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The Safest Pokemon Bets for Gen 4

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The Safest Pokemon Bets for Gen 4

Introduction

With each passing day, Pokemon GO is nearing Gen 4's debut. While we don’t have a confirmed release date for the new Pokemon, it is pretty much certain that they’ll be joining us before the end of 2018. The advent of a new generation is exciting, but it also makes many trainers wary of which Pokemon to invest stardust in, as they could be replaced by newer, better ones.

Through observation of calculated base stats, data from GoBattleSim and the comprehensive DPS/TDO spreadsheet, and historical knowledge of what can change between generations, we here at GamePress will offer insight on the matter.

Infographic

Safest Bets

These Pokemon are not only relevant now, but will still be the best in their roles in Gen 4.

Machamp
Machamp

Is anybody really surprised? Machamp will most likely continue to be the best Fighting-type in the game at least until Gen 5, and a highly meta-relevant one at that. It will be an optimal counter to Dialga and Regigigas as well as a great option against Heatran, and obviously still the champ (heh) at tearing down gyms.

But what about the new Fighting-types, Gallade and Lucario? They aren’t weak to Psychic and have higher Attack than Machamp! Unfortunately, they lack access to Dynamic Punch, and without it, they’ll perform even worse than the likes of Hariyama, Breloom and Blaziken. Thus, they’d have to rely on the introduction of new moves such as Focus Punch or Aura Sphere to actually be viable.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Machamp
Counter
Dynamic Punch
100100
Hariyama
Counter
Dynamic Punch
94107
Lucario
Counter
Focus Blast
9266
Gallade
Low Kick
Focus Blast
8487

 

Let’s suppose that Lucario and Gallade do get a new Fighting charge move with the same stats as the best one currently in the game, Frenzy Plant; we’ll call this hypothetical move “Frenzy Punch”. We can see that, even in this optimal scenario, they don’t stand out from Machamp all that much. Gallade would also need a new fast move or a buff to existing ones, as its inability to learn Counter holds it back, while Lucario would output higher DPS but still be far more fragile.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Lucario
Counter
"Frenzy Punch"
10878
Gallade
Low Kick
"Frenzy Punch"
101102
Machamp
Counter
Dynamic Punch
100100
Mewtwo
Mewtwo

As expected, very few Pokemon are in a more comfortable position than the ultimate Psychic-type. If not for a major rework, and excluding Mega Evolutions, pretty much nothing can outclass it throughout all 7 generations. It may only be surpassed by itself, if at some point Niantic decide to give it Psystrike as an exclusive move, like they did with Thunder Shock on Zapdos. But even then, you could always TM your old Psychic Mewtwo to Shadow Ball and it will be just fine!

The only competition will come from Deoxys, with sky-high DPS but as much bulk as a Weedle (seriously) in its Attack forme, and Azelf — the only good attacker of the Lake trio — which won’t be much of an upgrade from the non-legendary Alakazam even if it gets optimal moves.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Deoxys-A
Zen Headbutt
Psycho Boost
11520
Honchkrow
Wing Attack
Sky Attack
10465
Mewtwo
Confusion
Psychic
100100
Azelf
Confusion
Future Sight
9765
Staraptor
Wing Attack
Sky Attack
9770
Alakazam
Confusion
Future Sight
9561
Rayquaza
Air Slash
Aerial Ace
9487
Deoxys-N
Zen Headbutt
Psycho Boost
9334
Espeon
Confusion
Future Sight
9369
Moltres
Fire Spin
Sky Attack
9388

 

In fact, among Psychic attackers, Espeon and Alakazam’s second place should also be safe for a very long time. Their competition as Fighting counters will instead come from Flying-types: Rayquaza and Moltres are much more expensive, but already superior options, and they will soon be joined by budget glass cannons Honchkrow and Staraptor. They both lack resistance to Fighting and would need to get Sky Attack to be relevant, but with it, the former may go as far as eclipsing Mewtwo for pure DPS!

Shadow Claw Gengar
Gengar

The beloved spooky Pokemon currently holds two niche uses — fastest anti-Psychic glass cannon and optimal counter to Focus Blast users thanks to its unique triple resistance — and it’s most likely to retain them both throughout Gen 4. And considering we’ll soon get 5 new legendaries weak to it, plus Mewtwo and Deoxys, those niches could only rise in value. Whether you want to power up one or two, to use as leads, or a full team depends on your playstyle: Gengar is still as fragile as glass gets.

Shadow Claw will still be the key for its success, as Darkrai could have more DPS than Hex Gengar but can’t touch the legacy variant. Neither can Giratina, although its monstrous TDO would make it the best all-around pick of the bunch anyway.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Gengar
Shadow Claw
Shadow Ball
100100
Darkrai
Feint Attack
Foul Play
97139
Gengar
Hex
Shadow Ball
9595
Mewtwo
Psycho Cut
Shadow Ball
92164
Giratina-O
Shadow Claw
Shadow Ball
89224
Honchkrow
Feint Attack
Foul Play
8998

Less safe, but useful

These Pokemon are great attackers, and will most likely continue to be relevant in the Gen 4 meta, but at the same time they may be replaced by new, superior options. Emphasis on may.

Rayquaza, Dragonite & Salamence
Rayquaza

The elite Dragons will continue to be meta relevant as the best counters for Palkia and Giratina, not to mention Rayquaza and the Lati twins when they inevitably return as shinies. At the same time, though, Gen 4 Pokemon will pose a big threat to them.

The legendary masters of space and time, Palkia and Dialga, possess amazing defensive stats and typings — especially the latter, whose Steel typing negates its Dragon weakness. Their DPS would be close to Rayquaza’s if given optimal moves, and their powerful signature moves Spacial Rend and Roar of Time, when/if introduced, might even make them outright superior. With Dragon Breath and Dragon Claw instead, they would merely end up below Salamence and Dragonite. So it could go either way with them, we can only wait and see.

Speaking of Salamence and Dragonite, Gen 4 will also bring an amazing pseudo-legendary to compete with them: Garchomp. It has about the same Attack stat as Dragonite but 17% more bulk, so with an equal moveset it would outperform it. The last big new Dragon, Giratina, won’t be able to shine among all these powerhouses, settling instead for the role of a Lugia-esque tank with DPS inferior to Latios, even in its offensive Origin forme.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Rayquaza
Dragon Tail
Outrage
100100
Palkia
Dragon Tail
Outrage
97109
Dialga
Dragon Tail
Outrage
96116
Salamence
Dragon Tail
Draco Meteor
9594
Dragonite
Dragon Tail
Outrage
92103
Garchomp
Dragon Tail
Outrage
92119
Giratina-O
Dragon Tail
Outrage
81123

 

It should also be noted that Rayquaza won’t risk ending up like Kyogre and Groudon, which we’re going to address below, as its signature move Dragon Ascent is actually Flying-type, so that hypothetical exclusive version will simply serve a different purpose from its current one. It also has an incredibly overpowered Mega Evolution yet to be released, so even with Palkia and Dialga on the way, investing in Rayquaza is still not a bad decision by any means.

Groudon
Groudon

The Continent Pokemon will finally have its time to shine in important legendary raids like Heatran and Dialga, but at the same time, we may get new powerful alternatives to it, such as Garchomp, Rhyperior, and Mamoswine. As non-legendaries, they’ll probably be less expensive to obtain and power up and, although not likely to take the number 1 spot (as long as Rhyperior doesn’t get Drill Run), they should all be close in terms of performance.

What really threatens Groudon as a long-term investment is actually Groudon itself. When its signature move Precipice Blades (already coded in the game) gets introduced, we hope it won’t get the same treatment as Zapdos’s 3-hour exclusive Thunder Shock. If that happens, all of a sudden the good old standard Earthquake version will become severely outclassed.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Groudon
Mud Shot
Precipice Blades
125125
Groudon
Mud Shot
Earthquake
100100
Rhyperior
Mud Slap
Drill Run
99111
Garchomp
Mud Shot
Earthquake
9892
Mamoswine
Mud Slap
Bulldoze
9573
Rhyperior
Mud Slap
Earthquake
91102
Kyogre
Kyogre

What’s true for Precipice Blades Groudon is also true for Origin Pulse Kyogre, although to a lesser extent, because its current moves are not as terrible to begin with.

Its only worthy rival could be Palkia, with 10 more Attack and a handy double resistance to Fire; however, its problem is the lack of access to any Water fast move currently in GO. Niantic would have to implement either Brine or Whirlpool as fast moves, and make them at least as good as Waterfall, for Palkia to actually surpass Kyogre. If that doesn’t happen, it will just end up as a slightly more powerful Gyarados.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Kyogre
Waterfall
Origin Pulse
109109
Palkia
"Waterfall clone"
Hydro Pump
10384
Kyogre
Waterfall
Hydro Pump
100100
Palkia
Dragon Tail
Hydro Pump
9275
Tyranitar
Tyranitar

As always, Dark Tyranitar will be ubiquitous against Gen 4 legendaries, as well as against Mewtwo and possibly Deoxys. We will get a couple of promising Dark glass cannons in Weavile and Honchkrow, but also new serious contenders joining Shadow Ball Mewtwo, who already outpaces T-tar against Ghost and even Psychic types.

The new Dark rival will be Darkrai, which boasts 14-23% more DPS depending on moveset, but as a Mythical Pokemon we’ll probably only get one to work with, and who knows when. The most menacing competitor is Giratina’s Origin forme, which would be a significant upgrade from Tyranitar in both DPS and TDO, as long as it gets a double Ghost moveset. Keep in mind that Ghost and Dark are, in fact, interchangeable for attacking, as they're both super effective against Psychic and Ghost.

There are, however, a few points against Giratina. As a legendary, it’ll be much more expensive to power up, and we can’t know how Niantic will handle its alternative Origin forme (at least until we see what they do with Deoxys). It could also eventually be given its signature Shadow Force as an event-limited move, a fact that might make some trainers hesitant to invest in it. Lastly, no legendary from Gen 5 and 6 is weak to Dark or Ghost, so if we don’t get it early in Gen 4, its time to shine might have already passed.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Darkrai
Feint Attack
Foul Play
12282
Mewtwo
Psycho Cut
Shadow Ball
11597
Honchkrow
Feint Attack
Foul Play
11158
Giratina-O
Shadow Claw
Shadow Ball
111133
Weavile
Feint Attack
Foul Play
10566
Tyranitar
Bite
Crunch
100100

 

Tyranitar’s position is debatable as a Rock attacker too, as Rampardos and Rhyperior could actually give it a run for its money. The former is a crazy glass cannon, with Attack almost as high as Mewtwo! It would be the fastest Rock attacker even with a terrible moveset, while if given Smack Down its DPS would skyrocket to Rayquaza-tier, +14-26% on T-tar depending on the charge move. Rhydon’s evolution, on the other hand, really needs Smack Down to compete in DPS (hopefully Niantic won’t keep it CD-exclusive), but it’s way bulkier, meaning that Tyranitar might become outclassed on both fronts.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Rampardos
Smack Down
Rock Slide
12670
Rampardos
Zen Headbutt
Ancient Power
10156
Tyranitar
Smack Down
Stone Edge
100100
Rhyperior
Smack Down
Stone Edge
97116
Rhyperior
Mud Slap
Stone Edge
7691

Safe, but less useful

These Pokemon likely won’t be replaced in Gen 4, but it is less advisable to spend stardust on more than one or two of them to begin with. They have unique roles that aren’t covered as well by new Pokemon, but there are other more compelling investments to consider before them.

Raikou
Raikou

This will probably be a shocker for a lot of trainers, since Raikou is always mentioned when talking about bold investments in this game. The truth is that, in fact, it will continue to be the best Electric attacker at least until Gen 5, when we’ll get Zekrom and Thundurus. But at the same time, the next generation will bring a lot of powerful non-legendary competitors.

Assuming Wild Charge as a charge move, Electivire could be even faster than Raikou, Magnezone’s whopping 12 resistances would let it shine in many match-ups, and even Luxray (the most likely to actually get Wild Charge) might be a great budget alternative. In addition, keep in mind that no legendary from Gen 4 and only one from Gen 5 — the quite useless Tornadus — will be weak to Electric. And out of the ones yet to return as shinies, Suicune is the only possible target. Raikou’s days of glory could sadly be a thing of the past.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Electivire
Thunder Shock
Wild Charge
10373
Raikou
Thunder Shock
Wild Charge
100100
Zapdos
Thunder Shock
Thunderbolt
9888
Magnezone
Thunder Shock
Wild Charge
9880
Luxray
Spark
Wild Charge
9766
Frenzy Plant Venusaur
Venusaur

While Gen 4 introduces many new Grass attackers, the OG Grass starter still holds its own quite well. Roserade could be a decent glass cannon if it gets Grass Knot, which shouldn’t be taken for granted, Tangrowth will offer superior tankiness but can’t quite reach Venusaur’s DPS, while Leafeon may at best compete for second place with Exeggutor. Frenzy Plant Sceptile, when its Community Day comes around, will be slightly faster but also more fragile. Shaymin in its Sky forme could win outright, but, as the Gen 4 equivalent of Mew and Celebi, we’ll probably only be able to get a single specimen from Special Research at some point.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Roserade
Razor Leaf
Grass Knot
10685
Shaymin-S
Bullet Seed
Solar Beam
106110
Sceptile
Bullet Seed
Frenzy Plant
10484
Venusaur
Vine Whip
Frenzy Plant
100100
Tangrowth
Vine Whip
Power Whip
97131
Leafeon
Razor Leaf
Grass Knot
9599

 

Alolan Exeggutor will still stand tall as a bulky alternative in some situations, thanks to its exotic double resistances to Water, Grass, and Electric. The chart below shows that by simulating a specific match-up, against Hydro Pump Kyogre.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Venusaur
Vine Whip
Frenzy Plant
100100
Tangrowth
Vine Whip
Power Whip
97131
Exeggutor-A
Bullet Seed
Solar Beam
92122

 

The overall utility of Grass is debatable, though, as it overlaps with that of Water against Ground or Rock and of Electric against Water, and many new powerful attackers of both those types loom on the horizon. Your investments in Grass attackers might pay off if you play in an area where clear weather is dominant.

Pinsir & Scizor
Pinsir&Scizor

We can’t really advise to power up Scizor or Pinsir unless you really want to, as they aren’t top choices against anything, and their only current niche is as rain weather specialists. But for what it’s worth, they’ll still be top Bugs in the Gen 4 meta. They’ll be joined by Yanmega, which has slightly lower Attack and lack of access to the lightning-fast X-Scissor, but in exchange offers extra bulk and a different typing that could bring it situational advantages.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Pinsir
Bug Bite
X-Scissor
10099
Scizor
Fury Cutter
X-Scissor
98100
Yanmega
Bug Bite
Bug Buzz
97109

A New Age of Ice and Fire

A New Age of Ice and Fire

The two types that were completely left out from the previous analysis (apart from the meta-irrelevant Poison and Steel) are Fire and Ice. That’s because, in both categories, the current best attackers have their days numbered.

Heatran will take the best parts of Moltres and Entei (their Attack and bulk, respectively) and fuse them into one awesome, lava-filled mix. On top of that, its secondary Steel typing gives it a whopping 6 double resistances — including all types which Fire hits super effectively — plus 4 regular ones! The one reason that might hold trainers back from powering it up is the possibility of signature move Magma Storm returning later as event-exclusive. In an eventual Torchic Community Day, we should also get Blast Burn Blaziken, which has the potential to become a deadly glass cannon with significantly higher DPS than Moltres.

Sky Attack Moltres will still remain king against Grass and Bug types, though, as Flying and Fire both hit them super effectively. In those matchups, Honchkrow and even Staraptor could be fantastic options as well.

Furthermore, Regis aside (and Machamp already covers those), there’s no immediate use for Fire-types and they won’t be needed again in legendary raids until Gen 5, when we’ll also get other elite options like Volcarona and Reshiram.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Moltres
Fire Spin
Sky Attack
10793
Honchkrow
Wing Attack
Sky Attack
10761
Blaziken
Fire Spin
Blast Burn
10665
Heatran
Fire Spin
Overheat
100100
Moltres
Fire Spin
Overheat
10087
Staraptor
Wing Attack
Sky Attack
9966
Charizard
Fire Spin
Blast Burn
9871
Entei
Fire Spin
Overheat
96100

 

As for Ice-types, it’s already common knowledge that Mamoswine, even if it doesn’t get Avalanche, will soon stomp on anything we currently have — possibly together with Weavile and Glaceon. If Rayquaza returns before we get them, consider investing in your Dragon attackers first.

PokemonFast MoveCharged MoveDPS %TDO %
Mamoswine
Powder Snow
Avalanche
112109
Weavile
Ice Shard
Avalanche
10779
Glaceon
Frost Breath
Avalanche
10584
Jynx
Frost Breath
Avalanche
10069
Articuno
Frost Breath
Ice Beam
81100

Gym Defenders

Blissey

Depending on how and where you play, there can be advantages to having a roster of fully powered-up gym defenders, but the current gym system doesn’t really encourage or reward that. On top of that, there is no telling how Niantic may change it in the future, or introduce new features that could require defensively apt Pokemon once again.

Anyway, when it comes to tankiness, Blissey, Chansey and Snorlax will easily continue to be head and shoulders above any competition. Only Rhyperior comes close, but its horrible defensive typing puts it at a disadvantage. Tangrowth, Garchomp, Hippowdon and Gliscor will join the likes of Milotic and Muk as bulky alternatives that aren’t weak to Machamp. Togekiss also boasts a handy double resistance to Fighting and a lot more durability than Gardevoir, although it probably won’t hit back as hard.

Conclusion

While these predictions are the most reliable way we can give you to tell how valuable your stardust and candy investments will prove to be in the future, they can never tell the full picture. They're still based on the assumption that Niantic doesn't alter the battle system nor rebalance moves, like in the transition from Gen 2 to Gen 3, and there is no way to know if that's going to carry through this time around. Especially with rumors of PvP coming before the end of the year, which really has the potential to change everything — and whenever that happens, we at GamePress are looking forward to analyze it!

For these reasons, our main advice is always to power up what you need to complete the current objectives in the game. This way, your investments will always be useful and efficient to some degree, even if later on they become outdated.