Alright, let’s cut right to the chase!
GO Battle League Season 13 is upon us, and along with it, our now-customary move rebalance! What’s new, what’s improved, what’s good, bad, or ugly coming out the other side? Let’s dive right in and see!
SWING IS BACK IN STYLE 🕺💃
BRUTAL SWING has already kind of been spread around since first appearing exclusively on Community Day Hydreigon, with Ultra Beast Guzzlord debuting with it from the get-go. Now we add a couple more, though ironically neither of the new recipients are Dark types.Weezing (Galarian) PoisonFairy
- GALARIAN WEEZING saw some serious (and overdue!) love last season when it was gifted new Fairy fast move Fairy Wind, which I wrote about at the time resulting in nearly quadrupling its prior win total in Great League and nearly doubling it in Ultra League. Niantic may be undergoing a Claydol-esque love affair with G-Weeze right now, as they have already tweaked it again by assigning it Brutal Swing this season. Though it shows a slightly better record than current Play Rough, what it actually is is a sidegrade. The relative speed (15 less energy than Overheat and 20 less than Play Rough) and effectiveness of Dark move Brutal Swing allows G-Weeze to now beat out things like Froslass, Cresselia, Alolan Marowak, Trevenant, Vigoroth, and even Registeel, whereas Play Rough instead punches out Azumarill and big Fairy-weak tanks Umbreon and Mandibuzz. In Open it probably comes down to team composition and what YOU are most concerned with countering, and in Cup formats I can see many TMs being sacrificed swapping between Play Rough and Brutal Swing (and sometimes maybe even Sludge) depending on the meta. Point being… it’s a valid and useful addition to Galarian Weezing’s movepool… in Great League, at least. Less so in Ultra League though, where Swing can add Cresselia to the win column, but overall G-Weeze is probably better off with existing moves and the additional wins it can then get like Greedent, Venusaur, and Toxicroak.
- AMPHAROS has made a bit of a name for itself in Ultra League, but has been generally overlooked in Great League, where at least on paper, it seems on the cusp of a breakout. The ripple is relatively minor, but perhaps Brutal Swing may pull it up? For a long time, Amphy was completely irrelevant in PvP because it lacked a “bait” move, with its cheapest moves (Thunder, Power Gem, and exclusive move Dragon Pulse) all costing 60 energy before it was mercifully given Thunder Punch, which costs 20 less energy (and one whole less Volt Switch) to charge up. Funny thing, as Brutal Swing also costs only 40 energy and synergizes just as well with Volt Switch, and though it lacks the STAB damage that comes with Thunder Punch, in the end that equates to merely 1 (literally just one) less damage against neutral targets. And with Volt Switch itself dishing out all the Electric-type damage you’ll typically need, the coverage of Brutal could be handy. In terms of wins/losses, in Great League, Brutal Swing (paired with the generally preferred Focus Blast closer) pulls Trevenant, Froslass, Cresselia, and Cofagrigus into the win column, owing to the super effectiveness of Brutal Swing, whereas Thunder Punch instead punches out Toxicroak (resists Brutal but not Thunder Punch) and Walrein and Araquanid (super effective from Punch but only neutral from Swing). Let’s call it a nice sidegrade. But where Amphy gets the most play today, in Ultra League, the gap between Brutal Swing and Thunder Punch is slightly wider, with Swing beating everything Punch can (though admittedly, some things weak to Electric damage like Talonflame, Empoleon, Mandibuzz, and Tapu Fini get a bit tighter, but are still wins) and adding on Cresselia, Defense Deoxys, and Cofagrigus. (Trevenant is generally out of reach at this level.) Those same three wins are also true if you run the spicy Return Ampharos as well (compare that to Thunder Punch/Return). But things are much closer for Shadow Ampharos, with Brutal uniquely beating Cress and DDeoxys, and Punch shocking Walrein instead.
LONG STORY SHORT, Brutal Swing is a sidegrade for both Galarian Weezing and Ampharos. In the latter case, I think it MIGHT supplant Thunder Punch as the new favorite overall, but there are cases for a variety of moves now with each of these two Pokemon. Brutal Swing arrives a fun, viable option among already-viable options, giving both just a little more unpredictability that could nab shields they wouldn’t have gotten before. THIS is how rebalancing should generally go! 👏
BURNINATING THE COUNTRYSIDE 🔥
The impact Incinerate has had on past recipients is undeniable. So it should come as no surprise that it should greatly benefit LITLEO and especially PYROAR too.
Let’s start with the latter, as Pyroar is currently quite pitiful in PvP, being left with Fire Fang as its only current viable fast move. That’s good for damage, but has below average energy generation (only 2.5 Energy Per Turn, where 3 “average”), which is bad considering its cheapest charge moves (Flame Charge and Dark Pulse) cost 50 energy. Enter Incincerate and its 4.0 EPT, and the improvement is astounding… more than double its previous win total! For the record, that’s now a higher win total than most other big name Fire types, including Alolan Marowak, Charizard, Victini, and the popular Ember Ninetales. All those new wins include Registeel, Mandibuzz, Umbreon, Walrein, Lickitung, Sableye, Araquanid, Runerigus, and fellow Fire types Shadow Ninetales and Talonflame! No slouches among ANY of those.
Did you know Pyroar can be built for Ultra League without needing any XL candy? Probably not, because there was never a reason to look. Arguably there still isn’t, but Pyroar is at least viable now. (Or you can run it with Dark Pulse and trade in Galarian Stunfisk for Shadow Claw Altered Giratina instead.) I’d still rather have Talonflame and the like, but Pyroar is probably more affordable, at least.
Litleo also sees some nice gains in Great League with Incinerate (as compared to its previous best), picking up G-Fisk, Registeel, Shadow Walrein, and Air Slash Mandibuzz. Those that have already built a high XL Litleo should be happy! But really, the best place for it is in Little League. While there are no Little League formats on the calendar this season, should it return, Incinerate in those formats is exceedingly rare and will surely be able to toast the competition.
BEAM ME UP ☄️
So back when Gigalith has its Community Day, you may remember that my analysis focused on Meteor Beam itself much more so than Gigalith, as it was a very poor example of what Meteor Beam could do. Gigalith remains a terrible PvP Pokemon, but Meteor Beam is a GREAT move, dealing the same damage as Earthquake for 5 less energy, and coming with a guaranteed Attack buff (+1 level to Attack) on top of it! Even if blocked, obviously that Attack buff stays, so bulkier Pokémon (Gigalith is decidedly NOT bulky) can still reap the benefits.Aurorus RockIce
So I spent the majority of the article highlighting OTHER things that could get Meteor Beam in MSG that would stand to truly benefit from its addition to their movepools in GO, and lo and behold, the one I was most excited about got it: AURORUS. As I pondered then, “bulk plus spammy Weather Ball plus high energy gains from Powder Snow should be a winning formula for an expensive move like Meteor Beam, right?” And yes, yes it is.
Being Rock/Ice types gives the Aurorus more vulnerabilities (six: Water, Grass, Ground, Rock, and 2x Fighting and 2x Steel) than resistances (four: Poison, Flying, Normal, Ice). There is a LOT that Aurorus has to watch over its shoulder for, even things that its excellent Ice moveset (Powder Snow + Weather Ball) should dominate, like Grass and Ground types. Yes, Aurorus DOES still overcome most Grasses and Grounds, but it’s a struggle.
To this point, its best coverage move has been Thunderbolt, which at least offers coverage versus Water types, but it seems to be better in theory than in actual practice, and Aurorus has remained a middling option barely ever seen in PvP. But now? Aurorus may strike PvP like a meteor moving forward, with new wins versus Walrein (regular or Shadow), Cresselia, Lickitung, Cofagrigus, Araquanid, Alolan Marowak, and both Ninetales. Add to that the fact that even against things it already beat — like Umbreon, Skarmory, Sableye, Mandibuzz, Froslass, Mandibuzz, and on-the-rise Noctowl — it now wins even more efficiently (more HP leftover), and this is clearly a very welcome addition that may mark the arrival of a new, true meta threat.
That said, I think Aurorus remains best down in Great League, as Ultra League Aurorus is slightly improved (picking up Charm Alolan Ninetales, and improving in wins versus Umbreon, Walrein, Trevenant, Mandibuzz and others), but leaves Aurorus a bit lower than you’d like it to be. Its typing vulnerabilities seem to just catch up to it more at this level.
But that’s not all. There are a few others which are also getting Meteor Beam this season, though whether it truly helps them or not is a bit of a roller coaster ride….Sudowoodo Rock
- The biggest beneficiary outside of the Icy dinos above is probably SUDOWOODO. A hero of some past Limited metas, Sudo has yet to break out in Open, despite a fantastic moveset that centers on Counter and usually Rock Slide and Earthquake for charge moves. You feel like it SHOULD perform a little better than it actually does. While the coverage of Earthquake seems great (particularly against Steel types), it’s actually a little awkward with Counter already hammering on Steels (and many others, obviously). Better then, it would seem, to just go for broke with Meteor Beam, which obviously provides no coverage, but DOES provide a big left hook and new wins versus Toxapex, Sableye, and Altaria. I think that, similar to Aurorus/Amaura, giving up its current good-on-paper coverage move for the raw power of Meteor Beam is probably the right way to go moving forward, and who knows? Maybe Sudowoodo will be able to rise up in even Open GL. Stranger things have happened.
- Far less likely to see rising up are AGGRON and TYRANTRUM. Aggron’s issue is being a cool typing (Steel/Rock) that is just done better by others like Bastiodon and even Probopass. And Aggron struggles even in Leagues those others can’t reach: Ultra and Master League Aggron pop up here and there, but really don’t scare anybody. Meteor Beam is technically an upgrade, but just barely. (MAYBE in Mega Master League it could so something, perhaps.) As for Tyrantrum, even with Meteor Beam, it remains even worse than Aggron at all levels. 😬 It’s just far too glassy for Meteor Beam to matter, similar to Gigalith. Perhaps as a Rock-type raider?
LONG STORY SHORT, Meteor Beam is a straight upgrade for Aurorus, and probably Sudowoodo too, sacrificing some (at least theoretical) coverage for greater effectiveness overall. It’s technically accurate to call it an upgrade to Aggron and Tyrantrum as well, but their low needle doesn’t move in any open League with this addition… their PvP woes continue.
NOT SO SPOOKY? 👻
I do like this trend of Community Day moves being dished out to other Pokémon the following season, so I am happy to see POLTERGEIST passed out now just as Meteor Beam is. The problem in this case is that the Pokémon being given Poltergeist don’t really stand to benefit.
I wrote up an analysis on Poltergeist back during Chandelure Community Day. I used basically the same format (and yes, even the same, bad opening joke) as I did with the Meteor Beam Gigalith article: I admired the move much more than the Pokémon it was actually being given to. Chandelure still prefers Shadow Ball (55 energy for 100 damage, and 1.82 Damage Per Energy) over Poltergeist (80 energy for 120 damage, with 1.75 DPE), to the point that it was actually WORSE in all PvP Leagues with Poltergeist than it already was with Shadow Ball. (That analysis I linked to has some simple pictures that show this if you scroll through.) It’s not very often you see something actually degraded in PvP by using its special exclusive move, but there ya go.
The story is unfortunately very similar for the trio of Ghosts getting the move now….Golurk GroundGhost
- GOLURK doesn’t need charge move help nearly as much as it needs fast move help. Astonish remains unusable (when, WHEN, might we finally get that Astonish buff, Niantic?), leaving us with Mud Slap. Not a bad fast move overall, but very poor in energy generation, and thus a terrible match with a move that costs 80 energy like Poltergeist does. Yes, Golurk could use some real Ghost-type damage output, as right now all it has is underpowered (though understandably so, considering other Ghosts that have it) Shadow Punch. But Poltergeist ain’t it. It is no better in Great League than moves it already has, and actually worse in Ultra League than its current best. No no no. It’s the fast move that needs tweaking, Niantic. The FAST move. 🤦♂️
- Thankfully, there is a small silver lining with GOURGEIST, who until this point has just been known as “worse Trevenant”, despite having better PvP stats (higher bulk and stat product than Trevor), because Trev has Shadow Claw and Geist instead has to settle for strictly worse Hex. (Same energy gains as Claw, but 33% less damage.) While folks have tried at times to make Gourgeist work anyway with its unique closer of Fire Blast (I myself got literally roasted this way a couple times in Halloween Cup, for example), it IS generally just a worse Trevor when running the same (typically preferred) Seed Bomb and Shadow Ball (falling notably below Trev). But Geist has good energy gains from its fast move and passable bulk, so might we finally have a proper fit for Poltergeist? Weeeeeeelllllll…. In Great League, not so much. BUT, in Ultra League, Poltergeist is a sidegrade/slight upgrade as compared to Shadow Ball, with Ball outracing Galarian Stunfisk, Cofagrigus, and (barely) Charm Sylveon, but Poltergeist instead punching out Vensuaur, Granbull, Jellicent, and Altered Giratina (with Dragon Breath or Shadow Claw), some very nice pickups that probably outweigh the Ball-only wins overall. Still not sure I’d recommend building one (Trevor remains much cheaper and still far better overall), but figured it was worth pointing out.
Digging even further into the past, remember when DUSKNOIR got Shadow Ball on its Community Day? Yeah, since then Duskie has been everywhere in PvP, right? Right? What… not at all? Hmmm. Alright, dropping the sarcasm, that was a Community Day that was completely useless before Gigalith and Chandelure made it cool, as I ALSO wrote about way back when. Ironically, Shadow Ball would AWESOME with Dusknoir’s pre-evolution Dusclops, but Dusknoir remains basically worthless, even at its “best” in Ultra League. So I imagine it comes as little surprise that Poltergeist is NOT the tonic it’s looking for. Quite the opposite. This is a meaningless addition to a meaningless Pokémon, and adds more fuel to the fire of my growing concern that balancing is a concept not understood within the walls of Niantic HQ. (At least not by anyone that makes the final calls on these things.) Yeeeeeesh. You meant to give it to Dusclops instead, right? Right, guys?
- Well whaddaya know? Turns out the original indication to give Poltergeist to Dusknoir was wrong — or Niantic is finally listening to reason — and the blog post was eventually updated to indicate it is DUSCLOPS getting Poltergeist instead. And THAT is a good fit, as Clops only has low-power charge moves right now (Ice/Fire Punch at 55 damage and Shadow Punch at only 40), and thus often relies on Return for closing power, which of course requires a purified Dusclops. I wish IT would have gotten Shadow Ball instead of Dusclops during Duskull Community Day last year. Well, if it can’t have that, I guess we’ll take Poltergeist. So instead of the old for Shadow Dusclops (who obviously can’t even get Return), we end up with this instead, and new wins versus Scrafty, Lanturn, and Cresselia. (I’ll still sit here wishing for Shadow Ball, though… don’t mind me. 🤤) And the improvement is similar with regular Dusclops, with Poltergeist overcoming Cress, Walrein, Alolan Marowak, Skarmory, and Pelipper, while Return instead only has Vigoroth and sometimes Toxapex as unique wins. Advantage: Poltergeist. May not be enough to catapult it into Open GL stardom, but it certainly does make it more of a threat than it was before in any formats where Clops finds itself relevant.
LONG STORY SHORT, neither Gourgeist nor Golurk are more “worth it” to build now than they were before, but if you HAVE built them for some reason… well, even then, probably only Gourgeist may want it. Sometimes. It’s a nice shot in the (non-corporeal) arm for Dusclops, though, especially the more potent Shadow version!
UP ON A HIGH HORSE Ʊ
And finally, our fourth and final Community Day move being handed out is HIGH HORSEPOWER. Sadly it still languishes away on Ursaluna, as Niantic has still chosen to leave it without Shadow Claw, despite the hopes and dreams of many. But HH is now being handed out to a trio of Pokemon, all of which stand to benefit. But how much?Rapidash (Galarian) PsychicFairy
- The one who arguably needs it the least is GALARIAN RAPIDASH, who already has two good closers with Play Rough and the Megahorn that made it so good in a couple Cups this past season. Paired with spammy Body Slam and Fairy Wind to charge them all up in short order, G-Dash emerged as a strong Limited format contender at last. High Horsepower adds some intrigue, at least on paper, as it provides a direct counter to Steels, Poisons, AND Fires, three typings that can be BIG trouble for Fairies like G-Dash due to resistances and/or dealing their own super effective damage back in Dash’s direction. But in the end, it remains just a sidegrade, albeit a pretty good one. While Play Rough can handle things like Altaria, Mandibuzz, and Toxicroak, and Megahorn nails Psychics (like Cresselia) and stuff like Trevenant and Lanturn (thanks to its fantastic cost-to-damage ratio… 2.0 DPE!), High Horsepower instead gets stuff like Bastiodon, Drapion, and Shadow Ninetales (while also still getting Toxicroak, as Play Rough can). They’re all on pretty equal footing, so similar to fellow Galarian Weezing with Brutal Swing added to its movepool, High Horsepower becomes a viable situational consideration for certain Limited formats more than anything.
- More directly benefitting are the Swines. As with Aurorus/Amaura, MAMOSWINE and PILOSWINE have an unfavorable typing combination, with Ice/Ground having five vulnerabilities (Fighting, Fire, Grass, Steel, and Water) versus only two resistances (Poison and 2x to Electric). This often holds them back, despite an excellent Ice moveset of Powder Snow and Avalanche. For coverage, they have a choice between Stone Edge (55 energy for 100 damage), which is hard hitting but not very good against its hardest counters, or Bulldoze (60 energy for only 80 damage), which responds well to Fires and especially Steels, and at least deals neutral damage to Waters that resist Ice damage. Generally, especially in Steel-heavy Master League, Bulldoze is preferred, but it’s a very underpowered move for the cost. High Horsepower is, conveniently, a straight upgrade to Bulldoze, dealing 20 extra damage for the exact same cost. In Master League, that means that Mamoswine with High Horsepower can now take down Metagross and Psystrike/Shadow Ball Mewtwo (and beats any Mamos that somehow linger with Bulldoze), whereas Mamo with Bulldoze simply cannot. It’s not a huge upgrade, but it IS most definitely an upgrade that makes a heavy Mamoswine investment that much more worth it. It’s really more of a sidegrade in Ultra League, but you probably don’t really want Mamo in Ultra anyway. Down in Great League, we’re now down in Piloswine territory, as it has significantly more bulk (about 10 more Defense and 20 more HP). High Horsepower Piloswine gains only one notable core meta win, but it’s a biggie: Bastiodon. Arguably it’s still a little better with Stone Edge, which has no shot at Bastie but does add on Shadow Walrein and Charm Alolan Ninetales, but if you’re gonna run Ground coverage, there is absolutely no reason to consider Bulldoze any longer. High Horsepower is better in every way.
LONG STORY SHORT, High Horsepower becomes yet another viable option for Galarian Rapidash (Megahorn still deals higher neutral damage for slightly less energy, but HH may be situationally better depending on the meta), and is a straight upgrade to Bulldoze for Mamoswine and Piloswine, which is most relevant in Master League. A maxed out Mamo is a higher priority now than it was before this move addition, that’s for sure.
And now we move on to things that are not being newly added to Pokémon, but cases where the move itself is being tweaked. Two are nerfs, and one is a nice buff. We’ll save the best for last and cover the nerfs first… starting with POISON FANG. All we know for now is what Niantic has told us so far “energy cost increased”. Right now Fang is tied for cheapest charge move cost in the game (just 35 energy), dealing 40 damage but, of course, more importantly coming with a guaranteed one stage drop to the opponent’s Defense. At 35 energy, that adds up QUICK, pairing particularly well with fast move Poison Jab, as each Jab generates 7 energy, meaning that (rather famously, for those who count moves) every 5 Poison Jabs equals exactly the 35 energy requires for a Poison Fang. This perfect combination is what shot NIDOQUEEN way up the ranks in Great and Ultra Leagues back in May of last year.Nidoqueen PoisonGround
Well that is no more. While we don’t know for sure what the energy increase will be, we can surmise that it will likely end up at 40 energy, as anything else would just make it wholly unviable, I think. That means one extra Poison Jab for the first Fang (six Jabs = 42 energy) AND the second Fang (2 leftover energy + 5 Jabs = only 37 energy, so six more Jabs are still required) AND even the third Fang (4 leftover energy + 5 Jabs is still only 39 energy). It’s not until the FOURTH Poison Fang that you’d finally be able to need only five Jabs between the last Fang and the next one. That’s a rather significant difference. Nidoqueen is unlikely to completely fall off the map, but this is undeniably the end of its one and a half year reign in the upper echelons. In Great League (apologies as I can’t show sims for the new AND old, so just take my word for this), Nidoqueen now loses to some HUGE names that it could previously beat: Azumarill, (Water Gun) Lanturn, Umbreon, Noctowl, and Lickitung. I mean… need I say more? Yes, it still handles Charmers and the vast majority of Grasses and Fighters and Fires, and it’s still fast enough to close it out against Bastiodon and Registeel and Drapion and such with Earth Power after Poison Fang baiting. Like I said, Queen will still have a place in the meta. But its days of dominance are done. And the drop is even more drastic in Ultra League, where Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Shadow Snorlax, Cresselia, Poliwrath, Dubwool, and Obstagoon ALL slip away, taking a former 68% win percentage down to only 50%. Ouch. RIP to those who built up a high XL Queen for Ultra.
RIP also to anyone who has spent much XL candy and dust to build a Level 50 NIDORINA for Great League spice, and likely even for FEMALE NIDORAN in Little League. We’ll see the full impacts as we circle back around to metas where they are most relevant, but this is certain to drive their viability down as well.Crobat Poison
Also affected in Ultra League is CROBAT, though I’m happy to say that the drop-off is much less severe. Fairies Tapu Fini and Alolan Ninetales (with Charm) drop from very close wins to very close losses, and Drapion and Scizor get away too due to the relative slowness of the Poison Fang bait before a killer Shadow Ball. And for Shadow Crobat, Greedent, Jellicent, and Altered Giratina can now escape, but at least the bleeding ends there. Not GOOD news, of course, but I think Crobat will still hang around in Ultra wherever it was already popping up, at least for the time being.
As for Golbat, I need to bring in another piece of information to fully evaluate it, because while it also had Poison Fang slowed down, it got a corresponding energy buff as well. More on that in the next section!
LONG STORY SHORT, yeah, this is a fall from grace for Nidoqueen (and its pre-evolutions) and Ultra League Crobat, but they’ll still be around. Just not the holy terrors they have been (especially Queen) for the better part of the last year and a half.
GETTING THEIR WINGS 🦇🦉
So just as Poison Fang is getting an unknown (but likely minor) “energy cost increase”, so too is WING ATTACK getting an unknown but likely similar “energy generation increased”. Currently it has a respectable (if unspectacular) 2.5 Damage Per Turn and 3.5 Energy Per Turn, equalling out to the “average” of 6.0 when you add them together. (Most fast moves hover around 6.0 for their sum, with the better moves in PvP exceeding that overall.) Niantic COULD go with something like 3.67 EPT, making Wing Attack a slightly better Bubble (2.33 DPT/3.67 EPT), but many are betting it will instead become a clone of Vine Whip/Quick Attack/Powder Snow/Karate Chop at 2.5 DPT/4.0 EPT.
While there is LOTS of exciting potential that comes with this, as many Pokémon have Wing Attack, I want to key in on just a handful… at least until a potential follow-up article once the actual new EPT is confirmed.Golbat Poison
- I just recently talked about Crobat, and now it’s time for GOLBAT. It too got hit by the Poison Fang nerf, but funny thing about that. At 3.5 EPT, it takes five Wing Attacks to build up the 35 energy Poison Fang used to cost. Assuming Wing Attack’s EPT rises to 4.0, as expected… it will take five Wing Attacks to build up to exactly the 40 energy now required for Poison Fang. In other words, nothing changes for Golbat! In fact, it’s even a hair BETTER, as racing to Shadow Ball now requires one less Wing Attack. Despite the Fang nerf, Golbat’s prospects are likely to actually improve in the end. Preliminarily, I’m seeing new potential wins versus Cresselia, Runerigus, and even Toxapex!
- Ironically, the one matchup that flips to a loss for new Golbat as compared to old Golbat is NOCTOWL, who also benefits (big time!) from the buff to Wing Attack. I mentioned earlier that Aurorus may be the biggest winner in terms of getting a new move. Well, I think Noctowl stands to gain the most from a modified move, as its win percentage against the Great League meta rises from only 40% to now above 50%, with new wins showing against Toxicroak, Obstagoon, Charm Alolan Ninetales, and even Ice Beam Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk (!!!) as it races to the Sky Attacks and Shadow Balls necessary to flip all those. The G-Fisk win especially has caught the eyes of a lot of YouTubers already, but in case you missed it, yes, it’s very real, and amazingly can be done by skipping Sky Attack entirely and just racing to THREE Shadow Balls in 1v1 shielding, though 2v2 shielding does require getting the opponent to shield a Sky Attack or two. Still, it’s a heck of an improvement that should see Noctowl emerge more and more as a core meta Pokemon in Great League… and for those willing to max one out, even Ultra League!
- I unfortunately don’t have the time to dive into them all in great detail now, but PIDGEOT likely prefers Wing Attack over even Gust now (arguably it already did, but that is certain now). Recently falling PELIPPER may see a nice resurgence (as with Golbat and the costlier Poison Fang, the added energy from Wing Attack will help Weather Ball feel as cheap as it used to be in Pelipper’s heyday), as well as perhaps MANTINE… this settles the long debate between Wing Attack and Bubble, I think! GLISCOR and GLIGAR similarly now have a very clear favorite between Wing Attack and Fury Cutter, and CHARIZARD already had Wing Attack as a viable choice alongside Fire Spin and Dragon Breath, but this certainly moves WA Zard higher in the pecking order. For Zard and Pidgeot, if you don’t already have it, Wing Attack requires an Elite Fast TM, so keep that in mind. But totally worth it, IMO.
LONG STORY SHORT, while I now plan to do a whole article on the impacts of buffed Wing Attack (probably next week?), this is a big shot in the arm for Noctowl and other PvP-relevant friends like Pidgeot, Pelipper, and others. And it keeps Golbat just as relevant as it was before despite its corresponding nerf to Poison Fang… if anything, the Bat is even better now!
CHARMED, I’M (NOT) SURE 😘
Even MY brain cells are screaming after this long article… I can only imagine how tired this long read has made YOU. So we’ll wrap it up quickly with a brief word on CHARM, dropped from 16 power to 15. A small slide, to be sure… so small that in some cases, you won’t notice a difference. (As just a couple examples, in the cases of WIGGLYTUFF versus Azumarill and Vigoroth, the damage each Charm deals actually doesn’t change at all.) But there are several notable matchups where the damage DOES drop a little bit, and those often lead to new losses. Sticking with GL Wigglytuff, it now drops Noctowl, Swampert, Shadow Walrein, AND one of the wins where it really stuck out before: Froslass. Charm ALOLAN NINETALES shows new losses versus Shadow Wally, Noctowl, and Lickitung (ouch) in Great League, though thankfully no major differences I can see (preliminarily) in Ultra. Similarly I don’t see this making a huge difference for TOGEKISS or SYLVEON in Master League. (Though Sylveon notably DOES tend to drop Wild Charge Zacian more easily now… it was usually a win before and usually is a loss now.)
Honestly I myself am really not convinced Charmers needed a nerf at all. I know it’s hated by many, and I do get and sympathize with that. I wonder if this was done as a corresponding move with the Poison Fang nerf, but whatever the reason or whatever your personal stance on it, I don’t think this one will be TOO bad, at least outside of Great League. Ultra and Master look (on the surface) like this will create more of a small ripple than a wave, but time will tell. As with Wing Attack, I’ll dive a bit more in depth on this one down the line as time allows.
But for now… time’s up! Or at least my Reddit character allowance is. 😅 So we’re gonna wrap it up here for now. I hope this was as helpful a read as it was LONG. 🙃 This is a relatively straightforward shakeup as far as full blown move rebalances go, but there was still plenty to unpack in the end! We’ll see how this shakes up the various PvP metas moving forward, and again, look for even more on Wing Attack and such in the coming days.
Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends. Best of luck this season, and catch you later!