The Pokemon GO UI doesn’t convey information about the actual move damage and Pokemon stats very well. As a result, there has always been a lot of confusion about how move damage output is actually calculated and how do different Pokemon perform with the same move.

Luckily, the damage mechanics in Pokemon GO are not too complex to understand. We’ll start with the damage formula, first discovered by a Reddit User called Qmike:

Floor(0.5 ∗ Power ∗ Atk / Def ∗ STAB ∗ Effective) + 1

Power denotes how theoretically strong is the move you’re using. For example, Solar Beam has a power of 180 damage units. As you can see, that figure is further modified by ATK and DEF.

ATK refers to the sum of the attackers Base Attack and Attack IV value, multiplied by it’s current Combat Power Multiplier (depends on Pokemon Level).

Attack=(BaseAttack+AttackIV)∗CpM

Similarly, DEF refers to the sum of the defenders Baser Defense and Defense IV value, multiplied by it’s current Combat Power Multiplier (depends on Pokemon Level).

Defense=(BaseDefense+DefenseIV)∗CpM

We are now one step closer to understanding why different Pokemon deal different amount of damage while using the same move.

Other elements of the formula fit together as modifiers, and we won’t go into too much details about them, as they’re well covered elsewhere on the Hub:

  • STAB increases the move’s power if the user has the same type (for example, grass Pokemon using Solar Beam). For more info see the following article: “What is STAB?”
  • Effectiveness refers to type effectiveness – not very effective, super effective, etc. It’s calculated by using the move’s and defender’s types.
  • Floor takes the resulting damage and strips any decimal part. For example 45.05, 45.95, 45.5 and 45.11 will all end up as 45. We’ll discuss more about this and how to power-up moves in the future.
  • +1 forces that each move deals at least 1 damage, no matter of who’s using it and who’s taking the damage

A real world example

A level 30 perfect IV Venusaur, attacking a level 30 perfect IV Vaporeon will deal the following amount of damage with Solar Beam:

  • Power: 180
  • ATK: (198 + 15) ∗  0.7317 = 155,8521
  • DEF: (177 + 15) ∗ 0.7317 =  140,4864
  • ATK / DEF = 1,109375
  • STAB: 1.2
  • Effectiveness: 1.4

Floor(0.5 ∗ 180 ∗ 1,109375 ∗ 1.2 ∗ 1.4) + 1 = 168 damage

In other words, Vaporeon’s defense reduced the incoming damage by 6.667%.