Trainer Battles Rebalance, New PvP Charge Mechanics and Move Pool Shakeup

Pokemon GO PvP: second charge move, charge up, protect shield
Pokemon GO PvP: second charge move, charge up, protect shield

Trainers, a two big updates are coming, one bringing a move pool shakeup and the other brings Trainer Battles improvements! Niantic has just announced a series of updates to Pokemon GO’s PvP system, two brand new moves and move pool changes for several Pokemon that were previously under performing in Trainer Battles.

Although today’s update is focused on Trainer Battles, all of the new moves and move sets can be used in raids, gyms and PvP. 13 Pokemon now have new move sets that include previously available moves, and 15 more have access to one of two new moves: Charm and Skull Bash.

The new moves should starting rolling out today, while the timing on the new Trainer Battle charge move mechanics is not clear.

Updates to Trainer Battles:

  • Switching Pokemon inside Trainer Battles will briefly pause the battle. Pokemon can no longer be damaged during during switching.
  • A new Charge move mechanic is coming, includes new swipe and tap mechanics. The details are not yet available

Pokemon with new moves:

New moves:

  • Charm: A Fairy-type Fast Attack
    • Raichu, Clefable, Wigglytuff, Wobbuffet, Granbull, Donphan, Gardevoir, Delcatty, Latias, Togekiss, Gallade
  • Skull Bash: A Normal-type Charged Attack that increases the Defense stat of the user 100 percent of the time
    • Blastoise, Raichu, Lapras, Snorlax, Rhyperior

Charm is the long awaited Fairy type fast move that has the potential to improve performance of several different Pokemon.

Charm, Skull Bash and several move pool shake up
Charm, Skull Bash and several move pool shake up

Move set changes explained

Niantic has provided in-depth explanations for every move set change they did. We’re sharing them in full here and we’ll have a full review of the changes in the coming days.

Raichu (Alola)

Grass Knot – Alolan Raichu currently can only learn Electric- and Psychic-type attacks. Grass Knot will give it more type coverage and help cover its weakness to Ground-type attacks.


Sludge Bomb – Sludge Bomb provides Vileplume with a strong Poison-type Charged Attack to take full advantage of its Grass and Poison types.


Fire Punch, Ice Punch, Thunder Punch – These attacks provide Hypno with coverage to help it in the Great League.


Foul Play – All the attacks Electrode can currently learn are Normal type or Electric type. Foul Play provides more type coverage for Electrode.


Rock Throw – Rock Throw allows Aerodactyl to compete in the Great League against other Flying-type Pokémon, such as Altaria.


Ancient Power, Ice Shard – Ice Shard will help Articuno use its Charged Attacks more frequently in battle. Ancient Power offers additional type coverage.


Ancient Power, Drill Peck – Zapdos currently can only learn Electric-type Charged Attacks. Drill Peck gives another type option and is a natural fit for this Pokémon. Ancient Power provides Zapdos with additional type coverage.


Ancient Power, Wing Attack – Wing Attack provides Moltres with a Fast Attack alternative to Fire Spin, and Ancient Power gives it a new type option for its Charged Attacks.


Dragon Claw – Dragon Claw gives Sceptile additional coverage to compete with Dragon-type Pokémon in the Great League and the Ultra League.


Smack Down – The Fast Attack Smack Down should make Aggron a formidable choice to use in any league.


Mud Slap – This Ground-type alternative to Claydol’s Psychic-type Fast Attacks provides it with additional type coverage, improving its capabilities against Pokémon resistant to Psychic-type attacks.


Bulldoze, Psyshock – Bulldoze and Psyshock are Charged Attacks that Bronzong can capitalize on to differentiate it from other Psychic-type or Steel-type Pokémon, like Metagross.


Ice Punch – All the Charged Attacks Electivire can currently learn are Electric type. Ice Punch provides more type coverage for Electivire.

Parting words

The added variety of the new move sets will greatly benefit each Pokemon’s representation in PvP, but their roles in PvE will not be heavily affected. Gardevoir can use it’s new Charm versus Fighting types and using Aggron with the new SD / SE move set is no longer as punishing as it used to be, but aside from that, very little will change with your raid team setups.

However, it’s worth noting that Niantic’s continued attention to Trainer Battles is a good sign. Trainer Battles have seen relatively low adoption compared to other in-game features (friends and trading), and steps like these can make it easier for new players to partake in it.

These efforts, coupled with the new Charge mechanics should raise player participation and make the system more enjoyable.