The “Under The Lights” article series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest in PvP. Today, that’s going to be a couple mischievous new arrivals coming to Pokémon GO over the next couple weeks. Today, we put Hoopa (and friends!)… under the lights.

Hoopa (Confined) PsychicGhost

Hoopa (Confined) Stats

Great League Stats

Attack Defense HP
146 (145 High Stat Product) 106 (107 High Stat Product) 99 (100 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 10-13-15, 1500 CP, Level 16)

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Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
188 (186 High Stat Product) 139 (139 High Stat Product) 127 (129 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 10-15-15, 2497 CP, Level 26.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
218 (232 at Level 50) 160 (170 at Level 50) 148 (157 at Level 50)

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs, CP 3359 at Level 40, CP 3797 at Level 50)

So I got good news… and I got bad news. The good news is that, at least in Ultra League, Hoopa has nearly as much Attack as Mewtwo (the non-armored one), so it hits like a freaking truck. The bad news is… it’s got less bulk than most everything that’s competitive in Ultra and Master Leagues, basically tied with Garchomp and even flimsier than Excadrill, and with a much less defensive typing.

Hoopa’s eventual “Unbound” form at least has a complementary typing combination of Psychic/Dark that leaves it vulnerable only to Fairy and (double weak) to Bug. Hoopa in the Confined form we’re getting now is a Psychic/Ghost. While that does negate the standard Psychic weakness to Bug and gives it a TRIPLE resistance to Fighting, a double resistance to Normal, and resistances to Poison and Psychic damage, Hoopa is left with TWO devastating double weaknesses: Dark and Ghost. That’s not good with a Pokémon that is already shaky in terms of bulk.

Rather than run through the standard list of fast and charge moves, let’s just skip right to it: Hoopa’s ideal moveset is Confusion/Shadow Ball/Psychic. Its other fast move (Astonish) and charge move (Psybeam) are pretty dreadful in PvP, leaving C/SB/P as its only viable moveset.

But the misfortune continues when we put all that together, because even Hoopa’s best isn’t all that good. Starting in Great League (where we should actually be able to use Hoopa if it’s caught at Level 15 as expected), Hoopa has, at best, a very specialized role, slaughtering Fighters (and quasi-Fighters like Vigoroth and DDeoxys) and overcoming some of the more prominent Poisons (Shadow Queen, Shadow Vic, Haunter, and Venusaur), but uh… that’s it. Hoopa can do a little more damage with shields down by just blowing things away with its big closing moves (Cresselia, Hypno, and Melmetal with Shadow Ball, the Fighters, Poisons, Pidgeot, and sometimes the Charmers with Psychic, and Swampert or Lapras with either, albeit JUST barely), and is still slightly better than 1v1 shielding if it finds itself in a 2-shield situation, but uh… nearly every major Confusion user is better, to include the obvious like Hypno, Confusion Cresselia, and Bronzong, but also even things like Exeggutor, Venomoth, Claydol, Slowbro, fellow Mythicals Jirachi and Celebi, and at least in 0-shield, even the mighty Farigamarif! (No, that’s not a typo… isn’t that how you spell Gifamarif?)! If you’re doing worse than that double-headed giraffe monster from Hades, you’re in a baaaaaaad place.

Maybe it’s better in Ultra League? Um… maybe not. (Its high bar is with shields down, and even that’s more like a limbo bar.) Once again, you’re only picking off Fighters and a handful of Psychics and Poisons, and not even consistently, with stuff like Nidoqueen and Gengar and Venusaur slipping away (maybe through one of Hoopa’s interdimensional hula hoops).

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Master League? Oh, goodness no. Yikes! 😱 It beats Machamp and literally NOTHING else. Oh, the hoopanity!

So what’s wrong? Why is Hoopa THIS bad? Well, as I said at the start, a lot of it has to do with the stats and typing… poor bulk + easily exploitable vulnerabilities = something very hard to overcome. To do so, you usually need spammy moves, but Hoopa doesn’t have that, with only closing bomb types of charge moves, and Confusion’s high damage but barely average energy gains (just 3.0 Energy Per Turn) compounding the other problems. But I’m not sure we have Niantic to blame for this… the stats are based on MLG, as are the moves… Hoopa doesn’t learn anything like Shadow Claw or Psycho Cut or Snarl that could fix the energy gain issues, and while it can learn (or at least be taught) Psyshock and Foul Play, neither of them really help at all. The fact is that some Pokémon, even cool and/or exclusive ones like Hoopa, just aren’t cut out for PvP. You can give them great moves or neat typings that many other Pokémon would make great use of, and it just won’t make a lick of difference. Sometimes they just won’t cut it… and that’s okay. Not everything HAS to, right? At least Hoopa may have a future in raiding, no? I mean, for those drowning in rare candy….

Anyway, Hoopa in PvP is likely a non-starter. Unless you want to try and make something of it in PvE, I’d just catch it, add it to the collection, and not invest any further resources into it for now, personally. I mean, if it ever DOES have any future in PvP, it looks best at Great League level anyway, so just leave it there for now, I’d advise.

Hoopa is the big main feature of this Season of Mischief (even if in PvP, Hoopa is — as mentioned in the title — Mischief Managed… hat tip to J.K.Rowling), but there are two other Pokémon on the way in the near term as well that I wanted to take a quick look at while we’re here:

Malamar DarkPsychic
  • MALAMAR will be ours soon, able to be evolved from Inkay that we’re getting during the Psychic Spectacular Event in the most fun way ever: literally flipping your phone upside down! Too bad you can’t play GO on an old school flip phone, or you’d be flipping your flipping flip phone upside down. 😂 Ahahaha… oh, sorry, got carried away. Yeah, the evolution method may actually be the best thing about Malamar, sadly. It actually has that super-attractive Dark/Psychic typing that I ogled over with Unbound Hoopa (to review, double weak to Bug, single weak to Fairy, but triple resists Psychic and takes only neutral from everything else) and with bulk roughly equivalent to Abomasnow and Pidgeot — and better than things like Venusaur, Pelipper, Melmetal, Sableye, and Talonflame — it’s off to a good start. Even better, it doesn’t suffer the same moveset issues as Hoopa, having Psycho Cut for top notch energy generation, and charge moves that come out quickly with Foul Play and Superpower for… uh, coverage, I guess? It all adds up to passable performances in Great League and even in Ultra League. It’s not an eye-catching record, but at least it’s pretty unique, with wins versus things like Hypno and Cresselia, G-Fisk and Bastiodon and Melmetal and Registeel, and then also Scrafty and Obstagoon, Toxicroak and DDeoxys, Politoed and Jellicent and Lapras, Shiftry and Victreebel and Ferrothorn and Abomasnow, Swampert, Greedent, Haunter, Alolan Marowak, and more in Great League. It’s quite a varied performance that includes a lot of big names… enough so that while I don’t know if it can break out in open GBL (though it might on the right team!), I can see it having a future in limited metas/Cups down the line. It does similar things in Ultra League too, with wins that vary from Steels to big Psychics to Darks to Fighters to Ghosts (including both Giratinas) and dotted with others like Aboma, Snorlax, Venusaur, Gyarados, Politoed, Swampert, and more. And while that does require a lot of XL candy, you CAN level up a hundo to “only” Level 44.5 and still get the same solid performance overall, so that’s nice! Malamar isn’t going to kick down the doors on its arrival on the scene like, say, Cofagrigus has this season, but it will definitely be joining the party in some capacity, and is something worth getting a lot more excited about than Hoopa… or the third and final entry on today’s list. Because next and last up is…
Furfrou Normal
  • FURFROU. Apparently this mutt gets no less than ten special haircuts, which is nice for the collectors. But for PvPers… well, there’s not much to see here. It comes with pretty handy moves with Grass Knot and Surf, powered out by the serviceable Sucker Punch (2.5 Damage Per Turn, 3.5 Energy Per Turn), but it’s all on a Normal body and mostly just doesn’t quite work. Yes, it can pick off stuff like Politoed, Mud Boys, and even Jellicent with Grass Knot, Haunter and Sableye and Cofagrigus and even Drifblim with Sucker Punch and Surf (and really extinguish Alolan Marowak too thanks to the Water damage of Surf), and even overcome Hypno, Froslass, and BOTH Stunfisks. I mean, it’s not completely worthless… it would be hard to be with those moves. It’s just that it could have been so much more. Furfrou can be taught Wild Charge in MLG… why not here, Niantic? At least then it would be able to add on stuff like Dewgong, Pidgeot, Pelipper, Mandibuzz, Skarmory, Talonflame, and potentially even Azumarill! Oh, what could have been. Someone will make use of it with what we’ve got instead, but it would need JUST the right team around it to make it work. I admire the courage of anyone willing to try… might that be YOU, trainer?

TL;DR

Well, this was pretty short as far as JRE writeups go, but in review:

  • Hoopa (Confined, at least) just doesn’t really work in PvP. Poor bulk with slow-to-charge moves and a typing combination that leaves it with a couple gaping holes to common types of attacks doesn’t make for a good PvP Pokémon, as it turns out. Who knew? I recommend keeping it at Great League size JUST in case, but it would take some major rehauling to make it worth using.
  • Malamar (the evolution of Inkay) is a bit more interesting with a nice typing combination, decent bulk, and fast and varied moves… it doesn’t have a huge winlist, but the names on it are pretty big. I recommend building one up for Great and potentially even Ultra League (though the latter requires a lot of XL candy, so may not even be feasible yet… though note that a perfect one can be taken to “only” Level 44.5 and be just fine), even if you don’t second move them yet. It will have its moment in the sun at some point.
  • As for Furfrou… well, it’s not awful, it’s just not all that great either. Check the list of wins above… it’s a decent list, just not as long as you’d like. Pray for it to eventually get the Wild Charge it can use in MLG… THEN it at least becomes interesting.

And that’s all for today! Please feel free to discuss further (or ask any burning questions about all this) in comments and I’ll engage when I can!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon.

Thanks for your faithful readership, Pokéfriends… I appreciate your attention and encouragement. Catch you next time, and until then, stay safe out there!

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