 18 on my favorite Pokemon ever, Articuno. Of course, I caught four of the first five Zapdos I saw. — and I got a near perfect one at that. Said Zapdos was named Electric Fried Chicken, or EFC for short. Then, once we got Zapdos raid day with Thunder Shock as a special move, one of the Zapdos I caught on that day became Wichita St. No, I don’t care that it’s not the same kind of shocker.
  • Dragonite – In recognizing two of the move-based nicknames I’ve given, my Outrage knowing Dragonite is oRATM4(out)Rage Against The Machine, while my Draco Meteor knowing one is Malfoy.
  • Mew – When you go to catch Mew as part of the special research reward in Pokemon Go, you go into AR mode. Mew will disappear on your screen intermittently, making it one of the more annoying catches in the game. Because it becomes invisible, its name is

Generation II

  • Ariados – I’m not saying I’m annoyed Ariados can’t learn Sing in any Pokemon game, but I did name one Missing Sing.
  • Crobat – In what might be super obscure reference, my Crobat is named Vlad because you wouldn’t hit a bat with glasses on, would you?
  • Igglybuff – The most recent perfect IV Pokemon on my list gets to use the accented e as part of its nickname, as its floaty nature lends itself to the nickname éLium.
  • Ampharos – My lone Community Day Ampharos is named Glorious Hair because have you seen Mega Ampharos. I also have an Ampharos named Philip because…well, you know.
  • Azumarill – My perfect bunny Pokemon is named Crimson as a shoutout to a rabbit named Clover owned by one of my friends.
  • Politoed – In easily the most surprising perfect IV Pokemon I’ve ever encountered, I caught a perfect shadow Poliwag recently. I purified it out of principle, but because of its perfection and purification, it seemed like it needed a holy name. Since I already have a perfect Poliwrath, it was only natural to make this one a Politod, hence the named Toadsus.
  • Espeon – Much like Lapras, I have three named Espeon5This is a trend with certain Pokemon in Go for me. It started with Espeon, but it’s since expanded.. My Community Day Espeon is named Papa Roach on the account of knowing Last Resort. My shiny one also has a musical reference, having the name LoveTheAlien due to its green coloration. Finally, I have an Espeon named Magic Bounce as a nod to its ability in the main games. I’d like to think Magic Bounce’s theme song is Magic Stick, however according to my wife, I’m the only person who still likes that song.
  • Umbreon – My shiny Umbreon is named InGaN, which is the chemical notation for Indium Gallium Nitride. It’s the stuff that makes your LED lights glow blue.
  • Murkrow – More music references, as my perfect Murkrow is named éPro, which is a nod to the Beck song by the same name. Said Murkrow is also called The Murkrow of Death, as it’s a PvP monster.
  • Steelix – Oh hey! I told you Snek would show up later.
  • Shuckle – More sadness from the Cursing is Banned in Pokemon Department, as everyone knows you cannot fuckle with Shuckle. Since I like to drop Shuckle in gyms, the asterisk serves a double purpose here, as my main one is named *le.
  • Delibird – Santa Birb. This one is obvious.
  • Houndour – My shiny Houndour is named Huckleberry, both as a nod to Huckleberry Hound, as well as to Doc Holiday.
  • Kingdra – I have Kingdra and Queendra. Not much explanation necessary here.
  • Donphan – It’s an elephant. With what looks like tank treads on it. So it’s Treadaphant. Again, not a complicated one.
  • Hitmontop – I can’t be the only one who thinks Hitmontop looks like a teenage version of Groot. Right? Right. This is Teen Groot.
  • Blissey – Never have I been so pissed off about Pokemon Go as I was when I finally had enough candy to evolve my Chansey into a Blissey, only for Niantic to nerf Blissey the very next day. Not even when Smeargle almost made me quit the game. Blissey will always remain named Stupid Nerf for that reason.
  • Tyranitar – Pretty simple really. Mine is called Dark Dragon because it’s a Dark-type that’s also a drago…what? Tryranitar is Rock/Dark? Who thought this up? Next you’re going to tell me Psyduck isn’t Psychic type6For the few unaware, Psyduck is a pure Water type for reasons that literally no one has ever been able to explain adequately.

Generation III

  • Blaziken – My perfect IV Blaziken is named Col. Sanders. Because it’s a Fire type chicken. Fried chicken.
  • Linoone – This nickname is sadly a relic of the pre-CP rebalance days. My wife and I were sitting in our apartment catching weather boosted Pokemon when a CP 69 Zigzagoon popped up. I make the joke that all CP 69s were perfect, which she scoffed at…but then this Zigzagoon actually was. Sadly, its CP change with the rebalance, but I kept its nickname, Nice.
  • DustoxDust Devils are tornado like things that appear in the desert Southwest and are one of my favorite natural phenomena. Considering my Dustox knows Silver Wind, I found DustDevil to be a fitting name.
  • Shifty – Finding a perfect Seedot is ridiculous. So is giving it a corny nickname. It’s named énroc, which is a play on the word corny being spelled backwards.
  • Taillow – Earlier this year, I was job hunting hard and had gone through the interview process for a job I really wanted. I had waited longer than I expected for word to come back on said job. I was walking around my old work parking lot, stressing about my work situation, all while playing Pokemon Go to mindlessly pass the time. I caught a Taillow and named it Hope because hope is the thing with feathers. About an hour later, I got a call offering me the job I was looking for. It’s a garbage Taillow, but I keep it anyway.
  • Gardevoir – Though my Murkrow has the “of Death” appending to their nickname informally, my perfect Ralts (now Gardevoir) got it as part of her name, as I dubbed it DressODeath. It’s clearly a combat skirt.
  • Breloom – As someone who used to travel a decent amount for work, FlightAware was my best friend. When I caught a good Breloom with double Fighting moves in an airport, it obviously had to be named FightAware.
  • SlakingThere’s a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. It looks like fun, as they have baby sloths. When I got my first perfect sloth, it got named Costa Rica.
  • Hariyama – Yokozuna and E.Honda seemed like good names to give to these massive behemoths of destruction.
  • Delcatty – Did you know Tacocat is Tacocat spelled backwards? I love my Delcatty, even if it isn’t as trolly as I want it to be.
  • Mawile – Mawile can eat you with its hair. Nom Hair is its name.
  • Medicham – Want to know one of my least favorite Pokemon designs? It’s the Medicham line. The whole line. That said, I clearly had to keep the perfect one I hatched. It’s name? ILookDumb.
  • Manectric – Manectric has entrance music, just like a pro wrestler. That song? “I Am Electric” by Heaven’s Basement. Only it sings its name, IAmManectric.
  • Swalot – Swalot looks like a gumdrop. A toxic one. But Gumdrop it is.
  • Wailord and Kyogre – I’m combining these two as both of their nicknames have the same origin story. After catching my first Kyogre, I named it Lord Whale, as Kyogre is the guardian of the sea or something like that. My wife misheard me and thought I called it Wailord, which confused her, as I was still 100 or so candy from being able to evolve my Wailmer into a Wailord. A couple of weeks later, I got my candy and evolved Wailmer into Wailord. I named it Kyogre. I also may or may not have told a friend of mine that this was the release of shiny Kyogre.
  • Flygon – If only Flygon had gotten a mega evolution. Then I wouldn’t have to call my perfect Flygon by the name of NonMega.
  • Altaria – My Altaria is named Swabby. Not all of these are good names.
  • Seviper – My Seviper is CP 404. As such, its name is SnekNotFound.
  • Whiscash – A perfect mustache on a perfect IV Pokemon deserves the name Rollie, as an ode to one of the greatest mustaches to ever live.
  • Milotic – Pokemon Go has really made me hate Feebas. Imagine my annoyance with the recent Jirachi special research had a task to evolve a Feebas. Thus, my Feebas, eventually Milotic, got renamed IHateFeebas.
  • Castform – One of my favorite things to do is to put Snowy Castform in gyms in Ohio. It legit makes people mad. I just have an army of Snow Castform named Snow1, Snow 2, Snow3, etc. I also have a rainy Castform aptly named H2O.
  • Banette – All of my perfect Pokemon get names, regardless of what they are or how good of a name I can think of for them. That’s now my perfect Banette got the name Zippers.
  • Wynaut – I considered naming my Wynaut Why. Why? Wynaut.
  • Metagross – All of my Metagross that I use in battle are members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Currently, I have RZA, ODB7ODB started this, as it was originally short for Ol’ Dirty Beldum., Method Man, and Raekwon.
  • Latios – I am not a fan of the Latis. After my fifth consecutive research reward Latios, I named it Trashios. I then proceeded to get another one the next week.
  • Groudon – We can all agree that Primal Groudon looks like something out of the Power Rangers universe, yes? Good. Then you understand why this is Megazord.

Generation IV

  • BidoofBidoof is Rusty. Bidoof will always be Rusty until they release the shiny version.
  • Roserade – My wife used to label Pokemon she wanted to trade with the name Zz. When she made a trade with me that netted me a lucky, shiny Roselia, this lead to me naming the Pokemon RoZzelia. This changed to RoZzrade once its evolution was released.
  • Drifblim – A while back, I did a challenge wherein my goal was to beat the Pokemon Sun Elite Four using only a Caterpie to attack. This strategy was full of Baton Pass shenanigans, which involved a Drifblim passing Minimize and Stockpile boosts. Thus my Drifblim in Go got the name Minimize.
  • Honchkrow – I was traded a shiny Murkrow. It was lucky before lucky trades existed. It’s thusly named The Purpkrow. I still refuse to believe shiny Murkrow can be found in the wild8I said this to my wife once. She then tapped on a Murkrow and it was shiny. DURING THE CONVERSATION WHERE I WAS COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. That’s some Tim McCarver level bullshit..
  • Bonsly – Sudowoodo is introduced to players in Pokemon Gold/Silver by faking being a tree. Hence my shiny Bonsly’s name TotallyATree.
  • Munchlax – I hatched two perfect Munchlax in the span of 30 days. Their names are éatAllThings and éatMoreThing, respectively.
  • Lucario – Oh look. Something for me to wreck in Smash. As a Lucina main, I consider Lucario to be SmashFodder.
  • AbomasnowAbomasnow. Obama in snow. President Snow.
  • Rhyperior – Both of my Rhyperior are references to Dwayne Johnson, being named RockBottom and Dwayne, respectively.
  • Tangrowth – Look. If you had. One shot. To name a Tangrowth anything you ever wanted. Would you capture it? Or just let it slip?9Also, Tangela should be pronounced tan-gel-a from here on out. Don’t ask why. Just do it.
  • Electivire – I caught a perfect Electabuzz in a raid, only for Rock Me Amadeus to come on the raid very shortly afterward. Hence my Electivire getting the name Ohmadayus.
  • Togekiss – Birb. Just birb.
  • LeafeonI am a leaf on the wind…except that’s too many characters for Pokemon Go, so it’s just LeafOnTheWin.
  • Glaceon – My favorite frozen dessert? Ice cream. But my second favorite? Italian Ice. Since this Glaceon is perfect, we get a small bastardization of that name, as it became étalianIce10I’ll still accept this pronunciation for Italian over people who insist on pronouncing it “eye-tal-yan”. I know, and am related to, at least two people who do this. It’s cringey..
  • Mamoswine – Did you know Ray Romano is a really good actor in things that aren’t Everybody Loves Raymond? Like Ice Age. It’s a good reason to name a Mamoswine after him.
  • Porygon Z – Porygon is a duck. It’s also made from code. A digital duck, if you will. Digital duck. Digiduck.
  • Gallade – My Gallade is named Arm Blades because…well…have you seen Gallade’s arms?
  • Probopass – Nosepass and Probopass look like dollar store Easter Island heads. Hence the nickname I’ve giving mine, Łeaster.
  • Meltan – Prior to Meltan being officially announced, Niantic gave us a sneak peek of it by having Ditto disguise itself as Meltan for a brief amount of time. Since there wasn’t any information about this Pokemon out there, the Pokemon community started giving it placeholder names. My favorite of these was Nutto. I’ve kept the first Meltan I ever caught, along with its initial nickname — Nutto.

10 Pokemon Go Community Day Ideas Based on Shinies

Nearly three years on from its launch, Pokemon Go is still doing quite well for itself. Sure, there are some flaws in the game — like the fact that we never got the footprint tracker from the game’s launch back — but all in all, it’s a pretty interesting game for one that’s closing in on preschool age. One of the big reasons for Pokemon Go’s success is its constant barrage of in-game events. Though some of the events are hit or miss, one of the game’s earliest creations, Community Day, is still going strong.

For those unfamiliar, on Community Day players will have a three-hour window1There have been a couple of exceptions to this rule, most notably Eevee’s Community Day, which lasted 48 hours. where a pre-selected Pokemon will spawn with significantly greater frequency than normal. The Pokemon for Community Day is typically either the base form of one of the various starter Pokemon from the games2Squirtle, Chikorita, Torchic, etc. or a Pokemon that’s known to be overpowered3Metagross, Salamance, Dragonite. or has a special gimmick in the main games4Amphraros, Pikachu.. The end stage evolution of the Community Day Pokemon also gets a special move bestowed upon them that they can’t learn any other time.

The other common thread with Community Day is that it typically coincides with the launch of the shiny forms of that Pokemon’s evolutionary line. Shiny Pokemon do appear at an increased rate, though it is still somewhat low, leading to variable luck between trainers. With the most recent Community Day, Bagon, just wrapping up this past Saturday, I thought it’d be a good time to throw out my ideas for some potential future Community Day Pokemon.

For this list, I’ll be basing all of my entries off of the shiny Pokemon I’d be most excited to see as part of a Community Day. This means that any Pokemon whose shiny has already been released — including my personal favorite, Shellder — are excluded from this list. Furthermore, I’ve chosen to exclude starter Pokemon from this list, as they’re all but guaranteed to eventually get their own Community Days. Additionally, I’ve limited this list to Pokemon from Generations I-IV, as those are the only generations released at the time of writing. All images courtesy pokemondb.net.

10. Voltorb

Voltorb
I genuinely considered cutting this list to nine before remembering that Voltorb’s shiny existed. While it has the same basic color swap as another entry later on this list, the flip from red to blue is simple enough to look good on both Voltorb and its evolution, Electrode. As for its Community Day move, this would be the perfect time to introduce a 1-bar charge move for Explosion, as that’s pretty much Electrode’s entire gimmick.

9. Croagunk

Croagunk
I’m really picky about how I feel about shiny Pokemon with loud coloration. I either love them (see: Shellder, Scizor, Espeon, Murkrow) or hate them (see: Alazakam, Heracross, Masquerain). That said, I quite like Toxicroak’s best attempt at recreating the 1990s Charlotte Hornets jerseys. Croagunk itself is noticeable enough that shinies won’t be hard to spot, so that helps it in my book too. For its special move, I’d give Toxicroak Focus Blast, but only because it already gets most of the good moves it can learn anyway in Pokemon Go.

8. Shuckle

Shuckle
Welcome to the No Fuckle Zone. There would be some people in my local community hyped as hell for this Community Day, in part because of the beautiful artwork that is this shiny. Like a couple of other entries on this list, Shuckle has some other things working against it, thereby keeping it low on this list. It’s the only Pokemon on this list without an evolution, meaning it’ll have to learn the move on Community Day via catch. Beyond that, Shuckle’s offense is putrid, so regardless of what move we give it, it’ll still deal minimal damage. So let’s just give it Rock Slide to mess with people.

7. Weedle

Weedle
I love Beedrill’s shiny. It’s one of my favorites in the entire game. That said, Weedle gets a low spot on this list because it suffers from the same problem that one of my least favorite Community Days — Bulbasaur — had. The regular and shiny sprites look super similar. Granted, this was common in Gen I, but it does hold Weedle down. Beedrill would ideally be the Pokemon to introduce the move Fell Stinger, which boost attack each time it’s used. Think a Bug version of Power Up Punch, at least for purposes of Pokemon Go.

6. Bidoof

Bidoof
Shiny Bidoof is a meme. You cannot evolve a shiny Bidoof obtained on Community Day. It will know Superpower and it will wreck you all. Praise be.

5. Electrike

Electrike
Pokemon whose evolutionary line have wildly different shinies can be a little jarring. Hell, just look at the Shellder line if you want an extreme example of this. That said, while the Electrike line has two very different shiny color schemes depending on where in the chain you are, it works. I like the blue Electrike and the gold/gray Manectric equally well, meaning this would be one of the few Pokemon I’d keep a shiny evolutionary family for. Manectric would ideally be the introduction of Shock Wave to the game, giving it a reasonable reward for not being Luxray.

4. Tangela

Tangela
Green spaghetti. We all support this, right? Cool. Give Tangrowth Power Whip and we’ll call it a day.

3. Seedot

Seedot
Have you seen the shiny Seedot line? They’re all amazing. All of them. Seedot’s silver and orange color scheme in particular is one of the more unique shiny sprites in the game, which is a shame, as it’s wasted on a line that’s not particularly good in Pokemon Go. In an ideal world, Shiftry ends up with Grass Knot as its charge move on Community Day, but if I’m realistic, it’ll end up with Leaf Tornado, which might be the single biggest dumpster fire of a move in Go right now.

2. Riolu

Riolu
Let me tell you how much I’d love to see a Community Day for a Pokemon that typically only hatches from an egg. Whether its Riolu, any of the baby Pokemon, or the Alolan types that only come from eggs, it’d be a great way to increase Community Day interest. Riolu is recognizable because of its evolution’s presence outside of the Pokemon main series, not to mention that Lucario has a bevy of moves we could give it. That said, my main reason for picking it over other egg-based Pokemon is because of that yellow and gunmetal shiny. I know it’s not everyone’s taste, but it works in this case.

1. Hoothoot

Hoothoot
If memory serves, the first shiny Pokemon we saw in the anime was Ash’s Noctowl. How Hoothoot hasn’t gotten a Community Day yet solely based off this fact alone is stunning. But here’s the thing — Noctowl is an awesome shiny. The gold and rust coloring is a huge improvement over Noctowl’s normal brown coloration and is (at least in my opinion) one of the best looking shiny Pokemon of all generations. Giving Noctowl Air Slash as a quick move for Community Day would be a nice touch, as it’s one of Ash’s Noctowl’s signature moves.

How Smeargle (Almost) Made Me Quit Pokemon Go

aka: Yes, people do still play Pokemon Go, you anti-nerd killjoy.

In late February of this year, Pokemon Go finally introduced one of the few Pokemon in the first four generations of the series that had not yet been released — Smeargle. While there were still other Pokemon that hadn’t been released in the game to this point, Smeargle’s omission was both peculiar and understandable, all at the same time. On one hand, most of the Pokemon that had featured slow releases in Pokemon Go had either been legendary/mythical Pokemon1Mewtwo, Lugia, Articuno, Mew, Celebi, Dialga, etc., had unique ways of evolving2Evolving via trade with an item, evolving when leveling up while knowing a certain move, evolving while in a certain location, or Feebas’ weird double evolution possibility., or were Spiritomb3The idea behind this — doing a series of tasks based around Spiritomb’s lore — was amazing. The actual quests themselves were tedious as all hell, as everything around Spiritomb revolves around the number 108.. On the other hand, Smeargle feel into a small subset of Pokemon whose entire gimmick in the game wasn’t covered in any way in Pokemon Go. The best parallel was Ditto, which uses the move Transform prior to changing into whatever Pokemon it’s facing.

Smeargle only learns one move in the main series games — Sketch. The move Sketch allows Smeargle to copy whatever move was last used on it and permanently learn that move to its moveset. This means that Smeargle can learn nearly any move in the entire game, save for the moves Chatter, Struggle4Even though Smeargle can’t learn Struggle via Sketch, it can use the move if it depletes the uses of all of its known moves, just like any other Pokemon., and Sketch itself. Considering the largest movepool in Pokemon Go prior to Smeargle’s release was Mew at 39 total moves, Smeargle certainly could have proven to be a challenge for Pokemon Go developer Niantic.

The way Niantic chose to implement Smeargle in the game was ingenious. In another recent update, Niantic introduced its AR camera feature. This feature allows you to take photos of Pokemon already in your inventory with those mons projected in the real world. This feature was already present when you encounter wild Pokemon5Though quite unwieldy, as most players I know completely shut off the AR catching mode to make catching easier., but because Pokemon Snap is a fandom that just won’t die6I adore Pokemon. This blog has plenty of evidence of that. But where I break from the Pokemon fan base is in my distaste for Snap. Not only should Snap not be remade, it’s proof that just because you slap Pokemon on something doesn’t mean that thing will be good., this was a hotly requested feature in Go as well. Smeargle will randomly photobomb your picture with whatever Pokemon your taking pictures of, giving you a chance to capture Smeargle after the event.

Notice I said randomly in that last sentence. Yes, your encountering of Smeargle is at the mercy of RNGesus. This is where my rage-fueled story begins. Most times below are estimated, though I have a few exact time stamps from pictures.

  • Monday, 4:14 pm: I learn that Smeargle is in Pokemon go and how to acquire it. I load the game, take one AR picture of my Alolan Vulpix, see I didn’t find Smeargle, and close the game. I find the feature and encounter mechanic really cool, marking the last time I have this thought.
  • 7:45 pm: After dinner and cleaning up our kitchen, the wife and I begin trying to encounter Smeargle in earnest. My father-in-law texts saying he found his in around 60 photos, so this seems like a fun way to kill twenty minutes or so before I start editing.
  • 8:00 pm: Both the wife and I are around 100 photos without seeing Smeargle. We’re having fun seeing what stupid pictures we can take, so it’s fine.
  • 8:15 pm: After some searching on Reddit and Discord, we learn that Smeargle’s appearances are completely RNG based. While some people are finding them quickly, others are literally in the thousands of photos with no encounters. My heart sinks a little, but we keep going.
  • 8:30 pm: As part of our last search, we learn that Smeargle can get moves from Community Day Pokemon. This leads me to taking the next 100 or so of my pictures of an Espeon I have that knows Last Resort.
  • 8:50 pm: I am now quite tired of looking at Espeon’s face. Both my wife and I are growing frustrated with the process. She’s at around 250 pictures, I’m just over 300.
  • 9:05 pm: My wife wants popcorn and House Hunters. She has since the Smeargle search started. We’ve both grown angry at the lack of HGTV in our lives. We resolve to spend five more minutes trying to find Smeargle before we give up.
  • 9:06 pm: My wife’s mundane super power kicks in and she encounters Smeargle within 60 seconds of the previous discussion. I decided I’m going to finish out our pre-discussed five minutes, go make popcorn, and continue searching for Smeargle, as the asshole has already ruined my editing time.
  • 9:12 pm: Popcorn in hand, my photo taking resumes as we watch a young couple with a $900,000 budget look for a home in rural Ohio. She’s an avant-garde perler bead artist while he invented hand sanitizer for blockchain. They agree on nothing, yet want a place where their pets — which they insist on calling fur babies — can roam free. The pets will be picking the house. Somehow, this infuriates me less than Smeargle.
  • 9:35 pm: My wife goes to bed. The struggle continues.
  • 10:15 pm: Now at over 500 pictures with no Smeargle, I pause for a few minutes to do some research on how Smeargle works. Apparently you’re limited to getting one per day. Which is great, as I still have zero. I find a Reddit post where someone says they’re over 2,500 pictures with no Smeargle. I consider going to bed, but I’m committed at this point.
  • 10:45 pm: After another half hour of failure, I open Smash Brothers to kick the crap out of something out of rage. I go to Spirit Board and Smeargle is one of the first things that pops up. Fuck you.
  • 11:25 pm: I finally relent and decide it’s time for bed. I’m over 780 pictures at this point. I try taking a picture in the dark to see what happens, but Pokemon Go’s AR function can’t recognize a flat surface in the dark. Which is great, because it seems to have a hell of a time doing the same thing in the light, so at least it’s consistent.
  • Tuesday, 7:50 am: I get to work and have a little time to kill before my shift starts. Smeargle hunt, round two.
  • 7:58 am: Eight minutes later, Smeargle finally shows up. It photobombed a Shuckle, because you don’t fuckle with Shuckle. I didn’t get the moveset I want, but I don’t care. I’m done. I’m fucking done.

Listen, I get it. Some games have RNG-based grindfests. And if that’s your thing, awesome. But Niantic? This was genuinely the worst thing I’ve had to do in Pokemon Go. And I was around when the original gym system existed. If you’re going to give us Smeargle in this way, at least bring back the footstep Pokemon tracker. That was the best.