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Pokémon Go Fest’s surprise new Pokémon is Celebi

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This is how to get your new favorite legendary boy

Celebi at Pokémon Go Fest Niantic/The Pokémon Company via Reddit

Pokémon Go Fest 2018’s surprise new Pokémon is Celebi, the latest and last second-generation mythical monster to arrive in the game.

Unlike last year’s event, when a variety of network issues led Niantic to gift everyone the legendary Pokémon Lugia, attendees actually have to work to capture Celebi. And they have to work hard — I’m nowhere near unlocking one myself, and I’ve been here for several hours.

Celebi is made available by completing a series of research challenges, issued in-game as part of a larger quest. Noted attractive researcher Professor Willow asks players to figure out what’s behind the event site’s “unusual geological phenomena” by completing the following things, after which you’ll run into Celebi:

Step one

The first research tasks are easy enough for the average player. You have to do the following:

  • Spin three PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms
  • Earn a Buddy Candy while walking with your partner Pokémon
  • Catch 15 Pokémon

There are Pokémon all over the place in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, where Pokémon Go Fest is happening this year, so step one is fine. The event is structured around walking through the entire parkground too, so there tons of PokéStops to run into and steps to accumulate to make your Buddy Pokémon happy.

Step two, though — the meatiest, penultimate challenge — is when things can get frustrating.

A screenshot of progress on the Pokémon Go Fest research challenge.
Progress on the Pokémon Go Fest research challenge.
Niantic/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

Step two

  • Catch 10 fire-type Pokémon
  • Catch 10 water-type Pokémon
  • Catch 10 grass-type Pokémon
  • Catch 10 steel-type Pokémon
  • Catch 10 rock-type Pokémon
  • Catch 10 ice-type Pokémon

Pokémon Go Fest is divided into four different “habitats,” each one devoted to specific types of Pokémon. The jungle place has grass types; the icy place has ice types; you get it. But if you’re already halfway through your 1.8-mile walk before you reach this phase, you may find yourself needing to turn way back around to find every type. The weather in Chicago has been mediocre all day today, so walking four miles back and forth through Lincoln Park isn’t the most compelling thing to do right now.

But if you want a Celebi, you have to stick with it, no matter what. And the best part is that you’re just one step away from unlocking a battle against the tiny forest guardian.

Step three

  • Catch seven Unown
  • Spin three PokéStops
  • Hatch three Eggs

One of the appeals of Pokémon Go events is finding the rare Unown into the wild. There’s more than 26 of these guys to find, since each one represents a letter of the alphabet. This year’s selection of Unown happen to spell out “Celebi?” although good luck catching each of those letters to figure that out. (There’s also an errant “G” roaming around, based on our findings.) If you can catch seven Unown, you’re killing it.

Hatching three Eggs can also be tough, since the minimum distance to hatch one is two kilometers. But incubating three of those dudes at once while you’re on this phase should knock out that task.

Do all that, and you got yourself a Celebi battle. Here’s one below, around the 57-minute mark.

I’ve only run into one person who’s made it that far, with just a few hours left in the event’s first day. Celebi is definitely by far the big reason to be at Pokémon Go Fest this year, whether attendees came in expecting that or not; to those of us who don’t think they’re going to be leaving today with Celebi ... I get you, and I feel for you, as you should for me.