Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO: How to catch all the Pokemon for Johto Collection Challenge?

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While the entire world went into lockdown in 2020, some unexpected gladiators rose up from the ashes and got a second wind. Pokemon GO, a game that holds mixed feelings in most people’s minds has been on the rise since last year. Launched back in 2016, Niantic’s vision of an augmented reality Pokemon game was incredibly popular but didn’t do much to retain its audiences.

Due to a lack of features and polish, the Pokemon GO audience started to slowly dwindle over time. By 2018, you’d have thought that the game was essentially dead. However, thanks to a dedicated fan base and some great additions to the feature set, Pokemon GO wasn’t going anywhere.

Things like friends lists, remote raids, GO Battle League, new events, and challenges kept the game fresh. Not only that but when the pandemic hit, Pokemon GO got a slew of new features that made it very easy to play while staying at home.

The game got an overhaul with Team Rocket GO balloons, greater Pokestop and Gym interaction distances, and free remote raid passes. Thanks to these changes, Pokemon GO recorded its biggest year in terms of revenue in 2020. And, with the changes that are coming to the game in 2021, that number is only projected to grow.

Pokemon GO Tour: Kanto event is approaching fast

For the start of 2021, Niantic has announced the Pokemon GO Tour: Kanto event. The event is essentially a celebration of the Kanto region, which is the first region of the Pokemon anime, games, and everything else. However, before we get to the big main event next month, Niantic has been feeding us with smaller events relating to the other regions.

We’ve already seen the likes of Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova region feature in these smaller events and now, it’s time for Johto to shine. Many would say that the previous events were rather underwhelming excluding the Hoenn one. However, ever since Hoenn, Niantic seems to have figured things out and has included tons of content for the events. For instance, Hoenn had two legendary raid bosses in the form of Kyogre and Groudon but also had timed research featuring a Rayquaza.

So, following that, the Johto event has been similarly structured as well. The current legendary raid boss is Entei with others coming later. However, timed research has also been introduced with a Ho-Oh encounter as the reward.

The challenges aren’t very easy either as you first have to catch a bunch of shadow and dark pokemon, which are somewhat rare. In addition to that, you also have to defeat all 3 Team Rocket GO leaders, which is going to take some grinding as well.

This results in the reward being both rewarding and not too hard to achieve. So, Niantic has definitely struck a very good balance this time around.

Pokemon GO Johto Collection Challenge

While the field research and timed researches are always fun to do during these events, the MVPs are arguably the collection challenges. Newly introduced to Pokemon GO, these collection challenges require you to catch certain Pokemon within a given timeframe. However, not all of them spawn in the wild at all times and you will probably have to be on the lookout for them.

For instance, for the Hoenn challenge, a Pokemon like Bagon was incredibly rare and many players had to resort to raids to obtain it. Not only that, but Minun and Plusle were also only available in field research found at specific Pokestops until the final incense day.

And now, the Johto Collection Challenge is trying to not only replicate it but add even more complexity into the mix. For Johto Collection Challenge, Niantic has added a slew of different kinds of Pokemon for you to catch. They range from starters spawning in the wild to field research exclusive Pokemons. In addition to that though, there are a couple of Pokemon that can only be obtained via a method unknown to many.

How long does the Johto Collection Challenge last?

The Johto Collection Challenge, like all the other collection challenges before it, is a limited-time event. So, in order to finish it and get your shiny medal, you need to catch all the required Pokemon within the stipulated time. For this week, the Johto Collection Event starts on Tuesday, January 26 at 10 am local time around the world.

The time that trainers have been given to catch these Pokemon is also similar. Hence, you’ll have 5 days or until 8 pm on January 31st (Sunday) to catch all these Pokemon and complete the challenge.

Pokemon GO Johto Collection Challenge Rewards

The Johto Collection Challenge obviously doesn’t come with rewards as good as the other timed research, that features a legendary Pokemon in the form of Ho-Oh. However, while these rewards aren’t the worst, they could be a lot better with some good encounters, lucky eggs, or incubators.

We don’t get any of those but what we do get is 15 PokeBalls, 10 Ultra Balls, and a singular Incense. While these may not seem like a very good reward, you at least get a badge as well. This badge adds to your Elite Collector Badge and the bragging rights that hands to you are priceless.

Pokemon GO Johto Collection Challenge Pokemon List

As with other collection challenges, you need to catch a specific set of Pokemon in order to complete the Johto Collection Challenge in Pokemon GO. These include starters from the Johto region like Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile. In addition to that, the list also contains some other prominent Pokemon from the Johto region. Here’s the complete list of Pokemon that you need to catch in order to finish the challenge:

  • Chikorita
  • Cyndaquil
  • Totodile
  • Sunkern
  • Murkrow
  • Smeargle
  • Larvitar
  • Miltank
  • Sudowoodo

As we’ve mentioned above, all of these Pokemon are not simply available in the wild. Many of them require you to get some specific field research from a Pokestop or perform a specific action.

Pokemon GO Johto Collection Challenge
Image: Niantic

Let’s take a look at what you need to do to catch each of these Pokemon in the Johto Collection Challenge.

How to Catch a Chikorita

Chikorita is the grass type starter for the Johto region. It is one of the easiest and most common Pokemon that have been added to the Johto Collection Challenge. Much like the starters in previous challenges, finding and catching a Chikorita is pretty straightforward as all you have to do is find one in the wild and then catch it.

Better yet, you probably don’t even have to move around as they spawn around you in the wild. This is due to their boosted spawn rates during this event. However, if for some strange reason you’re still unable to find a Chikorita, either pop an Incense or head over to a Pokestop to use a Lure module.

Favorable weather conditions will also boost your chances of catching a Chikorita in the wild.

How to catch a Cyndaquil

Cyndaquil is the fire type starter for the Johto region. As part of the Johto Collection Challenge, Cyndaquil is also an extremely common Pokemon to find in the wild and can be caught virtually without going anywhere. For most places though, the Cyndaquil spawns seem to be slightly rarer than Chikorita plainly due to the weather.

So, if you’re struggling with finding a Cyndaquil to catch in your room, you might want to step out and head over to a Pokestop to place a Lure Module. Alternatively, you could also use incense to attract Pokemon.

How to catch a Totodile

Totodile is the water type starter for the Johto region. If you’re in rainy weather, you’re probably being flooded by Totodile spawns right now. However, for people in sunny or clear weather, Totodile can be a lot harder to come by as compared to the other starters. However, you still need it to complete the Johto Collection Challenge so doing the same thing you did above might do the trick.

In our testing, we found an appropriate amount of Totodile spawns in the wild despite sunny weather. Having said that, if you feel like you’re running out of time and cannot spot one in the wild, just use incense or head over to a Pokestop to use a Lure Module.

How to catch a Sunkern

Sunkern is neither a starter nor an overly common spawn for this Johto event. The little Pokemon can be pretty hard to come by especially if you don’t live in favorable conditions. However, despite being slightly rarer as compared to the starters, the spawn rate for Sunkern is still boosted and you should be able to find it around you at least once during the 5 days.

If you are having trouble finding one by the end of the 5th day though, the nuclear option of using incense always exists. Furthermore, you can also keep an eye on the nearby spawns tab on the bottom right and see if any nearby Pokestops or Gyms have Sunkern lurking around them.

How to catch a Murkrow

Murkrow has always been a really good Pokemon to accumulate candy for as its evolved form, Honchkrow is very useful against raid bosses. Furthermore, it has been pretty common throughout 2020 so you already likely have plenty of candy for it. For this Pokemon GO Johto Collection Challenge though, Murkrow has made a return and has a boosted spawn rate.

Having said that, it is still much rarer than the starters so you might not see it spawn around you straight away. If you do find yourself running out of time though, just use incense and you should be able to see at least one within the next hour (unless you’re just incredibly unlucky).

How to catch a Smeargle

Smeargle has always been a strange case in Pokemon GO. Even when it was originally added to the game, it didn’t really spawn in the wild and was always caught via unique methods. The story is similar here for the Johto Collection event as well.

Smeargle is the curveball that Niantic has tried to throw onto the less hardcore fanbase of Pokemon GO. While others like Miltank and Sudowoodo still appear in the wild despite being rare, Smeargle is completely off the radar. This means that the Pokemon will not spawn in the wild no matter how much you try. So you’d assume that it makes an entrance via the field research tasks like Minun and Plusle during the Hoenn event, right?

No, Smeargle is not even part of any field research task. So, how does one actually catch a Smeargle to complete the collection task? Well, if you’ve been playing the game regularly, you already know the answer. Yes, taking pictures is the answer to catching a Smeargle during the Johto event.

Image: Pokemon GO

So, what you need to do is head over to your Pokemon menu, or your buddy screen and either choose to take a photo of a random Pokemon or your buddy. We’d recommend turning off AR+ just because it can sometimes make the entire experience a lot more finicky. Once you’re in the camera mode, just take a photo and see if Smeargle does a photobomb.

Keep trying if you don’t succeed at first

In case you don’t find any Smeargle, stop trying to take more photos and back out. After backing out, repeat the same procedure and take one photo. You’ll only find a Smeargle spawn on your first photo so following up with more is useless. Just keep trying until you spot a Smeargle in your photo and when you back out into the map, it’ll be there waiting for you.

How to catch a Larvitar in Pokemon GO?

Larvitar is arguably one of the most useful Pokemon in the game to stock candy for. Its evolved form, Tyrannitar is incredibly useful in raids against enemies weak to Dark-type attacks. Furthermore, it can also have some decent rock type moves and has a really decent shadow form as well.

So, for the Johto Collection Event, it would have been a travesty to not include it in the roster. However, since it is a rather useful Pokemon, the spawn rate is also turned down, making it incredibly rare. Unlike starters or even Sunkern/Murkrow, you won’t really find any Larvitar in the wild. If you do though, consider yourself incredibly lucky.

Having said that, catching one still shouldn’t be too hard for you since there are plenty of other avenues for you to do it. The first is hidden within the event’s timed research. The first step of the Johto timed research requires you to defeat Team Rocket GO leaders, catch dark type Pokemon, and catch shadow Pokemon. Once you’ve done these, you’ll unlock an encounter with a Larvitar inside.

However, since the catch Dark Type Pokemon task can be hard for some people, there are other ways to catch a Larvitar as well. As part of the Johto event raid pool, Larvitar will also be appearing in the Tier 1 raids alongside a bunch of other Pokemon. So, if you’re feeling desperate, you could always do a Larvitar raid (or find one remotely via Pokeraid or similar).

One thing that you do need to note though that while it is also possible to obtain a Shadow Larvitar by fighting a Team Rocket GO grunt, that one won’t count towards the completion of your collection challenge.

How to catch a Miltank in Pokemon GO?

Miltank, the fabled bipedal cow Pokemon, is also a part of the Johto Collection Challenge. In terms of catch and spawn rate though, it sits somewhere in the middle of Larvitar and Sudowoodo. For instance, it won’t spawn readily around you at all like the starters. There is a chance of you getting no Miltank even if you pop an incense so risking that isn’t an option either unless you’re desperate.

So, how does one catch a Miltank within the given timeframe? Well, thankfully there are a couple of alternative ways of a guaranteed Miltank encounter and catch. The first one is much similar to what we saw with Plusle and Minun in last week’s Hoenn challenge. Yes, you can find Miltank as part of a reward encounter for finishing a Field Research. The field research in question here is the “Use 7 Berries to help catch Pokemon” one.

All you have to do is roam around the area and spin different stops to obtain field research tasks. Make sure to keep one space open to accept a new one at all times. Once you obtain the 7 berries field research, just complete it to encounter a Miltank which won’t run away until you run out of balls.

Miltank Shiny Pokemon GO
Image: Niantic

Not only that but if you’re feeling spicy, you can also find a Miltank in Tier 3 raids during the Johto event. Since it is a tier 3 raid, you do need to be appropriately leveled and should have good fighting type counters to defeat the raid boss solo. If you don’t have any of these things, invite a friend.

During the Johto event, Niantic has also released the Shiny version of Miltank so, if you’re lucky, you could end up catching a Shiny Miltank as well.

How to catch a Sudowoodo in Pokemon GO?

Sudowoodo has always been a strange Pokemon, with a weirdly low base catch rate. Not only that but I just don’t find the weird-looking tree dude particularly friendly. Sudowoodo seems like a total troll and in a Pokeball is where it should be, not getting up to its common mischief.

Coming back to our point though, Sudowoodo is one of the rarer Pokemon that are included in the Johto Collection Challenge. While they are spawning in the wild (confirmed), the spawn rate is incredibly low and you’d have to be pretty lucky and have favorable weather conditions to find one.

If you do manage to find one by chance though, use a golden berry and don’t let this rare Pokemon get away.

However, if you’re having trouble finding a Sudowoodo in the wild, don’t worry as there is thankfully an alternative method to obtain this Pokemon. If you remember the previous Hoenn Collection Challenge, it had certain Pokemon, namely Minun and Plusle, that required you to acquire a certain field research task to get them (before the incense day).

Field Research

Likewise, Sudowoodo is also obtainable as a field research reward encounter. So, what you need to do is explore the area around you and spin some Pokestops. If you find a Pokestop that gives the “Catch 5 Grass Type Pokemon” field research, you’re all set. If you find any other research, try to keep a slot open for another field research (so delete an older one).

Once you’ve found the Catch 5 Grass Type research, just complete it and you’ll be thrown into an encounter with a Sudowoodo. You have a 100% chance of catching it so there is no need to rush (unless you run out of Pokeballs).

Don’t try to sit on the hope of finding Sudowoodo in the wild either as unlike Plusle and Minun, there is no incense day this time around so you won’t be able to simply use incense to catch it.


So, there we have it, that’s all you need to do in order to complete the Johto Collection Challenge and add another number to your Elite Collector’s medal. Niantic has really stepped up its game lately with the past two collection challenges with most of them offering a good balance of easy and harder finds. In addition to that, field research exclusive Pokemons have been a great addition and it’ll be interesting to see how Niantic takes all of this into the big Pokemon GO Tour: Kanto event next month.

For more on Pokemon GO news and guides, stay tuned!


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