Movesets – An In-Depth Explanation

Pokémon GO Deoxys
Pokémon GO Deoxys

In Pokémon GO, the term “Movesets” refers to the available moves each monster can learn. These movesets directly impact how useful that Pokémon will be in the meta game. The goal of a moveset is to optimize a Pokémon’s Damage per Second (DPS) for its dedicated purpose, be it attacking rival gyms, defending gyms for the glory of your respective team, battling your friends in Train Battles, or defeating the fierce raid bosses! That being said, movesets break down into two parts: Fast moves and Charged moves.

Fast Moves

The most common move a Pokémon will use is its Fast move. The purpose of this skill is to deal consistent damage to a defender while generating energy quickly to deliver devastating blows with its Charged moves. A Pokémon’s Fast move can be changed by using a Fast TM item. These moves can be found in game on a Pokémon’s info page as the first move from the top.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when selecting a Fast move for a Pokémon:

Damage Per Second (DPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Floor(1/2 * Power *Atk/Def * Effective) +1 (see more at Damage Mechanics in Pokemon GO)

Energy Gain Per Second (EPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Energy Gain = Energy of move/ Time (in seconds)

These calculations allow Trainers to determine which Fast moves do the most damage and generate the most energy the quickest.

Pokemon GO SceptileSceptile Damage Cast Time DPS Energy EPS
Bullet Seed Grass 8 1.10s 8.7 14 12.7
Fury Cutter Bug 3 0.40s 7.5 6 15

We can see in the above example that Sceptile has two viable Fast move options with Bullet Seed and Fury Cutter, and though they are very close in overall DPS, Fury Cutter generates more EPS which usually makes it the better option for this Pokémon.

Consideration should also be given to the fact that utilising Type Advantage will almost always result in more damage than any other factor, i.e. if you’re planning to mainly use your Sceptile against Water, Rock, or Ground type Pokémon, then the 1.6x damage multiplier could far outweigh a move’s lack of energy generation, particularly if the Charged move is also going to be Super Effective.

Charged Moves

Charged moves are much more powerful and are available once a Pokémon has generated enough energy from its Fast moves. Although, these moves are used less often than your Fast moves, they play a huge factor in how successful your Pokémon will be in battle. A Pokémon’s Charged move can be changed by using a Charged TM item. These moves can be found in game on a Pokémon’s info page below the Fast moves; these will have charge meters underneath them as well.

Since the introduction of Trainer Battles (PvP) you can also now unlock a second Charged move. This allows Pokémon to be much more diverse in their type coverage. One of the best examples of this is a Blastoise which is weak to Grass type moves, but can now deal super effective damage back to a grass type, by having it’s second charged move set to, the normally overlooked, Ice Beam.

There are a few calculations that assist Trainers to determine the optimal Charged move(s) for a Pokémon:

Damage Per Second (DPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Floor(1/2 * Power *Atk/Def * Effective) +1 (see more at Damage Mechanics in Pokemon GO)

Damage Per Energy (DPE)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Damage * Number of Charge uses / 100

Casting Time

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Animation Time (in seconds) * Number of Charge Uses

Taking these calculations into account, we can now look at our example of Sceptile once again:

Pokemon GO SceptileSceptile Damage Cast Time DPS Energy DPE
Leaf Blade Grass 70 2.40s 35 -33 2.1
Earthquake Ground 120 3.60s 33 -100 1.2
Aerial Ace Flying 55 2.40s 22.9 -33 1.65

Sceptile has access to three very different Charged moves that can be used for different purposes, however, the highest DPS option is Leaf Blade. Although the use of all three of the Leaf Blade Charged moves takes a total 7.20 seconds, a single strike does comparable damage to Earthquake while benefitting from Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB), and uses substantially less energy.

Defending Movesets/Type Coverage:

Some Pokémon have found their place in the meta game as dedicated Gym Defenders. These Pokémon typically have dedicated movesets using the DPS formula with a focus on taking down the specific types to which they are weak. Blissey Normal, for example, is currently the best gym defender in the game. It has amazing stats and access to both a Fast and Charged move that are Super Effective against its only weakness, Fighting.

By becoming familiar with your Gym Defenders and their weaknesses you can optimize their movesets based on their available moves.

Related reading: Type Effectiveness


In some cases, selecting a moveset is based specifically on the moves available and the potential use of that Pokémon. A great example is Kyorge with access to Thunder Electric, it is a decent option for battling against other Water type Pokémon.

By balancing a Pokémon’s typing with its move options, you can create interesting combinations that mean you take reduced damage from your opponent, while dealing Super Effective damage at the same time.

Legacy Moves in Pokémon GO

With meta changes, some Pokémon lost the ability to learn a particular move. These are called legacy moves. For many Pokémon, these were the best moves available for them to date. If you are lucky enough to have a Pokémon with one of these moves, you may want to think twice before changing it with a TM.

Pokémon Fast move Charged move
Pokemon GO AlakazamAlakazam Dazzling Gleam
Pokemon GO ArcanineArcanine Bite Bulldoze
Pokemon GO BeedrillBeedrill Bug Bite
Pokemon GO BlazikenBlaziken Stone Edge
Pokemon GO ButterfreeButterfree Bug Bite
Pokemon GO ChanseyChansey Psybeam
Pokemon GO CharizardCharizard Ember
Wing Attack
Pokemon GO CharmeleonCharmeleon Scratch
Pokemon GO ClefableClefable Pound
Pokemon GO CleffaCleffa Psychic
Body Slam
Pokemon GO CloysterCloyster Blizzard
Icy Wind
Pokemon GO DewgongDewgong Ice Shard
Pokemon GO DiglettDiglett Mud Shot
Pokemon GO DodrioDodrio Air Cutter
Pokemon GO DoduoDoduo Swift
Pokemon GO DragoniteDragonite Dragon Breath Dragon Claw
Dragon Pulse
Pokemon GO DugtrioDugtrio Mud Shot
Pokemon GO EeveeEevee Body Slam
Pokemon GO EkansEkans Gunk Shot
Pokemon GO ElectrodeElectrode Tackle
Pokemon GO ElekidElekid Thunderbolt
Pokemon GO ExeggutorExeggutor Confusion

Zen Headbutt

Pokemon GO Farfetch’dFarfetch’d Cut
Pokemon GO FearowFearow Twister
Pokemon GO FeraligatrFeraligatr Water Gun
Pokemon GO FlareonFlareon Heat Wave
Pokemon GO GastlyGastly Sucker Punch Ominous Wind
Pokemon GO GengarGengar Shadow Claw Sludge Wave
Dark Pulse
Pokemon GO GolbatGolbat Ominous Wind
Pokemon GO GolemGolem Mud Shot Ancient Power
Pokemon GO GravelerGraveler Mud Shot
Pokemon GO GrimerGrimer Acid
Pokemon GO GyaradosGyarados Dragon Breath
Dragon Tail
Dragon Pulse
Pokemon GO HaunterHaunter Lick Shadow Ball
Pokemon GO HitmonchanHitmonchan Rock Smash Brick Break
Pokemon GO HitmonleeHitmonlee Stomp
Brick Break
Pokemon GO HypnoHypno Psyshock
Shadow Ball
Pokemon GO IgglybuffIgglybuff Body Slam
Pokemon GO JigglypuffJigglypuff Play Rough
Body Slam
Pokemon GO JynxJynx Pound Ice Punch
Pokemon GO KabutopsKabutops Fury Cutter
Pokemon GO KangaskhanKangaskhan Brick Break
Pokemon GO KingdraKingdra Water Gun
Pokemon GO KinglerKingler Mud Shot
Pokemon GO KoffingKoffing Acid
Pokemon GO KyogreKyogre Dragon Tail
Pokemon GO LaprasLapras Ice Shard Dragon Pulse
Ice Beam
Pokemon GO LoudredLoudred Crunch
Pokemon GO MachampMachamp Karate Chop Cross Chop
Stone Edge
Pokemon GO MachokeMachoke Cross Chop
Pokemon GO MachopMachop Low Kick
Pokemon GO MagbyMagby Flamethrower
Pokemon GO MagnetonMagneton Thunder Shock Discharge
Pokemon GO MeowthMeowth Body Slam
Pokemon GO MewMew Hurricane
Dragon Pulse
Pokemon GO MiloticMilotic Water Gun
Pokemon GO MoltresMoltres Ember
Pokemon GO OmanyteOmanyte Rock Tomb
Pokemon GO OmastarOmastar Rock Throw Rock Slide
Pokemon GO OnixOnix Iron Head
Rock Slide
Pokemon GO ParasectParasect Bug Bite
Pokemon GO PersianPersian Night Slash
Pokemon GO PichuPichu Quick Attack
Pokemon GO PidgeotPidgeot Wing Attack Air Cutter
Pokemon GO PikachuPikachu Thunder
Pokemon GO PinsirPinsir Fury Cutter Submission
Pokemon GO PolitoedPolitoed Earthquake
Pokemon GO PoliwhirlPoliwhirl Scald
Pokemon GO PoliwrathPoliwrath Mud Shot Submission
Pokemon GO PonytaPonyta Fire Blast
Pokemon GO PorygonPorygon Quick Attack
Zen Headbutt
Signal Beam
Pokemon GO PrimeapePrimeape Karate Chop Cross Chop
Pokemon GO RaichuRaichu Thunder Shock Thunder
Pokemon GO RapidashRapidash Ember
Pokemon GO RhydonRhydon Megahorn
Pokemon GO SandshrewSandshrew Rock Tomb
Pokemon GO ScytherScyther Steel Wing Bug Buzz
Pokemon GO SeadraSeadra Blizzard
Pokemon GO SeakingSeaking Poison Jab Ice Wind
Drill Run
Pokemon GO SeelSeel Water Gun Aqua Jet
Pokemon GO SmoochumSmoochum Frost Breath
Pokemon GO SnorlaxSnorlax Body Slam
Pokemon GO SpearowSpearow Twister
Pokemon GO StarmieStarmie Quick Attack
Pokemon GO StaryuStaryu Quick Attack
Pokemon GO SuicuneSuicune Hidden Power
Pokemon GO TangelaTangela Power Whip
Pokemon GO TogepiTogepi Zen Headbutt
Pokemon GO TogeticTogetic Steel Wing
Zen Headbutt
Pokemon GO VenomothVenomoth Bug Bite Poison Fang
Pokemon GO VoltorbVoltorb Signal Beam
Pokemon GO WeepinbellWeepinbell Razor Leaf
Pokemon GO WeezingWeezing Acid
Pokemon GO ZapdosZapdos Thunder Shock Discharge
Pokemon GO ZubatZubat Sludge Bomb
Age 32, from Los Angeles, Ca, USA. You can usually find me in the SFV or Ventura County. Team Valor - Level 40. Avid Pokémon Go community member and AR+ Photographer! @Pogoshowcase #pogoshowcase