In the good old days of Gen 1 and Gen 2, one Dragon-type reigned supreme. Dragonite presided over its domain, and no one challenged its lordship.
Gen 3 has brought 2 competing Dragon-types of similar ability, with a third challenger on the horizon. Players who may or may not have invested in a Dragonite army wonder: are any of these new dragons investing in? In this article, we’ll consider the benefits and costs of powering up Dragonite, Salamence, Rayquaza, and predict the value of Latios.
With a Dratini-focused Community Day behind us, Dragonite is more accessible than ever. Dragonite already has the advantage of being a PoGO veteran - casual players may have amassed enough candy for at least 1 prior to Community Day. Regardless, on February 24, 2018, players around the world were hopefully treated to mounds of Dratini candy and an event-exclusive Draco Meteor Dragonite.
The community has analyzed the simulations to death, and the verdict is in: Outrage is usually superior to Draco Meteor. There are cases where Draco Meteor comes out on top, but Outrage performs more consistently and is also a more flexible option for clearing low motivation gym defenders. If you already have a powered up Outrage Dragonite, you’re gaining little from investing in a Draco Meteor Dragonite (except for novelty).
There’s always the possibility that Draco Meteor would become the superior move in the future, in which case having an event exclusive Dragonite is better than not having one.
Verdict: If you would’ve powered up an Outrage Dragonite, you'll lose hardly anything at all powering up a Draco Meteor Dragonite instead.
If you’re privileged enough to have access to a scanner, or whale enough to have hatched enough Bagon eggs, you may be at a point where powering up a Salamence is a consideration. Compared to Dragonite, Salamence trades bulk for offensive presence, and it’s stuck with Draco Meteor.
Because of this, Salamence suffers from some consistency issues. In ideal scenarios, it marginally outperforms all variants of Dragonite in DPS, but faints more quickly because of its lower bulk. If you’re satisfied with Dragonite, then consider passing on investing in Salamence. It's a fine stardust sink if you have the resources to spare, and it's more than just novelty like Flygon is.
Verdict: Feel free to power up a Salamence if you have the resources, but if stardust is limited, go with Dragonite.
A good way to think of Rayquaza is like a Salamence with Outrage. Actually, Rayquaza’s Atk is slightly but significantly higher, allowing it to hit a higher Dragon Tail breakpoint in a Rayquaza raid, for example. It has the highest neutral DPS in the game, besting even Confusion + Shadow Ball Mewtwo. A maxed Rayquaza can slot more flexibly into raid lineups than a maxed Dragonite. That alone is reason to power one up.
The problem is candy. Rayquaza candy are much harder to come by than Dratini candy. Unless you’ve done nearly 100 Rayquaza raids, maxing one to level 40 requires dipping into your Rare Candy reserve. Although Rayquaza’s slight DPS advantage over Dragonite is tantalizing, it can be hard to justify diverting Rare Candy from arguably more useful specialist legendaries, such as Raikou, Kyogre, and Groudon, who may have a greater impact in a smaller subset of future raids.
If you decide to invest in Rayquaza, there are 2 ways to approach this. A level 30.5 Rayquaza has the same offensive power as a level 40 Dragonite. At this level, Rayquaza is like a cheap Dragonite from a stardust perspective. In my opinion, this is a waste. Rayquaza’s niche is its massive offensive power, which can only be achieved near level 40. If you don’t crave this extra DPS, then maybe Rayquaza isn’t for you.
Verdict: Don’t power up Rayquaza if you need the Rare Candy for other legendaries (namely, Raikou, Kyogre, Groudon, and Mewtwo). Consider not investing in Rayquaza if you’ve already invested in a Shadow Ball Mewtwo.
No one knows if and when Latios will become available, but his projected stats and assigned moves have piqued the interest of many. Compared to Dragonite, Latios not only features better all-around stats, but also its legacy Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw moveset. Though lacking in raw power, this moveset is easy to dodge with and efficient for gym battles. Latios also resists Psychic, the most commonly distributed move type among top defenders in the game.
The drop in power from the other top Dragon-types, however, makes it hard to justify spending Rare Candy on Latios. An Outrage Dragonite or Rayquaza is plenty good, and Latios isn’t nearly as essential of a gym attacker as Fighting-types such as Machamp and Hariyama.
Verdict: With the available information, Latios is a poor investment of Rare Candy unless you have a ton of it lying around.