The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let’s take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic’s worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we’re talking about the best new Pokémon releases of 2020. Let’s go!
5. December Kalos Rollout
Many thought that Niantic wouldn’t dare release Generation Six Pokémon in 2020, as some Unova species remain unreleased, but the company pushed the game forward with a wave of Kalos Pokémon in December 2020. While some were annoyed at the rarity of Noibat in Pokémon GO, the excitement of catching a new and rare species in the wild is a rare joy in the game these days.
4. Scraggy & Rufflet
GO Battle League remains a somewhat divisive aspect of Pokémon GO, with some players very into its PVP arena while others ignore this aspect of the game completely. Niantic release of Scraggy and Rufflet as coveted GO Battle League-exclusive counters made many give this platform a try, and then the subsequent wider release of these Pokémon felt like a fair move after a reasonable amount of time.
3. Trade Evolution Releases
By far the best wave of Unova releases, Niantic celebrated the introduction of Trade Evolution with a wave of some of the most interesting and unique Pokémon in the game. On January 10th, 2020, they released Roggenrola, Timburr, Tympole, Throh, Sawk, Venepede, Basculin, Maractus, Dwebble, Sigilyph, Tirtouga, Archen, Trubbish, Karrablast, Joltik, Axew, and Shelmet. It’s hard to believe that all of these incredible species were released in one fell swoop looking back, but Pokémon GO really did it. Conkeldurr and Gigalith remain some of the most useful of their types in the game, with Conkeldurr especially shaking up the raid meta.
Ahead of the main Kalos release, Pokémon GO teased Espurr online for days leading up to a surprise raid release. While some criticized this as underwhelming due to the lack of a Shiny release, I personally thought it was an inventive, interactive, and fun way to celebrate the very first release of a Kalos Pokémon. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that much hype in raid groups over a non-Shiny Pokémon in raids. Espurr was also a terrific first choice, due to its intriguing lore, terrific design, and interesting evolutionary line.
1. Galarian Ponyta & Sirfetch’d
While those playing the main series games were getting hyped for the release of The Crown Tundra expansion, Niantic hit Pokémon GO players with a tie-in: the release of Sirfetch’d through evolution and Galarian Ponyta through raids. Not only was this the most exciting Galarian release so far, but it also gave a fun extra challenge: to evolve a Galarian Farfetch’d to Sirfetch’d, the Pokémon had to be your buddy while you completed an Excellent Throw challenge. On top of that, Galarian Ponyta is one of the best designs in the game and one didn’t even need to raid to get one. After the release event was over, Galarian Ponyta was made a common hatch in 7KM Gift eggs. A perfect release.
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