Zygarde in Pokémon GO PvP: The New PvP Overlord?

On a short vacation since this past weekend, but that won’t stop me from completing the analysis folks keep asking for on ZYGARDE!

By way of introduction, I’ll just say that, while getting to its eventual Complete Forme is a daunting prospect (requiring 250 “cells” that you sometimes maybe get from Routes if you can sometimes maybe find any of those in the first place!), it’s a very worthy goal, as Zygarde Complete makes one of the biggest splashes we have EVER seen in PvP, across all Leagues. Even the 50% Forme is worth it in the interim. Read on for the details on HOW good this thing is!


Zygarde (Ten Percent) DragonGround

So let’s start with Zygarde as you first get it: in good doggo form. In short… well, you won’t want to leave it in this form any longer than necessary.

The problem is, for the most part, bad stats. It has a stat product (and overall lack-of-bulk) in the same zip code as things like Alolan Raichu, Beartic, Victreebel, Zapdos, Machamp, and freaking Crabominable. Now a couple of those actually work in PvP despite their bad stats, of course, like AhChu, Champ, Zapdos, and OG Grasshole Victreebel. But that’s because they have useful typings and/or excellent, high-pressure moves.

Zygarde 10%… well, doesn’t. Dragon/Ground isn’t an awful typing, resisting Fire, Poison, Rock, and 3x resisting Electric, but it’s left weak to Dragon and Fairy, and has a fatal double weakness to Ice. That combined with its shaky bulk just doesn’t leave it in a good place, worse off than fellow Grounded Dragons Flygon and even Garchomp (including their Shadow forms. Heck, even the much-ridiculed (and rightly so) Boomburst Flygon leaves Zygardog in the dust. And note that they’re running the same Dragon Tail in those sims, the best (and really only viable) fast move that Zygarde has going for it.

Speaking of the moves, let’s review them real quick, as they are (for now, at least… never know what Niantic may have in store!) shared across all formes.


  • Dragon TailDragon type, 4.33 DPT, 3.0 EPT, 1.5 CoolDown
  • BiteDark type, 4.0 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 0.5 CD
  • Zen HeadbuttPsychic type, 2.67 DPT, 2.0 EPT, 1.5 CD

Just to reiterate why Dragon Tail is Zygarde’s choice fast move. Bite isn’t completely unusable, but it’s very far from ideal even when it has STAB. (See: Alolan Raticate, which always prefers Quick Attack, and things like Skuntank, Drapion, Mightyena and others, who always prefer other fast moves, even multiple ones that lack STAB damage.) And Zen Headbutt is also one of Chansey’s fast move options, which Niantic clearly loathes in PvP (one of few areas where Niantic and this author are in FULL agreement!), so it’s unlikely to ever be elevated above its current “TM roulette” status.

It WOULD be kinda nice if Zygarde had a Ground-type fast move (especially for PvE use), but the only Ground moves it learns in MSG are either charge moves in GO (basically all of them, to include Earth Power, High Horsepower, even Dig) or don’t exist in GO at all (moves called things like “Thousand Arrows”, “Thousand Waves”, “Land’s Wrath”, and “Stomping Tantrum”). But hey, at least Dragon Tail is a fantastic move these days.

For PvP, just go with Dragon Tail. You’re not missing anything by not spending any other thought on the decision.

As for the charge moves….


  • CrunchDark type, 70 damage, 45 energy, 30% Chance to Reduce Opponent’s Defense -1 Stage
  • BulldozeGround type, 80 damage, 60 energy
  • OutrageDragon type, 110 damage, 60 energy
  • EarthquakeGround type, 120 damage, 65 energy
  • Hyper BeamNormal type, 150 damage, 80 energy

Zygrade 10% runs best with Crunch and Outrage, mostly because they’re the cheapest charge moves it has available, and with its lack of bulk, it needs all the speed it can get. But honestly, for all forms, it’s really down to just those two moves and sometimes Earthquake, which is just a far better overall move than the other Ground option, Bulldoze. (40 more damage for only 5 more energy.)

But none of that can save the 10% Forme, in Great Leagur or certainly in Ultra League. In any of those formats where you’d want a Ground/Dragon type, just use existing options.

…OR, consider a different, superior Zygarde forme.


Zygarde (Fifty Percent) DragonGround

The same typing and moves are at play with the 50% “Big Snek” version of Zygarde, so what’s different? The stats are quite a bit better (for PvP) now, with about 23 less Attack, but about 10 more Defense and 34 more HP. Its stat product and overall bulk are roughly the same as Cofagrigus, Runerigus, Meganium, and Blastoise (which I very recently extolled the virtues of thanks to that bulk) in Great League and Ultra League, BETTER than Walrein and Guzzlord and Serperior, and better than things like Cobalion and Virizion in Ultra League too.

But of course, stats are just part of the picture. How does it hold up when you factor in the typing and moves? Well, turns out that having much-better-than-10%-Forme bulk leads to MUCH better results.

Here’s how it looks in Great League with Dragon Tail/Crunch and either Outrage or Earthquake. Both look pretty similar, and there are, with most wins being shared… wins that include things like Altaria, Umbreon, Vigoroth, Cofagrigus, Defense Deoxys, Charizard, Diggersby, and a slew of things good Ground types typically beat (Dunsparce, Alolan Marowak, Drapion, Lanturn — even with Water Gun! — and Toxapex), and several things a typical Ground would NOT normally beat like Venusaur, Shadow Victreebel, Cresselia, and Jellicent, thanks to taking neutral rather than super effective damage from Grass and Water.

Where the differences come between Outrage and Earthquake is as follows:

  • The high neutral damage of Outrage can take down Mandibuzz (with either Air Slash or Snarl) and Lickitung, two big-time bulkmeisters. That’s nice to see. Lickitung in particular is the difference between beating Licki before it reaches a third Body Slam or not. If Zygarde tries to go for 5 more energy for Earthquake, it falls one turn and just 2 energy short.
  • However, despite that, I think Earthquake may be better overall, as it instead overcomes Galarian Stunfisk, Registeel, and Bastiodon, all obviously thanks to the super effectiveness of Ground damage.

Now the overall record is still under 50% for… uh, well… 50% (get it? 😅 JRE so funny punny) Zygarde against the Great League meta. But still, that’s looking legit viable, especially the Earthquake version, no?

How about Ultra League? Well once again we have some differences between moves, but in this case, it’s actually Outrage that shows better than Earthquake. Quake still uniquely takes out G-Fisk and fellow Steels Empoleon and Cobalion, but Outrage instead overpowers Scrafty, Shadow Snorlax, Mandibuzz (again), Gliscor, and even Scizor. (Earthquake is just too slow.) Still, though… are you more worried about Mandi and Shadow Snorlax and Scizor, or more about G-Fisk and Empoleon and Cobalion? That depends on the rest of your team, so the simple numbers may very well not mean as much as what is included in those numbers.

Might be academic for now, though, as my personal recommendation would be to keep any 50% Zygarde you get at 1500 CP or below for Great League, since any further ones may be too big. (Assuming we’ll be raiding for it at some point.) Zygarde 50% fits in Great League at Research Level (Level 15) or even up to Level 16, even with the 10-10-10 IV floor of Research catches. (#1 IVs with that floor is actually 10-12-10 at Level 16., so no trading necessary… good thing too since it currently can’t be traded.)


Zygarde (Complete) DragonGround

That brings us to the end of the line… the 100%, Complete Forme. Now we shed another 15 Attack (more like 18 in Ultra League) and, interestingly, also drop about 17 Defense in Great League (more like 24 in Ultra), but the HP skyrockets… +70 in Great League, and +90 in Ultra! This accounts for the jump of 300 total stat product in Great League and 640 in Ultra. In the end, it ranks in the Top 12 in HP in GL, Top 10 in UL, and gives it a Top 20 overall stat product in GL (equivalent to Araquanid and Alomomomomomomola, and better than Steelix, Lickitung, Dewgong, Hypno, the Stunfisks, Tropius, DDeoxys and many more) and a Top Five stat product in Ultra League (trailing ONLY Registeel, Cresselia, and Blissey). This thing is a TANK, folks. The kind that Dragons just do not see in PvP. I mean, just look at the League of Dragons, Master League, where Zygarde Complete has THE best stat product of ALL Pokémon, bar none. 

And the performance shows that perhaps this is a little TOO good? Dare I say that?

Yeah… yeah, this might be bustedJust maybe.

And if you needed any further proof, allow me to present Zygarde Complete in Master League. EVen without any Ground moves, it beats Dialga straight up, as well as… well, basically everything that’s not a Fairy, Ice (Mamoswine), Ursaluna (with Ice Punch), or Lugia. The dominance continues against other things you’d find in Master Premier too (were it eligible there, of course) with again only Fairies and Ices holding it back.

Going back down to Ultra League, and the story is similar. Look again at the win/loss record against the meta. Thirteen of its mere sixteen losses are Fairy, Ice, and/or Steel types, with the only exceptions being Buzzwole, Shadow Swampert, and Obstagoon (and only if Goon successfully throws a couple Obstructs… otherwise it’s another win for Zygarde).

And yep, same in Great League too. Check the wins and losses… of its fourteen losses, only three (Cresselia, Shadow Charizard, and Shadow Swampert again) are NOT Fairy, Ice, or Steel types. And as with Zygarde 50%, you always have the option of running Earthquake and catching even Steels like G-Fisk and Registeel by surprise.

One final note, though… Complete in Great League is REALLY tough to get, and basically impossible until you can get one at Research level AND trade it, which is not currently possible. Something like a 6-10-10 can fit under 1500 CP, but 10-10-10 is too big.

But wherever you try and use it, this thing is gonna be busted as is. This phrase is overused by some content creators, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that Zygarde Complete is going to truly shake up PvP when it arrives, in every League where it can be utilized.


Zygarde’s initial 10% forme isn’t much to behold, but 50% will certainly be viable in PvP, and I think it’s fair to say that the Complete Forme, if released without further changes, is going to revolutionize all Leagues, and perhaps be the shock to Master League that many have been begging for. Get ready! Eventually someone is going to get the two hundred and fifty Zygarde cells necessary to make one and start beating face with it! Maybe that will even be you?!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter with regular analysis nuggets or Patreon, if you’re feeling extra generous.

Be safe out there walking your routes (if you can find any!), Pokéfriends, and catch you next time!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

Further reading

Popular today

Latest articles

Support us

Buy GO Hub merch

Get your very own GO Hub t-shirt, mug, or tote.