Primarina Master League Analysis


With the first wave of a new region comes the starter Pokémon, and Alola has been a mixed bag. 

Decidueye is the biggest disappointment, getting the pathetic Astonish as a fast move when it could have done wonders with Shadow Claw.

Incineroar has potential but honestly, it just doesn’t cut it.

But the Water starter, Primarina, is a fab pick!

Primarina is usually the least popular among the three Alolan starters, but it was always designated for success in the meta provided it got access to Charm. And guess what? IT DID!

More importantly, Primarina immediately makes an impact on the meta. Primarina presents the rare case where not only is it meta relevant per se, but it is meta relevant in the Master League!

Why am I putting so much emphasis on this?

Because it’s not every day you get a mon that works in the Master League and more precisely, a starter that is a threat in the ML meta even before its Community Day. Yes, this mermaid is that good!

That’s why I decided to focus this analysis on the Master League. So without further ado, let’s dive into the seas with Primarina and find out what makes it so special.

Typing, Strengths and Weaknesses

Primarina has the absolutely amazing type combination of Water/Fairy, making it the ML Azumarill!

As it is quite obvious, this type combo gives Prima an impressive super-effective coverage against the Dark, Dragon, Fighting, Fire, Ground and Rock types. If that wasn’t enough already, Primarina gains the following resistances:

0.391x damage from 0.625x damage from
Dragon Bug


Damn, that’s a really good set of resistances, not only for a starter in particular but also a Pokémon in general.

Its weaknesses include the Electric, Grass and Poison types.

Now there are quite a few things worth noting here:

  • Primarina deals super-effective damage to some of the most meta relevant types in the Master League, mainly the Dragon type. It also heavily resists their attacks.
  • It resists Fighting, Ice and Water. These 3 are usually headaches to deal with and can do quite a number to some of your best mons. Primarina keeps them in check.
  • This Fairy type is not weak to the notorious Steel types and takes neutral damage from them. Also, it can hit them back with STAB Water moves that the steely monsters don’t resist.
  • There are hardly any Grass or Psychic types in ML and the Electric types are few. As such, a Water/Fairy type is in for a gala time in ML.


Primarina has the following stats in Pokémon Go:

Primarina WaterFairy
Max CP at Level 40 3200 | Max CP at Level 50 3618
ATK 232 DEF 195 HP 190
Weak to Strong Against
Electric Grass Poison Dark Dragon Fighting Fire Ground Rock


Primarina has a good ATK stat and appreciable bulk. While Togekiss is still the bulkier Fairy, Primarina has a higher ATK stat.

Now it all boils down to the moveset that Primarina can run.

Moveset Analysis

Primarina learns the following moves in Pokémon Go:

Fast Moves Charged Moves
  • Charm Fairy
  • Waterfall Water
  • Hydro Pump Water
  • Moonblast Fairy
  • Psychic Psychic

Fast move analysis

Fast move Damage Per Turn [DPT] Energy Per Turn [EPT] Cooldown
Charm 5.33 2.00 1.50 sec
Waterfall 4.00 2.66 1.50 sec


Just what we needed. Primarina is the newest Charmer in town.

Yes, Waterfall is a very powerful Water type move but it’s Charm that truly matters and makes Primarina stand out, as a high ATK Charm user that isn’t weak to the Steel types. This makes it a potential Dialga counter. Does it? Does it not? We’ll find out!

Charged move analysis

Charged move Damage Energy required
Hydro Pump 130 75
Moonblast 110 60
Psychic 90 55


When you consider a Charmer, any charged move is always expensive. Prima’s cheapest charged move here is the non-STAB Psychic. While Psychic is definitely the cheapest, it doesn’t serve any viable purpose.

Charm is the main deal here. And until it gets access to Hydro Cannon in its eventual Community Day, Primarina is better off with the expensive Moonblast and Hydro Pump. You see, when they hit, they hit hard!

So what is Primarina’s ideal moveset?

Primarina’s ideal moveset is Charm paired with Hydro Pump and Moonblast.

Performance in the Master League

So here’s the best thing about Primarina in Master League (Classic or Open): It beats Dialga. Dragon Breath or Draco Meteor doesn’t do anything and Iron Head doesn’t hit Prima hard enough. The neutral damage of Charm does quite a number to Dialga and takes it out.

With Charm alone and its useful resistances, it melts down Dragon types like Dragonite, Garchomp, Haxorus and annihilates Hydreigon and newbie Kommo-o. The Fighting types can’t punch it enough and as such, Machamp and Conkledurr lose the bout. Yveltal and Tyranitar are other Ws for Prima.

Primarina’s worst nightmare is Magnezone. Obviously loses to Zapdos and Raikou. Simple. However, it beats Zekrom.

It loses clean to both the Johto legendary birds: Lugia and Ho-Oh. Additionally, it also loses to Mewtwo.

Now, these are some pretty obvious or unsurprising wins match-ups for Prima. Let’s check out some interesting match-ups!

There are obviously a few that Prima loses because of Charm that it could have won with Waterfall. But then, apples and oranges y’all! Charm, at the end of the day, is more viable in the ML environment.

Prima loses to Ground types like Groudon, Excadrill and Rhyperior (whether Mud-Slap or Smack Down) both in Classic and Open. That said, it wins against Landorus-Therian.

Coming to the Steel types, despite the handy resistance to their attacks, Primarina goes down to both Metagross and Melmetal.

So as it turns out, its resistance to Steel helps it big time against ML supremo Dialga alone and, quite honestly, that’s a good thing.

But if you think that Primarina’s Steel resistance didn’t help it much, you are forgetting two other extremely useful resistances that this beautiful Pokémon has: Ice and Water.

Primarina is unforgiving to any Ice type, successfully melting through Mamoswine, Avalugg, Glaceon and Walrein. 4-0.

Addressing the ele… umm, whale in the room, Primarina beats Kyogre. And oh, it also beats Swampert and both Dragon Breath and Waterfall Gyarados.

While Prima can beat Zarude in the Classic format but it falls short in the Open ML.

Coming to fellow Fairy types, Prima wins comfortably against Zacian(Hero), barely wins or ties against Sylveon and loses comprehensively to Togekiss.

The ML Verdict

Primarina is undoubtedly an asset against Ice and Water types. This is the huge difference maker and it also makes up for a nightly impressive profile for Primarina, making it a terrifying threat to Dark, Dragon, Fighting, Ice and Water types. All in all, Prima is an excellent Pokémon to use in the Master League, is a Dialga killer and most importantly, Hydro Cannon (from its Community Day) will only make it more dangerous.

PS: All credits for the battle sims go to


Primarina is truly starter Pokémon goals!

A good ATK, nice bulk, great typing and viability even before its eventual Community Day. This is one of those Pokémon that you can invest XL candies into, Best Buddy and then take it to level 50. It also deserves an Elite Charged TM once it gets its Community Day!

Alola has started off amazing, bringing in ML relevant mons like Primarian and Kommo-o! Decidueye is still a sad situation but we hope that the upcoming Alolan Pokémon look up to Primarina as a PRIMARy example of how a meta relevant mon should be!

Grind for those Popplio and evolve it all the way to a Charming Primarina! You won’t regret it for sure.

All the best, trainers!

Author & tags

My name is Niladri Sarkar. A Team Valor Trainer, I'm a Pokémon Battle Mechanics Specialist & a Dragon Master on Smogon's Pokémon Showdown where I particularly excel with Dragon types and Weather teams in Ubers / OU. I love to apply my vast knowledge and experience to the ever changing meta of Pokémon Go, specialising in DPS/TDO math, movesets, the Master League and Dragon types. Garchomp is my best Pokémon pal through and through.

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