Alright, cutting right to the chase… RAYQUAZA is BACK, and it’s brought a new move with it! RayRay has never risen to stardom in PvP, but might that finally be about to change? We’ve got our PvE/Raid attacker analysis here, so let’s take a look at PvP.
First we’ll kick it off with our Bottom Line Up Front and then dive into the details….
Yes, new move Breaking Swipe is a big boon to Rayquaza in PvP, at ALL levels, but especially where it may suddenly emerge as a true meta option: Master League.
HOW good is Rayquaza now? Let’s just say that it may soon find itself standing tall with other PvP Dragon superstars like Dragonite and Kyurem. In fact, with the addition of Breaking Swipe, only those two and Altered Giratina rank ahead of Rayquaza in Master League, with Ray now clocking in at #12 in Master!
So good is Rayquaza now that it even enters the discussion in Ultra League, and even potentially Great League for the lucky players who have managed to trade into one under 1500 CP!
Breaking Swipe is found on a TON of interesting Pokémon in MSG, and we take a look at a few of them at the end of this article.
Yep, this is gonna be a good one, folks! Let’s goooooo.
RAYQUAZA Stats and MovesRayquaza Dragon
Ultra League Stats
|189 (187 High Stat Product)
|118 (120 High Stat Product)
|147 (149 High Stat Product)
(Highest Stat Product IVs (Good Friend Trade): 1-14-15, 2500 CP, Level 24)
(Highest Stat Product IVs (Raid Level): 12-15-15, 2495 CP, Level 23)
Master League Stats
(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 4336 at Level 50)
On a personal note, RIP needing to post the Level 40 numbers for Master League anymore. 😔 Pour one out for Classic.
ANYway, onward we go. Rayquaza’s typing should be pretty familiar by now, as it’s the same Dragon/Flying as Dragonite. On the plus side, resistances to most of the “elements” remain, with Fire and Water resisted, Grass ends double resisted thanks to the double up from Flying, though Electric becomes neutral. The Flying side also brings in resistances to Fighting, Bug, and Ground (2x on that last one). On the downside, like other Dragons, Rayquaza is weak to Fairy and other Dragons, and the Flying side brings in a weakness to Rock and, perhaps most famously, a double vulnerability to Ice, the Achilles’ Heel of Dragonite.
Stats-wise, Dragonite has the clear advantage, having nearly as much HP and over 20 more Defense than Rayquaza. RayRay is more Attack-heavy, outpacing Dragonite by nearly 20 in that stat. The end result is that Rayquaza trails in overall stat product by 400 points (7460 as compared to Nite’s 7861) when both are fully maxed.
Rayquaza is probably a closer comparison to things like Haxorus, Darkrai, and Therian Landorus, who all have comparable Attack, though Ray is a bit bulkier than the first two amd ends up with higher CP as a result (and the reverse is true with Lando, which is very slightly bulkier than Ray and has a slightly higher CP as well). For pure Attack prowess, Rayquaza is currently 15th in Master League… but 53rd in terms of overall stat product.
Yeah, it’s glassy. Not as drastically so as you might think, but glassy nonetheless.
Can its new move overcome that ball and chain? Let’s take a look and see.
- Dragon Tail – Dragon type, 4.33 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
- Air Slash – type, 3.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 1.5 CD
So back when Dragon Tail was buffed at the start of GBL Season 8, one of the more under-the-radar beneficiaries was Rayquaza. While things like Dragonite and Gyarados and Steelix and Lugia and Dragalge were more celebrated (and for good reason, as they’ve long been more useful in PvP than Ray), poor Rayquaza was left feeling better about itself but still unused. But looking back, had that update never happened, it could have very well been lef on the outside looking in even all this time later, when (Spoiler Alert) Niantic finally gave it a charge move that makes it PvP-relevant. But it all started right here.
And yeah, we don’t talk about Air Slash. I already beat up on it recently in the Noivern Community Day analysis. Suffice to say… it’s not a good PvP move. Passable with some things, but no reason to use it over anything above average, as Dragon Tail most certainly is.
But you’re here for the new charge move, so let’s not keep you waiting any longer!
ᴱ – Event Exclusive Move
ᴸ – Legacy Move
- Breaking Swipeᴱ – Dragon type, 50 damage, 35 energy, Lowers Opponent Attack -1 Stage
- Ancient Power – Rock type, 60 damage, 45 energy, 10% Chance: Raise User Attack/Defense +1 Stage
- Aerial Ace – type, 55 damage, 45 energy
- Outrage – Dragon type, 110 damage, 60 energy
- Hurricaneᴸ – type, 110 damage, 65 energy
Yes, new move Breaking Swipe is a strictly better Dragon Claw… good eye! Same cost, same damage, AND an opponent debuff stapled on. And here I thought we’d be lucky just to get actual Dragon Claw on Rayquaza.
With RayRay’s low bulk and completely average energy generation (Dragon Tail is a great PvP fast move, but still only generates 3.0 Energy Per Turn), it has suffered to this point due to having no charge moves under 45 energy, and both of those inexpensive moves (Ancient Power and Aerial Ace) are also underpowered. A closer like Outrage or Legacy Hurricane is hardly out of reach, but anyone who used to be stuck with pre-Superpower Dragonite can tell you how painful it could be trying to race to a Hurricane, and that was with a cheap bait move (Dragon Claw). With less bulk AND more expensive bait options, Ray has just never been on the same level. Like, at all. Just compare Rayquaza’s to-date best in Master League to Dragonite, even before Superpower. No contest.
But now it may be Ray that gets the last laugh. Let’s see how it looks NOW in Master League (and elsewhere) with Breaking Swipe in the mix.
Yep, starting with Master and working backwards, because it is when Rayquaza can flex its high CP that it can best mask its flaws and hit stuff hard. As noted above, Rayquaza’s pre-Breaking Swipe success is far short of things like Dragonite, but it wasn’t completely worthless or anything. It could still beat things you’d expect like Waters (Kyogre, Swampert, Palkia) and Grounds (Groudon, Landorus, and the aforementioned Swampert), Mewtwo (assuming no Ice Beam, at least), Garchomp, Yveltal, Zarude, even Zacian (sometimes, at least). It’s not an awful performance, just one that falls far short of other already-established Dragons.
Well, that is no more. That old win total can nearly double with Breaking Swipe now in the mix. It now outraces most of the Dragons — basically ALL meta ones except Dialga — thanks to outracing them (Origin Giratina, Zekrom, Reshiram, Dragon Tail Garchomp), overpowering them (Altered Giratina), or just having a higher Attack and winning CMP (Dragonite). It can also bury Snorlax, Therian Landorus, Ho-Oh, and Gyarados now, and even Mamoswine!
Part of this success is just the speed of Breaking Swipe, but part of it also the Attack debuffer that comes with it. With a flimsy Pokémon like Rayquaza, reducing the opponent’s Attack strength can make a BIG difference in whether or not Ray can hang around and deliver a killing blow before succumbing to its wounds. Breaking Swipe is nearly a perfect solution for what Rayquaza has been missing thanks to its speed and that debuff to extend Ray’s own life AND make it easier to get to later closing damage. You can see this (somewhat) by looking at Rayquaza with a Breaking Swipe that doesn’t debuff (AKA Rayquaza with Dragon Claw), which represents quite a fall in performance. (Seven less listed wins.) In truth, it’s actually not THAT bad, as sims try to force Hurricane where Ray can win by sticking with straight Dragon Claw, such as versus Landorus and Mamoswine. But against others like Reshiram, Dragon Tail Garchomp, and Ho-Oh, the debuffing is absolutely key to Rayquaza hanging on long enough to emerge victorious… the speed and damage of Dragon Claw are not enough by themselves. As I said a minute ago, the combination of that PLUS the debuff is what makes this move SO good for RayRay. It couldn’t have asked for any better, really.
That success mostly continues if BOTH shields are used, though Ray’s lack of bulk does catch up to it a bit as Reshiram, Zekrom, and Dragonite can now (barely) outlast it, though Zacian (even with Play Rough) and Xerneas enter the win column to even things out a bit. It is only when Ray doesn’t have a shield to hide behind that it still falters, though even then it’s still right on Dragonite’s heels in terms of overall effectiveness… and it still bests Dragonite and other Dragons (not named ‘Dialga’, at least) one on one.
I’m not going to go out and say that Rayquaza is strictly better than Dragonite or any other established Dragon, despite the fact that Ray does have a higher ceiling than most. But I think I WILL say with no small amount of confidence that Rayquaza is likely to now carve out its own place among them. No longer should one feel they cannot take their maxed-for-PvE RayRay into battle in PvP. And as a quick aside, as discussed in detail by my colleague and buddy u/Teban54, Breaking Swipe can mostly replace Outrage in PvE now too. Always nice when you can max out something for double duty like that!
The one downside, perhaps, is that Hurricane used in the sims above is also a Legacy move, requiring an Elite TM to either add Breaking Swipe to your existing Hurricane Rayquaza, or to add Hurricane to your shiny (perhaps literally!) new Breaking Swipe Rayquaza. So you’ll be happy to hear that Outrage can work too, being only slightly worse in 1v1 shielding (losing to Zacian, as Ray’s all-Dragon moveset is now resisted) and 2v2 shielding (losing Gyarados and, again due to Dragon being resisted, Xerneas), and actually a bit better than Hurricane with shields down, outracing Incarnate Lando and Gyarados thanks to Outrage being 5 energy cheaper than Hurricane. So don’t fret if you can’t get both Legacy moves on RayRay just yet… Outrage can get you through in a pinch!
So while I do think that, if you’re going to use Rayquaza in PvP, Master League is still your best bet, it’s not the only way you can go with it. Whereas pre-Breaking Swipe Rayquaza was just a pitiful mess in Ultra, the improvement with Breaking Swipe now is nothing short of remarkable. Its entire winlist in the past was a couple Grasses (and closely related Greedent), Swampert, Buzzwole, and sometimes Mandibuzz. But NOW? Now it can take down both Giratinas and a wide swath of Fighters, Fires, Waters, Grasses, and Bugs, as well as overpower many mostly-neutral-on-neutral opponents like Umbreon, Snorlax, Gliscor, Drapion, Defense Deoxys, Dubwool and more.
Overall, it’s at least a performance that might make you hold onto your lesser-than-hundo RayRays, no? (Especially since even raid level Ray is similarly successful!)
I mean, technically one CAN get a Rayquaza into Great League, via trading the one-time Research (AKA Level 15) Rayquaza from the Hoenn Celebration Event in January 2021. Something with, like, 4-4-4 IVs just sneaks under 1500 CP at Level 15. Is such a difficult feat worth trying to pull off? Mmmm… maybe? It definitely falls down flat without shields (no surprise by now, right?), but with one or ideally two shields to hide behind, it looks rather spicy. It’s similiar to Dragonite, losing to stuff like Lickitung and Stunfisk but instead whooping stuff like A-Wak, Lanturn, Mandibuzz, and even Scrafty that ‘Nite surprisingly cannot beat. Not looking at a new meta-definer here or anything, but Great League RayRay could be some fun spice. Here’s hoping the opportunity comes again in the future.
“Swiper, no swiping!”
Ahem. Sorry about that.
Anyway, very briefly, I wanted to discuss the potential of some other things with Breaking Swipe, while we’re on the topic. This is an AMAZING PvP move overall that, again, is strictly better than Dragon Claw. For those reasons, I’m going to leave out things that learn both Breaking Swipe and Dragon Claw (as I’d be rather surprised for Niantic to grant any of them a strict upgrade like that). These include things like Flygon, Charizard, Giratina, Garchomp, Dragonite and others. I am ALSO going to leave out things that are already amazing in PvP and would become painfully busted with Breaking Swipe, such as Dialga (can you imagine?! 😱), Altaria, Palkia, and Dragonair, as well as things that just got other big upgrades in the recent past, like Reshiram, Kyurem, Hydreigon, and even Steelix. (I think Psychic Fangs was am amazing upgrade in and of itself!) I consider all of those highly unlikely to get Breaking Swipe, now or ever… but I’ve been wrong before, of course.
That still leaves us with some gems worth mentioning….Exeggutor (Alola) GrassDragon
Long-neglected ALOLAN EXEGGUTOR would really stand to benefit from a move like this. Perhaps more than anything else below, THIS one I would love to see happen. It would even become interesting in Great League!
I know there are a lot of Kingdra fanboys (and gals, and other pals!) out there, despite it being pretty middling, if we’re being completely honest. Breaking Swipe would… well, blow the competition out of the water! This one might be a little TOO good to ever actually happen, but hey, now folks can dream.
GOODRA is another Dragon that just flits about on the edge of viability, trapped behind a self-debuffing Draco Meteor and the frankly awful Muddy Water. Give it Breaking Swipe, Niantic cowards, and unleash the beast, in multiple leagues!
It’s got a ton of varied charge moves already, but RHYPERIOR would get a serious boost in Master League from being able to reach out and swipe all the Dragons already.
It still wouldn’t be amazing, but TYRANITAR would certainly appreciate Breaking Swipe for very similar reasons as Rayquaza.
That’s just a short list to whet your appetite. For a full list of the many things (Dragon and otherwise) that can learn Breaking Swipe in MSG, check out Bulbapedia and dream big!
For today, though, that’s all I got. Breaking Swipe Rayquaza is arriving for our Oceania friends just a couple hours after I finish this, so it’s time to get this out the door and move on to other projects in the works (like Hoenn Cup, Hoenn Global Tour Field Guide, and some raid-related writings after recent news). So until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular GO analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.
Happy raiding, folks! Be safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!