Dragon Pulse, a Dragon type charge move, has just been confirmed as the exclusive move that Ampharos will be able to learn during Community Day. It is a 2-bar charge move with 90 base power and a cooldown of 3.6 seconds. The Table below shows Ampharos’ base stats and Max CP in the game.
The purpose of this article will be to analyze Ampharos’ place in the current metagame and whether or not the new exclusive move will make it shine.
Electric type Overview
The Electric type is one of the most useful types in the current metagame, mainly due to the abundance of good Water types that it can counter. Ampharos is not a bad Pokémon overall, but there are other options such as Raikou or Zapdos that perform significantly better due to their better movesets or due to their better stats.
Electric type attackers
Raikou is the best Electric type attacker in the game, not only because of its great base stats but also because of its moveset, Thunder Shock and Wild Charge. Wild Charge is currently the best Electric type charge move in the game, and from this list, Raikou is the only one that is able to learn it. Even though Zapdos has the highest attack stat of them all, its current best moveset, Charge Beam and Thunderbolt, is slightly worse than Thunder Shock and Wild Charge, a fact that goes to show how important movesets are. Ampharos, on the other hand, has the lowest attack stat and Max CP in the list, and even Magneton (223) and Manectric (215) have a higher attack stat.
The best Dragon type attackers in the game are compared in this article written by Josh Provines, which can give you an idea of how good they would be in comparison to Ampharos. To be completely honest, it does not even stand a chance against them, as they benefit from STAB, dual Dragon type movesets and legendary-tier attack stats, far from Ampharos’ capabilities.
Ampharos as a Dragon type attacker
Some people were very surprised when the exclusive move for Community Day was confirmed, as Ampharos is not a Dragon type in its base form. Mega Ampharos, on the other hand, is an Electric and Dragon type Pokémon. However, there is no indication whatsoever that Mega Evolutions will be coming to Pokémon GO in the near future. Therefore, Ampharos’ Dragon Pulse will most likely not benefit from STAB for a long time.
Furthermore, the only available fast moves that Ampharos is able to learn are Volt Switch and Charge Beam, both Electric type moves, which would make Ampharos a non-specialist attacker due to the fact that it won’t have a moveset with dual Dragon type moves. The table below compares the weave DPS of all the movesets that Ampharos will be able to learn after Community Day.
|Fast Move||Charge Move||Weave DPS (STAB)|
|Charge Beam Electric||Zap Cannon Electric||21.03|
|Volt Switch Electric||Zap Cannon Electric||20.47|
|Charge Beam Electric||Thunder Electric||18.90|
|Charge Beam Electric||Focus Blast Fighting||18.83|
|Volt Switch Electric||Thunder Electric||18.62|
|Volt Switch Electric||Focus Blast Fighting||18.58|
|Volt Switch Electric||Dragon Pulse Dragon||16.83|
|Charge Beam Electric||Dragon Pulse Dragon||16.79|
As it can be seen, Dragon Pulse is a bad move for Ampharos. Ampharos is not a Dragon type Pokémon in its base form, and thus the STAB bonus has not been applied to movesets with Dragon Pulse as the charge move. Even if the STAB bonus was applied, the weave DPS wouldn’t surpass the one for Charge Beam and Zap Cannon.
In comparison, Thunder Shock and Wild Charge (the best Electric type moveset in the game) has a weave DPS of 22.91. Thus, it can be said that the addition of Dragon Pulse in Ampharos’ movepool won’t increase its viability in the current metagame.
Dragon Pulse vs. Outrage
There are several Dragon type charge moves in the game as of now. Dragon Claw and Twister are 3-bar charge moves, Dragon Pulse and Outrage are 2-bar charge moves and Draco Meteor is the only full-bar Dragon charge move.
Ampharos is only able to learn Dragon Pulse and Outrage in the main series games, either by tutoring or by leveling up. From the two listed moves, Niantic decided to give Ampharos the worst one. Here’s a short comparison of their DPS alone based on their base power and the move cooldown.
|Dragon Pulse Dragon||90||3.6s||25.0|
As it can be seen, Outrage is just better. They have a similar move cooldown but a significant difference in base power, which makes outrage a better move despite the fact that it has a slightly larger cooldown. Just to be clear, even if Ampharos was able to learn Outrage as a charge move, it still wouldn’t be a relevant option against Pokémon weak to Dragon type moves in raids, due to the fact that there are plenty of Dragon type attackers with significantly better offensive stats and movesets such as Rayquaza, Salamence, Dragonite and even Latios that would outperform it by far.
Would a Dragon Pulse buff shake things up?
Short answer – no. There are only two different ways in which Niantic could improve Dragon Pulse. The first one would be to increase its base power, and the second one would be to reduce its cooldown. On the official footage and images that Niantic released shortly after confirming that Dragon Pulse would be the exclusive move for the upcoming Community Day, Dragon Pulse still showed a base power of 90 and a move cooldown close to 3.6 seconds, just as expected. Thus, none of those two changes are expected as of now.
Niantic tends to consider the main series games as a reference when implementing moves in Pokémon GO. Considering that in the main series games Dragon Pulse has a base power of 85 whereas Outrage has a base power of 120, a buff in this aspect does not seem likely either. In order to deal the same charge move DPS alone if compared to Outrage, Dragon Pulse’s cooldown would need to be lowered to 3.19 seconds (while keeping the same base power) or Dragon Pulse’s base power would need to be increased to 100-105 (while keeping the same move cooldown). Even then, Ampharos’ viability as a Dragon type attacker would not increase too much, as Rayquaza, Dragonite and Salamence would still be significantly better.
To sum up, Ampharos with Dragon Pulse will probably be a collector’s trophy rather than a viable Pokémon in the current metagame. Ampharos is a pure Electric type Pokémon in its base form. Thus, Dragon Pulse does not benefit from STAB. Furthermore, Dragon Pulse is not even the best Dragon type move in the game, as Outrage surpasses it.
From an offensive point of view, Rayquaza (with Dragon Tail/Outrage), Dragonite (with Dragon Tail or Breath/Outrage, Dragon Claw or Draco Meteor), Salamence (with Dragon Tail/Draco Meteor), Latios (with Dragon Breath/Dragon Claw) and even Latias (with Dragon Breath/Outrage) would outperform Ampharos as a Dragon type attacker. There are plenty of better counters to Latios and Latias raids than Ampharos with Dragon Pulse.
Ampharos, as a pure Electric type Pokémon, will be able to resist Latias’ Thunder, whereas Dragonite, Salamence and Rayquaza take neutral damage, but that is the one of the few situations in which Ampharos could have a slim chance to be picked over other options in raids. Latios and even Latias would still be better choices in this situation though, as both of them also resist Electric type attacks and deal more damage than Ampharos. Furthermore, Rayquaza, Salamence and Dragonite double resist Latios’ Solar Beam, while Ampharos does not. The only benefit that Ampharos has it that it won’t take super effective damage from Dragon type attacks, and therefore it could be considered as a bulkier alternative.
Using Ampharos as an Electric type attacker in raids is not the best option either, as Raikou, Zapdos and Jolteon will probably outperform it. From a time to win perspective, there is not much to say. However, Ampharos can be a bulkier alternative to Jolteon. Some people were expecting Wild Charge to be the exclusive move for Community Day as it could have increased its viability as an Electric type attacker, but that has not been the case in the end.
In a game without PvP and mega evolutions where raids are probably the most competitive aspect, Ampharos does not have a top spot in the metagame. Time to win is often the most important aspect to consider and this is clearly an aspect where Ampharos does not shine. Ampharos with Dragon Pulse could be a nice surprise for those who attack gyms using generalist attackers such as Dragonite or Rayquaza, but again, there are plenty of better gym defenders to pick over it.
Do not let this meta analysis disappoint you and try to find a high IV or a shiny Ampharos (if it is released) with Dragon Pulse, you never know what Niantic might implement in the future! It will probably be a coveted trophy for the legacy move collectors out there.
Don’t forget to check out our April Community Day #4 Guide to make sure that you are well prepared for Mareep!