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Pokémon GO's Best & Worst Of 2020: Best Shiny Releases

The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we're talking about the best Shiny releases of 2020. Let's go!

Shinies in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Shinies in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

5. Wooper

With the release of Shiny Wooper, Niantic finally figured out how to deliver a good surprise in Pokémon GO. Rather than teasing out a surprise by telling us a surprise was coming, setting an expectation that could've ever be met, Niantic advertised a small event in which trainers would be able to remove Frustration from Shadow Pokémon for a day… and then, when the event went live, a flood of Wooper came in with a surprise Shiny release confirmed soon after. It was fun, surprising, and exciting in the same way that made me fall in love with Pokémon GO to begin with.

4. Riolu

Riolu was rare before its Shiny release, was relatively rare during it, and remains rare after it. Here's what separates the release of Shiny Riolu, one of the best of 2020, from the release of Shiny Deino, the worst in Pokémon GO history. We were given a fair shot. Riolu was part of a limited about of Pokémon that could have from 7KM Gift Eggs during the Sinnoh Celebration, which meant that if you were going to grind Eggs, you were going to see Riolu. This fair shot at the Shiny, as well as another event feature for Riolu in 2020 after its initial release, set the standard for how Niantic should release rare Shinies.

3. Vulpix

The release of Shiny Vulpix just puts a smile on my face. First, Shiny Vulpix was released as part of the Seasons Change event, set to last four days in October 2020. It was a short window, but Pokémon GO trainers soon were happy to discover that Vulpix had, during this release event, a boosted Shiny rate. Then, to make the release even better, the following event which debuted 12KM Strange Eggs in Pokémon GO ended up being, in part, a continuation of the Seasons Change event that carried over certain features… including Vulpix spawns. This meant that trainers were essentially given ten full days to hunt Vulpix with a somewhat boosted Shiny rate.

2. Spiritomb

This one was exciting. After two years of Spiritomb being relegated to annual Halloween Special Research, with only one encounter per trainer, it was moved to Field Research and given a Shiny release for Halloween 2020. It was a difficult Shiny to hunt for and remains rare, but makes the list because the existence of a Shiny Spiritomb with a wider release didn't just make specifically the Halloween 2020 event exciting, but the prospect of an annual Shiny Spiritomb hunt enriches Pokémon GO's Halloween festivities in general.

1. Celebi

As part of a tie-in to the Secrets of the Jungle movie, Niantic released the first guaranteed Shiny Mythical Pokémon through Special Research… Celebi. Not only is this a historic moment, not only is the pink Celebi flat out one of the best shinies in the game… but this makes the number one spot because of the doors it opens for Pokémon GO. After years of wondering how Shiny Mythicals would be handled (with the obvious exception of Darkrai, Genesect, Deoxys, and the raid species that can be farmed) and if they'd ever come at all, the answer came: guaranteed Special Research. Indeed, we already know Shiny Mew is headed to us in February 2021, so we will surely see the same at some point for Jirachi and Victini. What a way to close out a year of incredible Shinies.

NEXT: Worst New Features of 2020

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Theo DwyerAbout Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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