Battle Updates are coming to Pokemon GO


  • Pokémon Go has just announced updates to the Combat-system for Pokémon GO version 0.157.0. These changes include new Moves, changes to Moves, and new Movesets for certain Pokémon. Niantic hopes these changes will make the Battle System more fun and competitive. While it is still unknown when these changes will be implemented; therefore,  the new stats are not fully known or could change before release.

Move Changes

Largely this will be initial thoughts posted alongside the Niantic release:

  • Bubble Beam – Bubble Beam will decrease an opponent Pokémon’s attack stat by one stage. We’re excited to see what strategies this change kicks off.

This is exciting as it gives an otherwise cheap, but inefficient charge move some extra depth. Unlike Leaf tornado which has not seen much use (not having been very viable), it is a guaranteed attack debuff (in its initial form).

  • “Power-Up Punch – Power-Up Punch’s primary purpose was intended to be rapidly boosting the attack of your Pokémon if your opponent doesn’t respond quickly. The damage for Power-Up Punch will be decreased in order to help Pokémon that can learn Power-Up Punch play differently from one another by using their other attacks for damage. This should also provide clearer counterplay—not blocking your opponent’s Power-Up Punches is now a more obviously right response!”

This one has the potential to be really big. The stated goal here is to have to make a choice between powering up with PuP and using your secondary charge move. My quick thought is that this will be a pretty significant nerf to it’s users, but it should allow a lot more depth of play with shield baiting, and move usage. This will rustle some jimmies in the meantime though.

  • “Psychic – Psychic will now deal more damage and be usable sooner in Gym, Raid, and Trainer Battles. This rework is intended to make Psychic a more viable Psychic-type attack in both raids and Trainer Battles. Trainers now also have the chance to decrease an opponent Pokémon’s defense stat whenever the move is used in Trainer Battles.”

I have not seen any preliminary data to see how this plays out. This is a wait and see. It is good to see them attempting to rebalance moves though.

  • “Snarl – Snarl has been updated to have a clearer energy-generation role. This should help the primarily offensive-leaning Pokémon with Snarl, like Arcanine and Luxio, use important Charged Attacks before fainting, as well as giving the more defensive Suicune and Umbreon more frequent access to their Charged Attacks.”

This move is going from an in the middle 2.67 DPT and 3.33 EPT to a 1.67 DPT and 4.33 EPT move. This makes it nearly Mud Shot with slightly more damage and slightly less energy.

  • “Fire Fang damage has been increased to match the damage that, new moves, Thunder Fang and Ice Fang deal.”

A straight buff moving it from 3.5 DPT to 4 DPT. This is a rock through clone, still slightly behind moves like Waterfall and Smack Down. It gives those with access some actually punishing fast move damage with still not terrible energy gains.

New Moves

Two new Quick Moves were also announced. These two moves, and the Pokémon that will be able to learn them are:

  • Thunder Fang: Arcanine, Steelix, Mightyena, Hippowdon
  • Ice Fang: Suicune, Mightyena, Mawile, Hippowdon, Drapion

While none of these Pokémon will benefit from STAB, most of the Pokémon that learn these two Moves will have another move to cover its weaknesses. These moves will have similar if not the same stats as Fire Fang, the Power of which is being increased (see above.)

New Movesets

On top of new moves and changed move stats, a few lucky Pokémon received a new Move for their Moveset.

  • “Alolan Raichu: Thundershock – This Fast Attack will let Alolan Raichu surf its way to faster Charged Attacks to help make up for its light defenses.”

The crown of Legacy K-Chu (Kanto version) has now moved to A-Chu!!! This is huge for such a glassy beat to have the ability to spam as hard as it’s older cousin. I expect this to be meaninful. However, Gen 5 has brought a lot of power to Dark-hybrids, so it’ll be seen how safe a pick this is.

  • “Alolan Sandslash: Ice Punch – This Charged Attack lets Alolan Sandslash more reliably dish out fast and high-powered Ice-type damage in the Great and Ultra Leagues.”

Held back by largely terrible charge moves, this is a useful addition giving it reliable, and fast ice damage.

  • “Alolan Ninetales: Charm – This addition allows Alolan Ninetales to have a powerful Fast Attack option as an alternative to its more Charged-Attack-focused Ice-type attack set in the Great and Ultra Leagues.”

Without time to sim this out, its hard to tell. This gives it an ultra-powerful fast attack that can be paired easily with fast and potent Psyshock.

  • “Golduck: Bubble Beam, Synchronoise, Cross Chop – With access to a few new tricks, Golduck has a new and unique pool of Charged Attacks that should help it stand out against the many other Water types in Ultra League.”

Your guess is as good as mine but I imagine that no moves will help this duck as a mono-water with better options out there. I could be wrong though shrugs

  • “Alolan Marowak: Fire Spin, Flame Wheel – Alolan Marowak’s original move pool made it hard to use any Fire-type attacks in practice. Adding Fire Spin and Flame Wheel should give this Pokémon options to reliably deal Fire-type damage.”

Adding reliable fire damage and increasing this already potent mon’s unpredictability is a definite win. Fire Blast basically didn’t exist, so this is a win, even if you never run this as a fire type just for the real threat of fire damage.

  • “Mantine: Bubble Beam – Giving Mantine the new and improved Bubble Beam gives it a more supportive role among Great League Water types.”

A bulky beast that can take advantage of debuffing moves. So far these types of debuffs haven’t been meaningful, but I will call it ahead of time and suggest this is a big deal. It only had water pulse before which is a pretty bad water move already so the inefficiency of Bubble Beam is not any worse. Its both faster and has a clear benefit. I think JRE Seawolf will be back on the Wing-a-tine train!!

  • “Mawile: Fire Fang, Ice Fang, Power-Up Punch – Fire Fang or Ice Fang combined with Power-Up Punch allow Mawile to pose a real threat in Great League. Mawile’s weakness to Fire-type attacks keeps it a balanced competitor.”

Terrible fast moves held back such an awesomely typed Pokemon. Again, this should be a massive buff for this toothy mon.

  • Weavile: Snarl – Snarl allows Weavile to hold its own as a fragile but powerful Dark-type attacker against Team GO Rocket, Raid Bosses, and Master League opponents.

Not much to add here without sims. In theory the new EPT monster that Snarl is combined with strong and reasonably cheap Ice/Dark moves could make it worth using.

Additional Changes

A few final changes:

  • The timing for damage dealt and energy charged has been improved.

I have emphasized this because it means the end of Undertapping. Honestly I think this was a long time coming. If you could do it, it gave you an advantage over less-experienced players or it lead to a stalemate with another experienced player. I saw reports recently of 30s waiting games to see who had more HP when the timer ran out. That is not compelling gameplay and hidden mechanics don’t help new players which we all need to keep pvp exciting.

  • A Pokémon’s health bar will briefly pulse when it receives damage.

Cool story bro? a QoL improvement at best.

Much of the move analysis was provided by @whosikon one of our PvP Junior Writers

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