Key points (TL;DR of TL;DR):

  • Mega Gardevoir is best fairy, comparable to current dragon & fighting megas, and unlikely to be outclassed.
  • Evolve your best (regular/Shadow) Ralts for (regular/Shadow/Mega) Gardevoir, but leave one for future Mega Gallade.
  • If you have extras after building enough Gardevoir, consider saving them unevolved in case Gallade gets Aura Sphere (though it may not happen).
  • CD move Synchronoise is inferior (except on one PvP ML Gardevoir). Non-legacy Psychic is better in raids.

Fairy types:

  • Mega Gardevoir >> Shadow Gardevoir >> Everything else (Zacian, Xurkitree, Gardevoir, Togekiss)
  • Anti-Dragon: Mega Gardevoir ≈ Mega Salamence; Shadow Gardevoir ≈ non-shadow dragons
    • (Exceptions in specific scenarios: Bosses with dragon charged moves, or cloudy weather)
  • As anti-dark and anti-fighting, non-mega fairies are also a tier below others
  • Fairies as a whole (except Mega Gardevoir) are nice to have, but not worth building for most

Gardevoir vs Gallade, and their other roles:

  • Psychic: Megas are worse than regular Mewtwo, and slightly outclassed by Mega Alakazam and/or Mega Lati@s, but still near the top
  • Fighting: Mega Gallade’s raw power is “just okay”; in 6-player lobbies, it does better than Mega Blaziken, but with just a small difference
  • Candy boosting & countering the boss concurrently: Mega Gallade against fighting, Mega Gardevoir against psychic (Charge Beam/Shadow Ball)
  • (Mega) Gardevoir has higher current value, while Mega Gallade has more room for potential future improvements.

Keep reading for:

  • Mega comparisons: Fairy, Psychic and Fighting
  • Comparing fairy attackers to other types – with some surprising plots if the boss has dragon charged move
  • What if Gallade gets Aura Sphere
  • Future and speculative fairy attackers – their future isn’t too bright
    • (Suggestion: Make Misty Terrain a fast move)
  • List of my previous analyses (in Appendix 2)


At the start of the Valentine’s Day event, Mega Gardevoir made its debut in Mega Raids, and will be here until the morning of Wesneday, February 15 at 10am.

Mega Gardevoir is only the second fairy-type Mega released in Go (the other being Mega Altaria), and the first one that’s actually strong as a raid attacker. In this article, we’ll take a thorough look at its role in raids, as well as the Gardevoir vs Gallade decision.

After a brief section on the basics of fairy types in raids, the article will break out into the following sections:

  1. Mega Gardevoir as a fairy attacker;
  2. Gardevoir vs Gallade – Both as psychic attackers, (Mega) Gallade as fighting attacker, and Mega Gardevoir as a ghost attacker;
  3. Future fairy attackers.

If you’re on desktop and want to jump to a particular part, search “Part X”. Or “Part X Verdict” for a condensed version.

You can now follow me (@teban54) on Twitter!

Fairy 101 – A type that didn’t live up the hype?

(Skippable in the interest of time)

Despite only being introduced in the Main Series Games (MSG) in Gen 6, fairy types have made a strong presence in both competitive MSG formats and PoGo PvP. Zacian is a powerhouse in both, and in Great and Ultra Leagues, Charmers were a notable force in the metas until just recently.

The only place where fairy doesn’t seem to mark its presence is PoGo raids. Why do we rarely see fairy raid attackers recommended in infographics? Aside from Guzzlord raids (double weak to fairy), they rarely show up among top 6 counters.

A beginner’s guess will likely be the following:

  • Lack of fairy fast moves? That’s certainly true for Xerneas, the Tapus and Zacian, but not for (Shadow) Gardevoir and Togekiss. And as you’ll see later, that’s not the main reason.
  • Lack of utility? While that’s the main issue for poison and flying attackers, it’s decidedly not the case for fairy. In fact, by typing alone, it’s one of the most useful in T5 and mega raids:
Utility of all types in T5 and mega raids. Excludes released megas and research mythicals (unless they may come to Elite Raids).

The real answer is: Lack of power, especially compared to competitor types (Dragon, Fighting, Psychic).

Fairy is Super Effective against Dragon, Dark and Fighting. That’s what gives rise to its high utility, especially given the number of dragon-type legendaries. However:

  • Dragon is also countered by other dragon types, with 6 legendaries and pseudo-legendaries having high (261-284) base attack;
  • Dark is also countered by fighting, with strong or even overpowered (OP) moves like Counter, Double Kick, Sacred Sword and Aura Sphere;
  • Fighting is also countered by psychic, aka Mewtwo.

In contrast, even the fairy types with highest base attack are in the 249-259 range (Tapu Lele 259, Zacian Hero 254, Xerneas and Tapu Koko 250, Tapu Bulu 249), and coincidentally they all lack a fairy fast move. Gardevoir has 237 base attack, which is quite low by 2023 standards.

Fairy-type PvE moves are also not exactly rocking any waters. Most are above average, but even plain old Counter/Dynamic Punch Machamp manages to outclass Gardevoir despite having 3 lower base attack:

DPS and ER of Machamp and Gardevoir, from GamePress DPS/TDO spreadsheet

Speaking of moves, I should mention that any combination of Charm, Fairy Wind, Dazzling Gleam and Play Rough are all interchangeable and net very similar results, both in theory and in practice. These are currently the best movesets that fairy type has to offer.

DPS and ER of Xerneas with hypothetical moves
  • In other words… Don’t freak out or get excited about a possible Togetic CD with Fairy Wind as the CD move. Its impacts are negligible in raids.
  • Moonblast is underwhelming in PvE, even though it’s the best fairy charged move in PvP.

In the next few sections, besides looking at fairy attackers themselves, we’ll also compare them to other types to see exactly how much their power is lacking.

Part 1: Fairy attackers in raids

TL;DR: Mega Gardevoir is the best fairy by far, and competitive with megas of other relevant types (but not too far ahead of them). Other non-mega fairy types are generally not worth building as they’re a tier below other types, except specific scenarios.

Fairy attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

See Appendix 1 (at the end of this article) for technical details and how to read the charts. The Chandelure analysis also contains explanations on ASE vs ASTTW.

Mega Gardevoir as a fairy attacker

As seen here, not only is Mega Gardevoir (Charm/Dazzling Gleam) the best fairy attacker by far, but it shows a massive improvement in performance over all alternatives – even Shadow Gardevoir.

  • At Level 40, Mega Gardevoir is 19.1% ahead of Shadow Gardevoir. This is even bigger than Mega Gengar over Hydreigon (15.9%), and on par with Mega Blaziken over FF Reshiram (19.0%).
  • Surprising? Yes, but also expected. Mega Gardevoir has a whopping 326 base attack, comparable to Mega Blaziken (329) but with more bulk.
  • However, Mega Gardevoir’s neutral power is lower than these top-tier megas, due to moveset differences.

About other fairy attackers: This chart above is full of what you may not have expected, but I’ll leave it to you to take a look. However, I’ll highlight a few things:

  • Zacian and Xurkitree are the best non-shadow non-mega fairy attackers and edge out Gardevoir on average, despite lack of fairy fast moves, and despite Xurkitree not even being a fairy type.
    • However, as we’ll see later, this is highly situational. Zacian specializes in anti-dragon, while Xurkitree in anti-dark and anti-fighting.
    • I don’t think either are worth powering up specifically as a fairy attacker, but if you have them built, they can serve this role well when you need them.
    • Movesets: Snarl or Quick Attack/Play Rough for Zacian, Thunder Shock/Dazzling Gleam for Xurkitree.
  • Sylveon is not a “top” fairy type – it’s a budget one. I don’t know why there seems to be a popular misconception about it. For raids alone, there are much better choices to evolve your good Eevee into.

Fairy-type Mega Comparisons

Not only does Mega Gardevoir have the strongest raw power among fairy-type megas, it’s also the most effective fairy mega to use for group raids, even if you consider the 30% damage boost to other players:

Comparison of fairy-type megas, in terms of damage up to a fixed time frame (relative to the no-mega baseline).

Assuming everyone else uses fairy, Mega Gardevoir dominates the chart.

  • This assumes Mega Diancie uses the current Game Master moveset (no fast move and Moonblast). But even in a best-case scenario for Diancie, this conclusion still holds.

However… If you’re fighting against a dragon-type boss and everyone else uses dragon attackers, Mega Altaria starts coming on top with 3+ players, as it also boosts dragons. But as I mentioned in my Mega Salamence analysis, in this case just using a dragon-type mega will be better, unless the boss has dragon charged moves.

Fairy vs. Dragon

As I mentioned earlier, fairy attackers’ main problem is their lack of power compared to other types. This problem remains for Mega Gardevoir, even though its within-type improvement is much greater than several other types.

We’ll first take a detailed look at how they compare to dragon-type attackers against dragon bosses. This is particularly relevant because:

  • There are more dragon bosses than dark and fighting bosses.
  • Fairy has the best typing advantage (theoretically) here. Dragon attackers always live in fear of dragon-type charged moves from the boss, which deal Super Effective damage to them… But fairy attackers double resist them and treat them like nothing.
Fairy and dragon attackers against dragon bosses.

In neutral weather, against all possible boss movesets:

  • Mega Gardevoir becomes the best currently released anti-dragon counter on average, though just barely. It edges out Mega Salamence and Shadow Salamence, unless you dodge.
  • Shadow Gardevoir is similar to non-shadow dragons (the whole pack of them).
  • Any non-shadow fairy sits well below almost all dragons. Zacian is the best, but still worse than just using dragons.

In addition, Mega Gardevoir has two other problems that are not shown:

  • Doesn’t boost other players as well as dragon megas. Chances are, other players are more likely to use a dragon than a fairy, simply because most players (especially well-prepared ones) will have a better team of dragons.
  • Competition from future dragon megas, namely Mega Rayquaza and Mega Garchomp (discussed in my Mega Salamence analysis). Both will easily outclass Mega Salamence and Mega Gardevoir in most scenarios.

However, there are two particular cases where fairy attackers really stand out…

Fairy vs. Dragon, in Cloudy weather

Fairy and dragon attackers against dragon bosses, in cloudy weather.

In cloudy weather, the 20% weather boost is enough to make all fairy attackers – regular, shadow and mega – outperform their dragon counterparts.

  • Mega Gardevoir > Mega Salamence, by a mile. It will also be better than Mega Rayquaza and Garchomp here.
  • Shadow Gardevoir > Shadow Salamence & Shadow Dragonite.
  • Zacian & Gardevoir > Rayquaza and everything else, although not by much.

Fairy vs. Dragon, when the raid boss has a dragon charged move

(Skippable in the interest of time)

Fairy and dragon attackers against dragon bosses, when the raid boss has a dragon charged move.

Even without weather boost, if you somehow know the raid boss has a dragon charged move, fairy types – especially Mega Gardevoir – still generally show an advantage over respective dragons, albeit less so than the cloudy weather scenario.

In this case, fairy types’ main advantage is dramatically cutting down the number of deaths and relobbies. While they do still show a relative improvement in TTW (which ignores relobbying, but does penalize those that can’t even get charged moves off), they go above and beyond in Estimator (which considers relobbying, but may overcompensate for it).

  • Mega Gardevoir > Mega Salamence, although comparison with future Mega Garchomp is unclear.
  • Shadow Gardevoir > shadow dragons (which completely fall apart). Even in TTW, they’re still quite comparable.
  • Shadow Gardevoir >> all non-shadow dragons (both in estimator and in TTW).
  • Zacian >= all non-shadow dragons, including Dialga.
  • Gardevoir ≈ non-shadow dragons except Dialga.

Note that dragons are able to overcome these issues with dodging. If only dodging worked properly, and if only it was easy to dodge using Dragon Tail…

I encourage you to look at the chart yourself for your own needs and priorities, in particular, how much you care about relobbying. But in this scenario, I do expect relobbying to be a must, even in 6-person lobbies. Thus, I myself would prioritize Estimator over TTW here.

And keep in mind: This happens 25-33% of the time. Not negligible, but not the majority either.

Fairy vs. Fighting and Psychic

These are less common scenarios so I didn’t make plots, but I’ll describe the findings in words.

Fairy vs. Fighting (against Dark):

  • Mega Gardevoir is currently the best anti-Dark. It outperforms Terrakion and Mega Blaziken on average.
    • Future fighting-type megas like Lucario and Heracross will outclass it, but in the case of Heracross, not by much.
  • Shadow Gardevoir is slightly better than regular Machamp.
  • All non-shadow fairies (Zacian, Xurkitree, Gardevoir, Togekiss) are worse than Hariyama.
    • Gardevoir > Togekiss, despite typing disadvantage. Difference is very small.

Fairy vs. Psychic (against Fighting):

I didn’t even run simulations, because realistically Mewtwo dominates everything, and fighting-type bosses are rare to begin with.

Here, Gardevoir prefers Confusion/Psychic instead of fairy moves. So just look at the psychic-type plots in later sections for a reference, and imagine Togekiss below Gardevoir, etc.

Mega Gardevoir is similar to Mega Alakazam and regular Mewtwo here. However, Shadow Gardevoir remains the “worst” of psychic shadows, and regular Gardevoir remains a budget psychic type at best.

Part 1 Verdict: Are fairy types worth it?

TL;DR: Not really, besides Mega Gardevoir.

Summarizing all inter-type comparisons:

  • Mega Gardevoir is competitive with currently released megas of other types, in raw power.
    • Future megas, such as Rayquaza, Garchomp, Lucario and Heracross will outclass it.
  • All non-mega fairy types are a full tier below other types.
    • Shadow Gardevoir <= non-shadow dragons and fighters
    • Zacian, Gardevoir, Togekiss <= budget dragons and fighters
  • Two major exceptions: Against dragon bosses with dragon charged moves, and in cloudy weather against dragons.

Everyone can draw their own conclusions, but here’s what I think:

  • Mega Gardevoir: Definitely build one, though not necessarily high on the priority list.
  • Non-megas: Nice to have, but I wouldn’t build them just for being “#1 of type”. (Unless you want a team of every type)
    • Yes, this even applies to Shadow Gardevoir. It should be seen as an “alternative non-shadow dragon”, similar to Rayquaza and the likes but being more consistent. While it requires no legendary candies or legacy moves, it’s more expensive stardust-wise.
    • Having one Shadow Gardevoir can be a good anchor for your anti-dragon team, in case the boss has a dragon charged move, similar to Dialga’s role.
    • Non-shadows… Nah, forget about them for now.

Note that 3 past and future bosses are double weak to fairy:

  • Guzzlord
  • Urshifu (Single Strike) (Gen 8 legendary)
  • Koraidon (Gen 9 legendary)

So if you want a team of best counters against every boss, you do need fairy teams. However, that’s more speculative and we may get better fairy attackers by then, as detailed in later sections.

Part 2: Gardevoir vs. Gallade

TL;DR: Evolve now for Gardevoir, and if you have extras, save them in case of Aura Sphere Gallade. Both as psychic megas, as well as Mega Gallade as a fighting-type mega, are great but not top-tier.

Mega Gallade has not been released yet, but there are hints of it in recent datamines by PokeMiners. This got some folks wondering: Should I evolve my (regular or shadow) Ralts to Gardevoir or Gallade?

  • Fun fact: While base form Gardevoir and Gallade have the same stats in PoGo, as Megas, their base defense differ by 1. Still essentially identical otherwise.

We’ll look at three aspects to answer the question: Both as psychic attackers, candy-boosting abilities (incl. Mega Gardevoir as a ghost attacker), and Mega Gallade as a fighting type.

(Mega) Gardevoir and Gallade as Psychic attackers

Psychic attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

Regular Mewtwo is above all forms of Gardevoir and Gallade (Confusion/Psychic) without the mega boost. However, Mega Gardevoir and Mega Gallade are great psychic-type megas on their own, being a bit below Mega Alakazam in raw power.

Shadow and regular Gardevoir and Gallade are not worth building just for being psychic attackers alone, unless you really want variety. They’re below most other psychics, including (Shadow) Metagross and Espeon.

In all cases, you don’t want the CD move Synchronoise – the non-legacy move Psychic is better. But if you already have Synchronoise and don’t want to get rid of it, it’s not far behind.

Psychic-type Mega Comparisons

If you consider the 30% mega boost to other players and how long it lasts:

Comparison of psychic-type megas, in terms of damage up to a fixed time frame (relative to the no-mega baseline).

The bad news is that as psychics, Mega Gardevoir and Mega Gallade don’t carve out a niche.

  • In group raids, Mega Latios and Mega Latias (and future Mega Metagross) are better, as they have more bulk and survive longer.
    • (Even Mega Slowbro outperforms them in 6-person raids!)
  • In individual power, Mega Alakazam is better. Although this advantage only applies in solo raids.
  • Eventually, Mega Mewtwo X/Y dethrone everything.

However, they have some good things going for it. Mega Latios requires rare candies, while Mega Gardevoir doesn’t. Mega Gardevoir also serves as a fairy mega, while Mega Alakazam can’t.

Overall, their role as psychic types is a nice bonus for Mega Gardevoir as a fairy mega. As dedicated psychic megas, they’re outclassed by others (though close enough). And psychic megas are rarely useful to begin with.

Candy boosting (and Mega Gardevoir as a ghost attacker)

An unfortunately important role of megas in the current state of PoGo, even more so than as raid attackers, is to provide bonus candies and XL candy chance for Pokemon that share a type with the mega.

Fortunately, Mega Gardevoir and Mega Gallade has different niches in this role: You can use them in raids as counters, and still get bonus candies from catching the boss!

Mega Gallade: Against Fighting-type bosses

This is the more obvious part. Since Gallade is Psychic/Fighting type, you can use its psychic moveset (Confusion/Psychic) to take down the raid boss, then leverage on its fighting typing when catching the boss.

  • Note that not all fighting-type bosses are weak to psychic – the only T5 bosses for now are Terrakion, Zamazenta and Keldeo (if in Elite Raids).
  • Also, Mega Mewtwo X will eventually do better than Mega Gallade in this role.

Mega Gardevoir: Against Psychic-type bosses, with Shadow Ball

You probably didn’t think of it, right?

Yes, Mega Gardevoir learns Shadow Ball. So you can use it against a psychic-type boss, and use Charge Beam/Shadow Ball to take it down.

  • In terms of raw power, this puts Mega Gardevoir at Yveltal level, below Hydreigon and Chandelure. So not only do you lose some damage output, but you also only give other players a 10% damage boost and not 30%. But hey, you get the candy boost for yourself!
  • Mega Alakazam can also do this (Psycho Cut/Shadow Ball), with better damage output. However, Mega Gardevoir’s advantage is that it’s also an excellent fairy mega, while Mega Alakazam is not.

Mega Gallade as a Fighting attacker

The last niche that Mega Gallade has over Mega Gardevoir is that it can serve as a fighting type. But how good is it?

Fighting attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.

I’ll come back to the Aura Sphere speculations later, but focus on the only line without Aura Sphere:

Mega Gallade’s individual power is “okay”, but underwhelming. It sits at Lucario/Conkeldurr level, which doesn’t sound bad until you realize that Mega Blaziken is way better than it in raw power.

Where Mega Gallade stands out over Mega Blaziken is in its bulk, thus providing the 30% mega boost for longer:

Comparison of fighting-type megas, in terms of damage up to a fixed time frame (relative to the no-mega baseline).

While Mega Blaziken does better in raids of 1-3 players, Mega Gallade contributes more damage in 6-player lobbies where everyone uses fighting types. This makes it the best mega in damage contribution until Mega Heracross and Mega Mewtwo X are released.

  • However, even in 6-player lobbies, its increase over Blaziken is very marginal.
  • Another advantage Mega Blaziken has is that it can boost both fire and fighting damage, and these two types have heavy overlaps against ice and steel. If you don’t know what other players will bring, Mega Blaziken is still better.
  • While the plot assumes everyone else uses L40 Lucario, if you change it to Machamp or Terrakion, the conclusion doesn’t change (though the crossover point changes from 4 players to 6).

Overall, Mega Gallade does have its uses especially in group raids, but not enough to stand out.

What if Gallade gets Aura Sphere?

Now let’s refer back to the generic fighting attackers plot.

Aura Sphere, a move originally designed for Lucario and only learned by a few other Pokemon, got a massive expansion in learnset in Gen 8 MSG due to being a TM move. Now, the following Pokemon can theoretically learn it in Go, among others:

  • Blaziken, Gallade, Mienshao, Lopunny, Keldeo, Mewtwo

Notably, Gallade can still learn it via TM in Scarlet/Violet. (The others are not in S/V at all.)

So even though this is completely speculative and may never happen – What if Gallade gets Aura Sphere in PoGo?

  • Regular Gallade becomes a Lucario/Conkeldurr-tier attacker.
  • Shadow Gallade becomes a Terrakion-tier attacker, with higher DPS but lower bulk.
  • Mega Gallade becomes the best fighting attacker, period. Outperforms Mega Lucario in power.

It’s important to note that Gallade is not the only one that can get this treatment. In particular, Aura Sphere Blaziken will do strictly better than Aura Sphere Gallade in every role. However, the question then becomes which Pokemon will get Aura Sphere (if any), rather than how good each individual one is.

Aura Sphere is by far the best way to boost Gallade’s utility, but unfortunately it also means there’s a lot of FOMO (or FOE, Fear of Evolving) for Gallade compared to Gardevoir.

Part 2 Verdict: Which one to evolve into?

TL;DR: Evolve now for Gardevoir. If you have any extras left, save for Gallade in case it gets Aura Sphere.

Recap of Gardevoir vs. Gallade:

  • Both are identical as psychic types. Their megas are as good as regular Mewtwo in power, and while they’re outshined by Mega Alakazam and Mega Lati@s in different roles, they’re still good to have.
  • Mega Gardevoir is the best fairy attacker, and unlikely to be outclassed (more later).
  • Mega Gallade as a fighting attacker has “just okay” raw power, but in for group raids, it contributes more damage than Mega Blaziken. However, it will eventually be outclassed by Mega Mewtwo X and Mega Heracross.
  • Mega Gallade serves as an excellent candy booster against fighting. But Mega Gardevoir can do the same against psychic.
  • Gallade has the possibility of getting Aura Sphere one day (event-exclusive or not), and it would significantly boost its utility in all forms.
  • Gardevoir doesn’t really have a better move it can learn.

A pattern emerges from this: Gardevoir has greater current utility, while Gallade has more room for potential future improvements (thus FOMO).

Here are my suggestions:

  • Evolve one regular Ralts to Gardevoir and one to Gallade, in order to mega evolve them. Use the one with better IVs for Gardevoir (unless gender issues).
    • (Do more than 1 if you typically build multiples of each mega.)
  • If you have good Shadow Ralts, do Shadow Gardevoir first.
  • If you have extras after evolving all (regular/Shadow) Ralts that you want… Then save the extras for (regular/Shadow/Mega) Gallade in case it gets Aura Sphere during a future event.
  • CD move Synchronoise is useless on both. Though you may still do one for PvP Master League (Mega) Gardevoir.

Part 3: Future and speculative Fairy attackers

TL;DR: Aside from the possibly OP but uncertain Zacian Crown, fairy types can’t rise above Rayquaza/Salamence tier against dragons, until they get signature moves. Enamorus-I and Flutter Mane are the most promising ones.

As we’ve seen in Part 1, currently fairy types other than Mega Gardevoir are a bit underwhelming in raids. Can this eventually be fixed down the road? Will fairy types truly live up to their potential that the “Type Utility” chart shows?

Future and speculative Fairy attackers, using only existing moves

Speculations about fairy attackers depend heavily on the availability of fairy fast moves. Let’s first look at the ones that can get either Charm or Fairy Wind, or don’t need either:

Future and speculative fairy attackers ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.
Future and speculative fairy attackers ranked by Equivalent Rating (ER) and DPS.

Let’s first address Mega Diancie. While it’s destined to be a great rock-type mega (as mentioned in my CD Tyranitar analysis), on the fairy side, its current Game Master moveset is quite bad, with no fairy fast moves and Moonblast as the best fairy fast move. (Recall that Moonblast is mediocre in PvE and below Dazzling Gleam and Play Rough.)

As a result, unless we get a last-minute movepool shakeup, Mega Diancie will enter the game as a bad fairy attacker, below Togekiss and Tapu Koko. But even in the best-case scenario, with Charm (which it can learn) and Play Rough, it’s only similar to Gardevoir – slightly higher DPS but glassier. In all practical raiding scenarios, Mega Gardevoir is still better.

Now let’s look at the non-megas.

Shadow Gardevoir tier

This tier is required for fairy attackers to be on par with non-shadow dragon attackers. Three potential options: Zacian Crown, Enamorus and Flutter Mane.

In the MSG, in addition to its current Hero form, Zacian has a Crowned Sword form with a massive attack boost. It still can’t learn a fairy fast move, but it won’t need it (as long as it still keeps Play Rough).

  • Even using Snarl or Quick Attack, it ranges from just above Shadow Gardevoir to being OP, depending on stats.
  • Against dragons, it will perform even better than shown here, with Estimator even approaching Shadow Dragonite. (This chart shows average performance which includes dark and fighting bosses, where Zacian has a disadvantage.)
  • Note on stats: Both Zacian forms’ MSG base stats were nerfed in Gen 9. However, current PoGo GM data uses Gen 8 stats because they predate S/V. Both still have OP base attack (332 with Gen 8 stats, 295 with Gen 9), but the difference matters due to lack of a fairy fast move. It’s unclear whether Niantic will update its GM data to Gen 9 stats, but they probably will.
  • Also, it’s possible that Crown forms may be handled as mega evolutions in PoGo, and/or get a complete revamp in moveset to prevent Zacian Crown from dominating Master League.

Even if we ignore Zacian Crown with its uncertainties, two strong contenders remain: Enamorus-Incarnate (Legends Arceus legendary) and Flutter Mane (Gen 9 Paradox Misdreavus).

  • Both are glass cannons with 281 and 280 base attack respectively. Both can also learn fairy fast moves, Fairy Wind and Charm respectively.
  • As long as they get good charged moves like DG and PR, Enamorus is essentially a Shadow Gardevoir clone with identical DPS and ER. Flutter Mane has slightly lower DPS but more bulk.
  • Against dragon, both should be similar to current non-shadow dragons (e.g. Rayquaza).
  • Even if they get Moonblast, they’re still better than Gardevoir, but now they can’t compete with other types.
  • Enamorus also has a signature move, Springtide Storm, but good luck waiting for that.

There’s also Shadow Togekiss, which is very similar to Shadow Gardevoir. And no, getting Fairy Wind won’t change its performance meaningfully.

Below Shadow Gardevoir

I’ll ignore the Tapus on the chart and save them for the next section. Then the only one left is Magearna (Gen 7 mythical), which still doesn’t learn a fairy fast move but can curiously learn Lock-On. If Magearna does get it, at best it can be similar to Zacian Hero and Xurkitree, but won’t make a meaningful difference against most raid bosses. Dragon and fighting attackers will still be better.

Hatterene, Alcremie and Mega Mawile… Exist. (Hatterene is not bad, but still.) Mega Audino can’t even join the chart.

Future and speculative Fairy attackers, with hypothetical fast moves

Even though we do have Charm and Fairy Wind in PoGo now, they fail to give all fairy types a STAB fast move. Many Pokemon that don’t get either are the ones with promising stats for raids: Xerneas, Tapu Bulu, Magearna, Zacian and Iron Valiant.

  • Tapu Koko can get Fairy Wind and Tapu Lele can get Charm, but Niantic is holding them back. My speculation is they want to give all 4 Tapus a fairy fast move at once, possibly Nature’s Madness.

What if they get fairy fast moves anyway? Before we answer the question, we should first address: How can they get fairy fast moves?

My suggestion: Misty Terrain.

  • In the MSG, it’s a status move with a wide learnset. While status moves rarely get implemented in Go, precedents exist, most notably Charm itself.
  • Misty Terrain covers everything I listed above except the Tapus.
  • It’s arguably the only good choice, anyway. It’s the only non-signature option for Zacian and Iron Valiant; Xerneas and Magearna would otherwise require Misty Explosion, which does deal damage but is even less likely to become a fast move.
  • “But why not just make Geomancy a fast move?” Having a non-signature fast move allows their “signature” moves to become good charged moves, which fairy types as a whole desperately need.

Ok, now let’s assume Misty Terrain becomes a Fairy Wind clone:

Future and speculative fairy attackers with hypothetical fast moves, ranked by ASE, ASE with dodging, and ASTTW.
Future and speculative fairy attackers with hypothetical fast moves, ranked by Equivalent Rating (ER) and DPS.

First of all, Zacian Crown with “Fairy Wind” becomes OP. Even with the nerfed Gen 9 stats, it dominates fairy types, and approaches the level of mega and shadow dragons. The real question is, will it get a fairy fast move (which may break PvP)?

Beyond that… You really need a fairy fast move PLUS better, arguably OP charged moves to make a difference.

Need just a fairy fast move

Zacian Hero, Magearna (Play Rough) and Iron Valiant (Gen 9 Paradox Gallevoir) (Dazzling Gleam) can start doing things with just a “Fairy Wind” clone. They sit near or just below Shadow Gardevoir level. Against dragons, Zacian becomes one of the many “non-shadow dragons”, while Magearna is near Dragonite level.

Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko reach their full potential with “Fairy Wind”, but they’re even worse. They become Shadow Granbull clones, with a huge gap from Shadow Gardevoir, and can’t compete with dragons (not even Latios).

Need fast move & better charged move

Xerneas and Tapu Lele are currently stuck with Moonblast, so even if they do get “Charm” or “Fairy Wind”, they become Gardevoir or Togekiss clones. Underwhelming.

Even if they do get Play Rough or Dazzling Gleam – the best that fairy can offer right now – it’s more viable but still not transformative.

  • Xerneas becomes a “Fairy Wind Zacian Hero” clone, similar to Shadow Gardevoir, and becomes another “non-shadow dragon”.
  • Tapu Lele does unlock its full potential that’s higher than the other Tapus, but still below Xerneas, Zacian and even Magearna. In other words, worse than Dragonite.
    • Remember, this is if Niantic gives Lele Dazzling Gleam or Play Rough. I see no reason why they will.

Part 3 Verdict: Do fairy attackers have a future?

TL;DR: Not really, until/unless we get signature moves as strong charged moves.

Zacian Crown represents the brightest future possible with non-mega fairy types (even without a fairy fast move), and one that may be truly comparable with dragons. However, it has significant uncertainties with implementation, stats and moveset.

Beyond that… Without brand new charged moves, fairy attackers won’t get beyond Rayquaza or Salamence level as anti-dragon (basically where Shadow Gardevoir is today). Still perfectly serviceable, but you probably won’t need them.

  • Enamorus-I and Flutter Mane can achieve this level with existing moves.
  • Zacian Hero can get here with a single, hypothetical fairy fast move. Magearna almost does, but it falls a bit short.
  • Xerneas and Tapu Lele require two new moves. Even then, Tapu Lele still falls short.
  • Tapu Bulu and Tapu Koko can’t make it to this tier even in the best case scenario. (Though their ceiling is easier to achieve than Lele’s.)

Different people will portray this realistic ceiling differently. Are you happy that you may actually get to use fairies against dragons, which will do equally well but don’t need to fear an Outrage or Draco Meteor? Or are you frustrated that you won’t find an incentive to power up fairies if you already have 6 dragons?

The saving grace is that there are indeed opportunities to get new charged moves better than Play Rough, specifically from signature moves:

  • Enamorus has Springtide Storm.
  • If Misty Terrain does become a fast move, it also opens the door for Xerneas (Geomancy), Magearna (Fleur Cannon) and Iron Valiant (Spirit Break).

The good news is that Shadow Gardevoir seems relatively “future-proof” if you do have them powered up. Until we get the signature moves, nothing can really be better than it, other than shadow legendaries. Additionally, Mega Gardevoir is the practical ceiling when it comes to fairy attackers as a whole.

Articles coming up next

When my IRL schedule permits, I plan to analyze the following:

  • Primal Kyogre and Groudon, & other grounds like HH Mamoswine: Self-explanatory. Might also make this a ground-type deep dive.
    • Not guaranteed to be done before Las Vegas, but in that case I’ll post the type-specific plots first.
  • Breaking Swipe Rayquaza: Not too long of an article, but Breaking Swipe vs Outrage is interesting to look at, and might give some surprising results.
  • Since Poison is the only type that I haven’t covered at all, if Tapu Bulu comes to raids in March (best countered by poison), I may write an article on that, just so that I will have made plots for all 17 types. Not important, though.

Appendix 1: Guide on how to read the charts & Technical details

Don’t know how to read the charts?

If you’re totally lost, just look at the first two plots, or just the first one if you don’t dodge in raids. These two plots are based on my Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which approximates in-raid performance using Pokebattler Estimator, best suited for realistic shortmanning (2-5 raiders).

The Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) plots are similar, but best suited for medium or large lobbies (6+ raiders). This metric assumes no relobbying (i.e. reentering the raid after all Pokemon fainted).

The ER (aka DPS3*TDO scaled) and DPS plots are for experienced players who want to check these metrics.

In all six plots, the higher, the better. Example: Mega Gardevoir is generally better than Shadow Gardevoir, which is better than Gardevoir, if they’re all at the same Pokémon level. But everything listed is perfectly usable and will let you pull your weight in raids.

You can also compare different attackers at different levels: points on the same horizontal line mean they’re equally as good. Example: Looking at the “ASE no dodging” plot, A Level 30 Shadow Gardevoir performs similarly to Level 40 Gardevoir and Level 45 Togekiss.

Reminder: All plots show average performance against many raid bosses. Against a specific raid boss, the rankings can be different.

Technical details

  • The first two plots are based on my in-house Average Scaled Estimator (ASE) metric, which estimates in-raid performance by automatically computing the average Pokebattler estimators against a variety of T5, Mega and T3 raid bosses, scaled so that the best attacker at L40 gets 1.0. The smaller, the better. For more details, refer to my Venusaur analysis in January 2022 and the comments.
  • The middle two plots using Average Scaled Time to Win (ASTTW) follow the same methodology, but replaces Pokebattler estimator with TTW.
  • “ASE Dodge” uses simulations with the “Dodge Specials” + “Realistic Dodging” options on Pokebattler. You can compare it to ASE without dodging to see how much dodging helps an attacker.
    • For example, Shadow Gardevoir’s ASE at Level 40 drops from 1.054 without dodging to 1.044 with dodging, so dodging generally helps Shadow Garevoir’s performance.
    • However, Zacian’s L40 ASE rises from 1.189 to 1.229 with dodging, so dodging may hurt Zacian more than it helps.

Appendix 2: Past analyses on other types

Missing types: Poison