Alright, time for an unusual article. This won’t be written in my typical style, and likely not to the typical brain-melting length either. 😅 (And there was much rejoicing.)
But since I wrote about the return of Alolan Marowak with Shadow Bone last week, I have received many questions on the first ever chance at getting Shadow Alolan Marowak, specifically regarding which one(s) to evolve. And that means it’s time for a deeper dive into IVs.
So, I did some poking around, and here are some interesting titbits I came across.Marowak (Alola Shadow) FireGhost
High bulk / High IV rank
The gold standard in Great League is to find high bulk and low Attack to maximize overall stat product while still staying under 1501 CP, right? “#1 IVs” are based on exactly this. So let’s start there.
Number 1 IVs for Alolan Marowak in Great League are 0-14-14 at Level 33.5, which results in 108.3 Attack, 150.5 Defense, 127 HP, and an overall stat product of 2072 (for reference, an “average” A-Wak sits around 2025 stat product) and comes in right at 1500 CP. We see some good and some bad here, though the overall records for #1 IV Shadow A-Wak and “default” IV Shadow A-Wak remain the same on the surface.
The biggest, most obvious difference is that max IV can tank a Water Pulse from Dewgong and cling to a win, while default, lower bulk IVs cannot. That said, even that is NOT a guarantee, as a savvy Dewgong player that leads off with a debuffing Icy Wind flips the script and can now live long enough to finish off Shadow A-Wak.
But there’s a telling matchup that goes in the OTHER direction: default IV Shadow A-Wak (with 110.8 Attack) can take down Talonflame JUST before it reaches a KO Brave Bird, while the lower Attack (again, about 108) of #1 IV Shadow A-Wak means that it misses a breakpoint and falls short… its Fire Spins deal 1 less damage each, and Talon hangs on to send A-Wak to a brutal death from above.
Note that 110ish Attack on Shadow A-Wak is still sufficient to hit that Fire Spin breakpoint even against #1 IV Talonflame, but now Talon can limp away with 1 HP thanks to having more HP to begin with. Being so close, you don’t have to hit another Fire Spin breakpoint to win… you just need to get one more damage from Shadow Bone, which happens with a very reasonable 110.8 Attack.
Pretty easily achieveable and realistic to hit that much Attack with a still-decent Shadow A-Wak. While not a fully comprehensive list, here are the Top 10 that hit the needed breakpoint (credit to PvPIVs.com).
As you can see, those are all of ranks somewhere in the 200s, which is upper tier without being crazy lucky. And conveniently, those kind of IVs keep up with the other IV spreads we looked at so far, losing Dewgong but beating Talonflame (and everything else the other Shadow A-Waks above can beat) and now flipping the mirror match to a win as well, due to having slightly higher Attack and now winning CMP.
And just to look a little bit deeper, consider 2v2 shielding. (All that above was standard 1v1 shielding.) The 110.8 Attack version I noted above (to beat Talonflame and win the mirror) matches all the same wins as #1 IV A-Wak… and again wins the mirror on top of that.
So in short, while there’s nothing WRONG with #1 IVs (or one of the top 200 ranked IV spreads), and such a Shadow Alolan Marowak DOES have the best chance of beating Dewgong, you may want to consider high bulk but with a little Attack going for it too. Not only do you have a better shot in the mirror match (an oft-ignored downside of #1 IVs for many competitive Pokémon), but you get a shot at things like Talonflame too.
So let’s take that one step further… do we gain anything by shooting for even MORE Attack, or does the corresponding loss of bulk just hold it back too much? Let’s check!
We don’t really see any major gains until we get up to 112.3 Attack (top IV spreads to hit that target here), as Lapras now shows up as a win. And here again, it’s not a new Fire Spin breakpoint that does it, but rather just dealing enough extra damage with Shadow Bone to finish Lapras off. There’s a catch, though…
#1 IV Lapras (or actually any Lapras with 180 HP or more) reaches a needed Surf and manages to limp away. (Can something with flippers limp? 🤔 Hmmm… anyway….) Shadow A-Wak has to get up to 113.2 Attack AND still retain some bulk to finish Lapras off before itself falling. Here are some IV spreads that get there, but be careful… some of those that lack bulk do NOT actually beat Lapras despite hitting the breakpoint.
At 113.5 Attack, Drapion flips to a win… at least, Drapion that lacks Aqua Tail. However, the steady loss of bulk finally catches up, as Vigoroth can now sneak away with a well-timed Bulldoze.
You CAN push things a bit further by shooting for 114 Attack, which still loses Viggy and still gains (default IV) Drapion, and now gains (default IV) Walrein too.
But now we’re getting into some pretty wild IV spreads, and despite the potential gains, I don’t know that I’d recommend going past that 113.5 Attack, and probably would even recommend stopping around that 113.2 Attack point to beat Lapras and still hold onto a bit of bulk.
The 113.5 and up relies on chasing Drapion, and #1 IV Drapion survives even against 115ish Attack Shadow A-Wak, and again, this all assumes Drapion without usually-preferred weapon Aqua Tail.
With Tail, virtually any Drapion can beat Shadow A-Wak almost regardless of IVs, from what I’m seeing. I think this is a case of chasing rainbows. 🌈 That shiny pot of gold that might be at the end SOUNDS promising, but it’s probably just an illusion.
So, what’re you saying JRE?
This is obviously NOT fully comprehensive, but as a general guideline, I think there are two ways to go with Alolan Marowak:
- High bulk is still a recommended course of action… just NOT, perhaps, the #1 IV specimen. You want a little Attack, and 110.8 seems to be a nice sweet spot to snag an extra win or two without giving up much of anything. (Technically Dewgong, but as noted before, a smart Dewgong player wins anyway.)
- Higher Attack is also alright, with the potential to beat Lapras shortly after crossing 112 Attack (or 113 for #1 IV, 180+ HP Lapras) and more and more chance of winning the important mirror match (thanks to winning CMP). There ARE targets to chase beyond that, such as Drapion and Walrein, but the lack of bulk at that point begins to become a major detriment (showing most clearly in a loss to Vigoroth).
Now one could dig ever deeper, of course, and I’m sure there are more things to be found. It’s like the old adage: if you’re fishing the local pond, how do you know when you’ve caught the last fish? How do you know when to walk away?
I unfortunately have other projects stacking up that I need to get to (Megas in PvP?! new Silph Arena meta! likely-soon announcements about the next GBL season! Shaymin analysis!), so I’m gonna have to stop here.
But for the many folks who have been asking about IVs, hopefully this gives you some good info nuggets for which ones to evolve during the upcoming Alola To Alola Event. The key remains this, however: evolve all the Shadow Cubones you can.
Shadow Kanto Marowak isn’t worth it, and would require some SERIOUS moveset tweaks (including a better fast move) to ever BE worth it.
THIS is the time to evolve your Shadow Cubones, folks. Evolve them up, even the ones stuck with Frustration for now, and sort the rest out later.
Until next time, you can find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon.
As always — though I don’t always remember to give this disclaimer — the simulated battles above from my go-to simming resource at PvPoke.com are a good start to the story, but they are certainly not the whole story.
Run some sims yourself, test with Shadow A-Wak yourself, and please discuss! I always love to hear your feedback and any discussions that come out of these deeper dives.
Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, and catch you next time!