'Pokemon GO': New Tools Give In-Depth Look At Gym Strategy

‘Pokemon GO’: New Tools Give In-Depth Look At Gym Strategy

Pokemon GO, the Niantic Labs hit mobile game, is experiencing a resurgence right now; according to GameRant, the recent holiday events bounced Pokemon back to the top between Christmas and New Years, grossing a near-record-breaking $4.9 million on New Years Eve alone.

Especially if you’re an older player just returning to the game, you’ll probably find yourself wondering: how in the heck am I supposed to capture and hold gyms now? Pokemon GO gym defense isn’t quite down to a science yet, but time and changes to the game have left most Pokemon gyms looking pretty much the same; maxed-out level, filled with the same few tough Pokemon, and armed for bear. Or at least Ursaring.

Fortunately, there’s hope. According to Mic, a new Pokemon GO tool called the Pokemon GO Triple Dex is making it easier for players to figure out which are their best Pokemon and match-ups when on the attack, and has provided some new insights into gym defense and prestige-grinding as well – and we’ve done the hard work for you.

So what makes the Triple Dex so special? When you head over to the site, you’re presented with a simple window; pick your Pokemon and go. When you do, you get a set of behind-the-scenes battle statistics on that Pokemon: each move it can possibly have, broken down between “fast moves” and “charge moves,” with a set of statistics on each. The most important one is DPS (gamer shorthand for Damage Per Second) which is a good measurement of the move’s actual power; it’s calculated by dividing damage by duration. It also lists how much energy each move generates or consumes

To put that a little more succinctly, a one-second move which does 20 damage has the same DPS (and thus, the same actual damage) as a move which does 10 damage in 0.5 seconds. Pokemon GO only displays move damage, and it can be hard for players to work out which of a set of moves is actually stronger. For an example of that, let’s look at Dragonite, which has two potential fast moves: Dragon Breath, which does six damage, or Steel Wing, which does 15 damage. On the surface, Steel Wing looks like the better move, but taking duration into account, Dragon Breath actually comes out ahead. We can also see that Dragon Breath generates drastically more energy – almost 20 points for each four that Steel Wing grants.

Using that information, Triple Dex lists which moveset is the best for your Pokemon in terms of pure damage, which can be pretty handy when deciding which Pokemon to power up. More importantly, it calculates which other Pokemon yours is most – and least – effective against based on those damage statistics.

What some Pokemon move sets lack in type advantage, they make up for in sheer DPS.
What some Pokemon move sets lack in type advantage, they make up for in sheer DPS. [Image by Don Crothers/Niantic Labs]

As many have pointed out, it’s not a perfect system; it doesn’t take survivability into account, and that’s important. But it reveals a lot of useful information and helps make better decisions – if you’ve been playing for any length of time, you know that CP is a relatively unimportant statistic. That’s borne out by the Triple Dex: there are for example only five Pokemon which beat the low-CP Tangela, which has an absolute maximum CP of 2208 at level 40, when pitted against Vaporeon, max 3157 (as per Pokemon GO Hub). These numbers take type advantages into account, and that changes the playing field significantly.

There’s a lot of information to dig into there, and you should spend some time with it, but probably the biggest takeaway is what works best against the most popular gym defenders. You probably know that there are only a few Pokemon which show up in gyms with any regularity; most of them are listed on the Gamepress defender tier list (which was just updated to include Slowbro on Tier 2.) Gyms are overwhelmingly filled with Snorlax, Lapras, Dragonite and Gyarados (which isn’t actually a good defender, but has high CP) and a few Pokemon you wouldn’t expect stand out as counters to them.

First, it’s worth noting that, unexpectedly, an Alakazam with Psycho Cut and Psychic beats out practically everything in Pokemon GO in terms of raw damage output, and getting one isn’t a bad idea; Dragonite is a close second. Beyond that, there are a few Pokemon you should consider adding to your core team if you don’t already use them. Jolteon tops out that list, and it’s easy to get – it’s extremely effective against the popular water types, especially with Thunder Shock and Thunder. Snorlax is, surprisingly, extremely vulnerable to anything with Hydro Pump; Gyarados, Vaporeon, Starmie and Omastar are powerful against the ultra-popular Tier 1 defensive lump. Dragonite’s worst nightmares are Lapras and, again surprisingly, Cloyster with Blizzard, as well as Frost Breath/Ice Punch Jynx. And Shadow Claw/Sludge Bomb Gengar is another all-purpose damage-dealer.

It's tough, but it's not your best or only option.
It’s tough, but it’s not your best or only option. [Image by Don Crothers/Niantic Labs]

All told, the charts at Triple Dex aren’t perfect. They don’t really cover defensive values, and they can’t teach you how to dodge, or when to unleash your charge attacks, or when to withdraw. But if you’ve just been whacking on everything with six Vaporeon up until now, they can show you why and how to diversify your team and get the best match-ups possible – and if nothing else, they may breathe some new life into Pokemon we’ve been overestimating up until now.

Also, stop putting Gyarados in gyms.

[Feature Image by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images]