Under The Lights PvP: Double Avalugg Special!

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So I was planning to cover HISUIAN AVALUGG later this week, as it has a raid day introduction to GO coming up on Saturday the 24th (yes, that IS Christmas Eve… don’t ask me, ask Niantic! 🤷‍♂️), but we ALSO have Bergmite Spotlight Hour on Tuesday the 20th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm local, which means a great chance to also get original Avalugg AND grind for XL Candy for potential Master League Luggs.

But is that kind of grind worth it? Is Hisuian Avalugg worth walking out on family to raid on Christmas Eve? Let’s find out!

First, our Bottom Line Up Front:

B.L.U.F.

  • Keeping things really simple… both Avaluggs do enough work to be worthy of consideration in PvP… though really only in Master League, where Ice in general is a really potent typing.
  • In Great and Ultra Leagues, both Luggs clock in as specialists without too much else to do besides freeze up things weak to Ice. H-Lugg won’t even fit in Great League (yet), but you’re not missing out on much, so don’t worry.
  • Bergmite has no real use in PvP Little League, lacking any STAB fast moves and what moves it has don’t generate enough energy to make use of its tasty charge moves.

Alright, now for the deeper dive….

SPIN AROUND THE OL’ LUG NUT

Avalugg Ice

So, original AVALUGG I already covered almost exactly a year ago. But in brief (okay, brief-ish) review:

There’s good and there’s bad with Avalugg’s stats and typing. Stats-wise, it’s a very hefty boi, not QUITE as tanky as things like Lugia, Cresselia, or the Regis, but it’s not far behind, and outbulks notable things throughout the Leagues like Walrein, Drifblim, Alolan Muk, Nidoqueen, Scrafty, Ninetales (regular and Alolan), Clefable, Sylveon and more. Its overall Attack and bulk track closely to Snorlax throughout all Leagues, for a close comparison, with Lugg having very slightly higher Attack and a tiny bit less bulk.

That’s the good news. The bad news is the typing, as Ice is arguably the worst defensive typing in the franchise. Its deficiencies are often masked in the Pokémon franchise by being paired with other typings that help shore it up, most often Water (which takes away two of its biggest vulnerabilities and doubles up a shared resistance). But by itself, Ice is weak to Fire and Steel (the two that Water negates), plus Rock and Fighting. None of those are awful, but they’re counterbalanced by only one single resistance: Ice resists other Ice. And that’s it. No other single typing in the franchise is worse on its own. Even Normal types, which also have only one resistance, at least have that as a double resistance (to Ghost) and are saddled with only one vulnerability (to Fighting). And in case you didn’t get why I’m discussing all this: Avalugg is a mono-Ice type Pokémon. Seeing as how prominent Fighters and Steels populate all three leagues, and Fires and Rocks are pretty common encounters as well, this is a problem.

Then there’s the moves, which are also a bit of a mixed bag. The charge moves are quite excellent, with spammy Body Slam (35 energy for 60 damage), excellent STAB move Avalanche (45 energy, 90 damage), and coverage with Dark move Crunch (45 energy, 70 damage) or Ground move Earthquake (65 energy, 120 damage), the last of which can at least target down troublesome Rocks, Fires, and especially Steels.

As tempting as the coverage of Earthquake is, Avalugg has a fast move problem that makes Earthquake hard to reach. It has only Bite (Dark, 4.0 Damage Per Turn, but only 2.0 Energy Per Turn) and Ice Fang (Ice, 4.0 DPT, 2.5 EPT). While Ice Fang is clearly the best option, both it and Bite have below average energy generation. It takes 13 Ice Fangs and 13 seconds of real time for Avalugg to reach Earthquake. In that amount of time, again using Snorlax as a reference, Lax can reach two Body Slams AND an extra fast move or two. Wing Attack Charizard can reach a Dragon Claw AND a KO Blast Burn before Avalugg gets to just ONE Earthquake. (Not that you’d WANT to use Earthquake on Lugg, but….) Typhlosion can reach TWO Blast Burns before Avalugg gets to its first Earthquake. All this to say… unfortunately Earthquake isn’t going to work out for Avalugg very often. You’re better off sticking with cheap Body Slam and then either Avalanche as a closer, or Crunch for a little bit of coverage, though it’s worth noting that against targets where Avalanche is resisted and Crunch is not, they still deal basically the same amount of damage. (Take Melmetal, for instance, where unresisted Crunch deals literally only 1 additional damage as compared to resisted Avalanche.) For these reasons, generally the recommended moveset is going to be Ice Fang/Body Slam/Avalanche, with Crunch sometimes being worth consideration in certain Limited metas.

That all said, Lugg struggles a bit in Open Great and even Ultra Leagues. It does what you’d expect an Ice to do, beating up on Grasses, Dragons, and (most) Grounds and Flyers (ones with inherent advantages like Pelipper, Charizard, Swampert, Galarian Stunfisk, and Excadrill can be a problem), while also outbulking things like Umbreon (at least in Ultra League), Greedent, Alolan Muk, Drapion, Cofagrigus, and most Charmers. But as you can tell by the record, it’s not incredibly dynamic, doing the Ice job very well but not a ton beyond.

I’ve written several times before about how Ice-weak much of the current Master League meta is, so it’s not a huge surprise that Avalugg has its best performance in Master. It’s worth noting that, again, the vast majority of its wins come against things weak to Ice… the only non-Flying/Ground/Grass/Dragon Pokemon on its core meta winlist is Sylveon. To reiterate, everything else on its winlist is a Flyer, Ground, Grass, and/or Dragon type, though that list does at least now include Gyarados and Swampert that give Lugg problems in lower Leagues. It’s even better in Master League Premier Classic, if you plan to send that format out with a bang in January. (Last EVER chance at Level 40 Master League, says Niantic. 😢)

But generally, Avalugg is much more just a specialist rather than a generalist. It does its role well, and currently ranks as the second-best Ice type in Master League behind only Mamoswine. At least until a new challenger arises later this week…. 🥶 (I’ll have a full article on THAT later this week too.)

So yes, Avalugg works, though it’s somewhat unexciting. How about its new rocky cousin?

LUGGING AROUND CHRISTMAS PRESENTS? 🎁🪨

Avalugg (Hisuian) IceRock

Again, noting that its release event comes from 2:00pm to 5:00pm on Christmas Eve, if you’re able to break away from wrapping and toting around presents for a few hours, what do you get for it?

Stats-wise, Hisuian Avalugg slightly trails original Avalugg in overall stat product in Great and Ultra League, with Hisuian having 5+ more Attack but also about 8 less Defense and 4-8 less HP than the OG Lugg. However, in Master League, it actually leaves original Avalugg in the dust, having the same HP (194), only 2 less Defense (212 rather than Lugg’s 214), and 15 more Attack, giving it a total stat product of 7936 as compared to Avalugg’s mere 7370; Hisuian Avalugg has about 300 more CP than regular Avalugg.

It also has a typing that’s better… and worse. Mixing in Rock with Ice typing, it gains resistances to Flying, Poison, and Normal damage while retaining the resistance to Ice, and the weaknesses OG Lugg has to Fire goes away. But the Steel and Fighting weaknesses both go to a double vulnerability now, the weakness to Rock remains, and new vulnerabilities to Water, Ground, and Grass (the latter two being things an Ice type is supposed to be good against!) pop up.

Thankfully H-Lugg comes with moves — especially a fast move — to help mitigate its weaknesses. It retains the Dark moves (Bite and Crunch) of the original, but that’s where the similarities between the two Luggs end. Gone is slow-charging Ice Fang and fast-firing Body Slam, replaced instead with good energy-generating fast move Powder Snow (2.5 DPT, but 4.0 EPT) and STAB Rock Slide (45 energy, 75 damage). Big fat closer Earthquake would be NICE here with that coverage, but it’s replaced with Blizzard (75 energy, 140 damage), which also kind of replaces Avalanche, as it’s H-Lugg’s only Ice charge move.

In the end, Crunch is again left on the outside looking in, as Rock Slide deals higher damage and also provides coverage (against Fire types, at least, and neutral coverage versus Waters), leaving H-Lugg with a recommended moveset of Powder Snow/Rock Slide/Blizzard, operating QUITE differently than regular Avalugg.

As different as they are, though, their records remain extremely close. In fact, in the current Great and Master League metas, both Avaluggs end up with the exact same numbers of wins and losses… though there’s some shuffling around that goes on to get there. in Great League, H-Lugg uniquely beats Talonflame, Pelipper, Froslass, Charm Alolan Ninetales, and Shadow (fiery) Ninetales thanks to the effectiveness of Rock Slide… and adds on Umbreon as well, thanks in large part to the sheer power of Blizzard. Regular Avalugg replaces those wins with Diggersby, Swampert, Trevenant, Venusaur, and Shadow Victreebel (thanks in large part to not being weak to Grass and Ground damage as H-Lugg is), as well as Cofagrigus thanks to the relative speed of Avalanche. (Rock Slide isn’t quite enough to close that one out for H-Lugg). In Master League, H-Lugg‘s unique wins consist of Yveltal and Ho-Oh (thanks to Rock Slide), and also Mewtwo (without Focus Blast, at least), Snorlax, and Excadrill thanks Blizzard delivering a knockout blow to each. OG Lugg instead freezes out Mud Shot Garchomp, Zekrom, Zarude, Groudon, and Therian Landorus thanks to its heavier, more consistent Ice damage. I think I would still lean slightly to Hisuian in Master because of its better flexibility and shield pressure, but it IS somewhat close. Hisuian doesn’t show up on PvPoke rankings yet, but I imagine it will come in around the same spot as Avalugg does. For what it’s worth, H-Lugg is very slightly better (73.5 win% versus Lugg’s 72.3%) versus the entirety of Master League (outside of just the core meta), though it struggles a bit more than original Avalugg if things get pushed to 2v2 shielding.

ANYway, long story short, it’s viable and rather unique in Master League… in good AND bad ways. 🙃

So is it worth the Christmas Eve grind, or heavy candy grinding during Tuesday’s Spotlight Hour? Unless you’re into Master League, if I’m being honest, probably not. And even then, while I think both Luggs DO have a legit place in Master, I’m not sure it’s worth the grind when it’s probably easier to build a Mamoswine (or go whole hog on likely-soon-to-be-superior Kyurem) and be done with it. But hey, if you LIKE those sort of projects, I think either Avalugg could be quite fun! Go for it.

WEEKEND AT BERGIE’S?

Bergmite Ice

Nah. BERGMITE has decent enough stats for Little League, AND comes with Icy Wind (and Crunch, in keeping with the family theme). But it lacks any STAB fast moves, having only Bite (again, family theme) and the very blah Tackle (completely average 3.0 DPT and EPT). So in the end, it just doesn’t do much for you, and being first in its evolutionary line, it’s unlikely Niantic will see fit to tweak its moves down the line. A good PvP Bergmite is one that evolves to a good PvP Avalugg, and nothing more. Sorry, fellow Little League lovers!

Alright, that’s it for today! I’m working on analyis of both Holiday Cup AND that Glaciate Kyurem that has been teased/mined for later this week, so you’ll see me again soon! I just chose to do this one first because of the Spotlight Hour tie-in. Hope you found it helpful!

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

Thanks for your faithful readership, and happy grinding and raiding!

Stay safe out there, hug your family and friends tight this holiday season (so they’re more forgiving when you raid on Christmas Eve 🤭), and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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