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Type Effectiveness Rebalance Part 2: Soloing Tier 4 Raids

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Introduction

As outlined in Part 1 here, Niantic’s decision to increase the super-effective damage multiplier from 1.4x to 1.6x has had a strong impact on the game beyond just PvP. We’re now dealing 14% more damage than previously in singly super-effective matchups and over 30% more damage in doubly super-effective matchups, and so Tier 3 solos are in many cases much more easily accessible to non-level 40 trainers with unoptimized counters.

With records being kept by the VL40 Facebook group and the r/pogoraids community, soloing Tier 3 bosses was an endgame goal for many players, and some believe it’s bad for the game that the bar has been set much lower. If you’re bummed about the decreased prestige in soloing Tier 3 raid bosses with the increased damage multiplier, there’s some good news: some Tier 4 bosses are soloable for the first time! None of these solos are easy, and the majority of Tier 4 bosses still require at least two trainers to take down. Besides ultra-squishy raid bosses like Absol, for the most part only Tier 4 bosses with double weaknesses can be taken down by a single trainer, and weather boost is often required. 

Here we’ll outline some of the (current and past) Tier 4 bosses that can now be defeated by a single intrepid trainer with strong counters, and sometimes the correct weather and a little luck. This article is meant only as an outline to describe the various possibilities; we’ll provide in-depth guides for these battles if/when these bosses return to raids in the future. In the meantime, check your favorite sims to see just how tight these matchups are and whether you have the teams to take them down.

Machamp's Favorite Punching Bags

The only Tier 4 boss on this list without a double weakness, Absol was nearly soloable in cloudy weather even before the rebalance. A few trainers were able to defeat it with a best friend in the lobby for the damage bonus without any actual assistance from the other trainer (this has come to be called a “mock solo” by the challenge raid community). 

To complete the solo, you’ll need cloudy weather and a team of maxed Machamp (a couple of Breloom mixed in should be okay) with Counter and Dynamic Punch. You may need to dodge a charged move or two to avoid having your team KO’d, but not much. Since most people already have the team for it, this rates as one of the more accessible Tier 4 solos for now.

Tyranitar

Once the standard for Tier 4 duos, Tyranitar is now also soloable, much in the same vein as Absol but a bit more difficult. Again, you’ll need cloudy weather and a team of maxed Machamp, but this time, you’ll need a bit of luck as well. Since Tyranitar is bulkier than Absol, you’ll need to balance energy gained from absorbing charged moves with dodging enough to stay alive; this is particularly difficult against Fire Blast, which rates as tougher than other charged moves in this matchup. Keep an eye on the clock and count how many Machamp you have left, as a relobby means certain failure while overdodging may cause you to come up short on damage.

Kanto's Double-Weak Stalwarts

Rhydon

Along with Absol, Rhydon is one of the easier Tier 4 bosses to solo, and among the only ones that doesn’t strictly require a weather boost. Sporting double-weaknesses to both Grass and Water, there are essentially three different ways to go about beating Rhydon. Kyogre is a viable counter in neutral weather, although the fight is pretty tough and you’ll need charged moves to hit at the right time to pull it off. In rain, Kyogre wins handily, while Feraligatr and Gyarados also get ahead of the clock (though the latter doesn’t fare well against Stone Edge). Alternatively, in clear weather, Breloom, Roserade, Venusaur, and Sceptile can do the job, while other Grass-types like Victreebel, Shiftry, and Exeggutor are borderline viable. 

Surf is by far the easiest charged move to beat as it’s resisted by all the aforementioned counters, while you may sometimes need to work in a couple of dodges (especially with those squishy Grass-types) against either Stone Edge or Earthquake. Stone Edge is by far the harder move to dodge and should be considered the toughest matchup, even when Earthquake is weather boosted.

Golem

Much in the same way that Tyranitar is a tougher version of Absol, Golem is essentially a tougher version of Rhydon due to its identical typing but higher defense stat. With the Pokemon currently available, nothing but rain-boosted Kyogre will do. You’ll probably need 5 or 6 maxed whales to get the job done without dodging.

The Newcomer

The newest boss to be included in Tier 4, Shiftry sports a double-weakness to Bug types, making it a straightforward fight for a team of Pinsir and Scizor in neutral weather. It becomes a much easier fight for these two in rain, in which case Scyther, Heracross, and Venomoth can also take it down. With these Bug-types you’ll need to pay attention to the charged moves; Hurricane hits like a truck and should be dodged, while Leaf Blade should require no dodging at all. Foul Play is of intermediate difficulty and may require a couple of dodges in the neutral weather matchup.

In addition to these Bug-types, Machamp, Breloom, and potentially even Poison Jab/Sludge Bomb Roserade have the DPS to take down Shiftry in cloudy weather, while Overheat Moltres is viable in clear and Sky Attack Moltres is viable in wind. Again, you’ll need to dodge Hurricane with the cloudy-weather counters, while Moltres may need to dodge a couple of Foul Plays or a Hurricane here or there. The Roserade matchup is very tight due to its frailty but almost certainly will be done.

Oldies but Goodies

Alolan Exeggutor

Should Alolan Exeggutor ever return to raids as a Tier 4 boss, it has three viable counters that will be able to exploit its double-weakness: Weavile, Jynx, and Psycho Cut/Ice Beam Mewtwo in the snow. Weavile and Jynx are extremely glassy and will need to do quite a bit of dodging to get the job done, while significantly less dodging is required of Mewtwo, but Mewtwo isn’t as far ahead of the clock as the others. If you can manage to keep your team alive long enough, all three of these counters have enough DPS to get through the matchup pretty comfortably.

Charizard

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Charizard as a Tier 4 boss, but a team of Smack Down/Stone Edge Tyranitar and Rhyperior should be able to take it down without dodging in Partly Cloudy weather. They’re not too far ahead of the clock, so it may be tight, but the battle itself should be fairly straightforward, with no dodging required.

Bonus: Moltres, Rayquaza, Shuckle

Moltres

Not only are Tier 4 solos within reach, but the rebalance also makes a pair of (non-Deoxys) legendary raids soloable. The first of these is Moltres, which can potentially be defeated by a team of Smack Down/Stone Edge Tyranitar and Rhyperior in partly cloudy weather, much in the same manner as Charizard. It’s a bit of a tougher battle than Charizard, as the 300-second timer makes a TKO more of a threat and its counters aren’t quite as far ahead of the clock. This raid should be about equally as difficult as the Tyranitar solo in cloudy weather described above, and similarly trainers will need to balance absorbing charged moves for energy with dodging to avoid a relobby. As one-bar fire attacks, all three charged moves appear to have similar difficulty, though Overheat hits the hardest by far.  

Rayquaza

Probably the most difficult matchup listed here, Weavile appears to have the DPS needed to defeat Rayquaza in snowy weather, though not without excellent dodging and quite a bit of luck. When inevitably Rayquaza returns to raid battles, many will give this solo a shot and some might succeed. While thus far we’ve always considered a TKO to be an automatic loss, some trainers might opt to dodge less, running two full teams and hoping to overcome lost time and boss health regeneration. It’s tough to predict just how possible this solo will be, but if we have Mamoswine by then, it will be significantly easier.

Shuckle

Remember back when Niantic trolled us by releasing a Pokemon into the Tier 3 boss pool that wasn’t even close to being soloable? Well, there now appears to be a path through that battle. It’s possible that a single Bullet Punch/Meteor Mash Metagross will be able to defeat a Tier 3 Shuckle in snowy weather without dodging. Metagross isn’t far ahead of the clock in this matchup, so there’s little advantage to dodging, but we do finally have a counter than can, in fact, fuckle with Shuckle.

About the Author(s)

Chris is a contributing writer for GamePress and administrator of the pogoraids Discord/Reddit community, focusing primarily on speed raiding and PokeDraft content. Some day he'll be an actual professor.