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I Relicanth stand Region Locks

·1270 words·6 mins

When we travelled to a seaside town on the Dutch coast, and on our way stopped at a rest area in the small corner of Belgium which we had to pass through, I was very happy to catch a Klefki, the key ring Pokémon released in 2020. Klefki is only available in France1, and is one of the many regional Pokémon which are tied to specific regions and are not generally available outside2.

Despite my lucky catch, in general I don’t like region locks at all. I started hating them back in the time when DVDs were still a thing. You either had to look very careful before importing DVDs, or go through hoops to unlock and modify, or replace, the firmware on your standalone player (and any optical computer drives). I still despise this as an extremely consumer-unfriendly and somewhat contradictory way to conduct business in a globalized world, where manufacturers profit from a global workforce and distributed productivity centers but the same is denied to consumers due to complications introduced by rights managers.

Maybe that is one reason why regional Pokémon are one of the aspects in Pokémon GO that I like the least. But there is also something specific to it in the context of the game.

Pokémon GO is essentially a freemium game: you can play totally for free. Outside of ticketed events3, you do not need to invest a single dime to enjoy the game. You can speed up certain processes such as hatching eggs, or increase your chances for a perfect Pokémon by, e.g., competing in more raids than the daily free limit allows by buying additional raid passes, but it is not required4. On top of that, you can earn a limited amount of the in-game currency just by playing. You can save this up and then invest in any items you might deem useful. Essentially, by grinding and being patient, you can play the game for free without significant degradation of gameplay. With one big exception: catching regionals. The only way to obtain them – outside of (paid) events – so far has been by either spoofing (which is against the TOS of Niantic anyway), or by trading, if you are lucky enough to know or meet someone who was travelling to a region, and also happens to be a Pokémon GO player.

Regionals have been made available during several past events, either to be catched in the wild, or available from raids. Raid passes are available in a limited amount for free for all players, sometimes boosted for events, and are ususally included as an additional benefit with the event pass. During Kanto Tour, you could complete your Kanto medal (in fact, completing it was one of the tasks for the masterwork research), because, e.g., Tauros and Farfetch’d were made available outside of their native regions in North America or East Asia. Throh from Unova region was available in the wild during GO Fest 2021. Heracross and Corsola, two regionals from the Johto region, were made available during Johto Tour. You had the chance to get your dex region to Platinum.

Hoenn Dex
Relicanth is the last Pokémon missing from the Hoenn dex.
Now, on Saturday, the global and free5 Hoenn Tour starts. If all publicly available information is correct and complete, it will be disappointing in the respect that it is not in your own hands to complete the Hoenn Dex. One of the rarest Pokémon in the game, locked in a specific time zone in the Oceanic region, will not be a guaranteed catch even when grinding hard, but it will come down to 🍀2 : Relicanth will hatch from 10km eggs, which you obtained during the event.

10km egg relicanth
Relicanth is hatching from 10km eggs (as are Torkoal and Tropius, but these two were globally available in previous events). Source: Hoenn Tour: Event Gameplay

Therefore, this requires careful planning and a good amount of luck. To successfully catch Relicanth, you would need to

  1. clear your egg storage in advance of the event, or pay for incubators during the event to clean out fast,
  2. beat the RNG to obtain one or more 10km eggs from stops. There is no deterministic way to get these eggs. You need to spin stops and get lucky. I do not know the odds of a 10km egg dropping when spinning a stop, but from my own experience it is way below 1 in 3, as the 2km and (annoying) 5km eggs are much more common. If I am interpreting the Silph Road correctly, it is roughly 1 in 5.
  3. beat the RNG again, so that a Relicanth hatches, and not one of the other options, Torkoal or Tropius6. This would be a 1 in 3 chance, assuming these are the only three Pokémons hatching from the 10km eggs.

So, while I was looking forward to complete the next section in my Pokédex, I better prepare for disappointment. But I will still try and go out there on the weekend. After all, remember,

Gotta Catch ‘Em All! This time, looking at you, Relicanth!

  1. The availability is not exactly confined to France, but a rougher outline, which includes some areas of neighbouring countries. Certain parts of Belgium therefore are lucky. Several reddit users have collaborated to confirm the shape of the regions for Klefki in particular and more general for all regionals. At first, it had been conjectured that the border of the Klefki region would be based on S2 Level 6 cells, but it seems not to be the case, and it was not exactly reverse-engineered how the region is defined. Nevertheless, for nearly all things location-based, S2 cells play an important role. ↩︎

  2. An exception is made sometimes during special events, in which specific regional Pokémon are available globally or switch their availability region. ↩︎

  3. Event tickets need to be purchased with real money and cannot be paid off with Poké Coins. ↩︎

  4. I am simplyfying here. This is a separate discussion with lots of arguments, but in general, if you want to be competitive in GO Battle Master League, you need to shell out an amount of up to roughly 3 x 70 € for raid passes, so that you can max out a team of legendaries. Candy XL to push from level 40 to 50 are available only as rewards in raids, and you need a sizeable amount of raids to collect the required 296 XL candies. This essentially forces you to buy raid passes because the ususal one week rotation and daily free passes are not sufficient to achieve this. You would need to wait a long time, sometimes years, until the raid boss in question returns into the rotation to continue collecting XL candies. ↩︎

  5. You can purchase a masterwork research to catch shiny Jirachi at as the final reward, but it seems to be a bit unrelated to the event. You need to claim the research before 20 March, but as is common for masterwork research, you would not be able to complete it during the event, as it takes much more time than the two event days would offer. So in this instance, I think you can claim and complete the masterwork research without even participating in the Hoenn Tour. ↩︎

  6. To be precise, both Torkoal and Tropius are also region locked, so depending on your place on earth, you might find yourself in a similar spot with respect to those two. However, they have both been made available in previous events, and their region seems to be a bit more accessible, making Relicanth arguably the rarest out of these in the game. ↩︎