A PvP Analysis on the BIG Season of Hidden Gems Move Rebalance


GO Battle League Season 15 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!

As per usual, Niantic has made us wait until the 11th hour for information on this coming season. (Thanks, Niantic… love you too! 😝) As is NOT usual for them of late, the rebalance taking place at the start of this new GBL season is massive, with no less than thirty three Pokémon being directly affected. Needless to say, this is going to be a lengthy analysis, so let’s just dive right into it, shall we?


Clefable Fairy

It might seem odd to lead off with a move given to only two new recipients, but CLEFABLE is no ordinary recipient. It has faded further and further into obscurity over time as other Fairies have risen up around it, having dropped out of the Top 5 Fairies in Ultra League and almost out of the Top 10 in Great League. It’s still decently bulky, and still comes with the awesome Meteor Mash, which is not only cheaper than most charge moves found on various Charmers (that don’t rhyme with “Aloe Van Pine Nails”), but is very widely unresisted and, critically in themed Cups where Clefable is eligible, super effective versus fellow Fairies, often delivering a knockout blow. The problem, of course, is that like other Charmers, you’re unlikely to reach it in multiples, since Charm only generates a way below average 2.0 Energy Per Turn (EPT), tied for worst energy generation in the game. It also has Psychic for coverage, or Moonblast for big STAB damage, but the likelihood of reaching any of those in a critical spot is rather low since Charm is just SO slow to get there. So it has sat, languishing, as other interesting Charmers have come along and is now, at best, just part of a growing pack of similar Pokémon.

That ALL changes with the addition of Fairy Wind and its 4.5 EPT. Not only does this allow it to finally break away from the pack and make its own unique mark, but it works REALLY well with its moves. Spamming a Meteor Mash every 6 seconds (or thanks to carryover energy, just 5 seconds between the second and third Mash) sounds pretty good to me! And indeed, as compared to Charm, you can see immediate improvement in Great League, with new wins against Noctowl (!!!), Azumarill, Froslass, Diggersby, Alolan Ninetales, and somehow even Fairy slayer Shadow Victreebel by slamming it with two Meteor Mashes. Even after all that, though, it remains underwater overall as far as win/loss record goes, though beating Medicham and Noctowl and all else that you’d expect of a good Fairy give it some great corebreaking potential.

For the eye-popping numbers, we actually turn to Ultra League, where Clef turns from this into this. Yes, that IS more than double its former win total (and a jump from under 30% winrate to now 60%!), with those new wins coming versus Walrein, A-Ninetales, Sylveon, Aurorus, Cobalion, Dubwool, Snorlax, Drapion, DDeoxys, and even resists-all-of-Clefable’s-moves Escavalier! And if its relatively high XL cost is scaring you, fear not… you can build a hundo to 2499 CP and miss out only on Walrein and Greedent, for what that’s worth. Put simply, Clefable is one of the biggest winners in this rebalance, moving from a previous rank of #145 in Open UL all the way up now to #28, with Tapu Fini being the only Fairy ranked higher!

Togetic FairyFlying
  • More of a footnote is TOGETIC, which now also learns Fairy Wind, and boy did it need that. Previously having to rely on the mostly awful Hidden Power (in which case you usually had to hope to get lucky with Flying type H.P.) or the subpar Extrasensory, it was left looking quite pitiful. But now, at least it could be spice in the right meta, maybe.
Wigglytuff NormalFairy
  • WIGGLYTUFF did not get Fairy Wind, but it is receiving Disarming Voice, a move I’ve been wishing would be more widely distributed for years. A Fairy-type clone of moves like Psyshock, Magnet Bomb, and Foul Play, it’s a more-than-passable move, and quietly the cheapest one that Fairy has available…15 less energy than Play Rough and Moonblast, and better Damage Per Energy {DPE} than the former. Anyway, seeing as Wigglytuff currently relies on Play Rough, Voice likely now slots in as its replacement for a little more shield pressure and new wins like Azumarill and Lickitung. The needle doesn’t move too much, but the improvement is still appreciated!
Primarina WaterFairy
  • PRIMARINA also gets Voice, but it doesn’t really help it… yet. Prima IS a little underrated in Master League, where its Water typing is much more help (resisting Ice, Fire, Water) than hindrance (very little Grass and Electric around to exploit it). But it won’t really take off until it also eventually gets Hydro Cannon… sometime in 2025? At that point, it will appreciate having cheap Disarming Voice alongside Cannon more, I think.

LONG STORY SHORT, Fairy Wind Clefable is one of those rather rare overnight sensations that could see an immediate usage spike in Ultra League and as a nice corebreaker in Great League (the pickup against Noctowl really pushing it over the top). It really appreciates the extra energy to spam charge moves, and has just enough variety between Meteor Mash, Psychic (the move!), and Moonblast to keep the opponent guessing and shielding when they really don’t want to. The other Fairies with new toys (Togetic and Wigglytuff especially) appreciate small bumps in performance, but are unlikely to suddenly appear where they weren’t already.


As with Fairy Wind, there are only two new recipients of Drill Run, but both are very interesting.

Sandslash (Alola) IceSteel

We’ll start with ALOLAN SANDSLASH. It sees some play already in both Great (including the Shadow variant and Ultra Leagues, usually with former Community Day move Shadow Claw to give it a unique profile, and spammy Ice Punch and typically Bulldoze for coverage. Bulldoze has excellent coverage (primarily versus Rocks, Steels, and Fires that give A-Slash a lot of trouble otherwise), but isn’t a very good move (60 energy for only 80 damage). Drill Run is a strict upgrade, dealing the same 80 Ground-type damage for only 45 energy, a big savings.

Looking simply at simulation numbers, Drill Run doesn’t seem to be a great improvement in Great or Ultra, with just occasional new wins popping up like UL Scizor or GL Alolan Marowak in certain shielding scenarios. But this goes beyond the numbers. Those who already use and love A-Slash will greatly appreciate the extra pressure that comes with Drill Run, as it can now be sprung for just 5 more energy than Ice Punch, making each shielding decision that much sweatier for the opponent. Even without STAB, Drill Run still deals quite a bit more damage than Ice Punch versus neutral targets, so this isn’t just for strict coverage either. In every way, this makes Alolan Sandslash better, and better at covering its backside. I think players that don’t already use A-Slash may come to better appreciate and respect it now too, and perhaps not just in Limited metas!

Dewgong WaterIce

Perhaps even more interesting (and, frankly, unexpected) is DEWGONG, the poor Water/Ice type that has NEVER had a move rebalance other than taking its two best moves (Ice Shard and Icy Wind) away. Niantic has finally given it a LOT of love in this update, with Drill Run providing new coverage, and new move Liquidation finally giving it a viable Water move too. (Water Pulse and Aqua Jet are both terrible, folks… so much so that I’ve always recommended Blizzard as Dewgong’s second move. For example, did you know that it tends to lose to Alolan Marowak with super effective Pulse but actually wins with resisted Blizzard?!) Anyway, I do think you want to definitely keep Icy Wind, so then your choice becomes Drill Run to have a shot at things like Froslass, Toxicroak, Lanturn (with Water Gun), and the aforementioned Alolan Marowak, or Liquidation to better outrace Skarmory and Alolan Ninetales? Either way, you get things like Azumarill and Dunsparce now, and still beat things that don’t show in those sims like Swampert and Sableye by remaining fully committed to Icy Wind spam. And while you don’t see a lot of new Rock or Steel or Fire wins popping up, Drill Run especially gives them all serious pause, forcing them to shield where they really never had to worry about it much before. (Because, again, Water Pulse is awful.)

So not really a great case for Liquidation here, but this is at least a way to transition into covering that move more fully next!

LONG STORY SHORT, both Dewgong and Alolan Sandslash immediately get better (and get better coverage) with Drill Run in the mix. I think it will be their preferred secondary/closing move going forward, and both will see a bump in play.


So about that new Water type move Liquidation. It’s a good if not fantastic move, an exact clone of Crunch… same cost (45 energy), damage (70), and potential debuff (30% chance to reduce the opponent’s Defense). Not game breaking, but very, very solid.

But the real question is… do any of the things that receive it really want it, and if so, do any of them notably improve in PvP?

I’m gonna save you some time (and me some characters!) by immediately pushing many of its recipients right off the raft.

Cloyster WaterIce
  • I think CLOYSTER actually prefers to hold on to a big closer like Hydro Pump rather than Liquidation, preferring to soften things up with Icy Wind and then go in for the kill. Pass.
  • Similarly, all of the following prefer to keep existing movesets: SAMUROTT (Hydro Cannon/Megahorn), CARRACOSTA (Body Slam/Surf), BEARTIC (Ice Punch/Aqua Tail), EELEKTROSS (Dragon Claw/Crunch). All remain fringe at best.
Vaporeon Water
  • VAPOREON basically views Liquidation as a sidegrade to existing Scald, though Liquidation is NOT Legacy as Scald is, so it’s worth it for any Vapes that don’t have its old Community Day move. But Vaporeon remains mostly on the outside looking in at better Water types in various Leagues. No real boost here.
Golduck Water
  • GOLDUCK sees a slight bump with Liquidation, but remains just a spice play, at best.
Floatzel Water
  • There is a reason you have never seen FLOATZEL in PvP… it has terrible charge moves. Bad, bad moves like Swift and Aqua Jet, with Hydro Pump as a passable closer but stymied due to average-at-best energy gains from Water Gun or Waterfall. Liquidation is in some ways just what the doctor ordered, but uh… Floatzel still sinks in PvP.
Armaldo RockBug
  • ARMALDO remains a lost cause as well. If you want a GOOD Rocky Bug, use Crustle. If you want a spice one, go with the new Kleavor. If you want to just tank your ELO, THEN maybe consider Armaldo. That’s about it though, even with the new move.

Man, quite a bummer, right? Decent move, but really nothing that gets it stands to benefit in a way that will impact PvP. So moving on then to… wait, what? I missed one? Oh… OH! So I did. And thankfully, we can end this section on a good note… because GOLISOPOD just became a bit more interesting.

Golisopod WaterBug

Remember that when it was first released, it was a completely lost cause, with Fury Cutter, Metal Claw, and Waterfall as its clumsy fast moves, and underwhelming X-Scissor, Aerial Ace, and somehow even worse Aqua Jet as its only charge moves. That left it in a very sad state. Eventually, it acquired Shadow Claw, which made it at least slightly interesting. And now comes the charge move it’s been begging for, with Liquidation elevating it into spice territory, at the very least. Now you can potentially beat things like Charizard, Nidoqueen, Alolan Sandslash, Alolan Ninetales (Powder Snow), Talonflame, Cobalion, and Sylveon that you couldn’t before, though even as bad as Aerial Ace is, giving it up means you generally now lose some Grasses like Venusaur and Virizion. Still though, things are looking up for Golisopod!

LONG STORY SHORT, while Liquidation is actually a nice addition to Water’s arsenal (a clone of Crunch, including the debuff chance), the only thing that gets it initially that really looks to benefit is Golisopod. Stay tuned to what may get it down the road, though… most of its current recipients just have more problems than Liquidation alone can solve.


Probably haven’t seen Bullet Punch in PvP much, have you? Scizor and Metagross use it, and uh… that’s about the extent of it. But it’s actually a pretty good PvP fast move, with the average 3.0 Damage Per Turn (DPT) but above average energy generation (3.5 EPT). And now here comes Leafage, an exact clone of Bullet Punch for the Grass typing. The number of things that get it is quite a bit smaller than Liquidation (only three evolutionary lines), but I think this is a clear case of quality over quantity in Leafage’s favor.

  • I could write an entire article on the injustices done to DECIDUEYE in Pokémon GO. All its interesting moves in MSG, and here it sits with underpowered Shadow Sneak, overpriced Energy Ball, and big but risky closer Brave Bird, and all locked behind low-energy Razor Leaf or arguably worst fast move in the game Astonish. #JusticeForDecidueye! While I do still hope for an eventual and LONG overdue buff to Astonish, for now the addition of Leafage should be a big help, right? Weeeeeeeell….. I mean, yes, it is most certainly better, and will become even a bit moreso when it eventually gets Frenzy Plant. But clearly, it’s problems are not JUST the fast moves. Heck, pre-evolution DARTRIX (who has also been trapped behind Razor Leaf) even looks better than Deci in the here and now, thanks in large part to having Seed Bomb as a more workable second charge move to set up Brave Bird. It does seem that even though ROWLET also gets Leafage, it may still prefer to keep existing Razor Leaf down in Little League, where Razor Leaf can admittedly be particularly dominant.
  • LURANTIS (and Little League pre-evolution FOMANTIS) operates nicely right now as sort of a Jack of all trades with Fury Cutter (and its Bug damage output) powering up Leaf Blade and Superpower (well, Grass Knot in Fomantis’ case). Superpower allows for some nutty wins like Bastiodon, Galarian Stunfisk, and executed properly, even Registeel, clearly showing Lurantis’ appeal. So does Leafage help or disrupt the good Lurantis has already got going? Eh, I think we’re gonna call it a sidegrade, though a tasty one for sure. Lurantis does give up a couple things where the effectiveness of Fury Cutter wins the day (Cresselia, Shadow Victreebel) and loses a little speed, which flips Shadow Alolan Sandslash to a loss. (Lurantis cannot hit a Leaf Blade AND follow on Superpower in time with Leafage like it can with Fury Cutter.) But Leafage is able to carve out new wins like Shadow Alolan Ninetales and Pelipper with superior neutral fast move damage (as opposed to resisted Bug damage), and also can outrace Walrein far more reliably. So not an upgrade, but a nice sidegrade like this can add some disruption into appropriate metas just fine.

Abomasnow GrassIce
  • Speaking of disruption, let’s check out ABOMASNOW. Obviously it runs more as an Ice than a Grass, humming along nicely in multiple metas with Powder Snow and Weather Ball (Ice) and Energy Ball for a big Grass closer when the situation calls for it. And more than likely, it will mostly continue in that configuration moving forward. BUT, Leafage may be preferred in certain metas now, at least, and not just because it now slams the door on Water types (instead of sometimes merely scraping by with Powder Snow). In Great League, where ShadowBama is usually preferred, Powder Snow continues to shine out, but it’s worth noting that while Leafage is an overall downgrade, most of the wins it gives up are versus Flyers (Altaria, Noctowl, Skarmory, Mandibuzz), with new losses to Umbreon and Venusaur as the most notable exceptions. Leafage DOES make some new key contributions like Powder Alolan Ninetales and Galarian Stunfisk that may come more to the fore in Limited metas with, say, fewer Flyers? Just saying. In Ultra League, the biggest knock against Leafage is that it drops the Giratinas (as compared to Powder Snow), but otherwise Leafage makes a pretty strong case with pickups of Poliwrath, Walrein, and Alolan Ninetales (with Powder Snow OR Charm). I think Leafage deserves some real consideration at Ultra League level!

LONG STORY SHORT, no huge improvements to be found with Leafage, but it does earn a rightful place as a robust sidegrade consideration for the Lurantis and Abomasnow lines (particularly with Ultra League Aboma). It’s an upgrade for the Rowlett/Dartrix/Decidueye line, though Deci itself remains middling at best until it one day gets Frenzy Plant (or just some more synergistic charge moves in general!). Leafage SHOULD start popping up here and there in PvP soon, moreso than Liquidation likely will.


Honestly, I expected a number of things to get Mystical Fire after it recently entered the game, but for now, Niantic chose to distribute it to only two new Pokémon:

Drifblim GhostFlying
  • As I mentioned in my analysis on Mystical Fire back during Delphox Community Day, DRIFBLIM is an intriguing choice. Mystical Fire and existing Blim coverage move Icy Wind share the same stats aside from typing, so this is almost the very definition of sidegrade… against neutral targets they do the exact same thing, so it just comes down to effectiveness. If Blim is facing something burnable (like a Steel, Ice, or Bug type), it will prefer to have Mystical Fire. For things weak to Ice, like Flyers and Dragons and Grounds, obviously it will want to be packing Icy Wind instead. (Grasses are weak to both Fire and Ice, so usually no change there, aside from things like Abomasnow with a subtyping that favors one or the other… in that case, Mystical Fire is double super effective and Icy Wind is merely neutral.) I’m not going to bother with the sims, as they’re close to indistinguishable at a high level, but I WILL note that Mystical Fire can potentially beat Galarian Stunfisk at Ultra League level, and more definitely beats G-Fisk AND A-Slash, Skarmory, and even Registeel at Great League level, none of which Icy Wind can realistically hope to replicate. (Its only standouts are things like Gliscor.) Yes, giving up Icy Wind means completely abandoning hope versus things like Ghost-resistant Pidgeot and especially Noctowl, but overall? I think Drifblim might be getting much hotter soon, in several senses of the word! 🔥
Litwick FireGhost
  • Not nearly as exciting, I admit, but note that LITWICK also gets Mystical Fire. It’s really only for Little League use, and has been an interesting but lesser-used Fire type, falling behind things like Vulpix, Growlithe, and Tepig thanks to them having some good neutral coverage, while Litwick has been stuck with just Flame Charge and two other rather Fire charge moves. Mystical Fire slots in as a nearly straight upgrade with pickups that include Wynaut, Vullaby, Obstagoon (for LL Cups where it’s allowed), and… Vulpix, regardless of which fast move ‘Pix is using. Something to look forward to in the next Little League rotation!

LONG STORY SHORT, Mystical Fire IS likely the default coverage move of choice for Drifblim going forward, just because of the number of burnable things (as opposed to freezeable things) in its respective metas, Great League especially. Except to see Blim soar up a little higher than it has in a while. It’s also a nice upgrade for Litwick, who should finally emerge as a true Fire contender in Little League formats.


Going to put everything else together in this last main section, but don’t mistake that to mean they’re less important… quite the contrary! Just doing this because these are all one-offs, as opposed to the changes above which directly affected multiple Pokémon recipients.

Before I dive into the specific move additions, let’s briefly review the existing moves that are being buffed or nerfed in this update.

Walrein IceWater
  • Icicle Spear – 60 power → 65 power. Obviously this only affects WALREIN (for now), and is obviously a strict upgrade, since the cost and all else remains the same, just more damage. Specifically, at a high level, I see Walrein picking up things like Skarmory and Umbreon (non-Shadow) and Trevenant, Pelipper, and Azumarill (Shadow) in Great League, and stuff like Shadow Alolan Ninetales and Virizion in Ultra League. So yeah… you didn’t need me to tell you this was an improvement, but maybe that helps you decide how much of an improvement and whether you want to turn back to Wally if you ever turned away before. I’d say Great League in particular has reason to fear it a bit more again.
Nidoqueen PoisonGround
  • Poison Fang – 40 power → 45 power. More things affected by this than Icicle Spear, but obviously most of you just want to know about NIDOQUEEN, so in the interest of time and… well, interest, we’ll just highlight her for now. Again, you don’t need me to tell you this only makes things with Poison Fang better, but HOW much better? Honestly not too much changes in Great League (as far as straight wins a losses go, though this is undoubtedly scarier now!), but in Ultra League, I see new wins for Queen versus things like Charizard, Pidgeot, Cresselia, Dubwool, Obstagoon, AND Guzzlord, among others, so this is no small tweak! Might Nidoqueen be “back”? Only time will tell. Admittedly, what made it SO scary in the past was the cheaper cost of Poison Fang, and that hasn’t changed, so I don’t see it returning to full dominance like she once enjoyed. I also think she was treated rather harshly even before this buff… she didn’t fall off quite as hard as many made it out to be. This will reveal that more fully… she’s not so much “back” as much as I think she never really left. Also keep in mind things like GOLBAT/CROBAT and SALAZZLE/SALANDIT that stand to benefit from this as well!
  • Rollout – 4 power → 5 power. So low power that I can tell you this won’t be a big shift, but obviously it DOES help. DUNSPARCE picks up a potential win over Shadow Alolan Ninetales (hey, Rollout is super effective, so….), and MILTANK a new win versus Shadow Swampert, of all things, and sometimes (Water Gun) Lanturn when utilizing Ice Beam instead of my personal recommendation of Thunderbolt (which beats Lanturn as well). It tends to prefer Tackle in Ultra League, though newly buffed Rollout is MUCH improved now with new wins versus Cresselia, Drapion, Umbreon, Alolan Muk, AND Walrein. Perhaps Tackle won’t be the default now? As for ALOLAN GOLEMVolt Switch just remains a much better move in nearly every scenario and meta. Stick with that, I say, and get all the Rock damage you need from the charge moves instead. 🪨
  • Mud Bomb – 55 power → 60 power. The two big ones that come to mind are TOXICROAK and WHISCASH, the latter of which honestly needed a boost like this. However, this small a bump looks and feels like more of a “win more” where they already won more than anything. The only notable new win I see (at the high level this massive rebalance is demanding of little old me!) is Toxicroak versus Trevenant, though I think that’s more due to Trevenant’s nerf (which we’ll get to in a moment) than Toxicroak’s resisted Mud Bomb dealing a tiny bit more damage. (And upon further review, it may be neither of those and instead just come down to move timing.. but leaving Trevor in here as it’s a good setup for later.) The big winner here is actually QUAGSIRE, who FINALLY gets a charge move cheaper than 55 energy to reach the same spam potential as its fellow Mud Boys. It’s hard to show how this improves things in simulations, as they actually tend to favor Earthquake in many situations (such as in 1v1 shielding, where Quake shows additional wins against things like Azu, Sable, Swampert, and Umbreon), but the difference is more obvious when you go 2v2 shielding, and the extra spam of Mud Bomb shows out with new wins that include Froslass, Jellicent, Toxicroak, Shadow Alolan Ninetales, and Shadow Walrein. I actually don’t know if this will actually bump up Quagsire’s useage or not, though it’s shot up about 60 slots to #15 in PvPoke’s rankings. Not sure if that will match reality, but I DO think it’s time to see if you have a good PvP Quag to perhaps take out for a spin and see. It certainly has some exciting new potential it’s never had before!
Trevenant GhostGrass Whimsicott GrassFairy
  • Seed Bomb – 55 power → 60 power, Energy Cost Increased. The only thing on this list that’s not a straight upgrade, getting the same damage boost as Mud Bomb but increased cost to go with it… mostly, I feel, as a backdoor way to bring Trevenant down a bit. (And indeed, PvPoke has dropped Trev 25 slots from #10 to #35 in Ultra League, and down nearly 70 slots in Great League from Top 10 to outside the Top 70!) I certainly don’t think Trevor will be going away — it still breaks several cores across multiple Leagues — but this is undoubtedly a hit. In Great League, it looks like it’s now at a disadvantage against things it used to be able to beat like Walrein, Talonflame, Alolan Marowak, Sableye, and even Toxicroak. The hit is a bit less severe in Ultra League (where it can hang in longer to somewhat compensate for the increased energy needed), but it does still lose former wins like Jellicent and the re-buffed Nidoqueen. Most of the rest of the collateral damage will be felt in Little League, where several notable things have Seed Bomb (like Bulbasaur, Exeggcute, Oddish, etc.). Note much of note in bigger Leagues, though it IS noteworthy that WHIMSICOTT is getting Seed Bomb for the first time. And yes, I think it DOES become the favorite in most circumstances over existing Grass Knot, despite the latter being a “better” move (50 energy for 90 damage) and using that to get a couple unique wins still like Diggersby and Lickitung, because Seed Bomb brings new bait potential to set up big Moonblast wins over Cresselia, Pelipper, Toxicroak, Vigoroth, and Trevenant. Not sure Whimsie is suddenly going to bust out in Open Great League or anything, but I think it’s very safe to say it just became a bit scarier and more versatile in Limited metas for sure.

And there are all the actual move “rebalances”. Now to wrap it up real quick with a final list of existing moves now assigned to new Pokémon!

Probopass RockSteel
  • PROBOPASS is in some ways similar to Defense Deoxys, in that it has long had three charge moves that seemed almost interchangeable in overall performance. Rock Slide is pretty standard for Probo, and most folks also run it with Thunderbolt, but it’s so lackluster than even Magnet Bomb has always hung around as a viable alternative. Well that changes now, as its bulk allows it to make good use of new addition Zap Cannon. I think it and Rock Slide are the new standard, along with Spark to power them out, and that combo brings in new wins over Sableye and Umbreon, along with wider margins of victory over things it just scraped past before like Cresselia and Bastiodon. Probo used to escape them both with less than 10 HP, but now waddles away with quite a bit more than that. Not sure if this will send it up the charts (Bastiodon itself is still usually preferred), but it IS a more intriguing alternative now.
Heatran FireSteel Cradily RockGrass
  • A MUCH more interesting Rock type is CRADILY, now getting some more speed with Rock Slide as a new alternative to Stone Edge. In my first blush analysis on the day of these many announced changes, I speculated that Cradily may want both Rock charge moves going forward, as it still beat things like Lanturn and even Swampert without needing Grass Knot. But in hindsight… nah, I think you want to instead just swap out Edge for Slide and be done with it. Keeping this short and sweet, here are some of my findings when comparing these side by side (by side): Grass Knot is absolutely needed to beat Diggersby, and is obviously the surest way to beat Waters and Ground (and/or Rock) types in general (including having ANY shot at beating up things like Galarian Stunfisk and Bastiodon). The raw power of Stone Edge is still the best way to punch out things like Alolan Ninetales, Lickitung, and Shadow Victreebel. But the speed of Rock Slide (10 less energy than Edge) adds the potential to now handle stuff like Cresselia, Alolan Marowak, Sableye, Venusaur, and most notably, Noctowl. That’s right… Cradily now becomes a handy way to handle Lanturn AND Noctowl, among many others, and can also beat popular Sableye as well. Corebreaker potential on the rise. Dilly dilly!
Ursaluna GroundNormal
  • Look, URSALUNA continues to disappoint and likely always will until it gets a better fast move than Tackle. I know it, you know it, basically everyone but Niantic (and maybe TPCi) knows it. But as I wrote when Luna was first releasedIce Punch at least gives it the most bite of the three main elemental Punches, and until now it was the only one Ursaluna could not learn. Now it can! That gives it a bit more reach in Master League (the one League where it currently has any real play at all) with all the Dragons already. Specifically, Ice Punch allows it to now consistently beat Garchomp and Landorus, so that’s nice. But come on, Niantic. Give the people what they want!

Tyranitar RockDark
  • Let’s be honest: the addition of Brutal Swing to the arsenal of TYRANITAR is more a cause of celebration for raiding than it is for PvP. (New top Dark type in PvE, I hear!) But yes, it DOES help in PvP too. Tyranitar has the size to work in Master League, but even with Brutal Swing, it’s still an awkward fit. The one place I have seen it pop up here and there is actually in Great League, albeit in Limited metas only. While those opportunities are relatively rare, I am happy to report that Brutal Swing is a noted improvement over former best Crunch, adding on wins you would expect of a Dark type (Sableye, Cofagrigus, Jellicent) and a few you might not expect (Drapion, Toxapex, and finally it can beat Altaria!). Still more niche than meta, but at least it’s an improving niche!
Emolga ElectricFlying
  • And finally, we come to humble little EMOLGA, and the first non-Community Day recipient of Acrobatics. Long-time (or even some short-time!) readers have surely seen me write many times about Aerial Ace. It’s a passable move — barely — dealing 55 damage for 45 energy. Boooooring, but it usually works JUST enough to not be total trash. It’s a move I would LOVE to see buffed a little at some point, but it’s also a move currently assigned to massive number of Pokémon, and unlikely to change unless Niantic wants to REALLY shake up PvP. And like way too many Pokémon, poor Emolga has long been stuck with dull old Ace as its only Flying move, leaving what should be an exciting option languishing in obscurity. But now, finally, this mighty mouse may be about to soar! Just look at the HUGE names it can now beat: Medicham. Lickitung. Sableye. Shadow Swampert. Trevenant. Shadow Alolan Ninetales. And Cresselia and even Froslass for good measure. Those are some really big names, folks. Did Emolga just go from being afterthought behind Zapdos to passing it completely? I think it may have! If, like me, you’ve been holding on to a good one and just biding your time… well, that time is now, my friend! ⚡

Speaking of time, though… it’s up! The new season is here! So we’re gonna wrap it up right here for now. I hope this was as helpful a read as it was LONG. 🙃

Until next time, you can find me on Twitter or Patreon. Or please feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends. Best of luck this season, and catch you next time!

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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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