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Countering Kyogre and its Place in the Meta

Countering Kyogre and its place in the meta

Introduction

February 2018 article update:  Kyogre was re-released February 23–March 5, 2018 for a "Legendary Week." If you're looking for a list of updated counters (since Rayquaza and Salamence were released after Kyogre's initial appearance), check out our Kyogre Counters page.

On 1/12/18 Kyogre emerged from the depths, two days before Groudon’s scheduled departure. While Groudon was a particularly difficult raid boss, Kyogre is by far the hardest raid boss in Pokemon GO. Its powerful STAB attacks and the ability to OHKO its common counters with Blizzard makes this raid boss our greatest challenge yet.

To further add to Kyogre’s difficulty, it is also the hardest tier 5 raid boss to capture to date. Being at a distance with a smaller ring size (this was adjusted with an app update mid-month) while shifting left and right, landing your throws will take skill and patience. If caught, the reward is well worth it as Kyogre is the most powerful Water-type Pokemon for generations to come!

Before you continue, if you would like an audio version of this information, check out this video

Optimal Moveset: Waterfall + Hydro Pump

  • Hydro Pump is Kyogre's best charge move, with STAB and synergy with Waterfall.

  • Blizzard and Thunder are optimal in few situations and don't combo with Waterfall.

Useful Breakpoints and Bulkpoints

Useful Breakpoints and Bulkpoints

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

Bulkpoints have been less vital in previous raids but are central in the Kyogre fight due to how hard it can hit. A bulkpoint is the minimum level at which your Pokemon has enough defense and HP to survive a number of fast moves and 1 charge move. Since they are specific to both your defense and HP IV, if you have imperfect IV’s you will want to use our calculator. When you use the calculator, bulkpoints become self explanatory. This video also covers them aptly if you want more details.

Pokemon Breakpoints Bulkpoints
Raikou 38.5 28.5 / 32 / 39
Exeggutor 34.5 28 / 31.5 / 35.5
Venusaur 26.5 / 29.5 29.5 / 32.5
Sceptile - 27.5 / 29.5 / 30 / 36
Groudon 31 / 39.5 34.5
Ho-Oh 27 28.5 / 33
Mewtwo 38 35.5 / 37.5
Zapdos 27.5 28.5 / 35 / 39.5
Jolteon - 32.5 / 39.5

Countering Kyogre - Hydro Pump and Thunder

Countering Kyogre may appear as simple as picking a Grass or Electric-type. While this is true for its Thunder set, Hydro Pump is deadly serious. The combination of Waterfall and Hydro Pump is so powerful that until level 31.5, Exeggutor cannot withstand the average cycle of 4 fast moves and 1 charge move without fainting. In the rain, even at level 40, Exeggutor will always faint from this damage. It is for this reason that we emphasize using our bulkpoint calculator to verify the bulkpoints of your personal Pokemon. A few simple power ups can make the difference between fainting before using a Solar Beam and actually firing it off.

This in mind, Raikou, Exeggutor, Venusaur, Zapdos, and Sceptile stand out as top picks for fending off non-Blizzard Kyogre. Dragonite and Ludicolo are notably tanky against Hydro Pump, and Groudon, the anthesis to Kyogre, stands out against Thunder. If you’re lacking in any of the aforementioned Pokemon, Meganium, Tangela, Victreebel, Vileplume, Shiftry, Jolteon, and Mewtwo are decent alternative options for the fight if powered up accordingly.

Countering Kyogre - Blizzard

For a year and a half Team Mystic has been chanting, “Winter is coming.” Well, winter is here; are you ready?

The counter coverage afforded by Blizzard is so powerful that it strips every single counter except for Raikou of any semblance of “bulk.” After Raikou, the legendary Solar Beam duo, Ho-Oh and Groudon, show up Grass-types once again with their unique typing and bulk. However, without significant investment (level 34.5+), Groudon will be as fragile as everyone else. Like Groudon, Mewtwo also stands out in this fight, but only after being powered up past level 35.5.

After these 4 bourgeois legendary Pokemon, nearly all counters will faint after a typical charge move cycle. As a result, the focus of your picks change from being  solid, all-around counters to dishing out the most amount of damage possible before Blizzard freezes them over. Exeggutor and Venusaur will still be employable, but they may faint before getting Solar Beam off. Because of this, leading off your battle party with a Solar Beam user will best ensure its use; utilizing a Solar Beam Pokemon at any other point in the fight will be a coin toss. For the rest of your party, more reliable damage dealers should have multi-bar charge moves such as Sceptile, Zapdos, and Jolteon. Alternative options include Tangela, Victreebel, Vileplume, Wild Charge Arcanine, and Shiftry. And while its damage is questionable, Ludicolo is a notably tanky option.

Weather Considerations

Weather Considerations

Depending on the forecast, specific attack types receive a 20% damage bonus. If you’re unfamiliar with weather bonuses, check out our page on weather. Being mindful of some key weather types can give you a significant edge in battle. Here is a brief overview of the most significant weather influences in this raid:

  • Rain: This weather condition will make all of Kyogre’s movesets far more threatening. For example, Exeggutor will likely faint to a single Hydro Pump before using Solar Beam. Switching from an “all around” mindset to “DPS mode" will serve you best. With the rain boosting Electric-type attacks, Raikou, Zapdos, and Jolteon stand out more than before. Even Manectric and Magneton are decent alternative when countering in the rain. In addition, if this isn’t your first rodeo, Kyogre itself rises from the depths as a powerful counter to itself if you use Thunder.

  • Snow: While no counters gain an advantage in the snow, this weather does make Kyogre’s Blizzard set more deadly.

  • Clear: Clear weather boosts all Grass-types and everything carrying Solar Beam. While it won’t help them survive Blizzard any better, the damage increase is a nice boon.

  • Windy: In the wind, Dragonite upgrades from a “tank” option to an all-around good counter to non-Blizzard Kyogre. Mewtwo also appreciates the boost.

  • Cloudy: Cloudy weather gives trainers a new hope against Blizzard Kyogre using Machamp and Hariyama. Poliwrath, Blaziken, and Heracross also become viable Blizzard Kyogre counters. Against Hydro Pump and Thunder, you’ll be better off sticking to the weather-neutral options.

  • Foggy: Tyranitar emerges from the abyss as a powerful counter to Kyogre in the Fog, but only against the Blizzard moveset.

  • Partly cloudy: This weather affords no notable benefits to any Pokemon in countering Kyogre.

Catching Kyogre

Catching Kyogre

Upon defeating Kyogre, you will be tasked with the hardest tier 5 raid boss catch screen to date. Its distance requires you throw further than with other Legendary raids and its small circle size makes it that much harder for you to land your hits (Editor's note: the "distance" issue was fixed when a game update was made partway through Kyogre's run). To make matters worse, Kyogre will occasionally move to the left and right. As usual, using the circle lock trick (originally founded by u/dondon151) and waiting for its attack animation will prevent you from frivolously wasting Premier Balls. The following advice may also prove useful.

If using a curve ball for a 1.7x catch multiplier:

  • Center position: Try throwing more shallowly than vertically.

  • Side positions: You will want to throw almost completely vertically.

If you find yourself just barely landing the hits, try setting the circle wider. A “Nice” bonus is better than no bonus.

If you throw best from the center position, turning the AR on and off will reset Kyogre to the center. 

Practicing your throws on Gengar, Shuppet, and Zigzagoon can be helpful.  

Kyogre’s Use in the Meta

Kyogre’s Use in the Meta

Kyogre is by far the greatest Water-type available in Pokemon GO, laying waste to Fire, Rock, and Ground-type Pokemon. Think about what Groudon did for Rhydon and apply it to Gyarados. Fortunately, Gyarados still has its immunity-tier resistance to Ground-type attacks going for it, giving it an edge of Kyogre against Pokemon with Ground-type charge moves. This niche aside, Kyogre reigns supreme; it’s been a good run, Vaporeon.

Overall, Blizzard and Thunder don’t really stand out, even against Pokemon weak to them. Without Dragon Tail in its movepool, Kyogre can’t function well as a Dragon-slayer. Without a rain-weather boost, Kyogre struggles to overcome the resistances as a Water-type counter with Thunder. Perhaps we may see some unique uses for these attacks in the future but for now, you will want to re-roll with a TM.

Closing

While it was a surprise to see Kyogre two days before Groudon returned to the depths of the Earth, the greatest challenge Pokemon GO has to offer to date is here! The raw power of Waterfall paired with Hydro Pump or Blizzard is enough to render many counters ineffective if they aren’t mindful of their bulkpoints. Raikou is the top pick to hunt down this whale, but coming immediately after Groudon, many players have their Grass-types and Ho-oh set for this fight.

Unless you’ve mastered the perfect distance curve, beating Kyogre won’t be nearly as hard as catching it. Kyogre is the first tier 5 raid boss with a further back catching distance and small catch ring (Editor's note: the distance issue was fixed when a game update was made partway through Kyogre's run). Players may want to practice their aim on Zubats or Gengar before losing that high IV Kyogre to poor aim. Should you catch it, you will be in possession of the strongest Water-type Pokemon for generations to come! Get yours before it sinks back into the abyss on 2/14/18.