On 12/21/17, 20 new Gen 3 Water and Ice-type Pokemon were released in Pokemon GO along with the highly anticipated Gen 2 Pokemon, Delibird. Naturally trainers have been asking about their use on offense and defense. 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!
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This is simulation data from Pokebattler against a simulated tier 5 Rayquaza raid, using all movesets projected to be on Rayquaza as evidenced in the Game Master, at a 9% nerf to all of its stats (Niantic’s nerf of choice). Dragon Tail + Blizzard Kyogre is included because it is likely our next raid boss. Gyarados was included as a frame of reference with its “Dragon Slayer” set. Articuno is likely slightly behind Lapras in this simulation due to Rayquaza carrying Ancient Power.
Of the new Ice-type Pokemon (or Pokemon with Ice-type movesets in the case of Miltoic), only Walrein stands out as being useful in the meta. However, this is only because it is unique compared to the others, and not because it’s better by leaps and bounds. Walrein has bulk like Lapras and is strong like Piloswine, but as seen on the chart above, it remains in the middle of the iceberg without pulling out far ahead.
While currently unreleased, Kyogre is worth mentioning now because it will be the Ice-type user you are looking for in Gen 3. With its massive stats (after the 9% nerf) and access to Dragon Tail and Blizzard, even without STAB it raises above the rest; players will want to save their stardust and rare candies for this behemoth. While Milotic has this same moveset, it’s severely lacking in the stats department and doesn’t rate as a Dragon-type counter.
You may noticed our new friend Delibird is missing from this graph. Unfortunately, Delibird’s performance was so poor that it was more reasonable to leave him off. While Dragon-types will certainly enjoy the presents, they aren’t enough to bribe them into submission.
This is simulation data from Pokebattler against a tier 5, Dragon Tail + Fire Blast Groudon raid. Waterfall + Hydro Pump Kyogre is included because it is likely our next raid boss.Yes, this Kyogre is after the typical 9% nerf.
Of the new Water-type Pokemon, only Milotic and Relicanth rank among the others. Of these two, only Milotic is really viable, sharing a similar performance to Vaporeon with its Waterfall + Surf set. Well, viable until you consider the to-be Kyogre.
Gyarados may be enjoying his current rein as the Water-type King, but what’s a King to a God? To confirm, the Kyogre we are comparing with is after a 9% reduction to all of its stats (the typical Niantic nerf), giving it a CP equal to Groudon. A Kyogre at level 30 would still have higher DPS than a level 40 Gyarados and as much TDO as a level 40 Vaporeon. Unless Niantic chooses to change its current nerfing habits, Kyogre will redefine what we think of as being “good” in Pokemon GO.
Lastly, while not included on the graph, Sharpedo may serve players well as a glass cannon. For current raids, it can help ease the clock for Ninetale’s solos. However, in bigger raids, Sharpedo’s extremely low defenses will hold it back too far to have any impact.
On the gym defense side of the meta, the Water/Ice update has brought new members on board. For active and short term gym defense, Milotic is a direct upgrade from Vaporeon, boasting two flavors of high power fast moves in addition to Ice-type coverage in its charge moves. Given the variety of optimal counters available to Milotic, any combination of Dragon Tail, Waterfall, Surf, and Blizzard will serve well on defense.
Walrein was originally projected to be a direct upgrade to Lapras but its poor movepool holds it back from greatness. Lacking any multi-bar options for Ice-type charge moves and Water Pulse’s laughable damage, Walrein stands behind Lapras on defense rather than ahead of it. That being said, this doesn’t make Walrein a poor option for gym defense, it just isn’t as good as Lapras is in the role.
Lastly, with Ludicolo’s mad dance skills and Wailord’s gargantuan size, there’s no doubt that they’ll both end up on gyms due to player preference, but how good are they really? Overall, their performance is nothing to write home about. Ludicolo’s unique defensive typing is held back by its low attack and unimpressive bulk and Wailord having the 4th highest HP in the game means little when you consider its 2 digit defense stat. This being said, the one thing these two do have going for them (aside from novelty) is that their max CP doesn’t crack 2300, suggesting they may find use in long term gym defense due to having a lower motivation decay rate. This lowered rate keeps Pokemon like Ludicolo dancing from sundown to the break of dawn.
As it was featured on the promotional graphic for the new release, it is assumed Kyogre will be our next Tier 5 raid boss. Unless Niantic nerfs Kyogre more than they nerfed Groudon, Kyogre will redefine what we think of as “Legendary.” Given how high profile this raid encounter is anticipated to be, it may be prudent to start preparing for Kyogre now.
Above all else, Raikou will be the all-star of the Kyogre fight with its Thundershock + Wild Charge set. Against its Dragon Tail and/or Thunder containing movesets, Groudon surprisingly enters the arena as an optimal counter with Mud Shot and Solar Beam. Exeggutor and Zapdos are great counters to non-Blizzard movesets. And Sceptile and Victreebel make great all-around useful glass cannons. When Kyogre is released, just like Solar Beam Groudon is a counter to non-Solar-Beam Groudon, Thunder Kyogre will also make a great counter to non-Thunder Kyogre