They used to call them Legendary Breakthroughs, but no longer. This January, Niantic announced that Lapras would be that month's Research Breakthrough, kicking off what would be the longest stint that the weekly Pokémon GO reward would not offer players a Legendary Pokémon since the beginning of the game. The Research Breakthrough box, which requires players to do daily tasks to unlock special rewards, used to offer players an encounter with Articuno, Zapdos, Motres, Ho-Oh, Lugia, Suicune, Entei, Raikou… and the list goes all, all the way through Kyogre and Groudon. Now, with August Research Breakthrough announced as Scraggy, that makes eight months in a row without Legendary Pokémon.
Scraggy will be available in the Research Breakthrough box from August 1st at 4PM Pacific to September 1st at the same time. Scraggy falls into the same place as Larvitar where, while it isn't a Legendary Pokémon, the player base doesn't feel scandalized as they did when Trapinch, which recently had its own Community Day, was made the June Breakthrough. Scraggy is very rare to some players, and had only been available through two methods: GO Battle League encounters, and a one-off Incense Day event. This makes this Fighting/Dark-type, which fares very well in the PVP corner of Pokémon GO, a new Pokédex entry for many players.
If Niantic is committed to keeping Legendary Pokémon out of the Research Breakthrough the the time being, at least this month offers a Pokémon encounter of genuine worth. Those who have already stocked up on Scraggy through the GO Battle League may be disappointed, but Niantic is appealing to the wider player base with this move, knowing that many players either avoid GO Battle League or missed Incense Day. As the company rolls out new Pokémon, or previously rare spawns, the Research Breakthrough box is a clever way to do it. Could there be a future where, for instance, Pikachu Libre, currently only available to players who hit the rarefied grounds of Rank 10 in GO Battle League, gets its wide release through the Breakthrough? Only time will tell, but the one thing that seems certain is that, at least for now, the hope of Legendary Pokémon in the weekly box has been dashed.