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All my type medals are Platinum now. I made good use of the recent event ✨ Twinkling Fantasy ✨, which had increased dragon type spawns (Dratini, Bagon, Deino, as well as the occasional Noibat and Goomy). The dragon type medal was the last one still on Gold, so I made sure to catch the remaining 250ish dragons and bring it up to Platinum. The last catch to push me over the edge was a Zekrom raid boss.
At that time, the leading medal was (as expected) Normal, with 15,460 catches, followed by Water with 8,866. The last one to make Platinum before Dragon was Dark with 2,843 catches (finished during the last Halloween season), preceded by Ghost with 3,055 catches.
This achievement made me look back on some personal highlights in a short
Recap up to 2022 #
I started playing back in the summer of 2016, however after about a year, I took a hiatus and didn’t play for another three years. In fall 2020, I picked up the game again, and in parts driven by the pandemic, stuck with it. I played extensively during lockdown periods, when contacts were discouraged, and I took long walks for fresh air, alone, with headphones for music or podcasts, and grinding for Pokémon GO to get some exercise outside.
A multitude of features were new for me: field research as well as more extensive research quest lines. Shinies, mega evolutions and shadow Pokémon. Team Rocket. PvP. Lots of interesting things to keep me going and grinding. And new features for all players were introduced right at the time I started playing again: Level 40 cap increase, XL candies and the Seasons mechanic.
While I am mostly a free-to-play player, I invested some money and played my first paid event with the
Kanto Tour in February 2021, making the Kanto Dex medal my first Platinum one. The special research leading up to a shiny Mew1, All-In-One #151, kept me busy for several weeks. I found it to be a quite refreshing and entertaining mix of tasks.
Luckily, even as a returning player, you could get the older research quests, not all at the same time but they are released in a certain order, and eventually I was able to finish them off one by one. This was a large part of the motivation, and also helped me to rise in levels rather quickly. The next milestone was Level 40, which I reached after about half a year in May 20212, shortly before the GO Fest in summer. Due to the fifth birthday of Pokémon GO, tickets were heavily discounted, and for just 5 bucks, I played the event, excited to be able to collect XL candies as a fresh level 40 trainer.
Roughly from that point onwards, I did not feel as a newbie anymore. I had encountered most game mechanics and features, had a competitive roster for raids and was starting to build up for Battle League as well. New features kept coming, and were enjoyable, but did not overwhelm me anymore. A non-exhaustive list of gameplay additions includes
- January 2021: Collection Challenges. Up to today, I have completed 80 out of 99 available challenges on my Elite Collector Medal3.
- May 2021: Yveltal, and a bit later a new eeveelution Sylveon
- June 2021: raid achievement screens
- December 2021: Postcard book (which is now leveraged in the recently introduced Vivillon collection feature)
- May 2021: major overhaul of Mega evolutions, introducing the XL candy bonus and reducing the required amounts of Mega energy with a decay over time
- August 2022: a 15min daily incense and the Galarian birds (I have encountered two Moltres, and I did catch the first)
Most valuable players for PvP and PvE #
I think the most valuable addition to my PvE rooster in the last year has been Terrakion. With the new fast move Double Kick (and its signature move Sacred Sword) it is incredibly powerful in gym fights, for team rocket grunts, and in raids, depending on type effectiveness, of course. If you already have a decent Lucario or Shadow Machamp built out you might not be as excited, but otherwise the move combo with fast energy generation and raw power helps to burn shields of Rocket bosses and grind through opponents fast. Terrakion is consistently listed as a top non-mega non-shadow attacker of type fight.
In PvP, I tend to enjoy special cups most. I simply do not have the XL candies to compete in Open Masters, or sometimes even Ultra League. I have a fairly decent roster for Great League by now, and in the last few seasons consistently reached Ace, playing around 2,050 ELO. But in terms of fun, I prefer cups such as Halloween, Fighting or Psychic. And here, Galarian Rapidash really shined. It provided great coverage and was very spammy, forcing shields or landing heavy blows.
Runner-ups include Dialga (not the top-most Dragon, even leaving out mega and shadow, but still very strong, and I catched a 4 ⭐, so what am I to do), a shadow Snorlax, one of the few Pokémon bringing me joy in Ultra League4, and a refreshing addtion to the Great League roster with Alolan Sandslash.
Coveted Catches which made me happy #
A shiny hatted Hoothoot, the first shiny of the year. A shiny 98% IV Axew from the second day of GO Fest, whose evolution Haxorus actually is a decent dragon type attacker. A shiny Tirtouga, for which I had to grind lots of research tasks during the June 2022 Adventure Week. I was not successful in catching a shiny Archen, but Tirtouga looks great with its turqoise flippers, I think. A shiny Combee. Not a female one, alas (only these can evolve), but I like the orange glow. And finally my one and only Galarian Bird, a Moltres. I had only two sightings, catched the first one, while the second one ran. Haven’t seen one of the other two Galarian Birds yet.
Perfect ⭐⭐⭐⭐ IVs #
I was lucky to catch 22 four ⭐ Pokémon with perfect IVs in 2022. Besides the above mentioned Dialga, I get regular enjoyment and benefit from my mega-maxxed Gengar, my favorite dark type attacker Hydreigon, and whenever I need a fairy type attacker, shadow Granbull enters the arena. Still waiting for that shiny four ⭐.
Other Notes #
Besides the above listed gameplay additions, several quality updates have been supplied by Niantic. These include improvements in PvP, overhauling the stickers UI and introducing a grid view for items, and running at a refresh rate native to your device (as opposed to a fixed fps of 30), which really smoothes out the catch screen and PvP experience. But arguably the largest addition was the incorporation of Pokémon related features into a new social app Campfire. It brings a game map, showing nearby raids and allowing to signal (by lighting a flare) and chat about participation in raids.
However, at least in my local community, Campfire has not catched on. Yet? Or maybe Niantic’s social endeavour is simply too late to the party. After all, most players have settled in for years now with chat groups in WhatsApp, bots in Telegram or communities in Discord.
And now, remember
which I have since enjoyed using in Great League PvP many times ↩︎
I am not quite sure what my trainer level was when I picked up playing again, but I guess it was in the low 30s. Obviously, I did not make the Level 40 legacy medal, for which you needed to rank up to level 40 before the end of 2020. ↩︎
the 19 challenges I am missing were all related to ticketed in-person events for locations I did not join: 4 challenges each for GO Fest 2022 Live in Berlin, Seattle and Sapporo, one for Air Adventures event in Okinawa, one World Championship London challenge and 5 from GO Tour: Live in Mexico and Taiwan. ↩︎
and one of the few shadows that work for me in PvP, probably because Snorlax has sufficient bulk to compensate for the reduced defense of shadow Pokémon in general. ↩︎