A Comprehensive PvP Analysis on the GBL Season 12 Move Rebalance

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Time is short and this is NOT my last article to crank out before GBL Season 12 begins, so let’s just get straight to the point: the first move rebalance, we’ve had in MANY months is finally here, and as expected, it’s a whopper! No bells and whistles… let’s just dive right in!

SURF’S UP! BUT DON’T GET SCALDED OUT THERE! 🌊☀️

Lanturn WaterElectric

LANTURN has had metas where it got its moment in the sun, but has been more on the outside looking in when it comes to Open formats. It’s quite bulky, which has enabled it to make due with no charge moves cheaper than Thunderbolt‘s 55 energy. Partly this is thanks to Niantic giving it Spark several updates ago (rather than the average Water Gun and subpar Charge Beam it was stuck with previously), but mostly it’s thanks to its crazy good bulk that allows it to just hang in and throw out multiple expensive charge moves anyway. It even makes Hydro Pump and its 75 energy a legit, viable threat.

That all said… having only expensive moves like that is bound to hold you back, even for something as thicc as Lanturn. Indeed, it’s kept it mostly JUST outside of the Great League Open meta. Well no more, because it can now learn Surf, and… well, it’s wondering “how do you like me now?” NO new losses, and new wins pop up versus Medicham, Shadow Walrein, Cofagrigus, Sableye, AND Bastiodon. Those are some good names, no? Or, if you prefer, you have the option of running Thunder (without the Bolt) and dropping Medi and Wally to blow away bulkmeisters Lickitung and Defense Deoxys instead.

And amazingly, while you probably never would have considered Lanturn in Ultra League before, with Surf now, it’s suddenly not a crazy idea at all! New wins include Melmetal, Drapion, Cofagrigus, CharmTales, Politoed, and then either Umbreon or Farfetch’d, depending on your choice between Thunderbolt and Thunder. Not bad for something that barely crosses 2350 CP!

Tentacruel WaterPoison

But on the flipside, we have TENTACRUEL. Sadly, it’s NOT getting Surf (as many have hoped for, for several seasons now), but instead the 50-energy Scald. And while Scald is not a bad move by any means, it’s a little awkward on Tentacruel. Today, Tentacthulhu works by running Acid Spray for baits and also to turn its Poison Jab into a potent weapon all its own, and then closing things out when necessary with Hydro Pump, just like Lanturn has done all these years. And that can actually work much better than many realize. So what if I told you that Scald, at least on the surface, might actually be a step backwards? I mean, that’s not the WHOLE story… you do gain wins like Talonflame and Pelipper, and I would actually argue that Tenta becomes BETTER — more unpredictable and flexible — beyond what the numbers show. But you DO lose the ability to punch out things like Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Lickitung, Cresselia, DDeoxys, Drapion and a few others without the power of Pump. And as Scald costs 5 more energy than Acid Spray and doesn’t come with the big, guaranteed debuff to the opponent’s Defense like Spray does, it’s a worse bait move and is therefore awkward alongside Pump as well. (And yes, this is all basically true in Ultra League too.)

Now this may, in actual practice, be a mirage. I DO think Tentacruel could be more consistent with Scald, certainly. Simulations tend to overvalue Acid Spray a bit, and obviously perfect baiting will rarely occur. But I’m not sure if this is enough to vault Tentacruel up the ranks very much. Tentacthulhu fans will surely find reason to rejoice and surely some will make this work for them. I just don’t see its overall stock changing much (still wish it was Surf myself!), but we shall see.

LONG STORY SHORT, Lanturn likely becomes full-on meta in Great League and perhaps even Ultra League. Tentacruel gets a fun sidegrade that MAY end up being better in the right hands, but likely doesn’t rise much where it wasn’t relevant already.

SINK YOUR FANGS IN 🧛

Well, I hoped for it back around the time we had Luxray Community Day, but I didn’t think we’d ACTUALLY get so many new PSYCHIC FANGS users all at once like this. SIX new Psychic Fangs users out of this update, and some of them are quite juicy! Let’s hit them one by one.

Steelix SteelGround
  • The one I was most excited about when Psychic Fangs was added to the game way back in November was STEELIX, and I think it’s still the underrated but clear biggest winner now. Steelix already dances around the edges of viability now, especially in Ultra League, and it’s been a darling in some limited Great League formats as well. And while I want to clarify right up front that Fangs is obviously often a bait move, and the simulations have a tendency to fall into best-case-scenarios with bait moves like this, you still have to like the potential. Yes yes, some of those new wins are clearly thanks to baiting, like Galarian Stunfisk (who resists everything Steelix has there except Earthquake, and only good baits from Psychic Fangs set Quake up to do its thing properly). But not nearly as many wins rely on that as you might think. The new wins against Toxicroak, Mandibuzz, Gyarados, Sirfetch’d, and Steelix nemesis Venusaur all come with Psychic Fangs and fast move Dragon Tail alone… no Earthquake required. And amazingly, so do the vast majority of Steelix’s other wins. It only needs Earthquake to beat things like G-Fisk, Melmetal, Cofagrigus, and Snorlax… and that’s actually it among core meta opponents. See why I was excited about Fangs on Steelix? It’s about to open up a can of you-know-what on Ultra League, and becomes more interesting in Great League as well. I am excited about this one!
Arcanine Fire
  • Similarly excited about Psychic Fangs? Swiss army knife and personal favorite ARCANINE. Specifically when running with Fire Fang (a high damage fast move which takes full advantage of the Defensive debuffing that Fangs inflicts on the opponent), the improvement is very obvious right from the beginning. Just check out non-Fangs Arcanine versus the new Fangs Aracanine in Great League. New wins over Cofag, Drapion, A-Wak, Mandibuzz, Toxicroak, and even Azumarill! Now yes, much of that is due to the equally unpredictable Wild Charge, and the sims can go all over the place depending on timing of charge moves and all. But the potential is good. And that continues in Ultra League where Arcanine can take perhaps a bigger bite out of the meta, particularly perhaps during the grand return of Ultra Premier Classic.
  • Beyond that, though, it’s a bit of a mix bag. MANECTRIC already has a very high ceiling but also a very low floor, and Psychic Fangs just continues that trend, with a nice ceiling but a dangerously low floor if all doesn’t go to plan. ESPEON remains far too frail and still flops at all levels (though I appreciate Niantic’s efforts to make it the best it can be… some things just can’t be salvaged). I WISH that SWOOBAT* was better, but even with Fangs, it just ain’t.
Girafarig PsychicNormal
  • However, there IS one recipient I am very excited about. It’s not going to suddenly kick down the doors of any Open formats, but my old friend FARIGAMA–, er, I mean GAFIGIMAJIG… wait, that’s not right either. Uh… that FREAKY GIRAFFE THING goes from zero to sorta-kinda hero? I mean, that’s a MASSIVE improvement, with new wins that include all forms of Azumarill, Alolan Ninetales (and Shadow Kanto Ninetales), Talonflame, Swampert, Vigoroth, Nidoqueen, Mew, Trevenant, and Froslass. Now if those last few don’t make sense (how does a Psychic type handle some of the best Ghost damage dealers?!), remember that as a Normal/Psychic type, Girafathingy actually resists Ghost damage, which is kind of a big deal. All that said though, maybe it would be better to label it an anti-hero, in its Shadow form, which does abandon wins against Mew, Swampert, Vigoroth, amd Victreebel, but gains Galvantula, Altaria, Lickitung, Politoed, Whiscash, and Skarmory in return. It’s not a straight upgrade, but it IS an upgrade, and makes everyone’s favorite two-headed cuddly giraffe very, very interesting moving forward. FINALLY! 🦒

LONG STORY SHORT, the biggest winner here is Steelix, particularly in Ultra League, which suddenly looks rather scary and is far less bait-reliant than most other Psychic Fangs users. Arcanine and Girafarig Farigamarif (particularly Shadow Giraf) become interesting too. I believe the others can be safely ignored, though.

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS 🐉

Dragonite DragonFlying

So I had an in-progress article on past Community Day vote “losers” when all the Season 12 info finally started to hit, which I’ll probably just scrap now. But the GOOD news is that I feel okay scrapping it because by far the biggest highlight was DRAGONITE with Superpower… and now I get to write about that being an actual thing rather than just a pipe dream!

Even without looking at any sims, the benefits are obvious: a way to further level the playing field with a super effective weapon versus Steel and Rock and Ice types that usually wail on Dragonite without much fear. It also provides some nice neutral coverage too, and for significantly less energy than standard second charge moves Draco Meteor or Hurricane.

It’s not a straight upgrade over existing movesets, but it IS definitely an upgrade. In Great League, new wins with Superpower include Fighting-weak Lickitung and Galarian Stunfisk (both pretty significant pickups) as well as Unovan Stunfisk and Sableye, though without the raw power of Meteor or Hurricane, Snarl Mandibuzz and even Araquanid slip away. Still, I think most players would appreciate this as an overall boost to Dragonite’s stock in Great League, a level of play where many have wanted Dragonite to perhaps have more impact than it does today. It’s an overall boost to Shadow Dragonite as well, pushing it right up towards a 50% winrate with new wins versus Scrafty and, in this case, Mandibuzz (with Air Slash… Shadow ‘Nite can already overpower Snarl Mandi with just Dragon Claw), though there is again a cost, with Araquanid again slipping away. Still, if I’m being honest, ‘Nid has not taken off in Open Great League as I expected it would (and hyped that it likely would), while Scrafty and Mandi obviously remain big, so perhaps this isn’t a big deal after all.

Then again, one could argue that Great League Dragonite itself remains not a big deal. I would disagree, but I DO see the point that ‘Nite is more “fringe” there, and more meta in the big leagues. So looking there, things are immediately looking up. In Ultra League, current Dragonite is already considered meta despite so-so overall numbers, mostly thanks to how it handles a large chunk of things not geared towards beating Dragons (the most obvious exceptions being Steels, Fairies, and things that deal super effective damage to Dragons without taking super effective damage back). In other words, it’s a great generalist/filler. And the addition of Superpower only expands that role, with the ability to now snipe several troublesome Steels (Escavalier, Scizor, Melmetal) and things like Snorlax, Poliwrath, and on-the-rise Obstagoon too, all for the low cost of giving up Tapu Fini (having no unresisted moves anymore). It is a similarly significant boon for Shadow Dragonite, which also picks up wins versus Escavalier, Melmetal, Obstagoon, and Snorlax, as well as Empoleon, Poison Jab Alolan Muk, and Galarian Stunfisk. And the only new losses are, again, Tapu Fini, and Snarl Mandibuzz.

But perhaps the best reason to use Dragonite in PvP is as a “thrifty” option for Master League. (Thrifty as compared to all the Legendaries/Mythicals, at least!) So I’m pleased to say that Superpower is also a very welcome addition there. Dragonite is already a good fit in Master League, but the addition of Superpower allows it to finally slay its nemesis Dialga, probably the one thing you’d most wish for it to do in Master League! But the cost is now losing to Wild Charge Zacian, as it would again be left firing off only resisted damage. (Hurricane at least gave ‘Note a potential out).

The increase in winrate is more pronounced with Shadow Dragonite, should that be more your cup of tea, though Dialga remains in the loss column this time, with other Steels Excadrill, Melmetal, and Magnezone shifting over to the winning side instead… stacked up against NO new losses. (Yes, that includes WC Zacian this time, despite it resisting literally everything Shadow ‘Nite is throwing at it! So that’s very nice to see.

In short, despite Dragonite getting some move shakeups over the years, it has long lacked any real coverage, with its only non-Dragon charge moves (Hurricane and Hyper Beam/Return) hitting none of its hard counters with super effective damage, and sometimes, in fact, resisted damage (Hurricane vs Rock and/or Steel types). If there’s one mainstay not just of PvP, but the Pokémon franchise on the whole, that could use a decent coverage move like Superpower, it was Dragonite. And now it’s here, and could REALLY help alleviate the issues many players have in Master League in particular, as Dragonite isn’t cheap to build, but is at least a lot more affordable in terms of XL Candy grinding than the Legendaries that mostly fill up Open Masters instead. This is a welcome addition for players at ALL levels.

Dragonair Dragon

Less heralded but still a welcome addition is Body Slam on DRAGONAIR. Both non-Shadow and Shadow ‘Nair are alright already, but have always had a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to what move to run alongside Aqua TailDragon Pulse for widely unresisted STAB damage, or Return (obviously on purified Dragonair) for big fat neutral closing power? Turns out the answer may now be neither, with Body Slam lacking the power to punch out things at least one of the other aforementioned moves can, like Umbreon, AS Mandibuzz, Lickitung, Jellicent, Araquanid, or Obstagoon, but it now retains some of the better wins that only Pulse OR Return could beat before, including Machamp, Bastiodon, Snarl Mandibuzz, Toxicroak, and even Froslass, while also bringing in new wins versus Politoed and Whiscash. I think it could be the preferred move going forward, particularly for Shadow ‘Nair that lacks even the option of Return. Not a huge shift, but incremental improvements like this are nice to see too!

LONG STORY SHORT, after many years of lacking a clear-cut second charge move, I think Dragonair and especially Dragonite have finally found their clear favorites. Superpower Dragonite especially looks primed to shake up some metas, especially the stale Master League!

SANTA CLAWS 🐾

Runerigus GroundGhost

Remember how excited I was a YEAR ago when Cofagrigus got Shadow Claw? My only disappointment was that RUNERIGUS didn’t get the same treatment.

Turns out I was just a year early. Christmas has come THIS year for our big spooky Rune.

I’ll just do the same thing I did back then: compare the old with the new. Aaaaaaaaaand drop the mic.

Okay, okay, I have a BIT more to say than that. Runerigus has the exact same stats as Cofagrigus, so… reasonably bulky, thanks to a very high Defense stat. The big difference is in the typing, as Rune picks up a Ground subtyping rather than being pure Ghost. It also lacks the multiple alternative closer options of Cofag (Psychic and Dark Pulse) and instead gets moves that debuff the opponent (and, as an aside, are both VERY thematic): baity Sand Tomb and slow but sure Rock Tomb. These alongside the needed Shadow Ball for a scary threat profile. You can see just by putting them head to head how Rune has the upper hand thanks to being able to bait with a move that costs 10 less energy than anything Cofag has. You can ALSO see how that gives Rune a potentially higher ceiling than Cofag’s high point as well. I say “potentially” because, again, we’re into baiting, and that can be dicier in real life plan than in sims. Thankfully Rune doesn’t fall completely off a cliff even if baits don’t all work out right, so that’s encouraging. But some wins in particular really stand out, such as Galarian Stunfisk, Nidoqueen, and Bastiodon, all owing to Runerigus’ Ground subtyping. (Rune can also beat Jellicent, Mew, and Shadow Ninetales that Cofag can’t, but those are all due to baits.) There ARE downsides to that Ground side of things, such as losses to Venusaur, Shadow Victreebel, and Azumarill (all which deal super effective damage to Runerigus) that Cofagrigus is able to at least sometimes overcome. But I think the scales overall tip in Rune’s favor more than they tip away from it.

And that remains true in Ultra League. Though it’s worth noting that Cofagrigus pulls higher overall numbers, the quality of Runerigus‘ unique wins is high: Gyarados, Alolan Muk, and Registeel… and note that Runerigus resists both Focus Blast AND Zap Cannon, making that win close but very safe. Rune beats Regi in all even shield scenarios, and even if Regi has a shield advantage. Impressive stuff. That said, yes, Cofagrigus gets more wins due to Ground being more of a liability than a boon for Rune in Ultra League, with Cofag uniquely overcoming Politoed, Poliwrath, Empoleon, Venusaur, and Ferrothorn, all of which prey on Rune’s Ground subtyping. But you take the bad with the good, right?

Golisopod BugWater

GOLISOPOD is a really weird way of spelling “Lunala”, Niantic. I mean, clearly it’s Lunala you meant to actually also give Shadow Claw to, right? Surely this has just been a big misunderstand, right?

…right?

Well, unfortunately, it is Golisopod — NOT Lunala — that is now able to Claw stuff, but Golis still lacks any decent charge moves and thus remains just a footnote rather than exciting new option. Boo.

LONG STORY SHORT, Runerigus joins Cofagrigus as immediate overnight sensations with just one little fast move change. Golisopod decidedly does not and you can continue to ignore it and its laughable 400 candy cost until it gets a better, workable charge move or two.

ROLL(OUT)ING DOWNHILL 🪨

Well, that was fast.

Just a few short months after it arrived in the game as a big exclusive Community Day move for Alolan Golem, Rollout is already being nerfed. I mean, on the plus side, it is finally getting a wider distro, so let’s focus on the positive. MILTANK is finally getting it, and DUNSPARCE too! Huzzah! That IS genuinely good news, even if the news is dulled by the pending “energy generation decreased” disclaimer.

Unfortunately, due to lack of time before the next season actually arrives and not knowing any more detail than just that (“energy generation decreased”), I have limited time and resources to simulate how badly a drop in energy will affect things, but I took a little time with my home version of PvPoke last night to take a logical guess. Right now, Rollout deals 1.33 DPT and generates 4.67 EPT, giving it higher energy generation than any move in the game except Lock-On. But what is usually listed for Rollout when you look it up is this:

  • Base Power: 4
  • Energy Gained: 14
  • Duration (Turns): 3

A “turn” in PvP is equivalent to 0.5 seconds of real time, so a move like Rollout that lasts for 3 turns is 1.5 seconds long. But more importantly, the DPT (Damage Per Turn) and EPT (Energy Per Turn) are the result of a simple math calculus: Base Power divided by Number Of Turns and Energy Gain divided by Number Of Turns. In other words, that 1.33 DPT is 4 (base power) divided by 3 (turns), and the EPT is 14 (energy) divided by 3 (turns).

All that to say: I think it’s likely that the energy drop is a simple one, going from 14 energy per Rollout to 13, and resulting then in a still-pretty-good 4.33 EPT (13 {Energy} divided by 3 {Turns}). This would still leave it as a worse Bullet Seed/Snarl (which have 4.33 EPT but a slightly higher 1.67 DPT), and also a slightly worse Mud Shot/Thunder Shock/Psycho Cut/Poison Sting (1.5 DPT and 4.5 EPT), but still in the upper tier of energy-heavy fast moves overall. Any lower would just make it plain bad… 12 energy would drop the EPT to 4.0, which would make it quite a bit worse than moves like Spark, Fury Cutter, Infestation, and Hex (all of which are 2.0 DPT/4.0 EPT), and it would then fall below the DPT/EPT combined 6.0 that is considered “average” for moves. (Note that most fast moves equal out to 6 when you combine DPT and EPT, and lousy moves fall below and the better moves exceed it.)

In short: I expect Rollout’s fall to be relatively minor, since Niantic has NOT announced and corresponding changes to its low 1.33 Damage Per Turn output.

So THAT is what I ran through some simple sims last night, to see what Miltank and Dunsparce might look like with the new and improved impaired Rollout. And what’s what I saw:

Miltank Normal
  • Miltank will still be just fine and probably become an immediate meta option in both Great League and maybe in Ultra League. On those charts I just linked to, the first graph is Miltank today (stuck with pre-buff Tackle as its fast move), which is pitiful. The middle chart is Miltank with 13-energy Rollout, which is obviously a VAST improvement. The last chart is Miltank with current, 14-energy Rollout. The gap isn’t massive, but it IS a gap. In Great League, the difference is that 14-energy Rollout could potentially beat Diggersby, Drapion, Obstagoon, Mew, and Walrein, but 13-energy Rollout cannot. In Ultra League, the gap consists of Walrein, Articuno, Skarmory, and Snorlax. Again, not huge, but those wins will be missed. All that said, yes, Rollout Miltank is still something to celebrate, especially in Great League, and I look forward to running more sims on it once we get the unknowns hammered out.
Dunsparce Normal
  • Dunsparce has long been a fan favorite (and may even FINALLY be in line for an evolution in MSG soon, I hear?), but has been stuck behind Bite all these years in GO, which seems a trevesty for something with both Rock Slide and Drill Run to bring to bear. Well no more! Feast your eyes! Okay, maybe Dunsparce is still going to remain more spice than nice, but picking up wins versus things like Altaria, Mandibuzz, Noctowl, Pelipper, Talonflame, Tropius, Venusaur, Galvantula, Drapion, Alolan Ninetales, Lapras, AND Walrein AND Registeel gets your attention, doesn’t it? (It DOES give up Hypno and Cresselia without the effectiveness of Bite, but still!) I think we may have the makings of a handy little corebreaker on our hands, at least for Limited/Cup metas. If you have a good Dunsparce you’ve been sitting on and just waiting for its moment in the sun, this is probably the best you’re gonna get… and I think on the right team, it could legit work now. Yippee!

LONG STORY SHORT, Miltank is now meta, at least in Great League, and Dunsparce becomes the spicy option many fans have long waited for. Too bad about the wins missed out on due to Rollout getting a (hopefully only slight) nerf, but this is still a very welcome upgrade for both long-neglected fan faves.

WINDS OF CHANGE 💨

So I already took a peek into new move Fairy Wind in yesterday’s semi-speculative article that ended up being only, like, an hour before the earth-shattering news bombs of the afternoon. To save on time, I’d recommend you go read that article, but I WILL cover the biggest winners… right now!

Weezing (Galarian) PoisonFairy
  • Just in terms of what needed Fairy Wind the most, the clear winner is GALARIAN WEEZING. Like Runerigus with Shadow Claw, or Miltank with Rollout, all G-Weeze has needed is a decent fast move. And like those other two, the results between what it once was (just FIVE wins with pre-buff Tackle: DD, Wiggly, Scrafty, Umbreon, and Araquanid) and what it will be with Fairy Wind are night and day. This now becomes a Fairy that can take down Poisons like Venusaur, Victreebel, and Drapion, as well as Steels like Skarmory and Registeel. All this while still putting the clamps on Darks and Dragons and Fighters and fellow Fairies too. And if you have a REALLY good one and the means to push it up to near Level 50, it’s even better in Ultra League, with standout wins like Drapion, Alolan Muk (even with the dreaded Poison Jab), Ferrothorn, Venusaur, Escavalier, Melmetal, Charizard, and basically ALL of G-Weeze’s fellow Fairies, while also forcing things like Nidoqueen, Registeel, and Galarian Stunfisk to shield when all they’re used to doing against Fairies is just comfortably farming. I am VERY excited to see Galarian Weezing finally break out.
Mawile SteelFairy
  • MAWILE doesn’t strictly need Fairy Wind, and some teams will still benefit more from its current form that relies on Fire Fang and Power-Up Punch to chew through chunks of certain Cup metas. But Fairy Wind opens up new potential, especially for Shadow Mawile. Giving up Fire Fang means also giving up flammable things like Skarmory, Trevenant, and Galvantula, but Fairy Wind blows in new wins versus Azumarill, Medicham, Shadow Walrein, Pelipper, Scrafty, and Sableye in exchange. Not bad!
Jumpluff GrassFlying
  • JUMPLUFF didn’t particularly NEED another fast move either, as Bullet Seed works fine, but the extra energy of Fairy Wind (4.5 EPT rather than Bullet Seed’s 4.33) combined with dishing out Fairy-type damage leads to a healthy upgrade with new wins like Medicham, Umbreon, Cresselia, and Mandibuzz (even Air Slash Mandi!) as compared to Bullet Seed. And NO new losses!
Florges Fairy
  • FLORGES is already on the cusp of viability with current Vine Whip in Master League. Fairy Wind pushes it further into meta territory. Admittedly, Vine Whip can be a blessing in disguise (as I noted several times in my original Florges analysis) and NOT having it means new losses to things like Swampert and Mud Shot Groudon. BUT, Fairy Wind picks up Lugia, Origin Giratina, and Zacian (with either Wild Charge OR Play Rough) instead, which are all a big deal. This could be what Florges would need to finally start making more of a dent in Master League.
Slurpuff Fairy Clefable Fairy
  • As for actual Charmers that now have the option of Fairy Wind instead, I’m honestly not certain how this will go. I DO think that SLURPUFF with its Energy Ball and especially Flamethrower will now prefer Wind to roast typical Fairy counters like Poisonous Grasses and Steels. And CLEFABLE will likely emerge as a sneaky good pick in any Limited/Cup metas where Fairies have a prevalent spot, as it can use Fairy Wind to rush to big, super effective Meteor Mash and crush its fellow kind…and a lot of other things too! (As just one example, Fairy Wind/Meteor Mash Clefable beats ALL Fairies in 1v1 shielding in Ultra League except for Tapu Fini.) But generally, I think Charm will still be preferred — at least in Open formats — for things that have it, seeing as how Charm (and Fairies in general) really didn’t suffer at all in this big rebalance as some predicted they might. Charm can still be downright abusive and will likely still reign supreme. I think Fairy Wind’s impact will be to pull up non-Charmers listed above much more than supplanting already-impactful Charmers, but it will be very interesting to see what unfolds. I’d be okay with being wrong in this case!
  • Thank goodness Blissey and especially big stupid CHANSEY did not get Fairy Wind. I can continue to say confidently: DO NOT RUN CHANSEY!!

And one more all-new fast move….

JUST FOR KICKS 👢

Again, already looked into Double Kick a bit yesterday, but let’s blow through the highest highlights one more time:

Dubwool Normal
  • Again, there is a very clear zero-to-hero story with this fast move addition, and it’s humble DUBWOOL. Previously only able to beat Lickitung and Galvantula in Great League and a half-dozen opponents in Ultra League, it is now ready to turn the shears around and cut through the opposition. Thanks to spammy Body Slam and hard-hitting Wild Charge, Double Kick Dubwool becomes spice at worst in Great League, and is perhaps even better in Ultra League with either Wild Charge or Payback. Not every day you run across something that can handle the likes of Registeel, Melmetal, the Giratinas, Trevenant, Cresselia, Fairies, Gyarados, Walrein, Greedent/Snorlax, Empoleon, Mandibuzz, Dark/Poisons, Jellicent, Swampert, Galvantula, AND Galarian Stunfisk, but here we are! Good luck on the XL grind, though… Dubwool has to have really good IVs AND be fully maxed. But this is a grind that is now worth it!
Nidoking PoisonGround
  • For what it’s worth, surprisingly, Double Kick is arguably better on NIDOKING than STAB Poison Jab. Without Jab it does lose things Jab can beat like Poliwrath, Venusaur, Dragon Breath Charizard, and of course Fairies like Togekiss and Alolan Ninetales, but with Double Kick it carves out a nice niche that may finally separate it from Nidoqueen, with new wins like Scrafty, Umbreon, Galarian Stunfisk, Escavalier, Scizor, and Nidoqueen itself (in regular OR Shadow form) thanks to Double Kick’s awesome 4.0 EPT.
  • Sadly though, those are about all the big impacts for Double Kick in PvP. While LOPUNNY (in its Mega form) becomes a BIG player now in PvE (my colleague Teban will be writing about that soon, I am sure!), it remains a middling option in PvP. It’s no better than a sidegrade for INCINEROAR, though it does become at least a little more interesting in Ultra League. And my boy JEFFAMAFIG is already basking in the delight of Psychic Fangs… Double Kick takes it back to mediocrity, so let’s not speak of this again! And the one Fighter that really WANTED something this still comes up short… poor HITMONLEE.

ODDS AND ENDS 🧐

I am rapidly running out of room and brain cells, so let’s rapid fire on the one-offs to close this LONG analysis out!

Nidorino Poison
  • NIDORINO appreciates the anti-Ground coverage now provided by Ice Beam, but even at its best, it remains no better than spice. At least the couple of pickups are nice ones (Mandibuzz and Nidoqueen).
Nidorina Poison
  • NIDORINA is the middle Nido that some folks have already built, seeing as how it comes with Poison Fang already and does well for itself as isThunderbolt is no worse, but not appreciably better either. At least it’s a decent option for non-purified (aka non-Return) ‘Rina.
Haunter GhostPoison
  • Ice Punch on HAUNTER sounds exciting, but it’s actually kind of a mixed bag. The good? New wins versus Galvantula and Mandibuzz. But Ice Punch costs 5 more energy than Shadow Punch, and so there is bad too, with losses now to Ghost types Alolan Marowak, Cofagrigus, and Jellicent, as well as, ironically, Ice-weak Shadow Victreebel. Haunter can get to two charge moves with the cheaper Shadow Punch, but only one (shielded) Ice Punch. Ouch. Maybe, hopefully, Gengar might get it too one day to better combat Dragons and Flyers and Grounds in Master League.
Camerupt FireGround Ledian BugFlying
  • LEDIAN is really not any better with new move Dynamic Punch, though I DO like the coverage versus Ice, Rock, and especially Steel types, and I will revisit everyone’s favorite WAY overpriced Bug another day, once we see the full changes to Silver Wind. Stick a pin in this one for now.
Marowak Ground
  • MAROWAK appreciates finally having a legit coverage move with Rock Slide. Marowak should still not be anywhere near your PvP team. Wake me up when it gets fast move help.
Nihilego RockPoison
  • Ending on a good note, we have NIHILEGO getting the Poison Jab it should have had all along. It can at least beat things like Dragonite, Lugia, Ho-Oh, and Origin Giratina now, but honestly, it’s still not all that great. If you want a Poison Jabber in Master League, might I recommend Sneasler instead?

TO BE CONTINUED…. 🔁

Yeah, seriously. As long as this is, there is still MORE to go through. But that will have to wait for another day, as I need information and tools I don’t currently have to properly examine the buffed (and also kinda debuffed?) Silver Wind and Ancient Power, fully buffed fast moves Quick Attack and Tackle (currently 3.0 DPT/2.0 EPT… might it go all the way to 3.0 EPT? 🤔), and of course, the salty tears that will flow from Walrein and Registeel with nerfs to Icicle Spear and Zap Cannon. (Though I DID look at the potential of 40- and even 45-energy Spear way back in January, so that can at least give you some idea on that one for now.)

But until that and my analysis of Little Jungle Cup Remix are ready (look for that one tomorrow!), you can find me on Twitter or Patreon. Or please feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends. Best of luck this season, and catch you later!

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