Aiming to keep this short and sweet today, as many of us are traveling or sleeping off Thanksgiving tryptophan, but yes, I decided it was still worth it to examine Community Day Classic Ampharos, even if it doesn’t necessarily want to BE classic these days! Let’s check our Bottom Line Up Front for a quick summary and then get into a somewhat truncated analysis.
- Put simply: yes, Ampharos is a good tool to have for PvP. It just doesn’t need its classic Community Day move, barring perhaps a future rebalancing.
- I do recommend coming out of the weekend with a good Shadow Ampharos for Great League (and a non-Shadow if possible) and a good non-Shadow Ampharos for Ultra League (and vice-versa with a decent Shadow as a potential bonus goal). Just, again, don’t need the exclusive move, per se.
Short and sweet, right? Now let’s see if I can attain that goal with the rest of the article too! 😅
AMPHAROS Stats and Moves
Great League Stats
(126 High Stat Product)
(109 High Stat Product)
(130 High Stat Product)
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-13-11 1499 CP, Level 20)
Ultra League Stats
(162 High Stat Product)
(140 High Stat Product)
(170 High Stat Product)
Master League Stats
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs, CP 3225 at Level 50)
So just as with my recent analysis on the much bulkier Bellibolt, here’s your reminder that Electric is actually a pretty good defensive typing, being famously weak to Ground but resisting Electric, Flying, and Steel.
But Amphy is nowhere nearly as bulky as Bellibolt. Its overall bulk is better than other Electrics like Magnezone, Togedemaru, Zapdos, Heliolisk, and the Raichus, but inferior to the Alolan Rocks, the Electrodes, Dedenne, and of course the bulky Electrics like Lanturn, Stunfisk, Charjabug and such.
I promised this would be quick, though, so I think I’ve said enough about that for now. Let’s get to the moves!
- Volt Switch – Electric type, 3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 2.0 CoolDown
- Charge Beam – Electric type, 1.66 DPT, 3.66 EPT, 1.5 CD
Sometimes the game makes my analysis really easy. So thank you, game! Volt Switch is superior to Charge Beam in basically every way, with higher energy generation AND nearly twice as much damage.
But this is a good time to quickly review how sad Ampharos was when it was first released back in 2017. Back then, Volt Switch was a very weak fast move (2.4 DPT and 2.0 EPT, IIRC), whereas it eventually evolved into possibly the best Electric fast move in the game, albeit one that can be a little clunky to use due to its slow windup time.
Ampharos started out even sadder in the charge move department… but more on that in a moment, because these days, it’s loaded with options!
ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
- Thunder Punch – Electric type, 55 damage, 40 energy
- Brutal Swing – Dark type, 65 damage, 40 energy
- Trailblaze – Grass type, 65 damage, 50 energy, Raises User Attack +1 Stage
- Power Gem – Rock type, 80 damage, 60 energy
- Dragon Pulseᴱ – Dragon type, 90 damage, 60 energy
- Thunder – Electric type, 100 damage, 60 energy
- Focus Blast – Fighting type, 150 damage, 75 energy
- Zap Cannon – Electric type, 150 damage, 80 energy, 66% Chance to Reduce Opponent Attack -1 Stage
Yes, that’s right: EIGHT charge moves now, the same as Niantic pet project Claydol. But it wasn’t always that way. Ampharos was initially released with just three: Thunder, super slow Zap Cannon, and Amphy’s only coverage move at the time: big slow Focus Blast. Ampharos received its first new move on its original Community Day in April 2018: Dragon Pulse. But still, none of its moves costed any less than 60 energy, which really hampered it. Thankfully, as I wrote about at the time, Ampharos got a double boost way back in the GBL Season 2 rebalance with the buff to Volt Switch AND the addition of Thunder Punch, the first of several key additions that started to make it interesting. (We don’t talk about Power Gem that was added in 2019.) Volt Switch and Thunder Punch pair particularly nicely together, with 3 Switches overcharging for the first Punch, but then only two more Switches using the leftover energy to reach exactly 40 for a second Punch.
This was the last change for nearly three years, when it got another shot in the arm with Brutal Swing about a year ago, costing the same as Thunder Punch but with higher on-paper damage, such that it and STAB Thunder Punch deal about the same damage when both are neutral. And now, this season, Ampharos was caught up in the Trailblaze wave for move #8, giving it not only key coverage versus Ground types that can plague it, but a built-in Attack boost as well! Suddenly Ampharos has gone from Electric-heavy to something that doesn’t even have to run any Electric charge moves at all to be at its best.
But how good IS its best, and what out of that wide range of moves is it best WITH?
For general use, my recommendation is Brutal Swing/Trailblaze for maximum coverage, though that’s hardly the final answer. That works pretty well for Shadow Ampharos in Great League, though with the slew of big name Waters and Flyers weak to Electric, and Fighters and Darks and Fairies that resist Dark, Thunder Punch/Trailblaze may be better, beating Alolan Ninetales, Scrafty, and Toxicroak that Brutal cannot… well, swing. (Brutal does uniquely beat Trevenant, however.) Combining Punch/Brutal kind of works too and may be okay for certain Cup metas, but you do miss out on things like Bastiodon, Sableye, Scrafty, and A-Tails without the Attack boost that comes with Trailblaze.Yes, it costs 10 more energy than Brutal or Punch and throws off the timing a bit, needing more than five Volt Switches to get to two charge moves now… the first 3 Switches gets to only 48 energy, so way overcharging with one more is necessary to fire off Trailblaze in the first place, and then three more to exceed 40 energy for a follow-up Punch or Brutal. But the tradeoff of taking off some early pressure to instead apply Attack-boosted pressure later seems like it’s worth it. NOT worth it, however, are the big closers Focus Blast or Zap Cannon, which can at least knock out Umbreon, but completely give up things like Dewgong, Froslass, Toxicroak, Scrafty, A-Tails, and/or Trevenant in the process. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.
Now Ultra League may be a different story. At that level, you CAN find pretty good success with Zap Cannon or especially Focus Blast, and arguably you’re also better off as a non-Shadow to maxmize bulk and allow reaching those expensive moves more often. (Shadow struggles to beat things like Dubwool, Greedent, Alolan Ninetales, Scrafty, Snorlax, and Drapion like non-Shadow is capable of handling.) It takes “only” five Volt Switches to hit 80 energy, after all. Even Trailblaze with Focus Blast is surprisingly effective, trading in Charizard, Defense Deoxys, and Cofagrigus for Walrein, Poliwrath, and Granbull instead. (Though if you run Punch/Blast you unsurprisingly get a mix, with Poliwrath and Charizard as wins, but Granbull and Walrein slipping away.)
WAIT…WHAT ABOUT THE COMMUNITY DAY MOVE?
Long story short… there are several possibilities, though Ampharos remains more on the fringe than true meta no matter what you use. (Well, perhaps closer to meta in Ultra League, where it found its niche even before Trailblaze or Brutal Swing came along and has only gotten better since.) What you may notice I have NOT used at all is the Community Day move: Dragon Pulse. Yes, it deals more damage than Punch or Brutal or even Trailblaze, but it’s just… not a very good move. It takes four Volt Switches to reach it, and overcharges by 4 energy to do so. So unlike Trailblaze which at least leaves you enough energy for only two following Switches to power up your second charge move (14 leftover energy + 16 +16 = 46), the math doesn’t add up well for the measly 4 you’re left with after using Pulse (4 + 16 + 16 = only 36, requiring yet another Switch to fire off any followup charge move at all). And the typing just doesn’t do much for you anyway, with Dragon of course being super effective only versus other Dragons. While that allows it potential wins like Altaria in Great League, it doesn’t do enough versus Dragons in Ultra, and the notable dropoff in performance in both Great and especially Ultra just isn’t worth it at all.
So by all means, get yourself a good Ampharos or two if you need them, and pink shiny ones if you get lucky! Just don’t worry too much about getting the actual exclusive move. Dragon Pulse just isn’t a good enough PvP move… though sure, if you missed out the first time, it couldn’t hurt to snag one or two with any excess candy you have, because we ARE on the cusp of a new season and new move rebalance and you never know what Niantic may have in store. In general, though, I think you can take it easy this Saturday and sleep off some of those Thanksgiving leftovers (or just chill in general). About the only place I see Pulse ever exceeding other available moves is MAYBE Mega Master League… should that ever become a thing again.
Gonna wrap it up right here, as Community Day Classic is FAST approaching, and I now have the beginnings of Christmas prep to get to anyway. 🎄 So until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular GO analysis nuggets or Patreon.
Good hunting, folks! Be safe out there, stay warm, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!