A year and a half have passed since Pokemon Go was launched. Both the game and the player base have evolved - while the Pokemon released are getting stronger, what remain of the player base are also getting smarter every day; many players are thinking more strategically about team building. As a smarter reader, you may also have thought about the million dollar question - how long will my Pokemon stay optimal? If it is ever going to be outclassed, when? By how much?
While our Best Attacker by Type and Complete Guide to Legendary have touched about the topic of future-proof, here we have compressed all the info together into a nice chart below - The Ladder of Best Pokemon by Type. This guide will discuss the implications and some general strategies for building your team both in the short and in the long run.
Compared to the current best Pokemon of their type, a future competitor is listed if it has higher base Atk or higher CP. The yellow/blue bar indicates the Pokemon's base Atk/CP position between the minimum and the maximum of all Pokemon listed of the same type. A full bar indicates that this Pokemon has the highest base Atk/CP among its peers. For example, Groudon has two full bars, meaning that it will have the highest base Atk and CP of all the Ground types.
Each (future) generation is further divided into the Non-Legendary part and Legendary part since Legendary is expected to arrive later than Non-Legendary.
How do we know the stats of the future Pokemon? The truth is, we don’t! Their information is not in the GAME MASTER file (a file that contains all the important parameters of the game) yet. Our projection is made based on the following two assumptions:
The same Base Stat Conversion Formula will be used for all future Pokemon;
No individual adjustment will be made to any future Pokemon.
The Base Stat Conversion Formula is the core of this projection. It correctly predicts the base stats of every Pokemon currently available, except for the following:
You may have already noticed the pattern - all of these Pokemon’s stats are lower than what the Conversion Formula predicts; in other words, they are nerfed. In fact, each of their stats is exactly 9% lower than the predicted value:
Actual Stat = round(Predicted Stat * 91%)
This is as known as the famous “9% nerf”. Note that it is a 9% nerf to every stat; the reduction in overall performance is greater. In terms of TDO, it is nerfed by approximately 27%!
Why did Niantic mercilessly reduce their stats? The common justification is game balancing - if those Pokemon hadn’t been nerfed, they would have been overpowered and rendered almost every other Pokemon useless. The fault is not all of the Conversion Formula's; in the main series, Legendary Pokemon are designed to be (much) stronger. As for Slaking, it is limited by its hindering ability, which doesn’t exist in Pokemon GO (yet).
In this author’s view, however, there are deeper reasons. First, let’s look at the fact that even after the 9% nerf, some of them are arguably game-breaking. For example, Kyogre using only Water Fall out-performs Vaporeon using both Water Gun and Hydro Pump. To put it simple, the 9% nerf is not just for game balancing but also making room for future Pokemon, so that players will always have an incentive to grind better and stronger Pokemon.
For all the reasons, Future Pokemon are designated to be better. This is the general trend of every MMO (Mobile Multiplayer Online game), and Niantic is not charity but a business, so there’s no pointing finger to anybody. With all that said, what would really happen to the overpowered Pokemon in the future? They might still undergo some nerf, but to a lesser extent, or even no nerf at all. Without guessing the “lesser extent”, this guide simply assumes that there will be no nerfing at all. By doing so, we are making worst-case scenario analysis; that is, the maximum extent to which the current best Pokemon will be outclassed.
Looking at the chart, almost no Pokemon currently available will stay the best forever, aside from probably Groudon and Mewtwo. Don’t get frustrated; there is a time value in everything. Golem might get outclassed by Rhyperior as soon as Gen 4 drops, but they served us so well in Legendary Bird raids. They helped us secured more balls and more TMs/Rare Candies/Golden Razz Berries, which were essential to our team building. As basic Finance teaches, “$100 today is worth more than $100 a year later”; early availability is valuable by itself. By this logic, if you decide to power up a Pokemon eventually, it should be done as early as possible once you have the resources.
That said, knowing that something better is coming soon, it is irrational to overspend resources on the soon-to-be-subpar Pokemon. But how “soon” makes overspending “irrational”? The answer is in the chart! Take Dragonite and Raikou. It is highly inadvisable to power up Dragonite at the moment as Rayquaza might knock the door anytime soon*. As for Raikou, its threat Zekrom comes in Gen 5 which is relatively far away, so they will continue to serve you for a long time.
This guide also aims to answer one common question: “one maxed Pokemon or more at lower levels?”
In the short run, if you have urgent raid needs, it’s better to have more. A team of 3x L30 Articuno and 3x Cloyster performs better than a team of 1x L40 Articuno and 5x Cloyster.
In the long run, or if you don’t have urgent raid needs, it’s better to have few. This way, when the better alternative arrives in the future, the maxed veteran will still have some place in the 2nd-6th slot. Had they been at level 30, they would be outclassed immediately and you would have a bigger to-transfer-or-not-to-transfer issue. A caught Kyogre is better than a level 30 Gyarados but not a level 40 one. An army of L30 Gyarados is collecting dust, while L40 Gyarados may still have a place in your Water squad.
*Note: at the time of writing this article, Rayquaza hadn't been released.
In this guide, we presented a detailed projection of future best Pokemon by type. While explaining the assumptions, we discussed the 9% the nerf in details and followed with some important implications regarding team building. Have some more faith in the game; new features and new battle system are expected to be on the way!
We hope that this guide, along with many other amazing guides on GamePress, has helped you spend your resources wisely. Stay tuned for more!