A PvP Analysis on Brutal Swing Conkeldurr

No beating around the bush… let’s just get right to our analysis on Community Day Conkeldurr with Brutal Swing 🪵 and our Bottom Line Up Front 🪵:


  • New exclusive move Brutal Swing Dark is basically always a valid sidegrade option at all levels, and often better than that.
  • Performance-wise. the biggest improvements are found in Great League, but that’s also the most crowded place to try and break out. I instead imagine Conkeldurr may start showing up more in Ultra League and perhaps resurging a bit in Master as well.
  • In a lot of ways, this new move is exactly what the doctor ordered for Conkeldurr’s viability… but there IS some good you usually have to give up to squeeze it in.

Conkeldurr stats

Conkeldurr Fighting

Great League Stats

Looking at the Highest Stat Product IVs for Great League, 3-15-15 results in 1500 CP at Level 16.5:

Attack Defense HP
(133 High Stat Product)
(94 High Stat Product)
(134 High Stat Product)

Ultra League Stats

Looking at the Highest Stat Product IVs for Ultra League 0-15-12 results in 2499 CP at Level 28:

Attack Defense HP
(172 High Stat Product)
(122 High Stat Product)
(173 High Stat Product)

Master League Stats

Assuming 15-15-15 IVs, and CP 3773 at Level 50 for Master League:

Attack Defense HP
217 145 208

So the natural inclination here is to compare Conkle’s stats to other pure Fighters… and yeah, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. In table form!

Fighter Attack Defense Stamina Total*
Conkeldurr 135 93 132 1658
Machamp 136 97 124 1644
Primeape 140 99 115 1599
Sirfetch'd 146 107 98 1537
Hitmontop 122 151 100 1842

(*) Total stands for Total Stat Product

That’s for Great League, but you get the point. Conkeldurr is actually bulkier than most of the popular mono-Fighters, but not nearly as much as bulkier ones like Hitmontop, Hitmonchan, and of course multi-type Fighters like Poliwrath (117 Attack, 120 Defense, 138 HP, 1925 T.S.P.) or, of course, the mighty (annoying!) Medicham (107 Attack, 139 Defense, 141 HP, 2103 T.S.P.).

Anyway, for this reason, give Conkeldurr the same moveset as, say, Machamp, and it performs about the same. But of course, they do NOT have the same moveset, so that’s where the main differences will lie.

What DOES Conkle have? Let’s look!

Conkeldurr moves

Fast Moves

  • Counter – Fighting type, 4.0 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • Poison JabPoison type, 3.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD

This is not a debate we see with many Fighters, though it IS the same as we find with Buzzwole and Toxicroak: Counter for bigger damage, or Poison Jab for interesting coverage? Were Counter nearly any other fast move instead, the answer would be easy, as Jab is a fantastic fast move, with above average damage output AND energy generation. Only three fast moves in the game can claim that. Unfortunately for Jab, Counter is one of them, and the ONLY fast move that is strictly better, with the same energy generation but higher damage… plus STAB on top of it. There may come a meta where Jab gets the nod, but 99% of the time, it’s going to be Counter, hands down.

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move


Charge moves

  • Brutal SwingDark type, 65 damage, 40 energy
  • Dynamic PunchFighting type, 90 damage, 50 energy
  • Stone EdgeRock type, 100 damage, 55 energy
  • Focus BlastFighting type, 150 damage, 75 energy

To date, the main reason Conkeldurr has been almost entirely absent from PvP play (at least outside of Master League), despite its competitive-among-Fighters stats, primarily because of its charge moves. Excluding the new Community Day move for a moment, Conkle had no charge moves costing less than 50 energy, whereas popular Fighters like Machamp and Sirfetch’d (and of course, multi-role Fighters like Medicham and Poliwrath and Scrafty) have multiple charge moves with a lower cost than that.

Now that can still kinda-sorta work in Master League, where the higher HP and protracted battles are more accomodating to winding up slow charge moves, and thus Conkeldurr already makes a mark in ML, particularly in ML Premier. But in lower Leagues, that slow windup has made Conker persona non grata. Put simply, it suffers because it’s too slow to bash on shields and often fails to reach charge moves when it needs them most. Counter is in and of itself good pressure, but not nearly enough when so many other Fighting options have that AND shield pressure going for them.

Fans of Conkeldurr have been rooting for it to get a cheap, pressuring charge move to better emulate the success of things like Machamp (35-energy Cross Chop), Sirfetch’d (35-energy Leaf Blade AND Night Slash), Primeape (Night Slash, Cross Chop, AND 40-energy Ice Punch) and others. In MSG, Conker doesn’t learn any of those specific moves (well, it can learn Ice Punch and the other Elemental Punches, but that territory is already well-covered by Hitmonchan and somewhat by Medicham too), but it can learn things like Brick Break, Power-Up Punch, Superpower, and Close Combat, all of which would give it more speed.

But in the end, I think we may be getting something even better, as Brutal Swing not only comes in with 65 damage for only 40 energy (tied with Magma Storm, Surf, Drill Peck, and the new-and-maybe-improved X-Scissor), but also provides some spiffy coverage. Being a Dark-type move, Brutal Swing responds to normally-scary-for-Fighters Psychic and Ghost types with super effective damage. In fact, it turns Conkeldurr into somewhat of an inverse of the mighty Machamp with its own Community Day move Payback. Machamp has a spammy STAB move (Cross Chop) and a big expensive closing coverage move in Payback, while Conkeldurr now has the coverage as its spammy move (Brutal Swing) and works with either Dynamic Punch for a big STAB closer or Stone Edge for closing power and even more coverage (versus Flyers, for example).

Anyway, before I ramble on too much, let’s get to some numbers. Because many people that have used or seen Conkeldurr have only experienced it in Master League, we’re going to go in reverse order and start there and work our way down.

Master League

Starting simple, as a reminder, here is current Conkeldurr in ML, and here it is with Brutal Swing. Even better, here it is with Brutal Swing and Stone Edge, lacking any Fighting charge moves but still pulling the same exact record. What gives? Shouldn’t a move like Brutal Swing make it better? Well, it does, but we have to kind of tease that out.

First off, we need to talk about the other charge moves. Without Stone Edge in the mix, Conkeldurr cannot normally beat Ho-Oh, Gyarados (for the rare times it may show up), or Landorus Incarnate, but it CAN beat all three with Stone Edge, and whether the other move is Brutal or Dynamic doesn’t matter. Conversely, Conkle needs Dynamic Punch to knock out Swampert or (at least situationally) Garchomp, regardless of second charge move. Keep those sort of things in mind, as we’ll see similar themes with those two moves in all Leagues.

Where Brutal Swing makes a difference is adding in potential new wins over Reshiram and Zekrom thanks to newfound bait/speed potential, regardless of whether the closer is Dynamic Punch or Stone Edge. And it adds on a win versus Metagross specifically when paired with Dynamic Punch. Add all of those factors up, and the records in 1v1 shielding come out to be the same, but Conkeldurr gets there different ways.

Other than Metagross, Brutal Swing does not lead to any surprise wins over Psychic or Ghost types, and it doesn’t greatly elevate Conkle’s overall performance. But it does give it a new twist and makes some of its existing wins (most notably Dialga, Melmetal, Rhyperior, and Ursaluna) much more comfortable and consistent.

And it makes a BIG difference when both shields come into play. Not surprisingly, the difference in 2v2 shields between Brutal Swing and no Brutal Swing is pretty big, with new wins showing up versus Metagross, Swampert, and even Zacian, Yveltal, and Therian Landorus, all with either Dynamic Punch or Stone Edge. That’s pretty significant!

On the flipside, Brutal Swing makes basically no difference with shields down and is in fact worse than rolling with both closers. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise, since without shields in the way you can maximize the effectiveness of both — Stone Edge beating Yveltal and Gyarados, and Dynamic Punch beating Dialga and Ursaluna — but I think it IS a little notable that Brutal Swing doesn’t lead to any notable new wins or help either of those other moves to new wins either.

The same is basically true of Master League Premier as well (should Niantic ever make that a semi-regular thing again… just two total weeks of it since March of this year!): a sidegrade in 1v1 shielding (basically trading Gyarados for Garchomp and Metagross instead), slight downgrade with shields down, and only obviously better in 2v2 shielding with new wins that current Conker can’t get versus Metagross, Swampert, and Gholdengo, of all things.

So overall… I think it’s a viable sidegrade in Master League, at worst, and situationally better at best. It’s probably more consistent and certainly worth getting if you plan to ever use Conkeldurr in Master League, but at the same time there are almost always tradeoffs, and whatever Conkle you may have maxed out already isn’t suddenly pushed to the side. There is ample room for old AND new Conkeldurrs, I think!

The more obvious improvement comes as we step down from Master League and look at where Conkeldurr hasn’t really seen any play yet… and may now after this Community Day. Maybe.

Ultra League

Strictly by the final numbers, this is where it looks like Brutal Swing Conkeldurr has its best niche. And it starts in the standard 1v1 shielding this time, with the improvement from non-Brutal Conk to new Brutal Conk jumps off the screen a bit. The likes of (in order) Cobalion, Dubwool, Escavalier, Guzzlord, and Swampert (regular and Shadow) pop up in the win column now, and running with Stone Edge instead of Dynamic Punch even looks potentially viable with Steelix and non-Shadow Swampert being instead replaced by Gyarados and Golisopod.

Curiously, it is now in 2v2 shielding that we see more of a mere sidegrade as compared to current moves, with Brutal/Edge picking up the now-clear-favorite version (Snarl/Aerial Ace/Dark Pulse) of Mandiuzz, and Brutal/Punch gaining only Steelix instead. Slight improvement either way, but not anything that catches your eye nearly as much as the 1shield results.

And not surprisingly, the 0shield results swing much more on whether you’re running Stone Edge (beating Golisopod and Alolan Ninetales) or Dynamic Punch (smashing Registeel, G-Fisk, Swampert, and curiously, Mandibuzz… simply because Punch is 5 energy cheaper and thus you can use two Punches and only one Edge in the same timeframe) than if you’re running Brutal Swing (and again, Edge/Punch is still overall best in this specific, hard-to-engineer scenario for its best-of-both-worlds quality). And even here, Brutal Swing DOES still stand out a little with a completely unique win versus Cofagrigus that you don’t get any other way. It doesn’t happen often, but when you can sneak in a win like that, it’s a GOOD feeling, and a small sign of the coverage that Brutal can provide.

So again, no worse than a sidegrade. Worked right, it can handle itself well as an overall upgrade, and perhaps worthy now of legit consideration, right up there with the best of the best among Fighters.

But it’s biggest overall jump is still to come….

Great League

So yeah, the good news is that the win percentage from old Conker to new hotness Conker swings very dramatically, nearly doubling with new wins that include Lickitung, Dewgong, Alolan Ninetales, Swampert, and owing to the effectiveness of Brutal Swing, even Froslass and Trevenant! And as long as you’re also packing Dynamic Punch, you can tack on Noctowl, Carbink, and Lanturn (with either fast move) too. Those ARE some legit good wins. So why am I not singing its praises more loudly? This is a HUGE improvement, after all.

The problem is that there are just a ton of other viable Fighters at Great League level too — much moreso than Master and even Ultra League — from Machamp and Sirfetch’d to dual-typed stars like Poliwrath and Scrafty and Hakamo-O and, of course, Medicham.

I could see Conkle breaking out a bit in a Limited format as a Fighter with a rather unique ability to punch back at things like Trevenant and Froslass (as mentioned above), but in Open? It perhaps deserves more attention, but I feel is harmed — perhaps unfairly — by just having an uphill battle to get noticed among the already-crowded field.

Maybe it will break out anyway, but ironically, despite having the most notable improvement (to include 2v2 shielding with new wins versus Mandibuzz and Lanturn again) in Great League, it is perhaps the League where I least expect it to make a splash. I’d love to be proven wrong, though!

In summation

There is more than enough good going on with new Brutal Swing that I do recommend snagging at least one solid Conkeldurr with Brutal for each League where you could use a decent Fighting type. The potential is there across the board. It’s just a matter of justifying using it over other Fighters available… including, in some Leagues, existing Conkeldurrs themselves.

Gonna wrap it up right here, as Community Day is FAST approaching, and I want to leave you all time to properly prep. So until next time (Greavard and friends, more than likely), you can always find me on Twitter with regular analysis nuggets, or Patreon if you’re feeling extra generous.

Good hunting, folks! Do stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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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