Hello again, fellow PvPers! Time for another deep dive PvP analysis, and there’s no time to waste, as these new Pokémon are already in the game! So let’s skip the formalities and put Salazzle and Salandit… under the lights!
But first, our Bottom Line Up Front:
- Salazzle will hit Great and Ultra Leagues as an immediately viable new option — for those lucky enough to hatch a female Salandit from 12k eggs in the near-term future AND get a ton of candy for it — with a truly one-of-a-kind typing and move combinations that allow it to pick on a wide swath of several metas.
- Azumarill, Charmers, Grasses, Ices, Steels, Fighters, and many more fall before Salazzle. See below for more details and which closing move is best for it, but for now just know it crosses off some BIG names.
- Salandit (and Salazzle) look really good in Little League as well… if we can ever fit them under 500 CP!
Yeah, this is a good one, folks. Let’s check out the details!
SALAZZLE STATS & MOVES
Great League Stats
|147 (146 High Stat Product)||91 (92 High Stat Product)||114 (115 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 2-15-13, 1500 CP, Level 22.5)
Ultra League Stats
|190 (187 High Stat Product)||119 (119 High Stat Product)||145 (150 High Stat Product)|
(Highest Stat Product IVs: 0-15-14, 2499 CP, Level 46)
So first, that one-of-a-kind typing. Salazzle and Salandit are the only Poison/Fire types in the franchise, and there are some major pros AND cons that come along with it.
The good: THREE double resistances, to Fairy, Grass, and Bug. Plus resistances to Fighting and Poison (on its Poison side) and Fire, Ice, and Steel (on its Fire side).
The bad: double weakness to Ground, and single vulnerabilities to Psychic, Rock, and Water.
So overall, a pretty good defensive type combination, but with exploitable weaknesses.
The larger problem, however, is the stats. Anything with as high Attack as Salazzle is counterbalanced with low bulk. The HP is a little low, but it is the Defense that is really troubling. Not even hitting triple digits in Great League is honestly kind of hard to do. But it’s not completely damning… Galvantula and Machamp share that dubious distinction, though both have higher Defense (and HP) than Salazzle. Here’s a better frame of reference: Banette has basically identical stats. Yeah, think about that for a while.
Thankfully, it appears that Salazzle has a move package that masks many of those flaws. Let’s take a closer look….
- Incinerate – Fire type, 3.0 DPT, 4.0 EPT, 2.5 CoolDown
- Poison Jab – Poison type, 3.5 DPT, 3.5 EPT, 1.0 CD
Hot dang! Like, literally hot with Incinerate. Chandelure and Darmanitan have even less bulk than Salazzle and Incinerate works for them, so that’s a good sign. Poison Jab is obviously a great move too, but overall I think Incinerate is its niche, especially once you consider the charge moves:
- Poison Fang – Poison type, 40 damage, 35 energy, Decreases Opponent Defense -1 Stage
- Dragon Pulse – Dragon type, 90 damage, 60 energy
- Sludge Wave – Poison type, 110 damage, 65 energy
- Fire Blast – Fire type, 140 damage, 80 energy
So first a note on what’s NOT here. Foul Play was initially teased as part of Salazzle’s moveset before Niantic apparently changed their minds (or pulled a clever April Fool’s prank) and removed it before release. I won’t spend too much time dwelling on what could have been since it never came to be, but I WILL say that such a move would have fit Salazzle particuarly well because of another move it does retain: Poison Fang, which drives how Salazzle works.
Because Sally (hey, you knew I’d nickname it at some point in this analysis!) lives and dies by Poison Fang. Because of its frailty, it typically doesn’t want to get drawn into a lot of drop down, drag out battles, but wants to finish things off as quickly as possible before its HP (usually quickly) runs out. And as you’ll see in a second, especially without Foul Play, Salazzle’s other charge moves are all on the rather expensive side. The above average energy gains it gets from its charge moves helps with that, but still… it wants to try and strip a shield away with a bait move and be ready to quickly get to a closing move afterwards while it still has time. Poison Fang helps on all those fronts by being cheap (just 2 Incinerates or 5 Poison Jabs, AKA 5 seconds of real time either way) and softening up the opponent (by slashing their Defense) to allow Sally to more easily outrace them. Heck, even just fast moves and Fangs alone does a lot of good, beating not just the Grasses and Ices and Bugs and Steels and Charmers you would expect, but also things like Machamp, Vigoroth, Toxicroak, Drapion, and tanks like Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Dewgong, and Cresselia that often swat flimsier opponents aside.
Foul Play was such a desirable option because of how it plays in with Poison Fang and Incinerate specifically. Each Incinerate generates 20 energy at a time, and Poison Fang costs only 35 energy, so two Incinerates (5 seconds of time, 10 PvP turns, and 40 energy total) gets to the first Fang and has 5 leftover energy. Foul Play, costing 45 energy, would then be ready to fire just two more Incinerates later (5 +20 + 20 energy), which just hums along SO nicely. Unfortunately, with Foul Play gone, Sally is left with charge moves that instead all cost 60 energy or more, meaning an additional Incinerate is needed to reach any of them. Thankfully though, two moves take no more than that: Dragon Pulse, which costs 60, and Foul Play’s apparent replacement Sludge Wave, which costs 65. Because of how Incinerate works, Salazzle has the energy needed for either of them three Inincerates after Poison Fang.
So which is better? Well, that’s a little complicated. BOTH are viable, but work a bit differently. Dragon Pulse obviously provides some nice coverage options, fitting in particularly well with the Fire and Poison damage Salazzle is already dealing out. Being a Dragon move, Pulse is resisted only by Fairy and Steel, and conveniently, Fang is super effective versus Fairies and Incinerate against Steel, meaning that between the three moves, there is no single typing in the game that resists all three of those moves (certain funky dual types I may be forgetting aside, before someone murders me in comments 😝) and many things will take super effective damage from at least one of them. Pulse is not a great move — as a reminder, there are a slew of moves that deal the same 90 damage it does for less energy — but coverage is coverage, and widely unresisted Dragon coverage is one of the better ones.
But as I said, with the way Incinerate works, you get to 65-energy Sludge Wave just as quickly as Pulse, and for 20+ more damage. (I say ‘+’ because Wave gets the Same Type Attack Bonus — STAB — on top of that.) While that loses you coverage, the difference in damage means that even when Wave is resisted and Pulse is not, they remain very close. (For just one example: Drapion, where resisted Wave deals only 5 less damage than unresisted Pulse.) Coverage aside, there is absolutely no denying that Wave is a much better move, and very synergistic with 35-energy Poison Fang.
SALAZZLE IN GREAT LEAGUE
And now, as always, let’s go to the numbers!
- Dragon Pulse adds the following to the performance of Incinerate/Poison Fang, in order: Altaria, Cofragrigus, Drifblim, Greedent, Medicham, Shadow Nidoqueen, Noctowl, Obstagoon, Pidgeot, Sableye, Talonflame, and Walrein. Quite a list, right? Even better, that 58% win percentage is even a bit higher, as Shadow Machamp and Vigoroth both still go down as well if you stick to just straight Poison Fang.
- But it gets even a bit better, as Sludge Wave beats everything Pulse can except S-Nidoqueen, and adds on Lickitung (due to the sheer power of Wave finshing it before it can fire off its own KO charge move, while against Pulse, Licki lives to strike the final blow instead) and the BIG target: Azumarill, with any combination of Azu’s moves. Wave also shows new wins versus Defense Deoxys and Lapras too, but it’s worth noting that Pulse can win those the same way Wave does in sims: getting a shield with Poison Fang, and then getting the closing move through unblocked. So again, the only truly NEW pickups are Lickitung and Azumarill, at the cost of giving up Nidoqueen. In Great League, I think that tradeoff is worth it!
Similarly, with shields down, Sludge Wave is slightly better overall than Dragon Pulse, with Pulse again beating Shadow Nidoqueen, but Wave’s raw power finishing off Pidgeot, Cresselia, and Azumarill (without Hydro Pump, at least) instead. And even in 2v2 shielding, where you might expect the slightly more expensive Sludge Wave to fall behind, nope! Wave still slightly outshines Dragon Pulse, adding on Play Rough/Hydro Pump Azumarill. Note that the results on paper show Machamp, Vigoroth, Lapras, and Scrafty flipping back and forth between wins and losses, but they all go down to JUST Poison Fang, which beats everything listed for Pulse and Wave (again, this is in 2v2 shielding now) aside from Azumarill (and including Nidoqueen now), and somehow manages to even take down Galarian Stunfisk! Even being triple resisted, a third and final Fang is enough to finish G-Fisk off before it can land the final blow on Sally (and it HAS to win that way, as trying to squeeze in one more painfully slow Incinerate allows G-Fisk to strike first). Pretty cool!
So in quick summary of Great League: while Dragon Pulse and Sludge Wave are both viable alongside the basically-required Poison Fang, I think I lean towards Sludge Wave, which offers no coverage but consistently ratchets up the pressure on Azumarill and consistently does just a little bit more work than Pulse against basically everything but Nidoqueen (and its double resistance to Poison damage).
But what about the next League up?
SALAZZLE IN ULTRA LEAGUE
At first glance, it looks like advantage Dragon Pulse (as compared to Sludge Wave), but once again, there are some shenanigans with the numbers. Trevenant and Shadow Machamp show as wins only with Pulse, and Poison Jab A-Muk only with Wave, but it is in fact Poison Fang alone that beats them all. Similarly, Dragon Breath Charizard and Dragonite show as wins for only Pulse, and Lapras for only Wave, but in truth either closing move can win if used after a shield-baiting Fang. The only REALLY unique differences between the two in 1v1 shielding are that Dragon Pulse alone can take down Origin Giratina and, as in Great League, Shadow Nidoqueen, while Sludge Wave alone can overpower Snorlax and (Dragon Breath) Gyarados just before they answer back with their own finishing charge moves. (Dragon Pulse’s lower power leaves them alive long enough to turn the tables.)
And more good news: while the sims above show a higher-level XL Salazzle, you CAN get by with a Level 41 Salazzle just fine. A 14-15-15 Sally hits 2500 CP exactly at Level 41 and does ALL the same things the Level 46 Sally above does, with the sole exception of losing now to Gengar, but she gains a compensating win over Shadow Dragonite, regardless of what closing move Salazzle is running… and, of course, should beat opposing Salazzles as well thanks to having higher Attack than high XL Sallys and therefore winning CMP.
Overall, I see Salazzle one day becoming a new fixture in Ultra League, once enough players are able to get a good one AND enough candy (and/or best buddy walking) to push it up to Level 41 or higher. Just look over that list of wins and tell me it’s not impressive. Or better still, note that nearly its entire list of losses consists of Waters, Psychics, and/or Grounds that prey on its typings, and Ghosts that resist its Poison damage. Very little else is able to handle what Sally is cooking.
So the good news is that SALANDIT gets to come and play! (It really doesn’t cut it in Great League.) And hey, it becomes the new #1 counter to normally-scary Cottonee, while also tackling most Grasses, Bugs, Fairies, Fighters, fellow Fires, and bonuses like Ducklett, Chinchou, Altaria, Scrafty, Umbreon, Chansey and more. (For the record, Salazzle is quite good too.)
But there’s bad news too: right now there’s no way to get either of them small enough for Little League without trading with a baby account or other unusual means, as even a 0-0-0 Salandit comes in below Level 20 (standard hatch level). Realistically, you need one around Level 17.5 or below to get a viable one under 500 CP. (And Salazzle needs to be around Level 7.5 or so to fit.) The hope is that eventually Salandit will be released as a research breakthrough encounter or, Arceus willing, in the wild, and we can move this discussion from mostly theoretical to more practical examples. But for now… well, folks found a way to fit Vullaby and even Mandibuzz into Little League formats of the past, so somebody out there will have a Salandit or even Salazzle ready for Element Cup when it returns — tooooootally legit, I’m sure 😏 — so be prepared to fend it off when/if that happens.
Alright, that’s all for today! Or at least for this morning, as I hope to push out some new Halloween Cup material later today if time allows! But until then, you can always find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon.
Thanks as always to my PoGO buddies, local and around the world, for all their (and YOUR, dear reader) encouragement over the years. And special thanks (which I really should express more often) to PvPoke, my LONG-time, go-to simming resource. But as a reminder, while those simulations (and my analysis and attempt to explain and simplify them) are a very good start to the story, they are still just a start to give you a rough idea and get you on the path to your own further discovery! Run some simulations yourself, test with Salazzle yourself (if you’re one of the lucky players to HAVE one!), and as always: please discuss! I always love to hear your feedback and any further points of discussion that come out of these deeper dives.
Stay safe out there, Pokéfriends, and catch you next time!