A PvP Analysis on Vikavolt, Charjabug, and the Bug Out Event

It’s time to BUG OUT!

That’s right… we finally have some details on next week’s event, and while there’s very little truly new to cover, let’s see what new bugs we do have to play with in PvP, and then help remind you what other bugs to look out for most for PvP play.


If you’re not from certain parts of the world, you may not be familiar with “junebugs”, one of several terms for the common lightning bug (aka fireflies, glowworms, or lampyridae if you want to get scientific and all). The particular name comes from the month of June, when they typically start appearing en masse to delight children (and adults that are unashamed to admit it) during summer nights. By August they’re usually all but gone from the night skies, but as is Niantic’s way, they’re late to the party (ba-dum-dumtisssss 🥁) and here we go with Pokemon GO’s fireflies arriving in August.

Vikavolt BugElectric

VIKAVOLT is just not good in PvP. It gets plenty big for Master League (over 3500 CP), but is just too Attack-heavy (and bulk-light) to do much, not to mention it lacks any true closing moves, with its highest-damage charge move being 65-damage Discharge (plus STAB) and 70-damage (without STAB) Crunch. Combine that with light-hitting fast moves, and it’s just a mess that really doesn’t get any better in lower leagues either. Bad bulk, so-so moves, bad PvP Pokemon.

Charjabug BugElectric

Ironically, its pre-evolution CHARJABUG is significantly better in PvP. Unfortunately it only gets big enough for Great League (topping out below 2000 CP even at Level 50, so no higher League play is feasible), but at that level, it has roughly 15 more HP and nearly 40 more Defense than Vikavolt, at the cost of also having about 30 less Attack. Still, bulk is usually heavily favored in Great League, and thus, with the same moveset as Vikavolt, the performance gap between them is quite significant and completely in Charjabug’s favor. It’s hardly a meta-breaking performance, but it’s certainly enough to get noticed.

And in fact, Charj is just as viable with Spark or with Bug Bite. This is a long table ahead, but here’s the big differences between the two moves (in 1v1 shielding):

Charjabug Opponent Spark Bug Bite
Abomasnow Loss Win
Altaria Loss Loss
Araquanid Loss Loss
Azumarill IB/HP Win Loss
Azumarill IB/PR Win Win
Azumarill PR/HP Win Loss
Bastiodon Loss Loss
Cofagrigus Loss Loss
Cresselia Win Win
DDeoxys Close Win Close Win
Dewgong Win Close Win
Diggersby Loss Loss
Drapion Loss Loss
Drifblim Close Win Loss
Froslass Loss Loss
Galvantula Loss Close Win
Jellicent Win Close Win
Lapras Win Win
Lickitung Loss Loss
Shadow Machamp Win Loss
Mandibuzz (Snarl) Close Win Close Win
Mandibuzz (Air Slash) Win Close Win
A-Marowak Loss Loss
Medicham Loss Loss
Meganium Loss Win
Shadow Nidoqueen Loss Loss
A-Ninetales (Powder Snow) Loss Loss
A-Ninetales (Charm) Loss Loss
Obstagoon Win Win
Pelipper Win Win
Politoed Win Win
Registeel Loss Loss
Sableye Loss Close Win
Scrafty Close Win Close Win
Skarmory Close Win Loss
Stunfisk Loss Win
G-Stunfisk Loss Loss
Swampert Loss Loss
Talonflame Win Loss
Toxicroak Loss Loss
Trevenant Loss Loss
Umbreon Close Win Close Win
Venusaur Loss Win
Vigoroth Loss Win
Walrein Win Win
Shadow Walrein Win Loss
Whiscash Loss Close Win
Wigglytuff Close Win Loss

Either way, I imagine it will show up here and there in Great League Cups, or perhaps even in Open GL play. It does push towards Level 40 to do so, but at least it doesn’t require any XL candy. Hope to find some over Level 30 in rainy weather!

Grubbin Bug

As for GRUBBIN‘s Little League prospects… meh, maybe not.

One final, silver lining thing for Vikavolt… it can learn Mud Slap, which allows it to beat all Electrics in Great League except Stunfisk, Dedenne, Galvantula, and of course Zapdos. That may matter in a future Electric-heavy Cup of some kind, so if you find a decent Great League Vika, hold onto it, just in case.


Scolipede BugPoison
  • The new shiny has appeal not just for being shiny, but also for being sneaky good in PvP. The trick with SCOLIPEDE is not to run it with Sludge Bomb, as is generally recommended, but with its better niche of Megahorn instead. In that mode, it performs similarly to Beedrill and Ariados, being slightly better than the first and very slightly behind the latter in overall effectiveness. And of course, it’s a real standout in Love Cup and has a chance to shine other limited metas as well. If you still lack one, this should be a great opportunity to scoop one up as you go on your shiny hunt.
Beedrill BugPoison Ariados BugPoison
  • Of course, BEEDRILL and ARIADOS can both be hunted down as well, as Weedle and Spinarak (also already shiny eligible) will likely be out in droves as well. Just remember that the former requires an Elite TM for Drill Run at this point (and is still arguably more ideal in Shadow form), and the latter is actually best in a similar configuration as Scolipede by running double Bug charge moves, with Megahorn again closing things out.
Araquanid WaterBug Dewpider WaterBug
  • I already wrote up a whole long article in back in May on Araquanid and Dewpider back in May, but in short, they’re both rising superstars in Great League (‘Nid) AND Little League (Dewpider). If you’re still seeking good ones, don’t pass up this opportunity, as they’re pretty rare spawns otherwise.
Galvantula BugElectric
  • GALVANTULA remains top Electric Bug even with the arrival of the disappointing Vikavolt and surprisingly decent Charjabug, in both Great League and Ultra League. This is a great opportunity to try and grind for it, and for XL candy for the latter. Go get ’em!
Escavalier BugSteel
  • Remember, it’s Karrablast that evolves into ESCAVALIERnot the more visually related Shelmet! Why is that important? Just ask anyone who has played in The Silph Arena! Escav is an underrated star in several Great League Cup foramts, and in Open Ultra League as well, and the latter is well below XL range, making it relatively “thrifty” too.
Skorupi PoisonBug Drapion PoisonDark
  • There are still others I could go into like FORRETRESS and TRASH WORMADAM and CRUSTLE and of course the intrigue of Mega Scizor should Mega Master League ever return, but for now we’ll leave things off here. Oh, and I AM looking into CHILL DRIVE GENESECT, yes. But I did already write about it (and the other Drives) a bit last October, so you can check that out for now and look forward to more to come as the Bug Out Event approaches. I think it’s worth its own separate analysis, especially for Master League lovers.

Until then, you can always find me on Twitter with regular analysis nuggets or on Patreon.

Thanks for your faithful readership, and hope you have a good bug hunt. Bring your bug catching net, Timmy! Do be safe out there, and I’ll catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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