I thought that the rewards of the Pokémon GO Global Catch Challenge were a touch…underwhelming. A region-locked bird and some bonuses? I mean, fine, but worthy of three billion catches? I don’t think so.
Turns out Niantic had something up their sleeve this entire time. They’ve just announced that the final Legendary of the Gen 1/2 era, Ho-Oh, will be released in raids (normal raids) for the next two weeks.
The absence of Ho-Oh in Pokémon GO has been a bit conspicuous for a while now. We have seen the release of four other Legendary Birds, three Legendary Beasts and Mewtwo (in EX raids), but Ho-Oh was left out along with the Mythics, Celebi and Mew.
There were many (many) theories about when Ho-Oh would arrive as Niantic added art for him and tweaked his stats behind the scenes. One was that he would show up when the Legendary Beasts arrived, another was that he would be the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving event.
There was no Thanksgiving event, that was the Global Catch Challenge, but I suppose he is the centerpiece of that all the same as the “grand prize” offering for 3 billion catches. Many were worried that Ho-Oh was going to be locked into exclusive raids like Mewtwo. I’m betting that was considered, but this was definitely the right call, and a perfect cap to the Catch Challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked getting my Farfetch’d as much as anyone, but that was a prize that literally took thirty seconds and no effort to redeem. It just didn’t seem like the gold at the end of a rainbow for a challenge this expansive. Ho-Oh definitely is worthy of the event, and I’m glad that Niantic realized this and sprung him on fans as a “surprise.”
I did have a sneaking suspicion about this. Ho-Oh almost needed be released now, before Gen 3 arrived, and with the Beasts departing at the end of this month, that left a Legendary hole in the roster. Ho-Oh was the logical choice for many reasons, which is why I was surprised to see him left out of the initial rundown of the Global Catch Challenge. But I suppose it speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of the Pokémon GO community that they rallied for 3 billion catches for Farfetch’d. I bet Ho-Oh would have gotten 5 billion, if it was announced he was on the way.
Ho-Oh raids will begin tomorrow I believe, and will continue to December 12th, so you will have plenty of chances to catch him. And after that? I have to believe Gen 3’s launch is imminent, and we’ll be left wondering when the Mythics might arrive, along with a whole new set of Legendaries in the new generation.
Respect, Niantic. This was a good call, and a great finale for what turned out to be a very solid event.