Dragonspiral Descent Event: A PvP Guide

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Alright folks, let’s keep this one really quick and easy today, shall we?

The Dragonspiral Descent event is upon us already, and while there’s quite a bit to see and do, how much of it matters for PvP? Let’s dive in and take a brief look! Consider this your super simple field guide to the event. Here we go!

JUDGE DRUDD

Druddigon Dragon

The big new “get” in this event is DRUDDIGON, a mono-Dragon type that doesn’t evolve… what you see is what you get. Niantic in all their wisdom/greed/logic Nianticness has opted to release it in research and raids only, so this isn’t a simple go-out-and-catch acquisition, and will bottom out at 10-10-10 IVs unless you get to trading. So how hard do we grind for it? Is this one to throw a bunch of raid passes at and drive around scarfing up the proper field research tasks to land ourselves a bunch?

Let me save you some time and heartache and answer that question right up front: not really, no.

Druddigon is an awesome looking Pokemon, and potentially getting a shiny right from the get-go is a nice hook. And it comes with a wide array of moves in MLG) that definitely piques one’s interest. The potential was there for Shadow Claw with a very wide and varied range of awesome coverage moves. But in the end, it is the limited moves it got that holds it back even more than its Attack-heavy stats. We get only one viable fast move, though at least it’s a decent one: Dragon Tail. And while it has nice spammy charge moves with Dragon Claw and Night Slash, its only closer is non-STAB, never-super-effective Hyper Beam, tied for slowest charge move in the game. Eww.

So yeah. It’s barely there in Ultra League, and fares little better in Great League. Night Slash unfortunately offers no real coverage (both it and Dragon are of course resisted by Fairies in particular), and Hyper Beam can do SOME things but is obviously far too slow to count on as anything but a Hail Mary as Drudd nears death. (And no, shields down is no better.) Do note, for what it’s worth, that a Level 20 (raid-level) Drudd CAN fit in Great League, so that’s nice, I guess? On the other end of the spectrum, it really doesn’t even get big enough to compete at all in Master League.

So what’s the verdict?

With shaky bulk, no handy subtyping for extra resistances, and spammy but low powered moves that don’t offer good coverage, Judge Drudd is most definitely NOT the law. My advice? Go out and get a few with free raid passes and whatever research ones you can find, and of course shiny hunters are gonna grind this hard anyway. (I mean, it IS a pretty sweet shiny, I’ll give it that!) It has a fantastic array of moves in MLG and has a lot of room to grow if it recieves new moves down the line. But I don’t see the need to go nuts. Find a good one or two and sit on them in hopes of a shakeup in the future.

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS

With Druddigon being the only thing new here, the rest of this is going to be pretty quick. This may end up being my shortest article in, like, ever. 😅

Dragonite DragonFlying
  • DRAGONITE is back in raids. No evolving necessary… whatever passes you don’t use on Drudd, just go and get yourself a few of the OG Dragon. It’s still one of the better generalists in PvP, at all three levels. In Great League you typically want Shadow for its amazing damage output, but non-Shadow is interesting too and has made waves in limited metas of the past (and likely will in the future). That said, its best leagues to shine in are those where it can spread its wings and show off its high CP potential. That’s somewhat Ultra League, where it’s not as flashy as other Dragons but works just fine (Fighters and Grasses and Fires and several Waters and the Giratinas certainly want no parts of it!), but much moreso Master League, at Level 40 or Level 50. And remember that each Dragonair you catch is at least 1 XL Candy guaranteed, and each Dragonite you catch will net you at least 2 XL, so if nothing else this is a pretty decent opportunity to farm for Dratini XL Candy!
Deino DarkDragon Zweilous DarkDragon
  • DEINO encounters in the wild means this is a nice time to find a good Little League one… there might not be any Little Cups in Season 10, but you KNOW it’ll be back at some point, and Deino is amazing at that level. Of course this is also a great opportunity to try and land a good ZWEILOUS for Great League, as it’s good not just in limited formats (like Remix), but Open GL play as well. But what of HYDREIGON? While it CAN work in PvP in skilled hands, there’s a reason you don’t really see it in PvP. I recommend just using that Deino candy for the two pre-evolutions.
Flygon GroundDragon
  • Trapinch and Vibrava mean grinding for a good FLYGON. Of course, these days you usually want Earth Power on it, and since that move was a Community Day exclusive back in 2019, it won’t be returning this year, so you’ll need an Elite TM to get it if you somehow still lack an EP Flygon. Unlike most of the other Dragons, Trapinch and Vibrava are both weather-boosted in Sunny weather, so this might be the best thing to grind for as far as wild spawns to scoop up regular and XL Candy. Not that you NEED a lot of XL, but….
Reshiram DragonFire Zekrom DragonElectric
  • I haven’t really written about them recently, but RESHIRAM and ZEKROM continue to be in raids through this event, and remain fine enough options in Master League. They don’t work in Ultra League though, in case you ever wondered. But for ML, sure, keep on grinding. For a detailed analysis, see the work of my colleague MeteorAsh on both Reshiram and Zekrom.

AND A SMATTERING OF OTHERS….

Golurk GroundGhost

It’s a real shame that Golett remains locked behind a raid paywall during this event… considering its prominence as a spawn in the actual Dragonspiral Tower, I expected it to be a wild spawn during this event, but alas, Nianticness strikes again. If you have a glut of raid passes and get your fill of Druddigon and Dragonite and whatever else, sure, Golett is a decent use of extra passes to stock up on pretty rare candy. Because GOLURK has been pretty decent in limited metas of the past, and likely will be again in the future.

Zebstrika Electric Ninetales Fire

And there’s really not a lot else to mention. The other wild spawns (Vulpix, Seel, Mareep, Sneasel, Blitzle) you likely have plenty of candy for already, as they’re common spawns normally or have had enough events that you’ve likely been able to stock up. I suppose I WILL point out that the XL versions of ZEBSTRIKA and NINETALES are better than you probably realize, so if you enjoy grinding for XL Candy during events like this, you know what to do.

TL;DR

  • Druddigon has some very nice potential with its wide array of moves… from MLG. In GO, it got a rather boring moveset that leaves it a fringe player, at best, in Great League and Ultra League. Find a good one or two to hold on to and candy to go with them, but likely not worth building them up yet.
  • The biggest get here is probably good old Dragonite. With Dragaonair AND Dragonite and their guaranteed XL Candy around, all members of the Dratini family line are likely your best grind-it-out targets during the event.
  • Deino being in the wild is always nice for IV spreads and candy/XL grinding. Go get ’em! Just don’t worry about evolving beyond middle evolution Zweilous… Hydregion isn’t all that hot in PvP.
  • You can grind for Trapinch, Golett, Blitzle, and Vulpix candy/XL candy too, if you really want to go gung-ho. All of their later evolutions are at least decent in Great League and viable as XLs in Ultra League as well.

Alright, I promised I’d keep it direct and to the point, and for once, that’s exactly what we’ve got! Just a simple little guide to let you know how hard — or not! — to hit this event for PvP purposes. Good luck!

For more PvP tidbits, you can find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon if you prefer. Or please feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends. Thanks again for reading, and catch you next time!

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