Hawlucha in PvP: What Is and What Could Have Been

Howdy folks! Last week was quite busy and this week will be too, starting with an event that’s winding down… the long-awaited arrival of HAWLUCHA!

Analysis below will review Hawlucha as it is now and as it ALMOST was, but first let’s kick it off with our Bottom Line Up Front!


  • Oh, how Hawlucha misses both moves it lost just before release.
  • As a Fighting/Flying type, even with the nerfs, Hawlucha still has distinct advantages versus other Fighting types and remains at least interesting in Fighter-heavy formats.
  • Its Great League viability took the biggest hit, but it remains interesting enough to consider in Ultra League still, especially Ultra Premier.

Yeah, as you can tell, I’m a little bummed about this one. I understand why Niantic chose to gut its moveset before release, as they chose to release it as a limited regional (don’t you just love those?!), and made the best of a couple bad choices: have a really good Pokémon released to a small slice of the world and face widespread complaints about its limited availability, or make it not so great and instead face criticism only from that limited slice of the player base (and certain PvP analysts)? They chose the latter, which is admittedly sensible. But still, your humble author has been looking forward to Hawlucha since its original moveset was revealed back in November of 2020.

But enough blabbering. We’ll get to those moves in a minute. First let’s look at the Wrestling Pokémon itself.

HAWLUCHA Stats and Moves

Hawlucha FightingFlying

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
129 (126 High Stat Product) 109 (108 High Stat Product) 124 (130 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-15, 1498 CP, Level 23.5)

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
164 (163 High Stat Product) 139 (140 High Stat Product) 165 (167 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-15, 2500 CP, Level 49)

Starting with the stats… they’re pretty alright for a Fighter. It’s bulkier than things like Machamp, Toxicroak, Sneasler, Heracross and most other meta Fighting types, though less so than Poliwrath, Chesnaught, Scrafty, and slightly less so than Kommo-O. The closest comparisons I can find are Buzzwole and Hitmonchan, who have virtually the same Attack and higher Defense, though Hawlucha has compensatingly higher HP. All that to say… it’s on the bulky side of successful PvP Fighters.

The typing is the most interesting part. Like Galarian Zapdos before it, Hawlucha is a Flying Fighter, giving it a natural resistance to Fighting damage coming back its way. Beyond that, Hawlucha retains the same vulnerabilities (Psychic, Fairy, and ironically, Flying) and resistances (Bug and Dark) as other Fighters, though the standard resistance to Rock now becomes neutral instead. From the Flying side, Hawlucha doubles up the Bug resistance, as well as a double resistance to Ground and a single to Grass. On the vulnerability side, Electric and Ice pop up now. In the end, that leaves it with five weaknesses and five resistances, though two of those resistances are doubled up, which is nice.

Okay okay, time for those moves now. I’ll leave the original moves that were removed before release in the list, just crossed out, and we’ll talk about them a bit later too.

Fast Moves

  • Poison JabPoison type, 3.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • Low KickFighting type, 2.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • Wing AttackFlying type, 2.5 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 1.0 CD

Yep, Hawlucha was all set to take advantage of buffed Wing Attack, but alas, it was unceremoniously removed just before release. Now it’s left with an unusable Low Kick (the irony of low kick on a Flying Pokémon is not lost to me) and non-STAB Poison Jab, which admittedly is a very good move, just not very synergistic on a Fighting Pokémon. (Just ask Fighters like Toxicroak, Sneasler, Buzzwole, and Kommo-O who have Jab but basically NEVER want to use it.)

Thankfully there is some really excellent news among the charge moves, though again a sad note on what is no longer in the repertoire.

Charge Moves

  • Power-Up PunchFighting type, 20 damage, 35 energy, Raises User Attack +1 Stage
  • X-ScissorBug type, 45 damage, 35 energy
  • Flying PressFighting type, 90 damage, 40 energy
  • Aerial AceFlying type, 55 damage, 45 energy
  • Sky AttackFlying type, 75 damage, 45 energy

So first, pouring one out for what was lost: Sky Attack. I and other analysts often mock/lament Aerial Ace, because while it is viable enough (viable-ish, at least), when you stack it up against, say, Sky Attack (which deals 20 more damage for the same cost), it becomes blatantly obvious just HOW mediocre Aerial Ace is. So when Ace was added and Sky Attack removed from Hawlucha’s moveset just before it was released, you could probably hear the groans from most corners of the earth.

SO distasteful is Aerial Ace that several early videos I’ve seen of Hawlucha in GBL haven’t run Ace at all, but instead Power-Up Punch leading into the fantastic charge move that it got to keep: Flying Press. How good is it? Psystrike and Avalanche are considered to be amazing PvP moves (and they are), but Flying Press deals the same 90 damage for 5 less energy. The same is true of exclusive moves Fusion Flare and Fusion Bolt… 45 energy for 90 damage, whereas Flying Press does the same for only 40 energy. V-Create deals 5 more damage for the same 40 energy, but comes with a 3x nerf to the user’s Defense. Flying Press comes with zero drawbacks.

Yeah, it’s an amazing PvP move. So amazing that only Hawlucha and Pikachu Libre have it!

Anyway, you can run it alongside PuP for baits and buffs, or with Aerial Ace if you want extra coverage. That said… the only way Ace provides better coverage is if Flying Press is double resisted, or if Press is resisted and Ace is super effective. As a couple easy examples, against a Poison type like Nidoqueen (Fighting resisted, Flying neutral), Press still deals 1 more damage than Ace, and is of course 5 energy cheaper. Against, say, a fellow Fighter like Machamp, Press deals neutral and Ace deals super effective damage, yet Press deals 3 more damage than Ace, and again, for 5 less energy. You have to go against something like Medicham {resists Press and takes super effective from Ace) to find a case where Ace is better than just spamming Flying Press as often as possible. Perhaps it’s clearer now why some players are giving up coverage entirely and just going with straight, all-Fighting power.


That all said, whichever way you go, Hawlucha is in a rather sad state in Great League. (It’s no better with PuP/FP either.) Other than perhaps more consistent wins over prominent Ground types or things with potent Ground moves (G-Fisk, Diggersby, Swampert, Dunsparce) and a couple Grass types (Venusaur, Shadow Vic), Hawlucha does the very basic Fighting job versus a smattering of Darks and/or Normals. And not even consistently that, with big names like Registeel and most of the major Ice types all getting away. And despite the apparent advantages you’d expect of a Flying type, Hawlucha goes out and loses to the same Fighters many other Fighting types do: Medicham, Toxicroak, Sneasler and others.

Is that more the fault of missing out on Sky Attack or Wing Attack? Well, Sky Attack in place of Aerial Ace actually changes surprisingly little, with Medicham moving to the win column (which would be great), but nothing else of particular note. The larger issue seems to be not having Wing Attack, as that makes a massive difference. Even with mediocre Ace, new wins show up like Registeel, Walrein, Toxicroak, Trevenant, Drapion, Snarl Mandibuzz and more. (And Medicham shows up again too.) Adding Sky Attack into that mix again moves the needle very little overall, with Sableye now going down but no other particularly notable new wins. So it’s pretty clear… as good a move as Poison Jab is on paper, it is the loss of Wing Attack that torpedoes Hawlucha’s Great League viability more than anything else. Shame.


The gap in Ultra League is a little bit closer, and Hawlucha a bit more competitive with its new, hobbled moveset. (Arguably even a tad better with PuP instead of AA, picking up a neat win over Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales.) Hawlucha once again snipes key Dark and/or Normal types, plus some Steels and Rocks and Ices (G-Fisk, Cobalion, Aurorus, Walrein, ) you would expect a Fighter to beat, and several key Fighters and Grasses and Bugs you would expect a Flyer to beat (Shadow Machamp, Poliwrath, Virizion, Venusaur, Buzzwole, Escavalier, etc.), with bonuses like Drapion, A-Muk, and Mandibuzz. That’s actually not a bad performance overall.

But yes, with its now-lost moves… oh, the lost potential. Just having Sky Attack in the current mix would bring in Tapu Fini and Toxicroak, but the big gains again come with Wing Attack: Trevenant, Shadow Swampert, Toxicroak, Scizor, and Empoleon with Wing Attack/Flying Press/Aerial Ace, and Gliscor, Nidoqueen, Jellicent, and Tapu Fini on top of that with WA/FP/Sky Attack.

But yes, Hawlucha IS viable in Ultra League even now, and perhaps even moreso in Ultra Premier that is supposedly coming back in future seasons. It IS expensive to build (slipping far into XL territory), but I can see it making some noise for those who do choose to invest. And any future move updates — or just being in the right meta, like a return of Fighting Cup — could really push it over the top.

Alright, that’s all I got for today. Color Cup analysis (and Festival of Colors analysis) likely coming up next, and then the new Regis ahead of their Elite Raids, among other projects! ✍️ Until then, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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