A PvP Analysis on Community Day Goodra (good in Great League!)

I’ve been doing this for now 548 analysis articles and five years and four+ months. But you know what? That doesn’t matter, because no matter how much experience or expertise someone has in something, we’re all human, and that means we’re all sometimes wrong.

And when it comes to Thunder Punch GOODRA, I’ll come out and say it: I WAS WRONG.

My first, off the cuff take when Thunder Punch was announced as the exclusive move was that Thunder Punch was the wrong move, that it was a move that effectively killed all the hype a Goomy Community Day had going for it to that point. And while I DO still feel that it would have been more interesting to give Goodra Thunder Punch at the start of the season just days ago (along with all the others that got the same move) and then give Goodra another interesting move on Community Day, the main point — that Thunder Punch is a bad fit — was just wrong.

I’ll summarize briefly in our Bottom Line Up Front, but in short: stick around after that, if you can, to see why I was wrong and what good there is to be found here.

B.L.U.F.

  • Thunder Punch loses some of its luster the higher League you go, but in Great League, it has some very good use cases. Great League is probably THE best place to consider it and the highest priority to have coming out of Community Day.
  • While Thunder Punch is generally at least a slight downgrade in Ultra and Master Leagues, there are some good pickups that could help certain teams. Lower priority, but if you can afford to grind for those as well, it’s not a bad idea.

Yeah, not much else to say in summary, so let’s get into the details!

GOODRA Stats and Moves

Goodra Dragon

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
120 (118 High Stat Product) 137 (137 High Stat Product) 114 (118 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-14-14, 1500 CP, Level 16)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
155 (153 High Stat Product) 174 (176 High Stat Product) 150 (152 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-12-12, 2500 CP, Level 27)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
197 216 186

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; 3963 CP at Level 50)

There’s not much mystery to Dragons for long-time PvPers… there are many that have been PvP-relevant in all Leagues since the very beginning. But as many of those Dragons have a secondary typing (Flying, Ghost, Dark, Steel, Water, Poison… you name it, it’s probably out there in SOME meta!), I think it’s worth a brief mention of how a mono-Dragon works, as we have far less of those.

Dragon rather famously resists the primary “elements”: Grass, Fire, Water, and Electric. And perhaps even more famously, they are weak to Ice, Fairy, and other Dragon damage. Not a great defensive typing, but really not too shabby.

Much better for Goodra are the stats. When everything is maxed out in Master League, Goodra is the bulkiest Dragon aside from Zygrade and the Giratinas. And it is THE bulkiest with the valued Dragon Breath as a fast move.

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Oops, I slipped. If we’re going to discuss fast moves, then I better get into those more formally….

FAST MOVES

  • Dragon BreathDragon type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 Cool Down
  • Water Gun – Water type, 3.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 CD

Water Gun is not a bad move, and can actually be rather oppressive in grinding things down in PvP. (Just ask anyone who has faced down, say, Tapu Fini.) But I mean, there’s really no contest here. Not only does Dragon Breath deal 33% more damage while having the same energy generation and even the same cooldown, but it gets STAB on top of that and thus deals even MORE damage. The difference is such that even against things that resist Dragon damage but do NOT resist Water (things like most Steel and even big-name Fairy types like Togekiss and Zacian, for example) take the same damage from resisted Dragon Breath that they do from unresisted Water Gun. And there are more things that resist Water (Grass, Water, and most notably Dragons) than Dragon (just Steels and Fairies).

I can see there being a funky Limited meta where Water Gun Goodra could surprise, but 99 times out of 100, just go with Dragon Breath and don’t look back. Especially in Dragon-filled Master League.

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move

CHARGE MOVES

  • Aqua TailWater type, 55 damage, 35 energy
  • Muddy WaterWater type, 35 damage, 35 energy, 30% Chance: Reduce Opponent Attack -1 Stage
  • Thunder PunchElectric type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • Power WhipGrass type, 90 damage, 50 energy
  • Sludge WavePoison type, 110 damage, 65 energy
  • Draco MeteorDragon type, 150 damage, 65 energy, Reduces User Attack -2 Stages

There was a time not long ago when Goodra was just kind of sad. As recently as February of this year, Goodra’s best moveset included Muddy Water, one of the worst debuffing moves in the game. While many other low-power debuffers come with guaranteed (Acid Spray, Psychic Fangs, Brick Break, Poison Fang, Obstruct, Feather Dance, etc.) or at least a 50% chance (Breaking Swipe, Octazooka, Leaf Tornado, etc.) of triggering, Muddy Water is held back at 30%. Just among Water moves, for the same energy you get a 50% chance with Razor Shell, for only 5 more energy you get a 100% debuff with Bubble Beam, or for 10 more energy you get the same 30% chance BUT deal a respectable 70 damage with Liquidation. And don’t get me started on things like Scald and Crabhammer. Muddy Water is just a poor PvP move, and anything that has to use it (like Goodra used to just a couple of months ago) just felt very sad doing it. 30% of the time, it worked… well, really none of the time.

Aqua Tail changed all that when it was added on March 1st, and immediately boosted Goodra, and across multiple Leagues. It immediately slotted into Charge Move Slot #1 and often is all Goodra needs… along with just the threat of one of its closers.

Goodra has some great and rather unique closing options. Draco Meteor usually sims the best thanks to its ridiculous power and potential, but at least in most Great and Ultra League metas where Goodra has shone brightly of late, it’s usually running Power Whip instead. A Dragon with a Grass move is virtually unheard of in GO, with only half-Grass Alolan Exeggutor and spicy-at-best Latios having any Grass moves at all. Alolan “Hector” has just never been able to break out in PvP at all, and Latios, on the rare occasions you may actually see one, much prefers Luster Purge these days instead of big slow Solar Beam. Goodra fills a to-date unfilled niche when running Power Whip. It doesn’t hurt that Whip is a solid move at 90 damage for 50 energy, giving it the best Damage Per Energy (1.8) of ANY of Goodra’s moves aside from the ridiculous Draco Meteor (which is held in check, of course, due to its severe self-nerfing drawback). I’ve seen Sludge Wave Goodra before, and it can be a nasty surprise, but by and large, you’re going to see Power Whip (or perhaps Draco) instead. It’s part of what makes Gooboy (or Googal) special.

So one could argue that Goodra already has everything it needs to find PvP success, and indeed, for the last three months, it has enjoyed far more success than it ever had before. But this is Community Day, and so that, of course, means a new move. In this case, it should be a very familiar move to those who study big changes from season to season, as it’s the move that was tied for the widest new distribution this season (being given to nine new Pokémon): Thunder Punch.

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So going back to me being wrong, when this was first announced, I was admittedly and openly bummed. I STILL don’t really understand why Goodra wasn’t just given this move along with Typhlosion, Scrafty, Lucario and all the other new recipients, but that’s more of a quibble. As far as what the move does for Goodra, I do have good news now that I’ve looked more closely. Using the above sims as a barometer, let’s see what a little thunder can doo for Goo…

GREAT LEAGUE

So as I noted in our BLUF, this looks like the best League for Thunder Punch to make an impact. Its slightly higher-than-Aqua Tail cost means that it doesn’t work well as an Aqua Tail replacement, but it DOES work pretty well in combination with Aqua Tail, becoming sort of an alternative Dragonair, but… overall better? Both have Aqua Tail and thus share wins versus notable Fire, Ground, and/or Rock types (including Talonflame, Gligar, Skeledirge, Swampert, Whiscash and others), but then the coverage beyond is quite different. Dragonair is a little faster (with 35-energy Body Slam) and also hit a little harder (thanks to higher Attack) and thus it can outrace things like Swampert, Feraligatr, Annihilape, and Lickitung that Goodra cannot, but Thunder Punch gives Gooboy some nice wins instead like Poliwrath and Registeel, and its better bulk means outlasting Whiscash, Galarian Stunfisk, Umbreon, and Guzzlord which Dragonair usually cannot replicate. And with shields down, Thunder Punch Goodra (unique wins: Gligar, Mandibuzz, Mantine, Pelipper, Swampert, Whiscash) more clearly outshines Dragonair (only special win is Venusaur). I’m not ready to declare Dragonair outdated by any means, but as good as it’s been in PvP for a long time, Goodra mostly fits that same mold and certainly belongs at least on that same tier now.

As for how Thunder Punch specifically compares to previously running Power Whip, it’s mostly an upgrade, beating everything Power Whip can in 1v1 shielding PLUS Altaria, Pelipper, and Poliwrath (normal and Shadow), and everything Power Whip can in 2shield except Carbink, tacking on Mandibuzz and Skarmory instead. Power Whip DOES pull away a bit with shields down (which makes sense considering its much higher damage output), but even there Thunder Punch shines with new wins like Mandibuzz, Mantine, and Pelipper.

It even compares favorably to the higher-ceiling-but-less-used-Draco Meteor, adding Altaria, Pelipper, and Poliwrath in 1shield (as opposed to Draco’s Cresselia, Lickitung, and Mandibuzz) in 1shield, Mandibuzz and Skarmory (versus only Registeel as a new loss) in 2shield, and the same Mandibuzz, Mantine, and Pelipper wins you’d expect with shields down.

The long and short of it all is this: Thunder Punch Goodra is a capable alternative now in Great League. As with Power Whip, it gives Goodra coverage that is still very unique for a Dragon and is potent enough for even Open play on the right team and will surely make an impact in multiple future Limited metas.

ULTRA LEAGUE

Now as we get into higher Leagues where the coverage of Thunder Punch starts to be outweighed more by its relatively low power, it becomes a little less desirable, though still viable on the right team:

  • In 1v1 shielding, Thunder Punch is roughly on par with Power Whip (basically comes down to beating either Mandibuzz {Punch} or Umbreon {Whip}), but Draco Meteor retains the highest ceiling, losing Feraligatr but having unique, special wins like DDeoxys, Obstagoon, Virizion, Greedent, and Tentacruel within its grasp.
  • NO contest in 0shield, where Thunder Punch just flops compared to both Draco Meteor and Power Whip. Not too surprising though, right?
  • Perhaps most distressingly, Thunder Punch is even outclassed in 2v2 shielding, losing to DDeoxys (which both Draco and Whip can handle) and also Greedent, Obstagoon, and Poliwrath that Power Whip can take out.

Overall, Thunder Punch COULD still work here, if not in Open then at least in Limited/Cup metas of the future. But just not to the same degree as Great League.

And that just leaves…

MASTER LEAGUE

In truth, Goodra may be a tad overlooked here already. It ranks within the Top 30, but goes largely unnoticed in large part because it has at least 10 Dragons that rank ahead of it. But those who DO use it are likely to do so with Draco Meteor, and honestly, I don’t see Thunder Punch fitting into the equation. IF it does, this is the one place where you might be able to slide it in in place of Aqua Tail if Water and perhaps Flying types scare you and the rest of your ML team. For my money, I’d still rather have Aqua Tail as my bait/coverage move in Master League, but that’s more of a judgement call. What do YOU prefer, dear reader?

WRAP UP

Alright, my friends, that’s all I got for today. Final advice: get a good Thunder Punch Goodra for Great League, and then if you have the resources consider Ultra and Master League, probably in that order.

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular Pokémon GO analysis nuggets, or Patreon if you like.

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

Author & tags

JRE47
JRE47
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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