The “Under The Lights” article series provides some deeper dives on Pokémon of particular interest in PvP. Today, that’s going to be a brand new arrival in Pokémon GO, one that may soon herald in a new move along with it. Today, we put Sylveon… *under the lights*.
So before we get into analysis, you may be asking yourself… ‘how do I GET one of these new-fangled Sylveon things?‘ There are two ways:
– The easy way? Name an Eevee “Kira” and evolve it, and voila: instant Sylveon! The catch is that, like the other Eevee name tricks, this is a one time deal. Think long and hard about which Eevee you want to use for this… if any!
– The more common way, and the ONLY way once the name trick is used up: lots of buddying around. You have to make an Eevee your in-game buddy and, while it IS your buddy, earn 70 buddy hearts with it. For some, that’s not a big deal, but for the casual trainer, that could be a pretty grindy and time-consuming hassle. All the more reason to be REALLY sure you have the right Eevee in mind for the name trick above!
And perhaps this analysis can help you decide what sort of Eevee you want to use that name trick on. In which league is Sylveon best? How does it stand out from existing options? Let’s dive in and take a look!
|Attack||119 (117 High Stat Product)|
|Defense||121 (126 High Stat Product)|
|HP||131 (131 High Stat Product)|
*(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-12, 1500 CP, Level 18.5)*
|Attack||152 (150 at Level 50)|
|Defense||162 (162 at Level 50)|
|HP||166 (171 at Level 50)|
*(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-13-15, 2499 CP, Level 31.5)*
|Attack||172 (183 at Level 50)|
|Defense||174 (185 at Level 50)|
|HP||182 (194 at Level 50)|
*(Assuming 15-15-15 IVs; CP 2902 at Level 40; CP 3281 at Level 50)*
So let’s clear this up first… Sylveon’s stats are right in line with most Charm Fairies you already know. It has *very* slightly higher Attack than most of them (in Great League, 1-2 higher than Clefable, Slurpuff, and Aromatisse, 3 higher than Wigglytuff, and 4 greater than Alolan Ninetales, while Whimsicott has the same Attack) and while its bulk is roughly equivalent to the others, it has higher Defense and lower HP than most (Alolan Ninetales and Whimsie being the sole exceptions). So if you’re looking for Sylveon to be drastically different than other Charmers… well, you’re probably going to be (mostly) disappointed. There ARE some standout things to mention with it, but not many, as it’s just another entry in an increasingly crowded pack of stat-similar Pokémon.
No big typing oddities of note either. Wigglytuff and Ninetales have good and bad that goes with their secondary typings (Normal and Ice, respectively), but otherwise there’s nothing new here. Just like Clefable and other pure Fairies, Sylveon is vulnerable to Steel and Poison damage, and resists Fighting, Dark, and Bug, and double resists Dragon damage. Probably nothing you didn’t already know, so let’s move on!
- Charm Fairy type, 5.33 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
- Quick Attack Normal type, 2.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CoolDown
- Fairy Wind??? Fairy type, ?? DPT, ?? EPT, ?? CoolDown
Again, nothing new here. Charm remains THE strongest fast move in the game, dealing even more damage than the mighty Razor Leaf, balanced out by the same low energy gains. If you’re a Fairy without a name rhyming with ‘Bah-BOOM Erol’ or ‘Paw Nile’, Charm is where your usefulness probably starts and ends. And such is the case here… at least for now. Because while Quick Attack isn’t a BAD move, there’s really no reason to run it over Charm… but there MIGHT be a case for a move teased in the code of the game: Fairy Wind. Unfortunately we know literally nothing about how it will look in the game in terms of damage or energy generation or anything–or even WHEN it will arrive in the game!–but for the first time, it does look like Fairies will legit be getting a new fast move of their own. Because we know nothing, obviously there’s nothing to analyze, and while I traditionally try to avoid speculation, I WILL make some educated guesses later about what the move COULD do for Sylveon if implemented in ways most folks are speculating, just for fun. Assuming Sylveon GETS Fairy Wind at all, though it would be rather surprising if it did not.
But for now, we’re sticking with Charm for the bulk of this analysis… after we pair it with the known charge moves.
ᴸ – Legacy/Exclusive Move
- Draining Kiss Fairy type, 60 damage, 55 energy
- Last Resortᴸ Normal type, 90 damage, 55 energy
- Moonblast Fairy type, 110 damage, 60 energy, 10% Chance to Decrease Opponent Attack -1 Stage
- Dazzling Gleam Fairy type, 110 damage, 70 energy
So while charge moves are not something that always even come into play with Charmers, since Charm is such a slow energy gainer, you can at least say that most have some nice coverage moves: Wigglytuff’s Ice Beam, Clefable’s Meteor Mash, and then the wide and unpredictable coverage that come with things like A-Ninetales, Togekiss, Whimsicott, Slurpuff and others. But then there’s Sylveon, which has nothing BUT Fairy moves aside from super-effective-against-*nothing* Last Resort. (And yes, LR is coded in to Sylveon as a Legacy move already, so worst case you should at least be able to get it with an Elite TM, if no other method comes along soon.) Guess it’s a good thing Charmers do not often rely on coverage charge moves to find success! Having zero true coverage sounds bad, but Charmers can shrug it off better than most.
Because the best way to play a Charmer continues to be killing the first thing they face with only fast moves, and store up as much energy as possible to unleash on whatever follows. Just consider established Charmers like Wigglytuff and Clefable… they actually sim *better* when they don’t use any charge moves at all during their initial battle. (See here: Wiggly with and without charge moves, and Clefable with and without.) So that is how we will primarily examine Sylveon: as a straight Charmer. For the record, you want Moonblast are your one Fairy charge move, and it’s really the only charge move you need if you can’t get Last Resort… Dazzling Gleam is in every way worse, and while Draining Kiss IS 5 energy cheaper, it’s a terrible move for that cost and there’s just no good reason to waste your time with it. Again, if you can get Last Resort, it’s SO much better, even without STAB, that it’s not even funny. But again, that’s all academic, as I want to mostly just show you some sims with Charm only so you can see Sylveon stacks up against its compatriots.
Let’s start with Great League:
– Sylveon itself has the same record as Clefable, but gets there in different ways. The most interesting result is that–again, with Charm only–Sylveon beats Vigoroth, while Clefable (and A-Tails AND Wigglytuff) fail to. The real reason for this is that, even though it’s a small difference, the slightly higher Attack of Sylvia (that’s not a typo… you know I like to give these things pet names! 😉) is just enough to hit a breakpoint where its Charms deal 14 damage each, as opposed to the 13 of the other Charmers. That means that Vigoroth only reaches two Body Slams and dies, whereas it can reach a third against other Charmers and JUST sneak in a third, winning charge move. Yes, it’s still basically dead, and yes, IVs can swing things either way, but having more assurances of winning switch advantage can be HUGE. Anyway, Sylveon also tends to beat Politoed, along with Clefable, as they both again hit a damage breakpoint and deal 13 damage per Charm as opposed to Wiggly and ATales that deal only 12 per, and is the only major Charmer other than Ice-resistant A-Tails that can overpower Lapras (and AGAIN, thanks to a damage breakpoint). Yes, those can be affected by IVs as well, but even that tiny bit of extra Attack Sylveon comes packing naturally can do it wonders compared to the other Charmers and is seemingly its best asset in Great League.
– For other comps–again, with Charm only–Clefable and Wigglytuff both overpower Serperior and Meganium, but Sylveon and A-Tails both generally lose. Clef, Wiggly, AND A-Tails usually outlast Whiscash, whereas Cash can JUST finish off Sylveon before kicking the bucket (again, your mileage may vary depending on IVs). And Clefable loses to Stunfisk (who hits a damage breakpoint against it for 3 damage per Thunder Shock/Mud Shot as opposed to just 2 versus higher Defense Sylveon and A-Tails), but Sylvia, A-Tails, and Wigglytuff (with its insanely high HP) survive and squash Fisky flat. Well, *flatter*.
– Wigglytuff remains the undisputed best Charmer in GL for its ability to resist Ghost damage, giving it the most consistent (and often only) wins against Haunter, Hypno, and Jellicent. Alolan Ninetales remains the best against Ice (uniquely beating Abomasnow and Dewgong, and the only one other than Sylveon to beat Lapras) and has the greatest chance of any of these Charmers to apply real shield pressure with 35 energy Weather Ball. Even Whimsicott has its niche in being best against Grasses and also managing to beat Azumarill (thanks to resisting Bubble). But you can see that Sylveon puts in good work and stands right up there with Clefable and the rest, again with its niche of that comparatively “high” Attack giving it a bit more overpowering potential.
So end of the day… Sylveon with Charm is fine in Great League, a perfectly serviceable Charmer. But there’s nothing particularly special about it, sadly. And no, for those wondering, Quick Attack does it NO favors.
But now let’s do what I traditionally do NOT: let’s get into some wild speculation on Fairy Wind and see what happens. Chances are good that Fairy Wind will NOT be another high damage move… Charm has already got that covered. So let’s look at a couple higher energy moves.
We’ll start with Powder Snow (2.5 DPT, 4.0 EPT), chosen for the stats but also because Ice at least shares Fairy’s super effectiveness versus Dragons and INeffectiveness against Steels. This is a very imperfect comparison still, of course, as Fairy Wind itself will have STAB and not be resisted by some of the things that resist Powder Snow (like Water and Ice) and many other imperfections, but again, *wild speculation*, so this is already very imperfect territory.
So, with a Powder Snow-like Fairy Wind, it’s still not too great at GL level. Even something like Snarl (1.67 DPT and 4.33 EPT) doesn’t do all that hot. Add on STAB damage and Fairy’s pretty wide neutral coverage and either of these will look a bit better, but neither looks super promising right now. But stick a pin in this… we’ll check back in the other leagues.
So up we go to Ultra League. On the surface, Sylveon again looks to have trouble separating from the pack, this time consisting primarily of Togekiss and the XL versions of Clefable and especially Alolan Ninetales. Now that right there makes apparent one of Sylveon’s greatest strengths: it does NOT have to be XL. Not even close, barely getting above Level 30 in Ultra. So Sylveon is quite a budget friendly alternative… if it can keep up. Let’s see what separates them:
– As you can tell by the numbers, Alolan Ninetales is the top Charmer in Ultra (if you can afford it!), with unique wins over Lapras, Articuno, and regular and Shadow Abomasnow. That built-in Ice resistance is BIG at this level.
– Behind that we have Togekiss with unique wins over Escavalier and Earthquake Swampert (thanks to being part Flying and the resistances that come with it) and XL Clefable with its own unique win over Snorlax. Clefable’s other special win is over Alolan Muk, a win shared with… Sylveon.
Ultra Premier Cup
There’s also Premier Cup, and here things tip a bit more in Sylveon’s favor.
– Sylveon has some really nice wins in Ultra Premier. It’s the only one of these four Charmers that outlasts Crustle and Jellicent, only it and Clefable can beat down Shadow Snorlax and Ampharos, and only Sylvia with its again slightly higher Attack and Togekiss (with an Attack stat about 10 higher than the others) manage to consistently outrace Blaziken.
– In addition to Blaze, Togekiss has pros and cons. Pros: beating Swampert (even with Sludge Wave) and Grasses like Roserade and Meganium whether other Charmers fail. Cons: losses to Galvantula and Alolan Golem that the other Charmers (Sylveon included) can shrug off. Flying is very much a double edged sword.
– Clefable XL does have that unique win over Snorlax that it did in Open Ultra, and shares the aforementioned wins against Shadow Lax and Ampharos, but otherwise it’s just a worse Sylveon in Premier. So too is Open UL standout Alolan Ninetales XL, who has those nice anti-Ice wins but cannot overcome the Grasses, Grounds, or other standouts like Blaziken, Escavalier, Snorlax of any kind, and others mentioned above.
So while in Open Ultra Sylveon has trouble distinguishing itself, *in Premier Cup Sylveon is arguably tied for best Charmer alongside Togekiss, and situationally even better than Kiss* (particularly against Electrics and Rocks). And of course, Sylveon is significantly cheaper to build at Ultra level than Clefable and A-Tails, both of which have to be leveled up far beyond 40 to reach their full, competitive potential, whereas Sylvia is perfectly content hanging out around Level 31 or so.
Once again, though, a speculative Powder Snow-esque Fairy Wind doesn’t do it a lot of favors. Hmmmm.
One last look: Master League. Now HERE comes Sylveon’s greatest strength: getting big enough to legit keep up in Master League as others like Clefable and Ninetales fall completely away. That already leaves Sylvie with far less competition in vying for the title of top Charmer. Unfortunately for it, Togekiss is still king here, with or without charge move use, at Level 40 or slugging it out among Level 50s. Togekiss has its small downsides, which we’ll talk about in a second, but Master League is where it gets to… well, stretch its wings and dominate.
How nice, then, to see that Sylveon manages to mostly keep up. Combining its numbers against Open Master competition and the more expanded field that includes things from the old Master Premier Cup field, we see that Sylvia does lose out to things where Flying Togekiss has clear advantages: Groudon, Incarnate Landorus, and Swampert, as well as Snorlax, but Sylveon gets its own wins that Togekiss cannot: Mamoswine, Glaceon, and Electivire among them… the downside of Togekiss’ Flying side. Sylveon negates some of the things that people build specifically to shield themselves from Togekiss, the top Charmer in Master, and could thus operate as a Charmer that is harder for players used to Togekiss to stop!
There is one other Charmer to consider at this level, though it’s crazy expensive: Shadow Gardevoir. And yes, it’s fine, and has the added benefit of moves that can potentially blow away Dialga (not even Togekiss with Flamethrower can usually pull that off!), but with big downsides too: namely, being critically weak to Ghost moves (and having big trouble with the Giratinas in particular, to the point of usually losing to the Altered Forme) and being shaky in general with less bulk than Togekiss and a LOT less than Sylveon. Considering that, again, Ghost (and perhaps Dark now with Yveltal’s arrival) is a very popular and widespread composition of many Master League teams, I daresay that Gardevoir’s weakness to it actually puts it a bit behind Sylveon now. Yes, *I think that Sylveon moves ahead of Shadow Gardevoir (and is much cheaper to build too!) to slot in as the number 2 Charmer in Master League behind only Togekiss.* And as in Ultra League, there are real world scenarios where Sylveon will be an even better play than Togekiss too!
And one final FINAL look: could a Powder Snow-like Fairy Wind have play here and perhaps allow Sylvie to further distinguish itself? Mmmmm… it’s hard to tell, honestly. The good? A win against Snorlax now, outracing it in a battle of charge move spam. There are also new wins showing against Landorus and Lugia, but those are unfortunately likely anomalies due to Powder Snow’s super effectiveness more than outracing to killing charge moves. Giratina Altered also drops to a loss, but would probably actually remain a win with STAB damage, as Gira survives with just 5 HP, so bumping up the fast move damage just a smidge with STAB would likely keep that a pretty solid win for Sylvia. Shake all that out, and you’re looking at a hold of existing Charm wins with the addition of Snorlax to the win column. So there may be something cooking here! Well, if Niantic does indeed make Fairy Wind a high energy gainer, at least. I wish we knew more! 😬
Alright, I think I’ve squeezed about as much out of this as I can without melting brains… at least until we know more about Fairy Wind! So let’s close it out with a **TL;DR:**
– Sylveon is, honestly, nothing to write home about in Great League, doing little to distinguish itself from other Charmers. Its higher Attack gives it a small leg up in some matchups where it hits key breakpoints that other Charmers have to engineer the right IVs to match (Vigoroth, Politoed, Lapras). But it has no coverage moves whatsoever and faces a very crowded field of fellow Fairies in Great League.
– In Ultra League, particularly in Premier Cup, Sylveon starts to shine a little brighter as a much cheaper alternative to Clefable and Alolan Ninetales, and has some true standout wins to its credit as well (including Jellicent, Crustle, Ampharos, Shadow Snorlax, and Blaziken).
– Perhaps Sylveon’s best league to flex in is Master League, where it has only Togekiss and Gardevoir as real competition, the former of which is critically weak to Ices and Electrics that Sylvie handles fine, and the latter with a damning weakness to Ghost moves (and neutrality to Dark damage) that Sylveon doesn’t have to worry about either. In Master League (and potentially in Ultra Premier), Sylveon arguably becomes the second best Charmer you can get, with notable advantages over the competition that can make it the top option depending on team composition.
And that’s it for today! I will definitely revisit this when we know what Fairy Wind actually looks like, though!
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.
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 reach Legend AND the GBL Leaderboards for the first time in Season 7! And thank *you* for reading… I appreciate your attention and encouragement. Catch you next time, and until then, be safe out there, Pokéfriends!