Community Day Staraptor as Flying-type Attacker in Raids (Analysis)

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TL;DR

If you don’t have a team of Flying attackers for the (likely) upcoming Pheromosa and Buzzwole raids, it’s time to get them NOW, for FREE! Just keep evolving high level/CP Starly during Community Day, until you get 6 Staraptors (or however many you need) with Gust/Brave Bird. No stardust required, no TM required.

  • Gust/BB Staraptor is most similar to Honchkrow (and so are their shadows). Generally behind most “good” Flying-type legendaries like Hurricane Rayquaza and Yveltal, and way behind Sky Attack Moltres.
  • Even though Flying attackers don’t see much use historically, there are 4 bosses double weak to flying, where they become almost mandatory: Virizion, Pheromosa, Buzzwole and Mega Heracross.
    • You may also see them as backup options against Mega Mewtwo X, Gallade and Medicham.
  • Staraptor can possibly be improved further with Fly or Sky Attack, though still not reaching Moltres level. Hopefully they will come via future GBL move pool updates…

Introduction

Starly Community Day (CD) happens this Sunday, July 17, from 11am to 2pm (followed by 5 hours of Staravia raids that trigger extra Starly spawns). If you evolve a Staravia before 7pm, you will get a Staraptor that learns the fast move Gust. This also applies to Shadow Staraptor, regardless of whether it has Frustration (yay!).

You have probably seen plenty of people calling this CD the most boring one in 2022. Gust does not push it into relevance in PvP, and how often do you even use a flying type in raids? But today, I’ll show you that maybe, just maybe… This CD is a little bit more interesting than you think from a raid perspective.

The Charts

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

Technical details, as usual:

  • 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, G/BB Staraptor’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.381 without dodging to 1.328 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Staraptor’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: Shadow Moltres is generally better than Mega Pidgeot, which is better than Staraptor, 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 Moltres performs similarly to Level 40 Shadow Staraptor and Level 45 Rayquaza.

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

How good is Gust Staraptor?

Staraptor NormalFlying

Even though Gust wasn’t what a lot of players hoped for, it is nevertheless still an upgrade over Wing Attack in raids, albeit a small one.

Gust/Brave Bird Staraptor’s overall performance as a Flying attacker is most similar to Honchkrow, a well-established glass cannon Flying attacker that is cheap and has great DPS. While CD Staraptor’s DPS isn’t as high, it comes with a bit more acceptable bulk. As a result, Honchkrow typically just edges out CD Staraptor in most cases, but they still sit next to each other in rankings. This also applies to their respective shadows.

Unfortunately, Gust Staraptor still fails to soar higher than many legendaries: Moltres (with legacy Sky Attack), Apex Lugia, Rayquaza (with legacy Hurricane), Ho-Oh (with Hidden Power Flying), and Yveltal. In fact, unless you dodge, even Shadow Staraptor is still generally worse than non-shadow Moltres in practice!

  • It should be noted that, despite how clumsy Gust is, dodging still helps Staraptor’s performance tremendously, just like Honchkrow. This is because 1) Staraptor’s bulk is still not impressive even though it’s better than Honchkrow; and 2) Brave Bird is a 1-bar charged move, so dodging helps reduce energy waste (e.g. when tanking a charged move would push it to the 100 energy cap).
  • Remember that because Gust is a fast move, you can evolve any Shadow Starly to get the CD move, even if you forgot to TM away Frustration last weekend!

Staraptor vs Honchkrow

Here’s a more detailed comparison of both their shadow and non-shadow forms in legendary and mega raids, at level 40 with best friends:

  No dodge Dodge
Honchkrow is better against… Urshifu (Rapid Strike), Virizion, Mega Blaziken, Mega Gallade, Mega Lopunny, Mega Medicham, Mega Mewtwo X (7) Urshifu (Rapid Strike), Zamazenta, Mega Blaziken, Mega Gallade, Mega Lopunny, Mega Medicham, Mega Mewtwo X (7)
Staraptor is better against… Keldeo, Zamazenta, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill, Mega Heracross, Mega Venusaur (7) Keldeo, Virizion, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill, Mega Heracross, Mega Venusaur (7)
Shadow Honchkrow is better against… Urshifu (Rapid Strike), Virizion, Mega Blaziken, Mega Gallade, Mega Heracross, Mega Lopunny, Mega Medicham, Mega Mewtwo X (8) Keldeo, Urshifu (Rapid Strike), Zamazenta, Buzzwole, Mega Blaziken, Mega Gallade, Mega Heracross, Mega Lopunny, Mega Medicham, Mega Venusaur, Mega Mewtwo X (11)
Shadow Staraptor is better against… Keldeo, Zamazenta, Buzzwole, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill, Mega Venusaur (6) Virizion, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill (3)

Note: This list excludes Kubfu and mythicals other than Keldeo.

Too long? I got you covered! Here’s a summary.

Flying attackers have two main roles as raid attackers:

  • Handling bosses double weak to Flying: Virizion (Grass/Fighting), Pheromosa, Buzzwole, Mega Heracross (Bug/Fighting)
  • Handling Psychic/Fighting bosses that are only weak to Ghost, Fairy and Flying: Mega Mewtwo X, Mega Medicham, Mega Gallade
  • And, to a smaller extent, helping with Fighting-type bosses (Keldeo, Zamazenta, Urshifu Rapid, Mega Blaziken, Mega Lopunny) if you don’t have enough top-tier Psychic attackers like Mewtwo; plus a few oddball bosses that are Grass or Bug types (Mega Beedrill, Mega Venusaur)

When viewed through the lens of these categories, the comparison becomes clear:

  • Staraptor is generally better against the three Bug/Fighting bosses (Pheromosa, Buzzwole, Mega Heracross), due to the lack of Dark typing.
  • Honchkrow is generally better against the three Psychic/Fighting bosses (Mega Mewtwo X, Mega Medicham, Mega Gallade), this time thanks to its Dark typing.
  • Virizion and the other fighting bosses are more of a mixed bag. Seems like Honchkrow has a slight advantage, but they often depend on the specific boss, dodging and whether you’re using shadows.

It should be noted that Flying-type counters are irreplaceable against the Bug/Fighting bosses and Virizion, whereas Psychic/Fighting and miscellaneous Fighting bosses often have better counters in Ghost and Psychic types, respectively.

Overall, they’re still very similar in practice, and both will serve you well in most cases:

  • Factors that favor Staraptor:
    • Better in scenarios where Flying attackers are crucial
    • Easier to obtain (both shadow and non-shadow)
    • Possibility of getting a better move in the future
  • Factors that favor Honchkrow:
    • Higher DPS
    • Slightly better average performance
    • Also a good Dark-type attacker (especially the shadow), though a lot less relevant after Deino CD
  • Or, if you can afford it, just use Sky Attack Moltres 🙂

Why should I care about flying types?

Many players disregard Flying attackers in their raid squads, and that’s not without reason. Even though Flying is not the attacking type with the least number of legendary or mega bosses to hit on – that (dis)honor belongs to Poison and Water types – most bosses that are weak to Flying are either irrelevant or unreleased. To make things worse, most Flying types not named Moltres often lack the raw power to be competitive.

But there’s still a very good reason to care.

There are four legendaries, ultra beasts and megas (up to Gen 8) with a double weakness to Flying: Virizion, Pheromosa, Buzzwole, and Mega Heracross.

  • That number alone is already high, tied as the third highest among all types, only behind Ice and Rock.
  • But aside from Virizion, the other three bosses also have great utility that can jolly well lure you to raid them. Buzzwole looks extremely potent in PvP Master League. Pheromosa has the highest Bug-type DPS by far (even though it’s thin as paper). Heracross is a regional, has boosted shiny rates, and has a great and useful mega.
  • Pheromosa and Buzzwole may also come to raids very, very soon! Pheromosa has already been given out via special research at Go Fest Berlin, while Buzzwole will receive the same treatment at Seattle. They will be released globally later this season, likely as raid bosses.

Against these raid bosses, with best friends bonus and no dodging:

  Virizion Pheromosa* Buzzwole Mega Heracross*
L40 Moltres 1.45 (410.8s) 0.92 (261.4s) 1.53 (441.7s) 0.86 (244.1s)
L40 Shadow Staraptor 1.38 (377.4s) 1.03 (267.6s) 1.74 (478.7s) 0.98 (256.3s)
L40 Staraptor 1.63 (447.1s) 1.19 (313.9s) 2.05 (569.3s) 0.99 (266.1s)
L30 Staraptor 1.79 (491.6s) 1.33 (345.6s) 2.25 (619.9s) 1.29 (335.9s)
L40 Mewtwo 1.81 (514.6s) 1.20 (325.2s) 2.40 (671.5s) 1.22 (325.1s)

* Estimators for Mega Heracross and Pheromosa are with best friends bonus. They will be tougher if you want to solo them.

Yes, you really want to use Flying types in these raids (they deal 2.56x damage here, while others such as Psychic only deal 1.6x at most). Against these bosses, on average, even L40 Mewtwo is similar to L30 CD Staraptor. Which you can get for free.

Even though a team of L30 Staraptors or even L40 Staraptors won’t be enough for shortmanners (they narrowly miss the duo threshold for Buzzwole, and fall short of soloing Pheromosa and Mega Heracross without friendship bonus), a cheap L30 Starpator team can already ensure an easy duo for Pheromosa and Mega Heracross, an easy trio for Buzzwole, and a harder but still reasonable duo for Virizion (beware of Stone Edge).

So here’s my advice to everyone: If you don’t have 6 usable Flying attackers for the upcoming Pheromosa and Buzzwole raids, this is the best time to get them NOW, for FREE. Just keep evolving high level/CP Starly during Community Day, until you get 6 Staraptors (or whatever you need to round out your team) with the right moveset Gust/Brave Bird. No stardust required, no TM required.

What about Psychic/Fighting bosses?

Recall that I mentioned Flying types have two major roles, against bosses double weak to Flying, and against Psychic/Fighting megas: Mega Mewtwo X, Mega Gallade and Mega Medicham. Unfortunately, in the latter scenario, flying attackers that are not named Moltres are significantly less outstanding.

Psychic/Fighting bosses are only weak to Ghost, Flying and Fairy-type attacks. Notice how they’re not weak to Dark: while Dark and Ghost types can be used interchangeably in almost all cases, this is one of the few exceptions.

  • FYI: The other exceptions are Psychic/Fairy like Gardevoir, Ghost/Fighting like Marshadow, Ghost/Fairy (these are weak to Ghost but not Dark), Normal/Psychic like Meloetta Aria, and Normal/Ghost like Hisuian Zoroark (these are weak to Dark but not Ghost).

Here, Flying attackers can be used as a backup if your typical anti-psychic squad consists of Dark types (like the recent Hydreigon) but not Ghost types. But even though Moltres edges out the best Ghost attackers (Giratina-Origin and Chandelure), everything else falls short. On average, Shadow Staraptor is behind Gengar, Gardevoir and Togekiss, while regular Staraptor gets down to Sylveon and Granbull levels.

Obviously, having some Flying types is still sufficient for pull your weight in these raids. In fact, L30 Staraptor with best friends bonus is just enough to duo Mega Gallade with estimator 1.99. Just that they’re not as much of a necessity here.

Future Considerations: Sky Attack and Fly

Going all the way back to the charts, you can see that I have Gust/Fly and Gust/Sky Attack plotted.

  • Yes, the charged move upgrade from Brave Bird to either of them will be more significant than the fast move upgrade from Wing Attack to Gust, although still not a transformative one.
  • Gust/Fly Staraptor actually out-DPSes Shadow Moltres and Shadow Honchkrow! Though its lower bulk still keeps its performance in check. Gust/Sky Attack Staraptor’s DPS sits just below them.
  • In terms of in-raid performance (my ASE), they will likely bring non-shadow Staraptor towards the ballpark of non-Moltres legendaries, like Apex Lugia, Rayquaza, Ho-Oh and Yveltal, without outclassing them. Still can’t touch Moltres.
  • Shadow Staraptor with Gust/Fly will likely outperform non-shadow Moltres (finally), but of course not Shadow Moltres. Gust/Sky Attack can also do that with dodging.
  • Either charged move will allow Staraptor to rise above Honchkrow, and so does its shadow variant.

Even though neither Fly nor Sky Attack were given as Community Day moves, there’s still hope. Either of them can be easily added during a future GBL movepool update, as the moves will benefit Staraptor both in raids and in PvP. So from a raid perspective, I would evolve during CD for Gust now, and hope they will get better, TMable moves later on.

Note: Even though Fly is currently only learned by Flying Pikachu, it is in the datamined movesets for yet-to-be-released Flapple and Cramorant (credits to PokeMiners). So it’s not completely hopeless for Fly to be distributed to more Pokemon… Or so we hope.

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