A Quick PvP Analysis on Palossand


One of my favorite designs, PALOSSAND, has finally arrived in GO! How does it look in PvP? I’ll try to keep today’s analysis short and sweet (well, for me!) today, starting with our Bottom Line Up Front:


  • Palossand is a better Golurk. Mostly. But uh… still more of a Limited meta piece than Open meta.
  • It has decent potential in Great League with baiting and then setting up big closing moves.
  • Ultra League Palossand runs better with both closers, but still looks like more of a Cup option than anything.
  • I DO recommend grabbing one for Great League, and if you find a decent candidate for Ultra (noting that it’s an XL hog), hold onto it as a potential long-term project.

PALOSSAND Stats and Moves

Palossand GhostGround

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
117 (115 High Stat Product) 120 (125 High Stat Product) 136 (135 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-11, 1499 CP, Level 23.5)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
151 (149 High Stat Product) 155 (160 High Stat Product) 176 (177 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-13-14, 2499 CP, Level 49)

So Paulo (gonna call it Paulo throughout this article, just FYI!) has an unusual but not completely unique typing. Ghost/Ground is a decently complementary typing, with four double resistances (Electric, Fighting, Normal, and Poison) and one-stage resistances to Rock and Bug. Conversely, it is weak to the normal Ghost stuff (Dark and Ghost) and Ground stuff (Water, Grass, Ice), but at least none of those are two-stage vulnerabilities.

As compared to fellow Grounded Ghost GOLURK, Palossand has much better stats, generally spotting 25ish Defense and roughly 10 more HP, at the cost of having about 20 less Attack than Golurk. That’s a good thing in PvP, with Paulo’s stats (Attack and overall bulk) being close to well known things like Nidoqueen, Vigoroth, Clefable, and Pidgeot… things that are not tanks, per se, but certainly have proven bulky enough to hang around in protracted battles.

I said I’d keep this short, so let’s move on to… well, the moves!

Fast Moves

  • Mud ShotGround type, 1.5 DPT, 4.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • AstonishGhost type, 1.67 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 1.5 CD

Say it with me, folks: “Astonish buff when, Niantic? C’mon, now. It remains, by far, one of the worst fast moves in the game. Don’t use it!

Golurk runs off of Mud Slap, the slow and plodding Ground fast move. (3.67 DPT, 2.67 EPT) Already we have a big difference here, as Paulo does low damage but gains high energy with Mud Shot. While Golurk (during its limited periods of success) beats things down with fast move damage, obviously Palossand is already separating itself by focusing on charge move pressure instead.

So how about them charge moves?

Charge Moves

  • Sand TombGround type, 25 damage, 40 energy, Reduces Opponent Defense -1 Stage
  • Earth PowerGround type, 90 damage, 55 energy, 10% Chance: Reduce Opponent Defense -1 Stage
  • Shadow BallGhost type, 100 damage, 55 energy

Let’s keep this really simple: one bait move (Sand Tomb) with that sets the opponent up for bigger damage later whether they shield or not, and then two closers with Earth Power and Shadow Ball. In this case, it really is that simple.

Of course, which two you choose is a bit less simple, but still not bad. Let’s just dive right into the numbers!


Ready for some amazing, blow-your-mind analysis? Well, what I have to start off is… very much not that, sorry.

Sometimes my job can become very easy. Like in this case, where I just have to throw up the sims for Sand Tomb/Earth Power versus Sand Tomb/Shadow Ball, and then note how Shadow Ball beats things where it is super effective (Jellicent, Froslass, Medicham, Cofagrigus, Trevenant) or Earth Power is resisted and Shadow Ball is not (Skarmory), and that Earth Power is only better when it is super effective and Shadow Ball is not (Lanturn, Dunsparce), and I can pretty much just go lounge by the pool with a mai tai. (Or… uh… chilled Dr Pepper instead, since there tend to be kids around my pool.) Okay, analysis over!








Okay, not quite. You know I gotta burn through more characters than that! This is friggin’ long-winded JRE we’re talking about here. I got a reputation to keep up!

So I’ll further point out that Shadow Ball is even more dominant over Earth Power in 2v2 shielding, with wins again versus Jellicent, Medicham, Skarmory, and Cofagrius, though not Trevenant this time, and Shadow Ball OR Earth Power can topple fragile Froslass. Earth Power’s only standout win in 2s is Galarian Stunfisk, which is wins running away… though Shadow Ball can ALSO sneak away with a win even there (though leaving Paulo with less than 10 HP, which is definitely a much sweatier scenario!).

And THEN I can point out that with shields down, it is Earth Power that takes the crown for once from Shadow Ball, getting unique wins versus Drapion, Dunsprace, Alolan Sandslash, Scrafty, and Toxapex, while Shadow Ball’s only unique win is Medicham again.

What does it all mean? I think Sand Tomb/Shadow Ball is the way to go in Great League, though there my be metas that prefer Earth Power. Ultimately this may be academic, though, as the winrate caps out on the wrong side of 50%, and there are obviously a lot of Waters and Grasses and Ices at this level that prey on Palossand’s sandy side. We’re probably looking at a Limited/Cup type here, though hey, if Golurk has been able to make a little noise in formats like that, I don’t see why Paulo doesn’t have that potential too! Grab one if you like participating in Cups.

Oh! And because I know someone out there is wondering, you really don’t want to run both closers at this level, I don’t think… the baiting of Sand Tomb is necessary for things like Medicham, Froslass, Trevenant, Skarmory, and Shadow Charm Alolan Ninetales, where Palossand is able to beat them at all. Going straight for back to back closers (both of which cost 55 energy, remember) is just too slow in many cases.

Different story, however, in Ultra League….


Here, you do generally want both closing moves, I think. Sand Tomb just doesn’t do nearly as much for you in this League of higher HP and longer battles. Specifically, leaving out Shadow Ball leaves you mostly unable to contend with things like Buzzwole and Trevenant, and leaving out Earth Power leaves you on the wrong side of battles versus things like Drapion, Dubwool, Alolan Sandslash, Scrafty, Aurorus, and Empoleon. Running both closers just gives Paulo its greatest potential.

That said… we’re once again way on the wrong side of a 50% winrate, even with shields down. Yuck. Yes, there ARE some good names in that win column, like Galarian Stunfisk and Registeel (resisting Regi’s Zap Cannon AND Focus Blast is a pretty big deal) and of course other big name Steels, plus notable Fighters and Poisons and such. But it’s a shorter list than you like to see, and there are plenty of other Ground types that do all that Paulo can do and much more on top of it. Also keep in mind that Palossand typically has to be pushed very high into XL territory to even reach 2500 CP, and frankly, it doesn’t really seem worth it.


Yes, I just plumb forgot to include comparisons to Runerigus as I originally intended. Can I blame it on a case of the Mondays? 😝

Having access to Shadow Claw alongside Sand Tomb/Shadow Ball obviously gives Runie some advantages, and it performs better overall in Great and Ultra Leagues. That being said… in situations/metas where you want to emphasize Ground damage, Runerigus just can’t do it, with low damage Sand Tomb being its only Ground move. This can handstring it in uncomfortable ways versus Rock and especially Steel types (as anyone that’s run Runerigus can tell you), and while it’s better overall, there may still be Limited metas that prefer Palossand. I still recommend getting it if you can during the event.

Palossand Pokémon: How to catch, Stats, Moves, Strength, Weakness, Trivia, FAQs


It wouldn’t be hard, actually. Earthquake works well with Mud Shot, of course, and would be an immediate upgrade, especially in Ultra League. It doesn’t learn Shadow Claw in MSG, but it can learn Hex, which would be so-so but at least give it other options. Or just, you know, buff Astonish, ya cowards! And it learns some interesting Rock, Grass, and other coverage moves that would at least mix things up a bit in the Cups where it Paulo may show up. But really… just give it Earthquake. That would go a long way.

Alright, that’s it for today! Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon.

Good hunting during this Beach Week event, folks! Do stay safe out there, and 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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