Ultra Space Wonders Event: PvP Review

G’day PoGO lovers! Very soon we will see the release of 3 new Ultra Beasts through the Ultra Space Wonders Event! This event will also feature a number of Poison type Pokémon and a bunch of raid options, so lets take a look at the event spawns and dive into which ones you should consider prioritising a hunt for!

Ultra Space Wonders Event Event icon

Date & Time 📅

  • Starts Thursday, May 23, 2024, 10:00 a.m local time
  • Ends Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 8:00 p.m local time

Bonuses 🎁

  • Pokemon Encounter icon Blacephalon and Stakataka make their Pokémon GO debut
  • Pokemon Encounter icon Evolve Poipole into Naganadel with 200 Poipole Candy, and by catching 20 dragon type Pokémon with Poipole as your buddy
  • Pokemon Encounter icon Shiny Mareanie is available for the first time!
  • XP icon 2× XP for winning Ultra Beast Raid Battles.

New Ultra Beasts in PvP Pokemon Encounter icon

A Rampart Castle – Stakataka

Stakataka

Stakataka, a new Ultra Beast, will make its Pokémon GO debut in five-star raids in the Eastern Hemisphere! Stakataka is a bulky Rock and Steel type with a fairly clunky moveset of Rock Throw, Stone Edge and Flash Cannon / Bulldoze. With this slowww charging combination of moves, Staka will definitely need to be employed in a very specific role and team composition, but with a double weakness to Ground and Fighting type moves, as well as single weakness to Water type moves, a lot will need to go right for Staka to put in some work!

Master League

Starting with the highest CP format, and we can see that Staka isn’t pulling off too many notable wins in the Master League. The below isn’t truly representative of all shielding scenarios, but going through the sims there is a general theme that emerges – it smacks down all Flying, Fire and Psychic types (most notably Mewtwo in the 0v0 and 2v2 scenarios) but loses heavily to all Ground and Water types (including meta staples Groudon, Landorus and Kyogre) and gets knocked about hard by the pseudo-fighting fairies in Zacian and Xerneas. 

Staka’s performance is generally better (note: better, not great!) with either a shield advantage or playing out the 2v2 scenarios. The main problem I see for Staka is that even though it’s fairly bulky, its moveset is holding it back from being able to apply any shield pressure whatsoever. In losing matchups, it can’t put up enough of a fight to be considered a safe swap, and in the current meta there aren’t enough targets for its heavy Rock type output to be particularly viable. In the main series, Staka learns a much wider variety of charged moves, such as Rock Slide, Superpower, Brutal Swing and Body Slam… but without Niantic pulling some heavy lifting with its entire movepool options, sadly I don’t think we’ll see Staka becoming part of the meta any time soon. Although, it’s always fun to dream!

Notable Wins Notable Losses
Ho-Oh
Togekiss
Lugia
Yveltal
Rayquaza
Reshiram
Zekrom
Mewtwo
Excadrill
Groudon
Zygarde
Metagross
Zacian
Xerneas
Landorus
Dialga (both)
Kyogre
Garchomp

Ultra League

Stakataka caught during raids will fall under the 2500 CP cap for the Ultra League, which means you could consider a cheaper investment for that meta. Overall, it’s a similar story in the Ultra League. Staka pounds down on the Fire and Flying types, but really struggles into a lot of meta staples which are Water, Fighting and Steel based. However, if you look at its notable wins below, you see that a lot of its wins are against mons that are absolutely everywhere in the open meta! Staka does pack in a lot of defence into its stat product, and although it can’t compete with the bulk of Registeel, Cresselia and Giratina, it’s packing enough weight onto those spindly legs to really beat down on its winning matchups a lot better than what the sims suggest in the Master League. If you can keep Staka hidden from its bad matchups, I think it will have some spice play in the Ultra League.

In terms of stat product, some quick playing around in PvPoke doesn’t seem to suggest that going for high stat product IVs through trading will make a notable difference to performance, but the extra defence and HP stat will always be appreciated if you’re lucky enough to successfully trade one with decent PvP IVs (eg: 5-10-14).

Notable Wins Notable Losses
Charizard
Pidgeot
Talonflame
Dragonite
A-Ninetales
A-Muk
Tentacruel (1v1)
Golisopod
Mandibuzz
Giratina (Altered)
Skeledirge (0v0)
Cresselia (0v0)
Poliwrath
Steelix
Annihilape
Virizion
Cobalion
Registeel
Swampert
A-Slash
Tapu Fini
Feraligatr
Umbreon

Great League

Stakataka won’t be eligible for the Great League until Niantic releases them during field research. Even then, I don’t think we’ll see much of Staka in the lowest CP format with its current moveset and win-loss rate

Light Up the Fireworks – Blacephalon

Blacephalon

Blacephalon, the Fireworks Pokémon, will make its Pokémon GO debut in five-star raids in the Western Hemisphere! Pretty much the polar opposite of Stakataka in terms of stats, Blacephalon is the definition of a glass cannon! With a whopping attack stat and a pretty decent moveset, it’s going to pack an absolute firey punch while it’s on the field – but just how long will that be?! As a Fire and Ghost type, the most obvious comparison point is to Chandelure. Now, Chandelure is very well known as a glass cannon, semi-viable only with shield advantage and ideally an energy advantage. Looking at this comparison side-by-side, and Blacephalon is even glassier than the candlestick (at L50)! 

Let’s take a quick look at how this plays out in PvP.

Master League

Starting with the Master League, we can see that Blacephalon melts through mons primarily when it can resist their fast move pressure. Its record is much better when employing shields – in the 1v0 scenario it wins most meta matchups, and operates decently in the 2v1 scenario as well. Being able to apply heavy fast move damage with Incinerate, attack debuffs with Mystical Fire really helps it stay on the park for a bit longer, and the nuke potential of Shadow Ball will knock many mons off the park! I predict that Blacephalon will be incredibly challenging to use with its frailty and the slow pacing of Incinerate, but in the hands of the right trainer, I can see it being a terrifying closer.

Notable Wins Notable Losses
Metagross
Xerneas
Zarude
Excadrill
Zacian
Mamoswine
Melmetal
Togekiss
Lugia
Solgaleo
Ursaluna (2v2)
Yveltal (2v2)
Giratina (both forms)
Reshiram
Rhyperior
Palkia (both)
Kyogre
Zygarde
Garchomp
Rayquaza
Dialga (both)
Landorus
Mewtwo
Groudon

Ultra League

In the lower CP Ultra League, Blacephalon is still putting in some work! Again, it loves to have a shield advantage and favourable matchups, but there’s a lot more Fighting, Ice and Steel types that Blace can put work into, and although it can’t beat pretty much any of the Water types (it does put up a fight against Tentacruel and Poliwrath), it outputs so much damage that if you successfully bring it into a positive matchup, you can leave with sooo much energy to threaten the next mon in. My same prediction applies here – Blace will be very hard to use! But in the right hands and scenarios, I think you can have a bit of fun while you’re at it. 

Note: stat product doesn’t seem to make a difference at all for Blacephalon, it’s really all about its matchups given you can’t avoid it having such a heavy attack weighting.

Notable Wins Notable Losses
Cobalion
Talonflame
Skeledirge
A-Ninetales
Annihilape
Verizion
Granbull
Cresselia
Venusaur
Steelix
Giratina
Jellicent
Umbreon
Greninja
Swampert
Feraligatr
Mandibuzz
Greedent
Tapu Fini
Dragonite
Charizard
Toxicroak
Trevenant
Guzzlord

 

The Poisoned Pin – Naganadel

Naganadel

Naganadel, the Poison Pin Pokémon, will be making its Pokémon GO debut, where you will be able to evolve Poipole into Naganadel by using 200 Poipole Candy after catching 20 Dragon-type Pokémon with Poipole as their Buddy. 

Naganadel in PvP

Unfortunately, it looks like Naganadel won’t be making too much of an impact on the current PvP scene. Similar to Blacephalon, its stats are heavily attack-oriented, and its Poison type damage isn’t doing it many favours in the Master League. It can take down the fairies and Zarude, but not much more. Same story in the Ultra League – its flimsiness and lack of a cheap charged move see it really struggle to pick up too many meaningful wins. Naganadel is also available under the Great League cap if you haven’t powered up your Poipole – but once again, its lacklustre performance makes that hard to recommend. Overall, it’s all a bit underwhelming and I can’t see even a movepool rebalance changing that too much.

Naganadel in PvE

Where Naganadel struggles to perform in the PvP scene, its performance is definitely much improved in the raid side of the game. With the moves Poison Jab and Sludge Bomb, Nagadanel will have a TDO which puts it into the #2 slot for Total Damage Output, and #6 for overall score for Poison type attackers. This isn’t too shabby, but similar to the likes of Mega Gengar, its lack of bulk does hold it back a bit with regards to overall PvE performance, fainting quite quickly to neutral hits. While its Dragon sub-typing could come in handy through its additional resistances, in this case I don’t think they’ll be particularly helpful, as Poison already resists Grass and Fairy type damage, which you would primarily be using Naganadel for. Arguably, the Dragon typing is sub-optimal for taking on the Fairy type raids, as it will now be taking neutral damage from those moves instead of resisting them!

So for me… it’s a bit of a hard sell. Overall, its current lack of transferability into the PvP side of the game holds it back from being a future project for yours truly, but if you’re looking for a new Poison type raid attacker, you could definitely do worse!

Best Event Spawns for PvP Pokemon Encounter icon

There are some really decent wild spawns for PvP throughout this event! Let’s take a quick look at the best spawns to consider grinding for.

Mareanie

Mareanie

Mareanie’s evolution Toxapex has in some ways been surpassed by the rise of Tentacruel, which is less bulky but a lot more powerful and similar pacing. However, Toxapex still pops up with a degree of frequency in the Great League, particularly in limited metas. The bulkier the better, if you pick up a decent IV variant it is worth hanging onto for sure. Plus, it’s new shiny is one of the key event features, which is a cool flex if you can find one!

Zubat

Zubat

Zubat’s middle evolution Golbat is another mon that features heavily in limited metas, but also pops up in the open meta from time to time. It’s not the bulkiest mon, but its dual PoisonFlying typing allows it to wall Fighting types, and its rapid access to its charged moves can put a lot of pressure on shields. Zubat has been in spawns forever and a day, so you might not have a strong need for a new Golbat bulld for the Great League, but if you are lacking one in your arsenal, now is the time!

Tentacool

Tentacool

As mentioned above, Tentacool’s evolution Tentacruel has become a real threat in the open Great League meta. As one of the few mons that completely walls everything that Poliwrath can throw its way, it has a lot of play in the open Great League – and even more so in the open Ultra League! It’s become almost a must have in the open meta, holding its own in a lot of different circumstances. Definitely stock up on XL candy throughout this event, as the bulkier the better in this UL format.

Stunky

Stunky

Stunky’s evolution Skuntank has fallen from favour a little in recent times. Skuntank has typically been an excellent pick in the Ultra League, but the rise of Annihilape and Poliwrath, which tend to do quite well into Skuntank, have rendered it a bit incapacitated. My thoughts are to stock up on XL candy for the shadow variant which is out and about at the moment in Team Rocket grunts, which generally performs a little bit better overall too. Note: in the Great League, Skuntank tends to operate better in limited metas.

Croagunk

Croagunk

Croagunk’s evolution Toxicroak is another mon best suited to limited metas – but the right meta comes along, it can be an absolute wrecking ball! Has a lot of play in the Great League and Ultra League, so if you need a new build, this is a good opportunity for you. 

Skrelp

Skrelp

Skrelp’s evolution Dragalge is a bit of a spicy pick in the open meta, but actually has a lot of play in the right team composition. It has good defensive typing and moveset of Dragon Tail, Aqua Tail and Gunk Shot / Outrage that allows it to hit almost everything for at least neutral damage. Here’s its record in the Great League and Ultra League – although it doesn’t appear from the sims to be a strong contender, it can play really well as a safe switch with certain ABB style teams. Skrelp itself has play in the Little League cups that come along more often these days, so if you’re into that format it could be worth handing onto one for that format.

Dratini

Dratini

Dratini’s evolutions Dragonair and Dragonite are meta staples in PvP, period. These spawns have been around aplenty in recent enough times, and Dragonite is the OG Dragon. For PvP, the shadows are typically the forms you want to prioritise, but the non-shadows do just fine too. 

Jangmo-o

Jangmo-o

Jangmo-o is a fairly infrequent spawn, so newer players may not have too many of these ready to go. Jangmo-o’s two evolutions Hakamo-o and Kommo-o are both very decent picks, the former more so in the Great League and the latter in the Ultra League. Their community days are likely to happen in the next 12 months, which could provide a slight upgrade to their movesets, but in the meantime I think they are both more than viable options, if you’re able to get decent IV’s and the candy to build them! 

Best Event Raids for PvP Raid icon

I tend to avoid most of the 1 and 3-star raids for events, primarily because it’s difficult to justify using a daily pass on them, and I prefer to hunt for optimal IV variants. However, there are a few raids throughout this event which are the exception to this rule.

Turtonator

Turtonator

Turtonator is a bit of a left field pick for PvP, for sure. The fire turtle shines in one primary format – the Fantasy Cup. If you’ve played this format in recent times, you would have seen Turtonator around quite a lot, as it is one of the unique Dragon types that can hit Steel types for super effective damage with its Fire type moves. It’s unlikely you’ve been grinding for the XL candy for an Ultra League build, where I think Turt has the most play, and it is a heavy investment to L50, but it’s definitely one with merit – even in the open Ultra League! It’s spicy, for sure, but a little like your favourite hot sauce, it’s the good kind of spice.

Galarian Weezing

Weezing (Galarian)

Galarian Weezing is much less left field (firmly in the right field), featuring fairly heavily in the open Ultra League, and particularly in limited metas. Its swiss-army charged moveset options include Brutal Swing and Sludge for bait moves, and Overheat and Play Rough for the nukes. I tend towards playing both nukes because of the speed at which it can reach them both with Fairy Wind and its ability to threaten heavy damage onto Poliwrath, but Brutal Swing & Overheat tend to be preferred in the open meta against the likes of Giratina and Cresselia. G-Weez needs to have Raid level IVs and be powered up to pretty much L50 for the Ultra League, so this is a good opportunity to ensure those IV’s are in the right ballpark. 

Galarian Weezing Raids

Pidgeot

Pidgeot

I also recently wrote about Pidgeot at decent length here. Taking on the Mega Raids is a good opportunity to get the hundo for the Ultra League – but given the frequency of Pidgey spawns, you may want to skip this raid for some of the other options available throughout this event.

Event Rating: 7.5/10 General icon

On the whole, this is a strong event, without fitting into the ‘great’ category. Loads of PvP relevant spawns, some new Ultra Beasts to acquire, and some decent 3-star raids means there should be something for everyone throughout the event. Some more interesting bonuses would have been appreciated, which brings the overall rating down for me a little. Don’t forget to utilise your mega evolutions for the XL candy grind!

I hope this guide has helped you prioritise your Ultra Beast hunting for this event, and as always, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram for more analysis. 

See ya later,

JTizzle

Author & tags

JTizzle
JTizzle
The one enlisted to explain games to new starters. Lover of all things Pokemon. Great League and Ultra League PvP specialist, and a dabbler in PvE.

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