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Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie in the Raid and Trainer Battle Meta

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Introduction

Until May 27th, trainers have the opportunity to battle and capture the first ever, allegedly non-rotating, regional raid boss trio - the Lake Guardians. While we can assume that trainers will get access to the other Guardians in the future through special events or research rewards, until that day comes, trainers will want to specialize their battle parties for their region’s specific boss. Despite all three having the same type (Psychic) and relatively similar move pools (Confusion, Extrasensory, Future Sight, Swift, and “Flavor”), the differences in their stat lines has a subtle influence on the most optimal choices for their raids and their potential in the Pokemon GO meta. The article below helps navigate these differences.

Locations

  • Uxie will be available in Asia-Pacific region

  • Mesprit will be available in Europe, Middle East, and Africa

  • Azelf will be available in the Americas and Greenland

About the Lake Guardians

Raid Use: Moderate

PvP Use: Low

Optimal Set: Confusion + Future Sight

Great Set: Extrasensory + Future Sight

As a Psychic-type Pokemon Azelf is second only to Mewtwo. Given that most trainer’s powered up Mewtwo use the legacy move Shadow Ball, Azelf may circumstantially be the most powerful Psychic-type Pokemon for many. While this sounds impressive, Azelf is only marginally more powerful than Alakazam and Espeon (and arguably less powerful if you rope in their secondary charge moves). Unless you really like Azelf or are into PokeDraft, you may want to save your stardust and Rare Candy. Better yet, you could put that stardust and rare candy into unlocking Mewtwo’s second charge move, allowing you to use Psychic while preserving your legacy Shadow Ball.

Raid Use: Low

PvP Use: Low

Optimal Set: Confusion + Future Sight

Great Set: Extrasensory + Future Sight

Mesprit has a similar stat line to Celebi, and along with it a similar influence in the meta- none. Looks like Pokedrafters just got another very-ok (like, 8th round pick) Psychic-type to muse over.

Raid Use: Low

PvP Use: Moderate-High

Optimal Set: Confusion + Future Sight & Thunder

Great Set: Confusion + Future Sight

Uxie’s low attack, high defense, and access to Confusion make it a natural pick for the Great and Ultra League. In the Great League Uxie is able to trade blows with the best but ultimately falls behind Cresselia and legacy Hypno as a Confusion spammer. That said, Uxie is more easily obtained than either (in the Asia-Pacific region of course) and can make a great addition to any Great League team.

In the Ultra League, Uxie faces heavier competition with Cresselia and may be unideal for most teams due to the Ultra League’s focus on Giratina and Giratina counters (i.e. Dark and Steel-type Pokemon). Overall, it’s smol, it has Confusion, it’s ready to go for trainer battles. Let’s hope this bean can make it out West.

Countering the Lake Guardians

A common link between all three Lake Guardians is that Origin Forme Giratina is their greatest counter. While Tyranitar is tankier and Gengar often has higher DPS, Giratina-O’s huge bulk and great moves put it ahead regardless of circumstance. After Giratina-O, other powerful picks include Tyranitar, Gengar, Shadow Ball Mewtwo, Attack Forme Deoxys, and Weavile. If it’s raining outside, Scizor, Pinsir, and Yanmega become potent picks.

Despite having the same exact type and nearly identical movepools, the difference in the defense stats between the Lake Guardians shape which Pokemon are optimal to use for each raid. For example, in the Azelf and Mesprit raids, there is almost no reason to not plow through them with Tyranitar; however, due to Uxie’s high defense Tyranitar will miss the mark for “optimization.” When it comes to the glass cannons Gengar and Deoxys-A, their entire viability is based on hitting or missing a breakpoint / bulkpoint. If you want to maximize the potential of your battle party, the sections below go over each raid in more detail.

Master Breakpoint/Bulkpoint Table

It’s not mandatory to hit these breakpoints or bulkpoints, but they are the levels where your attacker will have a noticeable improvement in their performance. If you are unfamiliar with what a breakpoint or bulkpoint is, we suggest checking out our guides on breakpoints and bulkpoints. If you’re curious about the breakpoints of other Pokemon or fast moves, you can find them using our breakpoint tool. You can find your Pokemon’s unique bulkpoints using our bulkpoint tool as well.

Weather boosts will also affect the breakpoints of Pokemon. Given that Fog is an extremely rare weather condition, they haven’t been noted below. Friendship will also influence breakpoints. This article will assume a best friend status as you will need friends to take this boss down.

Rather than having a column for bulkpoints, bulkpoints are indicated by this “🛡️” icon. The bulkpoints chosen correlate with their 3/4/7 fast move to single charge move bulkpoints. For Gengar and Deoxys-A, bulkpoints based on Confusion tolerance are used. Tyranitar features a notable “complex” bulkpoint for each raid. These unique bulkpoints require u/dondon151’s breakpoint/bulkpoint tool and some ingenuity. This video helps cover the basics.

Pokemon Azelf Mesprit Uxie
Tyranitar 22, 27.5, 33.5🛡️, 38 23, 32.5, 34.5🛡️ 25.5, 32.5🛡️
Giratina-O 22.5, 25.5🛡️, 27, 28🛡️, 33, 37🛡️ 22.5, 27🛡️, 28.5, 35🛡️, 39.5 27, 30🛡️, 31.5🛡️, 40
Gengar, SC 33.5, 36🛡️ 32🛡️, 33.5 34🛡️, 37, 38🛡️
Gengar, Lick 29.5, 36🛡️ 31.5, 32🛡️ 34🛡️, 37, 38🛡️
Mewtwo, PC 29🛡️, 30🛡️ 27🛡️ 27
Houndoom 31, 33.5🛡️, 38.5 28.5, 36.5 25.5, 32
Weavile 29.5, 36.5 29.5, 40 24.5, 32
Honchkrow 29.5, 35.5 28.5, 36.5 27, 33.5🛡️, 34.5
Deoxys-A, PJ 33🛡️, 38, 39.5☁️ 35, 35☁️, 36.5🛡️ 29☁️, 34🛡️, 35.5

Countering Azelf

The Americas are blessed with the easiest of the Lake Guardians to master. Overall, this fight is an easy duo, achievable by effortlessly pounding our blue friend with level 27+ Giratina-Os and Tyranitar. It will be unlikely you’ll even have to relobby. If you’re lacking these two or want some variety in your raid party, Shadow Ball Mewtwo, Houndoom, and Gengar are solid alternative options. If raid party size isn’t a concern of yours, then just about any Dark, Ghost, or Bug-type attacker will serve well for this fight.

On an interesting note, Azelf is one of few raids where using a high level Deoxys-A in the lead slot of your party will allow it to have a noticeably high damage spike. This is due to the increased potential for Deoxys-A to launch a single or multiple Dark Pulses at the very beginning of the fight when the raid boss starts at zero energy. This isn’t exactly enough of a reason to power up a Deoxys-A, as Gengar and Giratina-O have as good DPS throughout the fight and in more fights on average. However, if you’ve already invested in a Deoxys-A or like variety, this is a good fight for it, specifically in the lead slot.

Countering Mesprit

Where Azelf is an easy duo, Mesprit is an easy trio. Just as with Azelf, Giratina-O and Tyranitar are the bread and butter of this fight. Unlike the other fights, Weavile and rainy Scizor bring some comparable heat into the fray. This is because unlike the other raids, they resist Mesprit’s unique charged move, Blizzard, while Tyranitar doesn’t resist it and Giratina-O is weak to it. If you’re wondering about Yanmega’s decreased performance, this is a result of its Bug Bite missing a breakpoint that Pinsir reaches and it getting OHKO’d by Blizzard. As before, if raid party size isn’t a concern of yours, then just about any Dark, Ghost, or Bug-type attacker will serve well for this fight.

On an interesting note, Lick Gengar makes for an extra powerful lead option against Mesprit. As with Deoxys-A in the Azelf raid, the circumstances of this fight and the raid boss starting at zero energy allows Lick Gengar’s extra energy gains to enable an extra Shadow Ball over Shadow Claw Gengar on average. If you’re a DPS focused raider or like to have variety in your party, consider putting any Lick Gengar you have in the lead position. It’s also worth noting that Deoxys-A isn’t as impressive in this fight as it is against Azelf. Even with a cloudy weather boost, it barely reaches the power of Shadow Claw and Lick Gengar.

Countering Uxie

If the Americas are blessed with Azelf, then the Asia-Pacific region is cursed with Uxie. Sporting the highest defense stat of the Lake Guardians, Uxie takes a degree of effort to take down. While small squads of Aggron can best Azelf and Mesprit, Uxie raids may need a hero. The champions of this particular raid are Giratina-O, Gengar, and Deoxys-A, as well as weather boosted Scizor, Pinsir, and Yanmega. Shadow Ball Mewtwo and Weavile are also decent options, meeting “trio worthy” damage when powered up heavily. Our old champion, Tyranitar, is just a tad too slow. This isn’t to say Tyranitar is bad. If trioing isn’t a goal of yours, or if you’re confident your group will beat the raid, then Tyranitar is as good and easy to use as ever.

Unlike the other two raids, there aren’t any interesting “lead slot spike damage” Pokemon to take advantage of. However, due to the time it takes to beat Uxie, Gengar and Deoxys-A will put in good work for players who lack full squads of Giratina-O. As always, if raid party size isn’t a concern of yours, then just about any Dark, Ghost, or Bug-type attacker will serve well for this fight as long as you’re aware that the Aggron gang may put you at risk for timing out and failing the raid.

Conclusion

Overall, the Lake Guardian Trio isn’t challenging us with anything we haven't seen from Deoxys or Mewtwo. Just sticking with the same Dark, Ghost, and Bug-type attackers you used for your EX Raids will bring you victory here. Considering the raid bosses have the same type and nearly identical movepools, the prospect of the Lake Guardians being region locked is relatively relieving, helping keep the raid rotations fresh. However, there are legitimate concerns of players having to travel and trade to complete their Pokedex. Should the Lake Guardians not rotate, hopefully they’ll find their way into our research reward box. 
 

Bonus Trivia

The Lake Guardian Trio are related to the Imperial Regalia of Japan, also known as the "Three Sacred Treasures of Japan." The Regalia represent the three primary virtues: valor (the sword), wisdom (the mirror), and benevolence (the jewel). Their relation to the Lake Trio is evidenced by their locations in the main series games: Lake Valor, Lake Acuity, and Lake Verity. While the Trio isn't directly related to our Teams in Pokemon GO like the Legendary Birds are, one could make the connection between Azelf, Uxie, and Mesprit to Team Valor, Mystic, and Instinct respectively. If you feel this goes against nature because Azelf is clearly blue, a Mystic color, then what's it doing residing at the bottom of Lake Valor?

If you want some extra bonus trivia, a secret fourth lake exists in the Sinnoh Region. However, rather than housing a cute little Psychic Pokemon, it contains a portal to the Distortion World- Giratina's home world. In our world, Giratina takes on its Altered Forme, but the Distortion World Giratina takes on its Origin Forme. In Pokemon Platinum, the Lake Guardians help the player navigate this world. Along the way you obtain the the Griseous Orb, which allows Giratina to assume its Origin Forme outside of the Distortion World. This information may help clear up why the Altered Forme came to Raids before the Origin Forme did, despite "Origin" implying that Forme should be first.