A Speculative, Comparative PvP Analysis on Obstruct Obstagoon

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Howdy, Pokéfriends! Let’s take a quick look at what Obstagoon with Obstruct MIGHT look like come August Community Day.

Obstagoon DarkNormal

As announced, Galarian Zigzagoon will be in the spotlight, with its final evolution OBSTAGOON receiving new-to-GO charged move OBSTRUCT. Unfortunately we don’t know everything we need to know about the new move, as Niantic has taken to releasing everything but the energy cost for the last several new moves introduced to the game. Here’s what we DO know, as noted in the announcement:

  • It is a Dark-type charge move.
  • It deals only 15 damage (in PvP… in PvE it deals 20 damage).
  • It raises the user’s Defense by one stage AND lowers the current opposing Pokémon’s Defense by one stage. This makes it the first move to alter the stats of the user AND opponent.

So while I am stuck awaiting the energy cost before I can do a true deep dive analysis, I DO fortunately have my own “home” copy of PvPoke thanks to GitHub, and that lets me create moves and run simulations with them. So last night, I created three different versions of Obstruct, one that costs 45 energy, one that costs 40, and one that costs only 35 energy. (See this screen capture to see them.) I capped out at 45 energy before I would be a little surprised to see anything higher than that, since Acid Spray and its big 100% double debuff deals 10 more damage than Obstruct and costs only 45 energy. (But obviously if the final stats come out above 45 energy, I’ll dive into that when we get to that point.) Unfortunately, because no move that alters the stats of BOTH Pokémon in battle exists yet, PvPoke’s data files didn’t have a method to add a move that raised the user’s Defense and also lowered the opponent’s Defense, so I had to cheat a little by making my home-brewed Obstructs raise the user’s Defense AND Attack by one stage, roughly (and yes, I acknowledge it is roughly) working the same way as lowering the opponent’s Defense. So this is NOT an exact science and the final results will likely vary a little bit, but this should be good enough to give us a rough idea of what to expect from a 45-, 40-, or -35-energy Obstruct.

Another note before we dive into some numbers. In running simulations, the presence of Night Slash as Obstagoon’s presumed second charge move (at least in Great League) was not playing nice with Obstruct. 40- and 45-cost Obstructs were almost completely ignored by the simulator in favor of the 35-energy (and potentially also buffing) Night Slash, pretty badly skewing the results. I’ll figure that out once we get closer to Community Day and we hopefully have a better sense on how Obstruct will actually shape up, but for now, I again had to get a little creative… so I simply ran Obstruct as the ONLY charge move in Great League to force Obstagoon to use it. I WAS able to run 35-energy Obstruct alongside Night Slash and the sims (mostly) properly baited with Obstruct and used Night Slash when it had a higher chance of being left unshielded, so those results do include both moves, while 40- and 45-energy Obstruct were left to run solo.

Additionally, I have only results from 1v1 and 2v2 shielding below. Shieldless (0v0) scenarios obviously WILL be affected, but the numbers are all over the place right now, and I’d really like to wait until the cost is locked down to share that info, as I think it’s just too nutty to put any real confidence in right now. But 1v1 and 2v2 shielding still paint the picture just fine for the purposes of THIS article, I think.

Got all that? Hope so, because it’s time to show the results!

galarian zigazgoon community day

Great League, 1v1 Shielding

  • 45-energy Obstruct isn’t even shown for this one, as it is no better (and actually a tad worse) than just running Night Slash. You can see a small bump with 40-energy Obstruct, though it’s actually a bit of a sidegrade, as Night Slash beats Froslass, Alolan Marowak, and Meganium (and sometimes Venusaur), while 40-energy Obstruct cannot. What 40-Obstruct instead gains is the mirror match (versus Night Slash Goon), Politoed, Unovan Stunfisk, and Air Slash Mandibuzz (Goonie already beats Snarl Mandi). Obviously you can combine those and get ALL those wins with proper charge move usage/selection, but there was no way to easily show that in this quick, down-and-dirty preliminary analysis.
  • 35-energy Obstruct (by itself) picks up everything 40-Obstruct did (Goonie, AS Mandi, Toed, U-Fisk) as well as Swampert and re-adding Alolan Marowak… no Night Slash required. So that’s nice.
  • 35-energy Obstruct PLUS Night Slash obviously picks up the A-Wak, Meganium, and Froslass that Slash alone could beat (and really solidifies a win over Venusaur), as well as first-time wins versus Registeel, Pelipper, Cresselia, and even Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales. That’s really, really good… nearly ⅔ of the Great League meta good!

Great League, 2v2 Shielding

  • 45-energy Obstruct (again, by itself to force the sims to properly account for it) actually already starts to make a big difference here, as you’d expect from multiple uses of a buff/debuff move like Obstruct. The ONLY thing that drops from the win column without Night Slash in the picture is Alolan Marowak, and the rest are all gains: Mandibuzz with either fast move, Meganium, Politoed, and enemy Obstagoon.
  • As you’d expect, it only gets better with 40-energy Obstruct, which adds on Froslass (Night Slash alone can’t do that in this scenario), Pelipper, and Cresselia.
  • And finally, 35-energy Obstruct (this time, just by itself!) beats everything listed so far and also PowderTales, Venusaur, Drifblim, and even (non-Ice Beam) Azumarill! (Plus Alolan Marowak rejoins the win column, but Night Slash already beats that, so it doesn’t really count.)

IN SUMMARY, if Obstruct costs 45 energy, the effects in 1v1 shielding may be rather tepid, but even at that cost, it starts making a big difference in 2v2 shielding. Things like Mandibuzz, Meganium, Politoed, Obstagoon show up, and it just gets better the cheaper Obstruct is, with wins (across 1v1 and 2v2 shielding) like Cresselia, Swampert, Pelipper, Froslass, Mandibuzz, Venusaur, Alolan Ninetales, and even Registeel and Azumarill popping into the win column where it didn’t exist before. Time will tell if Obstruct runs alongside Night Slash or replaces it entirely and is paired with a closing move (Gunk Shot or Hyper Beam). But even at 45 energy (which is PROBABLY the highest Niantic would go, following the double debuff of Acid Spray as a guide), I do believe this is a move that will improve Obstagoon overall in Great League.

Now, in ULTRA LEAGUE, I ran the different versions of Obstruct as a straight replacement to Night Slash, running alongside Gunk Shot as a closing move.

Ultra League, 1v1 Shielding

  • 45-energy Obstruct (again, running alonside Gunk Shot as a straight Night Slash replacement) tacks on Alolan Muk (with Snarl), Alolan Ninetales (with Powder Snow), Politoed (regular and Shadow), Registeel, Skarmory, and Talonflame. But NOT running Night Slash means new losses to Drifblim, Dragonite (regular and Shadow), Fire Spin Charizard, Gengar (with Sludge Bomb), and Swampert. All of those with the exception of Swampert and Drifblim return for lower cost Obstruct, but not for the 45-energy version.
  • 40-energy Obstruct brings Gengar and FS Charizard back into the win column, and adds on Dragon Breath Zard, Articuno, Galvantula, and Venusaur, plus everything else 45-energy Obstruct could do.
  • 35-energy Obstruct returns regular and Shadow Dragonite to the win column, and adds on a new win versus Cresselia. Again though, note that Swampert and Drifblim look to remain frustratingly out of reach without Night Slash.

Ultra League, 2v2 Shielding

  • With both shields burned on each side, 45-energy Obstruct already shows significant progress over Night Slash (just like in Great League), with new wins (in order) versus Articuno, Armored Mewtwo, Obstagoon, Shadow Politoed, Skarmory, and Swampert. Without Night Slash, however, Lugia (1 HP win with Night Slash) and Venusaur (at least for now) drop to losses.
  • Venusaur returns to the win column with 40-energy Obstruct, as well as new wins versus Fire Spin Charizard and Galvantula.
  • And then 35-energy Obstruct further adds Drifblim, Cresselia, and Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales, achieving a full 10 wins more than Night Slash/Gunk Shot.

IN SUMMARY, just as in Great League, 45-energy Obstruct is more of a sidegrade than real upgrade to Night Slash… until you get to 2v2 shielding, when it pulls noticeably ahead. 40- and/or 35-energy versions of Obstruct would add on other names like Charizard, Articuno, Dragonite, Galvantula, Cresselia, Venusaur, and more, and mostly recoup any losses that Night Slash uniquely gets as compared to 45-energy Obstruct (with the exceptions of Drifblim and Swampert in 1v1 shielding, and Lugia in 2v2 shielding.

Whew, that felt like quite the data dump for a “quick” preliminary analysis. But I wanted to set some expections while we wait (potentially for 3 weeks or more!) for the actual final stats for Obstruct. And since many hold to the theory that Niantic reads these analyses and uses them to inform their own final determination on cost… well, the earlier the better then, right? 😉 (Pssst… hey, Niantic, just between us, less than 45 energy would be fine, really! 🤫)

Alright, this is likely my last article before I travel to Seattle for my first EVER in-person GO Fest bright and early Friday morning. (Come say hello on Saturday morning in the park… I’ll be wearing a “JRESeawolf” jersey and passing out cards and friend codes and Silph Handshake Badges!) I AM keeping a weather eye out for news on next week’s still-unannounced Cup, but unless details finally come out before I leave, I may not have time to do a full-fledged review of the meta like I usually do… this weekend is completely booked with GO Fest and my twin kids’ birthday, and then we’re already within 48 hours or so of the Cup’s arrival. I’ll do my best whenever we DO get something to go on! ✍️

Until then, you can catch me on Twitter (which I’ll still try to keep going through the weekend) or Patreon or, of course, right here in comments!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, wherever the rest of your week and weekend may take you. Cheers! 👋

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