EDIT: Vaporeon has been dethroned since the writing of this article by Waterfall Pokemon such as Kyogre and Gyarados.
Recently, I realized that whenever I discuss Water types from future generations, I repeat a certain phrase rather frequently: “worse than Vaporeon.” This prompted me to look at every Water type from all 7 Generations to see how they compare with our reigning champion. How good is Vaporeon really, and how much does its status affect the meta? I’m not going to focus on Legendaries too much, since Hanke mentioned that there will be limitations on using them in gyms. Also, the first two sections will remain more or less correct as long as base stats are not changed in the gym rework.
Obviously my conclusions may become invalidated by future updates and changes to the game, but for now I just want to discuss Vaporeon in the context of PoGo’s current game mechanics. If you have a problem with that, feel free to leave a “this post is a waste/irrelevant” comment, I enjoy reading them.
Vaporeon Compared To Other Water Types:
True Vaporeon Facts (in comparison with all non-Legendary Water types in all 7 Generations):
- Vaporeon is 2nd for CP
- Vaporeon is 19th for Attack
- Vaporeon is 4th for HP
- Vaporeon is 36th for Defense
- Vaporeon is 4th for overall Tankiness
I am about to show you why Vaporeon represents the best combination of Tankiness, attacking power, and CP placement for any non-Legendary Water Pokémon in any Generation. Let’s Begin.
Note: There are 123 non-Legendary Water types across all 7 Generations. Including Legendaries/Mythicals, there are 131. When we add in Legendaries/Mythical Pokémon, there are only 4 that outrank Vaporeon in CP. Of those Legendaries, only Suicune and Kyogre are tankier. Adding in those Legendaries, Vaporeon slips down the list to 24th for Attack Stat.
Vaporeon vs. non-Legendary Water types:
Now, while 19th (or 24th) for Attack doesn’t sound particularly amazing, realize that the gap between its Attack stat with other Water types is not especially wide. Golisopod (3037CP) comes in 10th place for (Legendary Water types excluded) with a 218 Attack stat, only 6% higher than Vaporeon, while Vaporeon is 23% tankier. Primarina comes in 4th place for non-Legendary Water types with a 232 Attack stat, 13% higher than Vaporeon’s 205 Attack stat (Now I realize Primarina will be distinguished by its Fairy typing, but we are discussing Pokemon purely in the context of Water typing). But Vaporeon is 34% tankier. The simple fact is that while Vaporeon could be out-DPS’d by many Water types, it likely will not be by much. Meanwhile it is out-tanked by less than a handful – also not by much.
None of the non-Legendary Water types that rank higher in terms of Tankiness have a higher Attack stat. Below is a table of the Tankiest Water types:
Vaporeon Compared To the Tankiest Water Types:
- 27% higher Attack than Relicanth, Relicanth is 2% tankier
- 24% higher Attack than Lapras, Lapras is 2% tankier
- 49% higher Attack than Alomomola, Alomomola is 6% tankier
Gyarados is the only non-Legendary Water type to surpass Vaporeon in CP, due to its respectable 237 Attack stat, a 16% increase over Vaporeon. However, Vaporeon is 23% tankier than Gyarados, which ranks 10th for Tankiness (non-Legendaries) and 3rd for Attack (non-Legendaries).
Vaporeon vs. Legendary Water types:
Now let’s compare with Legendaries in the mix – Vaporeon still ranks 6th for Tankiness.
- Suicune (Gen 2) – Vaporeon has a 14% higher Attack stat, Suicune is 2% Tankier
- Volcanion (Gen 6) – 23% increase in Attack stat over Vaporeon, Vaporeon is 25% Tankier
- Keldeo (Gen 5) – 27% increase in Attack stat over Vaporeon, Vaporeon is 32% Tankier
- Kyogre (Gen 3) – 45% increase in Attack stat, 20% Tankier than Vaporeon
- Palkia (Gen 4) – 50% increase in Attack, Vaporeon is 4% Tankier
As you can see, we need to look at Legendaries to find Pokémon that are definitive improvements over Vaporeon. And even then, Kyogre and Palkia are the only ones that are clearly superior to Vaporeon.
Want more proof? Manaphy, the Generation 4 Water type equivalent to Gen 1 Mew and Gen 2 Celebi, is even eclipsed by Vaporeon. Manaphy has the same base 210 Attack, 210 Defense, and 200 HP as Mew and Celebi, and naturally they all have the same 3090CP at max level.
In this comparison, you’ll find that Manaphy’s 2% increase in Attack is outweighed by Vaporeon’s 10% advantage in Tankiness (Manaphy’s only advantage is its higher, potion-efficient defense stat).
Vaporeon As An Attacker:
Vaporeon with Water Gun/Hydro Pump deals about 70% of the damage as the current most powerful attacker, Shadow Claw/Shadow Ball Gengar. In conjunction with its impressive bulk, that is a very good damage output.
Vaporeon’s Total Offensive Output:
Of note, Lick/Hyper Beam Snorlax is 3% worse in damage output than Vaporeon, but is 32% Tankier – which means that Snorlax has a better total offensive output than Vaporeon (the amount of damage an Attacker can be expected to deal before fainting). Though, Snorlax can never simultaneously benefit from both STAB and Super Effectiveness on any of its movesets. That 25% extra damage yielded by the Super Effective bonus does help Vaporeon climb closer to being a fair trade-off for Snorlax’s bulk when using it in good type matchups. Little known fact, Water Gun/Hydro Pump Vaporeon is currently tied for 13th with Zen Headbutt/Body Slam Snorlax for highest total offensive damage output in the game (side note: Pound/Hyper Beam Blissey is 1st by a wide margin in case you didn’t know). Unaided by the Super Effective bonus, Vaporeon already deals 82% of Lick/Hyper Beam Snorlax’s total offensive damage.
Just a quick tidbit; I actually tested Aqua Tail versus Hydro Pump in a straight DPS comparison. Hydro Pump (not-dodging) kills Rhydon faster, except against Mud Slap/Earthquake and Megahorn Rhydon Aqua Tail outperforms it (and in general the difference between the two is barely significant, we are talking about 1 – 2 seconds in most cases). Aqua Tail is an extremely dodge-efficient move while Hydro Pump has very good overall DPS. Vaporeon has both of these moves in its arsenal, giving flexibility for either a dodge-all or speed-focused playstyle.
Vaporeon Is Better Than Gyarados On Offense:
As far as I can tell, Vaporeon is overall the most well-rounded Water type, and has access to the most powerful Water STAB moves in the game, and surpasses Gyarados in terms of DPS against defenders weak to Water (Gyarados doesn’t learn a Water quick move, and it probably never will – Water Gun and Bubble aren’t in its main series movepool). Dealing neutral damage, Gyarados with Dragon Tail/Hydro Pump deals ~14 DPS per cycle (calculated with /u/Qmike’s method – using a Pokemon’s attack stat @Level 30 against a standardized 140 defense stat), Water Gun/Hydro Pump Vaporeon deals ~12.9 DPS. Vaporeon deals 92% of the damage Gyarados does to a neutral target, and once you factor the 1.25x SE bonus into Water Gun’s damage output Vaporeon becomes outright stronger. But you don’t even need to go there. Due to Vaporeon’s bulk, it has a higher total damage output than Gyarados when dealing neutral damage due to its superior bulk. Before it faints, Vaporeon can be expected to deal 14% more damage to a neutral target than Gyarados.
Water Is A Strong Type On Offense:
What solidifies Vaporeon’s significance even more is that Water typing is also quite useful in the meta, now and in the future. As an attacker, Vaporeon has a large number of favorable matchups (Pokemon Vaporeon can deal SE damage to) against high CP Pokémon (meaning, CP higher than its own max 3157CP) that might wind up as gym defenders someday.
Favorable Vaporeon matchups include (In order of ascending CP): Gigalith, Rampardos, Mamoswine, Rhydon (double weakness), Volcarona, Tyranitar, Rhyperior (double weakness).
My take on the above list: in all 7 Generations, there are 22 Pokémon with a higher CP than Vaporeon, and Vaporeon will be Super Effective against nearly a third of those defenders.
Vaporeon As The Gym Gatekeeper
Obviously, there will be continual additions to the meta that will outrank Vaporeon in CP, eventually rendering it un-placeable as a defender (again, assumes the current state of the game more or less persists). But regardless of when that day comes, if even Vaporeon can’t get you into gyms, you can be sure that nothing below it will be getting in either.
Vaporeon is an extremely common, easy to produce evolution. The only Pokémon that outrank Vaporeon in terms of CP are either very rare, or more time-intensive to produce (Gyarados at 400 candies is a huge chore for anyone not in a water-biome). Dragonite and Tyranitar both require 125 candy, which is accumulated from far rarer pre-evolutions than Eevee. Snorlax cannot be evolved, and is a far rarer spawn/hatch than Eevee. Rhydon requires 50 candies and its pre-evolution is also more uncommon than Eevee. Magikarp, while undoubtedly common (if you are in the right biome), still requires 400 candy to evolve. And Blissey requires 50 very rare (unless you live in Las Vegas) Chansey candies. Which is to say, its little surprise that the central driver of the meta is Vaporeon, the most common and easy to obtain high-performance Pokémon. Vaporeon is the CP standard by which gym-worthiness is measured.
You can always assume that players have many (many many) quality Vaporeons in their arsenal. Thus, looking to the future of the meta, I decided to see how many Pokémon Vaporeon allows to participate in gym defense.
Pokémon With a Higher max CP than Vaporeon (categorized by type):
- Normal: Slaking (5441CP – Gen 3), Snorlax (3355CP – Gen 1), Blissey (3219CP – Gen 2)
- Fire: Volcarona (3555CP – Gen 5)
- Fighting: Conkeldurr (3305CP – Gen 5)
- Water: Gyarados (3281CP – Gen 1)
- Flying: Togekiss (3171CP – Gen 4), Gyarados (3281CP – Gen 1), Salamence (3532CP – Gen 3), Dragonite (3581CP – Gen 1)
- Grass: None
- Poison: None
- Electric: None
- Ground: Mamoswine (3289CP – Gen 4), Rhydon (3300CP – Gen 1), Garchomp (3823CP – Gen 4), Rhyperior (3869CP – Gen 4)
- Psychic: Metagross (3644CP – Gen 3)
- Rock: Gigalith (3158CP – Gen 5), Rampardos (3179CP – Gen 4), Rhydon (3300CP – Gen 1), Tyranitar (3670CP – Gen 2), Rhyperior (3869CP – Gen 4)
- Ice: Mamoswine (3289CP – Gen 4), Avalugg (3364CP – Gen 6)
- Bug: Volcarona (3555CP – Gen 5)
- Dragon: Haxorus (3395CP – Gen 5), Hydreigon (3401CP – Gen 5), Salamence (3532CP – Gen 3), Goodra (3538CP – Gen 6), Dragonite (3581CP – Gen 1, Garchomp (3823CP – Gen 4)
- Ghost: None
- Dark: Hydreigon (3401CP – Gen 5), Tyranitar (3670CP – Gen 2)
- Steel: Metagross (3644CP – Gen 3)
- Fairy: Togekiss (3171CP – Gen 4), Florges (3221CP – Gen 6)
Using Vaporeon’s 3157 CP as the entry point, there isn’t a non-Legendary Grass, Poison, Electric, or Ghost Pokémon with the CP to participate as a gym defender.
As I mentioned earlier, there are only 22 non-Legendary Pokémon with a higher max CP than Vaporeon across all 7 Generations. The most represented types include:
- 6 Dragon type
- 5 Rock type
- 4 Ground type
- 4 Flying type
In the case of Fire, and Bug, Psychic and Steel, there is only one Pokémon in the category. Volcarona is the only Fire type, and only Bug type. Metagross is the only Psychic type, and Steel type. Conkeldurr is the only Fighting type that makes the cut.
Vaporeon’s commonness, in combination with the CP system, is a decisive bottleneck on the amount of Defenders, and the number of types, that you’d reasonably expect to secure decent placement in gyms.
I have looked at every Pokémon from Generation 1-7 (non-Mega, obviously Primal Kyogre will be insanely good at 6276CP), and no Water Pokémon, that isn’t a Legendary, surpasses Vaporeon in terms of overall stats. Vaporeon is in the “pokélocks zone” of damage output and durability. What I am saying is, that goofy looking mermaid Pokémon you evolved back in July for 25 candies is better than pretty much any other Water type the game can and will offer in the future. And because such a strong Pokémon is so common, it constricts the variety of types we will see as defenders in the current gym system.