A PvP Field Guide to December 2021 Community Day Weekend

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  1. December Community Day is back! We have most of the weekend of December 18-19 to hunt for and evolve over 20 Pokémon that have had featured Community Days and associated exclusive moves — generally some of the best moves in PvP — over the last two years. This year, the 2019 Community Days drop off, but we still have a rehash of all of 2020 and 2021 (call them the COVID bunch?) coming back. But with the sheer volume of Pokémon to hunt down and evolve in a time limited period, what are the ones to make especially sure we don’t miss out on for PvP?

These are just my own thoughts based on experience and simulations. I do have nearly three years of doing PvP analysis under my belt, but this is not gospel or anything! If you have other thoughts, even differing thoughts, please post them in comments after reading so we can all benefit from your knowledge too!

(If you’re looking for a more PvE-centric review, check out this analysis by my colleague Kratos.)

Before I get into what we CAN get during this Community Day rehash, here’s a quick list of all the 2018 and 2019 Community Day Pokémon (and their exclusive moves) that we do NOT expect to be able to get this month:

  • Venusaur, Meganium, Sceptile, Torterra: Frenzy Plant
  • Charizard, Typhlosion, Blaziken, Infernape: Blast Burn
  • Blastoise, Feraligatr, Swampert: Hydro Cannon
  • Dragonite: Draco Meteor
  • Tyranitar: Smack Down
  • Metagross: Meteor Mash
  • Eevolutions: Last Resort
  • Ampharos: Dragon Pulse
  • Mamoswine: Ancient Power
  • Salamence: Outrage
  • Slaking: Body Slam
  • Gardevoir, Gallade: Synchronoise
  • Flygon: Earth Power

Some of those are a real shame, and while I certainly have my own thoughts on those folks over at Niantic HQ on that decision, this isn’t intended to be anything but an examination of what we ARE getting. As always, just the facts here!

To help distinguish between those that are returning from 2020 Community Days — in other words, those for which this will be their last December Community Day rehash — I’ll put an “11th hour” symbol (🕚) by their names. The 2021 ones will presumably be back at least for next December, but some of those will certainly still be a high priority too. Who wants to wait potentially a whole year longer if we can avoid it?

As one final note: I will not be specifically reviewing Mega versions of any of the below. While Niantic has left the door slightly ajar on whether or not Megas will ever be allowed in GBL, the chance seems significantly less and less as time marches on. I think even they realize the whole Mega system would need a massive overhaul (that they’re likely unwilling to mess with) for them to be anywhere close to “fair” or even fun in PvP play. If that day ever arrives… well, I’ll be back to analyze then!

All that out of the way… let’s see what we’ve got to work with!

MUST HAVES

These Pokémon should be your highest priority. If you don’t have them built already, don’t miss this opportunity, and for many of them, this is likely our last chance to build them without dipping into Elite TMs. These are all worth grinding for and should your primary targets during your Community Day weekend hunt for good PvP IVs. Good luck!

BEEDRILL 🕚

Beedrill BugPoison

Drill Run – Ground type, 80 damage, 45 energy, 1.78 DPE

Great League Priority: VERY HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE (Mega Only)

Master League Priority: N/A

Another high priority target, though really just for Great League, as Drill Run has really catapulted Beedrill into PvP success at that level. It CAN run without it in a pinch, but the coverage provided with the Ground damage takes it to new heights (making it one of few things that beats Registeel and Azumarill and can at least make Galarian Stunfisk play honest with its shields… oh, and beats Shadow Nidoqueen and takes regular Queen to the brink of death too) and is particularly good in many limited (read as: Cup) metas where Beedrill appears. And while I am not overly enthusiastic about the idea of Megas in PvP, Mega Beedrill with Drill Run could have a future in Ultra League one day too. It remains too small for serious Master League consideration, however.

For a little more info, I wrote up an article specifically covering Drill Run Beedrill back during its intial Community Day. A little outdated at this point, but still gives you some ideas of its potency. Oh, and don’t forget Shadow Beedrill, which is even scarier! This is your chance to evolve them without needing Elite TMs!

EMPOLEON 🕚

Empoleon WaterSteel

Hydro CannonWater type, 80 damage, 40 energy, 2.00 DPE

Great League Priority: VERY HIGH

Ultra League Priority: HIGH

Master League Priority: n/a

Considering that it JUST sneaks in this time as the January 2020 feature, this is your last chance at a move that Empoleon basically has to have. Considering all of its other charge moves (other than nearly mandatory coverage move Drill Peck in move slot #2) cost 70 or more energy (Flash Cannon, and then Hydro Pump or Blizzard at 75 energy), its performance falls badly without the 40 energy, 80 damage Hydro Cannon.

As an example, consider Ultra League, where Empie carries itself well and sees most of its current usage. With Hydro Cannon, it offers nice coverage against a number of varied threats, but the cracks start to show without Cannon.

I won’t throw a ton of sims at you here, as they all pretty much say the same thing: Empoleon needs Hydro Cannon for serious PvP consideration. While Empoleon itself is not necessarily a high-value asset in all three leagues (though it’s viable in Great and Ultra Leagues for sure, especially in Remix and Cup formats), getting Hydro Cannon on it in all leagues IS a high priority, if that makes sense, especially in Great League where cheaper moves are more important with most everything having less bulk than in the bigger leagues.

GYARADOS 🕚

Gyarados WaterFlying

Aqua TailWater type, 50 damage, 35 energy, 1.43 DPE

Great League Priority: MODERATE

Ultra League Priority: HIGH

Master League Priority: VERY HIGH

Well I already wrote a long analysis article on why Aqua Tail was JUST what the doctor ordered for Gyarados, who needed the spam potential it offers to become a truly potent PvP weapon that lives up to its reputation, so I would encourage you to go read that if you didn’t the first time around. (It’s a little old now, but still gives you the basics.) In summary… well, just look to Gary’s best stomping grounds, in Master League, and compare no Aqua Tail to yes Aqua Tail. If you need more convincing, may I present Exhibit B, AKA Level 50 Aqua Tail Gyarados. Gyarados is a monster in Master League… but only thanks to Aqua Tail. If you don’t have one, or just want a better (perhaps angry red shiny) one, you know what to do!

CHARIZARD 🕚

Charizard FireFlying

Dragon BreathDragon type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 Cooldown

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: VERY HIGH

Master League Priority: MODERATE

Yet again, I covered this one already about a year ago, and extensively so. Rather than trying to re-explain, let me just sum up: Dragon Breath Charizard is a BEAST in Ultra League, and you definitely want one ready to go there. In Great League it’s generally better with Fire Spin but has some very nice niche use with Dragon Breath, such as beating Zweilous and Altaria, so it’s worth trying to find a decent one there too. It’s only okay in Master League. But as I said, Ultra League is its best niche, particularly its Shadow version.

GENGAR 🕚

Gengar GhostPoison

Shadow PunchGhost type, 40 damage, 35 energy, 1.14 DPE

Great League Priority: MODERATE-HIGH

Ultra League Priority: VERY HIGH

Master League Priority: HIGH (especially for Premier/Classic)

Yep, also discussed this one before, but in short: Gengar, like Haunter, operates best with Shadow Punch to bait shields and/or sneak in extra damage when you won’t reach Shadow Ball (or Sludge Bomb or another move, if you’re feeling spicy) in time. Gengar is essentially a slightly bulkier/slightly less hard-hitting alternative to Haunter in Great League (Haunter does basically the same thing without Legacy moves), but in Ultra and Master, Gengar stands alone. And stands tall, especially in Ultra League. Don’t miss out!

ROSERADE

Roserade GrassPoison

Bullet SeedGrass type, 1.67 DPT, 4.33 EPT, 1.5 Cooldown

…AND…

Weather Ball (Fire)Fire type, 55 damage, 35 energy, 1.57 DPE

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: HIGH

Master League Priority: MODERATE-HIGH

The rare DOUBLE exclusive move alone makes Roserade something you don’t want to miss out on. While it does operate pretty well (and in certain formats, even better) with the now-buffed Poison Jab, exclusive move Bullet Seed (a Grass clone of Snarl) is usually the best option and makes those charge moves come lightning fast.

Because Poison Jab variants are also good, this is one to splurge on… it’s actually best, if you can manage it, to double up Roserade in each league you build them for, one with Bullet Seed, one with Jab, and both with Weather Ball (Fire), which is what makes Rose especially special. For example:

  • In general Great League play, Bullet Seed is clearly superior overall, outracing stuff like Toxicroak, Scrafty, Nidoqueen, Froslass, and of course Waters and Rocks and Grounds like Swampert, Dewgong, Jellicent, Diggersby, Politoed, and Galarian Stunfisk. But Poison Jab beats the vast majority of other Grasses (Venusaur, Meganium, Trevenant, and Tropius among them), as well as things you might not expect like Shadow Machamp, Galvantula, Lickitung, and even Noctowl, if you can believe that. In open play, Bullet Seed is likely what you want, but there have been limited/Cup metas where Jab is much preferred, and there will be more down the line.
  • In Ultra League, Bullet Seed again gets stuff like Swampert, Lapras, Politoed, and Shadow Nidoqueen, but Poison Jab can sneak in wins over Shadow Dragonite, Toxicroak, and Cresselia.
  • Rose even has a surprisingly amount of play in Master League Classic, though really just with Bullet Seed in this case. If you want to grind XLs during Community Day, this isn’t a terrible way to spend that time.

TALONFLAME

Talonflame FireFlying

IncinerateFire type, 3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 2.5 Cooldown

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: VERY HIGH

Master League Priority: n/a

I mean, especially in Ultra League, Incinerate is what put Talonflame on the map. In fairness, it’s certainly viable with Fire Spin, but it’s just THAT much better with Incinerate instead, picking up stuff like Gallade, Alolan Muk, Nidoqueen (regular or Shadow), Lapras, and potentially even silly stuff like Swampert (though that one is a doozy that’s best explained in my original, comprehensive review on Incinerate Talonflame), Altered Giratina, and Jellicent. Surely you’ve been caught at least once staring dumbfounded at the screen after a Brave Bird nuked your supposedly safe Fire counter into oblivion. It’s okay to admit it… we’ve ALL been there, friend.

The gap is not nearly as large in Great League, where Fire Spin still has a respectable showing, but again, Incinerate Talon is the best Talon.

As with everything on this list, if you don’t have the candy to fully level up multiple Talonflames (at least one for both Great and Ultra Leagues), that’s okay… just make sure you get them evolved to build up later. But this is also a GREAT one to put in the legwork for XL Candy… Talonflame XL basically has to be completely maxed (with a 15-15-15 IV one hitting a nice 2493 CP at Level 50). I’m not big into XL grinding myself, I’ll admit, but even I have a Level 50 Talonflame (one of only a couple Pokémon I’ve bothered with XL candy for at all). I’m a believer, and you should be too!

GARCHOMP

Garchomp GroundDragon

Earth PowerGround type, 90 damage, 55 energy, 1.64 DPE, 10% Chance to Decrease Opponent Defense -1 Stage

Great League Priority: LOW

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: HIGH

One of my biggest regrets from this past year is not covering Gible Community Day with a full analysis article. Pretty sure it’s the only important Community Day I missed since 2019. It was a very busy time, and folks were excited for it to the point that even some other GO content creators that don’t normally do full breakdowns on Community Day Pokémon covered it in varying levels of detail, and by the time I had time, I didn’t have much to add to the discussion.

But yes, Earth Power Garchomp is everything it’s cracked up to be. While Sand Tomb variants show gaudier numbers in sims, Earth Power/Outrage is a lot more reliable and scary, whichever fast move you prefer. And for the PvE crowd, Earth Power is basically a must. Garchomp isn’t for everybody, but if you ever plan to try it out, get at least one really solid (aka hundo or close to it) Chompy with Earth Power. You can always invest later, but having the move in the here and now is the important part.

For a more detailed analysis you can… well, sink your teeth into, check out this Earth Power Garchomp analysis by my Hub colleague MeteorAsh. It was good then and still is now!

SYLVEON

Sylveon Fairy

PsyshockPsychic type, 70 damage, 45 energy, 1.56 DPE

Great League Priority: MODERATE

Ultra League Priority: HIGH

Master League Priority: HIGH

Unlike Garchomp, I HAVE written about Sylveon before… twice, actually. First was back when it was added to the game back in May, admiring its potential but wishing for a spammier charge move (or for Niantic to finally add Fairy Wind to the game… maybe next year?). Then came August Community Day, and I was finally able to sing Sylveon’s praises as “…the biggest winner coming out of [Eevolution] Community Day Weekend”, to quite… well, myself. It was, and still is this time around. If you’re going to evolve just one Eevee during December Community Day weekend, make it a Sylveon. If you’re going to evolve two or three… make them all Sylveon. Psyshock is just what it needed to put it on the map in GreatUltra, and perhaps especially Master League (where it’s one of very, very few Charmers that get big enough to play with the big boys). I might even evolve an extra one or two in case Niantic finally gives it the Fairy Wind fast move it deserves down the line.

SERPERIOR

Serperior Grass

Frenzy PlantGrass type, 100 damage, 45 energy, 2.22 DPE

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: n/a

I’ve seen a couple reviews that have come out on December Community Day already (sorry for the tardiness of mine, but I was working on my long review of Holiday Cup for several days there and had to delay this article a little bit), and I respectfully disagree with their dismissal of Serperior. One prominent one put it down in a tier populated by Alakazam and Luxray, which seems to me to be a disservice. Serperior is better than the simple numbers show, as many who have used or faced them can attest. Because many analysts stubbornly refuse to look beyond Aerial Ace as its obvious second, “coverage” move option alongside Frenzy Plant. Aerial Ace isn’t unviable or anything — heck, it’s in the movepools of seemingly half the Pokémon in the game! — but players that actually use Serperior will tell you that it almost always prefers Leaf Tornado instead. Not only is it a decent “bait” move (only 40 energy) that lets you outrace things more easily than Venusaur and Meganium and most other Frenzy Plant users, but with a 50% chance to decrease the opponent’s Attack by two stages (“harshly fell!”), it will very often have a significant impact on battles that doesn’t readily show up in simulations. Even in really bad spots, like facing down an Altaria or Mandibuzz or the like, Serperior is bulky enough to usually race to a couple Tornados and often get at least one to go off, leaving the opponent a much nastier parting shot than most Grasses (or heck, most Pokémon period) could ever dream of. While Tornado provides no coverage, I would argue it has a much greater effect in most games than a shaky move like Aerial Ace ever could. Ace rarely actually gets Serperior wins it otherwise wouldn’t unless you’re already ahead anyway.

All that to say: Serperior has some distinct advantages that Meganium and even Venusaur lack, and is a very capable Grass type that deserves more love. (Again, numbers aren’t everything, but comparing that to something like Meganium shows you there is real potential here.) And while Great League is its best environment to thrive in, that argument works for Ultra League as well, if you’re feeling frisky.

SHOULD HAVES

Slightly lower priority than the last list… these can operate okay without their Community Day moves–in some cases they’re better off without those moves–but there is enough good in running a variant with the exclusive moves that it’s still recommended you try to land at least good one. Again, this could be your last chance without dipping into Elite TM reserves and lining Niantic’s pockets.

ALTARIA

Altaria DragonFlying

Moonblast – [fairy] type, 110 damage, 60 energy, 1.83 DPE, 10% Chance to Decrease Opponent Attack -1 Stage

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: n/a

So don’t misunderstand Altaria not being among the “Must Haves” to mean that it’s not a must have in PvP. You absolutely want a good Altaria (ideally, multiple) in your PvP arsenal. But I value it in the context of this article a bit lower just because its exclusive move Moonblast is not one you’ll regret not having very often. 95% of the time (probably more like 99% of the time), you’re just going to be mashing Sky Attack anyway. BUT, there are enough edge cases — a better chance of beating Umbreon and Medicham with shields down in Great League, and again sometimes beating Umbreon, albeit JUST barely, in Ultra League — that Moonblast can easily be called an upgrade. It’s just not a statistically significant one. You can run Altaria with Sky Attack and non-exclusive Dragon Pulse or even Dazzling Gleam and likely never miss a beat. Get one while you can if you lack it, but especially considering the 400 candy required to evolve, you don’t have to stress yourself out TOO much.

UMBREON

Umbreon Dark

PsychicPsychic type, 90 damage, 55 energy, 1.64 DPE, 10% Chance to Decrease Opponent Defense -1 Stage

Great League Priority: MODERATE

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE-HIGH

Master League Priority: n/a

Talked about this one in some detail in not just one, but TWO articles already, so if you’re looking for some light reading…. 😏 But for now, let’s just rehash the main points:

Psychic can grant Umbreon some new, consistent wins in Great League against Toxicroak in all even shield scenarios, Nidoqueen in 0v0 and 1v1 shielding, Venusaur in 1v1 and 2v2 shielding, and Shadow Victreebel in 2v2 shielding. However, without Last Resort it loses to Mandibuzz and opposing LR Umbreons, so there IS a consistent tradeoff.

As for Ultra League, not only will we all have a great opportunity to grind for Eevee XL Candy to power up our Level 50 Umbreons, but Psychic (the move) does good things for it here too. I am going to admittedly steal the bullet points from my own past article(s), as they really tell the story well as already written:

  • Starting with 1v1 shielding, Psychic adds wins against Nidoqueen and Toxicroak, as well as rising-in-popularity Dragalge. Mandibuzz and opposing Umbreon are again the notable new losses (that Last Resort can beat or at least tie). Best buddied Umbreon actually doesn’t gain any new notable wins, but CAN beat Alolan Muk with Last Resort and cannot with Psychic, so that’s certainly notable.
  • Shields being down shows Psychic beating Toxicroak, Venusaur, and even Blaziken, which is kinda cool. Mandibuzz (win with LR) and Umbreon (tie with LR) are again the only notable losses. Level 51 Umbreon shows the same.
  • And finally, in 2v2 shielding we see the same familiar Toxicroak, Venusaur, and Nidoqueen popping into the win column, as well as Crobat now. (Mandi/Umbry are losses now, blah blah.) Level 51 Umbreon is again plus Dragalge and minus Alolan Muk.

That all said, the proper play going forward may be to stick with Last Resort and just let the opponent think you have Psychic. After all, there is no shortage of XL Mandibuzz and Umbreon running around Ultra League already… giving yourself no out against them is not an easy decision to pull the trigger on.

In short: yes, if you still lack Psychic (the move) Umbreon in Great League, or have an extra hundo Eevee sitting around that could be turned into a new Umbreon XL for Ultra League, go for it, especially if you don’t have any Last Resort Umbreons either. But if you DO have LR Umbries, this is a lower priority in the grand scheme… akin to Moonblast Altaria, really.

RHYPERIOR 🕚

Rhyperior RockGround

Rock WreckerRock type, 110 damage, 50 energy, 2.20 DPE

Great League Priority: LOW

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: HIGH

There are many ways you can run your Rhyperior. There is the Smack Down variant which usually wants Surf and Superpower (or MAYBE Earthquake), and that’s the variant you are most likely to see in Ultra League and many times in Master League as well. But the other most popular variant features Mud Slap and relies on Rock Wrecker to get in Rock damage. Rhyperior does also have Stone Edge and can work that way too, but Rock Wrecker is better in every way, being 5 energy cheaper and dealing 10 additional damage. Why yes, it IS a clone of Blast Burn, thanks for noticing. Rock Wrecker is a very good move featured on a Pokémon you may not have made use of yourself, but is good to have in your arsenal. Rhyperior doesn’t have much play in Great League, but it’s decent enough in Ultra League to at least TRY to get one there, and I’d call it a near-must to acquire one appropriate for use in Master League if you lack it going in this month’s Community Day festivities. If nothing else, I will take off my PvP hat for a brief moment to mention that Rock Wrecker Rhyperior is a fantastic PvE weapon too. Get a big boy!

MACHAMP

Machamp Fighting

PaybackDark type, 110 damage, 60 energy, 1.83 DPE

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: LOW-MODERATE

Why yes, those ARE the same stats for Payback as we had on Altaria’s Moonblast, you astute reader, you.

First off, here’s my longer analysis on Payback Machamp, if you want all the nitty gritty details. But here’s the summary:

  • Payback is a potentially impactful move in Great League as a straight replacement for Rock Slide. Alongside Cross Chop, it applies good pressure to Psychics and Ghosts that otherwise plague Machamp unfettered, and usually flips at least Jellicent and Defense Deoxys to wins, along with others at times like Mew. There IS always a cost — usually Flyers like Altaria, Tropius, and Mandibuzz, and sometimes other new losses like Froslass — but there is always a corresponding gain to counterbalance. (Except for Shadow Machamp, where it’s just too slow to work with S-Champ’s slashed Defense.) It doesn’t make Machamp notably better, but it’s a solid sidegrade that will likely be preferred in certain metas heavy with Psychics and/or Ghosts.
  • In Ultra League, Payback again pairs best with Cross Chop as a replacement for Rock Slide. The best thing you can say is that it CAN allow Machamp to flip the tables on the Giratinas, depending on IVs and shields. But Armored Mewtwo and Cresselia and such can usually shrug off even an unshielded Payback and still emerge victorious (though of course it still hurts!), and NOT running Rock Slide means losses to important Flyers like Dragonite, Charizard, Articuno and others. I’d still recommend building a Payback Champ for UL, but I’d sit on it for now and continue rolling with your current Machamp and perhaps just overcharge a bit when facing an opponent that really does NOT want to eat a potential Payback. You may find you draw shields now where you wouldn’t before — similar to Umbreon’s mere threat of Psychic can get shields while you continue to actually run Last Resort — so that’s a hidden plus of this new move.
  • In Master League, where I expected Payback would flex its muscles most, Payback just doesn’t seem to have a home. Giving up Rock Slide makes Machamp cry harder when facing down Dragonites and Togekiss and such (and the rise of Payback-resistant Zacian, Zamazenta, and Yveltal just exacerbates this), giving up Close Combat/Dynamic Punch just weakens Machamp’s performance overall, and running a weird Payback/Rock Slide or Payback/Close Combat combo just doesn’t work out either. The truth is that Machamp works very well with its current Rock/Fighting charge move combinations, and while the appeal of Payback is obvious on the surface (Mewtwo! Giratinas! Metagross!), in actual practice it looks unlikely to work out as you hoped. Gameplay may prove it better than it looks on paper–perhaps in a league of Pokémon all pushed over Level 50, which is nearly impossible to simulate at this point and I didn’t even try–but it seems that it’s actually GL > UL > ML with Payback, which is the exact oppposite of what I expected going in!

Hence the Priority ratings: GL > UL > ML. Sometimes it’s just that simple! Get a good Machamp for GL to store in your future arsenal, maybe one for Ultra League, but you don’t have to go nuts. Bonus points if you have a traded Machoke to evolve and save yourself a bunch of candy!

SAMUROTT

Samurott Water

Hydro CannonWater type, 80 damage, 40 energy, 2.00 DPE

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority:n/a

One of my more recent analyses… that still really tells the same story even today. The quick summary/rehash:

Even with Hydro Cannon and the superbuffed Megahorn, if I’m being honest, Samurott remains more curiosity than exciting new Water option. BUT, its ability to beat up on Umbreon and Psychics, turn the tables on several Grasses, and outrace a number of other big names will mean something at some point, I’m almost sure of it. Open formats may not be ideal, but Samurott’s unique profile will give it play with the right meta around it, particularly with its unique-for-Waters Fury Cutter. I recommend getting good ones with Hydro Cannon for Great League and Ultra League, as it’s a viable-ish Water type that does a great job threatening Psychics and Darks and can be a legit anti-Grass counter too. It’s still behind most other Water starters, but has some nice niches. (Those niches are, again, best re-reviewed in the article I linked to in the above paragraph, but the names include things like Abomasnow, Bastiodon, Defense Deoxys, Hypno, Talonflame, Umbreon, Venusaur, Medicham, Obstagoon, Cresselia, Galarian Stunfisk, and several others depending on which league and shielding scenario you’re looking at.)

This isn’t a Water starter you will likely find yourself using often over Swampert or Empoleon, but it IS potent and unique enough that I think you want to have at least one on hand. Get ’em while it doesn’t cost you any special TMs!

LUXRAY

Luxray Electric

Psychic FangsPsychic type, 40 damage, 35 energy, 1.14 DPE, Reduces Opponent Defense -1 Stage

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE-HIGH

Master League Priority: n/a

JUST wrote about this one a month ago, but I’ll throw the TL;DR out there again:

  • Psychic Fangs (replacing Crunch) drives Luxray’s ceiling way up, adding about a dozen new wins to its total in both Great and Ultra Leagues, and with some BIG names on those lists. I believe it is the move you’ll want to pair with Wild Charge moving forward and will propel Luxray into actually showing up in PvP.
  • However, unlike Nidoqueen with Poison Jab and Poison Fang, Luxray cannot as readily farm things down with its high energy but low damage fast moves (Snarl or Spark) and must still rely largely on charge moves to finish things off, making Psychic Fangs more of a bait move than anything, and it will likely not perform quite as impressively as shown in simulations. Worth grabbing while possible simply because of the crazy upside, just not one you may end up using often.

ALAKAZAM 🕚

Alakazam Psychic

CounterFighting type, 4.0 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 Cooldown

Great League Priority: HIGH

Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

Master League Priority: MODERATE

Yes, I also wrote about this one long ago. I’ll put it simply: Counter is THE best fast move in PvP, bar none. The issue is that Alakazam is a glass cannon of Haunter-like proportions, and obviously does not grant STAB damage to Counter. BUT, it’s still a very interesting niche Pokémon, with Fire Punch and Shadow Ball combining with Counter to bring heavy pressure to nearly everything, including beating most Grasses, Ices, Steels, Darks and other, featuring huge names like Bastiodon, Galarian Stunfisk, Skarmory, Scrafty, Toxicroak, Lapras, Venusaur, Galvantula, Registeel, Shadow Hypno, and many more. And up in Master League, where it can flex its high CP, while it doesn’t get a high volume of wins, it does beat Dialga, Metagross, Melmetal, Mamoswine, Conk, Garchomp, Heatran… again, eye-catching names. Some may consider Counter Zam too spicy for their tastes, and that’s okay… but I do very much recommend landing a couple good Zams with Counter anyway. There is literally nothing else like it.

CATCH ‘EM IF YOU CAN

These Pokémon either aren’t very PvP relevant even with their Community Day moves, or in most cases have other non-exclusive move(s) that are generally better. Not every exclusive move is a winner! I do still recommend getting at least one of these if you lack them, but they’re unlikely to make a big impact without further changes down the line.

Shiftry GrassDark
  • SHIFTRY 🕚 has some slight advantages with CD move Bullet Seed, such as beating Umbreon in Great League, but generally it wants Snarl more. (And yes, the same is true in Ultra League too.) I mean, there’s no harm in getting a BS Shiftry if you don’t have one already, but it would take an odd limited meta for it to shine out over Snarl and its much narrower resistance concerns.
Electivire Electric Magmortar Fire
  • ELECTIVIRE 🕚 and MAGMORTAR 🕚 I talked about in detail last year. ‘Vire is less likely to want the coverage Flamethrower provides, as it already has the great Ice Punch, but it’s worth having one on your bench. And Magmortar DOES appreciate the coverage of Thunderbolt, though it needs more help than that to really make a dent in PvP. Get one of each in case you missed out last time.

WELL, MAYBE YOU DON’T HAVE TO CATCH ‘EM ALL….

Basically anything not listed above! There’s nothing wrong with getting these, but I don’t see them ever seeing any serious use. If you miss them, I don’t think you’ll miss not having them.

Porygon-Z Normal Emboar FireFighting
  • EMBOAR appreciates having Blast Burn, but it’s still not PvP relevant. You can do much better for your Fire type.
Dusknoir Ghost
  • Even WITH its new Shadow BallDUSKNOIR is STILL put to shame by preevolution Dusclops, not to mention several much better Shadow Ball users. (And that goes for Ultra League as well.) It’s a shame that Dusclops isn’t the one that got Ball instead!
  • And finally, the EEVOLUTIONS other than Sylveon and Umbreon aren’t all that hot. While Scald is a decent sidegrade option for VAPOREON, and Bullet Seed is handy for LEAFEON, even they are not appreciably better… not to the degree necessary to become PvP relevant, at least. If you somehow still have excess candy after evolving multiple Sylvies and Umbries, then sure, pick your favorite alternate Eevolution and go for it. But they’re very low on the priority list.

Conclusion

Whew, that ended up a lot longer than I anticipated! (How does that ALWAYS happen to me? 😅) But I wanted to get this out the door as early as possible so you could be prepped for Community Day catching and evolving before the big weekend… with time to catch or hatch or trade for good ‘mons to have ready to evolve going into it!

Until next time (likely a review on the Holidays Event 🎄, and specifically Avalugg and Mr. Rime), you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you know what to hunt for during Community Day weekend. Good hunting, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

(Original article can be found here.)

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