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Groudon’s Place in the Meta

Groudon’s Place in the Meta
Introduction

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

On 12/15/17 Groudon broke into the scene, shocking many as it took over gyms with only an hour of advance warning. While a new tier 5 raid was anticipated with the departure of Ho-Oh, few expected the release of Groudon one week after Gen 3’s partial release. Even though we’ve just started to break into Gen 3 in Pokemon GO, Groudon is our toughest raid boss to date! Naturally trainers have been asking how to conquer this titan 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

Groudon
Groudon

Optimal Moveset: Mud Shot + Solar Beam

Great Moveset: Mud Shot + Earthquake

  • Mud Shot is superior to Dragon Tail, offering higher damage, STAB, weather compatability with charge moves, and better meta-relevant coverage.
  • Surprisingly, Solar Beam is the charge move of choice, offering more meta-relevant coverage and higher neutral damage.
  • Earthquake is more useful against targets that are either weak to Ground-type damage or resist Grass-type damage.
  • Fire Blast can’t compete with Groudon’s other charge moves.

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.

  • Gyarados Waterfall 32.5
  • Ho-Oh Steel Wing 33.5
  • Dragonite Dragon Tail 34.5
  • Articuno Frost Breath 29.5
  • Vaporeon Water Gun 26.5
  • Groudon Mud Shot 31
  • Moltres Fire Spin 33.5
  • Exeggutor Bullet Seed 34.5
    • Also a useful “bulkpoint” for other fast moves
  • Venusaur Razor Leaf 29.5
    • Also a useful “bulkpoint” for Vine Whip

It’s worth noting that breakpoints also change when under 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, you can use u/dondon151’s breakpoint tool or jophj’s until we get ours updated.

Countering Groudon

Specified levels relate to the aforementioned breakpoints. Level 30* Pokemon are level 30 simulations without any direct relation to breakpoints. This album contains graphs that highlight counters for each of Groudon's specific movesets.

February 2018 article update: Groudon was re-released February 23–March 5, 2018 for a "Legendary Week." If you're looking for a list of updated counters (since several viable Legendary and non-Legendary Pokemon were released after Groudon), check out our Groudon Counter page.

On the surface, Groudon doesn’t appear to be too threatening. Many of the strongest Flying-types (Gyarados, Ho-Oh, Dragonite, Articuno, and Moltres) resist nearly all of Groudon’s charge moves and retaliate with super effective or powerful neutral damage. If you’re confident Groudon isn’t carrying Fire Blast, then Grass-types (Exeggutor, Venusaur, and Sceptile) hit the scene to clean up the fight that much faster. For non-Solar Beam sets, Vaporeon makes an excellent counter, but if you’re on raid number two, three, or ten, Groudon itself also works quite well. This being said, while there are plenty of great counters to Groudon, the fight is still a long and messy one thanks to Dragon Tail’s high power and Groudon’s massive base stats. This is where he begins to pull his earth-shaking weight.

To put its stats into perspective, Groudon has the 2nd highest CP and the 10th highest defense of all Pokemon in the game bolstered by an attack stat that surpasses Dragonite’s. Even though Groudon has many optimized counters, their performance is comparable to sub-optimal choices for other raids, such as Houndoom against Mewtwo or Donphan against Raikou. No matter the amount of optimization, you may have to resort to a second line up to finish fights to surpass its bulk.  

In the heat of battle, Gyarados and Ho-Oh stand out as the two most potent Groudon counters. This is because Gyarados resists all but one of Groudon’s charge moves and deals the most powerful STAB super effective damage to Ground-type Pokemon in the game. Ho-Oh has the advantage of having greater bulk while packing a double resistance to Groudon’s Solar Beam moveset (and a normal resistance to its other sets) and can retaliate with a Solar Beam of its own.

If you don’t have the candy to evolve extra Gyarados and aren’t willing to invest in Ho-Oh, then Dragonite, Articuno, Moltres, Groudon, Exeggutor, Venusaur, Sceptile, and Vaporeon are all great alternatives that sport advantages against different movesets and weather conditions. If you’re still lacking in counters, Mewtwo, Swampert, Feraligatr, Victreebel, Vileplume, Shiftry, Tangela, Lapras, Cloyster, and Kingdra will function as sub-optimal counters to Groudon.

Countering by the Weather

Depending on the forecast, specific attack types will 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:

  • Clear: It goes without saying that Clear weather benefits Solar Beam Ho-Oh, Groudon itself, and every single Grass-type counter into Groudon. The sun’s rays also bump up Moltres and Entei’s viability in the fight. While Clear weather does benefit all of Groudon’s movesets, the change in difficulty isn’t all that great. The biggest change is Gyarados getting put into the KO range of Solar Beam, making it a far less reliable pick there.
  • Rain: Gyarados is the best counter in just about every kind of weather, in the Rain he’s just that much better. All other Water-types enjoy the rain too but still have to be wary of Solar Beam Groudon.
  • Wind: Windy weather takes Dragonite’s middling performance and turns it up to 11, making it arguably the best Groudon counter around! With Dragonite, Windy makes for some of the easiest clears against all movesets.
  • Snow: While heavy Snowfalls will make Articuno perform better than ever, it still has to be wary of Fire Blast. Lapras also bumps up from being a sub-optimal to a worthwhile counter in the Snow.
  • Fog, Cloudy, Partly Cloudy: Overall, these weather conditions don’t influence Groudon’s counters in any significant way. They may make Shadow Ball Mewtwo and Machamp appear on the radar as decent options, but it’s more advisable to stick to the weather neutral options here.
Groudon’s Place in the Meta

Where previous legendary Pokemon have had optional or questionable use in the game, Groudon wedges itself in as the undisputed Ground-type master. While there isn’t a massive need for Ground-type attackers right now, if Raikou or Entei return to tier 5 eggs, Groudon will be waiting. In the present, Groudon can contribute to Gengar and Ninetales raids and makes nearly every tier 2 raid boss laughable (including Cloyster with its Solar Beam set). Looking towards the future, Regirock and Registeel won’t want anything to do with Groudon.

Like Ho-Oh, Groudon works well in various niche matchups where it can use Solar Beam to its advantage. In current raids, Solar Beam Groudon is Omastar’s greatest overall counter and allows Groudon to beat down other iterations of itself. Ironically enough, it may be one of the top counters to its antithesis, the Water-type Kyogre. As Groudon can dominate in the role of a Ground- and Grass-type attacker, it is a sound stardust investment.

As far as gym battling goes, using Pokebattler’s generalized attacker rankings, Groudon is rated as the second-best overall attacker, just behind Mewtwo. By sorting Pokebattler’s rankings by potion efficiency, Groudon is number two once again, this time just behind Lugia. If it’s clear outside, Groudon is indisputably number one in both categories. For breaking Blissey down and gym fighting in general, it may still be best to leave this job Dragonite, Machamp, Mewtwo, and Tyranitar, who have better meta-relevant coverage, but if it’s clear outside, it is a solid option.

Closing

While it was an odd choice for Niantic to drop the mascot for Pokemon Ruby in the middle of December only one week after a portion of Gen 3 was released, Groudon is here to stay! Despite being the most powerful raid boss to date, the release of Ho-Oh and the inclusion of Waterfall to Gyarados’s moveset has left trainers well-equipped to handle Groudon. Although clear weather makes this red tower even more threatening, it also boosts Groudon’s Grass-type counters, evening the playing field. Rain, wind, and snow boost Groudon’s other counters while doing little to nothing for the behemoth itself. Overall, the fight won’t be easy, but in Pokemon GO that only translates into eight casual players for an easy kill rather than seven.

For Groudon’s use in the meta, not only does it completely overshadow all other Ground-type attackers, it also has some considerable use as an alternative “Grass-type” Pokemon with Solar Beam. In the future, Groudon will roll hard on Regirock, Registeel, and even deity of the sea Kyogre. Whether Groudon is power creep in action or just Niantic asleep at the wheel, it is now available to us all until 1/15/18!

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