Brutal Swing Hydreigon (and friends!) in PvP

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Howdy folks! Well after much begging and pleading and hoping, here we go… it’s Deino Community Day! And that means it’s time to unleash HYDREIGON!

That’s right, this long-neglected dark beast is finally getting an exclusive move to try and make it competitive in Pokémon GO, and PvP and PvE players should have reason to rejoice at the arrival of Brutal Swing. 💪

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Let’s kick it off with our Bottom Line Up Front and then dive into the details!

B.L.U.F.

  • Brutal Swing vastly improves Hydreigon’s fortunes across the board in PvE, arriving as its fastest and most cost efficient charge move… just the kind of thing you want to see for a Community Day move!
  • That said, it remains more curiosity than meta in Great and Ultra Leagues. Its best shot for PvP greatness will likely be in Master League, where it can flex its very high CP.
  • Master League is where Hydreigon looks like it can spread its wings now, especially when shields need to be busted down, and especially especially in Premier Classic, should that ever return. (PLEASE, Niantic! 🥺)
  • I am likely not the PvE expert you’re looking for, but even I can tell that Brutal Swing Hydreigon will be a true monster in raids now!
  • There are a TON of PvP-relevant Pokémon that can learn Brutal Swing in MSG. At the end of this article, I peek at just a few of the more likely (potential) recipients in GO in the future.
  • As a sidenote, use this opportunity to look for a Great League Zweilous and Little League Deino with good PvP IVs as well, if you still need them. Both are very relevant in their respective leagues.

Alright, now for the deeper dive….

HYDREIGON Stats and Moves

Hydreigon DarkDragon

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
137 (135 High Stat Product) 103 (107 High Stat Product) 116 (116 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-10, 1499 CP, Level 15.5)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
176 (173 High Stat Product) 132 (137 High Stat Product) 152 (152 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-15, 2495 CP, Level 25.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
214 (228 at Level 50) 160 (171 at Level 50) 178 (189 at Level 50)

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 3625 at Level 40; CP 4098 at Level 50)

Like both of its pre-evolutions, Hydreigon is a rare Dark/Dragon type. That means that it comes with a lengthy list of resistances — all the “elements” (Grass, Fire, Water, Electric) on its Dragon side, and Dark, Ghost, and Psychic (2x) on its Dark side — but also some key vulnerabilities, such as Ice and Dragon (as a Dragon itself), and Fighting and Bug (thanks to Dark), and most critically, a DOUBLE weakness to Fairy damage (as Dragons and Darks have that vulnerability in common). The good outweighs the bad, but the bad has a very ugly head to rear.

Unlike its predecessors, Hydreigon will never be called “bulky”. Zweilous has half a dozen more Defense and about 25 more HP in Great League (the only league where one can fairly compare them side by side), and Deino easily outpaces Hydra with about 20 more HP if they’re stacked against each other in Little League. (But uh… don’t worry about grinding for a Level 5ish Little League Hydreigon, no. 😂)

Hydreigon is unabashedly Attack-centric, which is what allows it to not only comfortably enter Master League territory, but impressively so by crossing the fabled 4000 CP barrier, something only about half a dozen other non-Mega, non-Legendary Pokémon can boast.

Fast Moves

  • Dragon BreathDragon type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 CoolDown
  • BiteDark type, 4.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD

There is a strong case to be made for Bite in PvE, but here in PvP, it’s clearly Dragon Breath. Both moves deal the same damage, but Breath generates 50% more energy and has much wider neutral coverage.

On to those charge moves!

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move

Charge Moves

  • Brutal SwingDark type, 65 damage, 40 energy
  • Dark PulseDark type, 80 damage, 50 energy
  • Dragon PulseDragon type, 90 damage, 60 energy
  • Flash CannonSteel type, 110 damage, 70 energy

Not much to say here, honestly. Brutal Swing is almost a full upgrade on Dark Pulse, coming much cheaper and dealing more damage per energy. As you’ll see below, it’s best to slot in Swing over Dark Pulse for Hydra moving forward.

Dragon Pulse is an okay-ish move… not great, but viable. It’s usually the move you’ll want alongside Brutal Swing for coverage and a bit more closing power, but there’s definitely a case to be made for Flash Cannon as Hydreigon’s ONLY answer to Fairies that otherwise pick it apart without fear. A Fairy swapped in against a Hydra with energy has to be at least a little wary and perhaps burn a shield it really doesn’t want to, similar to the Hail Mary Hurricane that Dragonite throws at Charmers in Master League. (And Flash Cannon is MUCH more effective in that type of role.) Just wish it was a little cheaper.

Now let’s start putting it all together….

GREAT LEAGUE

With its high Attack and low bulk, Great League is not the place for Hydreigon to shine out. That said, it DOES become a bit more interesting with Brutal Swing.

As compared to its previous best, Brutal Swing nearly doubles that win total, adding on prominent Ghosts Cofagrigus and Drifblim, flexing its elemental resistances to now beat Venusaur, Meganium, Talonflame, and Shadow Ninetales, and winning big neutral-on-neutral matchups Stunfisk (the Unovan one, so don’t get TOO excited) and Bastiodon (okay, NOW you can get excited).

And it does the vast majority of what it does with only Brutal Swing, needing Dragon Pulse or Flash Cannon only to overcome fellow Darks Mandibuzz (with Snarl) and Umbreon. The improvement with shields down is extremely minor, and even in 2v2 shielding it remains tepid, with new wins over only Umbreon, Alolan Marowak, Jellicent, and Skarmory. So while the 1v1 shielding improvement is pretty massive, overall Hydreigon remains fringy in Great League.

At least it comes close to matching the performance of pre-evolution Zweilous, and Hydreigon’s wins over Bastiodon and Lickitung are actually unmatched by Zweil (who instead overcomes Altaria, Diggersby, Lapras, Politoed, Swampert, and Air Slash Mandibuzz, owing to its greater bulk and even spammier, neutral damage Body Slams).

So sure, get a Great League Hydra IF you can, because it could be interesting in Limited/Cup metas now, at least. But probably the higher priority is landing yourself a good Zweilous if you still need one. I mean, you never know if it might get the Porygon2 treatment and get Brutal Swing itself one day….

ULTRA LEAGUE

Yet again, the improvement is there, just not as much as you might hope for.

Brutal Swing certainly elevates Hydreigon and is a straight upgrade over Dark Pulse with new win potential against Talonflame, Greedent, Ferrothorn, Shadow Politoed, and perhaps most importantly, Altered Giratina (with Shadow Claw). Quite simply, the speed of Swing is a boon as compared to the slower Dark Pulse. But as you can see by a quick glance at the record, Hydra still has a ways to go, beating barely a third of the Ultra League meta in a fair fight. (And just to save you the time, the success — or lack thereof — is very similar in other even shield scenarios too… I did check!).

While its Attack and overall bulk are RIGHT in line with Dragonite at this level, it just isn’t quite spammy enough to match the OG Dragon’s success. But as with the comparison between Hydreigon and Zweilous in Great League, the gap IS much smaller now, so there’s that.

Hydreigon would more appreciate the return of something like Ultra League Premier Classic, for what that’s worth, tracking VERY closely now to Dragonite’s success rate. Here’s hoping we see that format again next GBL season…. 🙏

MASTER LEAGUE

Alright, HERE we go. As mentioned earlier, Hydreigon is one of only a small handful of non-Legendary/Mega Pokémon that crosses the 4000 CP threshold. (The other PvP-relevant ones being Garchomp, Tyranitar, Dragonite, Metagross, Rhyperior, Haxorus, and the still-unreleased Volcarona.)

In the past, Hydra just hasn’t had the moves it needed to keep up, though, even in the again-hopefully-will-return Master League Premier Classic. Does Brutal Swing finally give it real teeth?

Well, as mentioned in my original, speculative analysis from a couple weeks ago, Brutal Swing IS a notable improvement, picking up new wins over Metagross, Excadrill, both varieties of Landorus, and perhaps best of all, Focus Blast Mewtwo. But it does still unfortunately lose to basically all meta Dragons (and Fairies, of course), as well as Fighters and even things like Lugia. Definitely better, but still trailing Dragonite overall.

Thankfully there is some more good news. The improvement in 2v2 shielding is massive, with Brutal Swing (as compard to Dark Pulse) gaining wins over Excadrill, Magnezone, Snorlax, Yveltal, Zarude, Ho-Oh, and Metagross, and much more impressively beating Mewtwo and Kyogre (over 60 extra HP left over). For the first time, Hydreigon finds itself with a winning record!

Once again, here’s hoping for the return of Premier Classic, because Hydreigon has a comfortable winning record in MLPC with Brutal Swing, once again blowing Dark Pulse out of the water with new wins versus Metagross (regular and Shadow), Shadow Magnezone, Excadrill, Electivire, Dragon Tail Milotic, and most encouragingly, Ice damage dealers Hippowdon (Ice Fang), Glaceon, and even big bad Walrein! The win total is nearly doubled in the process, from a middling 30% with Dark Pulse to a robust 55% with Brutal Swing.

I’m sure hardcore grinders will be looking to run up a Level 50 Hydreigon during this event (especially with the five extra hours of Zweilous raids after main Community Day hours are over), but I would recommend strongly considering a Level 40 Hydreigon in hopes of Premier Classic’s return. Hydra is even scarier there than in Open Master League!

PvE

So you know me (if you know me at all!) as a PvP analyst. That said, I raid too, and I look for advantages there too, so I care about PvE too! And while there are other PvE analysts out there wiser than me, I know enough to say (as others already have) that Brutal Swing — being a three-bar PvE move with only a 1.9 second duration — makes Hydreigon the best non-Mega Dark attacker in the game (combined with Bite). Even better, it exceeds the performance of all non-Mega Ghosts as well, making Hydreigon the best non-Mega raider versus Psychic and Ghost types.

A couple things (Shadow Weavile, Chandelure, and Gengar) have higher Damage Per Second (DPS), but they’re even worse off than Hydra in terms of bulk and have more vulnerable secondary typings (Weavile being Ice, Chandelure being Fire, and Gengar being Psychic-weak Poison).

For more details I recommend the excellent PvE analysis by my colleague Teban54 or the new analysis by another colleague MeteorAsh. But again, in short summary, this is a BIG deal for PvE, being the best Community Day raid move we’ve gotten since at least Rock Wrecker Rhyperior, and likely even better and more impactful than even that! Raiders, rejoice! 🙌

OTHER BRUTAL SWINGERS…?

For other recent Community Days where we’ve received new moves (Razor Shell, Psychic Fangs, Icicle Spear), I’ve gone a step further and looked at ‘mons other than the Community Day spotlight to see how they might benefit. And to date… that’s been for naught, as those moves have not received wider distribution (other than Lycanroc Midnight getting Psychic Fangs). But that won’t stop me… I’ll do it again!

So here’s a list of everything that can learn Brutal Swing in MSG), most of them via TM. I’ll dive into a few of the more interesting ones.

  • SIRFETCH’D is one of very few Pokémon that learns Brutal Swing naturally by leveling up, and while it doesn’t really need Brutal — Sirfetch’d already has a wide array of excellent coverage moves, including Dark move Night Slash — Brutal would be a very viable sidegrade.
  • BEWEAR also learns Brutal Swing through leveling, and would again be a very interesting sidegrade, especially in higher CP Leagues as a better alternative to slow Payback.
  • RUNERIGUS learns Brutal through leveling, but there’s no sense even looking into that one until it finally gets either a big overhaul to Astonish or another, actually viable fast move.
  • One interesting TM recipient is GALARIAN SLOWBRO, and it would be quite interesting in Ultra League especially, where it would slot in nicely in place of the redundant Sludge Bomb and give G-Bro new wins versus Armored Mewtwo, Lugia, Snorlax, and Shadow Dragonite… and a winning record against the Ultra League meta.
  • What a wacky sidegrade this would be for the ALOLAN ROCKS, particularly A-Golem in Ultra. They don’t really have any coverage moves right now, and this would be a VERY nice one.
  • Brutal Swing basically replaces Dark Pulse as an upgrade for Hydreigon, right? Well it would do the exact same thing for ALOLAN MUK, making it quite scary with new wins over Dragon Breath A-Giratina, DDeoxys, Shadow Dragonite, Lugia, Machamp, and Scizor. 👀
  • Speaking of DRAGONITE, it would appreciate having a coverage move much faster than Hurricane, gaining big wins over Gyarados and Altered Giratina… though it would also become completely impotent against Fairies, losing now to Zacian, for example.

Those seem to me to be some of the more likely recipients, but as you can see), there well over 60 PvP-relevant Pokémon that could potentially learn this thing in GO in the future. I have barely scratched the surface of its potential in PvP! This is certainly one of the more exciting move additions to the game in recent times, if not ALL time. Hype!

Alright, that’s all I got for today. Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Thanks for your faithful readership, and good hunting during this PvP and PvE pleasing Community Day event. Do be safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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