What good is Gengar?

TLDR; Gengar has great attack stats, and Shadow Ball does crazy damage. But his type advantage makes him pretty useless in this meta.

With the latest rebalance, Gengar is getting some attention.

  • He has a base attack of 261, which is one of the highest in the game.
  • Shadow Ball does a crazy 17.9 DoT (14.3 + stab), thanks in part to Hex’s high EPS

Sadly, Gengar has a lot of glaring flaws.

  • His defense (156) and stamina (120) make him a glass cannon
  • Ghost moves are not very effective against Normal. So much for countering Snorlax and Blissey.
  • Ghost’s super effectiveness to Psychic is negated by Psychic’s super effectiveness to Poison.

Gengar’s role in this meta is highly situational at best.

  • Sucker Punch / Sludge Bomb against Blissey’s Pound / Dazzling Gleam
  • Hex / Shadow Ball against Donphan’s Tackle / Play Rough
  • Hex / Shadow Ball against Heracross’ Struggle Bug / Megahorn
  • Hex / Shadow Ball against Muk’s Poison Jab / Gunk Shot

Gengar has to skate around any defender moveset that contains Psychic and Ground.

Gengar tends to find a place against (non-Psychic) Fairy movesets of Normal types. Why? Poison resist Fairy. Also, Fairy is super effective against Fighting, which gives Gengar a brief chance to rank above Machamp.

Final thoughts

The high attack stat is tempting, but I wouldn’t buddy or dust Gengar.

You’re better off investing in specialized attackers like Cloyster/Jolteon/Machamp. Or if it’s a hard-hitting generalist you’re after, Flareon with Fire Spin / Overheat is much more solid.

What good is Gengar?

Tyranitar: the worst moveset is the best

TLDR; On paper, Tyranitar’s Bite/Crunch moveset is the best. But in practice, you want to use the seemingly worst moveset Iron Tail / Stone Edge.


If you look at Tyranitar’s moves, the highest damage moveset seems to be Bite/Crunch.

Bite has DoT of 8.5, which is the same as Iron Tail.

Crunch as a DoT of 11.9 (9.5 + 2.4 stab). This is way higher than Stone Edge at 8.5 (6.8 + 1.7).

The weave DoT for Bite/Crunch works out to: 20.4

But this surface-level analysis leads to the wrong answer.


Bite / Stone Edge:

As KingKwongg astutely pointed out, Stone Edge is better than Crunch. Why?

Crunch locks you into a 3.2 second animation. And this happens three times per bar, for a crazy 9.6 seconds.

Stone Edge is a quick 2.3 seconds, and it’s only once per bar. This means, you can squeeze in a lot more Bites.

So, which is better? Crunch’s higher DPS? Or squeezing in more bites with Stone Edge?

If you run the numbers, Bite/Stone Edge comes out slightly ahead with 21.1, compared to Bite/Crunch’s 20.4.

So, Bite/Stone Edge is Tyranitar’s highest damage moveset.

But, highest damage doesn’t always mean the best.


Iron Tail / Stone Edge

Movesets have to be relevant to the current meta. So, Bite/Stone Edge is situationally useful against Dragonite and Gyarados. And Bite/Crunch is always the best against Espeon.

Defensively, you want to use Iron Tail / Stone Edge. This moveset does the worst damage 18.8 (11.9 + 5.5 + 1.4). And yet it’s the best.

The thing is, an attacker’s best move is to use Fighting mons like Machamp and Poliwrath against Tyranitar. Fighting does stacked super effective (1.56x). Also, Fighting resists Dark.

So as a defender, you want to avoid using Dark moves. If you look toward the bottom, Machamp’s advantage is reduced from 13.0 to 12.2. So, type advantage makes up for the DPS gap.

This leaves Iron Tail, Fire Blast, and Stone Edge.

Fire Blast (7.0) has slightly higher damage than Stone Edge 6.9 (5.5 + 1.4). But in practice, the Stone Edge is way harder to dodge than Fire Blast.


Final thoughts

So there you have it. As a defender, you ideally want Iron Tail / Stone Edge.

If you’re using Tyranitar as a counter to Espeon, you want Bite/Crunch.

You could use Bite / Stone Edge against Dragonite and Gyarados. But this is situational against specific movesets. And, you really should be using Cloyster and Jolteon anyway. So Bite / Stone Edge really becomes just a high damage all-around attack moveset.

Tyranitar: the worst moveset is the best

Weave Damage over Time formula

So, here is the secret sauce that I use to calculate Damage over Time.

DPS for charge moves is super unreliable, because the charge move durations are super arbitrary. Compare Dragonite’s Outrage (2 x 110) versus Hurricane (1 x 110). Outrage does twice the damage per full bar. And yet Silph Road lists Hurricane as having higher DPS.

An analogy is how many water balloons can you throw in a minute? You need to count how long it takes to fill the balloon at the faucet, in addition to how long it takes to sail through the air.

So, the weave-damage-over-time is calculated as follows:

((quick move damage per cycle) + (charge move damage per cycle)) / (time it takes to charge the bar + time it takes to expend all charge moves)

Converting this to variables, you get:

((DPS x 100 energy / EPS) + (CMpower x number of bars)) / ((100 / EPS) + (CMduration x number of bars))

Refactor this to variables provided in the game master, and you get:

( ((QMpower / QMduration) x (100 x QMduration / QMnrg)) + (CMpower x 100 / CMnrg) ) / (( 100 x QMduration / QMnrg) + (CMduration x 100 / CMnrg))

Notice how 100 energy is all over the place. And so is QMduration. You can factor out these guys, and you get this pretty formula:

((QMpower/QMnrg) + (CMpower/CMnrg)) / ((QMduration/QMnrg) + (CMduration/CMnrg))

You can break out the individual DoT for QM and CM as follows:


(QMpower/QMnrg) / ((QMduration/QMnrg) + (CMduration/CMnrg))


(CMpower/CMnrg) / ((QMduration/QMnrg) + (CMduration/CMnrg))

This works, because:

(a + b) / c

is the same thing as:

a/c + b/c

If you stare at the formula for a while, a few concepts start to emerge:

  • Increases in either QMpower or CMpower helps your weave-DoT
  • If move duration takes forever, your weave-DoT suffers.
  • The more CMs per bar, the more weight is placed on the CM. (Since all you’re doing is casting CMs. Think Aqua Tail.)
  • The lower the EPS, the more weight is placed on QM (since you’re just spamming attacks, and never getting to cast anything. I’m looking at you, Venusaur)
Weave Damage over Time formula

Ideal movesets

Found a major flaw in my algorithm. I was using Damage over Time for the Charge Move (which is the right thing to do). But I was just using straight DPS for the Quick Move (which is wrong!)

Think about it. Say if you have a charge move that is 1/3 of the bar (like Outrage or Aqua Tail). A good portion of your time is locked into those charge move animations. So your quick move is not going to get a word in edgewise.

So this morning, I re-worked my formula so that it uses weave-damage-over-time. I’ll go over the maths in another post.

Anyway, here are the updated ideal movesets:

Tyranitar: Bite/Crunch [Edit: Dark/Stone Edge — thanks KingKwongg for the heads up]
(Iron Tail/Stone Edge is the best defender moveset… this is a topic for another article)
Best counter: Machamp with Counter/Dynamic Punch

Dragonite: Dragon Tail/Outrage
Best counter: Cloyster with Frost Breath/Avalanche

Snorlax: Zen Headbutt/Heavy Slam
Best Counter: Alakazam/Focus Blast. Surprised? It’s b/c Focus Blast gets type advantage, and it’s 1-bar so you can squeeze in more Confusion hits.

Rhydon: Mud Slap / Earthquake
Best Counter: Exeggutor with Bullet Seed / Solar Beam (Against Megahorn, Venusaur VW/SB is best)

Gyarados: Dragon Tail / Outrage (DT/HydroPump is actually quite close though)
Best Counter: Jolteon with Thunder Shock / Thunderbolt
(Note: In a recent post, I said Thunder Shock / Discharge was ideal. But I was wrong. Thunderbolt move duration lets you squeeze in more quick moves, enough to make it slightly better than Discharge.)

Blissey: Pound / Hyper Beam
Best Counter: Alakazam with Confusion / Focus Blast
(Note: In a recent post, I said Dragonite DT/O was the best. Again, I was wrong. Outrage ties you up in charge move animations, enough for Alakazam’s DoT to pull ahead)

Vaporeon: Water Gun / Hydro Pump
(Note: In a recent post, I said Aqua Tail was the best. Again, I was wrong. Those super frequent Aqua Tail animations takes too much away from Water Gun. Enough for Pump to pull in the lead.)

Donphan: Tackle / Earthquake
(Note: earlier, I said Tackle/Play Rough. Earthquake is slightly better because you can squeeze in more Tackles. Then again, Play Rough is 2 bars and harder to dodge. Nobody really cares about Donphan anyway… so whatever)
Best Counter: Cloyster with Frost Breath / Avalanche

Espeon: Confusion / FutureSight
Best Counter: Tyranitar with Bite/Crunch


Ideal movesets

Poliwrath and Espeon, stepping stones to the new meta

TLDR; it might take a while to perfect your attack roster. So for now, use Poliwrath and Espeon as stepping stones.

Three of the toughest defenders are Blissey, Snorlax, and Tyranitar. (Dragonite is actually the strongest, but by now you should have a Cloyster)

Dragonite with Dragon Tail / Outrage is the best counter to both Snorlax and Blissey. And Machamp with Counter and Dynamic Punch is the ideal counter to Tyranitar.

These ideal attackers will take a while to grind out. So you’ll need some stepping stones so you don’t get locked out of gyms.

Poliwrath (Rock Smash / Dynamic Punch) is like the Honda Civic of Tyranitar. It’s cheap, accessible, and gets the job done. Fighting type gets 1.56x vs Tyranitar. Plus Fighting is resistant to Dark.

Poliwrath can be used against Snorlax and Blissey, because it has STAB Fighting moves. But there’s a major caveat.

Snorlax and Blissey have defensive non-STAB Psychic moves that are designed to punk Fighting types. So only use Poli against non-Psychic movesets.
[Edit: Fairy is super effective against Fighting. So Fighting counters get punked by Blissey 5 movesets out of 6]

For the Psychic movesets, counter with Espeon. Espeon resists Psychic, but still does its regular STAB damage against Normal.

So between Poliwrath and Espeon, you can counter all of the Snorlax and Blissey movesets. Plus, Poliwrath can double as a Tyranitar counter.

Poliwrath and Espeon, stepping stones to the new meta

Piloswine is a pile of… swine

TLDR; Piloswine is irrelevant to the meta. Stick with Cloyster

There seems to be some confusion on how to counter Dragonite. Tripledex recommends Piloswine and Dragonite. But the answer is Cloyster. Here’s why.

Piloswine’s moves get really high DPS. Powder Snow has one of the highest EPS, so it boosts Avalanche like crazy. Plus, Piloswine has good stamina, so theoretically you can send multiple Dragonites to the Ice Age. But there are holes to this logic.

The problem is that Piloswine has terrible defense base stats. So Dragonite is going to rip through all your stamina, and Piloswine is going to end up drinking all your pots.

The other problem is that Powder Snow has terrible DPS. So this detracts from the EPS boost to Avalanche.

Cloyster’s Frost Breath has good DPS. Moveset-wise, the benefits of Frost Breath’s DPS and Powder Snow’s EPS are about equal.

Cloyster’s high Defense stat is the right answer to Dragonite’s high Attack stat. So Cloyster comes out way ahead in the damage exchange.

Granted, Cloyster has low HP. Just learn how to dodge and you’ll be fine.

As for using Dragonite to counter Dragonite, this is a pretty bad idea. You’re missing out on that rare 1.5x stacked type effectiveness. And you’re just as vulnerable, so you basically have no advantage.

Note: There are some merits to using Dragonite to counter Dragonite. Yes, you have zero type and stat advantage. But zero is actually a decent number, since Dragonite with DT/O is the best in the game.

Cloyster is basically the only one mon with a significant advantage against Dragonite.


Piloswine is a pile of… swine