The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP limited formats… ah, but this isn’t really that kind of article, is it? No, today we’re doing “Bidoof or Bidoof”! Do you want to play Bidoof, or perhaps Bidoof instead? Can’t decide whether to lead with Bidoof or… Bidoof? How about your swap? I mean, Bidoof is okay, but maybe you want to hold Bidoof back as your closer instead? Oh, the decisions! Oh, the Boofanity!

Well good news, Pokefriends… I’m here to help you navigate through this tricky format and decide how to construct your team and give you that competitive edge! Let’s take a look at all the different Pokemon we have to choose from in the recently discovered BIDOOF CUP!

That’s right… as mined by the awesome PokeMiners, Niantic has another hair-brained scheme up their sleeves… a Little League (500 CP or less) format with nothing but the most awesomest benevelent god in all of Pokemon: Lord Bidoof!


Now I normally don’t analyze metas that have not even been formally announced yet, and we have no idea at this point when or truly even if this format will ever come to light. It’s even possible this is just a massive troll by Niantic. But all the same, I couldn’t resist. I just had to… well, sink my teeth into this format and see what was there to be extrapolated!

So first, let’s break down the little star of the show.

Bidoof Normal

Little League Stats:

Attack Defense HP
(59 High Stat Product)
(59 High Stat Product)
(123 High Stat Product)

(High Stat Product IVs for Bidoof Cup: 0-6-14 or 0-7-15, 500 CP, Level 31/30.5)

(further discussion on these IVs later in article)

So yes, actually a couple things to discuss here!

First off, no, Bidoof is NOT a Normal/Water type. Its evolution Bibarel has both typings, but there is a common misconception that Bidoof is also half Water, and that’s just not true. May seem irrelevant in a format where it’s the ONLY thing you’ll be seeing, but once we get to the moves you’ll see why understanding that is actually, legitimately important. As a mono Normal, it is vulnerable only to Fighting damage, double resists Ghost, and takes neutral damage from everything else.

Next, Bidoof is a tanky little guy! If you read my recent guide to Element Cup, you’ll know that having over 100 of any stat is notable in Little League, with some of the better Element options having roughly 107-109 HP. Bidoof has a comparatively massive 119! To compensate, it does have below average Defense (and roughly average Attack), but it’s still proper to call it “bulky” overall.

Let’s take a look at the moves next.


Fast Moves:

  • TackleNormal type, 3.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
  • Take DownNormal type, 1.67 DPT, 2.67 EPT, 1.5 CD

Yeah, there’s really no sugar coating it… Bidoof has dreadful fast moves. An average fast move (like the Water Gun that Bibarel enjoys) has 3.0 as the stat for Damage Per Turn and Energy Per Turn. While Tackle at least hits the damage mark, it is woefully below average in terms of energy gains. Conversely, while Take Down doesn’t hit EITHER mark, it at least has notably higher energy gains than Tackle, at the cost of dealing barely over half the damage of Tackle. The options here are so bad that when I initially went to analyze the Bidoof Breakout event and the intriguing new charge moves being added to Bidoof’s arsenal, I wrapped up literally within minutes of when I started. Tackle and Take Down both drag Bidoof down to being nearly unviable even in seemingly favorable Little Cup formats. For example, while it’s not eligible in Element Cup, even if it popped up there anyway… well, look at how they massacred my boy!

But I’m getting a LITTLE ahead of myself. We haven’t properly introduced the charge moves yet!

  • Charge Moves:
  • Crunch – Dark type, 70 damage, 45 energy
  • Hyper Fang – Normal type, 80 damage, 50 energy
  • Grass Knot – Grass type, 90 damage, 50 energy
  • Ice Beamᴸ – Ice type, 90 damage, 55 energy
  • Thunderboltᴸ – Electric type, 90 damage, 55 energy
  • Shadow Ballᴸ – Ghost type, 100 damage, 55 energy
  • Frustrationᴸ – Normal type, 10 damage, 70 energy (Shadow only)
  • Returnᴸ – Normal type, 130 damage, 70 energy (Purified only)

– Legacy/Exclusive Move

So for normal Bidoof caught outside of the special hours of the Bidoof Breakout event, your options are thus:

  • Crunch comes in as the cheapest but also softest hitting move, and is resisted by any Fighting types that would seek to prey on Bidoof. (Not an issue in THIS format, but just saying.)
  • Grass Knot is a decent coverage move and unresisted by Fighters, coming for 5 more energy than Crunch but hitting for significantly more damage. It’s a better move overall, though again, with Bidoof’s poor fast moves, even that extra 5 energy can be a bridge too far at times.
  • Hyper Fang is the only Normal move of the group, resisted only by Ghost, Steel, and Rock types, and despite having less listed damage than Grass Knot, will usually end up dealing slightly more damage in practice due to benefitting from STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), being a Normal type move on a Normal type Pokémon.

So let’s start right there, shall we? All things being equal, in THIS format, you are best going with Crunch and Hyper Fang, the former representing the closest Bidoof has to a “bait” move by allowing you to pretend you’re throwing a 50 energy move, actually using Crunch and its 45 energy instead, and being 5 energy closer to whatever move you follow up with later. In scenarios where all other things are equal, that means that Bidoof that throws Crunch first (and gets a shield with it) will outrace a Bidoof that starts out by throwing Hyper Fang/Grass Knot, but does NOT necessarily mean that Crunch Bidoof wins in the end.

But before I go too far down that beaver hole, I want to point out the special moves it gets during Bidoof Breakout. While I do recommend getting at least one good one with each of the three known exclusive moves while you can–never know when it may get a fast move update and suddenly become quite relevant–there’s really no reason to run Bidoof with Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, or Shadow Ball during Bidoof Cup. Beam and Bolt deal less damage than Grass Knot, and Shadow Ball represents the ONLY type of move that opposing Bidoofs actually resist: Ghost damage. So despite being a higher damage move on paper, in practice it deals about 20 less damage than even Crunch, and less than half the damage of Beam/Bolt/Knot/Fang. I suppose there are major style points for trying to use Shadow Ball in a format where literally everything double resists it, and props if you somehow win that way. But uh… don’t try it. Bidoof has the high ground!

Two other moves to discuss, though. Well, really just one, because Frustration is a move to completely avoid, but one that you will unfortunately be saddled with if you run Shadow Bidoof, as we’ve rather recently left a TM-Frustration-away event and not even the Good Lord (Bidoof) knows when we’ll see another. The one move that IS interesting is Return, which you are gifted for following Professor Willow’s advice and purifying your Shadow Bidoof. Yes, it costs a whopping 70 energy, which can feel like 700 with Bidoof’s below average energy generation. But IF you end up in a spot where you’re closing with Bidoof (after leading with Bidoof and, of course, have already burned through your safe swap Bidoof) that has Return and some energy, Return deals over 100 damage to enemy Bidoofs, with no other move sniffing even 70.

So what do I recommend running with? First off, in terms of fast moves, both have merit (in this meta). A Tackle Bidoof (at least with good IVs, which we’ll look into in more detail shortly) can do very well, and you may even be better off sticking with JUST fast moves depending on your style of play. Conversely, Take Down Bidoof applies more shield pressure and gets wins by throwing more charge moves. Neither is inherently “better” than the other here, just two different styles.

As for charge moves, Hyper Fang is an easy recommendation, being Bidoof’s best overall charge move in terms of energy to damage ratio (once STAB is factored in) and tied for second cheapest. After that, it’s sort of a matter of preference between Crunch (for speed) and Return, in my opinion. To reiterate: in this format where none of Bidoof’s moves above ever deal better than neutral damage, all the special ones (Grass Knot, Ice Beam, Thunderbolt, and Shadow Ball) are all inferior to Hyper Fang and there is literally no reason to run them except for the lolz, so Crunch has a better case than all of them as it is at least cheaper. And as silly as it sounds to put “Bidoof” and “closer” in the same sentence, a Bidoof WILL be your closer, so if you can arrange for that one to have Return, that could be huge if you’ve managed to strip shields away already.

Of course, if you decide to run with SHADOW Bidoof, you don’t have the option of Return at all. In that case, you’re going to be stuck with either Hyper Fang OR Crunch as your best options. And here’s the funny thing about both of them: neither are really any better (higher damage) than non-Shadow Bidoof when they go head to head. For example… well, here’s the head to head between Shadow and non-Shadow Bidoof. Note that despite one being Shadow (and getting that Shadow damage boost) and the other being non-Shadow, both Bidoofs deal exactly the same damage with their fast and charge moves… 3 per Tackle, 56 per Crunch, and 77 per Hyper Fang. No, this is not a weird simulation error, but rather Shadows working exactly as advertised. Yes, a Shadow Pokémon gets approximately a 20% boost to their Attack… but also a 20% nerf to their Defense. Since both Pokémon are the same (Bidoof) in this case, the Shadow Attack boost deals the same damage to non-Shadow Bidoof as does the damage of non-Shadow Bidoof to the Defensively nerfed Shadow Bidoof. Shadow Bidoof does NOT have any inherent damage advantage in this format… Shadow versus non-Shadow remains a true mirror match driven solely by shielding decisions, lag (hey, I’d be foolish to not consider that as a factor these days), and IVs.

And that is the last part of this discussion I want to focus on: IVs. My buddy ytxpikachu, one of the big contributors to GO Battle Log and a great guy that deserves more followers (hint, hint) selflessly dove deep in Bidoof IVs yesterday, sent me his findings, and encouraged me to use them in this article. So reminding again that credit for much of the breakpoint and bulkpoint information below belongs to ytx, here’s what he found and recommended I share with all of you, faithful readers:

  • Relevant breakpoints for Tackle are listed on the table snapshot above. As you can see, a higher Attack Bidoof (with 64.4 Attack or higher) can start to deal 4 damage per Tackle (rather than the usual 3 per) to lower Defense Bidoof opponents. As ytx notes, if you have in excess of 51.8 Defense (which is rather easy to achieve, actually), you can prevent even heavily Attack-weighted Bidoofs from having this advantage. So there are you key break- AND bulk-points to look for versus Tackle Bidoof.
  • Take Down Bidoof gets a little trickier. Even though it deals far less damage per turn than Tackle, remember that Tackle has a cooldown of just one turn (0.5 seconds) while Take Down lasts 3 turns (1.5 seconds), so each individual Take Down deals more damage on paper than each individual Tackle, but you can fit in three Tackles in the same time you use one Take Down. Got all that? Hope so, because now it’s time for Take Down break/bulkpoints. Typically, each Take Down deals 4 damage to opposing Bidoofs, but it’s much easier to reach breakpoints, as you can see on this table snapshot:

  • And in fact, you can even reach a SECOND breakpoint of 6 damage per Take Down, as shown below:

  • It can be somewhat difficult to achieve the bulkpoint necessary to prevent the opponent from dealing 5 damage per Take Down… a really high Attack one can do that almost no matter how bulky your own Bidoof is:

  • But, you CAN prevent the second breakpoint of 6 damage without much trouble, needing 51.9 Defense to ensure that even the most Attack-heavy Bidoof you can imagine (a 66.5-Attack, 15-0-0 Superdoof!) cannot reach that 6 damage breakpoint. If that was all confusing… just check the charts again. That might be easier. 😅
  • ytx also checked Shadow break/bulkpoints for Tackle specifically, and found that while there ARE some to be found (going again from 3 per Tackle to 4 per Tackle), most rather common IV spreads handle it. Generally I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but here is a quick snapshot of the meat of his much larger table:

So what does that all mean? Key takeaways from putting all of that together are as follows. If you are scrolling through the article looking for TL;DR type information, PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART:

  • Bidoof with 122 HP will generally beat opposing Bidoof, regular or Shadow, by simply outlasting them. Example simulations of this include facing max Attack Bidoof (win), standard #1 IV Bidoof (win), and of course any average type IVs that fall in between (win).
  • You can push your Bidoof up to 123 HP and achieve Number 1 IVs in Bidoof Cup specifically with an IV spread of either 0-6-14 (at Level 31) or 0-7-15 (at Level 30.5), both of which hit 500 CP exactly and give Bidoof 123 HP, 58-59 Defense, and 59 Attack. And you can see in this Bidoof core meta sim (much thanks, as always, to the awesome Mr. PvPoke for putting together such a meta to sim against!), having one of these ideal IV spreads REALLY pays off! Your Bidoof will earn its title of Lord Bidoof!
  • If you can’t find a Bidoof with those IVs, your best bet (as per usual in Little/Great/Ultra Leagues) is to just go with high bulk and lower Attack. You obviously won’t achieve those breakpoints we talked about, but in all honestly, you have to have a seriously unbalanced Bidoof (with really high Attack and dangerously low bulk) to hit the high marks in breakpoints anyway. I personally don’t recommend trying… just stick with the bulkiest Bidoofs you can find and bank on outlasting the opposition. Yes, you may only survive with 1 or 2 HP left over, but if you’re surviving, that’s all that matters!
  • Outside of IVs, a reminder that Tackle obviously does a lot more damage on its own and is the fast move you will wish you had if you’re behind on shields, while Take Down throws out more charge moves and busts down shields much more easily. There’s room for a team of three to run both or just one or the other… it’s kind of up to what YOU are more comfortable with! As far as charge moves, Hyper Fang is a near-must, and then it’s a matter of whether you want speed with Crunch, or KO power with Return. (Note that Shadow Bidoof should choose between Fang or Crunch as their sole move, as they’ll be stuck with Frustration filling the second move slot.)

But wait, there’s still one MORE thing before we go. While it’s not a part of the ongoing Bidoof Breakout event and, indeed, has not even been hinted at in official Niantic publications, PokeMiners ALSO found a note in the code about Bidoof that knows Superpower. 😱 Obviously this would drastically change the format, since Superpower is a Fighting move (AKA super effective to Bidoof) that deals twice the damage of Crunch for 5 less energy, and can KO most Bidoof immediately combined with the light damage of Take Down required to build up to it, much less the much higher cumulative damage of Tackle. (Just 10 Tackles’ worth of damage plus one Superpower is enough to fell your run-of-the-mill Bidoof). I chose not to throw more speculation into the evaluation of an already semi-speculative analysis article, but I would be remiss to not at least point out that Superpower Bidoof COULD still be coming in time for this crazy Cup.

EDIT: So it’s happened… Superpower Bidoof IS coming, as announced June 28th. And yes, this changes everything:

Ideally, you may now want high Attack Bidoof with Take Down to outrace the opponent and win CMP. If I can re-analyze in more detail this week I will, but unfortunately, looks like you’ll now just want three Superpower Bidoof, and the only way to catch them is during Bidoof Cup hours (10am to 8pm on July 1st). According to Niantic’s announcement, you can’t even TM Superpower onto Bidoof until AFTER Bidoof Cup is over, so you must catch them while the Cup is going on to be able to use them during the Cup. Good luck!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand there we have it. Far, FAR more than I ever expected to write about Bidoof in my lifetime. 🤓 Thanks for sticking with me through the fun parts AND the surprisingly deep analysis. Obviously this is a joke format, and while I tried to keep it similarly light throughout this article, I wanted to give you some real, bona fide analysis to help you wage Boofy war when (if?) the time comes for it. Hope this helped!

To state it one more time, no, I don’t know when (or truly even IF) Bidoof Cup will see the light of day. My GUESS is that it will happen during one of our GO Battle Nights, but that’s all that is: a guess. Whenever it comes, hopefully you now feel better prepared… and know what sort of Bidoof to hunt for as they Breakout in Pokémon GO over the next week.

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to reach out on Reddit or Twitter or Discord or wherever else you can track me down with any questions and I’ll try to get back to you quickly!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, and good hunting!

(original header photo credit to Niantic/Pokémon GO, modified by JRE 😁)