Howdy folks! It’s time for a new Community Day Classic, featuring the return of the OG Water starter, BLASTOISE!
If you want to cut RIGHT to the guts of it, let’s put our TLDR right here up front with our Bottom Line Up Front:
- Blastoise remains solid in PvP, if unexciting. Compared to other popular Water starters in PvP, it lacks the nice resistances and sheer speed of Swampert, the handy defensive typing of Steel that Empoleon enjoys, and the ability to punish opposing Grasses like Samurott. But Blastoise is bulkier than all of them and can simply outlast many things where it’s not at a clear disadvantage.
- The Shadow version is mostly a sidegrade, but what makes Blastoise special is its bulk, and giving that up does just as much harm as the boosted Attack does good. You know, like most Shadows!
- Ultra League is where it shines brightest, flexing that bulk to take down a wide swath of the established meta, in Open and Premier formats. If you lack a good one for Ultra, I would make that your highest priority during this event, especially the very real XL Candy grind.
Now for details on that summary, read on!
BLASTOISE Stats and MovesBlastoise Water
Great League Stats
|112 (110 High Stat Product)||141 (142 High Stat Product)||127 (130 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-15, 1498 CP, Level 23)
Ultra League Stats
|144 (142 High Stat Product)||182 (182 High Stat Product)||164 (169 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-12-15, 2500 CP, Level 48.5)
As mentioned in the BLUF, Blastoise has no helpful (or harmful) secondary typing, so as a mono-Water type, it is left vulnerable to only Grass and Electric, and resists Fire, Ice, Steel, and opposing Water damage.
The main advantage it has over the other Water starters is excellent bulk. It has the highest Defense, Stat Product, and overall bulk of ANY of the Water starters, and in fact ANY starters currently in GO besides Meganium and Serperior (and just barely for even those two). Blastoise is thicc, folks. (Sorry, sorry!)
As you’ll see, its sheer bulk keeps it at least somewhat relevant despite not really having fantastic moves outside of its Community Day move, and not much in the way of coverage. In this way, it’s very similar to Serperior: lots of bulk, subpar coverage, often utilizes nothing but on-type moves, but can STILL put in a workmanlike performance when called upon.
- Water Gun – Water type, 3.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
- Bite – Dark type, 4.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
I mean, this one’s easy: it’s Water Gun. It’s not that Bite is a terrible move, as it still comes out to the average 6.0 overall when you combine DPT and EPT, but on Blastoise… no. There’s just no reason NOT to stick with Water Gun. This is the last mention I’ll make of Bite in this brief article.
ᴱ – Exclusive (Community Day) Move
ᴾ – Purified-exclusive Move
- Hydro Cannonᴱ – Water type, 80 damage, 40 energy
- Ice Beam – Ice type, 90 damage, 55 energy
- Flash Cannon – Steel type, 110 damage, 70 energy
- Returnᴾ – Normal type, 130 damage, 70 energy
- Skull Bash – Normal type, 130 damage, 75 energy, Increases User Defense +1 Stage
- Hydro Pump – Water type, 130 damage, 75 energy
Blastoise lives and breaths by Hydro Cannon. Of course, that’s true of nearly every starter in the game, that they need their Community Day move to compete — just imagine Venusaur or Meganium without Frenzy Plant, or Charizard without Blast Burn, or Swampert or Empoleon without Hydro Cannon — but it is especially true when your fast move generates only average energy (3.0 EPT is average in every sense of the word), and your other charge moves all cost 15 or often more energy. 40-energy Hydro Cannon is absolutely critical for Blastoise to do anything at all in PvP.
Of the remaining moves, only Ice Beam is really “affordable”, and handily provides some (at least theoretical) coverage versus Grass types. But often when you do see Blastie in PvP, it is instead with Skull Bash. Along with similarly bulky Lapras, it’s really the only thing in the game that has the bulk to get to — and need for the pure damage of — a move like Bash, and of course enjoys getting even bulkier after successfully squeezing one off. The move deals more than enough damage to smack around anything that Ice Beam would be hitting hard, and of course deals big neutral damage to nearly everything else too.
There’s a similar argument to be made for Return if your Blastoise is purified, but such a specimen only fits in Ultra League (no way to get a purified, Level 25 Blastie under 1500 CP), so we’ll hold off going down that road until we get to the right section. Because Great League is up first!
Honestly, Blastoise’s viability comes down to format. It’s almost good enough to hang in there in today’s Open meta, particularly with top notch IVs that add on a potential win versus Walrein. Some wins are obvious… Charizard and Talonflame and Alolan Marowak and Galarian Stunfisk and Diggersby and Bastiodon and the like. But some are that pure bulk pulling ahead in neutral slugfests, such as Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Sableye, Obstagoon, Drapion, Vigoroth, Dunsparce, Froslass, Alolan Sandslash and Alolan Ninetales (yes, the Charm variant too), and more famous Water starter Swampert. Its biggest flaw is that there are just SO many things that resist Water in the Great League meta, including Grasses, of course, but also a ton of other Water types. Literally more than half of its meta losses are to things that resist Water damage.
As a quick aside on Shadow Blastoise… it’s a tad worse off. Yes, it now has the power to sneak in wins versus things like Noctowl, Medicham, DDeoxys and a couple others, but conversely, it now lacks the bulk to outlast Swampert, Mandibuzz, Umbreon, Dunsprace, Shadow A-Slash, CharmTales and several others. I don’t really recommend that.
Shadow or not, it is the lack of affordable coverage that cripples Blastoise more than anything. Give it Aura Sphere like you once teased us with, Niantic! Then it could really wallop Walrein and neat stuff like Scrafty, Lickitung, and Noctowl too.
…but alas, that is merely a dream. In the here and now, yes, Hydro Cannon Blastoise IS something you want in your Great League arsenal, but there are some limited metas where it can make a dent… and many others where it just can’t and fades away behind other Water options.
In very brief summary: it hangs in many fights where it’s not at a clear disadvantage, but just has trouble closing enough of them out to ever really be a build-around piece of your team.
Things are a bit better when you pump some XL Candy into it, though….
It’s still not great at this level, but Blastoise certainly IS better in Ultra League, as partially indicated by its ranking within the Top 50 in Open. And you can see by its overall record that that’s probably just about right. What that does NOT show, however, is Blastoise’s full potential… which comes with high rank IVs. Yep, that’s a potential gain of FIVE wins: Walrein, Toxicroak, Obstagoon, Alolan Sandslash, and Golisopod. Now that also means 2-3 more levels and all the XL Candy and dust that goes with it (we’re talking a Level 48.5 Blastoise for the #1 IVs), but hey, that kind of grind is just what Community Day is for, right?! At least now you have a specific goal. And yes, it’s similarly good in Ultra Premier too, and downright scary with those high rank IVs. Though once again, I don’t think Shadow is the way to go. Good thing too with that crazy high additional cost!
If you’re looking to go the other direction, getting cheaper instead of more expensive, there is purified Blastoise with Return to consider too. It’s not all that different from Skull Bash, honestly, but it does tend to come out of their many shared wins with the same remaining HP or, in many cases, more, thanks to Return being a bit cheaper. It more consistently beats things like Golisopod and Shadow Snorlax too.
Now look, I am NOT going to sit here and say something silly like “Blastoise is better in UL than other established Waters like Swampert and Empoleon”, because that would be crazy. But uh… technically, it does have the best record of all of them. Empoleon really only beats a couple specific things like Pidgeot and Cresselia that Blastoise (and Swampert) cannot, and while it’s true that Swampert is a much more dynamic threat than Blastoise (with wins that reflect that like Altered Giratina, Registeel, Poliwrath, Cobalion, Dubwool and others), Blastoise flexes that bulk again by outlasting things like Tapu Fini, Obstagoon, Walrein, Gyarados, Greedent, Golisopod, and Swampert itself that Swampie just cannot reliably replicate. Do what you will with that information, but as for me… I’ll be building a good Ultra League Blastoise while it’s easier than ever to do so. Just seems like a good one to have on the bench. And again, it’s just one previously-teased move away from true greatness. One day, perhaps… one day.
Alright, that’s all I got for today. Hopefully this has properly advised you of the good qualities (and limitations) of this blue collar worker of Pokémon GO. Good luck, and good hunting!
Thanks for your faithful readership, folks. Stay safe out there this weekend (and always!), and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!