Gust Staraptor PvP and Brief PvE Analysis (July 2022 Community Day)

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Howdy folks! Well, after finally getting the long-awaited Deino Community Day so many begged for, next is the inevitable course correction. It’s time for STARAPTOR to have its brief moment in the spotlight… and specifically for the purposes of THIS article, under the lights.

I’m gonna give it to you straight, folks… this article took awhile just because even I am finding the motivation tough to come by. Starly gets a new shiny, so we’ll take that, but the Pokémon itself is just very meh.

Unfortunately my findings likely won’t help motivate all that much, but there ARE a couple juicier tidbits I was able to tease out, so it’s not a TOTAL loss. Here’s a very quick review of that and then we’ll get into the meat of the article itself.

B.L.U.F.

  • Good news: Gust basically doubles Staraptor’s win total in Great AND Ultra Leagues.
  • Bad news: that win total is still south of not only a 50% win rate, but even a 33% win rate. OUCH.
  • There IS some potential salvation in Ultra League Premier Classic, where Shadow Staraptor occupies a pretty unique niche… if ULPC ever comes back, that is!
  • Shadow Staraptor is already a bit under the radar in PvE, and Gust does make it a tiny bit better. We take a quick peek at where it ranks pre- and post-Community Day below.
  • What Staraptor really needed was a better charge move. We’ll discuss that and some things it COULD have gotten that would better fit what it needs and wants to do.

Alright, now for the deeper dive….

STARAPTOR Stats and Moves

Staraptor NormalFlying

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
140 (139 High Stat Product) 91 (91 High Stat Product) 124 (126 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-13-13, 1500 CP, Level 20)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
182 (180 High Stat Product) 117 (118 High Stat Product) 160 (162 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 2-15-14, 2500 CP, Level 35.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
197 (209 at Level 50) 122 (130 at Level 50) 168 (178 at Level 50)

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 2825 at Level 40; CP 3194 at Level 50)

So here we go again… another featured Pokémon with poor PvP stats. Last Community Day we had Hydreigon with its below average bulk (135ish Attack, but only 105ish Defense and 116 HP on average), and more recently our “Ultra Unlock” reward of Simisear which, along with its fellow monkeys Simisage and Simipour with the same Attack and roughly same (lack of) bulk as Hydreigon.

And now here comes Staraptor… with even more lopsided stats. More Attack than Hydra or the Simis, but even less bulk, mostly thanks to that major eyesore in Defense. I won’t sugar coat it… this looks problematic, and as you’ll see when we brign in sims, it IS.

As for the actual typing, Normal Birds like this are obviously weak to all the standard Flying threats, namely Ice, Electric, and Rock damage. But Flying also comes with resistances to Bug and Grass damage, a DOUBLE resistance to Ground, and a resistance to Fighting that neutralizes the standard Normal weakness to Fighting. (Staraptor takes neutral from Fighting.)

Normal also comes with its famous double resistance to Ghost that has helped make Pidgeot a champion in formats like Kanto Cup with its potent Ghosts and Pokémon with Ghost moves. Unfortunately, Staraptor has a bit more trouble taking advantage of that… but that’s for later. For now, the moves, including the new Community Day move.

– Exclusive (Community Day) Move

Fast Moves

  • Wing AttackFlying type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • Quick AttackNormal type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • GustFlying type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 2.0 CD

Raise your hand if you knew that Wing Attack, known to be a solid PvP move, and Quick Attack, usually an afterthought in PvP, were the exact same move. (I mean, aside from typing, of course.) Very good, class! Now explain to the person giving you a funny look why your hand suddenly shot up into the air. 😳 Now explain to the rest of us why you raised your hand when you are CLEARLY lying. 😯 Okay okay, maybe you’re not… I trust you, friend. But a LOT of players probably had no idea that Quick Attack was as decent as it is.

But of course, the real discussion here is the exclusive move, because this is one of those rare cases where we get a fast move on Community Day: Gust. Interesting to note: Staraptor, a Generation 4 Pokémon, couldn’t learn Gust until Generation 8. A little surprising that Niantic chose that move, just assigned to Staraptor this year, nearly 16 years after its initial release in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Maybe something to watch for moving forward in how Niantic (and TPC) select moves to assign in Pokémon GO.

ANYway, all that aside, here comes Gust Staraptor, a much different beast than Wing/Quick Attack with their reliance on racing to charge moves. Gust is a move that obviously does plenty of damage on its own. Might that elevate Staraptor’s PvP performance? To determine that, we still need to factor in the charge moves, of course!

– Purified-exclusive Move

Charge Moves

  • Close CombatFighting type, 100 damage, 45 energy, Reduces User Defense -2 Stages
  • Brave BirdFlying type, 130 damage, 55 energy, Reduces User Defense -3 Stages
  • ReturnNormal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
  • Heat WaveFire type, 95 damage, 75 energy

Rather immediately, even a novice PvPer can probably see the problems here. But to go into it for a minute….

Here we have a glassy Pokémon with a so-so typing combination. Other such ‘mons that have found PvP success typically do so due to having a solid bait move and a big closer, allowing it to rob the enemy of shields and still get off a big finisher before its own lack of bulk catches up to it. Staraptor kind of has that… but not really.

Yes, Brave Bird and especially Close Combat come rather cheap (in terms of energy), and the latter even provides handy coverage against Ice and Rock types that plague Flyers like Staraptor.

BUT there is a major downside that comes with both moves: very siginifcant Defense debuffs that make Staraptor even MORE critically flimsy, to the point that it is basically dead right after pulling the trigger on either move.

These are the types of moves you would want as your closing move and obviously NOT as your bait move, yet here they are the closest to baiting that Staraptor can get, as Fire Blast costs 25-30 additional energy.

In a way, this is the same problem Ho-Oh has in PvP, usually left to “bait” with typically-a-closing-move Earthquake/Sacred Fire and only THEN fire off a Brave Bird later. But Ho-Oh, of course, has better bulk AND better energy gains (from Incinerate) than poor Staraptor.

I’ll show you how it all looks for the leagues where Staraptor would at least theoretically be relevant, but spoiler alert: with these charge moves, none of it is good.

What Staraptor needs to be competitive in PvP is NOT another fast move, but an affordable and non-debuffing charge move or two to free it up for better utilization of Close Combat or Brave Bird as its closer, akin to how Talonflame, Pidgeot, and others like them operate.

At the end of this analysis, I will be plugging in some options that I hope the folks at Niantic (hi, Niantic folks! 👋) will consider in the future… perhaps during the next move rebalance. 🙏 But for now, here’s how Staraptor looks with existing moves:

GREAT LEAGUE

As noted in the BLUF at the top, here’s the good news: Gust more than doubles Staraptor’s winrate in Great League! (As compared to Wing Attack.) The bad news? Even with Gust, that winrate is still atrocious.

As compared to Wing Attack, Gust picks up wins versus Machamp (just as with Wing Attack versus Gust on Pidgeot, for an additional TIL tidbit!), Toxicroak, Araquanid, Sableye, Umbreon, Venusaur, and perhaps most impressively, Galarian Stunfisk.

But uh… this is still a bad PvP Pokémon, folks: a Flyer that fails to beat Scrafty or Medicham, a Normal that loses to most notable Ghosts (to include Jellicent and Alolan Marowak, both of which things like Pidgeot just dominate and can farm into oblivion), and obviously MUCH more in-between. Pidgeot and even [Noctowl]() just do it SO much better.

In fact, that close win over G-Fisk is the ONLY unique win that Staraptor has to boast… Pidgeot and/or Noctowl can match everything else it does and do much more on top of that. Now for full discloser, with shields down and in 2v2 shielding, Gust gets Staraptor closer to respectable numbers, and is a vast improvement on Wing Attack (especially in 2v2 shielding).

So yes, clearly Gust is better for Staraptor than Wing Attack overall, it’s just that it’s sill left badly outclassed by existing options.

Staraptor does have ONE ace up its sleeve that those other don’t, though… it has a Shadow alternative. And yes, Shadow Staraptor is overall better, with the needed punch to outrace Jellicent, Medicham, Sableye, Shadow Ninetales, and even Abomasnow… though it loses the bulk it needs to Close Combat G-Fisk and Umbreon to death.

It is a bit more interesting, but still very much on the outside looking in as compared to other big birds.

Maybe in Ultra League, where other alternatives start to fall away…?

ULTRA LEAGUE

Well…hmm. Maybe not. Granted, the win percentage is at least a better showing than Great League’s putrid numbers, and again an improvement over Wing Attack, but there’s still MUCH to be desired when things like Escavalier, Scizor, Gengar, Jellicent, Drifblim, both Giratinas and so many others slip away.

Heck, even without getting close to 2500 CP, Pidgeot still does it SO much better it’s not even a fair comparison.

The ONLY things Staraptor has in its favor is that it comes MUCH cheaper (Level 35ish as opposed to Pidgeot’s Level 50), and again, comes with the potential of a Shadow version that again looks a bit better, with new wins versus Shadow Dragonite, Umbreon, Abomasnow, Origin Giratina, and once again Galarian Stunfisk (though at the cost of losing to Obstagoon, Greedent, and Shadow Politoed now).

But even this, with Staraptor seemingly at its very best, STILL falls short of even a 33% win percentage. I have touted off-the-wall spice picks for literally years now, but even I in good conscience cannot really recommend that.

MAYBE if Ultra League Premier Classic ever returns, we might be talking. (And it FINALLY outperforms Pidgeot there too… huzzah!)

Should you happen to find a solid Shadow Starly, go ahead and get it Gust while you can as a potential future ULPC project, as that’s a meta chock full of Fighters and Grasses and Grounds that Shadow Staraptor can (mostly) feast on, as well as some others like Snorlax, Drapion, Shadow Dragonite, and Kingdra.

This is the one place where I’d give Staraptor (Shadow especially) a thumbs up.

MASTER LEAGUE…?

Yeah, okay, don’t get cute. Not even MLPC wants this thing, much less open Master League. If you’re reading this, congrats on your hundo, but you don’t want it for PvP.

However….

PvE

So my typical caveat here: I am NOT a PvE expert by any definition. But I can at least run some simple PvE numbers and comparisons, and can tell you that Gust/Brave Bird Shadow Staraptor IS slightly better than Wing Attack/Brave Bird Shadow Staraptor as a Flying attacker, but only barely. Here’s how it stacks up as compared to other existing Flying options:

Pokémon Fast Move Charge Move Damage Per Second Total Damage Output
Moltres (Shadow) Wing Attack Sky Attack 20.56 517
Honchkrow (Shadow) Peck Sky Attack 20.55 337
Honchkrow (Shadow) Peck Brave Bird 19.22 315
Staraptor (Shadow) Gust Brave Bird 19.11 365
Staraptor (Shadow) Wing Attack Brave Bird 18.90 361
Pidgeot (Mega) Gust Brave Bird 18.62 567
Pidgeot (Mega) Wing Attack Brave Bird 18.33 558

So as this shows, Brave Bird is itself a little unforunate in PvE, being interior to Sky Attack when you have the option of both. But Gust IS a little bit of an upgrade on Wing Attack. So yes, Shadow Staraptor is a little bit better in PvE with Gust, but still not enough to pass what was already in front of it (Shadow Moltres and Shadow Honchkrow).

However, it will be a piece of cake to build one or multiple up during Community Day, and it IS a top tier Flying attacker, so if that’s something you’re interested in (perhaps for future Buzzwole raids, as it’s double weak to Flying damage), go ham!

So there you have it… your review of Gust Staraptor, the good (ULPC? PvE?), the bad (still an awkward suite of charge moves), and the ugly (basically all other PvP Leagues!). Now let’s take a brief moment to imagine what could have been… and maybe, hopefully, still will be one day? 🥺

FIXING STARAPTOR

So as noted a few times, while Gust does elevate Staraptor’s performance pretty much universally, it still has a ways to go because of its suicidal charge moves Brave Bird and Close Combat, which are cool and thematic and true to what Staraptor is in MSG, but clumsy and limiting in Pokémon GO PvP. What it really needs in GO is an inexpensive charge move that doesn’t drop its already low Defense through the floor.

Thankfully, its moveset in MSG offers a few options. Let’s go over a few of them that already exist in GO.

  • While not exciting, the most basic would be Sky Attack. And while that does not greatly elevate its performance, it IS a further improvement that gives it more flexibility and consistentcy in its performance.
  • Much more exciting would be Fly, which would have been perfect for a Community Day like this. While it, like Sky Attack, does not drastically improve Staraptor’s PvP performance, it most definitely does help (even with Wing Attack… see, the fast move isn’t the biggest issue, Niantic!), and for the PvE lovers out there, would actually push it to the very top of the Flying DPS options (with Gust/Fly Shadow Staraptor having 20.75 Damage Per Second, higher than even Shadow Moltres!). THAT would be pretty cool, but alas….
  • For PvP specifically, probably the best we could hope for would be the move that put Pidgeot on the PvP map: Feather Dance. While it would essentially then just become Pidgeot Junior, hey, at least it would be MUCH more viable than what we have now, with the ability to beat all the Ghosts it struggles with currently (Drifblim, Jellicent, Cofagrigus, Alolan Marowak), plus Politoed, Mandibuzz, Swampert, Cresselia, and paths to victory over Azumarill too. Like I said, Pidgeot Jr., but I think we’d be okay with that, no?

So yes, another charge move or two would have been a bit more exciting, but heck, even THEN… this just isn’t a great PvP Pokémon, folks. You know I try to hype these things up, and I did my darndest here too, but there’s just only so much that can be done for a Pokémon like this. Oh well… new shiny! That’s always good, right?

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 this weekend. Do be safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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