Analysis of Pokémon GO World Championships 2022 Returning Community Day Moves

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This week marks the first time Pokémon GO will be a part of the Pokémon World Championships, and to celebrate, we’re having a special Pokémon GO World Championships Event! In addition to some good PvP-centric spawns and Elite TM rewards, we also get another crack at FIVE of the best Community Day moves from the past, and for five days! (August 18th, 10am to August 23rd, 8pm).

Today, I want to focus on those five exclusive moves. They’re ALL good and ALL worth having, but I wanted to help you understand the why, and how they might be able to help YOU, dear trainer.

So, below are my own thoughts based on experience and simulations. I do have three and a half years of doing PvP analysis under my belt, but this is not gospel or anything! If you have other thoughts, even differing thoughts, please post them in comments after reading so we can all benefit from your knowledge too!

Especially with the PvE bits. I am NO PvE expert, but I’ve been dabbling more and more in that analysis when relevant too… and some of these are most definitely PvE relevant! I gave my own thoughts there too, with some data to back it up, but if you have further advice or thoughts, again, please share!

Returning Moves

These moves will be learned upon evolution during the Pokémon World Championships Event 2022.

Pokémon Exclusive move
Rhyperior Rock Wrecker Rock
Gengar Shadow Punch Ghost
Gyarados Aqua Tail Water
Metagross Meteor Mash Steel
Talonflame Incinerate Fire

B.L.U.F.

Alright, before we dive in, today’s Bottom Line Up Front will be pretty simple: I just want to rack and stack these five in terms of priority. Again, they are ALL worth getting, but for which leagues? And how do they rank for PvE? Here’s what I think:

  • For Great League, from best to “worst”, I rank them like this:
    • Talonflame (Incinerate)
    • Gengar (Shadow Punch)
    • Gyarados (Aqua Tail)
    • …and then very low priority for both Rhyperior (Rock Wrecker) and Metagross (Meteor Mash).
  • For Ultra League, it goes
    • Talonflame
    • Gengar
    • Gyarados
    • Rhyperior
    • and Metagross.
    • Same as Great League, though Gengar and Gyarados are much higher priority here than they were in GL (sort of 1B and 1C to Talonflame’s 1A).
  • Master League is quite different.
    • Metagross is probably the top priority if you don’t have one…
    • …with Gyarados right up there too.
    • Then comes Rhyperior
    • …followed by Gengar (though Gengar rises considerably if you think Megas will return to GBL).
    • Talonflame is basically irrelevant at this level, though.
  • And finally, for PvE:
    • Rhyperior and Metagross are your top two, standing on pretty equal ground.
    • After that is probably Gyarados, as Aqua Tail isn’t TOO far off the pace of Hydro Pump.
    • Gengar is a nice-to-have, I suppose, in case where it’s about do perish and won’t reach another Shadow Ball.
    • But Talonflame is basically useless for raiding and doesn’t rank.

All that out of the way… let’s get to the nitty gritty details!

METAGROSS

Metagross SteelPsychic

METEOR MASH (Steel type, 100 damage, 50 energy, 2.00 DPE)

⌛ Previously Available: 21 Oct 2018, 3 Dec 2018, 14-15 Dec 2019, 19-24 Jan 2021, 14 Mar 2021

⚔️ Great League Priority: LOW

⚔️ Ultra League Priority: LOW

⚔️ Master League Priority: VERY HIGH

🥚 PvE/Raid Priority: VERY HIGH

Ironically, of the five moves we’ll cover today, this is the one that has actually been available the most number of times, and more than twice as many days as any of the other four. Yet this is also the only one that wasn’t featured during December Community Day either of the last two years, and somehow still feels like one that people continue to clamor for, especially if they weren’t around during the couple early 2021 events where it returned.

It’s also a huge boon for PvP and PvE players alike. I’ll actually start with the PvE side, where this is one of the easiest analyses ever, because Meteor Mash Metagross ranks in the Top 5 Steel attackers… multiple times!

Metagross and Mega Metagross (when we eventually get there) are both well within the Top 5, while Shadow Metagross is #1 and looks very future proof… it should retain that crown for a long time to go, if not forever. Now how often do you really WANT Steel attackers? Admittedly, not too terribly often, though they’re really good counters to things that Steel deals super effective damage to AND things that Steel resists in return… stuff like Fairies and Articuno and Aerodactyl and several other Rock and/or Ice types fit the bill. It’s worth having some on hand, so yes, feel free to evolve all your hundos while you can for Meteor Mash, even if you never intend to use them for PvP.

That said… having a good, maxed Metagross and NOT ever using it for PvP is almost a crime. Because while Metagross struggles rather mightily in Great League and Ultra League, it always has been (and likely always will be) a staple, almost must-have tool in one’s Master League arsenal. And that remains true in ML Premier Classic and even in Mega Master League (if either of those formats ever come back). It’s a great Dragon slayer (to include Dialga), though not perfect (things with inherant advantages like Palkia and the Giratinas overcome) that also beats Psychics, Ices, opposing Steels (though not Excadrill, for obvious reasons), many Fighters and Flyers, and of course, decimates Fairies (to include Zacian), probably its absolute best role. And last note is that I highly recommend non-Shadow over Shadow Gross (for PvP, that is), as the latter struggles with things like Mewtwo, Lugia, and Magnezone that non-Shadow is able to overcome.

And all of THAT is why I have it ranked a “very high” priority for PvP Master League AND for PvE. If you evolve only one of these five Pokémon during the event, make it Metagross. I don’t see that you’ll ever end up regretting it.

GYARADOS

Gyarados WaterFlying

AQUA TAIL (Water type, 50 damage, 35 energy, 1.43 DPE)

⌛ Previously Available: 8 Aug 2020, 12-13 Dec 2020, 18-19 Dec 2021

⚔️ Great League Priority: MODERATE

⚔️ Ultra League Priority: HIGH

⚔️ Master League Priority: VERY HIGH

🥚 PvE/Raid Priority: MODERATE

At the other end of the scale, we have what is often a bait move rather than a big closer, with Aqua Tail. However, it is exactly the kind of move Gyarados needed to put itself on the PvP map. Prior to that, it was 45-energy Crunch and then big fat expensive closers Outrage (60 energy) or Hydro Pump (75 energy), with which it was okay but far from great. With Aqua Tail, things are looking up, with new wins versus Dragonite, Zekrom, Lugia, and Yveltal. It’s even more drastic in 2v2 shielding, where spammy Aqua Tail can beat Dragonite, Origin Giratina, Mewtwo, Landorus, Snorlax, Zacian (without Wild Charge), and Excadrill, none of which it can reliably take out otherwise. Put simply: it’s Aqua Tail Gary or mostly bust in Master League.

That continues in the other Leagues as well. Gary is especially solid in Ultra League Premier Classic (yes, I continue to hold out hope that will return), with Tail bringing in wins like Gallade, Gliscor, Obstagoon, Scizor, Blaziken, and Dragon Breath Charizard (as compared to non-Aqua Tail). But it’s viable in Open UL as well, where Aqua Tail again gives it a boost with wins over DB Zard, Cofagrigus, Origin Giratina, Snarl Alolan Muk, Shadow Nidoqueen, Obstagoon, Scizor, Scrafty, and Toxicroak that non-Tail Gary simply can’t. (Worth noting, though, that the big closer move can instead beat chonkers Mandibuzz and Umbreon.)

And while Gary is still not… well, great in Great League even with Aqua Tail, it at least has Cup use now, much moreso than it did before Aqua Tail.

But again, Gyarados is a monster in Master League, and that includes its Shadow and of course Megaforms… but only thanks to Aqua Tail. If you don’t have one, or just want a better (perhaps angry red shiny) one, you know what to do!

But for PvE, as a low-power move, Aqua Tail isn’t much of a consideration… just run with Dragon Breath/Outrage or Waterfall/Hydro Pump instead, depending on which role you want it to fill. Aqua Tail isn’t BAD, and I suppose it can’t hurt to have it if you want to sneak in some extra damage before fainting, as Hydro Pump does take a loooooong time to wind up. You just don’t really need it most of the time, IMO.

GENGAR

Gengar GhostPoison

SHADOW PUNCH (Ghost type, 40 damage, 35 energy, 1.14 DPE)

⌛ Previously Available: 19 Jul 2020, 12-13 Dec 2020, 18-19 Dec 2021

⚔️ Great League Priority: MODERATE-HIGH

⚔️ Ultra League Priority: VERY HIGH

⚔️ Master League Priority: HIGH (especially for Premier/Classic)

🥚 PvE/Raid Priority: LOW

Basically same as with Gyarados: Gengar needed a bait move, and got it back in 2020 with Shadow Punch, used to bait shields and/or sneak in extra damage when you won’t reach Shadow Ball (or Sludge Bomb or another move, if you’re feeling spicy) in time. Gengar is essentially a slightly bulkier/slightly less hard-hitting alternative to Haunter in Great League (Haunter does basically the same thing without Legacy moves), but in Ultra and Master (and Mega Masters 😱), Gengar stands alone. And stands tall, especially in Ultra League, where it can feast on the format’s many Fighters, Fairies, Ghosts, Flying Fires, Psychics (even scary Confusion users), Grasses, and more. But it NEEDS Shadow Punch to be that effective, as without it, Gengar falls flat. Don’t miss out!

Again as with Gyarados, Shadow Punch isn’t really a move you want or need in PvE. On very rare occasions you may want to fire one off just before Gengar dies and you won’t have time to reach a more expensive move (as Punch is a three-bar move), but otherwise it’s Shadow Ball all the time, every time.

RHYPERIOR

Rhyperior GroundRock

ROCK WRECKER (Rock type, 110 damage, 50 energy, 2.20 DPE)

⌛ Previously Available: 22 Feb 2020, 12-13 Dec 2020, 18-19 Dec 2021

⚔️ Great League Priority: LOW

⚔️ Ultra League Priority: MODERATE

⚔️ Master League Priority: HIGH

🥚 PvE/Raid Priority: VERY HIGH

There are many ways you can run your Rhyperior in PvP. There is the Smack Down variant which usually wants Surf and Superpower (or MAYBE Earthquake), and that’s the variant you are most likely to see in Ultra League Premier Classic and many times in Master League as well. But the other, probably most popular variant features Mud Slap and relies on Community Day Exclusive move Rock Wrecker to get in Rock damage. Rhyperior does also have Stone Edge and can work that way too, but Rock Wrecker is better in every way, being 5 energy cheaper and dealing 10 additional damage. (In Master League, for just a couple examples, it beats Snorlax and Origin Giratina with Rock Wrecker, but does not with Stone Edge.) Why yes, it IS a clone of Blast Burn, thanks for noticing. Rock Wrecker is a very good move featured on a Pokémon you may not have made use of yourself, but is good to have in your arsenal. Rhyperior doesn’t have much play in Great League, but it’s decent enough in Ultra League to at least TRY to get one there, and I’d call it a near-must to acquire one appropriate for use in Master League if you lack it.

And if nothing else, I will take off my PvP hat for a brief moment to mention that Rock Wrecker Rhyperior is a fantastic PvE weapon too.

DPS/TDO calculators show that Smack Down/Rock Wrecker Rhyperior is a Top 5 Rock option in Damage Per Second (DPS) among current Rock attackers, and is even better in terms of Total Damage Output (TDO) thanks to being pretty bulky, now entering the Top 3.

Whether you care about PvP or PvE (even moreso the latter in this case), go get a big boy! Or, even better, several.

TALONFLAME

Talonflame FireFlying

INCINERATE (Fire type, 3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 2.5 Cooldown)

⌛ Previously Available: 6 Mar 2021, 18-19 Dec 2021

⚔️ Great League Priority: (VERY?) HIGH

⚔️ Ultra League Priority: HIGH

⚔️ Master League Priority: n/a

🥚 PvE/Raid Priority: LOW

Our first and only Exclusive fast move coming back during this event, and it’s a no-brainer for PvPers. Especially in Ultra League, Incinerate is what put Talonflame on the map. In fairness, it’s certainly viable with Fire Spin, but it’s just THAT much better with Incinerate instead, picking up stuff like Nidoqueen (regular or Shadow) and Trevenant, some more off-the-wall stuff like Gallade (and Shadow Gallade) and Goodra, and even nutty stuff like Jellicent, Lapras, and Empoleon. Surely you’ve been caught at least once staring dumbfounded at the screen after a Brave Bird nuked your supposedly safe Fire counter into oblivion. It’s okay to admit it… we’ve ALL been there, friend. And Incinerate, more than Fire Spin, makes that possible thanks to generating 4.0 Energy Per Turn (as opposed to Fire Spin’s more pedstrian 3.33 EPT).

These days, the gap is even a bit larger in Great League, with Incinerate can burn down Shadow Walrein, Toxicroak, Shadow Ninetales, Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales, and — thanks to the high energy of Incinerate and a closing Brave Bird — Altaria! Fire Spin can do none of that… you definitely want Incinerate here.

As with everything on this list, if you don’t have the candy to fully level up multiple Talonflames (at least one for both Great and Ultra Leagues), that’s okay… just make sure you get them evolved to build up later.

But don’t worry about PvE. Talonflame just doesn’t have the stats for that, Incinerate or no Incinerate. More than anything else on this list, this is a PvP-only concern.

Alright, this is one of THREE analyses I’ve been working simultaniously over the last couple days. Later this week, we’ll have a full meta/budget review (‘Nifty Or Thrifty’) of Fighting Cup, and also a deep dive analysis on Zacian (and Zamazenta) after its return to raids for only the second time… and the first time in nearly 12 months. Both in the next 2-3 days. No rest for the weary! 😵 All that to say… I chose to finish this one off first because I thought it would be the one that would benefit most from some lead time… time for you, my friends, to go out and grind and/or trade for good Beldums, Magikarps, Haunters, Rhyhorns, and/or Fletchling to evolve during the event. And keep in mind that while they apparently won’t be in the wild during the event, all five of those WILL be in some form of field research. Good luck!

Until next time (probably Fighting Cup?), you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you know what to prioritize during this special event. Catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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