Edit: Looks like Primals only need to be actively mega evolved to give the type boosts, and they don’t need to be your buddy. More confirmation would be nice.
TL;DR: Prioritize Groudon.
Key points (TL;DR of TL;DR):
- Both Primals are OP and almost always the best counter.
- Precipice Blades regular Groudon is a HUGE improvement from Earthquake, but Origin Pulse is a much smaller one from Surf.
- Regular Groudon and Kyogre are now both the best non-shadows of their type, though Shadow Swampert as water is better (and Shadow Mamoswine is often better too).
- Groudon has way more utility than Kyogre in T5/Mega raids. It can be used to fight against much more bosses, even though for many of them, it’s worse than another legendary.
- Precipice Blades is 14% better than Earthquake (one of the biggest changes we’ve seen from signature moves).
- Better than Garchomp etc by a mile.
- Groudon vs Shadow Mamoswine: S-Mamo is better majority of the time, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad. However, in the “traditional” use cases for ground types, Shadow Mamoswine is good.
- Even outside of “must use ground” cases, PB Groudon is now at least a great Tier 1.5-2 counter compared to other types you can use, and does within 5-10% of the #1 option.
- Worse than: Terrakion, Reshiram, Shadow Machamp, Origin Pulse Kyogre, Metagross (shadow/regular), Shadow Tyranitar
- Similar to: Lucario, Shadow Charizard, Rampardos
- Will eventually be outclassed by Shadow Garchomp/Excadrill, and possibly by Sandsear Storm Landorus-T.
- Ranking doesn’t change from the small 4% upgrade. Shadow Swampert is still better.
- Better than Groudon when both can be used (anti-fire/rock), though just barely.
- Still a lot worse than Kartana and Metagross (shadow/regular) against ground and rock, on average.
- Underwhelming utility, not too many bosses to use water against.
Alright, let me try to make this one quick (although I apparently failed).
The in-person Go Tour: Hoenn in Las Vegas starts in less than 9 hours, and Primal Kyogre and Groudon will be released then. I’ve been working on an analysis, but definitely won’t have time to cover everything I want to mention before then. Hence, this post.
This article consists of all my progress so far, which is sufficient for Las Vegas attendees to make the most immediate decisions during the event (e.g. which one to raid).
A full analysis will be published before the global Hoenn Tour, with more sections and more explanations.
Primal and regular Groudon as a Ground attacker
See this (Appendix 1) for technical details and how to read the charts.
Primal Groudon (Mud Shot/Precipice Blades) is the best ground attacker, period. It’s even 30% ahead of regular Groudon. With Precipice Blades, it’s even ahead of future Mega Garchomp by quite a margin.
Precipice Blades is a HUGE upgrade on Groudon (14%). This is far greater than all upgrades brought by legendary signature moves that we’ve seen recently (except Terrakion).
- Reshiram and Mewtwo got a 7% upgrade from their signature moves. Nothing between 7% and 14%.
Non-Primal Groudon with Precipice Blades is similar to Shadow Mamoswine, and far above other non-shadows. However, the chart above may be misleading…
Groudon vs. Shadow Mamoswine
[Section TL;DR] I think Shadow Mamoswine is still better. It performs the “traditional” duty of a ground attacker better than Groudon does. Other than that, sometimes it does really badly, but then Groudon isn’t the top counter either.
Shadow Mamoswine (Mud-Slap/High Horsepower) has higher DPS but lower bulk than Precipice Blades Groudon. But more detrimentally, Shadow Mamoswine has terrible typing as a ground attacker:
- Ground is super effective against: Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel.
- Due to its ice subtyping, Shadow Mamoswine is weak to Fire and Steel, and take neutral damage from Rock.
- Groudon takes neutral damage from Fire and Steel, and resists Rock.
- Many of these raid bosses conveniently have fighting-type moves (e.g. Registeel, Regirock, Cobalion, Terrakion). Shadow Mamoswine is weak to them, but Groudon is not.
These issues are enough to drag Shadow Mamoswine’s ASE below Groudon in the charts above, but a more detailed look suggests otherwise:
The pie chart above only considers which one is better, not “by how much”.
I haven’t looked into the specific cases yet, but here’s my guess:
- Shadow Mamoswine is better than Groudon more often than not.
- But in the 20-44% of cases where Shadow Mamoswine is bad, it does really, really badly due to typing disadvantages. (Likely fire and steel bosses with STAB moves.)
- These two factors drag down Shadow Mamoswine’s averages.
In the “traditional” scenarios where you want to use a ground attacker (against electrics, Heatran and Nihilego), Shadow Mamoswine becomes better than Groudon on average.
In other words, in those scenarios where Shadow Mamoswine does really badly, quite often Precipice Blades Groudon isn’t the best counter either. It will be outclassed by Origin Pulse Kyogre, Terrakion, and (Shadow) Metagross.
- (Of course, in these situations you’ll probably still find a Groudon on your team, but the necessity of a ground type becomes much less.)
If I were to choose one, I’d still pick Shadow Mamoswine. Not to mention it can double duty as the best ice attacker, while Groudon can’t pull any additional roles without
mega evolution primal reversion.
Groudon vs. attackers of other types
[Section TL;DR] Unless you have to use ground, Precipice Blades Groudon is often still worse than other top-tier counters you can use, such as Terrakion, Reshiram, Metagross and Origin Pulse Kyogre. However, Groudon is still a great Tier 1.5-2 counter in these cases, with wider coverage than any one of them.
Ground hits a wide array of types for Super Effective damage: Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel. But before Precipice Blades, ground attackers have much lower power than other attackers you can use, and are therefore seldom brought out. Does Precipice Blades change that?
Let’s first look at what other types are in direct competition with ground:
- Against steel: Fire, Fighting
- Against fire: Water, Rock
- Against rock: Steel, Fighting, Water, Grass
- Against poison: Psychic (this rarely happens)
Groudon’s main enemies seem to be Water and Fighting, followed by Fire, Steel and Rock in some cases. Here’s how (non-primal) Precipice Blades Groudon stacks up against these competitor types (keeping in mind Shadow Mamoswine itself is also a competitor):
Water: Slightly worse than Origin Pulse Kyogre
- Also worse than Shadow Swampert
- Plot later
Fighting: Near Lucario (better estimator, similar TTW)
- Worse than Terrakion & Shadow Machamp
- Better than Conkeldurr & Machamp
Fire: Near Shadow Charizard and Shadow Typhlosion (better estimator, similar TTW)
- Worse than Fusion Flare Reshiram & shadow legendaries
- Better than Darmanitan, Chandelure, etc
Steel: Worse than Metagross
- Also worse than Shadow Metagross
Rock: Near Rampardos (better estimator, worse TTW)
- Worse than Shadow Tyranitar
- Better than Rhyperior
Unfortunately, in every case, Groudon still can’t outperform top counters of other types, thus unlikely to become the #1 counter (other than “must use ground” bosses).
- Groudon is now a Tier 1.5-2 counter in all cases, unlike only being equivalent to budget attackers of other types.
- It also has wide coverage against many bosses, even more so than fighting, fire and steel.
- Not to forget there are still the “must use ground” cases (Raikou, Xurkitree, Heatran, Nihilego, Tapu Koko).
For those who don’t have too many dedicated top-tier teams built, prefer to use unique counters, or get sunny weather boost a lot, Groudon will appear on your raid squad quite often. But if you went hard on Terrakion, Reshiram and Shadow Machamp recently, heavy investments in Groudon are not too urgent for you.
One last thing: Primal Groudon outperforms everything else except Primal Kyogre. That’s right, it does better than Mega Blaziken.
Primal and regular Kyogre as a Water attacker
Primal Kyogre (Waterfall/Origin Pulse) is the best water attacker, period. However, its dominance isn’t nearly as notable as Primal Groudon’s. Mega Swampert is worse, but not by too much (plus it can be an XL candy booster against ground bosses).
Sadly, non-primal Kyogre remains behind Shadow Swampert, even with Origin Pulse.
- Dodging does almost close the gap, but while dodging improves Kyogre’s estimator, it’s still a penalty in TTW (meaning the improvement comes from fainting less).
The key reason behind this seemingly underwhelming performance: Origin Pulse is not OP – it’s a somewhat small upgrade over Surf. 4% without dodging, 6% with dodging.
- This is similar to Shadow Force Giratina-O. Not as bad as Zekrom (2%), but can’t compare to Reshiram (7%) and Groudon (14%).
- Note that the simulations already account for practical problems with 1-bar moves, so you don’t have to apply a “discount factor” yourself.
- I don’t think double moving is worth the stardust and candies for raids alone. Having both OP/Surf technically helps, but I’d be surprised if it makes >0.5% difference.
Kyogre vs. attackers of other types
[Section TL;DR] Origin Pulse Kyogre is now best anti-Fire, but Kartana and Metagross are still better against Ground and Rock respectively.
Water is Super Effective against: Fire, Ground and Rock. So its most prominent competitors are Grass and Ground attackers, with some occasional competition from Steel and Rock.
Here’s how Origin Pulse Kyogre compare to these types. Note that OP Kyogre has very similar power to PB Groudon, so some of these comparisons may look familiar. Also, don’t forget Shadow Swampert itself is always a competitor, and does better than listed below.
Grass: Similar to Zarude and shadows
- Much worse than Kartana
- (Though obviously not when facing Fire Blast Groudon)
Ground: Better than all non-megas
- Plot later
Steel: Worse than Metagross
- Also worse than Shadow Metagross
Rock: Better than all non-megas
- Although just barely ahead of Shadow Tyranitar
Kyogre stacks up a bit better against other types than Groudon did: it’s generally the best non-shadow non-mega counter against Fire-type bosses. The problem is that against ground (which is mostly just T5 Groudon), Kartana is still better. And Metagross still rules against rock.
- There are only two “must use water” cases on the horizon: Primal Groudon raids and Mega Camerupt raids. Though admittedly, the former is a pretty huge one.
The main problem with Kyogre isn’t with power, but with utility. More on this later.
Lastly, Primal Kyogre is the best counter against anything it’s Super Effective against.
Ground vs. Water (as counters against Fire and Rock bosses)
This is mostly for illustration purposes:
Kyogre does perform better than Groudon in practice (on average) when both can be used, though the difference is small. This is despite them having equal DPS and ER on paper.
FYI, notice how HC Swampert (and most other HC starters) does better than all non-shadow non-legendary ground types, even Garchomp. That’s why ground used to be known as a weak type.
Utility: Which one is used against more bosses?
[Section TL;DR] Groudon is much more useful in T5 and Mega raids than Kyogre. It can be used to beat more raid bosses, and even though it’s not alway the #1 counter, it’s still a great one. Kyogre, on the other hand, lacks enough T5/Mega raid bosses to be used against.
So far, our discussion only focused on strength of (Primal and regular) Kyogre and Groudon. But when making such hefty investments in raid passes, stardust and (rare/XL) candies is utility: Which one is used more frequently, so that my investment can “pay off” more often?
In this aspect, the difference between Groudon and Kyogre is night and day.
Ground type itself is already usable against way more T5 and Mega raid bosses than water. In my “Type Utility” metric, ground is one of the most useful types when disregarding power, while water is one of the least useful:
(Note this does not consider the strength of individual attackers. More discussion here, where a similar analysis was done by u/mcmillan789.)
As mentioned earlier, even though ground can be used in 26.2% of T5 and mega raids, quite often it’s not the best counter. However, even if we account for both strength and utility, Groudon remains very useful, while Kyogre still has much lower practical use:
The “Strength & Utility” metric was first proposed in my Shadow Mewtwo analysis Part 2. In short, it looks at each raid boss, gives a score of 1 to the best counter, and assign scores between 0 and 1 to other counters based on how much worse they are.
- The horizontal axis (x-axis) is a cutoff point for how much you care about “not #1” counters. To the extreme left, only the #1 counter against each boss gets scores, and everything else gets 0. To the extreme right, each attacker gets something if it’s within 50% of the top counter.
- This is still experimental, and further fine-tuning is needed.
This metric shows Precipice Blades Groudon is indeed one of the most useful Pokemon for raids.
- Even though it’s not the #1 counter against everything, it’s typically within 5-10% of the #1, and the sheer number of these use cases add up.
- However, if you do have 6 Terrakion/Shadow Machamp and 6 Reshiram, Groudon’s utility to you drops quite a bit.
- The same applies to Shadow Mamoswine as a ground type (similar curve but flatter).
- “Must use ground”: Raikou, Xurkitree, Regieleki, Heatran, Nihilego, Mega Manectric, “Tapu Koko”
On the other hand, water attackers like Origin Pulse Kyogre and Shadow Swampert have low utility for raids. There are simply not many T5/Mega raid bosses for water to be used against.
- Yes, even lower than psychic, flying and fairy. The only two types strictly below it are bug and poison, which are not shown on this chart.
- In this metric, Kyogre does suffer from being worse than Shadow Swampert. But even if you remove all shadows, it’s largely the same.
- “Must use water”: Primal Groudon, Mega Camerupt
Even though Groudon may be slightly weaker than Kyogre when in direct competition, the fact that it can be used in a lot more raids, to me, suggests it’s a clear winner in investment priority.
XL Candy Boosting?
TL;DR: The last 4 bullet points.
I don’t want to make this the focus of my articles, even though that’s apparently the main reason people use mega evolutions nowadays. But in this case, it does deserve more than just a mention.
Primal Groudon and Kyogre have a unique type boosting mechanic.
Even though you need to set them as a buddy to activate the boost (instead of just “mega evolving” them in the background), they each boost three types:
- Primal Groudon boosts: Ground, Fire, Grass (the types that get sunny weather boost)
- Primal Kyogre boosts: Water, Electric, Bug (the types that get rainy weather boost)
(The type-specific boosts include damage boost in raids, extra candies when catching wild spawns, and extra XL candy chance when catching wild spawns and raid bosses.)
This, together with their movesets, allow both primals to function concurrently as a raid attacker (also boosting other players’ damage) and a candy booster in certain scenarios:
- Primal Groudon against Fire, as a Ground attacker
- Primal Groudon against Grass, as a Fire attacker (using Fire Punch or Fire Blast)
- Primal Groudon against Ground, as a Grass attacker (using Solar Beam)
- Primal Kyogre against Water, as an Electric attacker (using Thunder)
It remains to be seen how good they are in the last three cases. If I have time, I’ll mention them in the full article next week.
Verdict: Which one to aim for?
TL;DR: Get enough energy for one of each Primal, then do Groudon.
- Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre are the best ground and water attackers, and always the best counter.
- Regular Groudon with Precipice Blades is a massive improvement over Earthquake, similar to Shadow Mamoswine (though the latter is probably better), and is far ahead of other non-shadows.
- However, PB Groudon is still behind Terrakion, Reshiram and OP Kyogre when both can be used.
- Regular Kyogre with Origin Pulse is a much smaller upgrade from Surf, and still worse than Shadow Swampert (and Kartana generally).
- Groudon’s utility in raids is much higher than Kyogre, as it can be used against way more bosses, and still does great against them.
- Even in PvP Master League, Groudon seems more useful than Kyogre.
Given their primals’ strong raw power and great XL boosting potential, getting enough energy to “mega evolve” one of each is a no-brainer. But beyond that…
If just choosing between Groudon and Kyogre, there are very few reasons why you may opt for Kyogre. Go Groudon.
- I can see someone prioritizing Kyogre if they’re really concerned about beating Primal Groudon or T5 Groudon with Fire Blast, but these are niche cases.
But how hard should one go on Groudon? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but what I think is: If you grinded hard for Terrakion, Shadow Machamp and Reshiram, you can relax a bit. Otherwise, Groudon is a well-above-average candidate.
Keep in mind that future Shadow Garchomp and Shadow Excadrill will likely overtake PB Groudon, and Landorus (Therian) has a chance of outclassing Groudon in the future with its signature move, Sandsear Storm. Although it’s unlikely to overtake Groudon by too much.
What about Elite TMs?
- Groudon is the closest to “worth 6 ETMs” that we’ve seen so far… But I may still say no to 6. Definitely worth one ETM given the ridiculous 14% improvement, but what’s stopping myself from 6 is the fact that its raw power is still lower than its direct competitors (available recently without ETM requirements), and while there are several “must use ground” cases, they’re still a bit niche. Not to mention future shadows and Landorus-T.
- Having said that, if you have to pick something to spend 6 ETMs on, Groudon might just be it. It’s definitely a way more convincing case than anything we’ve seen so far.
- Kyogre is not a top candidate for an ETM, and I’m not even sure if it’s a 2nd-tier one. You can do it for PvP or if you have a stockpile of ETMs, but if not, there are better options for ETMs before it.
Articles coming up
I’ll take a detour and focus on Breaking Swipe Rayquaza at the moment, since it will come before the global Hoenn Tour. Once that’s done, I’ll finish up the rest of the Primals analysis.Tentative additional topics for the full Primal article:
- Primal Groudon as a fire type
- Future considerations – what may threaten them, how Primal Groudon as a fire type can be improved
- Additional plots: Mega plots; Ground types in the “traditional” cases only; and, if there’s demand, plots of ground vs other types