Sludge Bomb Darkrai analysis: trick or treat?


In case you missed it, Darkrai that knows the attack Sludge Bomb will be appearing in five-star raids from Friday, October 22, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. to Friday, November 5, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Although Darkrai’s signature move in the main series games is Dark Void, in a surprising turn of events Niantic decided to go with Sludge Bomb instead. This will be the first time that Darkrai will be appearing in Pokémon GO with this attack, so if you’re a moveset collector you probably don’t want to miss out on that.

You might be wondering whether or not Sludge Bomb Darkrai will impact the meta. Well, this article will probably answer that question, so let’s find out!

Darkrai stats and moveset

Darkrai is a powerful Dark type mythical Pokémon originally discovered in the Sinnoh region (Gen 4). Its stat distribution is heavily attack weighted, making it one of the best dark type attackers in the game.

Darkrai Dark
ATK 285 DEF 198 STA 172
Best PvE Moveset
Snarl Dark Shadow Ball Ghost

Should you be running Shadow Ball or Dark Pulse? Check out this article to find out. In short, Shadow Ball is a better move despite not having STAB and the chance of getting a 30% damage boost if a Mega Gengar joins the battle is always nice. If you see Mega Houndoom more often, then you could go with Dark Pulse instead.

Sludge Bomb Darkrai in PvE

Poison type moves deal super effective damage against Grass and Fairy type Pokémon. Since Darkrai’s main purpose in PvE is to take down Psychic and Ghost type raid bosses, Sludge Bomb is not an upgrade by any means. In fact, it’s a significant downgrade.

PvE stat comparison
Move Base Power Energy Cooldown (s) Damage window (s) DPS*DPE STAB?
Shadow Ball Ghost 100 50 (2-bar) 3.0 2.4 66.66 NO
Dark Pulse Dark 80 50 (2-bar) 3.0 1.4 42.67 YES
Sludge Bomb Poison 80 50 (2-bar) 2.3 1.1 55.65 NO

As you can see, Dark Pulse is technically the worst move, but the STAB bonus puts it a bit closer to Shadow Ball in terms of performance and it has the benefit of having a lower damage window. Ideally, you want that number to be as low as possible since a shorter damage window means that your charge moves will take less time to register, potentially avoiding being KOd before that happens. There’s no scenario where Sludge Bomb is the better choice, so don’t even bother.

Is Darkrai’s current moveset futureproof though? Not really. Darkrai can learn Foul Play in the main series games, which would be a strict upgrade over its current moveset in Pokémon GO. But that’s not all. Darkrai’s signature move in the main series games is Dark Void, a non-damaging move that can put its opponents to sleep. However, the move already exists (without stats) in the GAME_MASTER file, which means that it will probably be implemented in the future.

It would’ve made perfect sense to give Dark Void to Darkrai this time, right? Well, seems like Niantic had other plans.

Sludge Bomb Darkrai in PvP

You might be wondering whether or not Sludge Bomb Darkrai will at least be useful in PvP. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Darkrai Dark
ATK 285 DEF 198 STA 172
Best PvP Moveset
Snarl Dark Dark Pulse Dark


Focus Blast Fighting

Darkrai’s niche use in PvP is in the Master League meta. As you can probably see by looking at its stats, Darkrai is not the bulkiest Pokémon in the league. Before Yveltal’s release in Pokémon GO, Darkrai could have some play as a surprise closer, having the potential to land a Focus Blast and KOing opposing Dialga or completely walling Giratina Origin. Once Yveltal was released, it just did the job better and rendered Darkrai almost obsolete.

Sludge Bomb vs. Focus Blast

Master League: Focus Blast vs. Sludge Bomb Darkrai. Full credit to

The comparison from PvPoke shown above speaks by itself. Sludge Bomb Darkrai is pretty much a significant downgrade in PvP as well.

Sludge Bomb may slightly improve its matchups against opposing Grass types (pretty much just non-existent in ML) and Fairy types, but not enough to justify dropping Focus Blast.

Let’s take a look at its matchup vs. Togekiss both in ML classic and open ML:

Vs. Togekiss: Focus Blast vs. Sludge Bomb (ML Classic). Full credit to
Vs. Togekiss: Focus Blast vs. Sludge Bomb (Open ML). Full credit to

As you can see, it improves the 0-shield scenario, but not enough to OHKO Togekiss and take the W. In fact, Sludge Bomb only takes 64.2% and 60.6% of Togekiss’ HP (ML Classic and open ML, respectively):

Sludge Bomb ‘booms’ vs. Togekiss in ML Classic and open ML. Full credit to

Furthermore, in an equal shield scenario, Darkrai is so fragile that by the time it has enough energy to use Sludge Bomb against a Togekiss, it’s already down to ~37% of its health. If the Togekiss shields, it can easily farm down and leave the matchup with ~85% of its health remaining.

In case you’re wondering, Darkrai’s matchup against Zacian-Hero and Sylveon is pretty similar.

Don’t even bother, Sludge Bomb Darkrai is just bad. If you still want to use Darkrai in PvP, don’t sacrifice the potential of booming your opponents with a Focus Blast.

Parting Words

And that’s it, trainers! Here’s the tl;dr of the article:

  • Sludge Bomb Darkrai has almost no use in PvE. You should go with Shadow Ball or Dark Pulse instead
  • Sludge Bomb is a strict downgrade in PvP too. It allows Darkrai to hit fairy types, but you lose the potential of booming your opponents with a Focus Blast. Pro tip: use Yveltal instead, it does Darkrai’s job but better
  • Niantic pls we want Dark Void 🙁

Author & tags

Pokémon fan since 2000. Played every single game without exception. I'm an engineer, a tech lover and also a big sports fan. Science is my religion :)

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