6th Anniversary Event: Community Day Starters as Raid Attackers (Analysis)

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TL;DR

High priority attackers for Community Day moves on Saturday and Sunday:

  • Megas: Charizard Y, Blastoise, Venusaur; Sceptile, Blaziken, Swampert
  • Shadows: Swampert, Venusaur (Torterra is fine); maybe Charizard
    • TM away Frustration BEFORE evolving!
    • Shadow Feraligatr and Typhlosion are slightly worse
  • Non-shadows: Swampert (Samurott and Empoleon are fine), Blaziken, Sceptile
    • Venusaur, Torterra and Emboar are slightly worse

Regarding Dragon Breath/Blast Burn Charizard: TM to Fire Spin if you’re only building one mega for raids, but consider keeping one with DB/BB just in case.

(Even if you already know all these, keep reading for some interesting plots!)

Introduction

As part of the Pokémon GO 6th anniversary event, from Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 12:00 a.m. to Sunday, July 10, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. local time, you can obtain past Community Day moves – Frenzy Plant, Blast Burn and Hydro Cannon – on all Gen 1-5 starter Pokémon (and Dragon Breath on Charizard). Yes, this includes their Shadow variants.

From the perspective of raids, this is huge for many players. New players can use this opportunity to get cheap raid squads for their Grass, Fire and Water teams, thanks to the incredible strength of the CD moves. Even veteran players who never missed a single Community Day can also get the CD moves on their shadow Pokémon, which are top-tier raid attackers.

In this article, I will provide plots of all relevant Grass, Fire and Water raid attackers from level 30 to 50, so that you can see how the CD starters (and their shadows and megas) compare to other Pokémon at different levels. Just like last time, I’ll let pictures do the talk… As you’ll see very soon.

How to get the Community Day moves?

On non-shadow Pokémon: Just evolve a pre-evolution (e.g. Ivysaur) at any time on Saturday or Sunday.

On Shadow Pokémon: TM away Frustration BEFORE evolving!

  • If you have a Shadow Bulbasaur, you need to make sure it does NOT have Frustration as its first charged move before evolving. Fortunately, this can be done over this weekend as part of the event bonuses.
  • If you evolved a Shadow Ivysaur with Frustration, unfortunately you will get a Shadow Venusaur with Frustration. Now you can’t get Frenzy Plant without using an Elite Charged TM. Don’t do that!
  • No, unlocking a second move doesn’t help.

Also: If you want to use them as raid attackers, DO NOT purify them unless you know what you’re doing!

  • As you’ll see later, Blastoise is the one exception that I would recommend purifying.
  • In this case, you should still purify your Shadow Squirtle first BEFORE evolving!

Note that Gen 6-7 starters (Chesnaught, Delphox, Greninja, Decidueye, Incineroar, Primarina) will NOT learn the CD moves this weekend, as they have not had a Community Day yet. Some of them appear in this post, but only as future predictions.

Grass: Frenzy Plant starters

Grass attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance from Pokebattler sims, aka Average Scaled Estimator (ASE). Without and with dodging respectively.
Grass attackers ranked by DPS^3*TDO and DPS respectively.

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 and the comments.
  • “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, Roserade’s ASE drops from 1.175 without dodging to 1.161 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Roserade’s performance.

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 ASE metric, which approximates in-raid performance using Pokebattler. (The DPS3*TDO and DPS plots are for experienced players who want to check these metrics.)

In all four plots, the higher, the better. Example: Mega Venusaur is generally better than Shadow Venusaur, which is better than Tapu Bulu, 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: a Level 35 Mega Venusaur performs similarly to Level 40 Shadow Venusaur and Level 50 Tapu Bulu.

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

What this means

Venusaur (Mega) GrassPoison

Megas: 

Mega Venusaur is the best Grass attacker now, period, though not by far and can sometimes be challenged by shadow grasses. But prepare for Mega Sceptile, which is much stronger and blows everything out of water.

  • A general consideration for megas: You might want to have 3 copies of each mega, or at least of each type, so that you can cycle through 3 Level 3 megas every day for free (3-day cooldown).

Shadows:

Shadow Venusaur is usually slightly better than Shadow Torterra, but both are top tier and the difference is small. They generally compete against Shadow Tangrowth and Zarude as top non-mega counters.

  • In general, I highly recommend investing in shadow attackers for raids if you can afford them, regardless of IVs. Shadows at level 30 already outperform their own non-shadow forms at level 40, as shown in the plots.
  • But in this specific case, you might want to hold off powering up your Shadow Venusaurs. Kartana (an Ultra Beast) might be coming, and it has incredible potential as a grass type. Definitely evolve the shadows, though.
  • Shadow Meganium is largely irrelevant for raids, unless as a spice pick.

Non-shadows:

Sceptile is generally the best non-shadow Frenzy Plant starter, followed by Venusaur and then Torterra. They mostly serve as budget options nowadays, sitting behind Tapu Bulu, Roserade, possibly-coming-soon Tsareena (credits to PokeMiners), and generally Tangrowth.

  • Sceptile is very glassy and really benefits from dodging. If you don’t like using glass cannons, Venusaur might fit your style better.
  • Meganium and Serperior are irrelevant for raids.

Future considerations for starters

  • Chesnaught is set to become the best FP starter when its Community Day comes. It has lower DPS than Sceptile, but bulk saves the day (still very similar to Sceptile even if you dodge). Still worse than Roserade on average, but this is likely situational and there will be scenarios where Chesnaught takes the lead.
  • Rillaboom will then uproot the starters meta again. To put things in perspective, non-shadow Rillaboom with Frenzy Plant is about as good as Shadow Venusaur.
  • Shadow Sceptile, to me, seems like a slight disappointment. I wouldn’t hold off investing in Shadow Venusaur just to wait for Shadow Sceptile: it’s too glassy to really make an impact, and even with dodging, the improvement is smaller than you might expect. Shadow Roserade is more promising in that regard.

TL;DR

Get a good Venusaur and Sceptile for megas. Shadow Venusaur is one of the top grass shadows, though Shadow Torterra is close. If you still need budget grasses, Sceptile is your best bet, but Venusaur and Torterra are also serviceable.

Fire: Blast Burn starters

Fire attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance from Pokebattler sims, aka Average Scaled Estimator (ASE). Without and with dodging respectively.
Fire attackers ranked by DPS^3*TDO and DPS respectively.

What this means

Charizard (Mega Y) FireFlying

Megas: 

Mega Charizard Y is seriously OP. If you don’t have one with Blast Burn yet, get it now, seriously. Mega Blaziken will be a side-grade that’s just as good when it comes: essentially the same average performance, but different typing means both will still get to shine under different circumstances. (Mega Blaziken has higher DPS too.)

Shadows:

Shadow Charizard is now the best non-legendary shadow. It might not justify the expensive shadow investment, however – it typically falls behind Reshiram and shadow legendaries (Moltres, Entei, Apex Ho-Oh). For most players short on stardust, Reshiram is better, unless rare candy is an even bigger concern.

  • Shadow Typhlosion is a bit worse. Not far behind, but I would only consider it for variety or if you don’t have enough (good) Shadow Charizard.

Non-shadows:

Blaziken is the best Blast Burn starter by all measures; Emboar is also decent though a bit behind. All BB starters are outclassed by Reshiram, Chandelure, Darmanitan and generally Moltres, but at least they are easy to obtain during this event.

  • Charizard, Typhlosion and Infernape are not unusable, but having to compete with the extremely accessible Flareon makes it hard to justify the investment. Build one (or a few) Charizards for its mega, but I don’t expect anyone to use a team full of them unless it’s the best they have.
  • Blaziken improves a lot if you dodge, though still behind Chandelure and Darmanitan in most cases.

Future considerations for starters

  • Delphox won’t outclass Blaziken, but it will be the closest we have, sitting within the narrow gap between Blaziken and Emboar. But considering you can get Blast Burn Blaziken this weekend, it makes BB Delphox a lot less attractive even when its CD comes.
  • Shadow Blaziken will be great when it’s released. Depending on dodging, it roughly sits among the top-tier non-mega fire attackers occupied by shadow legendaries and Reshiram. Note that Shadow Chandelure and Shadow Darmanitan will eventually outclass all of them if we ever see them happen.

A word on Dragon Breath Charizard

Any Charizard evolved during the weekend will come with the double-legacy moveset Dragon Breath/Blast Burn.

While Dragon Breath is situationally better in PvP (hence the hype), it has limited utility for raids. Yes, you can use a Dragon Breath/Dragon Claw Mega Charizard X, but its own performance is below the long list of dragon attackers, Dragonite included. Its main purpose becomes providing damage boost to other players, but Mega Latios and even Mega Altaria do that better.

If you’re only building a single Mega Charizard, I would recommend TMing away Dragon Breath for Fire Spin. A FS/BB Mega Charizard Y has way more utility than a DB/BB Mega Charizard of any kind in raids (and arguably even in PvP, as Zard Y isn’t exactly a common pick for Mega Master League).

If you can afford to build multiple Mega Charizards, then keeping Dragon Breath/Blast Burn on one of them may be a good idea, in case you want to use it in the occasional Mega Master League, or in case Charizard gets a better dragon-type charged move such as Outrage.

TL;DR

Definitely build a FS/BB Charizard for the OP Mega Y, and prepare a Blaziken for its mega too as a side-grade. Shadow Charizard doesn’t really live up the hype of a shadow, and typically can’t overcome Reshiram, so the shadow investment won’t be for everyone. Regular Blaziken is still a good budget fire type, perhaps the cheapest.

Water: Hydro Cannon starters

Water attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance from Pokebattler sims, aka Average Scaled Estimator (ASE). Without and with dodging respectively.
Water attackers ranked by DPS^3*TDO and DPS respectively.

Note: The sims often use Feraligatr (shadow or regular) with Water Gun, which is a legacy move. Non-legacy Waterfall Feraligatr will be slightly worse than shown here.

What this means

Blastoise (Mega) Water

Megas: 

Mega Blastoise is better than any other Water attacker and sits comfortably ahead of shadows and non-shadows, but the gap is not huge, just like Mega Venusaur. (It’s stronger than Mega Venusaur in raw power, though). Mega Swampert will be a bigger deal when it comes (it even outclasses Shadow Kyogre and Primal Kyogre with Surf!), so definitely be prepared.

Shadows:

Shadow Swampert is amazing and really showcases how much power creep is introduced by shadows. It sits well ahead of Kyogre, as L30 Shadow Swampert generally outperforms L40 Kyogre. It also faces almost no competition until Kyogre gets its signature move Origin Pulse, or other similar shadows are released.

  • Shadow Feraligatr, while not far behind, unfortunately sits in Swampert’s shadows (keep in mind the Water Gun issue mentioned above). It’s still comfortably above Kyogre, but becomes a variety option or a poor man’s Shadow Swampert.
  • Shadow Blastoise is largely irrelevant for raids except as spice. It’s roughly as good as other non-shadow starters. If you have a good Shadow Squirtle, you might want to purify it and evolve to Mega Blastoise instead.

Non-shadows:

SwampertSamurott and Empoleon (and Kingler) are all extremely close as the best non-mega non-shadow non-legendary water attackers, and each one of them has its own merits. But Swampert has the best holistic performance overall, having the best typing for a water attacker and highest DPS on paper by a hair (that’s before even considering its mega). Any of the three will serve you well, and if you dodge, they become virtually indistinguishable.

  • Feraligatr generally falls behind the abovementioned options by a bit (again, the Water Gun issue).
  • Blastoise is irrelevant for raids.

Future considerations for starters

  • Water is the only type where CD starters keep outclassing one another until Gen 8. Greninja will already rise above the Swampert/Samurott/Empoleon ballpark and attempt to bridge the gap between Kyogre and the starters, though it fails due to its glassiness. (It does have higher DPS than Kyogre.)
  • Primarina takes a step further with more bulk, now actually getting close to Kyogre in performance.
  • Inteleon will be an insane glass cannon, this time finally outclassing Surf Kyogre. It can even get to Shadow Swampert levels if you dodge.
  • Shadow Samurott and Shadow Empoleon will probably end up similar to Shadow Swampert, if not slightly worse. Their gap on my plots seems bigger than the non-shadow variants, possibly because bulk matters a bit more for shadows (and also possibly because my sims don’t allow Shadow Samurott to use Fury Cutter while regular Samurott can). They are good for variety, but not reasons to hold off powering up Shadow Swampert for now.

TL;DR

Both Blastoise and Swampert are good for their megas. Shadow Swampert is also the top non-mega water attacker by far. As for non-shadows, SwampertSamurott and Empoleon are all similar as the best non-legendaries, only behind megas, shadows and Kyogre.

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