In-depth Look At The Pokémon GO Solstice Event

USER GUIDE | Submitted by DavidKSA

This guide seeks to cover the event mostly in the context of the game at present. If you are interested in how you might use this event to prepare for the future, please see Advanced Preparation For The Fire and Ice Event.

XP Efficiency

This should go without saying, but make sure to start stocking up on candy and load your inventory with commons for mass evolutions as soon as possible if you plan on purchasing Lucky Eggs. Though realize that unlike previous events, XP increases appear to be specifically tied to throwing bonuses. To quote the language from Niantic’s update post, trainers will see “huge XP bonuses for throwing Poké Balls accurately.” What we can assume is that you will only receive bonuses for hitting throws with an XP bonus: “Nice,” “Great,” and “Excellent” throws. Thus, you will be unable to stack double XP with a Lucky Egg for mass evolutions as in previous events.

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If in addition to mass evolution, you plan on farming catches with a Lucky Egg on, know that you will not be getting the full XP gains unless you are hitting throw bonuses. Which means, don’t rely on your Go Plus because it doesn’t get throw bonuses. Now to be honest, this is just a general practice suggestion: try to go for consistent “Great” + Curve throws. “Great” throws are not too difficult to perform repeatedly, and will allow you to make the most of your Lucky Egg.

Now Keep This In Mind: Base Catch Rates

  • Charizard, Typhlosion – 5%
  • Ninetales, Arcanine, Charmeleon, Quilava – 10%
  • Magcargo, Piloswine – 12.5%
  • Rapidash, Flareon, Houndoom – 15%
  • Lapras, Cloyster, Dewgong, Sneasel, Charmander, Cyndaquil – 20%
  • Jynx, Swinub, Vulpix, Slugma, Growlithe, Magmar – 30%
  • Houndour, Ponyta – 40%

A lot of these Pokemon have a sub 20% catch rate, which can frustrate your efforts to maximize XP gains if you are farming on the Lucky Egg clock. If you are trying to hit as many throw bonuses as possible within the 30 minute time span of a Lucky Egg, remember that event spawns may cause you to spend too much time on one catch. Now let’s be clear, I’m not advocating that you ignore a Lapras or Charizard to go for Pidgey and Spinarak (both base 50% catch rate). But maybe your time isn’t best spent trying to catch that Magcargo – just some food for thought.

Gym Meta Analysis

The Best Fire Pokemon – Offense

Currently, Fire is not the most useful type in the meta on offense. Due to the current gym system (which may change soon, so take this article with a grain of salt), the game’s CP hierarchy includes: Tyranitar, Dragonite, Snorlax, Rhydon, Gyarados, Blissey, and Vaporeon. Of these 7 common defenders, Fire is Not Very Effective against Tyranitar, Dragonite, Rhydon, Gyarados, and Vaporeon. And given that Fire is Neutral to Normal types like Snorlax and Blissey, there really isn’t a need to have a strong Fire type in your arsenal. That said, let’s see who performs the best.

Flareon: 2904CP – 246 Attack, 204 Defense, 130 HP

Without a doubt, Flareon is the best Fire type in the game currently. In the main games, Flareon always had the highest Physical Attack stat of all the Eeveelutions. Even before the base stat rebalance back in November, Flareon still had one of the highest Attack stats in the game. However, it was held back by its moveset. The only Fire type move Flareon learned was Ember, and at the time that move was inferior to Fire Fang Arcanine, and Wing Attack Charizard (and remember, Wing Attack is a STAB move for Charizard, and like Fire type, Flying is Super Effective against Grass and Bug).

Fast Forward to Gen II’s launch, and Fire Spin and Overheat were added to the game. With these new moves, Flareon’s impressive 246 Attack stat finally had a chance to shine. Flareon now deals the most DPS of any Fire type in the game. Flareon’s raw DPS approaches Dragon Tail/Outrage Dragonite, dealing 98% of that damage output. Unfortunately, not only held back by its typing, Flareon is also quite frail, and falls into the Glass Cannon category. For a Glass Cannon, Flareon actually has the best total damage output on offense, meaning that it deals more damage before fainting to a Neutral target than any other Glass Cannon in the game. And for a Fire type, Flareon also deals the most damage before fainting, more than Arcanine and Charizard.

Now while Flareon isn’t the most useful offensively, right now, there are powerful Steel and Ice type Pokemon in future generations that Flareon could have good matchups against. With Legendaries on the horizon, you will be able to lay waste to anyone foolish enough to put an Articuno in a gym. Once Gen III launches, Steel/Psychic Metagross (3644CP) will outrank Dragonite in gyms, and Flareon is Super Effective against, and resists, Steel attacks. If you don’t already have a strong Flareon, now is a good time to get one.

Charizard: 2682CP – 223 Attack, 176 Defense, 156 HP

Great DPS, bulkier than Flareon, and with a double resistance to Grass, Charizard is no slouch. Much like Flareon, it received an updated movepool when Gen II launched. Charizard also eclipses Arcanine in terms of DPS, and now performs on the same level as Dragon Breath/Dragon Pulse Dragonite and Bite/Stone Edge Tyranitar. However, despite its DPS performance, you might be surprised to learn that Arcanine deals the damage against a Neutral target before fainting. Charizard deals damage faster, but isn’t as bulky as Arcanine, and the way the calculations work out they will both deal more or less the same damage during their lifespan. Now due to Charizard’s type advantage over Grass, it can outlive Arcanine attacking into Grass defenders – except, people aren’t really putting Exeggutor in gyms at the moment. Hopefully that will change with the gym update, because if it doesn’t there actually isn’t a single non-Legendary Grass type in all 7 Generations (assumes CP/base stat formulas stay the same) that outranks Vaporeon in terms of CP.

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Arcanine: 2839CP – 227 Attack, 166 Defense, 180 HP

Even after the November base stat update, the fire dog still has very good base stats. Fire Fang/Fire Blast is still a relatively strong moveset, and Arcanine is in the top 80% for DPS in the game. The problem being, not only is Arcanine a Fire type, it isn’t the strongest Fire type in the game. Arcanine is a redundancy in the meta, if you ever need a Fire type attacker both Charizard and Typhlosion are better.

However, this may not always be the case. I wouldn’t completely ignore Growlithe candy during this event for the following reasons:

  • Arcanine has solid main game base stats – no matter what Niantic does to change base stat formulas in Pokemon Go, Arcanine will always have good base stats relative to other Pokemon in the game.
  • There are many powerful Fire type moves not in the game yet. Niantic could add more moves to the game with each Generation, update movepools, etc. Arcanine with better moves in a future with defenders weak to Fire is not out of the question.

My recommendation, save your Growlithe candy.

Typhlosion: 2682CP – 223 Attack, 176 Defense, 156 HP

Game Freak can be lazy too. Typhlosion literally is Gen II’s clone of Charizard, just without the Flying typing. The have same exact base stats in the main games, and thus they have the same base stats in Go. Which is good, because Charizard has decent stats. Typhlosion would have been on par with Charizard, but it has Flareon’s pre-Gen II problem. Typhlosion’s best quick move is Ember. Currently, Ember/Overheat Typhlosion and Fire Fang/Fire Blast Arcanine do about the same DPS. And so like Arcanine, Typhlosion is redundant right now.

If you already have a Typhlosion, take my advice on this – save your Cyndaquil candy. Don’t evolve another Typhlosion until/unless it has a moveset update with better moves.

Houndoom: 2529CP – 224 Attack, 159 Defense, 150 HP

Houndoom, as a Fire type, is worse than Typhlosion and Arcanine. Now this would be a problem, except Houndoom has one saving grace – it is also a Dark type. In terms of Dark type DPS, Snarl/Foul Play Houndoom is neck-and-neck with Bite/Crunch Tyranitar (Tyranitar slightly edges it out). Ok, so Houndoom has the second highest Dark type DPS in the game, is that useful? Right now, no not really. Not to mention, the much bulkier Umbreon actually has the better total damage output.

There may be a silver lining here. In the main games, Dark type is actually immune to Psychic – meaning, Houndoom would take 0 damage from a Psychic attack. In Go, the game currently treats immunities like a normal resistance (not even given the same damage reduction as a double resistance, Niantic pls). Should Niantic choose to address damage and resistance modifiers in their gym rework (they should), Houndoom could become very valuable as a counter to powerful Psychic types.

The Best Fire Pokemon – Defense

I’ll keep this short. Fire Pokemon are terrible on defense. They are weak to the almighty Vape lord, Ground types, Rock types, and Fire is resisted by one of the most powerful Attackers PoGo will have for the foreseeable future, Dragonite. If you put a regular old non-Legendary Fire type in a gym, you are just asking to be the first one out.

But for those of you committed to gym diversity, Flareon, despite its frailty, does so much damage on defense with Fire Spin and Overheat, that it actually matches the far more durable Iron Tail/Heavy Slam Steelix for total defensive damage output.

The Best Ice Pokemon – Offense

Lapras: 2603CP – 165 Attack, 180 Defense, 260 HP

Despite the base stat rebalance, Lapras is still the best overall Dragonite counter in the game (until Articuno comes out). Lapras doesn’t have amazing DPS, but due to its bulk (tankier than Vaporeon), Lapras still has one of the highest total damage outputs on offense in the game, ranking 8th out of all Gen I and Gen II Pokemon. Ice type is an incredibly valuable asset on offense, because Dragonite will not be the last high CP Dragon type to make an appearance in Pokemon Go. There are a lot of strong Dragon types actually, and Ice types will remain important offensively in the future.

Jynx: 2512CP – 223 Attack, 182 Defense, 130 HP

Frost Breath/Avalanche Jynx kills Dragonite faster than any Ice type in the game, and that will remain true even after Articuno is made available. The problem with Jynx is that it has paper-thin defenses. Jynx, though it can deal very respectable DPS, will still deal about the same amount of damage as a Razor Leaf/Petal Blizzard Meganium in its lifetime, which isn’t too spectacular. So while using Jynx can allow you to get through 1 Dragonite faster than a Lapras, Jynx doesn’t have the effective health to make it through multiple defenders.

Cloyster: 2475CP – 186 Attack, 323 Defense, 100 HP

Cloyster’s sky high defenses are undermined by its low HP, and thus while reasonably bulky, it still pales in comparison to Lapras. Cloyster finds a place as the middle ground between Lapras and Jynx. It has a better DPS output than Lapras, but lower bulk. It has better bulk than Jynx, but lower DPS. In terms of total damage output, Frost Breath/Avalanche Cloyster finds itself in the company of Thunder Shock/Thunderbolt Jolteon and Wing Attack/Fire Blast Charizard. Cloyster is a decent Dragonite counter, but there are better options out there and I wouldn’t recommend using him unless you don’t have a better attacker.

Best Ice Pokemon – Defense

Lapras is the best, by a wide margin. However, there are a few problems. First, Lapras has an underwhelming max 2603CP that just doesn’t get very good placement these days.

Second, Lapras’s best defensive moveset, Ice Shard/Ice Beam, is no longer available. You’ll have to settle for Frost Breath/Ice Beam, which gives it a similar total damage output to Rock Smash/Earthquake Rhydon and Iron Tail/Fire Blast Tyranitar. No other Ice types are worth mentioning on defense right now.

Best Trainers – Fire and Ice

When trying to find the best trainers, you are looking for Pokemon that are relatively strong at low CP with the best combination of time efficiency and likelihood of success. Time efficiency is DPS dependent, how much damage your prestiger can dish out. Likelihood of success refers to you prestigers durability, can your Pokemon survive enough damage at a CP that will net you 1000 prestige points. What we are looking for is Pokemon that offer the best combination of both these characteristics.

The best Fire type Pokemon (with two Fire moves), for its CP in typical training range, is Fire Spin/Overheat Ninetales. If for some reason you need a Fire type to train, Ninetales is your best pick (Rock Throw/Overheat Magcargo is better on paper, but Rock Throw obviously isn’t a Fire move).

The best Ice type Pokemon (with two Ice moves), for its CP in typical training range, is going to be Frost Breath/Avalanche Cloyster. I definitely recommend Cloyster for training against a Dragonite, though Powder Snow or Ice Shard/Avalanche Piloswine and Frost Breath/Blizzard Dewgong perform adequately as well. I would definitely recommend from Glass Cannons like Sneasel and Jynx as they don’t offer the same margin of error for missed dodges as the aforementioned tankier prestigers.