Let’s talk about Pokemon GO’s Combat Power: the re-balance and rework needed

Regi trio compared to trash cans
Regi trio compared to trash cans

Pokemon GO’s CP (Combat Power) system has been controversial since the launch of the game. Main series games fans weren’t pleased with this system and despite the first CP rebalance, there are things that make absolutely no sense like Suicune being weaker than Gyarados, Vaporeon or Milotic as water attacker (and a ton of other Pokémon), but in the end, CP is with us to this very day.

With games like Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee adopting the Combat Power system, we were curious to see how could Niantic change / fix / adapt the Combat Power to tell a better, more comprehensive story about every Pokemon in the game. Let’s explore the possibilities together.

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How can Niantic fix this?

1. Changing the CP formula to scale down from Mewtwo

Maybe that won’t happen anytime soon, but if it does (with the introducing of PVP, fingers crossed), this could be the simplest way to fix it. The problem is: without a battle rework, this change would only be visual.

Just look at Latias, Regice or Lugia. Despite being cool that they break the 3000+ CP barrier, it’s bittersweet, since their utility is very deficient. So, changing the formula would only hide the problem, rather than actually fixing.

Anyway, we think you should know how the CP’s could look like if this kind of “rebalance” was made. Assuming the CP from Mewtwo as the base CP to calculate all of the others (which would mean that Mewtwo would be the strongest Pokémon available), here’s all the CP’s if they were purely based on base stats from the main series games and how the Pokémon would rank.

Rank Pokémon Current CP Realistic CP Change
1. Mewtwo Psychic 3982 3982 0
2. Lugia Psychic Flying 3598 3982 +384
3. Ho-Oh Fire Flying 3889 3982 +93
4. Rayquaza DragonFlying 3645 3982 +337
5. Slaking Normal 4548 3923 -635
6. Kyogre Water 4074 3923 -151
7. Groudon Ground 4074 3923 -151
8. Dragonite DragonFlying 3581 3514 -67
9. Mew Psychic 3090 3514 +424
10. Tyranitar RockDark 3670 3514 -156
11. Salamence DragonFlying 3532 3514 -18
12. Metagross SteelPsychic 3644 3514 -130
13. Latias DragonPsychic 3377 3514 +137
14. Latios DragonPsychic 3644 3514 -130
15. Jirachi SteelPsychic 3090 3514 +424
16. Deoxys Psychic 2244 3514 +1270
17. Articuno IceFlying 2933 3396 +463
18. Zapdos ElectricFlying 3330 3396 +66
19. Moltres FireFlying 3272 3396 +124
20. Raikou Electric 3349 3396 +47
21. Entei Fire 3377 3396 +19
22. Suicune Water 2823 3396  +573
23. Regirock Rock 3087 3396 +309
24. Regice Ice 3087 3396 +309
25. Registeel Steel 2261 3396 +1135
26. Arcanine Fire 2839 3250 +411
27. Gyarados WaterFlying 3281 3162 -119
28. Snorlax Normal 3355 3162 -193
29. Kingdra WaterDragon 2424 3162 +738
30. Blissey Normal 3219 3162 -57
31. Milotic Water 2967 3162 +195
32. Lapras WaterIce 2603 3133 +530
33. Crobat PoisonFlying 2466 3133 +667
34. Swampert WaterGround 2815 3133 +318
35. Charizard FireFlying 2686 3127 +441
36. Typhlosion Fire 2686 3127 +441
37. Blastoise Water  2291 3104 +813
38. Feraligatr Water  2721 3104 +383
39. Sceptile Grass 2584 3104 +473
40. Blaziken FireFighting 2631 3104 +473
41. Aggron SteelRock  3004 3104 +100
42. Walrein IceWater 2606 3104 +498
43. Venusaur GrassPoison 2568 3074 +506
44. Cloyster WaterIce 2475 3074 +599
45. Vaporeon Water 3157 3074 -83
46. Jolteon Electric  2730 3074 +344
47. Flareon Fire 2904 3074 +170
48. Meganium Grass 2227 3074 +847
49. Espeon Psychic 3000 3074 +74
50. Umbreon Dark 2052 3074 +1022
51. Exeggutor GrassPsychic 2916 3045 +129
52. Starmie WaterPsychic 2303 3045 +742
53. Flygon GroundDragon 2458 3045 +587
54. Gardevoir PsychicFairy 2964 3033 +69
55. Tentacruel WaterPoison 2374 3016 +642
56. Aerodactyl RockFlying 2608 3016 +408
57. Porygon2 Normal  2546 3016 +470
58. Steelix SteelGround 2439 2987 +548
59. Ninetales Fire 2157 2957 +800
60. Machamp Fighting 2889 2957 +68
61. Shuckle BugRock 300 2957 +2657
62. Golduck Water  2270 2928 +658
63. Poliwrath WaterFighting  2441 2928 +487
64. Rapidash Fire  2252 2928 +676
65. Muk Poison  2709 2928 +219
66. Gengar GhostPoison  2619 2928 +309
67. Scyther BugFlying 2464 2928 +464
68. Pinsir Bug 2770 2928 +158
69. Ampharos Electric 2695 2928 +233
70. Politoed Water 2371 2928 +557
71. Scizor BugSteel 2801 2928 +127
72. Heracross BugFighting 2938 2928 -10
73. Ursaring Normal 2760 2928 +168
74. Houndoom DarkFire 2529 2928 +399
75. Donphan Ground 3022 2928 -94
76. Wailord Water 2258 2928 +670
77. Claydol GroundPsychic 1782 2928 +1146
78. Nidoqueen PoisonGround 2338 2899 +561
79. Nidoking PoisonGround 2386 2899 +513
80. Magmar Fire 2254 2899 +645
81. Omastar RockWater 2685 2899 +214
82. Kabutops RockWater 2517 2899 +382
83. Cradily RockGrass 2081 2899 +818
84. Armaldo RockBug 2675 2899 +224
85. Alakazam Psychic 2887 2869  -18
86. Slowbro WaterPsychic 2482 2869 +387
87. Weezing Poison 2183 2869 +686
88. Kangaskhan Normal 2463 2869 +406
89. Electabuzz Electric 2196 2869 +673
90. Tauros Normal 2488 2869 +381
91. Slowking WaterPsychic 2482 2869 +387
92. Miltank Normal 2312 2869 +557
93. Altaria DragonFlying 1868 2869 +1001
94. Golem RockGround 2916 2840 -76
95. Rhydon GroundRock 3300 2840 -460
96. Huntail Water 2140 2840 +700
 97. Gorebyss Water 2281 2840 +559
98. Relicanth WaterRock 2557 2840 +283
99. Hypno Psychic 2048 2828 +780
100. Vileplume GrassPoison 2367 2811 +444

*Victreebel, Electrode, Bellossom, Octillery, Ludicolo, Shiftry, Exploud & Glalie all follow Vileplume.

2. Without changing the formula

The same way Mewtwo, Ho-Oh or Rayquaza got nerfed (-9%) in order to balance the game, Niantic could simply change the base stats values in order to fix the utility of Pokémon like Suicune, Articuno or even Lugia, but mainly the Regi trio (players worst nightmare since the Legendary Raids were released).

That could be done in several ways:

  1. Swapping points from the Defense to the Attack
  2. Adding some points to the Attack
  3. Adding a different mapping between core and GO games
  4. Based on the final CP desired, calculate how much the attack value should be.

The problem is that this change would only work with the legendaries, due to prohibition to place them as gym defenders. But alas, a bit of a change goes a long way.

3. Making Pokémon GO a little bit more strategic

It’s well known that Niantic always wanted to Pokémon Go being a simple game, giving a valid argument to the present battle system. The problem is that it got so simple (after the removal of the Prestige System and changing the Charge Attack Dynamics from the well timed long press to a simple random tap) that the current system is mockingly called “tap tap win” in the hardcore circles. In a nutshell: it’s repetitive and boring.

Luckily, the core games have a feature in place that can easily fix this: effects and abilities.

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Current “abilities” in GO

We had to wait some time for Ditto. The struggle got even more real to release Delibird (that came as a let down, even considering the creativity with the stardust bonus per catch) and no word on Smeargle.

Gen 3 got released, there’s rumours about how soon Gen 4 may be coming to the game and adding to that Smeargle problem, we have a Shedinja problem and a stranger Huntail and Gorebyss problem (still missing from our Pokedex, even with the recent flood of evolution items).

So similar with this strand that Niantic is exploring, they could use this to make some broken Pokémon useful by introducing simplified passive abilities:

  • Imagine giving a ice charge attack to Suicune that adding to the damage dealt, it would have an frozen effect on the opponent, slowing it down.
  • Or adding a fast attack to Registeel that with each strike it would boost his attack stat for that battle.
  • Or with the simple presence of Lugia or Hypno in the field, it would confuse the Raid boss, making him hit itself in confusion.
  • Or with Flygon on the field, all the ground attackers would be boosted by sandstorm (the same with Milotic, making rain fall in the middle of clear weather).
  • Or having Venomoth poisoning the opponent, or Magcargo burning it, taking a piece from its HP, every time the opponent attacks.

This way, the game would be more complex, but not that hard to understand nor to follow.

This way it would make us to start giving attention to the defenders, making them a valuable asset to any team. An improvement in the way we battle and a game changer to the Raid System! Groups of people would join and define strategies to defeat a raid boss wisely.

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