Pokémon GO Event Review: Dragonspiral Descent 2021

This week, Niantic kicked off the first major event of the Season of Celebration with the Dragonspiral Descent event in Pokémon GO. Dragon-themed events are far and few between in this game and often offer some of the rarest and most sought-after content. Did this live up to that expectation? Let's get into it.

Druddigon in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Druddigon in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

What worked in this Pokémon GO event

  • Druddigon in raids: I already know a ton of players will disagree with me here, but hear me out. For the longest time, I have been writing about Niantic's raid problems. Raids are the most popular feature in Pokémon GO by a huge margin, but the addition of Remote Raid Invites made access to raids a lot easier. The fact that Niantic didn't follow up with more actual new content in raids has led to frustration. For example, Tier One and Tier Three raids have a very limited number of Pokémon worth raiding: Shinx, Klink, Mawile, and Timburr are the Shiny-boosted Tier One raid offerings and Absol, Lapras, Alolan Marowak, Alolan Raichu, and Aerodactyl are the Shiny-boosted Tier Three offerings. There may be others, but those are the basics. All of those were live in-game before Remote Raiding was a thing, which means that most intense raiders will already have these. Niantic has added virtually nothing of value to the lower tiers with the exception of a rare Rufflet feature and Shiny Galarian Weezing which hasn't been featured again since its debut as a Shiny. To me, adding a Shiny-capable, raid-only Pokémon is a net positive not only for this event but for the game as a whole.
  • Wild spawns: The spawns weren't mind-blowing, but they were strong enough to land as a positive. There were issues with the spawns, but overall they made for an entertaining week of gameplay.
  • Dragon theme: Always the best. With Reshiram and Zekrom in raids, Dragons in the wild, and Druddigon making its debut… what a week.

What didn't work in this Pokémon GO event

  • Deino: Come on! It felt like Deino encounters were almost as rare during the event as they were outside of the event. I understand the value of keeping it rare, but the rarity level applied to Deino is far, far, far more intense than other "If you're lucky, you may encounter…." Pokémon.


Overall, Dragonspiral Descent was a great event that has kicked off this promising season with a bang. Now, if Niantic follows through with a stellar holiday event, they will have made headway toward ending perhaps their most uneven year of gameplay so far in a positive manner.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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