A PvP Analysis on the World Of Wonders Move Rebalance (Part 1)

For the first season in a while, I’m actually ready with an analysis on the “World Of Wonders” Move Rebalance ahead of time!

…well, most of it. Today we’ll be looking at basically everything except the new fast moves, as I’m not convinced that Niantic is done fiddling with them (because NONE of them are really much good as initially programmed).

And uh… yeah. No clever intro beyond that. I used up all my mind power on all the words written below! 😵‍💫 So let’s gooooooo!


Feraligatr Water

There have been some mighty Zero To Hero stories in Pokémon GO PvP over the years. Walrein. Poliwrath. Dubwool. Talonflame. Gligar and Gliscor. And of course, Cofagrigus and Runerigus when they each got Shadow Claw. And now Shadow Claw is propelling another obscure, overlooked Pokémon from the depths of PvP obscurity (ranked outside the Top 400 prior to this season) to suddenly a Top 10 option in Great League and Top 5 in Ultra, and with even a shot at being spicy in Master League. And that Pokémon is the one everyone is suddenly buzzing about: the completely forgotten Water starter FERALIGATR.

To this point, ol’ Gatr has been locked behind mediocre fast moves. Very early in PvP’s lifepsan, Feraligatr made a splash running Ice Fang in the Dragon-heavy Ultra League, but that was short-lived and it’s just kind of sad in today’s meta, including Great League where it’s long been the lowest ranked, least used Hydro Cannon user since forever. (Even little-seen Blastoise blows it away, having at least good tankiness going for it.)

But now… well, that ALL changes.

I could write an entire article about the improvement this bring to Feraligatr, but to keep this brief, let me just list the wins that Feraligator gains by going from its former best with the decently high power but subpar energy generating Waterfall to its new Shadow Claw:

League/Scenario New Wins New Losses
GL, 0v0 Shield Altaria, Goodra, Jellicent, Whiscash Shadow CharmTales, Shadow Swampert
GL, 1v1 Shield Altaria, Annihilape, Azumarill, Cresselia, DDeoxys, Dewgong, Froslass, Shadow Gligar, Goodra, Jellicent, Shadow CharmTales, Shadow A-Sandslash, Shadow Swampert, Trevenant, Venusaur Skarmory
GL, 2v2 Shield Altaria, Annihilape, DDeoxys, Dewgong, Jellicent, Lanturn (Water Gun), Mantine, Medicham, PowderTales, Registeel, Sableye, Shadow A-Sandslash, Swampert, Trevenant, Shadow Whiscash Galarian Stunfisk
UL, 0v0 Shield Annihilape, Shadow Dragonite, Altered Giratina, Gyarados, Pidgeot, A-Sandslash, Swampert, Tapu Fini, Trevenant, Walrein Mandibuzz
UL, 1v1 Shield Annihilape, DDeoxys, Altered Giratina, Golisopod, Greninja, Gyarados, Jellicent, Trevenant Alolan Muk, Umbreon
UL, 2v2 Shield Annihilape, Cresselia, Altered Giratina, Granbull, Gyarados, Jellicent, Swampert, Shadow Swampert, Tapu Fini, Toxicroak, Trevenant, Venusaur, Walrein none

So to recap, that’s an average of about a dozen new wins matched against, at most, only two new losses, and generally only one (or less!) loss to speak of. That is quite remarkable… you just don’t see this kind of drastic improvement very often. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen it over the last half a decade, and it just goes to show the awesome power that can be unlocked with obscure PvP options when given a good fast move.

And that’s not even the end of it! Because Shadow Feraligatr is even more threatening, at least in Great League. Here now is another table showing the different between Shadow Claw Feraligatr’s normal and Shadow versions!

League/Scenario Shadow Unique Wins Non-Shadow Unique Wins
GL, 0v0 Shield Annihilape, Azumarill, Bastiodon, Carbink, Cresselia, Shadow CharmTales, Shadow Swampert Jellicent, PowderTales, Swampert, Umbreon, Vigoroth, Whiscash
GL, 1v1 Shield Lanturn (Water Gun), Mantine, Medicham, PowderTales, Pelipper, Registeel, Sableye, Swampert, Umbreon, Shadow Whiscash Azumarill, Clodsire, Cresselia, Jellicent
GL, 2v2 Shield Annihilape, Azumarill, Pelipper, Galarian Stunfisk, Umbreon, Whiscash Altaria, Carbink, Cresselia, Dewgong, Mantine
UL, 0v0 Shield Cobalion, Golisopod, Greninja, Guzzlord, Mandibuzz, Alolan Muk, Umbreon Annihilape, Shadow Dragonite, Greedent, Pidgeot, Shadow Swampert, Tapu Fini, Toxicroak, Walrein
UL, 1v1 Shield Cresselia, Shadow Dragonite, Obstagoon, Tapu Fini, Toxicroak, Venusaur, Walrein Golisopod, Greninja, Mandibuzz, Trevenant
UL, 2v2 Shield Ampharos, Golisopod Charizard, Granbull, Jellicent

Less impressive in Ultra League, where Shadow seems like more of a situational sidegrade, but check out the Great League results! Shadow has a higher win percentage in every even shield scenario there, particularly in 1v1 shielding (the most common shielding scenario). Feraligatr is NOT a particularly bulky Pokémon, though it does sit in the middle of the pack among Water starters in terms of bulk and overall stat product (trailing Blastoise and Swampert, but ahead of Greninja, Samurott, and even Empoleon).

But whichever type of Feraligatr you want to use, I think it’s quite clear that you DO want to have at least one good one on hand now. Unfortunately it’s been quite some time since we could get one with Hydro Cannon… I think the last time was Johto Tour over two years ago now, and we had had Shadow Feraligatr available for only one month prior to that. That means that many players will likely have to burn Elite Charge TMs, because even with Shadow Claw, it just doesn’t work without Cannon. But for those of you who have hoarded Gatrs just waiting for their shining moment in the sun… cheers, your day has arrived! Go forth and enjoy your amazing new toys.

It’s hard to project whether Feraligatr will… well, claw its way into Open play, but the potential is certainly there with pressure versus many of the top names in Great and even Ultra Leagues. We’ll have to see if it emerges there, but at the very least, it should find itself as a Limited meta superstar when eligible from now until… well, possibly a long time from now. There’s nothing else quite like it and likely never will be, at least among Hydro Cannon users.

Heck, there’s even a little intrigue in Master League, where Ice Beam is a particularly potent weapon in the right hands claws. Gatr whoops Solgaleo and a variety of Dragon, Fairy, and/or Ground types, and it has at least a puncher’s chance against Zygarde Complete too. (It beats both with shields down and comes darn close to Zygarde otherwise.) For those who don’t know, finding something that can threaten the core of Solgaleo and Zygarde is exceedingly rare. Not saying Gatr is suddenly ML meta material, but it’s not entirely crazy to consider giving it a whirl. It’s quite excellent in Master League Premier which is finally returning later this season too!

So yeah, if you do nothing else when this analysis article is complete… dust off your old Feraligatrs, or try and get yourself some. This might just be the single greatest Zero To Hero story we’ve had in PvP yet. Enjoy, folks!


Gallade FightingPsychic

GALLADE has already been disruptive in PvP before, with cheap charge moves Close Combat and especially Leaf Blade pairing with the high damage/high pressure Confusion for a deadly, oppressive combination. And that has worked out decently well whenever Gallade needed to be called upon, and it’s had some real success in Ultra League formats.

Now comes a different flavor of Gallade, one that drops the fast move pressure and shifts it all to the charge moves with Psycho Cut. It’s hard to project if that alone will lead to it showing up more often, but the potential is certainly there, with a better chance of outracing things like Galarian Stunfisk, Carbink, Swampert, Whiscash, Azumarill, Umbreon, Lickitung, Vigoroth, and even Shadow Claw Alolan Sandslash across variosu shielding scenarios. There ARE downsides, such as losing sometimes now to Annihilape, Clodsire, Froslass, Skarmory, Lanturn and others, so this is not by any means a straight upgrade. That includes Ultra League, where Psycho Cut can now beat stuff like Greninja, Steelix, A-Slash, Tapu Fini, DDeoxys, Umbreon, and even Registeel, but there are still things it gives up like Venusaur, Tentacruel, and Shadow Dragonite. The improvement is more apparent with Shadow Gallade, particularly in 0shield and 2shield situations, where it gives up only Guzzlord in 0S and Gyarados in 2S to gain things like Registeel and A-Slash, Swampert, Walrein (2S) or Steelix, Greninja, and Umbreon (0S).

Overall, this even spammier new variant of Gallade is certain to have an impact on PvP in the future. The question of how much remains to be seen. I do suspect it will rise up a bit in Ultra again, where the pros better outweigh the cons.


Empoleon WaterSteel

Another Pokémon that has had only certain Limited play in Great League but at least past success in Ultra League is EMPOLEON. The charge moves (Hydro Cannon and Drill Peck) have long been great, but its pressuring but low energy generating fast move Waterfall has held it back a bit, particularly in dealing with Dragons in Ultra League. That all changes with buffed-last-season Steel Wing. There is literally no typing in the game that resists Steel, Water, AND Flying damage (and the only type that resists Steel Wing and Hydro Cannon is opposing Waters), giving Steel Wing Empoleon excellent coverage, and a much better shot at those pesky Dragons in particular (picking up wins like Shadow Dragonite, Guzzlord, and Altered Giratina in Ultra League), as well as now beating stuff like Walrein, Gliscor, Venusaur, Greedent, Mandibuzz, Tentacruel, Virizion, and Gyarados in Ultra League (and giving up only Steelix to do it), and a laundry list of new wins (Altaria, Azumarill, Dewgong, Gligar, Mandibuzz, Mantine, Sableye, Shadow Swampert, AND Venusur) in Great League. Even better as a Shadow, with Altaria, Clodsire, Cresselia, Dewgong, Froslass, Gligar, Pelipper, Sableye, Galarian Stunfisk, Swampert, and Venusaur moving into the win column, and only Lickitung sliding out.


Long-derided move Brick Break is finally getting some love. Its cost is being brought up a smidge (likely from 35 energy to only 40), but the big improvement that counterbalances that is gaining a guaranteed nerf to the opponent’s Defense.

Raichu Electric

So naturally, the first Pokémon I want to look at after this change is not even a Fighting type: RAICHU? But… why, JRE? In part, because I love the little guy and have been running it with Brick Break already off and on literally for years. I used to do it because nobody expected Brick Break and I could get crazy wins like Bastiodon that way, and partly because it came a hair quicker (only 35 energy!) than other bait moves and beautifully set up epic Wild Charges.

But even with the increase in energy cost (presumably to 40) and therefore less pure bait potential, I really like this change, and really like it on Raichu in particular. There’s new win potential versus stuff like Water Gun Lanturn (you already could beat Spark Lanturn), Lickitung, Carbink, Charjabug, DDeoxys, Cresselia, and even Medicham, giving up only Vigoroth along the way. That includes multiple shielding scenarios too, like 2v2 shielding where new wins include Lickitung, Charjabug, Venusaur, Trevenant, Shadow Gligar, and Bastiodon, and the new losses (due to the increased cost) are limited to just one: Shadow Alolan Sandslash. And with shields down, there’s only one notable new win, but it’s a big one: Registeel. Just look over its total wins, not just the numbers but also the impactful names, and tell me you managed to NOT raise an eyebrow. This has the looks of a legit good Pokémon in Great League, folks, and not just in Limited metas. Might it be time to take Original Recipe Raichu out for a test drive this season?

And why limit ourselves to Great League? While it’s true that a Kanto Raichu doesn’t quite reach 2500 CP even at Level 50, pushing one to that point suddenly doesn’t look so crazy. KayChu does drop Obstagoon and Toxicroak now due to the increased cost of Brick Break, but look at all the potential new wins: Annihilape, Skeledirge, Umbreon, Alolan Muk, Alolan Ninetales, Ampharos, and DDeoxys.

Vigoroth Normal

But of course, the ‘mons most people are going to consider are actual Fighters… or at least quasi-Fighters, like VIGOROTH. However, while Viggy with Brick Break (working best alongside Body Slamis improved (most notably with a win now versus non-BB Vigoroth), Rock Slide remains better. Perhaps Brick Break will emerge as a more favored option in Limited metas full of other Normal types to pick on?

Hakamo-o DragonFighting

As for true Fighters, the one to highlight has to be HAKAMO-O, which basically now beats everything it could before (since it still has Dragon Claw to spam at 35 energy), PLUS stuff like Serperior, Mandibuzz, Lickitung, and Registeel! KOMMO-O also now learns Brick Break, but I think it will remain better off running Close Combat for closing power (and again, Dragon Claw for spam/baiting).

One more I’m a little reluctant to mention since SO many players don’t even have one yet: GOGOAT. Back when I first reviewed it, it was due to be released with Rock Slide… but that was taken away JUST before it hit the game, and alas, Brick Break was left as its only coverage move. So having it as an overall better move now certainly helps, giving it a win now over Registeel and getting it closer to what it could have been with Rock Slide. So if you have one, congrats.

The TL;DR on the Brick Break changes is this: despite the cost increase, it is significantly better now. Not strictly better, as the increased cost does make it a slightly worse bait move and that leads to a loss here or there, but overall I would argue it’s a better bait move now since it comes with that Defense drop. Especially with things that have high damage fast moves (Raichu with Volt Switch, Hakamo-O with Dragon Tail, etc.), it’s a very welcome addition to their kit.


Primeape Fighting

I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Cross Chop. It was never a great move, but I loved its spamminess and animation. Well now it DOES become a pretty great move, going from 35 energy/50 damage to 35 energy/55 damage, essentially now becoming Weather Ball (Fighting) in terms of stats. The trick is that there’s just not a lot of things that even have it in their movepool. PRIMEAPE does (albeit as a Legacy move… I have a couple I happily traded for long ago), and once upon a time it would have been quite happy about it, but these days I think it still prefers to run Close Combat for closing power and either Night Slash or Ice Punch for coverage. (Though admittedly, there may be some potential with Cross Chop/Ice Punch in the right meta.)

Obstagoon DarkNormal

While I could talk about some spice picks like BARBARACLE and GOLDUCK, there’s really just two Pokémon to really focus on with this update. The first is OBSTAGOON, who I have long advocated for running Hyper Beam or sometimes Gunk Shot instead, which are underrated on Goonie. But the majority of folks prefer Cross Chop, and it’s hard to argue with that. Such a relatively small damage boost isn’t going to show huge differences overall, but Obstagoon DOES pick up Mandibuzz now, so there’s that. Every little bit helps!

Machamp Fighting

The real impact, however, comes with something that very clearly wants to be running Cross Chop: MACHAMP. Again, the overall improvement is small, but it IS there. In Great League, Shadow Champ gains Serperior. And in Ultra League, there are two pickups: Virizion and Mandibuzz, both of which Shadow Machamp can now beat with straight Cross Chop, but fell JUST short in the past (both opponents used to escape with 4 HP, but no longer!). I think the days of Master League Machamp are mostly behind us, but even there the buff is, of course, welcome. One specific pickup I see is Waterfall Primarina… in Master League Premier, that is.

Overall, this isn’t a super impactful change, and is frankly unlikely to suddenly catapult Machamp back into former PvP greatness. But where you find yourself using something that has Cross Chop anyway, the boost is certainly appreciated!

More impactful, I think, is another move that got the exact same treatment….


Just like Cross Chop, Aqua Tail is getting the Weather Ball treatment by going from 35e/50d to 35e/55d. (Which is a little weirder than Fighting, since there’s already a Water-type Weather Ball that does that, but oh well.) And yes, this is a similar small boost for things that already have it, but there is also a NEW recipient of this move now: GOODRA.

Goodra Dragon

Goodra has always had some potential in PvP, with better bulk than Dragonite and many other Dragons, and a higher overall stat product despite trailing them by several hundred CP when maxed out. (Thinking primarily of Master League there, but Goodra outbulks many popular Dragons in lower Leagues too like Zweilous, Kommo-O, Arctibax, and Dragonair.) And it comes with Dragon Breath and either unqiue coverage with Power Whip or straight closing power with Draco Meteor. So why has it hardly ever shown up in PvP? Because it lacks a good spammy move like Dragon Claw and has been stuck instead with Muddy Water, a lousy move that wants to be something like the new and improved Brick Break but just flops. Like BB, it deals the same damage as its energy cost (35, in this case), but the bigger issue is that its debuffing effect is not even close to guaranteed, having a mere 30% chance to lower the opponent’s Attack. That means that the majority of the time, it will deal pathetic damage and that’s the end of it. Yuck.

Thankfully, Goodra now gains Aqua Tail, which costs the same cheap 35 energy but deals significantly more damage, enough to truly threaten things. It’s an improvement in every shielding scenario across all Leagues. Paired with Power Whip, you gain things like Galarian Stunfisk, Umbreon, Registeel, and Annihilape in Great League, Greedent and Umbreon in Ultra League, and Zacian, Yveltal, Snorlax, and fellow Aqua Tail user Palkia in Master League.

And while Power Whip IS usually the way I’d recommend going with Goodra, making it a truly one-of-a-kind Dragon in terms of coverage and flexibility, if you want to go for pure power with Draco Meteor, the gains are definitely there to be had too. Starting now with Master League and working our way down, you pick up Altered Giratina, Zarude, and Zygarde Complete. In Ultra League, giving up Power Whip does mean losses to Feraligatr and, interestingly, Umbreon, but look at the gains: DDeoxys, Virizion, Obstagoon, Mandibuzz, Greedent, and Tentacruel. Even in Great League, Draco Meteor can bring in new wins like Lickitung, Cresselia, Clodsire, and Mandibuzz while suffering NO notable new losses (in 1v1 shielding, anyway… it IS more of a sidegrade in other even shield scenarios).

Either way you go, Goodra is much improved with the addition of Aqua Tail, and I look forward to seeing it finally try and wade its way into the crowded field of good PvP Dragons. I expect it to find some legit success now!

But Goodra is certainly not the only Dragon with Aqua Tail. We’ve got two other major ones to talk about, on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Dragonair Dragon
  • DRAGONAIR was already a bit underrated in Great League, showing up in a number of Limited metas but always a bit more suppressed in Open play than I think it deserves. The buff to Aqua Tail is kind of interesting, in that ‘Nair typically runs TWO 35-energy spam moves, with Body Slam being the other. Slam still deals more damage even after Tail’s buff and remains the preferred move to fire off when both are neutral… but the reason Aqua Tail works so well on Dragonair is that there are plenty of times when it deals super effective damage and Body Slam does not (or occasions where Body Slam is resisted and Aqua Tail is not), making Tail a better move in those circumstances. In short, Aqua Tail provides very important coverage for Dragonair. So even though it doesn’t surpass Body Slam, it DOES still pick up new wins like Annihilape in 1v1 shielding and Clodsire with shields down, which is nice to see, and just makes Dragonair a bit more threatening in general. Maybe now more players will give it the attention it deserves! (This all obviously holds true for Shadow Dragonair as well, which is absolutely terrifying when you have shields to throw up, I just didn’t see any notable new wins, that’s all.)
Palkia (Origin) WaterDragon
  • On the other end of the PvP scale, we have PALKIA in Master League, and specifically the new Origin Forme for… well, obvious reasons. As you might expect, a mere 5 damage boost doesn’t make a big difference in Master League, but I did find ONE notable pickup: Solgaleo in the 0v0 shield matchup. I’m sure people that just maxed out their Origin Palkias and are itching to roll them out in Master League smiled at that.
Dragalge PoisonDragon

  • Another Dragon that probably doesn’t come immediately to mind is DRAGALGE, and it actually looks like it picks up TWO notable wins in Great League with the Aqua Tail buff: a suddenly convincing win over Annihilape, and a much closer win over Sableye. Similarly, we have two gains in Ultra League: Annihilape again, and now Skeledirge, which Aqua Tail can now finish off fast enough to limit Skele to two charge moves instead of the three is used to be able to eke out.
Drapion PoisonDark
  • Fellow Poison DRAPION has a variety of viable movesets, but most involve Aqua Tail, so I’m happy to report that it has small gains like Alolan Muk in Ultra League and both Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales and Carbink in Great League. At least in certain configurations, and as a Shadow. In ALL configurations involving Tail, it’s better! I can say that much confidently hee hee.
Quagsire WaterGround
  • All these non-Waters out here spamming out Aqua Tail, but there is ONE Water type definitely worth highlighting: QUAGSIRE. Back during its Community Day, I wrote that I leaned Aqua Tail moving forward, higher than even Mud Bomb. In fairness, both are just fine, before and after this buff. But for those who, like I, lean towards Aqua Tail, Lord Quag may stand to benefit more than most. Regular Quagsire picks up only a single new notable win that I can find (DDeoxys), but Shadow Quag now outmuscles THREE new Pokémon: Sableye, Annihilape, and Shadow Whiscash, all HUGE names in the current meta. Mud Bomb will be sticking around (it can beat things like Azumarill, Jellicent, and Water Gun Lanturn instead), but Aqua Tail Quag gets a very nice bump now and emerges as a no-doubter sidegrade moving forward.
Gyarados WaterFlying
  • Last shout-out I want to put out there is GYARADOS. I didn’t see any big movement with this update (though Excadrill becomes a more reliable win, and Ursaluna in 2shield, and those are not nothing), but obviously it’s better now. I don’t think it will be moving up much from where it sits in Ultra League (or Master League, for those who still rely on it), but those who DO use it will surely be happy about this. Congrats!


I’ve been doing this now for over 5 years and more than 525 articles. And not in a single one do I think I have ever before recommended Water Pulse. In fact, I have spent many of those articles mocking it, encouraging even pre-Drill Run Dewgong players run Blizzard, not Water Pulse, as a superior move despite the seemingly obvious coverage that theoretically comes with a Water move. (As one famous example, Dewgong beats Alolan Marowak, an Ice-resistant Fire type, but usually managed to lose if it tried to use super effective Water Pulse.)

But finally, the ridicule of Water Pulse should end. Because even with just a drop in cost of 5 energy, the fact that it’s also getting a boost of 10 power makes it at least respectable. We can work with this as a legit coverage move now!

So what wants it?

Dewgong WaterIce
  • Since I already mentioned it, let’s start with DEWGONG. Yes, it has Drill Run these days, which is awfully nice coverage in and of itself. But as good as that coverage is, there is one notable hole in what Drill Run can do: Talonflame. Dewgong beats Talon in 0shield and 1shield with Water Pulse, and doesn’t with Icy Wind/Drill Run. Water Pulse also outraces Cresselia in 2v2 shielding, though it gives up Shadow Alolan Sandslash as a trade-off. At least Water Pulse can be labelled a worthy sidegrade, which is a far nicer thing than I think I have EVER said about it before.
Walrein IceWater
  • The sidegrade is similar with WALREIN, looking a bit like a viable sidegrade now, again pretty consistently adding on Talonflame (and a couple bonuses like CharmTales and Froslass with shields down), though always with tradeoffs… Shadow A-Slash and G-Fisk with shields down, and Azumarill, WG Lanturn, and the improved Feraligar in 1shield. And it’s actually quite a bit worse in 2v2 shielding, and generally worse off in Ultra League as well. Earthquake just works SO well on Wally.
Araquanid WaterBug

  • ARAQUANID has always run to this point with Bug Buzz as a closer and Bubble Beam as its only source of Water damage. In theory, the buff to Water Pulse SHOULD be very exciting for it… but I actually think it may want to stand pat. It loses quite a bit by trying to replace Bug Buzz as the closer or as one of two closers. (And no, swapping to Infestation for higher energy gains doesn’t help.) I could see someone making it work, but generally I think this changes little for ‘Nid, sadly. Maybe on Little League Dewpider though?
Whiscash WaterGround Clodsire PoisonGround Gastrodon WaterGround
  • Similarly, WHISCASH still prefers Scald, I think CLODSIRE still prefers other moves (though this does somewhat make up for them punting Surf just before it was released… a little), and even GASTRODON probably wants to stick with Earth Power despite the temptation of coverage with Pulse. Their existing moves just all still work better, though certain Limited metas could certainly elevate Water Pulse up the chain, so it IS still something to keep an eye on.

Now the last two that most folks are talking about:

Sealeo IceWater
  • SEALEO is another one that has long been trapped behind a bad Water Pulse (and an almost-as-bad Aurora Beam) as its “closing” move. The situation was so bad that I have long recommended running purified Sealeo with Return as a closer, but that’s awkward as its other charge move is Body Slam, giving it then two Normal-type charge moves. And this is especially good news for Shadow Sealeo that never had the choice of Return. New and improved Water Pulse becomes the favored charge move now, gaining Froslass and Umbreon in 1shield, and G-Fisk, Swampert, and Sableye in 2v2 shielding. Not huge movement (Sealeo will be staying merely a Limited star for now), but it very much appreciates finally having a true second charge move.
Mantine WaterFlying
  • More than anything else with Water Pulse, I’ve seen folks talking about MANTINE. And there IS good news, as Water Pulse allows Mantine to now beat Galarian Stunfisk in 1shield and with shields down. But I have to say: I’m not sure that’s enough. Ice Beam is just better still IMO, with wins Water Pulse cannot get like Altaria, Cresselia, Mandibuzz, and Goodra. I get why people are excited about more options for Mantine, but I think it’s probably fine the way it already is.

One final note on this one: we do NOT know for sure the new cost. PvPoke and I have assumed it will be 55, but if it drops down to 50 or below, obviously that will be MUCH more interesting and I will look at it again when I review the new fast moves.


Tapu Koko ElectricFairy

I am ALSO going to save a deep dive on the new Nature’s Madness and all the Tapus that will be getting it for a future analysis. But in brief for now, as TAPU KOKO is getting it first, here’s good news: it may stand to benefit the most! Tapu Lele and Tapu Fini both have Moonblast, but Koko and Bulu are stuck with Dazzling Gleam, a far worse Fairy move. So we now go from this all the way to this! That’s new wins versus Kyogre, Zacian, Togekiss, Sylveon, Metagross, and even double-resistant-to-Electric Garchomp. BIG improvement, though honestly I don’t know that we’re going to suddenly start seeing Koko showing up in Master League (nor should we, I don’t think). But this is a good sign for Tapus to come! More on them in a later analysis.


Marowak (Alola) FireGhost
  • The buff to Shadow Bone is appreciated, as ALOLAN MAROWAK can use all the help it can get as other Fires long ago surpassed it. But in the end, the 5 extra damage doesn’t matter all that often. It can now overcome a few Waters (Mantine with shields down), Pelipper as a Shadow in 1v1 shielding, Poliwrath as a Shadow in 2v2 shielding), as well as encouragingly gaining Galarian Stunfisk in the 1v1 shielding scenario as well (specifically for Shadow A-Wak). But honestly, Skeledirge and other Fires will probably continue to reign supreme, for the most part. But again, the thought is appreciated!
  • Several things now learn Brick Break for the first time (Throh, Sawk, Krookodile, Crabrawler and Crabominable), but none are really any more PvP viable. Next!
  • There are, of course, three brand new fast moves, but I don’t think the stats are finalized on them They are all VERY lacklustre, to the point that I am almost positive at least one of them is all jacked up. Once the season begins I will look at them in a small Part II rebalance analysis, but for now, once again… next!
  • I am very happy to see a slew of currently unobtainable Legacy moves coming back. These include Bullet Seed LILEEPMud Shot GRAVELER and GOLEMEarthquake GASTRODONPsybeam STARMIE, and Draining Kiss KIRLIA. As I said, none are particularly good, but I certainly welcome this trend. More of this please, Niantic!


Here’s what I see as the biggest gainers in this update:

  • Feraligatr is now full-on meta in both Great and Ultra Leagues. Amazing the difference a good fast move can make, no?
  • Steel Wing makes Empoleon a well-rounded Swiss army knife type, with basically nothing able to resist all its damage anymore. I expect to see it reemerge in at least Ultra League again.
  • I’m not as hyped about Psycho Cut on Gallade as some other people are, but it is, at worst, a very viable new sidegrade option, again probably best in Ultra League (with Shadow Gallade).
  • The buff to Brick Break is of the most benefit to Hakamo-O and… Raichu? Yes, really!
  • The small damage boost to Cross Chop helps Obstagoon and especially Machamp, and the buff to Aqua Tail helps more things, with Dragonair, Dragalge, Drapion, and especially Quagsire. But the biggest winner is new recipient Goodra, who jumps into the upper echelons of Dragons!
  • Water Pulse is finally a viable move, and offers a valid coverage option to things that have it like Dewgong and Walrein. Sealeo immediately becomes more interesting too! However, I think others like Mantine, Araquanid, Whiscash, and even Clodsire are better off sticking with their tried and true.
  • Nature’s Madness is a very nice addition to the Tapus… but I’ll cover it more thoroughly at a later date. Koko (the first we’re getting this season) is much better with it, but still probably on the outside looking in on Master League.
  • The rest either don’t really matter much at this point (to include Alolan Marowak’s buffed Shadow Bone) or I’m saving until we for-sure know final stats (the three new fast moves).

And for today, that’s it! The new update is about to hit, along with the full story on the various new fast moves, so we will get to those soon. But hopefully this gives you something to get started in this season. Best of luck!

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 as we kick off this season, and catch you next time!

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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