Countering Rayquaza and its Place in the Meta

Countering Rayquaza and its place in the meta
Introduction

On February 9th, Pokemon GO released the final member of the Weather Trio, Rayquaza. Despite being the Trio’s master and the guardian of planet Earth, Rayquaza is kind of a pushover compared to Groudon and Kyogre. In fact, Rayquaza is our easiest tier 5 raid boss to date, having the lowest Defense stat of all tier 5 raid bosses and a doubled weakness to Ice-types. As an attacker, Rayquaza is no joke, however, being a DPS upgrade to the original generalist, Dragonite. Naturally, trainers have been asking how to conquer this dragon and its use an attacker. Using our best mathematical understanding of raid AI, simulated matchup data, and real world analysis, we here at GamePress believe we have the answers players are looking for!

If you want an audio version of this information, check out this video

Optimal Dragon Tail + Outrage
Great Air Slash + Outrage or Aerial Ace

  • Dragon Tail should be paired with Outrage, as the Dragon set has wider neutral coverage than the Flying set.

  • Air Slash should be paired with Aerial Ace to exploit Flying’s advantage over Bug, Fighting, and Grass types.

  • Ancient Power is not a good investment for Rayquaza.
Helpful Breakpoints
Helpful Breakpoints

It’s not mandatory to hit these breakpoints, 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.

Pokemon Breakpoints
Articuno 24 / 29.5 / 38.5
Lapras, Frost Breath 27 / 35
Walrein 27 / 34.5
Piloswine, Ice Shard 31.5
Cloyster, Ice Shard 29.5 / 37
Jynx 30 / 32.5* / 39
Dragonite 28.5 / 33.5
Rayquaza 31 / 37.5
Salamence 29 / 34
Golem 28 / 36.5

* 32.5 isn't a breakpoint but instead the level where a 15 Def&HP IV Jynx can survive 1 Outrage or 2 Aerial Aces in a row and survive with 1 hitpoint left. Lower IV Jynx's will have to be powered up more.

It’s worth noting that breakpoints also vary in different weather bonuses. This may result in new breakpoints, allowing them to perform better at higher levels. Since this element leads to many conditional breakpoints, it is a bit distracting and cumbersome to list them all. If you’re curious about these breakpoints, check out our breakpoint tool.

Countering Rayquaza

Unlike our last raid boss, Kyogre, the hardest raid boss to date, Rayquaza is a push over. Even though Rayquaza has a formidable Attack stat, the difficulty of a raid boss scales more with its Defense, and Rayquaza has the lowest Defense stat of all tier 5 raid bosses to date. To further ease Rayquaza’s difficulty, it has a doubled weakness to Ice-type attacks and takes super effective hits from one of the top raiding generalists, Dragonite. All this along with the weather system means that even level 30 players have the potential to duo Rayquaza with a wide variety of Pokemon (in the snow).

Overall, your best counters to this raid will be Articuno, Lapras, and Dragonite with their STAB super effective movesets. Trailing immediately behind them (and sometimes ahead depending on the moveset encountered) are Piloswine, Walrein, and Cloyster with any Ice-type charge move other than the painfully weak Aurora Beam or Icy Wind. Since this fight will go very quickly, slotting in Jynx, a glass cannon, may help you achieve an extra damage ball and is almost necessary for a neutral weather 2-man. If you happen upon a Salamence early on, it will be a potent option, but its lack of bulk and reliance on a single bar Draco Meteor makes it a riskier pick. Finally, if this isn’t your first rodeo, Rayquaza also makes an optimal counter to itself with its Dragon-type moveset.

If you’re concerned more about potions and revives rather than damage balls, Aggron makes a great, all around tank option with Dragon Tail and Stone Edge. If you’re up against Outrage Rayquaza, Gardevoir also becomes quite formidable, especially in cloudy weather. If it’s only partly cloudy outside, the legendary Flying-type Slayer of Lore, Golem, rises and becomes a top contender. Aside from boosting the obvious, windy weather also brings Gyarados’s performance up significantly, making it less of a budget option and more of an optimal counter. I don’t think we need to talk about what snow does to this fight.

Rayquaza’s Use in the Meta
Rayquaza’s Use in the Meta

As a Legendary Dragon-type Pokemon with the optimal Dragon-type moveset, you’d assume Rayquaza would be a straight upgrade to Dragonite. While Rayquaza has a higher Attack stat than the OG Dragon, it has lower bulk. As a result, their relationship is more like Machamp and Hariyama, rather than Groudon and Rhydon. Trainers who already have a hoard of 6+ maxed out Dragonites may want to save their dust, but those intent on having the best of the best may want to invest in 1 or 2.

As a Flying-type attacker, Rayquaza is a more direct upgrade to Dragonite. While Aerial Ace isn’t that great of a charge move, Rayquaza’s massive Attack stat combined with Air Slash gives it the highest performing, pure Flying-type DPS in the game. However, everything that double Flying Rayquaza does, several other Pokemon do better. For now, stick with the double Dragon moveset.

Rayquaza is a straight DPS upgrade to one of the best generalists in the game, Dragonite, and is helpful in the raid against itself and future Latios and Latias raids. Despite its lore and hype, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

Closing

The master of the Weather Trio and protector of the Earth has descended from the stratosphere and come into our local parks and churches, beckoning for a challenge. Ironically enough, despite its prestige, Rayquaza is far less of a challenge than the tier 5 raid bosses we’re used to. Don’t let this angry booger scare you; he is easily subdued by most Ice-types and the original gym topper, Dragonite. It goes without saying that Rayquaza’s ease in difficulty is definitely a welcomed change in pace after Kyogre.

Don’t let Rayquaza’s ease of defeat fool you though, he is quite a formidable attacker! Rayquaza is not only the master of the Weather Trio, but is also the DPS master of all current Dragon and Flying-type Pokemon. That said, even its supreme neutral DPS cannot outdo great specialists exploiting the 1.4x super effective multiplier. Rather than being a straight upgrade and replacement for all Pokemon concerned, Rayquaza is more of a contender than a ruler.

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