Hello again, fellow PvPers! After a few requests, I decided to whip up a quick overview of several of the Fossil Pokémon in PvP OTHER than the Aurorus and Tyrantrum I wrote about yesterday. So without further delay, let’s just get right to it!
TWO BIRDS, NO STONES
No, not Aerodactyl. That’s already seen more than enough action in Flying Cup (and is coming back, for better or for worse, for ANOTHER Flying Cup outing later this season).
Instead I wanted to chat for a minute about ARCHEOPS and pre-evolution ARCHEN. Very fun design, and a pretty good move package that includes Wing Attack, Dragon Claw, and Crunch (typically those three moves are the preferred moveset, in fact), but you will basically NEVER see them in PvP, even the aforementioned Flying Cup where being part-Rock is a HUGE boon overall. But… why is that?
Two reasons, primarily:
1.) Unlike Aerodactyl, Archeops and Archen have very little actual Rock damage potential. Their only Rock move of any kind is Ancient Power, which I just wrote about with Aurorus and Amaura, noting “Ancient Power is not usually the sort of move you want to rely on to actually beat things down with, being very underpowered for the cost and more of a Hail Mary play for the potential boost.” As a reminder, Ancient Power costs 45 energy… and deals only 45 damage. This, more than any other reason, is why they remain irrelevant in Flying Cup, losing to Aero, Altaria, Togekiss, Articuno, Gyarados, Skarmory, Mantine, Pelipper, Gligar, Zapdos and Emolga… basically the entire core meta of that format. Heck, it even loses to things like Dragonite, Charizard, Noctowl, and Pidgeot… and it resists ALL of Pidgeot’s Flying moves!
2.) Archeops and Archen have a statline nearly identical to Haunter, the very definition of ‘glass cannon’. Seriously, just look at their stats: both have the same Attack, Haunter has about 4 more Defense, and Archeops has about 6 more HP. They’re basically the exact same Pokémon in terms of stats. But of course, Haunter comes with Shadow Claw, while Archeops has Wing Attack, which is NOT a bad fast move (2.5 Damage Per Turn, 3.5 Energy Per Turn), it’s just that Shadow Claw (3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT) completely outclasses it. And that goes for the Pokémon in question, too. While Haunter remains a solid generalist in PvP. Archeops and Archen are anything but. Even with an Aerodactyl-esque moveset (which they learn naturally in MSG), they STILL wouldn’t be all that hot.
And while Archeops gets plenty big for Ultra League and even Master League, the story just gets more and more distressing the higher you go. I hate to say it, but these two seem pretty hopeless almost no matter what moves they get.
So what’s the verdict?
It’s not you… it’s them. Despite some nifty looking moves and a typing that you KNOW works at least in certain metas (hello there, Flying Cup), Archeops and Archen just don’t look like they’ll ever soar in PvP. They have the stats of Haunter without anywhere near the potential to pressure things, and with a much more easily exploitable typing. (Weak to Electric, Rock, Ice, Steel, and Water.) Absolutely try and get a good one during this best-ever opportunity (heck, I don’t even have an Archeops myself yet!), just don’t invest for PvP purposes. It’s a trap!
TURTLE POWER? 🐢Carracosta WaterRock
I’m happy to say that there is MUCH more potential with CARRACOSTA, at least if you look at it the right way. You do NOT really want to run Water Gun, as that leaves it with, yet again, only Ancient Power for Rock damage output, and as we’ve discussed (twice now), that’s not a good place to be. Thankfully, we have the option of Rock Throw here, which pairs quite nicely with cheap and spammy Body Slam and Surf for a well-rounded threat that doesn’t exactly take Great League by storm, but does make a nice splash. A Water type that happens to beat things like Azumarill, Jellicent, Galvantula, Altaria, and numerous Ice and Flying (and of course Fire) types can be rather handy. Carracosta does it better than other Rock/Waters like Omastar and Kabutops and everyone’s favorite hard-to-get rocky fish Relicanth, at least.
Oh, while it’s true that Carracosta does get big enough for Ultra League, and with minimal XL Candy (even for a #1 IV specimen), it’s really not worth the investment. This is more of a Great League limited/Cup format specialist (though I suppose there are worse spice picks in Ultra Premier Classic, should that ever return).
So what’s the verdict?
It’s no meta shaker, but Carracosta is good enough to have on hand for Great League level use in limited formats. It’s actually been a very potent pick in a couple Silph Arena metas already, and will likely have its moment to shine in a GBL Cup one of these days. You don’t need to necessarily double move it or anything yet, but sure, grab a GL candidate while you’re able. A Level 20 (hatch level) one requires almost no leveling up investment, settling in nicely between Level 20 and 21.
BASTIE IS A BAST**DBastiodon RockSteel
I mean, is there anything left to really say about BASTIODON at this point? Play GBL long enough and you’ll come to know it well, and you either love it or hate it… there’s really no in-between. You know all that it can tear through and just grind down into dust… an agonizingly slow, painful grinding.
So let me just give a few little pointers, if I may. First off, a note on IVs. I myself built my first (and at least so far, ONLY) Bastiodon when I lucked into trading for a #1 IV specimen… or at least, #1 IVs in the days before XL candy. And while my 12-15-15 Level 40 Bastie is still fine, it’s no longer the best… or even close to it. With XLs in the mix, even an “average” Bastiodon on PvPoke is now one with a level well into the 40s, and with wins my now-sad former #1 cannot consistently match versus Walrein, Jellicent, Venusaur, and Meganium. Even better (worse? 🤔), the NEW #1, a 0-15-14 pegged out at Level 50 gets even more impactful wins on top of THAT, with Mew and Trevenant now potentially falling down under a pile of boulders. So yes, for those of you looking for something to grind XL candy for this week, Bastiodon is surely IT if you’re looking for an upgrade.
The second point is moves. Everybody knows you want to run it with Stone Edge and Flamethrower, right? Well… not necessarily. Have you ever considered Flash Cannon instead of Stone Edge? Yes, I’m actually serious.
I mean, think about it. Edge is cheap, yes, which is good when paired with a slow-charging fast move like Bastie’s Smack Down. But speed isn’t everything… Stone Edge provides zero coverage, and you’re already dealing heavy, constantly-compiling Rock-type damage with your steady barrage of Smack Downs. Flash Cannon actually allows you to win the mirror match with no muss, no fuss, dealing big neutral damage to enemy Rock/Steel types rather than the resisted damage of Stone Edge. And especially with XL Bastiodon, Flash Cannon/Flamethrower beats everything Stone Edge/Flamethrower does in 1v1 shielding except Jellicent, and picks up wins Stone Edge cannot get like Shadow Nidoqueen and, again, that important mirror match. Food for thought!
But uh… yeah. Bastie remains a punk (or hero, to some of you sadistic players), and has only gotten moreso in the days of Level 50 Pokémon. This is one of your best chances yet to get yourself the meanest Bastiodon around. You wanna grind? THIS is how you grind.
So what’s the verdict?
I mean… it’s Bastiodon. I’m not going to sway your opinion on its usefulness either way at this point. Just note that this is one that benefits in a significant enough way to be worth a heavy XL Candy grind, and also that you may want to seriously consider Flash Cannon if you want to spice things up… especially in formats where enemy Bastiodons are likely to appear, as Cannon is a mirror match wonder without giving hardly anything up.
DILLY DILLY!Cradily RockGrass
Don’t dilly dally on getting a good CRADILY. It’s more spice than true meta in Open League play, but… well, wait a second there. Check out what happens if you’re able to find #1 IV Cradily… new wins versus Walrein, Drapion, Mew, and Wigglytuff! (And it shows a loss now versus Lickitung, but that’s actually not true). Well, maybe Cradily IS an underrated candidate in open play! Here’s your heads up to see if you can find a good one in the wild during this event.
But what I REALLY wanted to highlight was the looming importance of Cradily right AFTER Adventure Week. Because the week after, we’ll have Fossil Cup in GBL, a format with Waters and Steels that ironically supress nearly all the actual Fossil Pokémon… but not Cradily. With its Bullet Seed and Grass Knot, it is actually a terror in that format, not only ripping up any other Rock types that try to compete (in a very UNfriendly-for-Rocks meta), but also blowing up most Water types too. It’s not perfect by any means, but Cradily WILL be a major part of that meta, and may be the only special spawn this week worth scarfing up for Fossil Cup. If you lack it, THIS is the time to add it to your PvP bench.
So what’s the verdict?
Get a Cradily for next week’s Fossil Cup. And if you happen to find a very high IV one, rejoice, as it may even have sneaky play in Open Great League on the right team.
EXTINCT FOR A REASON
That’s really about it for useful Fossils. I already wrote very recently about Aurorus and Tyrantrum, and mentioned Omastar and Kabutops and Relicanth up above. (Basically, worse overall Carracostas.) RAMPARADOS is even LESS bulky than Archeops/Archen and just cannot hack it in PvP at any level. And poor ARMALDO, despite the buff to Cross Poison, just remains pitiful in PvP. Sadge.
Alright, that’s all I got for today. Hope this was helpful, and again hope the greatly nerfed Incense (I miss GO Fest buffed Incense already!) doesn’t spoil your attempts to grind for the particularly cool stuff to be found.
Until next time, you can find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And as always, please feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!
Good luck out there, but please be safe, Pokéfriends. Thanks again for reading, and catch you next time!