It’s time for our last Community Day of the Season Of Rising Heroes, and we finish it off with DELPHOX! How does it look in PvP with not one, but TWO new charge moves? Well, it’s mostly right here in our Bottom Line Up Front:
- Not gonna sugar coat it: while it IS getting some nice new moves to play with, even these big upgrades don’t really save Phoxy in PvP. There are just better Fire options out there, and they remain better even after this weekend.
- That said, Delphox (and its unique subtyping) could sneak into some metas where other Fires cannot, and it’s not straight up terrible, so grabbing one for Great League and perhaps Ultra League is a worthwhile venture if you can manage it.
- Mystical Fire debuts as a bit of a waste here, but it could be pretty sweet on a number of other Pokémon recipients. We’ll look at some of them at the end!
DELPHOX Stats and MovesDelphox FirePsychic
Great League Stats
|133 (132 High Stat Product)||116 (115 High Stat Product)||109 (112 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-11-14, 1499 CP, Level 18.5)
Ultra League Stats
|172 (170 High Stat Product)||147 (150 High Stat Product)||143 (144 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-13, 2500 CP, Level 30.5)
Master League Stats
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs, CP 3459 at Level 50)
Real quick, because you’re more here for the moves than anything. Delphox has roughly the same Attack, bulk, and overall stat product as Charizard and Typhlosion in Great League and Ultra League, and slightly exceeds them in Master League (passing them by with about 200 more CP and nearly 500 more total stat product). Just to give you a ballpark. It’s not great in terms of bulk, but not too far off what you usually expect of some of the better Fire types out there.
The typing is the more interesting part. The Psychic subtyping is a double edged sword, coming with resistances to Fighting (like Charizard and Talonflame) and Psychic (quite unlike most other Fires). However, the downside is just as notable, with big vulnerabilities to Dark and Ghost damage. It doesn’t have to worry about Electric or Ice damage like Charizard and Talonflame do, but on the flipside, it DOES have to worry about Ground, whereas those Flyers actually resist Ground. Just to highlight some of the tradeoffs.
But you’re here for the moves, so let’s get right to it!
- Fire Spin – Fire type, 3.0 DPT, 3.33 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
- Zen Headbutt – Psychic type, 2.67 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.5 CD
- Scratch – Normal type, 4.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
Keeping this simple too: it is very clearly Fire Spin you want. Scratch looks decent-ish in theory, but much like Bite (which shares the exact same stats), it doesn’t work out nearly as well as you’d hope. And despite the intruguing and unique promise of Psychic (the typing) fast move damage, Zen Headbutt is terrible, in large part to keep Chansey from being any more ridonkulous than it already is in certain PvP metas. Fire Spin is basically your ONLY viable option.
And it’s the only one that has a chance of generating enough energy to make full use of the nifty charge move pool….
ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
ᴺ – New Move starting on Community Day
- Mystical Fireᴺ – Fire type, 60 damage, 45 energy, Reduces Opponent Attack -1 Stage
- Flame Charge Fire type, 65 damage, 50 energy, Raises User Attack +1 Stage
- Blast Burnᴱ – Fire type, 110 damage, 50 energy
- Flamethrower – Fire type, 90 damage, 55 energy
- Psychic – Psychic type, 90 damage, 55 energy, 10% Chance: Reduce Opponent Defense -1 Stage
- Fire Blast – Fire type, 140 damage, 80 energy
Yep, there are TWO new moves to discuss here, in what seems to be a new trend in Community Day starters: one exclusive to the Community Day event (Blast Burn, easily among the Top 5 charge moves in GO in terms of energy-to-power ratio without any drawback), and one that becomes part of the regular movepool during Community Day (Mystical Fire, which is brand new to GO). And forget what charge moves Delphox has had to this point; moving forward, I think it’s Blast Burn and Mystical Fire that you want.
Not that it doesn’t already have viable (at least on paper) charge moves. Flame Charge is always nice, though it does lose some of its lustre when not paired with a powerful fast move like Incinerate or Confusion (neither of which Delphox can learn in the latest mainline games, frustratingly). Flamethrower is boring but certainly viable on the right Pokémon, though in this case it’s probably Psychic (the move) that would be preferred, providing the same damage and better coverage than Flamethrower, plus a potential opponent debuff. But that’s all academic now… as you’ll see, it really is the new
kids moves on the block you want now instead, coverage be darned.
Let’s just get straight into it and you’ll see what I mean….
Put simply, here is Delphox with old moves, and here it is with Mystical Fire/Blast Burn. Even with the mighty Blast Burn and Flame Charge, there is little to no improvement. You really need both of the new moves for Delphox to get any more interesting than it already was. (Or wasn’t, more appropriately.) Only with the combination of Mystical’s debuffing (critically giving Delphox more of the bulk it desperately needs) and Blast Burn’s sheer power can Phoxy add on wins like Walrein (albeit only the Shadow version), Dunsparce, Defense Deoxys, Obstagoon, and things you feel like it really SHOULD be beating anyway, like Vigoroth and Cresselia. (It resists literally ALL of Cresselia’s moves!) That all said… Delphox still only beats less than a third of the core meta, and doesn’t even cross 50% against the whole of Great League. You’re still far better off with things like Charizard (even with the same Fire Spin that Phoxy uses), Talonflame, or heck, even stuff like Magcargo or Ninetales or the like. At least it’s better among Fire starters than things like Infernape? 🤷♂️
The one advantage that MAY prove itself is that, as a Psychic type, Delphox may be able to sneak into some limited metas that most other Fires cannot enter. Though uh… usually you’d think Victini (a fellow Psychic/Fire type) would be able to as well, and it too outclasses Phoxy. Hey, I’m trying here, folks!
Maybe Ultra League will treat it more kindly?
Eh, maybe not. 😬 Heck, it’s even a merely modest improvement over Psychic/Flame Charge, losing now to Poliwrath and gaining only Walrein, Toxicroak, and Dubwool to make up for it. And no, really not any more impressive in Ultra League Premier, either. We keep hovering around 33% wins against the core meta Pokémon, at best.
Any better in Master League? Spoiler alert: nah.
Here we go. I mean, this shouldn’t be shocking, as even the best Fires (not named Ho-Oh or sometimes Reshiram) tend to struggle. But Delphox cannot even beat things those other Fires can, like Garchomp, Groudon, Snorlax (being weak to Lick does not help!), and others.
Yeah, this just remains, as I feared, a poor PvP Pokémon, folks.
Is there ANY hope? Well, two different ways to look at that….
WHAT COULD SAVE DELPHOX?
I mean, the charge moves are solid, as I said earlier. Even a comparatively spammy charge move like Psyshock or Fire Punch doesn’t really help. The real problem is the lack of a better fast move. Fire Spin is an above average move, but in the era of Incinerate and even the buffed Ember, it’s fallen from its days as the once-best Fire fast move. But unfortunately, there isn’t much else that Delphox’s MSG movesets have to offer. It can learn Hex, which would be an interesting twist, but not really an improvement. It can also learn Charm, which is funny to think about until you look at the actual performance.
If we go to previous generations, Delphox could learn Ember as recently as Generation 7, which does boost it a little bit at least in Ultra League, though it remains lackluster. It also DID learn Incinerate once upon a time, though only in its initial appearance in Gen6. That would help in Great League, though as you can see, it still remains subpar. Confusion would at least be a bit interesting, but it never learned that in MSG.
But even trying to really reach for some of its best (and, honestly, very unlikely) options, Delphox is still on the outside looking in on other, better Fire types. I think it just is what it is. The shaky bulk and lack of any good coverage just leaves it a lesser option in PvP. Sorry… I tried!
But let’s end on a high note….
OTHER MYSTICAL FIRE USERS?
So just for simplicity, here is a link to all Pokémon that can learn Mystical Fire in MSG). It’s a pretty big list. But here are some of the highlights that could really stand to benefit if they get Mystical Fire in GO in the future. Niantic HAS shown a pattern of distributing new moves like this the following in-game Season, so we may not even have to wait long!Volcarona FireBug
- Starting with actual Fire types that get it, VOLCARONA would really appreciate it (just compare to its current, sad performance… might even be worth the egg grind after that, eh? (Okay, maybe not. 🙃)
- I consider this far less likely considering its glut of moves (including already having a Community Day move), but SHADOW MAGMORTAR would potentially become a fun wild card option with Mystical Fire.
- ALSO rather unlikely with its existing big movepool, I can dream of Mystical Fire NINETALES, okay?
- I have always wanted RAPIDASH to emerge as a fun option in Ultra League. Mystical Fire would make that possible, I think.
- HO-OH would actually like it even more than Sacred Fire… which is why I don’t imagine this will ever actually happen.
- A little more likely would be CHANDELURE, but I’d be awfully surprised. Niantic seems to have done enough with it already and have probably moved on.
More interesting, perhaps, are the non-Fire types….Clefable Fairy
- There are several notable Charmers that can learn Mystical Fire in MSG, and I think none of them would appreciate it more than CLEFABLE. Poor fella has been relegated to complete afterthought in Ultra League these days. But man oh man, Mystical Fire would change all that! It would also help SYLVEON (and make the Quick Attack version very interesting indeed!), and it would be a small bump to SHADOW GARDEVOIR anywhere you’d consider using it as well. But really, I just want poor ol’ Clefable to get some love, don’t you? Come on, Niantic… make this one happen! 🙏
- NOT a Charmer, but fellow Fairy GALARIAN RAPIDASH would become quite spicy in Ultra League with Mystical Fire too, which looks better (at that level) than Megahorn OOR High Horsepower. (I think, by and large, it would still prefer those other closers in Great League, however.)
- Remember that Mystical Fire is a clone (other than typing, of course) of Icy Wind, so it’s probably no surprise that it’s not an upgrade for DRIFBLIM… but it IS certainly an interesting sidegrade.
- Other oddball beneficiaries would be GOURGEIST (giving it a nice niche away from Trevenant), SOLGALEO, and the still-pending, heavily-rumored-for-GOFest DIANCIE. That would be interesting, no?
So yeah… Mystical Fire COULD end up being a fun, impactful move in PvP. Just… not on Delphox.
Alright, that’s it for today! I’m working up a re-review of Shadow Mewtwo ahead of next week’s debut of Shadow Raids, and got another project or two in the hopper as I try to ramp back up after a couple weeks “off” from writing. Times are tough right now, but hopefully these analyses can continue to provide a little pick-me-up!
Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.
Good hunting, folks! Do stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!