Hello, Pokefriends! Well, at least Niantic gave us over 24 hours before the start of Community Day in August to reveal the final cost for new move Obstruct: 40 energy. This is right in the middle of what I guesstimated back in July during my speculative, comparative analysis on what Obstruct might end up looking like. That was a crude (though comprehensive) first cut… but now it’s time for the full story. That’s right… let’s do a deep dive on Obstruct Obstagoon in all three GBL Leagues!
But first, of course, our Bottom Line Up Front:
- Obstagoon has lived and died by Night Slash alone forever, and been desperately seeking a default second charge move. Obstruct, I think, gives it what it needs.
- Across all three major Leagues, Obstruct is generally an upgrade for Obstagoon in 1v1 and 2v2 shielding, and a slight to moderate downgrade in 0v0 shielding. IMO, the former two scenarios make up for shieldless matchups, but we break that down some more below.
- Obstruct is not a great replacement for Night Slash, but compliments it very well, and Obstruct/Slash is generally my recommendation moving forward… for all three Leagues of PvP play. Other moves still have some bright spots though, many of which I highlight later.
- In short: go get a good Obstruct Obstagoon for at least Great and Ultra Leagues. You can figure out how to configure it beyond that later, but this IS a move you’re going to want to have access to.
Alright, now for the deeper dive….
OBSTAGOON STATS & MOVESObstagoon DarkNormal
Great League Stats
|113 (111 High Stat Product)||127 (129 High Stat Product)||138 (140 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-15, 1500 CP, Level 21.5)
Ultra League Stats
|147 (144 High Stat Product)||165 (167 High Stat Product)||176 (180 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-13, 2500 CP, Level 42)
Master League Stats
|154 (164 at Level 50)||165 (176 at Level 50)||179 (190 at Level 50)|
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 2652 at Level 40; CP 2999 at Level 50)
Gonna keep this brief. The good is a resistance to Dark, better is a double resistance to Psychic, and best is a rare triple resistance to Ghost damage. On the flipside, Obstagoon is weak to Fairy and Bug damage as all Darks are, and DOUBLE weak to Fighting, its Achilles’ heel. But you likely know all that already, so then a word on bulk. The closest and easier comp I have is Meganium, with it and Goonie having nearly identical Attack prowess and overall bulk in Great and Ultra Leagues. It’s not what one would consider a tank, but it’s definitely in the upper tiers of bulkiness.
- Counter – Fighting type, 4.0 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
- Lick – Ghost type, 3.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
Lick is not a bad move… there are many fully functional — even top tier — Pokémon that run it, ironically most of them without having STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) with it. The problem is that, in this case, it’s up against literally the best fast move in the game: Counter. Not only does it deal 33% more damage than Lick, bit it even generates energy faster too. Nothing to be ashamed of, as Counter is, as I mentioned before, THE best fast move in PvP, bar none. It’s the move you want on Obstagoon basically all the time, every time, plain and simple.
ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
- Obstructᴱ – Dark type, 15 damage, 40 energy, Increases User Defense +1 Stage & Decreases Opponent Defense -1 Stage
- Cross Chop – Fighting type, 50 damage, 35 energy
- Night Slash – Dark type, 50 damage, 35 energy, 12.5% Chance: Increase User Attack +2 Stages
- Gunk Shot – Poison type, 130 damage, 75 energy
- Hyper Beam – Normal type, 150 damage, 80 energy
For Obstagoon, Night Slash is the butter to Counter’s bread, the ying to its yang, the Doc Holliday to its Wyatt Earp… they ride or die together. 90% of the time, Obstagoon doesn’t even have to consider any of its other (at least pre-Community Day) moves to clean up at the O.K. Corral. (Alright, I think I’ve taken that illustration far enough now.)
That said, Obstagoon is conveniently very “thrifty”, with a second move costing only 10,000 dust and 25 candy most of us have by the wagonfull. So most of us that use Obstagoon buy that second move faster than Doc Holliday can pull his sidearm. (Dangit, I forgot. Dropping it now, I promise!) There are several admittedly intriguing options: Cross Chop for unpredictable spam potential and maximum Fighting damage output, Gunk Shot for the most popular closing option Obstagoon has (and particularly as a way to turn some stored up energy into a last ditch Hail Mary versus deadly Fairies), and Hyper Beam for those of us that just want to blow things up that no Dark or Counter user has any right to have a shot at beating. We’ll take at least a brief look at all of these throughout the article, but they ALL want to run with Night Slash as the de facto, must-have move #1.
And the one to highlight for the moment is the new one. Obstruct deals practically no damage, but it still has a profound impact on the outcome of the game. Not only does it debuff the opponent by lowing their Defense, but it also raises Obstagoon’s. This not only gives it basically a two-stage buff/debuff swing, but allows you to benefit from the self-buff even if the opponent swaps out. No other move in PvP has been able to affect both your stats and the opponent’s at the same time like this, making Obstruct a very unique and very cool move.
So now let’s start putting it all together….
So first, our baseline/barometer: Night Slash/Hyper Beam. I chose Hyper Beam as the second move because it is the only move Obstagoon has that actually adds wins to its 1v1 results (specifically, Mandibuzz and Stunfisk). Cross Chop and Gunk Shot are good on paper, but (in 1v1 shielding) don’t add any actual new wins. Hyper Beam does, simple as that.
Now let’s do the simplest thing: replace Hyper Beam with Obstruct. Despite the lack of a true closing move, you can immediately see improvement. Not only does it continue to beat everything that Night Slash/Hyper Beam can (yes, even Mandibuzz, despite dealing only resisted damage from charge moves and neutral from fast moves), but it adds on new wins versus Swampert, Politoed, Pelipper, and Cresselia, and takes formerly close (20 HP or less remaining) wins over things like Skarmory, Sableye, Trevenant, Froslass, and Venusaur and improves on ALL of them, all with at least 10 (and often 20 or more) extra HP left in the bank.
And you wanna know what’s REALLY crazy? Strip everything else away and run with Counter and only Obstruct, a move that deals such low damage that it barely tickles most opponents, and you end up with this: the same win/loss record as Night Slash/Hyper Beam, just trading former wins (that require Night Slash) versus Froslass, Alolan Marowak, and Venusaur to instead now beat Swampert and Politoed, and win the mirror match. And with Obstruct alone, you’re beating everything Obstruct/Night Slash can except Lass, A-Wak, Venusaur, Pelipper, and Cresselia. That’s really, REALLY dang good for a move that deals very negligible damage (and that’s being a bit kind).
Now, it’s probably no surprise that having a closing move like Hyper Beam is still ideal with shields down (where Goonie needs Beam to take out things like Diggersby, Drapion, Mandibuzz, Pelipper, both Stunfisks, Venusaur, and Whiscash. But incredibly, again noting that your highest damage dealing charge move is only 50 from Night Slash, Slash/Obstruct matches all the same wins as Slash/Hyper Beam except Diggs, Drap, Pelipper, and Venusaur, and even adds its own unique win against Sableye!
In 2v2 shielding, I’m going to call Obstruct a sidegrade to closing power. With Obstruct you have a slightly better win percentage, with the unique ones being Politoed, Froslass, and the mirror match, whereas Hyper Beam can instead knock out Altaria (TIL!) and appears to uniquely beat Cresselia… but that’s actually not quite right. Trying to get “cute” by spamming Obstruct actually does lead to a close loss, but using it more judiciously is actually still a win.
What about replacing Night Slash with Obstruct?
C’mon, I know you were thinking it, so let’s answer that before we move on.
In a word: no, I don’t think that’s a great idea. But let me explain why.
One option I’ve already seen some folks discussing on Discord is Obstruct/Cross Chop, potentially even with Lick as the fast move to maintain pressure on things weak to Ghost/Dark damage (compensating for the loss of Night Slash’s damage). That doesn’t really work. Lick isn’t a terrible move by any means, but it’s a very far cry from Counter. It still beats most Ghosts that way, but even many Psychic types start to be able to fight back, and MANY of Goonie’s other former wins slip away. MAYBE there will be a Cup format where that works, but even then I kinda doubt it. Night Slash is just too good in the anti-Psychic/Ghost role for Lick to make up the difference.
The other main option is just replacing Night Slash with Obstruct and keeping the closing move (Hyper Beam or Gunk Shot). Specifically in 2v2 shielding, I will admit that that could work wonders, retaining the notable 2v2 wins from above (Cress, Lass, Toed, and Goon itself) PLUS now adding Azumarill with any combo of its charge moves! The only on-paper downside is losing to Altaria and A-Wak… but the real problem I see is that all the opponent has to do is shield the Hyper Beam, and then the cracks could really start to show. I think this is riskier than it’s worth… especially considering that this is a downgrade to Slash/Beam in 1v1 shielding AND with shields down.
No, it seems pretty clear that Night Slash is just a critical component to make Goonie really work to its full potential, and I don’t think eliminating it will be outsmarting anyone but yourself. Obstruct looks potentially really great, but only as a complementary move to Slash, not as its successor.
At least, that’s how things look in Great League. What about Ultra?
Once again, it’s good to set our starting gauge. And again once again, that looks to be Night Slash/Hyper Beam. Yes yes, I know there are some very passionate defenders of Cross Chop and even Gunk Shot out there, and I’m not saying you’re wrong. Certainly those work well too and are a much better fit for certain teams. You do you! All I’m saying is that Beam has the potential to beat things they cannot, like Venusaur, Politoed, and Galvantula.
But that’s the past, and this is the future, I believe. Night Slash/Obstruct does have a couple notable holes, struggling (aka usually failing) to overcome Venusaur, Gyarados, or Galvantula without Hyper Beam (or Gunk Shot’s big notable win over Tapu Fini, unsurprisingly). But I think they’re made up for by maintaining the Politoed win and adding on Shadow Toed, Swampert, Fire Spin Charizard, our old friend Cresselia, and perhaps best of all, big bad meanie Registeel, dropping over 60 damage off of what used to be a OHKO Focus Blast and allowing Obstagoon to overcome, even if Regi sniffs out the baits perfectly and lets all Obstructs through and properly shields a Night Slash. That’s right… Registeel can play that match perfectly and it will still lose. That is a HUGE pickup.
I feel like I could almost rest my case there, but real quickly, let’s look at other shielding scenarios. In 0v0 shielding, Hyper Beam is still the very clear frontrunner, with many wins Goonie cannot get otherwise, to include Swampert, Talonflame, Snorlax, Galvantula, Shadow Nidoqueen, Charizard and a couple more. Obstruct is a poor replacement for Beam overall, but it’s worth noting that other existing options (Cross Chop and Gunk Shot) fare no better, and Obstruct at least manages a very important win that NO other move can achieve alongside Night Slash: Galarian Stunfisk. Not even Cross Chop can do that!
And Obstruct more than makes up for it in 2v2 shielding, where it is now the move that exceeds Hyper Beam by beating everything Beam can besides Alolan Muk (specifically the Poison Jab variant) and adding to it Fire Spin Zard, Swampert, Shadow Politoed, the mirror match, a HUGE win over Registeel (Goonie can stroll away with about 75% of its starting HP still), and a shocking win over Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales, taking a Dazzling Gleam (like a champ!) along the way. Not even Gunk Shot can normally do that unless the opponent just screws up. As with Registeel in 1shield, even if A-Tails plays it perfectly by letting two Obstructs through unshielded and then shielding a pair of Night Slashes, AND gets it still loses. That match and Registeel are literally Obstruct Obstagoon’s matches to lose and there’s basically nothing the opponent can do about it. That is pretty awesome considering how much Obstagoon has to cower around those two today.
I got several comments when I wrote up my at-the-time speculative analysis on Obstruct Obstagoon (literally the day after August Community Day was announced, by the way… let’s hear it for the solo guy without any team or interns over here! 😉), and many of those comments were asking why I didn’t look into Master League Obstagoon at the time. I always intended to look, I just didn’t see the need to go down that particular rabbit hole until the full stats for Obstruct were actually revealed. I myself have faced a handful of Obstagoon in Master League (though that was a while ago, I’ll admit), so I know it’s a thing. And guess what? Now we know the stats, so here we go!
Master League Obstagoon is, yet again, best off with Night Slash and Hyper Beam… or Cross Chop, in this particular case. Put simply, either beats the likes of Dialga, Excadrill, Mamoswine, Snorlax, Mewtwo, and Origin Giratina — all things notably vulnerable to Fighting or Dark damage and/or ineffective when wailing on a Dark type — and then Hyper Beam can overcome Swampert, while Cross Chop instead punches out Magnezone. Now here comes Obstruct, and it at least looks no worse, right? It does fail (at least at first glance) to fail to overcome Swampert or Magnezone, and also appears to lose to Zarude, but it does add its own unique win over Altered Giratina to more than make up for it, I would say. However, it’s actually a bit better than it first appears, as Magnezone is a win if you go straight Obstruct, Swampert can also be a convincing win depending on how they shield, and Zarude too can come right down to the wire. If you play your cards right, Obstruct could be the new move to run alongside Night Slash in Master League too! It requires a couple things to properly bounce your direction, but at worst it’s on the same level as other exisiting options, and at best it has a higher ceiling with two or three additional wins within reach. If I were to run Obstagoon in ML, I think Obstruct is how I would do it.
And for once, there are no more potential Obstruct users to look at… because this move is exclusive to only Obstagoon in MSG! So that means… we’re done! And there was much rejoicing. 😅
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned from it… because you’re going to see a lot of me in the coming days. I am simultaniously working on three other analyses right now: Fighting Cup ‘Nifty Or Thrifty’ meta/budget overview, a deep dive on Zacian and Zamazenta for their long-awaited return to raids next week, and now a re-review of all the Legacy moves coming back during the World Championships Event. Busy times, but I’m working to get those ALL done over the next… jeez, only five days. Send lots of Dr Pepper! 😵
Thanks for your faithful readership, and good hunting during this Community Day event. Do be safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!