A PvP Analysis on Latios and Latias: new moves and Megas included

Related Articles

Hello again, fellow travelers! I’ll cut right to the chase: today we take a quick look at two Legendaries arriving as our first MEGA Legendaries in GO. For PvP purposes though, that means just looking at non-Mega LATIOS and LATIAS, as Megas aren’t in PvP… at least not yet. Juuuuuuuuust in case that changes, I’ll take a very quick look at what even their Mega forms COULD look like, just for completeness.

🌟 Related reading: Mega Latias Raid GuideMega Latios Raid Guide and Pokémon Air Adventures Event (2022).

Let’s just get right to it, shall we? Well, right after our Bottom Line Up Front:

B.L.U.F.

  • Neither Latios nor Latias are commonly used in PvP today. Their greatest showing is in Master League, where their high CP (Latios has a CP higher than Dragonite and both Giratinas, among others) allows them to stretch their wings a bit.
  • While both are getting new exclusive moves, only Latios seems to truly benefit from its move in most PvP scenarios, and seemingly only marginally so.
  • IF, theoretically, Mega Latios and/or Mega Latias are allowed in some form of Master League soon, both could be quite interesting… at least until more Megas come along to challenge them.
Pokémon GO Latias and Latios
Pokémon GO Latias and Latios

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING BLUE

I said I was going to try and make this quick, and by golly, I meant it.

So just a speedy review of the stats. Most everybody knows that Latias is the bulkier of the two, with generally 25-30 more Defense than her brother Latios (depending on IVs and League), while Latios generally clocks in with anywhere from 20-30 more Attack (again, depending on level of play and IVs).

Both have roughly the same HP, though that HP is quite low… lower than (Master League level) Togekiss, Groudon, Gyarados, Landorus, and several other things that are hardly considered “bulky”.

As a more direct comparison, the 172 HP a maxed, Level 50 Latios (or Latias) sports is the same as Metagross and 1 less than Zacian… but Metagross has 13 more Defense than Latios, and Zacian has about 20 more Defense. That’s right… they are both bulkier than Latios too. (Latias has about 15 more Defense than Metagross and 10 more than Zacian, but also remains the less relevant of the two [email protected] twins, as we’ll see, so it doesn’t matter so much in the end.)

Their typing is unique, though not necessarily in good ways. The combination of Dragon and Psychic (the typing) leaves exactly six resistances (the Elements — Electric, Fire, Grass, Water — on the Dragon side, and Psychic and Fighting on the Psychic side) and a counterbalancing six vulnerabilities (Dark, Ghost, and Bug on the Psychic side, and Fairy, Ice, and Dragon on the Dragon side).

This SEEMS balanced, but at Master League level, really isn’t. There are not nearly as many Grasses, Fires, Electrics, or even Waters to worry about at Master League level as there are relevant Ghost, Dark, Fairy, and especially Dragon moves to maneuver around. Put simply, at Master League level, a Psychic/Dragon typing is more downside than upside due to the various threats in the meta.

Latias

Latias DragonPsychic

Unfortunately, all of this is too much for poor Latias. As you likely already know, having higher bulk is a good thing in Great and Ultra Leagues, but in Master League, bulkier Pokemon tend to be left behind by high Attack/high CP stuff that just overwhems them, and such is the case here.

It’s especially bad that Latias lacks any moves that cost less than 55 energy, and other than 55-energy Psychic (the move), all of its other moves (including its new exclusive one) are all 60 energy or more. As each Dragon Breath generates only 3 energy, that means it takes a minimum of nineteen fast moves/nineteen PvP turns/9.5 seconds of real time before Latias can fire off its first charge move.

That’s an eternity in PvP.

Other successful Dragon Breath users have quick charge moves like Dragon Claw, Aqua Tail, and/or Crunch to keep up shield pressure. Heck, even Dialga has 50-energy Iron Head (and a much better defensive typing combination to hang in there longer, of course). Latias has none of that.

Even with maximum coverage moves of Thunder and Psychic, it’s an extremely lacklustre performance that really shows you why you’ve likely never seen Latias in PvP battles. (And no, there is no salvation in Ultra League either… or in Great League… or in ANY League as a Shadow.)

Might its new exclusive move save it? We’ll check in a few minutes. (But in short, not in its current form, no, not really.)

Latios

Latios Pokemon GO Raid
Latios Pokemon GO Raid
Latios DragonPsychic

Latios has more of the stats you’re looking for in Master League play, but perhaps even more importantly, it has the spam potential, with Dragon Claw in its arsenal. Immediately, this draws obvious comparisons to Dragonite, and you can see the good and bad that comes with Latios’ typing by doing a side by side comparison.

Latios wins the head to head thanks to its higher Attack giving it all CMP tiebreakers, which is good because despite that lower Attack, Dragonite’s Dragon Breaths deal the same 7 damage each that Latios’ Breaths deal to ‘Nite, and Latios has less HP to hang in there with (16 less, on average).

In fact, a smart Dragonite player can use this to their advantage and sometimes flip the matchup by just committing to the farm down.

And the bad news piles up for Latios from there. Its Psychic typing (and associated vulnerabilities) means that, unlike Dragonite, it cannot overcome Mewtwo (with Shadow Ball), Yveltal, Zekrom (thanks to Crunch), Zacian, or Snorlax. It does beat a few things more easily, but Dragonite can match those same wins and obviously do more.

The advantages Latios has with Psychic (the move) as compared to Dragonite mostly go to waste, as Dragonite also resists Fighting damage and – while it has to watch out for Rock coverage moves – usually beats them down, and there really aren’t any Poison types for Latios to focus on with Psychic’s super effectiveness either.

In short, while Latios has some slight advantages, Dragonite is almost always a better and more versatile option overall.

And again, Latios in other Leagues? Again, better than Latias, but as they say in New York, fogetaboutit!

So that sets the bar of what [email protected] can currently do. How about those new exclusive moves?

LUSTER MIST? BUT I HARDLY EVEN KNOW HER!

Please understand that header is merely meant for laughs. 🙃 Hopefully it’s taken as such. Not always easy to come up with titles that keep the readers engaged….

Anyway, two new moves to discuss here. Both deal 120 damage for 60 energy, which in a vacuum is actually pretty good!

Earthquake (and the less heralded Future Sight) deal 120 damage for 65 energy, and the overpowered Techno Blast (exclusive to Genesect) deals 120 damage for only 55 energy, so these new moves fall in among good company. Even better, they each come with a 50% chance to debuff the opponent:

  • Latios’ Luster Purge can slash the opponent’s Defense (making Latios’ attacks even more deadly)…
  • …while Latias’ Mist Ball can reduce the opponent’s Attack (essentially making Latias even bulkier).

At any time, those moves could go off and obviously swing matches you wouldn’t normally win in your favour. BUT… there’s a problem, and that problem is that – especially in the case of Latias – 60-energy moves, even really GOOD 60-energy moves, are not what these two really needed.

Latias and Mist Ball

Starting with Latias, squeezing in Mist Ball in place of Psychic actually performs worse overall, now unable to beat Groudon or Swampert as it could with the slightly faster/cheaper Psychic (the move).

You can use Psychic AND Mist Ball and basically get back what you had with Psychic/Thunder, but now you’re left without any coverage. What Mist Ball does NOT do is improve Latias’ performance.

In fairness, it IS a hair better with shields down, where something that deals 120 damage like Mist Ball can obviously be nice to have. (As opposed to being limited to 100 damage max with Thunder/Psychic, now unable to beat Snorlax or Altered Giratina as Mist Ball can.)

In that way, you could argue it IS a slight upgrade, but still… a sub-.500 winrate (in one specific shielding scenario) doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Latios with Luster Purge

Fortunately, the boost is a little more apparent with Latios. With Luster Purge, it gains two important wins (as compared to the Psychic it replaces) in 1v1 shielding: Snorlax and Zacian with Close Combat/Wild Charge.

Latios can absorb the additional 5 energy required for Luster Purge much better than poor Latias with Mist Ball thanks to having Dragon Claw to bait with, and suffers no new losses.

There’s a small but notable uptick with shields down (now-familiar gains of Snorlax and Groudon), and sidegrade potential in 2v2 shielding (with wins over Melmetal and Metagross, while Psychic (the move!) beats WC Zacian and Snorlax instead).

So with Latios, the new move – Luster Purge – is no worse and most often better than the existing alternative. It’s not something that’s suddenly going to make Latios surge in Master League usage, but at least it has a little bit more going for it than it did before.

If you’re looking specifically for PvP purposes (and actually, for PvE purposes too, since Latias is NOT a good raid weapon) Latios is the one to grind for this week.

Just… not a must-have or anything.

…with a caveat. A MEGA caveat. 👀

FEELING MEGANANIMOUS

Finally doing what I’ve been putting off for over a year… looking at Mega Pokemon in PvP, and actually writing about it! 😱

I do NOT expect we’re on the verge of Megas suddenly entering regular League play, despite the teaser for “a Mega surprise” later this month. BUT… it seems clear that Niantic has something in store, and Megas in some form of PvP seem more of an inevitability now more than ever.

Thankfully, my buddy Mr. PvPoke is, as always, ahead of the curve. He recently started putting together a “Mega Master League” meta, incorporating all (relevant) Megas introduced to the game so far (as well as a healthy mix of non-Megas that still compete in such a meta) to simulate against.

And I gotta say… things are looking up for Mega [email protected] if such a thing should actually come to pass.

Mega Latias in Pokémon GO PvP

Latias (Mega) DragonPsychic

Heck, even Mega Latias has a true breakthrough in such a format, flexing sky high CP of over 5400 and an Attack stat higher than just about everything not named “Mewtwo” to dunk on the meta, even the majoroty of other Megas!

About the only non-Megas it still cannot contend with are Charmers, Ices, Darks, Ghosts, and a smattering of Dragons and/or Mega Pokemon with Dragon fast moves.

But it now overcomes some pretty nutty stuff, like traditional Dragon slayers Metagross and Excadrill, Zacian (consistently now), and a wide array of Dragons and Elemental (Fire, Grass, Water, Electric) and Ground Pokemon, and more. It’s not a fully dominant performance… but it’s close!

Mega Latios in Pokémon GO PvP

Latios (Mega) DragonPsychic

True dominance comes with Mega Latios. Whoooooooa, momma! The small list of losses consists entirely of Fairies, Steels, and then Mamoswine, Lugia, Mega Gengar, and Mega Gyarados.

But it beats the Darks, beats all the Dragons (outmuscling even Dialga!), beats Ghosts (and things that deal Ghost damage) other than Mega Gengar, beats the meta in general and takes its lunch money.

Heck, even Level 40 Mega Latios is amazing, with only the Darks, Dialga, Excadrill, Mega Steelix, and a couple of others slipping away… a 66% win rate is still nothing to sneeze at!

Parting words

On the one hand, this shows that Megas would indeed be powerful tools to use in PvP, and Mega Legendaries with their insane stats (over 5600 CP and nearly 300 Attack for Mega Latios!) would especailly dominate in this (again, theoretical) environment. But on the other hand… this is why I have been up nights dreading Megas in PvP.

Even the excitement of using Megas would, I fear, wear off quickly once it became apparent that a small minority would still relegate most Megas to the background, creating a whole new high bar of haves-and-have-nots.

Maybe it really is inevitable, and maybe eventually we’ll all catch up and it won’t be a problem (until the NEXT escalation comes after that). But I don’t see that being a short or easy road.

Power creep hits every game eventually, and usually often. Mega Latios and even Mega Latias, if allowed in PvP at some point soon, will be near-musts to keep up in that crazy new world.

Anyway, enough of that. As far as this analysis goes… we’re done! And not a moment too soon, as the Mega Eon Pokemon twins are already hitting up Tier 6 raids around parts of the world as I finish writing this! Get on out there and get raiding, Pokefriends… just do so safely, of course!

Until next time — expect that to be a quick review on the return of Aerodactyl/Skarmory Flying Cup! — you can find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon.

And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thanks again for reading, Pokéfriends, and catch you next time!

Related reading

Popular today

Latest articles