A Brief PvP Analysis on Magma Storm Heatran, Turtonator, and Mega Sableye

Hello again, Pokéfriends! A new event means a new analysis, so let’s look at the potential PvP standouts from the Dark Flames event, starting with our customary Bottom Line Up Front and then just dive right in.


  • Heatran IS better now with Magma Storm, though I don’t expect a sudden rise in its importance in the current meta. It’s just not quite enough, I don’t think, which is a shame because the move itself is GREAT.
  • Turtonator still has potential with some addtional move tweaking, but with its current moveset? It’s left kind of sad, even with the late addition of Incinerate. Needs more Dragon, Niantic!
  • The answer to the popular question “Is Mega Sableye better or worse?” lies within. (Spoiler alert: it’s actually better, folks!)

Alright, on to the analysis! I promise it’s relatively short this time so you can get back out there and hunt stuff down. 😊 (And so I maybe don’t trip Reddit’s “spam filter” again? 🙃)


Heatran FireSteel

So right off the bat, let’s get to HEATRAN, long the butt of many jokes in GO, and its new-to-GO signature move Magma Storm.

First, the move itself is actually fantastic.


Fire-type Charged Move

Damage: 65

Energy Req’d: 40

Here we have an exact clone (other than typing, of course) of Surf, Drill Peck, Brutal Swing, and Icicle Spear, with a very robust 1.62 Damage Per Energy (DPE). As compared to other Fire moves, the only one that is cheaper is Weather Ball, which comes 5 energy cheaper but deals 10 less energy, resulting in “only” 1.57 DPE. But other than that, this is easily the best inexpensive charge move among Fire moves, dealing 10 more damage than Fire Punch and Blaze Kick for the same 40 energy cost, and dealing the same damage as Flame Charge for 10 less energy (albeit without Charge’s Attack boost). This is a really good move, especially considering other Fire alternatives.

Unfortunately, this is a true signature move, with ONLY Heatran learning it in MLG. So while I would LOVE to see it distributed to other Fire types, that’s not gonna happen. Which is a real shame, because Heatran… is still Heatran.

First, I’m just going to point out the simulations. Assuming Stone Edge as the second move, here are the sims for existing Earth Power and Flamethrower, as compared to the new Magma Storm. And yeah… high level, they’re all the same. Okay, anaylsis over, byeeeeeeeeeeee!






Nah, you know I ain’t lett you off THAT easy. There’s actually some very notable differences.

First off, the speed of Magma Storm (10-15 energy cheaper than any of Heatran’s other moves) allows it to beat three things it couldn’t before: Melmetal, Mamoswine, and Yveltal. And that’s good! Props to Magma Storm for adding a little more intrigue.

Additionally, while Magma Storm actually shows new losses to Zacian (with either Wild Charge or Play Rough), that’s not quite true. Stone Edge alone typically wins, so obviously Magma Storm/Stone Edge can as well. Silly sims.

So it’s actually all sunshine and rainbows for Magma Storm, right? Beats everything the other moves can beat PLUS three new things… oh, wait. Actually, there is another notable loss than can’t be easily explained away, and it’s a biggie: Dialga. Magma Storm deals neutral damage (Steel weak to Fire, but Dragon resists), and just doesn’t deal enough of it to prevent Dialga from getting to a big finishing Thunder, whereas Earth Power (super effective) and even Flamethrower (neutral like Storm, but higher damage) both finish off Dialga before it can reach a closing Thunder. So… still an overall improvement, no doubt, but losing Dialga to get there kinda hurts.

Similar tradeoffs come with shields down. Flamethrower alone has the power to incinerate Melmetal, and it Earth Power are able to punch out Metagross while Magma Storm lacks the power to finish the job. However, the speed of Storm allows only it to outrace Mamoswine, Xerneas, and often Mewtwo as well. Not a straight upgrade by any means, but I DO think we can call Magma Storm an overall upgrade here.

And the upgrade becomes crystal clear in 2v2 shielding. Just check out Flamethrower and Earth Power… as compared to Magma Storm. 😱 This time it’s ALL gains, with Melmetal, Zacian, Mewtwo, Yveltal, Xerneas, and new names Gyarados, Ho-Oh, and Reshiram all sliding into the win column. And NO new losses. It’s not surprising that a 40-energy move improves the performance of something that typically runs only 55-energy moves, but THIS kind of improvement is pretty rare and admittedly impressive. I don’t know that it will suddenly jump in usage or impact in the Master League meta — PvPoke still has it ranked outside the Top 50, as one possible sign of that — but at least it’s not entirely a joke anymore.

And yes, for what it’s worth, Magma Storm is better than existing options in other places like Ultra League as well, but it would take a specialized, Cup-type format for it to have any real chance of breaking out there. This was and remains a Master League pick — more of a spice pick, really — than anywhere else. Get one while you can, and hope for the hundo, just think long and hard about whether it’s worth your investment. Either way, good luck!


Turtonator FireDragon

Let’s start with the good. TURTONATOR fits snuggly into Great League even leveled into the mid-20s, so yes, you CAN still run your newly raided Turtonators in that format if you wanna. But uh… you proooooobably don’t wanna.

Fire/Dragon is a pretty intriguing typing, negating the standard Dragon weaknesses to Fairy AND Ice, and the regular Fire weakness to Water, but opening up Ground and Rock vulnerabilities that most Dragons don’t need to worry about, and remaining weak to Dragon damage… while lacking ANY Dragon fast moves to answer back with. And that right there is probably Turtonator’s greatest flaw… it’s a Dragon that is pitifully outmatched by other Dragons. And with a record like this, you’re likely to only ever consider it in Limited metas where, presumably, it will be surrounded by aforementioned Dragons. Its best bet may be in a meta that allows Fire types and NOT other Dragons, and can then flex its double resistance to Fire (alongside resistances to Steel, Electric, Bug, and double resistance to Grass, if those end up mattering). But the problem again is lacking any Dragon damage output except mediocre charge move Dragon Pulse, and thus Turt still manages to lose to pretty much all the big-name Fire types (Charizard, Talonflame, Victini, A-Wak, Blaziken, etc.) who come with ample non-Fire damage options.

In short… while I absolutely love the design of Turtonator, I don’t see it doing anything but sitting on the bench. It would take a weird and funky Great League format for it to do anything beyond that.

Turtonator is a bit more interesting in Ultra League, for what it’s worth, but note that it has to be fully maxed (AND nearly hundo) to tickle 2500 CP. And yet again, there are muchmuchmuch better Fire options already, including my boy Charizard with the Dragon fast move (AND a spammy Dragon charge move) that Turtonator pines for.

Poor Turtonator.

There MAY be hope down the line, as it can learn several good Dragon moves in MLG, including Outrage, Draco Meteor, and yes, Dragon Claw. AND fast move Dragon Tail! The potential is there, and it’s nice to dream. I’d try and land at least a couple in case better days are on the horizon for the fiery Draco-turtle. Just don’t expect that day to be just over the horizon, as Niantic already recently tweaked Turtonator by giving it Incinerate (and Flash Cannon for… uh… some reason?) and are unlikely to tinker again soon.


Sableye (Mega) DarkGhost

While we’re dreaming, let’s take a peek at MEGA SABLEYE in PvP.

Now this really DOES need to be a dream, as we’ve never had Megas eligible in PvP except for Mega Master League, and even as a Mega, Sableye doesn’t cross even 2000 CP, much less get anywhere close to being Master League viable. This is still just a Great League discussion.

But there IS discussion to have, because Mega Sableye outclasses non-Mega in nearly every way. Mega is bulkier (less HP than non-Mega, but also about 40 more Defense!) and has a higher overall stat product. Now while its lower Attack (trailing non-Mega by roughly 8 in the Attack stat) means that Mega fails to Alolan Sandslash and (Water Gun) Lanturn as non-Mega can, a theoretical Mega Sableye in Great League would be able to beat Venusaur, Walrein, Shadow Victreebel, Skarmory, Pelipper, Registeel, and typically the mirror match (versus non-Mega Sable), none of which regular old Sableye can reliably replicate.

In short: Mega Sableye would be a boon in Great League, and is BETTER than the original. Probably the ONLY Mega that can flex in that way, and unfortunately somewhat unlikely to ever actually be permitted, but hey… dare to dream! Now you know the answer to a question I know many of you have been wondering about.

Alrighty, that’s it for now. Tried to keep it short and sweet for once!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular GO analysis nuggets or Patreon.

Continued thanks to my PvP friends, local and around the world, who have lent their own ideas and suggestions over the last FOUR years of PvP play, and helped teach me to be a better player and student of the game. And as always, thank you for reading… I appreciate your attention and encouragement.

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, and good hunting (and raiding) during the event!

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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