The “Under The Lights” article series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest in PvP. Today, that means a couple of spooky new arrivals in Pokémon GO that don’t just hide out in the creepy forest… they ARE the creepy forest. Today, we put the new Ghost/Grass types, Trevenant and Gourgeist… under the lights.

TREVENANT

Trevenant GhostGrass

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
128 (126 High Stat Product) 106 (106 High Stat Product) 128 (133 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-15, 1497 CP, Level 22)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
166 (167 Lv40, 163 High Stat Product) 134 (134 Lv40, 137 High Stat Product) 170 (168 Lv40, 172 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-15, 2500 CP, Level 43.5)

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So the stats are nothing too exciting… quite the opposite, actually. Trevor is a bit heavy in the Attack department, and is left with less bulk than things like Talonflame, Venusaur, Sableye, Abomasnow, Froslass, Swampert, and several other things not considered “bulky”. In other words… Trev’s stats are not really ideal for PvP. It has a bit more bulk than things that DO work well, like Galvantula, Machamp, and of course the extremes like Haunter, so while not encouraging, having less junk in the (literally tree) trunk is hardly a death knell in and of itself.

What favors does the typing do for it? Trevenant (along with pre-evolution Phantump, of course) enters the game as officially the first (by Pokédex number) Ghost/Grass type in Pokémon GO, and those typings actually do some good (or bad, depending on how you look at it) things for each other. Grasses are famously weak to Poison and Bug damage, but Ghost resists both, so Trevenant is a Grass type that takes only neutral damage from two of Grass’ traditional toughest counters. Grass also adds some very unusual-for-Ghosts resistances to Water (so far, only the Giratinas and Jellicent share this distinction), Electric (ditto the Giratinas, and Golurk… and famously, Jelllicent and Drifblim are weak to Electric damage), Ground (the only Ghost in the game that resists Ground currently is Drifblim, and many are vulnerable to Ground, including Haunter, Gengar, and all the Fire/Ghost types), and of course, opposing Grass. In addition to resisting Water, Electric, Ground, and Grass, Trevor retains the standard Ghost double resistances to both Fighting and Normal damage. Unfortunately, it also retains the regular Ghost vulnerabilities to Dark and Ghost damage, and the Grass weaknesses of Ice, Flying, and Fire damage. On the plus side, those are all regular weaknesses… no doubled up vulnerabilities here, for what that’s worth.

Okay, got all that? Good, because it’s time to get to the much more exciting stuff… the moves!

Fast Moves

  • Shadow ClawGhost type, 3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • Sucker PunchDark type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD

It all starts with Shadow Claw. Frankly, I’m a little surprised Niantic decided to be generous and give us Claw on Trevor right out of the gate… I really expected they’d stick us with Hex or even Poison Jab or something else it learns in MSG. (Or even… dare I say it… Astonish. 😰 shudder)

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that alternate universe… we got ourselves Shadow Claw! Obviously, that’s strictly better than Sucker Punch (or Hex, or any of those other moves I mentioned), so we have some reason to rejoice already.

Now can it back that up with some good charge moves to take advantage of Claw’s high energy generation? Spoiler alert: the answer is YES.

Charge Moves

  • Seed BombGrass type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • Foul PlayDark type, 70 damage, 45 energy
  • Shadow BallGhost type, 100 damage, 55 energy

You know all the elemental (Fire, Ice, Thunder) Punch moves? They deal 55 damage of their respective elemental damage for 40 energy. Nothing fancy, but nice pressure and excellent coverage for things like Hypno, Medicham, Dusclops and others. Mud Bomb is a clone for Ground, and Seed Bomb is a clone for Grass. It’s not a move that’s going to win a ton of matchups on its own, but it pumps up solid and steady Grass damage for things that need to do so.

And Trevor is definitely one such Pokémon, as Seed Bomb is its only Grass move. Thankfully, Seed Bomb is enough to handle most Waters, Grounds, and Rocks you’d want a Grass type to handle, with only things that ravage Trevor with super effective damage of their own (Lapras, Dewgong, Pelipper, Jellicent, Nidoqueen, Diggersby and its Fire Punch) and Bastiodon and its dang Steel subtyping and bulk galore being able to fend Trevenant off. There is one other Water I want to drill down on further before we get to any other moves (which flip some of the above): Azumarill. You’ll notice that in the simulation linked a minute ago, Azumarill is listed as a loss… and twice, actually, since both Ice Beam/Play Rough and Ice Beam/Hydro Pump Azu are listed. Ice Beam is all Azumarill needs to win; without Azu weilding Ice Beam, Trevor wins pretty easily. But Trevenant actually wins even versus Ice Beam more often than not, and here’s a little detail on why the default sim is a bit off, in my opinion. The Azumarill projected in that meta-wide simulation is running “default” IVs, specifically 4-14-11 (1498 CP at Level 43.5). Those are decent… Rank 396, to be exact. But Azumarill is one of the primary target for many players to grind for good IVs… REALLY good. Rank 1 XL Azumarill is 0-15-15 (1499 CP at Level 45.5), and has 91.5 for its Attack stat as opposed to the 93.7 of the “default”, Rank 396 Azu used in default sims. That may not seem like much, but it’s actually rather significant.

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Look at “default” Trevenant versus the Rank 396 Azu. Each Bubble deals 4 damage, Ice Beam deals 83 damage, and cumulatively, that’s enough to finish off Trevor JUST before it reaches a third, KO Seed Bomb. (It dies with the energy needed, just not enough time to actually fire it off.) But now look at the same Trevenant versus Rank 1 Azu. Now each Bubble deals only 3 damage, Ice Beam deals only 81, and Trevor reaches that killing Seed Bomb with time to spare. This seems to be true all the way up until Azumarill hits 93 Attack — which happens somewhere around Rank 170ish Azumarill — at which point Azumarill hits critical breakpoints that flip the matchup back in its favor.

Now that’s not considering Trevenant’s own IVs, and obviously those are easier to control than praying for the opposing Azu to be high rank/low Attack. Without turning this into a lengthy IV discussion, here’s the nutshell of what I found:

  • Versus high rank (low Attack, high bulk) Azumarill, Trevor usually wins by tanking one Ice Beam and living long enough for a third, KO Seed Bomb, as we showed above. More specifically, Trevor needs 130 HP + over 104 Defense to win (4-13-10 IVs work, for instance) versus average/”default” rank Azu (having 93+ Attack).
  • Also as discussed, Trevor will typically beat high rank (<93 Attack) Azumarill due to Azu missing a Bubble breakpoint (3 damage per rather than 4) and Ice Beam missing out on 3-4 extra damage as well.
  • Versus Level 40 Rank 1 Azumarill (8-15-15, 1500 CP, Level 40), Trevenant needs even higher bulk to hold on and win. The particular IVs used in that example, 2-14-13, are a Rank 4 Trevenant. In short, if you have a very high rank Trevor, you will beat the vast majority of Azumarills out there.

Here’s the good news: even dropping Trevenant’s Attack down to nil (as in the case of that Rank 4 — or even a Rank 1 Trevor — to try and better guarantee the Azumarill win has no detrimental effects: at least in 1v1 shielding, Trevenant retains all 39 of its other core meta wins, making high rank Trevor a strict upgrade in terms of wins and losses. So that’s very nice to see. And just to run that ALL the way into the ground, in 0v0 shielding, the only thing that Rank 1 Trevor can’t beat that a more average Trevor can is Whiscash, which holds on with 1 HP (“and a dream”, as they say) to stun Rank 1 Trevor with a match-flipping Blizzard. However, that Rank 4 Trevor (2-14-13) I showed combating Azumarill? It DOES beat Whiscash, along with everything else. So maybe that’s the IV range to target rather than the actual Rank 1? Seems the best of both worlds to me. (Though note that Whiscash’s own IVs can swing that back and forth too… but you know that already, so I won’t belabor the point. 😅)

In other words… the higher Azu’s Attack IV, the higher Trev’s bulk needs to be to live long enough for that final, match-flipping Seed Bomb in 1v1 shielding. As Azu is one that many players HAVE grinded for high-rank PvP IVs (and thus, low Attack Azus), I think Trev will win versus Azu more than it loses. It’s not a slam dunk counter, but I think it’s still generally going to be advantage to Trevenant. Just watch out for that tricksy Whiscash with shields down.

But now I need to actually back up, because I went on a big IV tangent and haven’t even discussed any charge move except Seed Bomb! As you see in the sims, the obvious choice is Shadow Ball. Yes, Foul Play is a fine move and all, but it lacks STAB damage and just doesn’t have the same impact. Specifically, Foul Play fails to beat Clefable, CharmTales, Sylveon, Toxicroak, and amazingly, both Skarmory AND Talonflame, things that should shred a Grass like Trevenant, but Shadow Ball steals both wins! Shadow Ball also allows Trevor to beat some Waters and Rocks that eluded it with Seed Bomb alone, most notably Pelipper, Jellicent, and big scary Bastiodon. These all in addition to already holding down the standard Ghost role — beating all (non-Dark, non-Fire) Fighters, all Psychics but tricky Malamar, and even ALL opposing Ghosts except Lampent, Shadow Sableye, and Shadow Dusclops — and even most Grass things too, such as defeating all Water types but Lapras, Dewgong, Mantine, and Snarl Crawdaunt, all Rocks but Archeops and Magcargo, and most Grounds too, including both Stunfisks. Add to THAT nice wins you might not expect — like Melmetal, Shadow Victreebel, Galvantula, Registeel, and aforementioned Talonflame, Skarmory, Alolan Marowak, and Froslass (those last two part of the “all Ghosts” I mentioned) — and I think I’m very safe in saying that Trevenant will hit Great League as a truly meta option immediately upon its introduction to the game. It’s a near-perfect melding of two potent types (Ghost and Grass) in role and function that beats several things other Ghosts can’t, and certainly big things that other Grasses can’t. This is one of the more exciting and impactful additions we have EVER had to the Great League meta. Heck, remember how excited I was about Cofagrigus? That wasn’t misplaced enthusiasm… Grigus is legit. But other than a trio of Ices that the Coffin One can beat that Trevor cannot (Aboma, Dewgong, PowderTales), Trevenant is a better Cofagrigus, tacking on wins like Azumarill, Bastiodon, Jellicent, Haunter, Froslass, Sableye, Mew, Tropius, Whiscash, and Galarian Stunfisk that Grigus typically loses. Get ready… Trevenant is gonna rock GL’s world.

And yes, it’s viable in Halloween Cup too, though a little of its shine is stripped away with the number of Poisons, Darks, and scary Ice types in the meta. Obviously it’s usable — and you should know by now not to trust those listed losses against Azumarill — but it’s not as friendly a meta for Ghost/Grass types as is open Great League. DO expect to see a lot of them once it hits the game, though… you know folks will be itching to try it out, so have a plan to fend it off.

But Trevor’s usefulness is hardly limited to Great League! Trevenant gets more than big enough for Ultra League as well, and once again I have to go back to Cofagrigus comparisons, because while Grigus has to be very nearly maxed all the way to Level 50, Trevenant is actually served well by its higher Attack stat, hitting perfect Ultra League size in the lower 40s… even Number 1 IV UL Trevor (1-15-15) only pushes up to Level 43.5, requiring “only” 76 XL Candy. That’s certainly not nothing, but considering that Phantump will apparently be a pretty common spawn during Part II of the Halloween Event, it’s certainly doable!

And worth it. It’s not a straight upgrade, but in addition to being significantly cheaper to prep for UL than CofagrigusTrevor is overall better too! While Grigus is not weak to Ice or Flying like Trevor is — giving it unique wins over Abomasnow, Skarmory, and Articuno, as well as a win over Dragonite on the strength of 50-energy Dark Pulse — Trevenant is just more threatening overall, able to outrace things Cofagrigus cannot like CharmTales, Registeel, Nidoqueen (despite taking neutral instead of resisted damage from Poison Fang), Drifblim, and even Talonflame (as in GL), and uses the upside of its Grass typing to also beat Swampert, Gyarados, and Meganium too.

And here’s something equally nice: similar to how I talked up non-XL Nidoqueen in Ultra League Remix for the fact that it can win basically all the same matchups as XL Queen AND win the mirror AND potentially other things XL Queen struggles with like Ho-Oh, non-XL Trevenant (10-15-15 IVs to hit exactly 2500 CP at Level 40) can beat everything XL Trevor does in 1v1 shielding, PLUS wins the mirror (thanks to consistently winning CMP with its higher Attack) AND adds on a win against Sylveon. That’s right: non-XL Trevenant is just as good, and likely even better, than XL Trevenant! Take THAT, frustrating XL system! And of course, such a Trevanant — with 0 XL Candy fed to it — remains eligible in any Classic UL formats… such as, perhaps, the UL Premier Classic coming on November 1st! Just look at that record… come to papa!

That 73% win rate in UL Premier Classic may look like a bit of an outlier… but check the open UL record again and note that Trevenant (XL or not) also nets over a 70% win rate even against the open UL core meta, including ALL Psychics, Ghosts, and Fighters that comprise that meta except for Scrafty and Gengar, as well as all Grasses but that pesky Abomasnow, and ALL meta Waters (even Lapras and Poliwrath with their scary Ice damage). It fends off G-Fisk, Nidoqueen, Escavalier, Scizor, Melmetal, Registeel, Galvantula, all the Charmers except (sometimes, as previously noted) Sylveon, and can amazingly outrace big Fires like Talonflame (as mentioned above), Charizard, Ho-Oh, and Typhlosion. Truly impressive.

That said, for full disclosure, I do want to point out that high rank IVs (aka XL Trevenant) does have a few advantages with shields down. As compared to non-XL Trevor (or even more average XL Trevors), the #1 IV version can sneak away with wins against Sylveon, Gyarados, Jellicent, and Gengar… all with less than 10 HP remaining, and the last three with less than 5 HP remaining, so they’re hardly gimmes. But again, I try to be fair and balanced here in my analyses, so make of all that what you will.

Okay, I think I’ve beaten Trevor to a (wood) pulp, eh? In short, if it didn’t make it clear already, you are going to want a good Trevenant for Great League AND Ultra League, and good news… your UL one doesn’t even have to be XL if you don’t want to make that additional grind. Catch as many Phantump as you can while they’re out in droves!

Now on to the lesser (but ironically much more complicated and seemingly rarer) Ghost/Grass coming along for the ride….

GOURGEIST

Gourgeist GhostGrass

So usually I’d list the stats for each league where the Pokémon is viable, both the average (“default”) IVs/stats and then PvP #1 Stat Product IVs (High Stat Product IVs), as I did for Trevenant up above. But in this case, things aren’t that simple, as the whole gimmick with Gourgeist and Pumpkaboo is that each size has separate and distinct stats all their own. So instead, I’m going to use a couple simple tables with all four sizes and their stats and TRY to keep this from spiraling out of control….

Great League Stats

Gourgeist Size Small Average Large Super
Attack 117 (115 High Stat Product) 117 (115 High Stat Product) 117 (114 High Stat Product) 116 (113 High Stat Product)
Defense 153 (158 High Stat Product) 147 (149 High Stat Product) 137 (139 High Stat Product) 129 (133 High Stat Product)
HP 106 (107 High Stat Product) 112 (115High Stat Product) 121 (124 High Stat Product) 130 (131 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Small: 0-15-13, 1500 CP, Level 25.5)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Average: 0-14-13, 1498 CP, Level 24)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Large: 1-14-15, 1500 CP, Level 22.5)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Super: 1-15-14, 1498 CP, Level 21.5)

Ultra League Stats

Gourgeist Size Small Average Large Super
Attack 155 (153 High Stat Product) 150 (148 High Stat Product) 150 (147 High Stat Product) 147 (146 High Stat Product)
Defense 194 (197 High Stat Product) 189 (191 High Stat Product) 174 (180 High Stat Product) 170 (172 High Stat Product)
HP 134 (135 High Stat Product) 147 (149High Stat Product) 160 (160 High Stat Product) 167 (170 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Small: 11-15-15, 2494 CP, Level 50)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Average: 1-14-15, 2498 CP, Level 50)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Large: 1-14-15, 2499 CP, Level 45.5)

(Highest Stat Product IVs, Super: 0-14-14, 2498 CP, Level 42.5)

Whew, that’s a lot to take in! So let me try to summarize:

  • There is very little variance between sizes in terms of Attack… all four sizes are practically identical in Attack in Great League, and in Ultra League the gap between highest Attack (Small) and lowest (Super) is still less than 10 from top to bottom.
  • The bigger differences are in Defense and HP; Defense steadily decreases the larger the size, while HP rises correspondingly the larger the size. All four are notably bulkier than Trevenant.
  • Put it all together, and technically Super size has the best overall stat balance, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to having the greatest success. More on that after we add the moves into the equation….

The typing is the same as Trevenant, so the resistances and vulnerabilities are the same as well:

  • Single vulnerabilities to Dark, Ghost, Fire, Flying, and Ice.
  • Neutral damage from Poison and Bug, unlike most Grasses.
  • Resistant to Electric, Grass, Ground, and Water, and double resists Fighting and Normal attacks.

Got all that? Good, because it’s time for the moves!

Fast Moves

  • HexGhost type, 2.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.5 CD
  • Razor LeafGrass type, 5.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.0 CD

Big differences here. Shadow Claw is gone, replaced by the strictly worse Hex. (Same energy generation as Claw, but 1.0 less DPT… and a slightly more clumsy 1.5 second cooldown rather than Claw’s 1.0.) Hex is still a fine move, but this is a downgrade from Trevor right off the bat.

As an alternative, we now have Razor Leaf. I don’t know that I’d actually recommend it, as Gourge isn’t very impressive as a Grasshole as compared to better, established Razor Leafers, but eh, a true alternative fast move as opposed to the in-nearly-all-ways-inferior Sucker Punch vs Shadow Claw with Trevenant is nice, at least.

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Charge Moves

  • Seed BombGrass type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • Foul PlayDark type, 70 damage, 45 energy
  • Shadow BallGhost type, 100 damage, 55 energy
  • Fire BlastFire type, 140 damage, 80 energy

Well, these look more familiar… they’re exactly the same charge moves as Trevenant, plus Fire Blast. Generally we’re still going to want to stick with Seed Bomb and Shadow Ball, though I will at least peek at the unique Fire Blast later too.

First, I want to do a quick overview before I get into the specifics of the different sizes, because I think it’s important to understand that Trevenant is just flat out better. Using Average size Gourgeist as an example, Gourge loses to several Ghosts that Trevenant usually beats (Jellicent, Sableye, Haunter) and is less reliable versus enemy Grasses (specifically losing to Tropius and Serperior that Trevor can beat), and loses others like Whiscash, Sylveon, Clefable, and those standout wins Trevor could get in Great League versus Skarmory, Bastiodon, and Talonflame. BUT, the increase in bulk means that Geist can even more easily take down Azumarill (IVs become almost irrelevant), and is much more reliable in beating G-Fisk, A-Wak, Pelipper, Galvantula, and others that could get a little too close for comfort versus Trevenant. And as I hinted, even Fire Blast can work if you’re feeling spicy thanks to Hex racing to it, bringing in a suprise win versus Skarmory and making G-Fisk (and most Steels in general) a breeze. Despite the obvious dropoff as compared to Trevenant in overall performance, it IS possible that Gourgeist could actually be a better fit for some teams in Great League, at least in certain metas.

So with that being our basic GL barometer, you’re wondering… which Gourgeist is best? Do any of the sizes break out more than that? Well, while the discussion may be merely academic, with Trevenant being so good, I DID do a comprehensive (and way too time-consuming! 🥴) side by side (by side by side) analysis, so I can try to answer your questions. Here’s what I found in Great League:

  • In 1v1 shielding, Average and Large have the easiest time overcoming Meganium, and only Average seems able to sneak away with a razor thin win over Alolan Ninetales (with Charm). Small is too flimsy to beat either, and Super doesn’t hit with enough force to finish them off.
  • With shields down, SmallAverage, and Large can overcome Jellicent, while Super struggles. Conversely, Super is able to more readily smack down Razor Leaf Tropius, as well as Large and Average, while Small size hits too softly and usually loses to RL Trop.
  • And to beat this ALL the way into the ground, I looked at 2v2 shielding too, where I saw the most differences. SmallAverage, and Large again beat Jellicent while Super generally cannot. Super, Large, and Average outlast Shadow Victreebel, but Small size usually can’t. Small DOES have the best shot at outslugging Cofagrigus (lacking Dark Pulse, at least) and Venusaur, though Large and Super can sneak away with (much closer) wins over Venusaur as well. And finally, while none of them outlive Bastiodon, Super size can at least live long enough to force a tie.

So there ya go. None of the differences are huge, and there are no true breakout stars among the four sizes, but generally it seems to be Average or Large that get the most edge case wins rather the polar opposites of highest Attack (Small) or greatest overall bulk/stat product (Super). I guess you could compare it to the tale of Goldilocks… the smallest is TOO small, the biggest is TOO big, but those in the middle are juuuuuuuuuuuuust right.

And that continues in Ultra League as well. Now here, I think we’re REALLY talking theoretical, as Gourgeist (of any size) is worse overall than Cofagrigus (more worth it for those who grind XLs) and Trevenant (for those who aren’t so much into the XL grind, like yours truly). Like Cofagrigus, you have to push them all right up near Level 50 (well, not so much with Super, but you get my point) for them to be at their best. Considering other, cheaper, better options, it’s really not worth it, IMO.

That said, yes, I did side by sides here too, and here’s what I found:

  • In 1v1 shielding, AverageLarge, and Super are able to beat Shadow Dragonite, Togekiss, and Lugia, while Small usually cannot live long enough. Small does uniquely squeak by with a win over Shadow Granbull (the other three can usually only force a tie), and Small, Average, and Large are much more consistent in beating Clefable and regular Dragonite than Super.
  • With shields down, AverageLarge, and Super handle Gyarados, Jellicent, and Galarian Stunfisk, all three of which usually emerge victorious over Small. Small does uniquely outslug Altered Giratina (with Dragon Breath), and along with Average and Large (but not Super), beats Shadow Dragonite. Small, Large, and Super (but usually not Average) have the best shot at Venusaur. Super makes its mark this time by having the best chance at beating Drifblim (the others usually only manage to tie), Bronzong, Registeel, and Shadow Nidoqueen (the other sizes typically lose).
  • And finally, in 2v2 shielding, AverageLarge, and Super are able to beat Empoleon and Scizor, while Small does not. Average and Large alone seem to have the right balance of Attack and bulk to beat regular Dragonite and Dragon Breath Charizard. Small has the best shot at Drifblim this time with its high Attack, and it and Super alone seem able to beat Venusaur this time. All except Super seem able to handle Gyarados.

Whew, got all that? Yet again, it seems that Average or Large are (slightly) best overall. but there are enough edge cases for Small and Super that if you’re going to go on the XL grind, there’s a case for all four of them depending on what edge cases concern you the most.

But at the end of the day, Gourgeist of any size takes a backseat to Trevenant, unable to consistently match Trevor’s impressive wins over things like Charizard (which Trev can beat with Dragon Breath or even if it has Fire Spin!), Nidoqueen, Jellicent, Altered Giratina, Gyarados, Lapras, Registeel, CharmTales, Venusaur, Talonflame, and even more beyond that. Again, as long as you land yourself a good Trevor, I really don’t see any good reason to grind for an XL Gourgeist. Unlike Trevenant, it doesn’t have Shadow Claw in MSG, so it’s unlikely to get much better down the road, either.

Before we wrap it all up, I do have one more “bonus” highlight….

Darkrai Dark

DARK SLUDGE?

So peeking in at the bottom of the header, you may have noticed Darkrai. I haven’t really said much about the fact that RaiRai is coming back to raids during the same event period where we’re getting Trevor and Gourge, even though Darkrai is getting a new exclusive move: Sludge Bomb. The reason I haven’t said much is that… uh, how do I put this nicely…?

As a Dark type, Darkrai is weak to Bug, Fighting, and — perhaps most relevant to Master League where Darkrai has any potential shot at PvP greatness — Fairy damage. As a Poison move, Sludge Bomb hits all three for at least neutral damage, and famously hits Fairies for super effective damage. Thus, giving a Dark type a Poison move — and Sludge Bomb is a very solid move, too — is potentially quite exciting for the nice coverage it provides.

The problem is that Darkrai is a pretty glassy Pokémon, even at Master League level… glassier than Dragonite, Garchomp, Gyarados, Zacian, Zamazenta, Metagross, and others… even Excadrill! That leaves Darkrai with the problem of actually landing Sludge Bomb in meaningful spots. Not only does Darkrai with Sludge Bomb fail to beat any Fairies or Fighters with shields down, but it can’t beat any of them even with a shield advantage. Even that super effective Bomb with Darkrai’s high Attack stat rips away less than ⅔ of the hitpoints of Togekiss, Sylveon, and Zacian, the things you would most hope to hurt with Poison damage.

Conversely, with shields down, Darkrai is able to flip Mamoswine, Magnezone, Snorlax, Excadrill, Snorlax, Heatran, Swampert, Zarude, and Palkia with existing coverage move Focus Blast. And in 1v1 shielding, Focus Blast can beat Zekrom, Heatran, Snorlax, Magnezone, and Rhyperior. Sludge Bomb beats nothing… nothing that Dark Pulse alone can’t anyway.

So… yeah. I think I just wrote far more than I needed to about Sludge Bomb Darkrai. It just isn’t good. Get one or two, sure, because the FOMO is real with this game. Just don’t expect to ever do much with it.

TL;DR:

This was a heavy lift, both in analyzing, writing, and of course now for you all having to suffer through READING all this. 🥱 So for those who couldn’t make it — or those who did and already forgot what was in it 😅 — here’s your TL;DR summary:

  • The biggest splash is going to be made by TREVENANT… it’s a tree that will fall loudly enough that two whole leagues are gonna hear it! In Great League, it’s a very solid Ghost that also beats the majority of Waters, Grounds, and Rocks with enough Grass damage to capably handle that role as well. Key point: despite default sims showing otherwise, it WILL usually beat Azumarill in 0 and 1 shield too. And in Ultra League, non-XL Trevenant can still hit 2500 CP and performs just as well as XL Trevor, making it a much cheaper (and arguably better) Cofagrigus at that level. If you do nothing else during the “Ghoulish Pals” portion of the Halloween Event, get a good Trevenant for Great AND Ultra Leagues.
  • GOURGEIST is, despite better PvP stats, a worse Trevenant. The big difference is Shadow Claw versus Hex… Trevor has the former, Gourge has the latter, and that makes a huge difference. I noted various differences between the different sizes of Gourgeist in the article, and some DO stand out more, but none can hold a candle to Trevenant. Get good ones, sure, but it would require an interesting move reset to carve out a spot in Great or Ultra League (and it’s usually as expensive as Cofagrigus in the latter anyway).
  • Sludge Bomb DARKRAI is a no-go for PvP (and PvE, for that matter). In theory it’s nice coverage, especially against Fairies, but in practice the only time it MIGHT make a difference is if you’re pretty far ahead anyway.

And that’s it! This was a ridiculously long writeup in the end, and I do apologize for that, but I wanted to give you all the comprehensive analysis you deserve and try to answer all your burning questions going into the rest of the Halloween Event. If you do have more questions, of course feel free to inquire in private or in a reply below and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon.

Continued thanks to my PvP friends, local and around the world, who have lent their own ideas and suggestions over the last nearly three years now of PvP play, and helped teach me to be a better player and student of the game. And thank you for reading… I appreciate your attention and encouragement.

Catch you next time, and be safe out there, Pokéfriends!

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