It’s the Year Of The Dragon in 2024, and Pokémon GO is celebrating with the Lunar New Year: Dragons Unleashed Event. While there is a new Dragon coming to GO, it is (spoiler alert!) perhaps not worth a whole analysis article on its own, so I’m going to briefly go over a few other Dragons worth hunting down as well. That’s right… it’s time for a good ol’ JRE Field Guide!
DRAMPA DAMPERDrampa DragonNormal
Getting a new Dragon type in Pokémon GO is usually a happy occasion. Several of the greatest Master League Pokémon and greatest PvE Pokémon are Dragons, and even in other PvP Leagues (Altaria in Great, Giratina and Dragonite in Ultra, and even Deino and such in Little, as just a handful of many examples), there are very impactful Dragon options as well.
But we have had some clunkers. Noivern, rather famously, which somehow got even MORE laughable coming out of its Community Day. And others that have interesting typings or stats but just don’t quite have what it takes to compete like Goodra, Alolan Exeggutor, Rayquaza (the Breaking Swipe nerf mostly ending its brief surge to relevence), Turtonator (aside from its 15 minutes of fame in Fantasy Cup) and so on.
And now, unfortunately joining that last crowd, comes DRAMPA.
Its very unique-for-a-Dragon Normal subtyping does it some favors, notably resisting Ghost damage and thus having a big leg up (and typically victories) versus things like Jellicent, Trevenant, Sableye, Lickitung, Golisopod, Shadow Claw Altered Giratina (in Ultra League), and Origin Giratina and Snorlax (in Master League). But beyond that… well, it struggles across all three Leagues. Aside from Ghosts, it ekes out a few wins where handy Dragon resistances to Grass, Fire, Water, and/or Electric help it out, such as Shadow Victreebel, Serperior, Lanturn, and Charjabug in Great League, Venusaur, Greninja, and Ampharos in Ultra League, and Kyogre, Swampert, and Zarude in Master League, but does very little else. Having Dragon Breath is nice, but it lacks the pressure that comes with other Dragon Breath users like Zweilous, Arctibax, Kyurem, Zekrom, and of course Dragonite (with which it shares nearly identical Attack and bulk in Great and Ultra Leagues before Dragonite FAR exceeds it in Master League with 1000 more CP and higher marks across all three stats), as Drampa has Fly at 45 energy for 80 (non-STAB) damage, but then only expensive Outrage (60 energy for 110 damage) to close things out. Compare that to Dragonite with 35-energy Dragon Claw and 40-energy Superpower, and an overall more favorable defensive typing combination to boot, and it doesn’t take an expert to see where and why things don’t line up for Drampa to have the kind of success Dragonite and other Dragons have had in PvP. Many of them are just flat out better… and bigger in Master League.
And I don’t know that higher pressure would greatly elevate it anyway. Drampa CAN learn the mighty Breaking Swipe on MSG, and while that would help it out in lower Leagues, it would still be overall inferior to things like Dragonite, and still rather pitiful in Master League.
Some Dragons just aren’t really bound for PvP greatness. Sadly, I think Drampa is now and likely will always remain among them. A shame, as its design and typing are quite fun in concept.
CROUCHING TIGER, LESS HIDDEN DRAGON?
Kommo-o DragonFighting Hakamo-o DragonFighting
I was looking back the other day and think that somehow I never did a full-fledged analysis on KOMMO-O and HAKAMO-O. (Unless senility is finally settling in!) I have talked about them plenty, as they are often standout options in any Limited/Cup metas they find themselves in, such as this season’s earlier Retro Cup and the upcoming Evolution Cup for Hakamo. But really, both Hakamo-O and Kommo-O are more than good enough for consideration in Open formats, with Kommo getting more than big enough for even potential Master League consideration. (The threat of Close Combat keeps even Dialga and opposing Ice types on their toes.) Really, though, their best potential is in Great League, so if you’re lacking them still (as they ARE normally quite rare still), even the “if you’re lucky” odds they’ll be running with during this event are far better than other times. Good luck in your hunt!
PUFF THE POISON DRAGON
Quite unique among Dragons currently in GO is DRAGALGE. While it’s never really the best at anything, its unique resistances and coverage (particuarly versus Fairies thanks to both its Poison typing and the looming threat of Gunk Shot), it can be a very annoying and difficult matchup when you don’t specifically prepare for it. It has also found success in Limited metas and likely will continue to do so. Mostly that has come in Great League, but Dragalge has found some success in Ultra League as well, and requires a decent amount of XL Candy to do so. This is a good time to grind for what you need. And don’t forget that SKRELP has its uses in Little League too.
Niantic suddenly deciding NOT to return to the popular Love Cup this season unfortunately takes away perhaps its best breakout meta, but DRUDDIGON remains more than interesting enough to ensure you have a good one sitting on your bench. It gets a bad rap as glassy when really it’s slightly bulkier than other Dragons that find PvP success like Dragonite, and comes with TWO 35-energy charge moves to ratchet up the pressure. Again, not one you’ll find yourself using much outside of specific metas, but it’s worth having one for those occasions. And the shiny is gorgeous if you’re still trying to land one of those (like me!).
And it’s never a bad idea to grind for more DRATINI, TURTONATOR, or MAGIKARP candy either, especially since you want as much XL Candy for them as possible for higher Leagues (Dragonite and, albeit to a lesser extent, Gyarados for Master League and PvE use, and Turtonator for Ultra League, where it has to be maxed out to get to around 2500 CP). And in Field Research, more candy for DEINO/ZWEILOUS, GARCHOMP, FLYGON, ad even ALTARIA is always appreciated too!
So Niantic is being a bit of a tease with part of this event, with extra spawns and featured attacked being unlocked for the remainder of the event if we complete their global challenge of 1,000,000,000 nice throws.
At the end of the blog post about the event, they posted the teaser above about rewards to come once we succeed in a Global Challenge… five Dragons that will be able to get exclusive moves. Of course, we can immediately figure out four of them just by the typing of the move in Niantic’s tease: we suspect we’re talking about at least FLYGON and GARCHOMP with Community Day move Earth Power (Ground), ALTARIA with its own Community Day move Moonblast (Fairy), and unfortunately NOIVERN with its laughably useless Normal-type Community Day move Boomburst. I suppose there’s a slim chance one or more of these may be a total surprise instead, but… c’mon, we all know those four. This is Niantic we’re talking about here.
The only mystery is the one that gets a Dragon-type move. Likely this is DRAGONITE with Draco Meteor, or perhaps HAXORUS with the once-awesome-now-just-okay Breaking Swipe, but we’ll have to wait and see.
So to summarize, I took the liberty of filling in the teaser with what we’re almost certainly getting. Among them, it IS a good idea to make sure you stock up on both Earth Power Dragons, Moonblast Altaria, and probably still Breaking Swipe Haxorus if that’s what occupies that slot. (Draco Meteor Dragonite, though, wants Dragon Claw/Superpower instead.) Remember, this is pure speculation currently!
I’ll check back again if Niantic pulls an 11th hour shocker, but otherwise, that’s it… we’re done! Good luck on the grind this event, my friends, and whatever you’re hunting for, may you find it! Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular GO analysis nuggets or Patreon.
Good hunting, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!