Understanding DPS vs TDO in Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO Quests featuring Prof. Willow

A lot of times when you’re reading raid guides or articles about PvP you’ll encounter two terms that deal with the damage that a Pokémon deals in battle.  DPS and TDO.  Differentiating between the two and figuring out which one is more important in a given situation is something that a lot of trainers struggle with.

If you have a team full of Pokémon with high DPS and lower TDO Pokémon you’ll probably waste time bringing out a new team in the middle of a battle.  However, if you’ve got a team full of high TDO and lower DPS Pokémon you may not deliver enough damage in time to win the battle.

To start, we first need to have a good understanding of what exactly DPS and TDO mean and how they are calculated.

DPS

DPS stands for Damage Per Second and is the measurement of how much damage a Pokémon does in a battle per second on average.  DPS is calculated by dividing its total damage by the time the Pokémon was alive.

TDO

TDO stands for total damage output.  It is the measurement of the total damage that a Pokémon deals out in a particular battle.  TDO is calculated by taking a Pokémon’s DPS and multiplying it by the Time it will remain alive.

DPS vs TDO

Now, let’s apply these things to real-world scenarios.

Example 1

You’re face to face with tier 4 Charizard in a raid.  You quickly check your Pokébox and you’re two highest CP counters you have are Rampardos and Aggron.

According to our very own DPS vs TDO comparer tool

Aggron has a DPS of 11.98 and a TDO of 604.07
Rampardos has a DPS of 17.96 and a TDO of 514.83

It seems pretty straightforward, right?  Aggron does more total damage, so we should use them!  Right?

Well, lets head on over to pokebattler.com and see what happens when we put team Aggron and team Rampardos up against that Charizard.

Pokemon GO AggronAggron Pokemon GO RampardosRampardos
Total Damage 631 864
Average Damage per Pokemon 670.83 849.83
Total Deaths 7 7
Total Deaths Required 14.34 10.45
Total Potions Required 122.56 99.99
Charizard HP remaining 4751 2409

Team Aggron is unable to defeat Charizard, doing 631 total damage in 178 seconds and leaving Charizard with 4751 HP (53%)

Team Rampardos is also unable to defeat Charizard, doing 864 total damage in 178 seconds and leaving Charizard with a total of 2409 HP (27%)

Let’s evaluate those results.

While it is true that Aggron has a higher TDO, in the long run of a raid battle it will not do more damage than Rampardos will.  For the simple reason that it only does more damage because it stays alive longer doing less damage.

If you have Player 1 using 6 Rampardos they will be able to do more damage then that same player using 6 Aggron.  Simply put, they Aggron will last longer in battle, and as individual Pokémon will do more damage.   However, the damage they do while remaining alive does not outweigh the pure damage that Rampardos does in the shorter time that it is alive.

Example 2

This time you’re facing a level 40, 100% maxed out Charizard in a gym.

Again, your best Pokémon are Aggron and Rampardos.

Pokemon GO AggronAggron Pokemon GO RampardosRampardos
Damage Done 427 449
Damage Taken 82 91
Fast Moves Required 9 6
Charge Moves Required 1 1
Battle Result Victory Victory
HP Lost 82 91

As you can see, both the Aggron and the Rampardos are effective at taking down the Charizard and the Aggron even takes less damage.  The downside is that it takes longer to finish the battle, needing an extra 3 fast moves to finish the job.

Where does this leave us?

In raids, DPS is king.  You are up against the clock when you’re in the heat of battle and you need to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. Your strongest, heavy hitters are your best option in a raid.  Plus, the more damage you do the more Pokéballs you get awarded, for you and your fellow teammates.

In Gyms, it’s a little less important.  If you’re low on revives, or potions taking a bulkier Pokemon to do the job isn’t the worst idea.  The Pokemon that you’ll encounter are far less beefy than the ones you’ll find in raids so you can get away with bringing less Pokemon to the table that are not your heaviest hitters.

In the end, dealing super effective damage to whatever Pokémon your facing is the most important.  If your struggling with what Pokémon to power up we here at GoHub publish great guides on what Pokémon are the best counters to each and every legendary raid boss.

I've been playing Pokemon Go since the game launched way back in 2016, I am a loyal Valor player and also a content creator on YouTube going by the name Professor Glaw.