Hello again, fellow travelers. Today we’re going to take a look at the Ultra Unlock Part III, and just as I did for Part II, I want to go through the notable PvP Pokemon that highlight the event. But I won’t be stopping there, as we ALSO just got the stats and moves fleshed out for an entire new generation of Pokemon, so I’ll wrap up at the end with a quick pass through some of the better ones for PvP to look out for in the future.
So what ARE the special Pokemon during Part III?
- New Pokemon Skwovet, Wooloo, and Falinks will be spawning in the wild, along with the return of Galarian Darumaka.
- New Legendary Zacian will be available in 5-star raids, as well as Galarian Weezing returning to 3-star raids, through August 26th at 10am, and then Zamazenta will be in 5-star raids from that point until September 1st at 10am (and Galarian Stunfisk replaces G-Weeze).
There is more to it than just that, as basically every Galarian we’ve had in the game to date will be in eggs or raids, but those above are what is new or returning after a long absense, so they’ll be my primary focus. Full details on the rest of the event here.
Alright, the event has already begun, so let’s do this thing!
MAKING A (GREE)DENT
So with two big new Legendaries on the way, of course we’re starting this article off with…! Wait, GREEDENT? Really? Yes, really.
My colleagues over at GO Hub are working up in depth analyses on The Hero Duo of Zacian and Zamazenta, as are many other content creators out there. They’re the big flashy arrivals in the last part of the Ultra Unlock, and will be covered from many angles in the coming days by many, many folks. I’ll cover them later in this article too, but I want to focus on the things you likely WON’T see a lot of other attention being given to. And that means Greedent and its other non-Legendary buddies arriving with this event.
So, Greedent is yet another example of what most generations have: Normal types with a funky move package (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t) and only a 10,000 dust/25 candy cost to unlock a second charge move. LOTS of examples in past Generations, from Ratticate to Linoone to Furret to Bidoof to the Lilipup family and the many Normal Birds and more. Thankfully, Greedent looks like it could be one of the better ones.
First off, Greedent is a tanky little guy, with overall bulk roughly equivalent to Jellicent and Whiscash, for a couple quick examples. Oddly, Greedie has only two charge moves: Crunch for coverage, and the awesome Body
Spam Slam (with STAB!). That’s less than the number of fast moves it received, with three. Two of them are mediocre at best (Tackle and Bite), but thankfully the third is great in PvP: Bullet Seed, a Snarl clone with only 1.67 Damage Per Turn (DPT), but a fantastic 4.33 Energy Per Turn (EPT), below only Mud Shot/Thunder Shock/Psycho Cut/Poison Sting and their 1.5 DPT/4.5 EPT and of course Lock-On with its crazy 5.0 EPT. Unless I am mistaken, the only Pokemon in the game with a faster Body Slam is fellow Galarian Rapidash with Psycho Cut, and other than yet another Galarian (G-Linoone, with Snarl), nothing else matches the speed with which Greedent can spam out those Slams. And again, it gets STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) damage with each of those Slams too!
How does that shake out in PvP? Well, despite the promise of Grass damage combined with spammy charge moves, it’s still not exactly a huge breakout, at least not in Great League. And that’s with ideal IVs, too… with less ideal IVs, it can lose to Abomasnow, Politoed, and Shiftry too. It does remain a very effective Ghost killer (thanks to double resisting Ghost damage and hitting hard with Crunch) that also finishes off many Psychics (Cresselia, Hypno, Mew) the same way, and does enough Grass and neutral damage to pick off Lapras, Jellicent, Mud Boys, and a few other things weak to Grass (like Unovan Stunfisk). But that’s about where the ride ends… at least in Great League.
It DID get good moves, but it also has access to a couple of other moves in MLG that perhaps would be more exciting, Wild Charge especially. Seeing as how it has only two charge moves now, perhaps that’s still planned down the road, but for now, it has more of a niche role.
That all said, there is also Ultra League to consider. Now yes, we’re talking about XL Greedent here, so you’re looking at a serious grind to build one up accordingly. But I dare say, it may actually be worth it! That Ghostbuster prowess obviously means a lot more at this level with the Giratinas and Drifblim joining Jellicent and Gengar as big threats in Ultra. Greedent also still capably handles Psychics like Cress, Bronzong, and Armored Mewtwo. Even the Grass chip damage it does, combined with Body Slam, takes out many prominent Waters at Ultra League level like Lapras, Swampert, Politoed, and Gyarados. And then there are the bonuses: outbulking Snorlax (regular or Shadow), outracing Galvantula, Shadow Abomasnow, and Scizor despite all three resisting Bullet Seed, and just outlasting Umbreon and most of the prominent Charmers. And while, yes, Greedent has to be fed a lot of XL candy, you can level hatch-level IV ones up into “only” the mid 40s and still find nearly all that same success (only the Charmers start to turn the tables). Maybe this is more spice than meta still, but still, it’s a pretty nice role Greedent fills if you’re willing to take the plunge, and it carries over nicely into Premier Cup as well.
So what’re you really saying, JRE? Greedent seems to actually fit Ultra League better than Great League, but it could find success in either on the right team, and likely will carve out a nice niche in future limited metas (Cup formats). It’s quite cheap to build in Great League, so it’s worth at least seeking a good one for there, and perhaps grinding for the XL candy while it’s spawning heavily to save for a future UL Greedent too. It falls somewhere between meta and mere spice, and I recommend hitting up as many as your playing habits allow.
On the flipside, I’m going to give only a small mention to DUBWOOL. Not that I don’t like it or anything… it actually got a great set of charge moves with Body Slam as well, plus Wild Charge, or Payback if you’re feeling spicy. The problem is that, like many other unfortunate Pokemon, it is completely hamstrung by its fast moves, with the terribad Tackle and Take Down, which you surely remember from Bidoof Cup. Many were hopeful Niantic would be bold and give it Counter which it’s kind of known for outside of GO, and that would have been AMAZING. But alas, instead, we have this. Oh, the woolmanity. 😩
HITTING UP THE (FA)LINKS
So you remember how my analysis on Ultra Unlock Part II highlighted Heracross as the big get for that event? Well, FALINKS enters the game as essentially Heracross Junior. Both have Counter, both have Megahorn, and both have a low cost/high damage Fighting move that nerfs their own stats, Close Combat for Heracross and Superpower for Falinks. And thus, at least in Great League, both emerge with very similar results. To review the good and bad:
- Falinks is a mono-Fighting type, which is good (doesn’t fear Fires or Rocks as much, and takes “only” super effective from Flying instead of double super effective like the Bug/Fighting Heracross), and also bad (lacks resistances to Ground and Grass that Heracross enjoys). The Flying damage difference is the biggest one, as Falinks can actually beat Mandibuzz and Skarmory while Heracross just dies painfully. Falinks is also a bit bulkier than Heracross, so in some matchups where the typing doesn’t so much matter, simply having higher bulk allows Falinks to win where Heracross falls short. These include, most prominently, Lapras and Munchlax.
- On the flip side, Heracross better handles Ground (beating Swampert and Whiscash) and flexes its resistances to Fighting and Grass by also typically beating Toxicroak and Meganium, which Falinks cannot replicate.
Other than that, though, they’re virtually the same in GL performance, just with some variation of HOW effective they are in their many shared wins. (Falinks is better versus Bastiodon and Galarian Stunfisk thanks to full-on resisting Rock, for instance, and also flexes its tankiness in much more effectively beating things like Umbreon, whereas Heracross is superior versus Grounds and other Fighters.) As with Heracross, Falinks is overall still behind things like Primeape and Shadow Champ, but has enough of a niche that it’s worth trying to build a good specimen. After all, Niantic has certainly shown a penchant for banning more popular ‘mons like Machamp, so Falinks will have its moment in the sun at some point, I think. It’s in a crowded field of able Fighters, but it got moves good enough to join that pack and stand among the better ones.
Falinks CAN beef itself up enough for Ultra League with a hefty XL investment, and if we didn’t all have a recent shot to get our UL Heracross, I’d say it might be worth it. But again, Falinks is a hair worse than Heracross and much, MUCH more expensive. It’s not the worst decision in the world or anything, but I’m not gonna sit here and recommend you make that kind of investment. If you’re a major fan (and I know you all are out there!), then sure, go for it!
So what’re you really saying, JRE? It would have been nice to get something that distinguished it a little more from existing Fighters (especially Heracross), like Payback or even Poison Jab, both of which it gets in MLG. But on the flipside, they could have stuck it with Hyper Beam and Focus Blast, and without Counter, so for now I’m counting our blessings. Falinks has a workable, if somewhat unexciting, moveset, and comes in a bit bulkier than more popular options like Champ, Ape, and yes, Heracross. It’s good, just not great. I’ll take it and hope for perhaps some slight move tweaking down the line.
WE CAN BE HEROES…CAN’T WE?
So as I said, I know of several analyses already being worked up for ZACIAN and ZAMAZENTA, the so-called Hero Duo of Galar. For those not overly familiar with Gen8, in the Hero form being released during this event, Zacian is a mono-Fairy, and ‘Zenta a mono-Fighting type, but they both have very similar and odd-for-their-typing movesets:
- Both come with fast moves Snarl (usually their best available fast move), Quick Attack, and Metal Claw, and charge moves Close Combat (for which Zamazenta gets STAB, of course) and Iron Head.
- Zacian has Fire Fang as an additional fast move, while Zamazenta instead gets Ice Fang. I know folks have been lamenting that these were not swapped, but both actually offer some decent coverage: Fire Fang against Steels and Poisonous Grasses that hound Fairies, and Ice Fang against Flyers and, again, Grasses that often shred Fighting types.
- Zacian’s unique charge moves are Play Rough (its one and only STAB move) and Wild Charge, while Zamazenta instead has Crunch (decent coverage versus Psychics and Ghosts, I guess) and Moonblast.
See what I meant about odd movesets? Eight different moves on each of them, four fast and four charge, and yet each has exactly one same-type move. Unfortunately, this makes them extremely awkward in PvE play, but varied movesets CAN be a good thing in PvP. Is that the case here?
Any time a new Legendary is released, peoples’ first PvP thought it usually Master League. So starting there, I am pleased to say that YES, both Zamazenta and especially Zacian look promising in their Hero forms!
- ‘Zenta represents an interesting alternative to Machamp that cannot normally beat things like Ho-Oh, Swampert, Kyogre, or Metagross like Machamp is capable of, but instead uses Moonblast to nail Dragons like Dragonite, Garchomp, and Palkia, as well as Machamp itself, and more reliably finishing off Magnezone and Mamoswine (the Snarl energy racing is real!), all while still capably handling things like Dialga, Snorlax, Rhyperior, Yveltal, and Excadrill that prompt people to use a Fighter in Master League in the first place. You can also mix things up by running Ice Fang, which makes it a really solid Dragon, Flying, and Ground counter, but it mostly abandons wins over Fighters and becomes more of a specialist than a generalist.
- Zacian is potentially even better. Not a lot of Fairies to choose from at Master League level, and those that are here rely heavily on Charm. Zacian changes all that, still beating Dragons (though Origin Giratina and Dialga can sometimes limp away) and Fighters thanks to Play Rough and resisting their moves, and can also deal with many Steels (Melmetal, Excadrill, and Magnezone among them) thanks to Close Combat. Its overall performance is right on the same level as those Charmers; compared specifically to Togekiss, Zacian tends to beat Mamoswine, Mewtwo, and often Lugia (plus those Steels I just mentioned), while Togekiss instead beats Zacian (and Sylveon) plus Swampert and Giratina-O. I think there’s room for both Charmers and Zacian depending on your style, and Zacian’s moves work surprisingly well together. And as with Zamazenta, you can consider going with Zacian’s Fang fast move, Fire Fang in this case, and get some encouraging results, especially wins now versus Sylveon and Togekiss, as well as potentially Swampert, Groudon, both Landorus(es?) and the like… though sadly still cannot normally beat Dialga.
Different story in Ultra League, however. where Zamazenta operates best as a weird Fighter relying largely on Dark moves to scrape by, and Zacian looks quite shaky too, being slightly better, perhaps, with Wild Charge rather than Close Combat. But neither particularly stand out even in the best of circumstances, with ‘Zenta basically operating as an okay-ish Fighter than can sometimes outlast Ghosts, and Zacian an inconsistent Dragon/Fighting/Dark counter that can sneak in wins sometimes against stuff like Empoleon, Charizard, and Gyarados. They’re not useless, they’re just not particularly useful at Ultra League level. If you’re gonna use them, you want to power them up for Master, I think.
So what’re you really saying, JRE? The Hero Duo are solid in Master League right out of the gate, doing the majority of things you’d expect of a Pokemon of each of their typing and having odd but effective coverage moves that just fit the Master League meta like a glove. They should be an instant hit in Master League Classic and are both worthy of the investment… if you’re raiding enough as part of your current playstyle, of course.
WHEN YOU-KNOW-WHAT FREEZES OVER
While not new, the event does mark the return of GALARIAN DARMANITAN after a lengthy absence from the game. Regular Darmanitan is of course a glassy Fire type that is a bit underrated in PvP, in Great League and Ultra League as well. But the Galarian variant is its colder reflection, having the exact same stats and even some similar moves, but being a pure Ice type instead.
While regular Darm eventually got Incinerate tacked on to its original fast move options of Fire Fang and Tackle, G-Darm has not been blessed with a third fast move yet, and thus has to rely on Ice Fang (since Tackle is turrible in PvP). That’s good in that it puts out a goodly amount of Ice damage (4.0 DPT), but bad in that the Fangs are not very good in terms of generating energy for fast moves (only 2.5 EPT). Thankfully, G-Darm is blessed with an array of much cheaper charge moves than its fiery cousin. While Original Recipe Darm has just one 45 energy move (Rock Slide) and everything else costs 55 energy or more, Galarian Darmanitan has just one 55 energy move (Overheat same as original Darm), one 45 energy move (Avalanche), and TWO moves that cost only 40 energy (Ice Punch and Superpower). It’s a very nice variety of moves that can keep the enemy reeling with every shielding decision. Good thing too, since both Darmanitans are extremely frail and the name of the game with them is piling on as much damage as possible as quickly as possible before they melt.
So how does G-Darm do in that? Well, not as well as the original. It does at least threaten Rocks and Steels with its charge moves enough to steal shields from them where most other Ice types cannot, but for the most part it only does the basics of what you’d expect of an Ice: freezing Grasses, Dragons, Flyers, and Grounds. It does also beat some very big names like Galvantula, Umbreon, and Haunter, but it doesn’t have a very expansive role in Great League. And it’s somehow even worse in Ultra League, and in Master League, it’s niche at best, despite the nice moveset. It just can’t stand up long enough to take full advantage, unfortunately.
So what’re you really saying, JRE? Galarian Darmanitan is a great (but glassy) heavy hitter in PvE, but in PvP, despite an enticing moveset, it just cannot reliably do the job, done in by its atrocious Defense. (Barely over 100 in Master League!, much less Ultra and Great.) Yes, scoop up Galarian Darumakas if you lack it to this point, but don’t invest in them too much for PvP. Not at this point, at least.
But that’s it for Ultra Unlock Part III highlights. To very quickly summarize again:
- Greedent may find a future in Great League in certain Cup formats, but it is actually Ultra League where Greedent may find more immediate success, with an array of solid Ghost, Grass, and Psychic wins, as well as several other prominent names. If you’re gonna grind for XLs, make them Skwovet XLs during the event!
- Dubwool is sadly useless thanks to awful fast moves. Pray for a shakeup there down the line.
- Falinks is a solid Fighter, if rather unremarkable. It’s basically non-region-locked Heracross in Great League, which really isn’t a terrible place to be. Worth finding one solid one, at least, for PvP.
- The Hero Duo of Zacian and Zamazenta should immediately find a place in Master League, doing much of what you’d expect of a Fairy (Zacian) or Fighter (‘Zenta), with good coverage moves that allow them to shine out over Pokemon of their same typings. While I personally am still not paying Niantic money for raid passes (or anything else) at present, and you may not be either, it’s worth at least using your freebies to scoop up these Legendaries while they are available. They’re not game-breaking or anything, but they ARE very solid contributors.
Not done with the article yet though! Not quite. I wanted to share some thoughts on other recently revealed Galarians while we’re at it, ones to keep a lookout for and perhaps even get a bit hyped about! I’ll keep it brief, but here are some of the highlights!
WELCOMING OUR FUTURE GALARIAN OVERLORDS
- Just to properly emphasize this: CORVIKNIGHT will enter the game as potentially a better Skarmory! Corviknight the same Steel/Flying typing, same fast move (Air Slash), and same closing move (Brave Bird) as Skarmory. It has very slightly higher Attack than Skarmory, but roughly equivalent bulk (Skarmory has higher Defense, Corvi higher HP). The big difference is that Corviknight has Drill Peck (65 damage, 40 energy) rather than Skarmory’s Sky Attack (75 damage, 45 energy). Technically Sky Attack is a “better”, more energy-efficient move, but anyone who’s used Zapdos can tell you how underrated and awesome Drill Peck is. In this case, it carries Corviknight to wins Skarmory cannot like Umbreon, Obstagoon, Mandibuzz, and even Azumarill! Yeah, no slouches there. Skarmory does still tend to beat Powder Snow A-Ninetales and Pidgeot on the strength of higher damage charge moves, but I don’t think anyone can argue those have more weight than the four horsemen of the PvP apocalypse that I just mentioned on Corvi’s win list.
- Perhaps even better—worth a new bullet point and everything!—is Ultra League Corviknight. Unlike Skarmory, not only does it actually reach 2500 CP (Skarmory tops out at 2383 at Level 50), but it beats everything Skarmory can except super close wins versus Obstagoon and, again, PowderTales, and adds on NINE new wins: Shadow and regular Snorlax, Altered Giratina (with either of its fast moves), Swampert, Shadow Politoed, Shadow Machamp, Armored Mewtwo, and Articuno. And perhaps even better: you can save yourself a TON of dust and candy by leveling up a hundo Corviknight to only Level 41 and you only miss out on Articuno, CharmTales, and regular Politoed, and you actually ADD a compensating win versus Obstagoon thanks to having higher Attack than a Level 47ish Corvi. Yes, it’s a little less than high rank versions, but it’s still a significantly better performance than a fully maxed, MUCH more expensive Skarmory. Put those Skarmory XL candies away, Trainers! We have a new steely bird to rule over Ultra League! …eventually.
- I’m seeing many discussions already on COALOSSAL, and it’s not hard to see way. Coalossal is our bulkiest Fire type to date, by far. Combined with decent Fire moves (Incinerate and Flame Charge) plus Rock coverage from Rock Blast or, even better, Rock Slide, I don’t think it’s being too sensationalist to say that it’s gonna rock Great League when it arrives. Perhaps even Ultra League too! ️🔥 It must avoid Waters and Grounds that deal double super effective damage to it, but Coalossal is definitely one I’ll be revisiting in much more detail whenever we gets hints it’s on the way.
- Equally as popular a discussion around the water cooler right now is TOXTRICITY. If you’re like me and didn’t even realize this thing exisiting in the franchise before now, it’s our first Electric/Poison type… which perhaps translates best to “Electric that can also beat Grasses”. Yep, it really is kind of the best of both worlds, ripping through Flyers and Fairies, Grasses and Waters, and even many Fighters and opposing Electrics with relative ease. Niantic blessed it with an amazing move package that includes Poison Jab, Spark, Discharge, Wild Charge, and even Power-Up Punch if you want to try your hard at heavy baiting. I think Jab/Discharge/Wild will be the de facto moveset, however, with that wide and varied list of wins. It will very likely find success in Ultra as well! For a Pokemon I didn’t even know was a thing 48 hours ago, I am SUPER excited for this one now.
- I’ve had an eye on CURSOLA for a long time now… I just love the design of it. And it got a pretty interesting moveset of Hex/Rock Blast/Shadow Ball, though interestingly also Brine. With Niantic suddenly bringing moves like Brine and Scald back into the game (Scald on Vaporeon, Brine on Cursola and two other Galar Pokemon) after they were, to this point, available only as a Legacy move on exactly one not-fully-evolved Pokemon each, you have to wonder if they’re due for a shakeup on the horizon. That could make Cursola very interesting as a Ghost that gets big enough even for potentially Master League play (crossing 3000 CP at Level 40). It’s one to keep an eye on, perhaps around Halloween this year?
And there are others I’m keeping an eye out for, like EISCUE (now THAT is how you give an Ice type a good coverage move!), ARCTOZOLT, HATTERENE, and of course big ones like Niantic’s current tease HOOPA, but I want to get this out the door and keep the focus on what we’re getting in the here and now. Plenty of time to do a deeper dive on the rest of Galar later.
Alright, that’s all I got for now. Lots more to come on the rest of Galar and other events and releases on the horizon. (Like Ultra and Master Premier Classic, and whatever Little Jungle Cup will be… and the inevitable move shakeup that is surely soon to hit us!) Good luck in the waning days of this GBL season!
Good luck on your hunt, Pokéfriends. And since Niantic refuses to consider the current real-world environment and your well-being, know that I do: please be SAFE out there.
Catch you next time.