Get ready for Articuno Day, a Squirtle-filled community day, and Pikachu wearing shades.
Update (7/6/18): A previous version of this post said only players with the Gold Pikachu Fan medal would be able to purchase Pikachu-themed items for their in-game avatar. We've updated our post with the correct information.
Pokemon Go launched on July 6, 2016. It let players around the world become virtual Pokemon trainers with the goal of catching every pocket monster they can find. Two years later, the game is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to the introduction of friends lists and Pokemon trading in June.
Whether you’re new (or returning) to Pokemon Go, or if you never left, get ready to experience one of the most action-packed weekends the game has seen.
July 7 is Articuno Day. For a three-hour period (Forbes said it’s between 2 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET), players will be able to encounter the Legendary bird Pokemon Articuno at Raid Battles near them. Players will receive five free Raid Passes - the tickets needed to participate in Raid Battles - when they spin their first Photo Disc at a gym on Articuno Day. Even if you already have Articuno (they were available as part of the game’s Field Research feature), those who participate in Articuno Day will have a chance to encounter the creature’s rare Shiny form.
Next, July 8 is Pokemon Go Community Day. This monthly event is taking place earlier than normal this month, likely due to Pokemon Go Fest taking place in Chicago the weekend of July 14. July’s Community Day features Squirtle, letting players encounter more Squirtle than normal for a three-hour period (2 p.m. ET to 5 p.m. ET).
This Water-type turtle Pokemon is one of the three original “starter” Pokemon featured in the Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue video games on Nintendo GameBoy (as well as in Pokemon Go). Squirtle has two evolution forms -- Wartortle and Blastoise -- and every Blastoise created during this event will know an exclusive battle move called Hydro Cannon.
Plus, players who complete Field Research tasks during the Community Day event will have a chance to encounter extra special Squirtle that are wearing sunglasses. This is a nod to the popular “Squirtle Squad,” a group of Squirtles wearing sunglasses that was featured in the Pokemon animated series.
In addition, any egg placed into an incubator during this event will hatch four times as fast as normal. That means if you place a 10km egg into an incubator during this event, it will hatch after walking only 2.5km. Finally, Pokemon Lures will last for three hours during this event, instead of the default 30 minutes.
Finally, as a true celebration of the game’s second anniversary, until July 31, players will be able to encounter Pikachu and Pichu more frequently than normal. Players can also encounter a “Summer Style” version of Pikachu, wearing a straw hat and sunglasses. Users will also have the option to purchase Pikachu fan items for their in-game avatar, but only players with the in-game Gold Pikachu Fan medal will have access to every item.
If you want to have the best chance of capturing a ton of Squirtle this Community Day, head to a part of town with a lot of PokeStops and Gyms in a small area. Need some ideas for where that might be? Check out our tips here.