The Glass Cannons of Gen 3

The Glass Cannons of Gen 3

In the weeks preceding the release of Gen 3, it’s expected that attention will be focused on the generation’s best: legendary Pokemon and classically metagame-defining species such as Salamence and Metagross. More cynical players are inclined to assert that these Pokemon are all that matter; everything else is just a Pokedex entry.

However, the less prestigious glass cannon Pokemon shouldn’t go ignored. These Pokemon have high attack stats but poor bulk owing to low HP and/or defense. Relevant examples are Alakazam, Gengar, and Espeon, 3 species which make waves in the current metagame. Gen 3 introduces several Pokemon of this archetype, some of which have potentially valuable typings.

Note that the possible movesets only account for moves learnable by Pokemon in the Gen 7 games only. Some moves not listed may be learnable in previous generations. The listed moves only include ones already in the game or mined from the game files.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Shadow Claw, Hex, Sucker Punch, Feint Attack, Charge Beam, Infestation

Possible STAB charge moves:

Night Shade, Shadow Sneak, Shadow Ball, Ominous Wind

Hopefully, Banette is a taste of what to expect from the glass cannon candidates in this article. Released early for Halloween, Banette was initially dismissed as equally useless as its Ghost-type counterparts, but some players picked up on its offensive potential.

Banette plays similarly to Gengar, using the same high DPS Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball moveset that rendered Gengar so potent. Shortly after its release, some players posted footage of successful Gengar and Alakazam solos using teams of only Banette.

Unfortunately, this cursed marionette’s prospects are tenuous, as its prowess is contingent on having one of the best movesets in the game. With a likely move reshuffle on the horizon, nerfs to either move or buffs to competitors can banish Banette into obscurity, as its attack stat isn’t that impressive.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Fury Cutter, Bug Bite, Scratch, Water Gun, Metal Claw, Low Kick

Possible STAB charge moves:

Ancient Power, Rock Blast, Rock Tomb, Stone Edge, Rock Slide, X-Scissor

Avid players are hoping for Gen 3 to introduce some variety in good Rock-type attackers, which is currently represented solely by Golem (and the rare legacy Omastar). Unfortunately, variety may only be possible with the introduction of a new Rock-type quick move that more Pokemon can learn. Armaldo with a Water Gun + Rock Slide moveset (with the current move attributes) would still fall short of the DPS needed to solo a Ninetales raid boss.

Armaldo cannot learn Rock Throw. However, if it got a Rock-type moveset, it would have the second highest attack among Rock-type Pokemon, tied with Rhydon. This prehistoric Pokemon is more likely to get a Bug-type moveset, which would be outclassed from the start by Pinsir and Scizor unless Armaldo received substantially better moves.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Bullet Seed, Pound, Quick Attack, Fury Cutter, Dragon Breath, Iron Tail, Low Kick

Possible STAB charge moves:

Mega Drain, Leaf Blade, Solar Beam, Energy Ball, Grass Knot, Seed Bomb

As the generation’s Grass-type starter, Sceptile is an iconic Pokemon, and it has the stats to make a shot at viability. Though its attack is lower than Exeggutor’s, Sceptile has the potential to be the higher DPS Grass-type attacker depending on which moves each gets and how good those moves are.

The high likelihood of having Leaf Blade bodes well for Sceptile, although that’s presuming that the move doesn’t get nerfed.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Bubble, Waterfall, Snarl, Metal Claw

Possible STAB charge moves:

Bubble Beam, Scald, Surf, Aqua Jet, Water Pulse, Night Slash, Crunch, Dark Pulse

Crawdaunt wouldn’t be notable if not for Kingler and Gyarados, the Water-types with the 2 highest attack stats, both lacking good Water-type movesets. Several outcomes are possible on Gen 3 release:

  • Crawdaunt gets a good Water-type moveset while Kingler and Gyarados do not
  • Kingler and/or Gyarados get good Water-type movesets
  • Crawdaunt, like Kingler, doesn’t get a good Water-type moveset

In the first case, this brutish crustacean may find itself the premier Water-type attacker in the game, but in the other cases, it will join the legion of unremarkable Water-type Pokemon.

As a potential Dark-type attacker, Crawdaunt ties Houndoom in attack but is somehow even frailer. Tyranitar also exists.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Ember, Fire Spin, Counter, Low Kick, Scratch, Peck, Quick Attack

Possible STAB charge moves:

Fire Punch, Flame Charge, Flamethrower, Fire Blast, Overheat, Flame Burst, Brick Break, Low Sweep, Focus Blast

As the generation’s Fire-type starter, Blaziken is perhaps the most iconic of the Gen 3 starters. Its GO potential lies more in its dual Fighting typing, as Moltres, Entei, and Flareon are already adept in the Fire-type attacker role. Blaziken’s attack is slightly higher than that of Machamp, so which one will be the more potent Fighting-type attacker depends on which moves each gets.

It’s hard to imagine Blaziken being be able to do something that Machamp cannot, so barring a drastic nerf, Machamp shouldn’t be losing relevance any time soon.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Counter, Bullet Seed, Tackle, Iron Tail

Possible STAB charge moves:

Dynamic Punch, Brick Break, Low Sweep, Focus Blast, Mega Drain, Seed Bomb, Solar Beam

Come Gen 3, the Fighting-type with the highest attack stat will not be a 4-armed hunk of muscle, nor a savage, fiery fowl, but… a fungus with barely visible arms? Okay. Breloom will also top Grass-types in attack, although it is not that much stronger than Machamp or Exeggutor. Once again, moveset will be the prime determinant in who tops the DPS ranking.

Breloom is pretty frail, even among the Pokemon discussed here. It probably won’t be topping the tier lists, although that possibility can’t be discounted.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Bite, Waterfall, Poison Jab, Zen Headbutt

Possible STAB charge moves:

Night Slash, Crunch, Dark Pulse, Aqua Jet, Scald, Surf, Brine, Hydro Pump, Water Pulse

Sharpedo defines glass cannon, more than any other Pokemon in the game. Its defense stat doesn’t even break 3 digits! This vicious predator will dethrone Kingler as the Water-type with the highest attack stat, although it’s about as likely as Gyarados to get a Water-type fast move, learning only the yet unreleased Waterfall.

As a Dark-type attacker, well, Tyranitar. There’s also the final Pokemon in this article. Though a double resistance to Psychic can compensate for its frailty, a maxed Sharpedo would still succumb in 7 hits to a raid Alakazam’s Confusion. Maybe there is a point at which a Pokemon is a bit too glassy.




Possible [STAB] fast moves:

Bite, Snarl, Feint Attack, Sucker Punch, Scratch, Quick Attack, Psycho Cut, Charge Beam, Shadow Claw, Hex, Zen Headbutt, Iron Tail

Possible STAB charge moves:

Night Slash, Dark Pulse, Foul Play

In the main series games, Absol has one of the highest attack stats of the generation, so there’s no surprise that it nears the top of the list in GO. Unfortunately, Tyranitar lessens the value of other Dark-type attackers, so it’s unlikely that Absol will be able to do something that Tyranitar cannot. A superior moveset can certainly catapult Absol to the top of the Dark-type DPS charts.

Though not Sharpedo-level frail, this harbinger of disaster invites disaster itself, having similar bulk to Banette.

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