New Raid Attackers: Bug Out and Ultra Beasts (Electric and Bug types)

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As you read this, the Bug Out event is probably coming to an end. Hope you got some good Grubbins – as a Bug/Electric type, its final evolution Vikavolt is actually quite decent as a raid attacker, with great base stats especially by Route 1 standards. Mega Scizor also entered raids, being only the second Bug-type mega released so far.

The Grubbin line won’t be the last new Pokédex entries we’ll unlock this month. The Pokémon GO Fest 2022: Finale event takes place on Saturday, August 27, from 10am to 6pm. Four Ultra Beasts will be featured in raids: Pheromosa, Buzzwole, Xurkitree and Nihilego, with the first three being new dex entries for most players who didn’t attend an in-person Go Fest. This will also be the first time we can farm multiples of them (except Nihilego).

I have already discussed Pheromosa and Buzzwole as Fighting attackers in my last analysis. Here comes Part 2, focusing on Electric and Bug types as common themes with the Ultra Beasts and the Bug Out event. Some exciting stuff ahead!

TL;DR

Electric attackers:
  • Xurkitree is essentially the new best Electric-type raid attacker! The only thing that may be better than it is Shadow Raikou, if you have a 100% or 15 attack one.
  • Vikavolt is worse than other cheap options like Electivire, Magnezone and Luxray, but still viable.

Bug attackers:

  • Mega Scizor is practically the best Bug-type attacker now, but not by far, as Shadow Pinsir/Scizor and Mega Beedrill all out-DPS it.
  • Pheromosa has crazy high DPS (higher than Xurkitree), but is as frail as Haunter and Machop. It’s still strong enough to be the best non-shadow non-mega Bug for now, but you really need to dodge to unlock its full potential.
  • Vikavolt is now the #2 non-shadow non-mega behind Pheromosa, but much more consistent. Great quality and very cheap too, though it falls off from shadows and megas.
  • None of the above are relevant if you just want something practical to use in non-Zarude raids. Unless it’s raining, just use Community Day Hydreigon against Psychic bosses, and Machamp or better against Dark bosses.
  • If anything, wait for Volcarona. Still doesn’t change what I just said, but easily outclasses all bugs we have now, sans a Pheromosa that’s good at dodging.

Go Fest Finale raid recommendations:

  • If you don’t PvP, raid Xurkitree all the way…
  • … unless you want the best attackers of each type, since Pheromosa and Nihilego are at the top of their types too. Especially if you’re a DPS lover. Xurkitree is still the main focus, though.
  • If you do PvP, Buzzwole is a beast in all 3 leagues. Raid a few of them, or even prioritize them.

Read on to find out:

  • Xurkitree vs Shadow Electrics vs Zekrom comparisons
  • How Bug attackers compare to other anti-Psychics and anti-Darks
  • Potential future Electric and Bug attackers (& why saving Grubbins unevolved for future CD is a legit option)
  • Why you should keep Shadow Scizor as a shadow and not purify it
  • Why you should keep Shadow Scyther and regular Scyther unevolved, in case Kleavor gets good moves (aside from one for Mega Scizor maybe)

Electric-type Raid Attackers

Electric: The Charts

Electric attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance from Pokebattler sims, aka Average Scaled Estimator (ASE). Without and with dodging respectively.
Electric 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, Shadow Electivire’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.066 without dodging to 1.030 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Shadow Electivire’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: Xurkitree is generally better than Zekrom, which is better than Raikou, 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 Xurkitree performs similarly to Level 40 Zekrom and Level 45 Thundurus-Therian.

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

All Hail Our New Electric Overlords

For a long, long time, we have known Xurkitree would have insane potential as a raid counter the moment it’s released in PoGo. It has an insane base attack of 330, higher than Mewtwo (300), and only behind two non-mega Pokémon currently released: Deoxys-Attack and Deoxys-Normal. Even in the future, the only non-megas through Gen 8 that will surpass that are Ash Greninja, Ultra Necrozma and Zacian Crown, all of which essentially having mega-like stats. Basically, Xurkitree in PoGo is built to shine in raids.

But its moveset in this game wasn’t revealed until recently. It didn’t get the best Electric charged move in PvE, Wild Charge, nor the common substitute Thunderbolt. Instead, it has to work with Thunder Shock/Discharge, with a “less than ideal” charged move virtually unseen among top counters. But can its monstrous 330 base attack offset the disadvantage in movesets? As seen from the charts above, it can!

Xurkitree Electric

In no dodging scenarios, the only thing that outperforms Xurkitree on average is (100% IV) Shadow Raikou, while Mega Manectric is very similar to Xurkitree (without considering mega boost). Xurkitree outclasses everything else: shadow non-legendaries Shadow Electivire and Shadow Magnezone, legendaries Zekrom and Thundurus Therian, etc.

This means Xurkitree is easily the best non-shadow non-mega Electric attacker. Considering you can only get one Shadow Raikou so far with probably mediocre IVs, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Xurkitree is the best Electric attacker, period.

  • With realistic dodging, Xurkitree may even pull ahead of Shadow Raikou and Mega Manectric in performance (my ASE metric), although the difference is very small and well within the margin of error due to methodology.
  • For the DPS lovers, it should be noted that Xurkitree technically doesn’t have the highest electric DPS – Shadow Electivire tops it. But Xurkitree’s ~14% more bulk is enough to overcome the 1.9% DPS difference in practice. It also helps that Discharge is more spammy than Wild Charge, reducing energy waste.
  • Also note that Xurkitree is the top Electric attacker that we can obtain multiples of: you can only use one Mega Manectric, and the vast majority of players only have zero to one Shadow Raikou, likely without good IVs. So if you want the best team of 6, you’ll want as many Xurkitrees as you can afford.
  • Mega Manectric should still be better in actual raid battles thanks to the mega boost to other players.
Vikavolt BugElectric

Before I forget, an honorable mention to Vikavolt as a budget Electric attacker. It also got Discharge as the Electric charged move instead of Wild Charge or Thunderbolt, but doesn’t have monstrous stats to make up for it. As a result, it falls behind other non-legendary non-shadows like Electivire, Magnezone and even Luxray.

It’s still very much usable if you’re not shortmanning, and a very cheap and affordable for new players still building an Electric team. However, it won’t be earning a spot on any established raid squads anytime soon.

Coming back to Vikavolt in the Bug section later.

Xurkitree, Shadows and Zekrom: Detailed Comparisons

Here, I compare Xurkitree with Shadow Raikou (better average performance/ASE), Shadow Electivire (higher DPS), and Zekrom (previous best non-shadow non-mega, better bulk).

Electric attackers are among the best counters against 17 past and upcoming Tier 5 bosses, 1 Ultra Beast, and 6 past and upcoming Mega raid bosses.

  • Note: This is as per current Pokebattler listing, which includes mythicals: Phione, Manaphy, Arceus Water, Arceus Flying, Keldeo and Volcanion. We don’t know how they will be handled yet.

Of these 24 raid bosses, at attacker level 40, with random boss movesets and Best Friend bonus:

[Other attacker] is better than Xurkitree against… No dodging Realistic dodging
Shadow Raikou 17/24 bosses 13/24 bosses
Shadow Electivire 2/24 bosses 8/24 bosses
Zekrom 4/24 bosses 0/24 bosses
Xurkitree is #1 against… 6/24 bosses 5/24 bosses

A 100% Shadow Raikou (or 15 attack IV most likely) still takes the crown more than half the time, which explains the ASE values in the chart. But Xurkitree does become the best counter against T5 Keldeo, Manaphy, Lugia, Suicune and Tapu Fini, as well as Mega Blastoise. A good number of these bosses are not heavy-hitters, and that helps Xurkitree because it’s still a bit glassy: it has less bulk than non-shadow Electivire.

Zekrom still has a chance to shine against 4 bosses (average movesets): Kyogre, Volcanion, Celesteela and Mega Sharpedo. There are two different reasons:

  • Zekrom’s bulk allows it to handle Ground-type moves much better than Xurkitree does. This applies to Celesteela and Volcanion with Earth Power – these boss movesets are what’s dragging Xurkitree’s average down.
  • Zekrom’s Dragon typing helps it when the raid boss has Water-type moves, especially from hard-hitting bosses. This applies to Kyogre (Surf and Hydro Pump), Volcanion, and Mega Sharpedo.

But this also means that against all other bosses, many of which are Water types, Xurkitree still outperforms Zekrom despite the typing disadvantage. And if you dodge, Xurkitree consistently comes on top, thanks to the raw DPS difference.

Speaking of dodging… Shadow Electivire does edge out Xurkitree against 8 bosses with dodging (Galarian Articuno, Galarian Moltres, Urshifu Rapid, Kyogre, Celesteela, Mega Sharpedo, Mega Slowbro, Mega Pidgeot). It has slightly higher DPS, after all.

Utility of Electric Attackers

Electric isn’t one of those types good against a crazy number of raids (that describes Dark, Fighting, Ghost, Ice and Rock basically).

But it’s still a relatively useful type nonetheless. Being the best counter type against Kyogre, a highly popular and relevant raid boss, is already enough for some players. Electric also generally produces the best non-mega counters against Lugia, despite its many weaknesses.

In case that’s not enough for you: In case the 3 Galarian birds enter raids in future, Electric types are among the top counters for all of them. With varying friendship bonus:

  • Xurkitree is generally the #1-3 counter against Galarian Moltres, sometimes outperformed by Shadow Raikou and Shadow Electivire.
  • Against Galarian Articuno, only Mega Gengar is consistently better than all electrics, and Shadow Weavile with Snarl/Avalanche sometimes join the top, putting Xurkitree at #2-5 usually.
  • Against Galarian Zapdos, Xurkitree falls behind Mewtwo and Hoopa Unbound, but these are the only two non-shadow non-megas ahead of it.

Electric: Future Considerations

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

Remember when I said Xurkitree doesn’t even have its best possible moves? Here you go. If given Wild Charge, Xurkitree will become an absolute monster. To put it this way: the difference between Discharge Xurkitree (already the best now) and Wild Charge Xurkitree is similar to that of Zekrom and Raikou. It also destroys DPS charts if given Wild Charge, with neutral DPS above things like Mega Charizard Y and Shadow Metagross, well above Psystrike Mewtwo.

While we won’t see it anytime soon, if Niantic decides to give Xurkitree a raid-exclusive move years later, Wild Charge might just be it. Even Thunderbolt is not far off. This matters for those who want to save resources for the best possible moves… Even though Discharge Xurkitree is already darn good and worth building right now.

Other electric-type Pokémon that are not yet released or can potentially learn better moves:

Thundurus (Therian) ElectricFlying

Thundurus (Therian) is another legendary with very high base attack (295), but slightly held back by less than ideal moves. It’s already viable just behind Zekrom, but if given Wild Charge, it will finally surpass Zekrom and sit between Xurkitree and the shadow non-legendaries. Thundurus also has a signature move, Wildbolt Storm, that was released in Pokemon Legends: Arceus. So at least something new has to come to Thundurus in PoGo one day… Right?

Mewtwo (Mega Y) Psychic

Surprise surprise, the best Electric mega might actually come from Mega Mewtwo Y with Psycho Cut/Thunderbolt. Do keep in mind that it can’t boost other players’ Electric-type moves, unlike Mega Manectric and Mega Ampharos.

Ampharos (Mega) Electric

Speaking of which, Mega Ampharos itself has room for improvement. Its current solo performance is quite mediocre at Raikou levels, but if given Thunderbolt (the best possible), it can become a slower but bulkier Mega Manectric, or in other words, a Zekrom that’s cheaper and boosts other players. I’m not arguing for a second Mareep CD – trust me! – but in case that happens, there are legit reasons to not be disappointed, not even close.

Zeraora Electric

Zeraora, a Gen 7 mythical, will likely be overshadowed by Xurkitree and Zekrom on Day 1, but it may still make a splash further down the list. The best possible moveset is again Spark/Wild Charge, which puts it at the intersection of newer Electric legendaries and older, outclassed ones like Raikou. But with a more reasonable moveset like Spark/Discharge, it falls below budget options like Electivire and Magnezone. It also has a signature move, Plasma Fists, FWIW.

Vikavolt BugElectric

Vikavolt can also potentially get Wild Charge. Won’t do anything crazy – just enough to edge out Electivire, but still barely above or below Raikou depending on level, not to mention all the top-tier legendaries and shadows. Still very good for a budget attacker. Grubbin is a great Community Day candidate for a few years down the road, and I won’t be surprised to see Wild Charge being its CD move… Although it also has good choices on the Bug front, detailed below.

Tapu Koko ElectricFairy

Tapu Koko is another candidate for Wild Charge, and it’s basically the same story as Vikavolt. More viable than now if you love it, but there are too many better legendaries at this point.

Possibilities not included on this chart:

  • Shadow Zekrom will come eventually, if we’ll live to see it. For an estimate of how good it is, look at Wild Charge Xurkitree – they should be similar, with WC Xurkitree having more DPS but S-Zekrom more DPS3*TDO.
  • Zekrom can also get a signature move. But too early to speculate at this point, especially given how disappointing several recent signature moves have been.
  • A more likely upgrade for Zekrom: Thunder Fang as a better fast move. The difference is not huge, but more than enough to surpass Xurkitree in DPS3*TDO. I expect that will make Zekrom take the crown in ASE, even though Xurkitree still has higher DPS.
  • Yet another Wild Charge candidate.. Zapdos. Wild Charge is what it needs for its revenge against Raikou; in particular, Shadow Zapdos with Thunder Shock/Wild Charge will become the best Electric attacker, outclassing Shadow Raikou and Xurkitree. But I don’t think that’s likely to happen.
  • Minor upgrades that don’t do much: Magnezone with Thunder Shock, Luxray with Thunder Fang. The former could be a Community Day move FWIW.

Alright, finally moving on to bugs.

Bug-type Raid Attackers

Bug: The Charts

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

Do These Bugs Benefit the Players?

If you’re unfamiliar with the Bug-type PvE meta, here’s a quick summary:

  • Mega Scizor, Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Scizor, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill*. These are the current top-tier options.
  • Vikavolt, Genesect, Yanmega. These are currently the top non-shadow non-megas, and are all somewhat recent additions. Yanmega rose to this tier thanks to the Bug Buzz buff in PvE at the same time it was buffed in PvP, a change that many players probably overlooked.
  • Pinsir, Escavalier, Scizor. These are the more traditional ones, as Pinsir and Scizor used to be the best Bug attackers for years. Escavalier got here after the Megahorn buff.

* Note that Mega Beedrill has a legacy fast move Bug Bite, which is a slight improvement from non-legacy Infestation in PvE. But having Bug Bite prevents this Mega Beedrill from being a Poison-type attacker which it is also good at, so I do not recommend it if you’re only building one Mega Beedrill. Bug Bite is not an event-exclusive move, so it’s unlikely to be available upon evolution in a future event.

Onto the new bugs:

Scizor (Mega) BugSteel

If you don’t dodge, Mega Scizor is the best Bug attacker at this moment. It has the lowest base attack of all Bug-type megas, which means less DPS than Mega Beedrill, but its ~80% more bulk typically makes up for it. Scizor’s Steel typing also comes in handy against Psychic bosses that you want to use a bug attacker for, whereas Beedrill is weak to Psychic moves.

Mega Scizor still doesn’t set itself apart from other top-tier Bugs by far, at least in its individual strength. Aside from Mega Beedrill, it’s also only a small upgrade from Shadow Pinsir and Shadow Scizor, and all three become better than Mega Scizor with dodging involved thanks to higher DPS. But with mega boost considered, Mega Scizor will still contribute more to raids than other shadow and mega options.

  • If you’re deciding between a Shadow Scizor and Purified Mega Scizor, keep it as a shadow. Their difference is nowhere near significant enough to be worth losing a rare shadow.
Pheromosa BugFighting

I find it hard to give a judgment on Pheromosa: it’s an insane glass cannon that really shines in the right hands, but in most cases you won’t get close to that kind of potential.

  • Pheromosa’s DPS is even higher than Discharge Xurkitree… but with bulk similar to Haunter and Machop – no, not Gengar and Machamp, not even Machoke.
  • While Bug Bite is fast enough for easy dodging, Bug Buzz has a long duration, so you might die in the middle of it.
  • To make things worse, Pheromosa is weak to psychic moves, which drags it down further against psychic bosses it’s supposed to counter.

Simulations suggest that with realistic dodging, Pheromosa can indeed overpower all current Bugs by a decent margin. If you don’t dodge, it’s still strong enough to be the best non-shadow non-mega Bug type, but its average falls into the same ballpark as shadows and megas, and a lot less consistently with a huge number of deaths.

I still consider it as a top-tier Bug, but those who find Pheromosa the most valuable are not those who get the most out of this article.

Vikavolt BugElectric

Vikavolt is currently the #2 non-shadow non-mega Bug, only behind Pheromosa, and conveniently outclasses those Genesects in raids right now. Within Bug types alone, it is a GREAT option especially given how cheap it is (everything above it is a shadow, mega, legendary, or 400 candy evolution aka Volcarona). And this is with just Bug Bite/X-Scissor, another “less than ideal” charged move.

Volcarona BugFire

If you’re not in a hurry for Bug attackers, however, waiting for Volcarona is likely still the better option. Yes, Niantic has been holding off releasing the Larvesta line event after event… But Volcarona comfortably outperforms everything above, even shadows and megas, except Pheromosa that dodges. It’s the only non-mega Bug attacker that’s actually competitive when compared to other types, as we’ll see very soon.

Note: if you’re looking for Buzzwole, it’s not good enough to appear on this chart. Its current Bug-type charged moves are Fell Stinger and Lunge, both of which are terrible in PvE. And that’s the best it can get.

Bug Attackers vs Their Competitors

Most of you probably don’t have any dedicated Bug attackers now, unsurprisingly and understandably so. Bug types have always suffered in both PvE and PvP. Here in raids, it’s due to both bad moves (especially X-Scissor) and much lower base stats than their main competitors: Ghost and Dark against Psychic, Fighting and Fairy against Dark. And that’s a shame, given there is no shortage of raids we could have used Bugs against – just look at those dozens of Psychic bosses in raids!

Anti-Psychic

I made plots comparing Bug-type attackers to Dark and Ghost types against Psychic-type raid bosses. Here’s an imgur link to the charts. It contains ASE values without dodging, with dodging, and in rainy weather without dodging.

Here’s a summary table:

Dark and Ghost types Similar Bugs, neutral weather Similar Bugs, RAINY weather
Mega Gengar    
Mega Houndoom   Volcarona, Mega Scizor, Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Scizor
Hydreigon, Shadow Weavile, Shadow Tyranitar, Darkrai (Pheromosa with dodging) Mega Beedrill, Pheromosa, Vikavolt, Genesect
Chandelure, Giratina (Origin) Volcarona Yanmega
Yveltal Mega Scizor Pinsir, Escavalier, Scizor
Weavile Shadow Scizor, Shadow Pinsir  
Gengar, Tyranitar Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill  
Houndoom, Bisharp, Honchkrow Vikavolt, Genesect, Yanmega  
Absol, Incineroar, Trevenant Pinsir, Escavalier, Scizor  

Ok, this definitely makes Bug types much less enticing, especially soon after Deino CD.

Without rainy weather, you can basically just throw your Brutal Swing Hydreigon out there and forget about Bug. The only Bug attacker that’s worth considering is Volcarona, which has similar performance as Giratina Origin and Chandelure, which are themselves great raid attackers (despite somewhat losing their shine after Deino CD). All other Bug attackers are just not good enough or have much cheaper alternatives.

Pheromosa that dodges can get just below Hydreigon… But unless you’re for variety, just using a Hydreigon will save you from the hassles and complaints about server desyncs.

RAINY weather is where the better Bug types really shine:

  • Volcarona and Mega Scizor now sit comfortably ahead of everything that’s not Mega Gengar.
  • Shadow Pinsir and Scizor are now better than premium Dark types such as Hydreigon and shadow Darks. Non-legacy Mega Beedrill and Pheromosa (no dodge) are on par with them.
  • Vikavolt has almost identical performance as Darkrai in rain.

The remaining Bug attackers are also viable in rainy weather (at Yveltal levels at least).

Note that Mega Beedrill and Pheromosa fall off the list a bit compared to the Bugs-only chart earlier, as they’re unfortunately weak to Psychic moves.

Anti-Dark

On the anti-Dark front, Bug attackers may see significantly less usage since there are much fewer Dark-type raid bosses than Psychic ones (basically Darkrai and 3 megas). Here are my best estimates based on limited simulation data and theoretical metrics:

Fighting and Fairy types Similar Bugs, neutral weather Similar Bugs, RAINY weather
Shadow Machamp, Shadow Hariyama   Volcarona, Mega Scizor, Pheromosa, Mega Beedrill, Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Scizor
Lucario, Conkeldurr (Pheromosa with dodging) Vikavolt, Genesect
Machamp, Shadow Gardevoir Volcarona, Mega Scizor, Pheromosa Pinsir, Escavalier, Scizor
Shadow Granbull, Hariyama, Buzzwole, Breloom Mega Beedrill, Shadow Pinsir, Shadow Scizor  
Zacian, Togekiss, Gardevoir Vikavolt, Genesect  

In rainy weather, most premium Bug types (Volcarona, Pheromosa, megas, shadows) can get to Shadow Machamp level or even better. In fact, Volcarona is generally the best anti-Dark counter in rainy weather. Vikavolt also performs similarly to Lucario and Conkeldurr. That’s pretty good for this scenario!

Neutral weather is still a death sentence for Bugs. When even Volcarona is only comparable to Machamp, we don’t need to look further than that, unless you really want some spice.

Verdict

  • In rainy weather, Volcarona becomes the best anti-Psychic and anti-Dark aside from Mega Gengar. Mega Bugs, shadows Bugs and Pheromosa (no dodge) are similar to shadow Darks and shadow [fighter]s, or just above them. Vikavolt is similar to competitors just below shadows (Darkrai, Lucario).
  • In neutral weather, only Volcarona is comparable to “Tier 1.5” competitors like Chandelure, Giratina-O and Machamp. Everything else is not notable.

But What About Pokémon Double Weak to Bugs?

Here’s the list of all Pokémon up to Gen 9 with a double weakness to Bug:

  • Guaranteed to be raid bosses: Calyrex
  • Might be raid bosses in the far future: Celebi, Hoopa Unbound, Zarude
  • Unlikely, but just in case: Exeggutor, Nuzleaf/Shiftry, Cacturne, Malamar

Calyrex is actually a very worthy boss, as its Shadow Rider form will be insane in raids and possibly PvP. The problem is, even though Bug attackers are the best against it, other types like Dark, Ghost and Fire can still pull an easy duo (such as L40 Hydreigon with no friends).

Zarude will be more challenging should it ever enter raids, which is actually not unlikely – people have speculated for long that it might be an EX raid boss in future, and there will be demand from both raiders and PvPers. Bug types can duo it, whereas other types may not (similar to Flying types against Virizion):

  No friends Best friends*
L40 Pheromosa 416.5s, 1.57 380.7s, 1.44
L40 Vikavolt 516.0s, 1.84 478.1s, 1.73
L30 Vikavolt 568.4s, 2.09 512.9s, 1.88
L40 Shadow Moltres 577.1s, 2.06 523.1s, 1.87
L40 Reshiram 657.9s, 2.27 605.5s, 2.09
L40 Shadow Machamp 643.5s, 2.37 579.6s, 2.14

* If you want to verify these yourself on Pokebattler, choose Great Friend instead of Best Friend, as they’re generated during Season of Go where an extra 5% damage bonus is applied. Season of Go’s Great Friend bonus (10%) is the long term Best Friend bonus.

The point is: Decent Bug attackers like Vikavolt can reasonably duo Zarude despite not being easy (even wild caught, weather boosted ones at level ~35), but even top-tier non-Bugs often fail to do it without some mega support. That’s one argument for a Bug-type team, at least.

Overall Verdict for Bugs

Overall, investing in Bug attackers is only worth it if you either:

  1. Want a team of every type;
  2. Want a best team for each possible weather;
  3. Get rainy weather A LOT;
  4. Think Zarude will come to raids one day, and want to prepare counters to duo it.

For everyone else, you can largely skip building Bug-type attackers.

Bug: Future Considerations

Volcarona has been mentioned a few times already, but here are other Bug attackers we may see in the future:

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

You can see for yourself how good Volcarona will be, assuming it keeps its current Game Master moveset, Bug Bite/Bug Buzz, as found by PokeMiners. Without dodging, it basically sets the standard for non-mega Bugs (not even non-mega non-shadow). Though a few Pokemon can do better if they dodge, most notably Pheromosa.

Other future and potential attackers below. TL;DR: Except megas and Shadow Yanmega, none of them will threaten Volcarona.

Heracross (Mega) BugFighting

Mega Heracross will be the best Bug-type mega. But Mega Pinsir will be closely behind, and likely released earlier. Both of them give you actual mega-level performance, far above shadows and non-shadows, unlike Mega Scizor

Yanmega (Shadow) BugFlying

Shadow Yanmega may give us a taste of how good Volcarona is, and it’s a question of which one we see first. With higher DPS and similar DPS3*TDO as Volcarona, its ASE sits either just below or just above Volcarona, depending on if you dodge. It also outperforms every released Bug at level 40+.

Kleavor (Shadow) BugRock

Shadow Kleavor has the potential to be almost as good as Shadow Yanmega. But there are a few if’s for this to happen: Kleavor needs to be available in the Scarlet/Violet games, be given either Fury Cutter or Bug Bite there, then Niantic needs to add either of them as in Kleavor’s move pool when it’s released in PoGo. Otherwise, Kleavor can’t have a Bug-type fast move and will be unable to function as a raid attacker at all. And of course, Niantic needs to actually let us evolve our Scyther into Kleavor instead of making it raid-exclusive.

  • Non-shadow Kleavor may also be decent, sitting at the tail end of the better non-shadow non-megas behind Yanmega.
  • If you have a good Scyther or Shadow Scyther, I highly recommend waiting to at least see what Niantic does with Kleavor first. If it doesn’t get good moves, you can always evolve it to a Scizor then.
  • (The above may depend on how badly you want a Mega Scizor now. Since Kleavor doesn’t have a mega, Mega Scizor will still be better in raids than Kleavor, if you can consistently mega evolve it.)
Vikavolt BugElectric

Vikavolt may be improved further if given Bug Buzz. This will make it almost as good as Shadow Pinsir and Shadow Scizor, basically at the bottom of top-tier Bugs, though still behind Volcarona. Grubbin is very likely to get a Community Day down the line, and either Wild Charge or Bug Buzz would be good CD moves that improve it in both PvE and PvP, though it may take years to happen and we might have already gotten Volcarona by then.

Three potential lower-tier options: Centiskorch and Frosmoth from Gen 8, and Golisopod if it gets Bug Buzz one day. The first two already have Bug Bite/Bug Buzz in their datamined moveset, so they’re likely to materialize, though subject to change. With a 400-candy evolution, Wimpod is another likely Community Day candidate; plus, Golisopod seriously needs some love in its moves. These three will not be very notable, all below Yanmega, with the latter two closely aligning with the Pinsir/Escavalier/Scizor batch.

Not shown on this chart:

  • Scizor can learn Bug Buzz in the MSG too, so we can theoretically see it in PoGo one day. Bug Buzz pulls Mega Scizor up to Mega Pinsir level, while Shadow Scizor and regular Scizor with Bug Buzz have virtually identical DPS and TDO levels to Yanmega (Scizor will likely be better thanks to Steel-type resistances). Scyther may actually be a good Community Day candidate now, given it will likely have split evolutions with an item required to evolve, and has a mega evolution. In case that happens Bug Buzz would be a great CD move for Scizor that helps it in PvE and PvP.
  • Yet another Bug Buzz candidate… Genesect. Bug Buzz will put it around Shadow Pinsir/Scizor in performance. It’s probably unlikely, given that Genesect already has Techno Blast as an exclusive move whenever it comes to raids.
  • Possible signature moves: Golisopod (First Impression), Mega Beedrill (Twineedle – which has been sitting in the game code for ages, not sure why it wasn’t even considered on its Community Day).

Note that nothing has a chance of out-DPSing Pheromosa, though practical situations would suggest otherwise.

Go Fest Finale: Ultra Beast Raiding Considerations

This section is for those of you who don’t know what to spend raid passes on during the Go Fest Finale event. Four Ultra Beasts will be crammed into raids on a single day:

  • Pheromosa: 10am-12pm, 4-6pm
  • Buzzwole: 12-2pm, 4-6pm
  • Xurkitree: 2-4pm, 4-6pm
  • Nihilego: 4-6pm

Go Fest ticket holders will get 9 free raid passes from spinning gyms.

So what to actually use raid passes on? Let’s first do a quick recap:

  • Xurkitree: New top Electric attacker, only behind Shadow Raikou (or maybe not). Its type is also the most useful in raids from this list, by far.
  • Pheromosa: Insane glass cannon Bug attacker that’s frail as paper. With consistent dodging, it produces high Bug-type DPS, rivaling Hydreigon and Lucario in average performance; but if you don’t dodge, you probably won’t find it on your raid teams.
  • Nihilego: I didn’t cover this here, but it’s currently the best non-mega Poison attacker, and will remain this way until Shadow Roserade is released (or unless Eternatus gets a better moveset than currently in the Game Master). What it lacks is not power, but utility, as Poison really isn’t used much aside from Tapu Bulu raids.
  • Buzzwole: Not really a raid mon for now, it’s a subpar Machamp as a Fighting type and unviable as a Bug. But it’s absolutely HUGE in PvP, in every single league.

My recommendations:

  • If all you need in this game are practical raid counters, or if you only care about “useful” attacker types: Xurkitree all the way. That’s it.
  • If you want best attackers of every type: Xurkitree is still a must, but Pheromosa and Nihilego are also sitting at or near the top of their types. Especially if you only care about DPS – then you definitely want Pheromosa too, if you don’t care how glassy it is.
  • If you also PvP: Tough choice between Buzzwole (PvP beast) and Xurkitree (raid beast). It depends on which game mode you prioritize, how much you play Open ML, and how likely you think ML Classic will return. But at the very least, get two Buzzwoles from raids, one for UL and one for ML.
  • If you primarily PvP, and only need decent raid attackers to contribute enough in raids: Buzzwole all the way. Xurkitree is awesome in raids, but we have enough viable Electric types by now.

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