Dark Fire: A PvP Analysis on Community Day Incineroar

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It’s Community Day time again, and this time we return to starters with Incineroar in the spotlight as Gen VII’s Fire-type starter. How’s it look with TWO news moves now in PvP? Our Bottom Line Up Front sums that up, and then we’ll get into the meat of the analysis. Here we go!


  • Incineroar is quietly the bulkiest Fire starter we’ve had yet as a Community Day feature, and with decent defensive typing.
  • Incineroar also has a fast move that now gives it the fastest Blast Burn in the game. Exciting!
  • That all said, we already have several good Fire starters in PvP that continue to outshine Incineroar due to better subtypings and/or moves that just fit their respective metas better.
  • Incineroar IS worth grinding for and will likely shine brightly in certain Limited metas. But in Open? There’s just not a clear path there that isn’t already occupied by other, better options.

INCINEROAR Stats and Moves

Incineroar FireDark

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
126 (125 High Stat Product) 107 (111 High Stat Product) 132 (133 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-9, 1500 CP, Level 19)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
162 (160 High Stat Product) 140 (142 High Stat Product) 168 (172 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-15, 2500 CP, Level 32.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
192 160 194

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; 3387 CP at Level 50)

Long-time Pokemon franchise fans probably knew this already, but it came as a surprise to me: Incineroar is actually the bulkiest Fire-type starter in GO yet except for Skeledirge, giving it the highest overall stat product among things with exclusive Community Day move Blast Burn. The next closest is Charizard (and Typhlosion), which trails behind by 100 or more (across the various Leagues) in stat product. That’s very good news!

The typing is actually pretty decent defensively as well. Incineroar retains the standard Fire weaknesses to Ground, Rock, and Water, and Dark’s troubling vulnerability to Fighting damage, but the combination does nullify the standard Dark weaknesses to Fairy and Bug, and comes with the other regular Fire resistances (Grass, Ice, Steel, Fire) and Dark resistances (Psychic, Ghost, Dark). In the end, Incineroar is left with nearly twice as many resistances (seven) as it has weaknesses (four).


  • SnarlDark type, 1.66 DPT, 4.33 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
  • Double KickFighting type, 2.66 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.5 CD
  • Fire FangFire type, 4.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CD

It’s rare we have three fast moves that are all viable, but here we are.

Snarl is, I feel, the default thanks to its ability to chip away with mostly unresisted damage and rush out charge move pressure. (Particularly so with the new charge moves… but more on that in a minute.)

Fire Fang has seen good use in certain Cups, particularly with cheap Blaze Kick being added to Incineroar’s kit recently, applying great fast move pressure and pairing well with Flame Charge buffing in particular, but being far less versatile.

Double Kick splits the difference by still generating good energy, decent fast-move pressure, and especially unique coverage (especially versus enemy Dark types).

They’ve all seen use in Limited metas, but what will be best going forward? We need to factor in the charge moves for that…

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move

– New Move (starting with Community Day)


  • Blaze KickFire type, 60 damage, 40 energy
  • Flame ChargeFire type, 60 damage, 50 energy, Raises User Attack +1 Stage
  • Dark PulseDark type, 80 damage, 50 energy
  • Blast BurnᴱFire type, 110 damage, 50 energy
  • Darkest LariatᴺDark type, 120 damage, 60 energy
  • Fire BlastFire type, 140 damage, 80 energy

So I already mentioned Blaze Kick and Flame Charge. Some combination of them and/or Dark Pulse have usually been the way to go to this point. But now comes not one, but perhaps TWO moves that will slot in moving forward. The obvious one is the Community Day move Blast Burn. While there ARE a small number of starters in PvP that actually run fine (or even better!) without their Community Day moves (Frenzy Plant Sceptile & Torterra and eventual Blast Burn Skeledirge come most immediately to mind), by and large, the starter exclusive moves Blast Burn, Frenzy Plant, and Hydro Cannon are no-brainer upgrades. And that is particularly evident here. Yes, Dark Pulse provides potentially nice coverage, and the Flame Charge buff can be very potent at times. But for the same 50 energy they each cost, you can instead just crash into the enemy for 110 damage. Yes, Dark Pulse will still deal more damage when it is one level of effectiveness higher than Blast Burn (meaning when it’s super effective and BB is not, or Pulse is neutral and BB is resisted), but even then the gap isn’t that big.

As for Flame Charge… honestly, it probably falls by the wayside now. Because I think the second move of choice SHOULD be a Dark move now, though not Pulse. That’s right… despite costing 10 more energy than those other moves I just mentioned, I think the all-new Darkest Lariat may actually be the coverage move of choice now, with Snarl powering it and Blast Burn out rapidly.

Let’s look at the numbers to see WHY I think that.


Incineroar’s former best in Great League is usually powered by Fire Fang, though one CAN make the case for Double Kick with the right charge moves as well. Fire Fang is better at burning through things that are naturally flammable (like Charjabug) or resist Fighting damage (like Cresselia), while Double Kick can instead knock out things weak to Fighting damage like Galarian Stunfisk, Lickitung, and Umbreon. (Admittedly, Double Kick + Flame Charge can be quite scary!) Snarl just doesn’t fit very well though, being a bad pairing with Flame Charge and instead having to rely on Dark Pulse and — in a sign of desperate times — probably big slow Fire Blast in a Hail Mary attempt to shock and awe the opponent.

However, now we have two moves that can capitalize on the high-energy gains of Snarl. Running Blast Burn is obvious, and Dark Pulse with it is okay, but I would argue that for only 10 more energy, Darkest Lariat just has more potential. Either of them improve on both Fire Fang and Double Kick movesets overall. About the only special thing Fire Fang still does better is melt things that are particularly fragile to Fire (Shadow Alolan Sandslash is the only really notable example in the GL meta), and whole Double Kick is still best against Lickitung and Umbreon, Snarl/Blast Burn is still more than enough to incinerate Galarian Stunfisk, and adds on further wins versus Sableye and Shadow Gligar, just overwhelming them with heavy neutral damage. Then your Dark closing move of choice adds on Jellicent (!!), and Darkest Lariat goes the extra mile by also tacking on Defense Deoxys.

The improvement is there, perhaps less surprisingly, with shields down too, In that circumstance, Fire Fang is just sad, and even though Double Kick is a notable improvement, it cannot hold a candle to the potential of Snarl and Blast Burn. Yet again, BB/Dark Pulse is good in beating everything Double KIck can (except Umbreon) and with new wins versus Cresselia, Mandibuzz, Skarmory, and Talonflame, but BB/Lariat is just plain better by doing ALL of that AND also beating DDeoxys, Jellicent, and even Pelipper too. That’s pretty dang impressive for a Fire type.

That all said, Fire Fang DOES prove its worth in 2v2 shielding, where it does things other movesets cannot replicate like beating G-Fisk, Shadow Gligar, and Shadow CharmTales. It’s also better at taking down Shadow Victreebel and Charjabug much more reliably. But on the other hand, it is NOT able to punch out Jellicent, Mandibuzz, Mantine, and now Umbreon like Snarl/BB/DL can. Both sides of that equation obviously have value, but of course you also have to consider Snarl with the two new moves and its dominance in other shielding scenarios… 2v2 shielding is rather uncommon, after all.

For my money, gimme the pure power potential of Blast Burn/Darkest Lariat now, and there’s no better way to rush to them early and often than with Snarl. Blast Burn comes after only FOUR Snarls (making it easily the fastest Blast Burn in the game!), and even Darkest Lariat comes just one additional Snarl later. That’s 7.5 seconds of real time to charge up a Lariat, whereas the only other Blast Burn user that can reach even the 50 energy requires for BB that fast is Charizard with Wing Attack (reaches 56 energy in 7 seconds). Even Blaziken with Counter takes 8 full seconds to get to 50+ energy. When it comes to dropping multiple devastating bombs, Incineroar is now the best of the best among Fire starters.

Incineroar using Blast Burn on Melmetal


At this level, I’m really not going to even both with Fire Fang beyond showing its best (2v2 shielding again). It’s just inferior in Ultra League, as there’s simply not as much to try and overwhelm with heavy Fire damage along. Once again, I think the way to go is with racing to the two new closing moves, though there’s more of a fair comparison now between Double Kick and Snarl. The former is better versus some obvious things (Walrein and Steelix in 1shield, Obstagoon and Cobalion in 0shield, and Registeel in 2shield, all weak to Fighting) and some less obvious things (like beating Feraligatr in 1shield and Mandibuzz in 2shield). Snarl is better against potent Ghosts (Jellicent in 0shield and 1shield, Altered Giratina in 1shield and 2shield) and for simply outracing Charizard and Greedent with shields down. One could argue Snarl is a little more versatile since it’s resisted by little and has the edge in most all race-to-the-next-charge-move situations, but there’s no denying that Double Kick could absolutely fit some teams better and isn’t a bad all-arounder either.

That all said, it’s NOT the new best Fire starter in the format. That title still clearly belongs to Charizard, particularly ShadowZard, whose wide coverage, far different resistances, and better overall speed (thanks to Dragon Claw and its 35 energy cost changing up all kinds of math equations) gives it wins Incineroar cannot hope to replicate like Shadow Dragonite, Golisopod, Obstagoon, Steelix, Virizion, Gligar, Toxicroak, and Annihilape, among others. However, Incineroar still stands out with its own special wins like Altered Giratina, Jellicent, Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Ampharos, and Charizard itself (regular or Shadow makes no difference). I think there’s room for both in Ultra League now depending on your team structure! Do note, however, that the gap between Charizard and Incineroar opens up a bit in Zard’s favor in Ultra Premier, mainly due to so many more Fighters showing up for half-Flying Charizard to pick on and half-Dark Incineroar to mostly crumble against thanks to its aforementioned weakness to Fighting damage.)


What about Master League Premier, finally returning for the first time in several GBL seasons (first time since last July, in fact)? Does Incineroar have a place there? Well, frankly, not really, no. Once again, Charizard is just better, though neither are anything to write home about. So as you might guess, the performance in Open Master League is just not good. Mewtwo, Solgaleo, and Metagross among Psychic types, Zarude and Mamoswine as burnable targets, and Origin Forme Giratina. But that’s really about it. Master League is a rather harsh environment for most Dark AND Fire types anyway (tons of big Dragon, Fairy, Water, and/or Ground-types to blunt Attacks and hit back hard), so something with both of those typings is in for some particularly tough sledding.


It is possible for something to be undoubtedly improved but still remain somewhat fringey in PvP. It’s happened with many Community Days before, and overall I think it’s safe to say that that is the case here as well. There WILL be metas where new and improved Incineroar will thrive… indeed, it’s already been impactful in Cups already, with far less potent moves than it will have moving forward. By all means, do what you can to land some good ones while you get Blast Burn for “free”. But this is no new meta definer or anything, just a good tool to have in your kit for when needed. Good luck!

Until next time, my friends, you can always find me you can always find me on Twitter with regular Pokémon GO analysis nuggets, or Patreon if you like.

Good hunting, folks. Do stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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