With the help of expert analysis and battle simulators like GoBattleSim, it’s become fairly easy to figure out what counters are best to use against any given raid boss. While this has led to the creation of global leaderboards for speed raids like the ones maintained by r/pogoraids and TL40, it can sometimes be boring to see Kyogre, Tyranitar, and Mewtwo listed over and over again. Most Pokémon sitting in your box will never see use in a raid battle since they’re outclassed by another of the same type. To combat this, some trainers have considered other possibilities — can you still solo that tier 3 raid boss without any weather boosted Pokémon, or maybe without using any species twice?
The hardest thing about soloing raid bosses has arguably been catching and powering up the right Pokémon, but it’s been months since generation 3 launched, Mewtwo is no longer restricted to EX raids, and frequent raiders have had an opportunity to amass a heaping pile of Rare Candy. By now, many of us already have a few of the top meta-relevant attackers powered up, and it’s not quite as challenging or exciting to defeat bosses like Alakazam as it once was.
Instead of beating up bosses with the same few Pokémon over and over again, some have developed some of their own goals by placing restrictions on the counters they use for raids. If you’re up for a challenge, consider attempting some of the following. While we’ll focus primarily on soloing level 3 raids, most of this also applies for duoing level 4 raids as well.
No Weather Boosted Attackers
This is probably the simplest restriction you can consider: try using only Pokémon whose moves are not given the 20% boost due to the current weather conditions. All tier 3 raid bosses we’ve ever seen (besides Shuckle) are (with the Pokémon available now) solo-able with or without weather boost. For some bosses like Jolteon and Claydol, there are only a couple of Pokémon that can get ahead of the clock consistently, making margins of victory much smaller.
Unboosted Tyranitar duo (Easy)
Unboosted Claydol solo (Moderate)
Unboosted Alolan Marowak duo (Difficult)
Unique 6 Attackers
Time to dust off those Dragonite and Vaporeon. There’s a good chance you have some Pokémon like these powered up because they used to be the best in the business, but they’ve since been outclassed by legendaries from later generations. Maybe you’ve participated in PokeDraft and powered up a Hariyama or Breloom that otherwise rides the bench behind your army of Machamp. Or maybe you’re like me and inexplicably love fighting with Victreebel. Whatever the reason, try taking down a boss with a lineup of six unique Pokémon (whose moves aren’t weather boosted). You’ll find that some very interesting Pokémon can get the job done. Some dodging may be required -- sometimes, you’ll need to keep your lead attacker or two alive as long as possible and then finish the raid with other Pokémon that are actually “behind the clock.” If you’re trying to duo with a partner, use the same lineup of six Pokémon, or for an even greater challenge, try using 12 different species!
Unique 6 Alakazam solo (Moderate)
Unique 12 Absol duo (Moderate)
Unique 6 Claydol solo (Difficult)
Note: We usually say “Unique 6” even though it’s often not necessary to actually use six different Pokémon.
A few months back, the “Mighty Moth Challenge” became popular on TheSilphRoad, complete with a trainer card badge for everyone who did it successfully. The goal was simple: defeat an Exeggutor raid boss using only a single Venomoth. No healing, reviving, or re-entering -- just the one Venomoth against level 2 Kantonian Exeggutor. Obviously dodging charged moves is required; if the boss had Solar Beam, you wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge if you missed even one dodge.
While you may not have a Venomoth powered up, you may have some Pokémon that are able to complete 1v1s against some different bosses, even at tier 3! These challenges typically require much more, since you can’t just hack away at it without considering dodging and energy management. Additionally, these often require weather boost or a favorable moveset. The “original” 1v1 challenge was Lugia v. Machamp; here are some challenges that raiders are working on now:
One Gengar v. Kirlia (Easy)
One Raikou v. Slowbro (Moderate)
One Groudon v. Alolan Raichu (Difficult)
One Tyranitar v. Jynx (Very Difficult)
One Entei v. Jynx (Very Difficult)
Single Species or Mono-Type
Got a favorite Pokémon or favorite type? See which level 3 bosses you can beat with only your collection of that species, or with six unique Pokémon of that type. If your favorite Pokémon is Rapidash, you might be able to take down Jynx using nothing else; if it’s Venusaur, you might even be able to take down Claydol.
To take it a step further, it’s fun to see if you can “beat the simulators” by using Pokémon that, in theory, should take a bit longer than 180 seconds to defeat a boss. This sometimes requires a patience, smart dodging, and a good bit of luck. Some intrepid raiders have done some really impressive stuff, including defeating Jolteon with only dragons or even defeating Flareon with only unboosted Mewtwo.
Unique 6 Unboosted Dark-Types v. Alolan Raichu or Starmie (Moderate)
Unique 6 Unboosted Bug-Types v. Jynx (Difficult) or Alakazam (Very Difficult)
Some months back, simulators showed that it would be nearly possible for a single person to defeat an Absol if they had a best friend with them in the lobby (even if not attacking). This challenge attracted the attention of some of the world’s best raiders, and was finally completed recently.
All kinds of quirky challenges are possible -- create your own and see if others in your local Discord group can complete it! If you find one at the appropriate level, it’s a fun way to get your community more interested in raiding and thinking about the Pokémon they send into battle. Maybe you’ll even see fewer Aggron and Lugia in your lobbies.
All of these challenges are great fun, but it’s important to remember to play within your means. With Gen 4 on the horizon, it’s probably not the best idea to spend your last 225,000 stardust maxing out that Venomoth for your Unique 6 Bugs team. There’s a lot to gain from these challenges, though. It’s a great way to practice dodging with a variety of attackers, which may be an important skill if we ever see player-versus-player added to the game. It also forces you to learn more about type advantages and moves you might not normally get to use. Personally, I’ve learned a great appreciation for super-fast bug moves like Fury Cutter and X-Scissor, and now try to work my Scizor into raid lineups as much as possible.
No weather boost, unique 6, and 1v1 are perhaps the most popular raid challenges besides regular speed runs, and r/pogoraids maintains leaderboards to see who can complete these challenges the fastest. They also announce weekly raid challenges via Discord and Twitter and award a PokeNav Discord badge to all participants who complete them successfully within a two-week window. (The current challenges at the time this article was written were Unique 6 unboosted attackers against Alakazam and Unique 6 unboosted bug-types against Jynx.) Even if your challenge isn’t tracked by some leaderboard or comes with the promise of a sweet badge upon completion, the sense of accomplishment earned by pushing the limits of what’s possible is worth it all by itself.