Pokémon GO’s Next Community Day Is A Step Up From Bulbasaur

This seems to be the way of it now: just a few days after the last Community Day, Pokémon GOdeveloper Niantic Labs has announced the special Pokémon for April’s event. It’s Mareep, a charming little Electric sheep that bears no apparent relationship to Philip K. Dick. Mareep evolves into Flaafy and then into Ampharos, all of which maintain straight Electric typing. We don’t yet know its special move, but we assume that we’ll be able to catch it in both Shiny and regular variants and that it will come with some sort of universal catch bonus as well. The next Community Day rolls around on April 15.

As potentially potent Pokémon go, Mareep isn’t all that terrible. It’s rare in the wild, though it’s become more common in 10 km eggs since the days when I was convinced that I would never be able to fill up its evolution chain. It’s third-tier evolution, Ampharos, is one of the rarer creatures in Gen 2, and there are certainly trainers out there waiting to fill in that space in their Pokédex. Combat-wise it’s actually not useless — there are better Electric-types out there, but a powered up Ampharos has a home attacking Water and Flying-types, for sure. It won’t get as much play as a Dragonite or even a Venosaur, but it has its uses.

It’s a step up from Bulbasaur, mostly because it has a higher base capture rate and is rarer, overall. I still don’t quite understand why Niantic is holding back on some of its most sought-after Pokémon, however. Dratini was a huge hit for its relative rarity and combat effectiveness combined, and there are a ton of other comparable creatures in the mix: Larvitar, Bagon and Beldum, to name a few. My guess is that Niantic is trying to keep from giving out all of its most valuable rewards in one go, but it’s hard to see that as much of a concern when there’s only one of these every month — you wouldn’t want to  give out a top-tier creature every week, but every month is still comfortable, especially when the new quest system could give people new long-term goals. It’s also possible Niantic is trying to avoid hurting the combat balance, but combat is useless anyway, so that argument doesn’t really hold.

Regardless, we’ll see how it all pans out next month. Community Day could be better deployed, but it’s still a fun time.

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