Community Day Tyranitar as a raid attacker, 2023 edition: Can TTAR be Made Great Again?

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Larvitar Community Day Classic

This article is published as a companion piece to our Larvitar Community Day Classic (January 2023) guide. Larvitar Community Day Classic takes place on Saturday, January 21, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time.

TL;DR

Definitely get at least two good non-shadows for mega (even though the mega isn’t as strong as you think). One with Smack Down (for Rock), one without (for Dark).

Beyond that, unless you missed December CD, relax – 2023 is not 2018. Regular Tyranitar is not a must-have anymore.

Shadows: Evolve good IV ones for Rock, save extra shadows in case of a possible Dark CD2 or some other exclusive move event.

Current utility

  • Regular Tyranitar is worse than CD Hydreigon, Rampardos, CD Rhyperior and CD Gigalith. Barely hanging at the border of Unique 6. Welp.
    • L30 Hydreigon > L50 Tyranitar
    • L40 Rampardos & Rhyperior > L50 Tyranitar
  • Shadow Smack Down Tyranitar (Rock) edges out Rampardos as the best non-mega rock, but the IVs need to be acceptable (67% 10/10/10?).
  • Shadow Bite Tyranitar (Dark) is at best equal to Hydreigon (if it’s a hundo). Not worth it now.
  • Mega Tyranitar‘s raw power is barely ahead of Mega Aerodactyl, and even worse than Mega Houndoom.
  • However, Mega Tyranitar’s bulk makes it the best Rock and Dark mega for group raids (greatest damage boost).

Possible better moves

  • A lot more room for improvement as Dark.
  • Regular Tyranitar: Worse than Rhyperior no matter what. Brutal Swing will make it tie Hydreigon; Snarl/Brutal Swing makes it slightly ahead. Not worth stressing too much about.
  • Shadow Tyranitar: Will eventually be outclassed by Shadow Rampardos/Rhyperior/Hydreigon, and faces competition from Dark Void Darkrai. However, an improved moveset will make it #1 for some time – if it happens soon enough.

Keep reading for:

  • Dedicated “Verdict: How many to evolve? How many to save?” section at the very bottom
    • (That section is basically a longer TL;DR with somewhat more detailed advice)
  • Comparisons: Shadow Tyranitar vs. Rampardos and Hydreigon
    • (With 15/15/15, 10/10/10, 5/5/5 IVs for shadow)
  • Rock and Dark/Ghost megas’ comparison plots
  • All possible improvements of Tyranitar’s movesets, and how they compare to current and future attackers
  • List of my previous analyses (in Appendix 2)

You can now follow me (@teban54) onTwitter!

If anyone wants to compare specific IVs and how they compare to other attackers, DM me with your IVs. I’ll give you simulation results against all bosses (Estimator and TTW), but I’ll only get to do so post-CD.

Introduction

Larvitar Community Day Classic is happening this Saturday, January 21, from 2pm to 5pm! If you evolve any Pupitar to Tyranitar up until 7pm (NOT 10pm), it will learn its rock-type 2018 Community Day move, Smack Down.

  • This also applies to any Shadow Larvitar/Pupitar, regardless of whether it has Frustration or not, since Smack Down is a fast move. (DO NOT PURIFY!)
  • Note: Since Larvitar is Rock/Ground (not Rock/Dark), do NOT run Dark-type megas like Gyarados and Houndoom during CD! You’ll want to run Mega Aerodactyl, Steelix or Swampert.

When the original Larvitar CD happened in June 2018, it was absolutely huge and the most popular CD until then. At that time, Tyranitar was already the best Dark-type raid attacker, and Smack Down immediately made it the best Rock-type attacker by far, smashing Golem to the ground.

However… 2023 is not 2018. Since then, way too many Rock-type and Dark-type attackers have been introduced: Rampardos, Darkrai, Rock Wrecker Rhyperior, shadows (including Tyranitar’s own shadow), and two Pokemon that were abundant less than a month ago – Brutal Swing Hydreigon and Meteor Beam Gigalith. Sadly, with its subpar PvE moves, Tyranitar is outclassed way too badly today in both its roles.

How does Tyranitar compare to them in all its possible forms, including regular, shadow, and a future mega? Is there any hope for it to get better?

A legacy fast move – why each Tyranitar can’t double duty

A minor note that should be obvious for veteran players, but still useful to point out.

Tyranitar’s CD move Smack Down is a fast move. Not having a legacy charged move does have some benefits:

  • If you missed CD or have an old Tyranitar, you can use an Elite Fast TM, which has much fewer competing usages than an Elite Charged TM.
  • You can evolve a Shadow Larvitar with Frustration and still get the CD move (it will come with Smack Down/Frustration).

However, it still does more harm than good overall. Most importantly, this forces you to build twice as many Tyranitars as you normally would.

  • Even though Tyranitar as a species can function as both Dark-type and Rock-type attackers, each individual Smack Down Tyranitar can only be a Rock-type attacker. If you want to use it as a Dark attacker, you have to TM away Smack Down to Bite, which means you can’t get Smack Down back without another ETM.
  • In contrast, for most other Pokemon that does well in both their types (e.g. Mamoswine, Garchomp, Chandelure, Rhyperior, Roserade), you can either TM both their fast and charged moves when needed; or unlock a second charged move (e.g. Chandelure with Hex/Shadow Ball/Overheat), so that you can switch between two types with only regular Fast TMs.

In 2018, the advice was to build 12 Tyranitars, 6 Dark and 6 Rock. While that’s no longer necessary today (as I’ll elaborate below), the principle still applies. For example, if you want to build its mega, you will need at least 2 separate Mega Tyranitars, one with Smack Down and one without.

Note: Unless you have FOMO concerns (which is very reasonable, if not necessary, as mentioned in later sections), you may still evolve any planned Dark Tyranitars during this CD to have Smack Down on them first, even if you plan to eventually use them as Bite/Crunch. You can always Fast TM later. Going from SD to Bite is easy; the reverse is not.

Smack Down Tyranitar as a Rock attacker

Since the CD move is Rock, we’ll look at Rock first.

Rock attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.
Rock attackers ranked by Equivalent Rating (ER) and DPS.

See Appendix 1 (at the end of this article) for technical details and how to read the charts. The Chandelure analysis also contains explanations on ASE vs ASTTW.

Smack Down Regular Tyranitar

Tyranitar RockDark

Big oof.

In 2018, the only things on this chart were Tyranitar and Golem. Let’s see what has been introduced since then: (sorted by date of introduction, not by quality)

  • Rampardos, with insane DPS
  • Terrakion, which later also became the best Fighting attacker
  • Rhyperior with its CD move Rock Wrecker
  • Shadow Tyranitar (& Shadow Aerodactyl/Omastar/Aggron)
  • Mega Aerodactyl, the best Rock attacker and mega currently
  • Gigalith with its CD move Meteor Beam (which was a great budget option, but already faced complaints from long-term players)
  • Tyrantrum with Meteor Beam (TMable), which is now a Terrakion-level attacker following the December GBL update

Yes, every single one of them is better than Smack Down/Stone Edge Tyranitar, sometimes by far. Tyranitar is now the #7 non-mega rock attacker, or #6 if you don’t count its own shadow. Barely at the edge of Unique 6.

To put it another way:

  • L30 Rampardos and RW Rhyperior ≈ L40 Tyranitar
  • L40 Rampardos and RW Rhyperior > L50 Tyranitar

As long as you got enough Meteor Beam Gigalith from its CD last year, you don’t need regular Smack Down Tyranitar at all. Sad, but true. This is not even counting 2020 players with their CD Rhyperiors.

PS. Notice Meteor Beam Aggron is on the chart, and it’s now a decent, very affordable Rock attacker that doesn’t require legacy moves! Stop laughing at people who use Aggron!

Smack Down Shadow Tyranitar

Tyranitar (Shadow) RockDark

On the other hand, a 15/15/15 Shadow Tyranitar with Smack Down is still generally the best non-mega Rock attacker today.

The glassy Rampardos does have better DPS and TTW, which means it is likely still the optimal choice in bigger (6+) lobbies where it may not need to relobby. However, in terms of Pokebattler Estimator, Shadow Tyranitar is 2% better.

Both statements remain true if we do a detailed breakdown against specific bosses:

Rampardos vs. Shadow Tyranitar at Level 40

Even though Rampardos beats 15/15/15 Shadow Tyranitar in TTW 2/3 of the time (innermost ring), Shadow Tyranitar instead wins 2/3 of the time in estimator (outermost ring).

I didn’t compare Shadow Tyranitar vs Rhyperior, but I did put all three options together:

Comparisons of all top-tier non-mega rock attackers, in terms of frequency of being the #1 of its type

This is very similar to the first Rampardos vs Shadow Ttar plot, with Rhyperior having a minimal #1 share. We can imagine that Shadow Tyranitar is likely a direct upgrade over RW Rhyperior.

IV Considerations

However, a 15/15/15 Shadow Tyranitar is hard to obtain, whereas a 15/15/15 Rampardos is at least easier. As Shadow Tyranitar’s IV drops, it starts to slowly dip below other options:

  • 10/10/10 Shadow Tyranitar becomes almost equivalent to hundo Rampardos. Even in estimator, Rampardos now takes over majority of the time (56%).
  • 5/5/5 Shadow Tyranitar is around Rhyperior level, and worse than Rampardos in most cases.
  • 0/0/0 Shadow Tyranitar is as good as Terrakion.

Even though a 0/0/0 shadow is generally better than 15/15/15 non-shadow of the same species, in this case, Shadow Tyranitar’s lead over others is too small to be immune to drops in IVs.

Couple that with the extra stardust cost, and I’m inclined to think a Shadow Tyranitar with “bad” IVs is likely not worth investing in. (Though its XLs will be more accessible than Rampardos XLs after the CD Classic, so there’s that.)

Smack Down Mega Tyranitar

Tyranitar (Mega) RockDark

Similar to Salamence, Tyranitar gains more defense than attack when mega evolving. Despite a still respectable 309 base attack (to Salamence’s 310), that doesn’t work well with its underwhelming moves, especially Stone Edge.

But it’s still good enough that Mega Tyranitar generally overtakes Mega Aerodactyl in solo power, albeit just slightly. They have very similar ASTTW, but TTar has 2.5% better ASE (0.9% when dodging). However, the glass cannon Mega Diancie will outclass Mega Tyranitar in individual damage output by a lot (assuming it keeps the current GM moveset Rock Throw/Rock Slide).

Where Mega Tyranitar really shines, however, is in its incredible bulk:

Comparison of rock-type megas, in terms of damage up to a fixed time frame (relative to the no-mega baseline).

Mega Tyranitar is the best Rock-type mega for group raids, and contributes the most damage by far. As long as you’re raiding with someone else, Mega Tyranitar will make you beat the raid faster than any other Rock-type mega could, present or future. This is usually still true even if the other players are not bringing Rock-type counters!

So far, we’ve added “1 regular Smack Down Tyranitar for a future Rock-type Mega Evolution” to our must-have shopping bag.

Non-CD Tyranitar as a Dark attacker

Don’t forget that with Bite/Crunch, Tyranitar is also a Dark attacker, without its CD move. Unfortunately, it may fare even worse here…

Dark and Ghost attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.
Dark and Ghost attackers ranked by Equivalent Rating (ER) and DPS.

Note: I combine Dark and Ghost attackers because they’re used interchangeably as anti-Psychic in the vast majority of cases. The only exceptions are Mega Medicham, Mega Gallade and Mega Mewtwo X raids (and if Meloetta ever comes to Elite Raids).

Regular Dark Tyranitar

Tyranitar RockDark

Even bigger oof.

Again, in 2018 the only things on this chart were Shadow Mewtwo (with Shadow Ball), Tyranitar, Gengar and Houndoom. Since then, we’ve seen the following options: (mostly sorted by date of introduction, not by quality)

  • Weavile, which later benefitted from the Snarl buff that made it usually outperform Tyranitar
  • Giratina (Origin), which later also got its signature move Shadow Force
  • Chandelure, which later had a CD
  • Darkrai, which already massively outclassed Tyranitar without even needing Dark Void
  • Shadows, especially Shadow Weavile and Shadow Tyranitar
  • Shadow Mewtwo, which can learn Shadow Ball using an Elite Charged TM (though I don’t think it’s worth it)
  • Yveltal
  • Hydreigon with its CD move Brutal Swing – the fatal blow that edged over Darkrai, and put every other non-shadow non-mega Dark to shame
  • Several megas: Mega Gengar, Mega Houndoom, Mega Banette (and Shadow Ball Mega Alakazam)
  • Several less notable options: Both forms of Hoopa, and Guzzlord – yes, Guzzlord

Everything here is better than Bite/Crunch Tyranitar. Yes, I repeat, even Guzzlord outclasses it, thanks to Brutal Swing.

Tyranitar is now… let me count… the #17 non-mega Dark/Ghost attacker, or #11 if you don’t count shadows. Even if you only count Dark and not Ghost, it’s still the #12 non-mega and #7 non-mega non-shadow (though that includes Guzzlord). Not even Unique 6.

To put it another way, L30 Brutal Swing Hydreigon > L50 Tyranitar.

As long as you got Brutal Swing Hydreigon from its CD last year, you don’t need regular Bite Tyranitar at all. Sad, but true, again.

Shadow Dark Tyranitar

Tyranitar (Shadow) RockDark

Were you expecting “Shadow Tyranitar is still the best Dark attacker?” Sorry, no.

Even a 15/15/15 Shadow Tyranitar is at best on par with Hydreigon. They’re very similar in all 3 metrics on my charts – ASE, ASE dodge, ASTTW – with at most a 1% difference, but on average, Hydreigon usually comes on top. This is still true if we look at individual bosses:

Hydreigon vs. Shadow Tyranitar at Level 40

Hydreigon “beats” a 15/15/15 Shadow Tyranitar in more than half of the cases. I assume these are largely dependent on typing and breakpoints.

If you dip into lower IVs, Hydreigon now dominates the competition. Not just that, but at 10/10/10, the best analogy for Shadow Tyranitar is already down to Darkai; at 0/0/0, it’s around Chandelure level.

Given the at-best-similar performance with Hydreigon, combined with a massive difference in cost (as of today), I have to say: Bite/Crunch Shadow Tyranitar is not worth investing in regardless of IVs, unless for variety reasons.

FWIW, below is a comparison of all top-tier non-mega Dark– and Ghost-type attackers in terms of their “#1 shares”. Darkrai would have <1% weight on the chart, so it’s omitted.

Comparisons of all top-tier non-mega dark and ghost attackers, in terms of frequency of being the #1 among both types

Note that despite Shadow Weavile having the greatest number of #1s in estimator, it falls behind Hydreigon in ASE value (which is an average). This is likely because the unfavorable cases for Shadow Weavile are when it does really badly, likely due to typing and lack of bulk, whereas Hydreigon is more consistent even when it’s not #1.

Mega Dark Tyranitar

Tyranitar (Mega) RockDark

If we look at individual performance only, this is another disappointment. Mega Tyranitar really doesn’t have nearly as much raw power as you’d expect.

Due to Mega Tyranitar’s relatively defensive stats and a bad moveset, at level 40, it falls behind even Mega Banette and Mega Houndoom. Its ASTTW is even worse than Shadow Weavile. And it’s 11-25% worse than Mega Gengar depending on metric. (Still ahead of Mega Gyarados, Absol and Sharpedo, but…)

Again, where Mega Tyranitar stands out is its bulk in group raids:

Comparison of dark- and ghost-type megas, in terms of damage up to a fixed time frame (relative to the no-mega baseline).

Note: This chart does not consider survival time differences caused by type effectiveness. Thus, Mega Gengar’s and Mega Banette’s survival times are likely overestimated.

If your group is fighting a Psychic-type boss, most likely Mega Tyranitar will contribute the most damage for the group.

  • If everyone else uses Dark types, it’s a clear winner.
  • If everyone else uses Ghost types, Mega Gengar, Banette and even Sableye will be better (though Mega Tyranitar is the best of the Dark-type megas). Type matching > bulk. However, this chart likely overestimates Mega Gengar and Banette.
  • If you don’t know what others are bringing – let’s say half use Ghost and half use Dark – Tyranitar is still better for 4+ player lobbies.
  • Considering that most players right now probably have some Hydreigon, I think it’s likely you’ll see some Dark-type counters.

So if you care about using megas to boost other players’ damage, instead of just grinding XLs or getting Hardest Hitter… Add “1 regular non-CD Tyranitar for a future Dark-type mega evolution” to cart.

What if Ttar gets better moves – AND why you may want to save Larvitars unevolved

Let’s look at our cart: 2 megas, and nothing else. What??? Is that what you really expect from a pseudo-legendary/shadow with 251 base attack (and a mega with 309)?

Despite great base stats (albeit still not as good as Rampardos and Darkrai), Tyranitar suffers from a really, really bad move pool. Bite, Crunch, Smack Down and Stone Edge – each one of them ranges from average to underwhelming. In 2018, Tyranitar’s great base stats still held it together, but not in 2023 when so many Pokemon with better stats have received their best, even overpowered moves.

The thing is, Tyranitar has no shortage of better moves to choose from in the Main Series Games (MSG):

  • Dark: Snarl*, Foul Play, Brutal Swing*
  • Rock: Rock Throw, Rock Slide*

* are also possible improvements for PvP (thus possibly more likely to come true).

All of them are upgrades over Ttar’s existing moves, legal for Niantic to add to PoGo, and with the exception of Rock Throw, are all reasonable to be added at some point.

Before we discuss how much these moves may help Tyranitar, I have to point out this: There’s a decent chance, if not a high one, that future move additions to Tyranitar may become event-exclusive again.

  • While I’m the opposite of a fan of Charmander- and Eevee-style “CD2”‘s (i.e. a past-CD Pokemon having a second non-Classic CD with different exclusive moves), a Larvitar CD2 that takes up a regular CD slot is something that a lot of players have specifically asked for.
  • CDs are not the only ways to introduce exclusive moves – for example, a mega raid day. Sure, no raid days in 2022 featured a new exclusive move (they either brought back past CD moves or didn’t have one at all), but most raid days in 2018-2020 did, even including Body Slam Lickitung. I can totally imagine a future where mega raid days are used to introduce new exclusive moves to get people to raid again.
  • Heck, it might also be a random feature of a weeklong event. Example: Psychic Alakazam and Shadow Bone Alolan Marowak in 2022, Grass Knot Breloom in 2018.
  • It’s certainly possible that some of these moves may be added to Ttar’s permanent movepool via a future GBL update. However, Brutal Swing was recently distributed to a few more users in December, and Tyranitar didn’t get it. To me, this makes a future addition less likely.
  • Saving is especially important for Shadow Larvitar due to its limited availability. If a Larvitar CD2 happens, you can evolve new regular Tyranitars during the event, but if you don’t have a shadow saved, good luck. (PvP players who missed out on Shadow Walrein now this.)

It’s up to you to decide how much you worry about such a potential future, and subsequently, how comfortable you are with evolving now. But my personal advice: If you don’t need to evolve a Larvitar right now, save it.

  • Keep in mind that it could be literal years before such a future happens. Do whatever makes you happy, regardless of what that choice is.

Rock: Tyranitar’s Improvements and Future Attackers

Future and speculative rock attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

I’m not showing a full future attackers list here, but you may refer to my Gigalith CD analysis for more.

Unfortunately, any improvements on the rock side won’t stop any of its forms from inevitably being outclassed in the future.

Regular Tyranitar

  • Even with the best moveset possible, Rock Throw/Rock Slide, it’s still below Rock Wrecker Rhyperior.
  • The more likely Smack Down/Rock Slide also falls behind Terrakion and Tyrantrum, in addition to Rhyperior and Rampardos. (It does outperform Gigalith though.)

Shadow Tyranitar

  • Since Shadow Ttar is already the best non-mega, having Rock Slide – with any fast move – solidifies its position as the current #1 Rock.
  • However, just like its regular form, even Rock Slide Shadow Tyranitar will eventually be outclassed by Shadow Rhyperior and Shadow Rampardos.

Mega Tyranitar

  • With the less likely Rock Throw/Rock Slide, Mega Tyranitar may tie Mega Diancie in Estimator and bridges the gap much closer in TTW, though still not surpassing it. The Smack Down variant leaves a bit more gap.
  • However, this is a vacuum scenario. And don’t forget Mega Tyranitar is already better for group raids than Mega Diancie.

This is not even considering possible improvements for other Pokemon, e.g. Meteor Beam Mega Aerodactyl, Head Smash Rampardos, Archeops with usable moves, Diamond Storm Mega Diancie, etc.

Dark: Tyranitar’s Improvements

Speculative Tyranitar movesets and dark attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

Note: To reduce clutter, Snarl/Foul Play (itself a rather likely moveset) is not shown. It’s slightly above the midpoint between Bite/Brutal Swing and Bite/Foul Play.

Luckily, Tyranitar has a lot more room for improvement on the Dark side, especially for its shadow and mega.

Regular Tyranitar

  • To get close to Hydreigon, it really needs Brutal Swing. Bite/Brutal Swing Tyranitar is still a hair below Hydreigon (owing to 5 less base attack), but no longer embarrasingly behind. Snarl/Brutal Swing will overtake Hydreigon.
  • Is that likely to happen? Idk. On one hand, Brutal Swing was already distributed to Pokemon like Ampharos and Guzzlord, so giving it to more Pokemon is certainly possible. On the other hand, the move was kind of balanced specifically for Hydreigon’s PvE relevance, and Tyranitar getting it will immediately reduce, if not eliminate, Hydreigon’s value.

Shadow Tyranitar

  • Since it already has a close call with Hydreigon, any improvement – even Snarl/Crunch – makes Shadow Tyranitar come out ahead of regular Hydreigon.
  • There’s nothing currently above Hydreigon, so it’s hard to set a benchmark here (more next section). But the absolute best case – Snarl/Brutal Swing – allows Shadow Tyranitar to land at Mega Gengar level!

Mega Tyranitar:

  • Similar story as the shadow. Any improvement makes it go beyond Mega Houndoom, and with Brutal Swing it passes Mega Gengar.

But don’t forget other possible attackers that may compete with Shadow Tyranitar:

Dark: Future and Speculative Attackers (Partial)

Future and speculative dark and ghost attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

(Due to time constraints, I didn’t show all future attackers, especially those below Hydreigon.)

Darkrai Dark

The most immediate concern here is Dark Void Darkrai. Not only is it likely to come before Tyranitar gets any improvements, but it’s damn strong. In the plots, I showed two possibilities for Dark Void: a modest Foul Play clone, and an optimistic Brutal Swing clone.

  • When facing Darkrai, regular Tyranitar is toast. Even the modest Foul Play Darkrai requires regular Tyranitar to have Snarl and Brutal Swing to surpass.
  • Even Shadow Tyranitar has some tough competitions here. Any version of Dark Void will certainly take over Hydreigon and vanilla Shadow Tyranitar, and even a Bite/Brutal Swing Shadow Tyranitar is only slightly above “Brutal Swing” Darkrai. It’s impossible to say which one will be better at this stage, but…
  • And we haven’t even got to Shadow Darkrai yet. Despite it likely being quantity-limited, it will likely put Shadow Tyranitar to shame.
Hydreigon (Shadow) DarkDragon

Shadow Hydreigon is probably way further ahead, but with a lot more certainty. Unless Shadow Tyranitar gets Snarl and Brutal Swing, it will be surpassed by Shadow Hydreigon, sooner or later.

Other Pokemon that can bring trouble to even an improved Shadow Tyranitar include Calyrex Shadow Rider with Hex (it doesn’t have a ghost fast move in the GM moveset), and Hoopa Unbound with its signature move Hyperspace Fury.

Shadow Chandelure and Blacephalon (with best case Shadow Claw/Shadow Ball) are very similar themselves, both being glass cannons. While they’re certainly outclassing vanilla Shadow Tyranitar, they may fail to reach some of the improved TTar scenarios, at least in estimator.

Verdict: How many to evolve? How many to save?

If this was 2018… I’m quoting what someone else said back then: “Evolve as many as you can. They’re meta as hell and may never return.”

Unfortunately, it’s not even close to being true in 2023. In fact, it’s arguably the exact opposite.

Recap

  • Regular Tyranitar is toast. Unless you somehow missed last December’s CD, just chill. However, if given Brutal Swing one day, it will catch up with Hydreigon.
  • Shadow Tyranitar with Smack Down is still generally the best non-mega Rock, beating Rampardos if you have good IVs. However, in the long term it will be outclassed by Shadow Rampardos and Rhyperior, even if it gets better moves.
  • Shadow Tyranitar with Bite is at best equivalent to Hydreigon, hence not really worth building. With a better move, its future prospects are brighter with possibly big improvements, even though Dark Void Darkrai will give it a run for its money, and Shadow Hydreigon will still inevitably overshadow it.
  • Mega Tyranitar‘s raw power is a bit underwhelming: above Mega Aerodactyl but just barely, while sitting below Mega Houndoom. However, its incredible bulk makes it the best mega to use in group raids.

CD gameplay and evolution advice

  • You definitely need at least two regular Tyranitars for the mega, with at least one having Smack Down. Evolve your best one, or evolve best two and TM away one later.
  • Beyond that… Honestly, relax.
  • For Shadow Larvitar, any that you do decide to evolve right now should have Smack Down to be a Rock attacker. Unless you’re a Unique 6 player and want one Dark shadow on your team in addition to Hydreigon.

Possible future moves, FOMO and save-to-evolve-later advice

  • Tyranitar has a lot more room for improvement as a Dark type, not rock.
  • Even then, for regular Larvitar, it’s not worth stressing too much about. Yes, Brutal Swing Tyranitar is about as good as Brutal Swing Hydreigon, but if you already have a Hydreigon, you don’t really need to prepare for this scenario. Also, Dark Void Darkrai says hi.
  • Saving is a lot more important for Shadow Larvitar, both due to its limited availability, and because it may take longer to be outclassed (even though it eventually will). Here, I still think Dark-type Shadow Tyranitar will have a better future, as Shadow Hydreigon is less likely to come before Shadow Rhyperior and Rampardos. Although Dark Void Darkrai is an oddball.

Overall, my final advice is: Evolve as many (good IV) Shadow Larvitar as you want during CD for Rock-type Shadow Tyranitar, and save the rest of the shadows for a potential future Dark-type Shadow Tyranitar with a better moveset.

  • This also helps in case the new moves are non-exclusive. If the new moves are Rock, TM your Smack Down Tyranitars. If the new moves are Dark, evolve your saved Larvitars.

Ultimately, do whatever makes you happy. What I’m saying is just general advice and may not apply to your priorities. If you get more enjoyment out of using an army of Shadow Tyranitars now instead of waiting for years, by all means, go ahead.


Articles coming up next

Honestly, I need a break. With 8 articles since December (one every week!), this is becoming too exhausting for me, and is starting to affect my work, life, and other things I enjoy. This article took more than 20 hours spread across 3 days, for example, and I spent most of my time writing it during the 3 days to meet the deadline.

Fortunately, the remainder of January seems like a good time for break (assuming Crackling Voltage isn’t a Rocket event). I’ll likely come back in February with the following:

  • Fairy: Probably when Mega Gardevoir comes, if the speculations come true. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it a fairy-type deep dive (e.g. comparisons with other types – I’m particular excited to see how they compare to dragons against bosses with dragon charged moves, for example).
  • Shadow Mewtwo and other shadow legendaries: It will still definitely come at some point, but no ETA. Should hopefully answer the “which legendary to spend Super Rocket Radars on” question… (My preliminary opinion is still Terrakion, but now Groudon looks like a strong contender.)
  • Primal Kyogre and Groudon, & other grounds like HH Mamoswine: Self-explanatory. Might also make this a ground-type deep dive.

The fairy article will hopefully be a big one. Besides that, I’m debating on whether to put more effort into expanding the shadow legendaries article or the primals article. Tough choice, right? Let me know which one you want! (Downsizing the fairy article is an option too.)

Appendix 1: Guide on how to read the charts & Technical details

Don’t know how to read the charts?

If you’re totally lost, just look at the first two plots, or just the first one if you don’t dodge in raids. These two plots are based on my Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which approximates in-raid performance using Pokebattler Estimator, best suited for realistic shortmanning (2-5 raiders).

The Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) plots are similar, but best suited for medium or large lobbies (6+ raiders). This metric assumes no relobbying (i.e. reentering the raid after all Pokemon fainted).

The ER (aka DPS3*TDO scaled) and DPS plots are for experienced players who want to check these metrics.

In all six plots, the higher, the better. Example: Rampardos is generally better than Terrakion, which is better than Tyranitar, if they’re all at the same Pokémon level. But everything listed is perfectly usable and will let you pull your weight in raids.

You can also compare different attackers at different levels: points on the same horizontal line mean they’re equally as good. Example: Looking at the “ASE no dodging” plot, A Level 35 Rampardos/Rhyperior performs similarly to Level 40 Terrakion and Level 45 Gigalith.

Reminder: All plots show average performance against many raid bosses. Against a specific raid boss, the rankings can be different.

Technical details:

  • The first two plots are based on my in-house Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which estimates in-raid performance by automatically computing the average Pokebattler estimators against a variety of T5, Mega and T3 raid bosses, scaled so that the best attacker at L40 gets 1.0. The smaller, the better. For more details, refer to my Venusaur analysis in January 2022 and the comments.
  • The middle two plots using Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) follow the same methodology, but replaces Pokebattler estimator with TTW.
  • “ASE Dodge” uses simulations with the “Dodge Specials” + “Realistic Dodging” options on Pokebattler. You can compare it to ASE without dodging to see how much dodging helps an attacker.
    • For example, Rampardos’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.084 without dodging to 1.054 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Rampardos’s performance.
    • However, Rhyperior’s L40 ASE rises from 1.104 to 1.23 with dodging, so dodging may hurt Rhyperior more than it helps.

Appendix 2: Past analyses on other types

Missing types: Fairy (planned – Mega Gardevoir), Poison

Not all articles are included: the ones here typically have sections not covered in the most recent/”main” articles.

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