Mega Evolution is a feature that’s been rumoured to appear in Pokémon GO for a long time, and it has finally arrived. It’s a lot more complicated that normal evolution, so here’s a quick overview of how it works and why you might decide the whole thing just isn’t worth your time (and money).
What is Mega Evolution?
It’s a further stage of evolution for a limited number of Pokémon which makes them even more powerful. Right now you can mega-evolve the following Pokémon:
Here are the most important things to know about Mega Evolution.
- You can have only one Mega-Evolved Pokémon at one time
- It will stay Mega Evolved for a limited time (a total of 4 hours)
- You can use your Mega Pokémon in raid, gym and friend battles
- Mega Pokémon cannot defend gyms
- It takes Mega Energy – not Candy – to Mega Evolve a Pokémon
- The cost reduces if you have Mega Evolved a Pokémon before
- Mega Pokémon have a separate Pokédex
- Shadow & Clone Pokémon cannot be Mega Evolved
How to Mega Evolve in Pokémon GO
Look at any Charizard, Venusaur, Blastoise or Beedrill in your collection and you’ll see a new button: Mega Evolve.
You need 200 Mega Energy to evolve each one and, like Candy, that Energy is specific to each Pokémon species.
If you pick a Charizard, you have the choice of Mega Evolving it to Mega Charizard X or Y.
After you have evolved a specific Pokémon once, it then costs 50 Mega Energy to evolve it subsequent times, but there appears to be a bug for Charizard, discovered by the UK’s #1 PvP player, Matthew Shafik. Even after evolving a Charizard to the Y form, he discovered that the cost was still 200 to Mega Evolve it to Y again.
So how do you get this Mega Energy? There are currently only two ways: Mega Raids and Special Research.
You’ll find “A Mega Discovery” under the Special tab when you tap on the binoculars icon from the game’s main screen. This will give you enough Beedrill Mega Energy to Mega Evolve a Beedrill.
For the other three, you’ll need to watch out for them appearing in Mega Raids.
What’s a Mega Raid?
It’s a raid which features a Mega-Evolved Pokemon. Since they are more powerful than any other Pokémon, including Legendaries, you will need more Trainers to defeat one than you may be used to.
Mega Raids differ from regular raids in that:
- You don’t get to catch the Mega Evolved Pokémon after defeating it – you catch a Charizard, Blastoise or Venusaur, which can be shiny
- The faster you defeat it, the more Mega Energy you get rewarded
The maximum Mega Energy you can get from a single raid is 50, so you’ll need to use a minimum of four raid passes (which can be regular, premium or remote) to get the 200 required to Mega Evolve one Pokémon.
Once you have enough, you can tap the Mega Evolve button on your chosen Pokémon.
What are the benefits of a Mega Evolvolution in Pokémon GO?
Apart from having the best-available version of that Pokémon to use in raids, take snapshots of and battle your friends with, using a Mega in a raid will give others participating in that raid an attack boost, and Pokémon whose attack types are the same type as any of the Mega-Evolved Pokémon’s types will receive an additional attack boost for those attacks.
The attack boost applies only to one Mega Evolved Pokémon, so there’s no benefit from having multiple Megas in any given raid.
There are other problems with the way Mega Evolution has been implemented. Obviously it’s very limiting that the Mega Evolution lasts only four hours, but as
this post on Reddit by NumeralJoker accurately observes, these new Pokémon are of no real use.
“Given that the goal of getting these creatures unlocked as fast as possible requires you to now join lobbies with as many players as possible, this renders the entire point of a Mega useless as you are just better off focusing on doing raids in either communities with large groups of people, or in populated cities where lobbies already fill up quickly. This means that wasting Mega evolve energy literally gains you nothing you can’t already easily get if you’re a regular raid player.”
“This is made EVEN WORSE by the fact that you can only evolve ONE SPECIES at a given time, meaning you can’t strategically use the correct typing across multiple raids easily at all unless you are only planning to raid the same species like a legendary.”
It remains to be seen whether Niantic will change the mechanics based on user feedback, but it appears that it has already changed the amount of time required to get the full 50 Mega Energy from 30 seconds to 65 seconds.