• Playing Pokemon Go in the South Lake Ave. District (Photo - Staff).

      Playing Pokemon Go in the South Lake Ave. District (Photo – Staff).

      You’ve seen groups of people congregating in Pasadena, and cities all over the world, playing Pokémon Go, but Why?

      By Daniel Magley

      Answer: Legendary Raids!

      Chances are, you’ve seen it over the past few weeks. Giant crowds of people huddled and filing into some parking lot or coffee shop. People crying in exasperation and dancing happy dances after missing or catching a rare Pokémon. The game recently introduced a gigantic update, spiking player activity again this summer. The biggest feature of that update was Raids.


      Certain landmarks are Pokémon Go gyms: locations in the game. The Caltech campus alone has 7 gyms on it. These Gyms have a small chance of spawning a rare Pokémon like a Tyranitar, Machamp, and recently even the 3 legendary birds that each represent the 3 Pokémon go teams: Mystic (Blue: Articuno), Valor (Red: Moltres), and Instinct (Yellow: Zapdos). Once a Pokémon spawns the players have two hours to battle it, defeat it, and then try to catch it. Because these rare, powerful, and otherwise unobtainable/barely obtainable Pokémon are so hard to beat, usually 6-12 players need to meet up and battle together to be able to defeat these beasts and have the chance to catch them. As a result, most towns have centralized chat groups. In my hometown in North Carolina, we use a Messenger group with about 40 people ranging from about 16-55 in age. Here in Pasadena, a Slack group is used with about 300 users of all ages to coordinate meetup times.


      A smaller but important part of the summer update remade the gym systems to be more friendly to casual players. More gyms were created and battle mechanics were changed so the average Pasadena player can earn about $0.50 in in-game currency for battling 1-2 gyms a day. The update got mixed reviews from elite players and cheaters who previously were able to rake in $1.00 of in game currency a day and are now limited to the $0.50. Overall the change seems to have helped increase interest in players who otherwise deleted the app last fall, and was a major anti-cheating step forward in the game.

      Unfortunately, Legendary Raids for the birds ended on 8/14/17 at 5:00pm in Pasadena. However, there are more legendaries geared up to come out.

      A group of poeple playing Pokemon Go at El Molino and Colorado Boulevard in the Playhouse District (Photo - Staff).

      A group of poeple playing Pokemon Go at El Molino and Colorado Boulevard in the Playhouse District (Photo – Staff).

      How Can I Get Back Into Pokemon Go/Prepare For Future Legendaries?

      The legendary birds Articuno, Moltres and Zapdos were each available for a single week each over a time span of three weeks. During which, the legendary Pokémon Lugia was available as well in raids for all three weeks, but was a much rarer and stronger spawn. This was homage back to the “Pokemon 2000” movie that came out 17 years ago, where the three legendary birds were disturbed and nearly destroyed the world, if not for the protagonist summoning Lugia to calm the three birds from fighting. This was more or less a story from in-between generation 1 (1996-1999) and generation 2 (2000-2002) of Pokémon.

      In generation 1, we had a movie (1999) with two legendaries Mew and Mewtwo in which Mew, the ancestor of all Pokémon, was cloned and genetically mutated into a more powerful version Mewtwo. Recently the game data has added the stats and shiny version of Mewtwo to the code in the game, so it is most likely that Mewtwo, the most powerful Pokémon created, will be released next.

      To prepare for Mewtwo you will want a strong team of six dark and bug types to combat it. Scizor and Tyranitar are going to be your two best bets as both will be useful for Mew and Celebi when they come out as well. Here’s a link for best Pokémon for raids.

      Mewtwo will likely require an average group of 13-15 players to beat, but don’t worry, using the above slack messaging group, this is quite feasible. So get to switching those T-tars to Crunching, and those Scythers outfitted with steel coats.

      Mewtwo is coming.

      Daniel Magley is an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering at Caltech and is originally from Asheville NC. He works in Choo lab developing Microbots that travel through the human blood stream for targeted drug delivery and non-invasive surgery. When Daniel is not working, he can be commonly seen playing Pokémon Go on his Unicycle around Pasadena.

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