Pokemon Go Fest 2021 is almost upon us, and trainers should already start preparing for the July 17 and 18 weekend extravaganza. Niantic’s flagship event comes once a year and usually features the debut of several shiny variants, a new feature or two, and plenty of fun for participants.
Similar to last year, players all over the globe can take part though they should abide by local health guidelines because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In some areas, high vaccination rates, low case numbers and approval by city governments mean that in-person Go Fest gatherings called City Activations will make the day more special for participants.
It’s a lot to juggle going into Go Fest with that in mind, here’s a guide to get you ready for Pokemon Go Fest 2021. This will cover common-sense tips. A second post will cover the details of traveling to the San Francisco City Activation and the best areas to check out in downtown.
THINGS TO DO BEFORE GO FEST
1. Watch the livestreams from New Zealand and Australia players to get a handle on what to expect — Niantic is pretty good at keeping Pokemon Go Fest details under wraps, and players won’t know what to expect until the event is under way. This means that trainers in America and Europe have a leg up compared to those in the Asia and Pacific regions.
APAC is usually the guinea pigs for the event, and if things go wrong there, Niantic usually fixes it by the time it reaches the other side of the world. To find out what to expect, watch streams from players such a ZoeTwoDots to get a handle on shiny rates and spawns for the day. Armed with that knowledge, you can figure out what to prioritize and plan out your day better.
2. Clear out at least 300 spaces in Pokemon storage — During Pokemon Go Fest 2021, you’ll be catching a lot of Pokemon and it’s best to make as much room as possible. I prefer to go in with at least 300 spaces with the option of adding more throughout the day. The current cap is 4,500. Personally, I’ll have at least 300 spaces with the option for buying 200 more.
The reason for that space is that you’ll need to focus on catching and raiding, not organizing and transferring Pokemon. It’s easy to get bogged down and stressed out when space runs low. To make room, it’s best to hold a trade-a-thon with friends. The night before the event, it’s best to trade all the unwanted Pokemon that includes extra shinies from community days, those Unowns you were saving from friends who quit playing and the 12 hatted Pikachus you thought would be valuable. It’s time to clear space for the valuable Pokemon coming during the event.
Trading before Go Fest will net you nearly 100 spaces. Plus it will give you a chance to use the six Special Trades available each day from Friday through Sunday. It’s the perfect opportunity to line up Lucky Trades. Getting rid of Pokemon will be excruciating at times, but I’d get rid of any excess costumed Pokemon or Pokemon that are expected to have Community Days in the future such as Oshawott, Chespin, Froakie and Fennekin. I wouldn’t delete perfect or close to perfect versions of those but anything with IVs that are 96 or lower would meet my ax.
3. Fill up on the essentials for the Item Bag — While you’re eliminating Pokemon to make room for new ones, it’s the exact opposite for the Item Bag. You should fill it with essentials, namely Poke Balls, Great Balls, Ultra Balls, Max Potions and Max Revives. You don’t need piles of Hyper Potions and Revives when Max Potions and Max Revives serve the same purpose. They’re redundant. That means if you have 100 Hyper Potions and 100 Max Potions, delete all of the Hyper Potions.
When it comes to Fast TMs and Charged TMs, you don’t need more than 70 of either. You can also cut down on berries. You don’t need more than 50 Razz or Nanab berries. Pinap berries a different story depending on your candy situation. When it comes to evolution items such as King’s Rock, Metal Coats and Sun Stones, you don’t need many of them. If you have more than 10, that’s pushing it.
If you clear out the extraneous items, you can fill up on more balls, which you’ll need for catching, and revives, which you’ll need to heal your squads after each raid. I suggest having more than 500 Poke Balls on hand and over 300 Ultra Balls. With Max Revives, you can get by with 100.
4. Stockpile that stardust for potential trades — With the announcement of the six Special Trades available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, players should amass more than 1 million stardust for trades to take full advantage of the bonus.
Before the event, you should line up trades for legendaries and shinies with Lucky Friends. Normally, you’re only allowed to trade one of those per day but with the six trades, it’s a good opportunity to reroll shiny variants or powerful ones such as Mewtwo.
Where the trade situation will get interesting is when players gather in downtowns or in places with City Activations. With the critical mass of people and with the option to print out and make trading signs, players can run into strangers who may have a Pokemon that can complete a collection. This happenstance is one of the magic moments of Go Fest.
Someone can see your sign and they can be willing to trade it. This can be helpful if you’re looking for regionals such as Bouffalant, Maractus or a red Basculin. If you’re trying to get a Great League legendary such a Regirock or a Lugia, it can be a godsend.
The only problem players will face is that meeting strangers for the first time and trading for an unregistered Pokemon will be very expensive at 20,000 stardust. If it’s a legendary or a shiny one you don’t have, it will cost even more at 1 million. Being at a Best Friend level helps mitigate this, but it’s still pretty steep at 40,000 stardust if an unregistered shiny Pokemon is involved. With the high price, it can make serendipitous trades rare but it could also be worth it if you’re looking at the current travel situation.
5. Scout your area and be familiar with the PokeStops, Gyms and Amenities — Before heading out to Go Fest, make sure you know the lay of the land. Pick a place that is known for its spawn density or one that’s a favorite of players during Pokemon Go Community Days. If you’re heading to an unfamiliar city, check out the local Discord or Facebook group for advice on where to go.
Ideally, players should opt for a site with plenty of Pokestops and dense spawns for Saturday. On Sunday, they should go to places with numerous Gyms, which will offer more raid options. Players should seek out crowds either way because you’ll need a mass of people to take down Legendary Pokemon for Sunday raids and it will make the game more fun on Saturday.
It’s also good to find a place with accessible bathrooms and other amenities such as shaded areas or restaurants or food trucks. A place to refuel with food and drink will come in handy.
6. Set up raid teams before the Sunday raid event — The second part of Pokemon Go Fest focuses on raids, and to make the most efficient use of time, it’s best to dispatch them with alacrity. To do that, prepare your best lineups beforehand. Make a list of the legendary pocket monsters you want to catch and create teams for each one via the Battle menu in “Pokemon Go.” In that tab, players will find a Party option and if you scroll down you’ll find a team setup for Gyms & Raids.
From there, go to a site such as PokeBattler.com and find the best counters for your chosen Pokemon. For example, if you’re hunting Mewtwo, the top teams will have Mega Gengar, Shadow Mewtwo, Shadow Weavile, Shadow Tyranitar, Giratina Origin, Chandeulre and Darkrai in the mix. If it’s Dialga, create a lineup with Lucario, Shadow Machamp, Conkeldurr,, Excadrill, Shadow Hariyama and Groudon. The faster you can beat a raid, the more Pokeballs you can get in order to catch the raid boss. The speedier you can beat the raid, the sooner you can move on to the next one.
7. Here is a checklist of what to pack and wear — Pokemon Go Fest 2021 runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. That means you’ll need plenty of supplies and gear to help you last through the day. Here is what to bring for a smooth experience:
External battery: Any “Pokemon Go” veteran will tell you that this is the most important item. Without an external battery, it’s unlikely you’ll play for the whole day. If you’re going to use 5G or any other energy-intensive extras, be sure to bring multiple energy supplies. Having a wired source will get you the fastest charge while having the option for wireless Qi charging will help you or others in a pinch. Wireless is a great backup if a cable or charging port fails. It can also help out a friend who may not have the same phone as yours.
Water bottle: Because you’ll be wandering all over the place to catch Pokemon, you’ll need some hydration from that exercise. Stay hydrated and cool by freezing the water so that it melts over the day.
Snacks: Depending on how hard core you are, you may not stop for lunch. You’d rather be going full throttle the whole day catching as many shinies as possible. If that’s you, bring snacks such as trail mix, granola bars or another high-calorie food source. You need to eat so you don’t tire out during the day. Your stomach and body will thank you later.
Ice pack: This item serves two purposes. It will keep food and drinks cold, but more importantly, it can help keep your phone from overheating during the middle of summer. You’re probably playing “Pokemon Go” outdoors and if you’re not in the shade, you’ll be the in direct sun and your phone will get overheat as a result. The ice pack can cool it down so that it will still work even if it’s the hottest day of the year.
Trading paddle: Niantic released a Print-At-Home kit for Pokemon Go Fest 2021. It’s filled with crafts that you can use to make the celebration more special. Hidden in the Decorations portion of the the kit is the papercraft for a trading paddle. Crafty players can put these together and attach them to popsicle sticks. They can write a list of Pokemon they’re looking for and ones that they’re willing to trade.
If players attach this to a backpack or hold it up when they meet strangers, it can help facilitate an easy trade. Niantic handed these out during Pokemon Go Fest 2019, and they helped me find pocket monsters that I missed or wanted for my collection. During that Go Fest, I was surrounded by friendly players and they were accommodating to trading for sought-after creatures such as a shiny Groudon or a shiny Lugia. People spotted my sign and they were more than happy to help out. I paid it forward and helped a woman who wanted a shiny Wingull. She saw I had one available for trade. It cost me a lot of dust but it made her day.
Appropriate attire: Before heading out, check the weather report and make sure you wear the right clothes. If it’s cold in your neck of the woods, wear a hoodie. If it’s warm, head out in T-shirts and shorts to stay cool and comfortable. Whatever the case, feel free to get into the spirit of the event by wearing Pokemon-related gear. Plenty of people will be wearing some sort of game-related gear.
It helps create a festive atmosphere wherever you are. It also helps identify you to other players and you can make new friends that way and feel a stronger sense of community. If you’re in a group, wearing matching gear can help you find your friends.
The most important piece of attire though is the shoes. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of sneakers because you’ll be walking a while. Niantic said last year players walked an average of 15km and they expect this Go Fest to be no different.
A second part on how to prepare for the Pokemon Go Fest 2021 City Activations in San Francisco will be coming later in the week.