The “Under The Lights” article series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest in PvP. Today, that means a last minute look at the Mythical, musical Pokémon we’re getting during this weekend’s GO Fest 2021. I wanted to preview it earlier, and had the skeleton of this article written up for like a week now, but I couldn’t proceed until we knew the stats of the exclusive move. And so of course, GO Fest has arrived and… we still have no stats for that move. It was released without its signature move! Nice troll, Niantic.

Enough time has already been wasted, so let’s dive right in and put Meloettaunder the lights!

Now there are actually two forms to discuss here, and while there are obviously several similarities, I’ll be breaking them down separately. Here we go!

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Meloetta (Aria) NormalPsychic

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
165 (162 High Stat Product) 151 (155 High Stat Product) 152 (154 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-14-13, 2500 CP, Level 23.5; not achievable for research reward Meloetta)

(Highest Stat Product IVs at Research/Raid Level: 10-14-15, Level 22.5)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
209 190 189

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 3972 at Level 40)

Hey, we finally have another Normal/Psychic type in GO besides just Garafi–er, Farigama–um, I mean… uh… Girafamarigarif? Something like that. Anyway, that typing is rather significant, as Psychic and Normal are surprisingly complementary. Normals are famously weak to Fighting damage, right? Psychic negates that. And Psychics are of course deathly afraid of Ghost damage, yeah? Not so with Normal/Psychics… they actually resist Ghost damage, since Normal 2x resists. The result is that Meloetta resists Psychic and Ghost damage, and is weak only to Dark and Bug. That’s it. And that’s pretty good!

As for the stats… they’re decent, but nothing to write home about. Aria has slightly higher Attack and slightly lower bulk than Swampert, Origin Giratina, Venusaur, Melmetal, and Talonflame in Ultra League, and aligns closely to Togekiss in overall stats, for a few examples. And those are not known for being particularly tanky, so that kind of tells you what you need to know about Aria Forme.

On to the moves!

Fast Moves

  • Quick AttackNormal type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
  • Confusion Psychic type, 4.0 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 2.0 CD

Quick Attack isn’t a bad move (we’ll talk about it more a bit later), but it’s Confusion you really want, with great overall stats and good coverage. Even things that resist Confusion still lose visible chunks of HP to it and its high raw power.

Charge Moves

  • PsyshockPsychic type, 70 damage, 45 energy
  • ThunderboltElectric type, 95 damage, 55 energy
  • Dazzling GleamFairy type, 110 damage, 70 energy
  • Hyper BeamNormal type, 150 damage, 80 energy
  • Relic Song? – Normal type, ?? damage, ?? energy

So first off, a word on Relic Song. After delaying this article all week waiting for stats after it was teased back in June (and had its sound file added just three days ago), of course Niantic never finished adding it to the game beyond that, and Meloetta has now officially arrived without it. Ugh. In MLG, it’s a Normal damage dealing move that also changes Meloetta to its Pirouette Forme (more on that below), so for now we don’t have a way to change forms either. Such a tease, Niantic. ✊ *shakes fist* So what does that leave us with?

Well first off, why oh WHY didn’t Meloetta ever learn Disarming Voice in MLG? So thematic, and would be SUCH a better Fairy coverage move than Dazzling Gleam! (Disarming Voice is an underappreciated and underrepresented move in GO… a clone of Foul Play/Magnet Bomb/Psyshock at 45 energy for 70 damage. Shame.) Oh well. As is, Gleam is a pretty lousy move, strictly inferior to Moonblast (which deals the same damage for 10 less energy) and many other moves. (Hurricane, Sludge Wave, Payback, Outrage, and even never-used Petal Blizzard deal 110 for less than 70 energy, and even Return is better by dealing 130 damage for that same 70 energy.) As it is, I don’t think Gleam is a move you’d ever really want. Nor, likely, is Hyper Beam, which can of course snatch victory from the jaws of defeat if it lands, but takes a day and a half to charge up, even with Quick Attack.

Rather, I think (and sims agree) that Aria’s best options are Psyshock for spammy Psychic damage and Thunderbolt for coverage. But unfortunately, even its “best” is still not great at first glance….

Since even a research Meloetta is too big to fit in Great League (even a 0-0-0 would only fit at Level 14.5), let’s start with Ultra League. Running with Confusion, things look rather grim, and they’re even worse with Quick Attack. Confusion damage alone of course handles thing like Gengar and Poliwrath, but beyond that it’s a bit of a mess. Thunderbolt does consistently take down Togekiss (with either fast move), but then there’s not much beyond, with Quick Attack only managing to outrace Gallade and Armored Mewtwo, and Confusion faring little better with wins only against Machamp, Lapras, Drifblim, Articuno, and Origin Giratina. And that’s it. Heck, many other Confusion users exceed that performance, including Pokemon like Uxie (with much slower Psychic and Electric moves: Futuresight and Thunder), Slowbro, Celebi, and of course LAST year’s GO Fest Mythical, Victini… even without V-Create! Relic Song could potentially change all that, but with current moves, Aria looks like a non-starter in Ultra League.

Now it DOES end up just shy of 4000 CP when maxed at Level 40 (3972, to be exact), so it’s certainly big enough to compete at Master League level. Many of those other Confusioners can’t get that high, with even the other Mythicals like Victini and Celebi topping out below 3300 CP. And I’m happy to report that Aria can do some damage in Master. And basically all of it comes with just Confusion and Psyshock, a win list that includes Dragonite and Garchomp, Toegkiss and Sylveon, Groudon and Rhyperior, Landorus, Swampert, Gyarados, Palkia, and of course Fighters like Machamp. And it really gets to flex its Ghost resistance by also beating both Giratinas (if they’re utilizing Shadow Claw, at least), as well as Snorlax and its Licks. Other picks from slightly outside the main meta like Roserade, Gengar, Electivire, and Shadow Gardevoir can also go down to Meloetta. And with Thunderbolt not doing a whole lot for you (though it’s a nice potential threat against Kyogre and such, granted), you MAY want to consider going for big booms with Hyper Beam. That wasn’t a good option in Ultra, but you have a much better chance of reaching it in meaningful situations at Master League level, and it can make some wins like Swampert and Garchomp easier, and can sneak a win versus Ho-Oh too.

I have to admit, I’m a little surprised something that basically just wails away with Psychic damage can do so well at Master League level, but then again, what other Confusioners really compete up there? Mewtwo (who often runs Psycho Cut instead anyway) and uh… yeah, that’s really about it, isn’t it? All-out Psychic Pokemon are a rather rare commodity in Master League, so Meloetta Aria gets to flex its high CP and fill a gap… if you’re willing to invest some serious rare candy into making it happen.

But for now, I’d hold off, because we don’t yet know if we’ll be able to turn our Aria into Pirouette (or will need to catch and build them up seperately), and Pirouette is perhaps even MORE promising…. 👀

Meloetta (Pirouette) NormalFighting

Ultra League Stats

Attack Defense HP
179 (175 High Stat Product) 128 (131 High Stat Product) 152 (155 High Stat Product)

(Highest Stat Product IVs: 1-15-15, 2499 CP, Level 23.5; not achievable for research reward Meloetta)

(Highest Stat Product IVs at Research/Raid Level: 10-12-13, Level 23)

Master League Stats

Attack Defense HP
224 160 189

(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 3915 at Level 40)

Big typing change here. Bye bye Psychic, hello Fighting. And unfortunately, hello more vulnerabilities. While Psychic and Normal had some good chemistry, that’s not so with Normal/Fighting. You get all the good (Normal double resisting Ghost, Fighting resisting Dark, Bug, and Rock) but also all the bad (Normal weak to Fighting, Fighting weak to Fairy, Flying, and Psychic) that come with each of those typings. There is absolutely zero effect that Normal has on Fighting, or vice versa. To sum all that up one last time, Pirouette Forme resists Dark, Bug, Rock, Ghost (2x), and is vulnerable to Fighting, Flying, Psychic, and Fairy damage.

Pirouette Forme is also notably more Attack-centric, with an Attack stat about 15 bigger than Aria, and corresponding Defense that lags about 30 behind Aria’s beefier bulk. A side note on that: remember that Attack is the heaviest weighted stat in CP calculations, so having an Attack number change be counterbalanced by a number twice that in Defense feels wrong, but is actually just the CP formula doing its normal thing. This is exactly why low Attack/high bulk stats are usually ideal for PvP, as you can stuff more overall stat product under the CP caps that way. Anyway, tangent over….

Nutshell: Pirouette is quite a bit squishier than Aria due to missing a good chunk of Aria’s Defense and having multiple exploitable vulnerabilities. On the flipside, it also hits a lot harder, so let’s see what moves it will be hitting with and if they can compensate for this worrying trend.

Fast Moves

  • Quick AttackNormal type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
  • Low Kick Fighting type, 2.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT, 1.0 CD

The big change here is no more Confusion. That makes sense, since Pirouette is not a Psychic type, but it leaves Pirouette without a hard-hitting fast move. And what doesn’t make any sense is how bad Low Kick is in this game. As I often remind folks, 3.0 is average for both Damage Per Turn and Energy Per Turn, and as you can see, Low Kick utterly fails to hit either mark. It’s a terrible move that is only masked by the fact that Fighting happens to also have the best fast move in the game (Counter), so we don’t talk about the atrocities that are Low Kick and Rock Smash.

Thankfully, we’re at least left with Quick Attack. Yes, it has below average damage output, but it does at least have STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), being a Normal move on a Normal type Pokemon, so it’s a little higher than it looks on paper. And it has pretty good energy generation. Quick Attack is actually a clone (other than typing, of course) of Wing Attack, which is considered a fine (and often preferrable for those that have it and Air Slash to choose between) PvP move… Quick Attack is a fine PvP move too. It just places more emphasis on Pirouette’s charge moves to do the job, which is a bit contrary to Aria Forme and its heavy fast move damage.

And despite the worrying typing, relative lack of bulk, and subpar fast move damage, things are finally looking up in the charge move department.

Charge Moves

  • Ice PunchIce type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • Fire PunchFire type, 55 damage, 40 energy
  • Close CombatFighting type, 100 damage, 45 energy, Decreases User Defense -2 Stages
  • Hyper BeamNormal type, 150 damage, 80 energy

So while Aria was more slow and plodding, with average energy generation and slower charge moves, between Quick Attack and these cheaper moves, Pirouette feels like Speedy Gonzales. (Or The Roadrunner, if you’d prefer. meep, meep! 💨) Not only is this thematic for a dancer like Pirouette (which I always appreciate), but it is exactly what she needed to mask her low bulk and problematic type weaknesses. If you can’t take a punch, then get in your own shots before the opponent can exploit your glass jaw.

But what moves to run with? Close Combat is almost a no-brainer, as not only is it the only Fighting damage Pirouette can dish out, but it’s an incredibly impactful move too. Just ask Gallade about what Close Combat does for its PvP prospects! And like Gallade has Leaf Blade for coverage and especially for baiting, Pirouette has good coverage/bait potential with Ice Punch or Fire Punch, which are not quite as cheap as Leaf Blade (35 energy), but very close (just 40 energy).

So let’s put that together and see what we’ve got. Once again, Great League is unfortunately not doable at this time since there is no way to squeeze Meloetta in under 1500 CP, so we’ll start with Ultra. Close Combat alone obviously won’t cut it, beating only Snorlax, Scizor, and Empoleon. Fire Punch makes Scizor easier and roasts Escavalier and Shadow Abomasnow, while Ice Punch beats Dragonite (regular and Shadow) and Origin Giratina. With either Punch, Meloetta can potentially beat regular Aboma, Ferrothorn, Melmetal, Obstagoon, and Alolan Muk by baiting with a Punch and finishing with CC (a la Gallade), and also beats Gengar by resisting its moves and finishing it with Pirouette’s Punch of choice. Overall, I lean Ice Punch to get those big Dragons, but honestly, it’s a performance that is hard to get behind except on just the right team. There is just far too much in the Open Ultra League meta (read as: lots of Waters) that fear Gallade’s Leaf Blade far more than Ice or Fire Punch. Doesn’t help that Leaf Blade deals 20 more damage too.

However, I want to end this article on a good note, and thankfully we shall. Take a look at Pirouette in Master League. Here, both Close Combat and Ice Punch match up very well against the established meta. With a finishing Close Combat, Meloetta can punch out all the big Steels, Ices, Rocks, and Normals around, a big list that includes Dialga, Melmetal, Mamoswine, Excadrill, Rhyperior, Snorlax, Magnezone, Heatran. It’s also more than enough to take out Zekrom, Swampert, and even Landorus (in either form), plus other things you may see in ML Classic like Scizor, Charizard, Typhlosion, and even Fighting Conkeldurr, and either Punch conveniently also take out Gengar and Roserade. Ice Punch specifically adds on the big Dragons: both Giratinas, normal and Shadow Dragonite, and Garchomp in basically any move configuratiuon. It’s a truly remarkable performance, one of the better new entries to be injected into Master League for a while. It’s a good enough performance that if I had any plans to use Pirouette in PvP, I’d invest in building it up for Master League Classic. (Or perhaps even full-on, Level 50 Master League if there was ever a way to grind for XL Candy, as Pirouette drops only Zekrom and sometimes Melmetal and gains Gyarados to compensate.)

So now all that’s left is our TL;DR:

  • Meloetta in its base Aria Forme falls behind many better Pokemon with Confusion in Ultra League, but in Master League it leaves them all behind to clock in what looks like a performance as the best Confusion user in Master League, with about a 60% win rate against the current “core meta” in Master League Classic. If that’s a format you play and you’re looking for something different AND potent, Meloetta may fit the bill! But…
  • …Pirouette Forme is similarly mediocre in Ultra but really good in Master League as a Fighter that resists Ghost damage (and therefore does most of the normal Fighter things plus beats ALL the major Dragons, including both Giratinas!). The only downside is that there’s currently no way to catch it (or turn our Aria Forme into Pirouette, as the main games do via Relic Song), so we’re left in the awkward position of having to invest in Aria now or hold our candy for Pirouette. Either are worth it, but I like the big ripples of Pirouette a bit more, personally. Your call, trainer!

And that’s it! Get out there and GO!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with near-daily PvP analysis nuggets or Patreon with its tie-in Discord server you can access to get straight through to me for personalized answers to your questions.

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Continued thanks to my PvP friends, local and around the world, who have lent their own ideas and suggestions over the last nearly two years of PvP play, and helped teach me to be a better player and student of the game.

And thank you for reading… I appreciate your attention and encouragement. Catch you next time, Pokéfriends. Have fun out there this weekend, and stay safe!

(Original Reddit version available here.)

(Photo credit for another sweet header image to Raydenkusumo. Thanks again!)

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