Gholdengo as a ghost type is better than Chandelure, but worse than Hydreigon and Shadow Force Giratina-O. Melmetal is still WAY below Metagross for raids.
- Gholdengo comparisons: Hydreigon is almost always better. SF Giratina-O beats it majority of the time, unless it has a typing disadvantage. Chandelure is somewhat of a draw, but in Gholdengo’s favor a bit.
- L35 Hydreigon > L40 Gholdengo
- Gholdengo is a great “companion” to Hydreigon: The rare situations where Hydreigon melts are the ones where Gholdengo does well. But Chandelure performs the same role while being cheaper.
- Double Iron Bash Melmetal is technically the #3 non-shadow non-mega steel, but Metagross exists.
- L30 Metagross > L50 DIB Melmetal
- Neither are worth spending money specifically for them, especially if you did December CD. But they can be of interest if you already have access to them (Gholdengo being a great ghost, Melmetal being a budget anti-fairy if you don’t have enough Metagross).
- Neither are likely to ever be on par with non-shadow Metagross, even if Gholdengo gets its signature move.
Keep reading for:
- Stats, typing and moves
- Detailed Gholdengo comparisons
- Hypothetical scenarios with new moves for Gholdengo and Melmetal
As the Season of Rising Heroes starts:
- You can now catch Gimmighoul and obtain Gimmighoul Coins by sending postcards from Pokemon Go to Pokemon Scarlet/Violet. With 999 coins, you can evolve it to Gholdengo.
- A paid timed research, Willow’s Wardrobe, is in the shop for $5 USD. It rewards a Melmetal encounter with its signature move, Double Iron Bash, if completed before June 1. Ticket holders can also get Double Iron Bash by evolving a Meltan; non-ticket holders can get it via Elite TMs “in the future”.
Gholdengo and Melmetal have several similarities: Both were designed with PoGo in mind, both share a steel typing, and at the moment, both (with Melmetal having DIB) require real-world currency to get, unless you have a friend with S/V.
Others, such as JRE47, have already discussed how they perform in PvP. Today, we’ll look at their utility as raid attackers.
After a short Part 0 on their stats and theoretical metrics, this article will be split into the following parts:
- Part 1: Gholdengo as a ghost-type attacker
- Part 2: Double Iron Bash Melmetal as a steel-type attacker
- Part 3: Potential for Gholdengo and Melmetal to improve as steel types?
If you’re on desktop and want to jump to a particular part, search “Part X”.
Part 0: Stats, Typing and Moves
Skippable in the interest of time.
While Gimmighoul is a mono ghost-type Pokemon, Gholdengo becomes the first Steel/Ghost Pokemon in this game (since the Honedge line hasn’t been released yet). Notably, this makes it a ghost that resists psychic, fairy and dragon, and a steel that resists fighting.
Let’s compare the base stats of Gholdengo Melmetal and several other related raid attackers:
There are several reasons why Melmetal hasn’t showed up in any raid counter lists since it was released in 2018: No steel fast move, a terrible steel charged move, and as shown here, mediocre stats for raids. Despite similar appearance as Metagross and being even bulkier, it has 31 lower base attack, which is a huge disadvantage in raids.
As a steel type, Gholdengo somewhat suffers from the same problem, but to a much lesser extent. 5 lower attack and 12% less bulk could have been easily compensated by a better moveset… Except that Gholdengo doesn’t even have any steel-type move in its PoGo move pool, and can’t legally learn any steel-type fast move that exists in the game, just like Melmetal.
Gholdengo does have a full ghost-type moveset: Hex/Shadow Ball. But:
- Chandelure has the same moveset and significantly higher base attack, though only 74% of the bulk and a worse typing.
- Community Day Hydreigon has marginally better stats than Gholdengo and a moveset of similar power, but a better typing as an anti-Psychic and anti-Ghost attacker, as well as better consistency.
As a result, here’s how they compare in DPS and ER:
Ignoring typing for a moment, Gholdengo has:
- Lower DPS and lower TDO than Hydreigon;
- Lower DPS and similar ER as Chandelure;
- Marginally higher DPS than Giratina Origin (with Shadow Force), but much lower bulk and thus lower ER.
Before we move on to see how they compare in practice (and whether Gholdengo’s steel typing helps it), one last thing I should mention. Double Iron Bash is actually an amazing move in PvE:
Double Iron Bash is solidly in the top echelon of recently introduced signature moves, being similar to Meteor Mash, and only below Glaciate among the new moves added since last year.
- (Technical note) DIB’s short duration and spamminess (being a “3-bar” move) gives it additional advantage that’s not captured here. In simulations, a hypothetical “Metal Claw/Double Iron Bash” moveset performs even better than “Metal Claw/Meteor Mash” on most Pokemon, despite lower DPS.
- This effect is similar to Breaking Swipe vs Outrage on Rayquaza, which I explained in detail here.
Sadly, Melmetal isn’t a Pokemon that can utilize this overpowered (OP) move to its fullest potential, as I’ll show in later sections.
Part 1: Gholdengo as a Ghost-type attacker
Dark and Ghost types are combined due to their similar utility in raids, as they’re Super Effective against the same types, and only differ in rare cases.
On the surface, averaging their performance against various raid bosses:
Gholdengo (Hex/Shadow Ball) is a great ghost-type raid attacker and is slightly ahead of Chandelure, but behind Hydreigon and Giratina Origin.
- The difference between Gholdengo and Hydreigon is a bit greater than 5 Pokemon levels on average. That is, Level 35 Hydreigon > Level 40 Gholdengo.
- Also behind Shadow Weavile, Shadow Tyranitar and Darkrai (at the same level).
While that’s good performance in its own right, if you did December Community Day 2022, Gholdengo’s utility to you is likely not worth the grind. Sure, if you get a good one, you will eventually get some good use out of it in raids, especially for variety lovers. But no need to go out of your way for it, and definitely not worth buying a Switch and S/V just to get it in Go.
- An advantage of Gholdengo is that it’s always available (at least for S/V owners), allowing new players to get an excellent anti-Psychic counter regardless of when they started. This is especially relevant because dark and ghost attackers have one of the highest utilities for PoGo raids. But right now – just 2 months after a CD with Deino and Litwick – is one of the worst times for it.
- Additionally, for the handful oddball raid bosses that are weak to Ghost but not Dark (most notably Mega Mewtwo X), Gholdengo gives you an easy option to complete your team, if your generic anti-Psychic team focuses on Hydreigon.
Detailed comparisons of Gholdengo vs. other attackers
(Skippable in the interest of time, or skip the bullet points)
This chart only considers which one is better, not “by how much”.
Gholdengo vs. Hydreigon:
Hydreigon is straight up better, except in rare cases where it has a severe typing disadvantage.
- Only 23% of boss movesets are in Gholdengo’s favor in Estimator, even smaller in TTW.
- These cases almost always involve a hard-hitting boss and a detrimental charged move to Hydreigon, typically of fairy, fighting and dragon types. Examples: Focus Blast Mewtwo, Moonblast Lunala, Outrage Mega Latias.
- Quite often, Hydreigon still has a better Estimator even with a bad boss moveset. Confusion/Moonblast Cresselia is an example (Hydreigon is double weak to Moonblast), even though Hydreigon has twice as many deaths as Gholdengo in this case.
Gholdengo vs. Shadow Force Giratina Origin:
Giratina-O still wins majority of the time. Gholdengo’s advantage usually comes from when Giratina-O takes Super Effective damage.
- This chart may seem counter-intuitive at first: Gholdengo has higher DPS but lower bulk, so why does its TTW advantage shrink compared to Estimator? But as it turns out, this comparison has a lot more to do with typing differences, rather than DPS and bulk differences.
- Even though Gholdengo resists psychic-type moves and Giratina-O does not, that doesn’t always translate to a win in Estimator. Bosses with lower attack often still go to Giratina-O, even with a psychic move. “Resisted vs neutral” isn’t as significant as “neutral vs super effective”.
- Overall, if Gholdengo has a typing advantage, it wins quite often, but not overwhelmingly.
Gholdengo vs. Chandelure:
A more classic “glass cannon vs tank” comparison. Chandelure has a higher ceiling, but is glassier and faints more often; Gholdengo is slower but more consistent.
Overall, I’d say Gholdengo is the better of the two – better average estimator, similar average TTW but with fewer deaths.
- Hard-hitting bosses usually net a win for Gholdengo, while light-hitting bosses typically go to Chandelure.
- Psychic charged moves from the boss now translate to consistent advantages for Gholdengo, sometimes even in TTW.
- Chandelure does become better in TTW more often than Gholdengo does, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
Note: I didn’t look too closely into boss move typings for the Giratina-O and Chandelure comparisons, so I can’t guarantee the statements in these two sections are 100% correct.
One interesting note: Gholdengo is a great “companion” for Hydreigon – when Hydreigon does really poorly, Gholdengo performs well. These usually refer to fairy, fighting and dragon charged moves, since Hydreigon is weak to all of them but Gholdengo resists all of them. However, Chandelure performs this role about as well, but with much less grind.
Part 2: Double Iron Bash Melmetal as a Steel-type attacker
Double Iron Bash Melmetal technically becomes the 3rd best non-shadow non-mega steel attacker, only behind Metagross and Dialga. So it’s supposedly usable…?
The problem is, it’s WAY below (non-shadow) Meteor Mash Metagross.
- Level 30 MM Metagross >= Level 50 DIB Melmetal.
What’s not shown here is that due to their poor offensive typing, steel attackers really need enough power to see some use. In practice, Melmetal (and any steel type not named Metagross) becomes a niche anti-fairy counter.
- Steel is super effective against Rock, Ice and Fairy.
- Rock and ice bosses typically have many other weaknesses, and are better countered by way cheaper options. Melmetal is comparable to Machamp, Swampert and Blaziken.
- Against fairy, DIB Melmetal is indeed above Roserade and other non-legendary poison types, although Nihilego still outperforms it.
- See here for an analysis on poison attackers.
If Double Iron Bash was free (without needing ETMs or tickets), I would have said this is an excellent opportunity for players who lack 6 Metagross to get a cheap anti-fairy team. But as it is, Melmetal’s utility in raids alone is NOT worth a $5 ticket nor an Elite Charged TM.
- Having said that, if you bought the ticket anyway and don’t have enough Metagross, evolving some high-level Meltan can quickly complete your team against Xerneas and Zacian, while working on getting more Metagross (possibly shadow).
Part 3: Do Gholdengo and Melmetal have any hope for improvement as steel attackers?
[Section TL;DR] Always worse than non-shadow Metagross, unless something truly extraordinary happens.
Even though Melmetal gets an OP charged move, its lack of a steel-type fast move and Gholdengo’s total lack of any steel moves still handicap them from being useful steel attackers. Does this have any chance of changing?
Before you get excited about anything shown in the chart, it’s important to examine this question instead: Can Gholdengo and Melmetal get better moves?
- Gholdengo, Charged move: Almost guaranteed, but will likely take years as an exclusive move. In the MSG, Gholdengo has a steel-type signature move, Make It Rain. As we’ve seen from Double Iron Bash (which came 3 years after Meltan’s release in Go), MIR will almost certainly become an event-exclusive move in PoGo in the distant future, paid or not.
- Melmetal, Fast move: Unlikely. There are only two more damage-dealing steel moves Melmetal can learn in the MSG: Steel Beam and Steel Roller. The latter is a more likely candidate for Niantic to introduce as a fast move, but it’s only a possibility, and I see no reason why they should.
- Gholdengo, Fast move: Extremely unlikely. Similar to above, but Gholdengo only has one option: Steel Beam. But it’s way more likely to become a charged move with self-debuff in PvP, due to its MSG effects.
With this in mind, let’s look at all possibilities from most likely to least likely.
- Gholdengo, Hex & “Meteor Mash clone”: Slightly above Dialga, but still a far cry from Metagross.
- (Unlikely) Melmetal, “Metal Claw clone”: Halfway between Metagross and Dialga, so still worse than Metagross.
WARNING: The following scenarios are extremely unlikely.
- Gholdengo, “Doom Desire clone”: Just a little bit below Metagross (likely better against Tapu Lele). Not shown on the chart.
- Doom Desire is an extremely OP move designed to help the underwhelming Jirachi. It’s stronger than almost every move you can think of, including Aura Sphere and Hydro Cannon. This is an absolute ceiling for Make It Rain, and we haven’t seen something like this since 2020, so I honestly don’t see it happening.
- Gholdengo, “Metal Claw/Meteor Mash clones”: Ties Meteor Mash Metagross. Finally! But still forgettable if you already have a Metagross army.
- Gholdengo, “Metal Claw/Doom Desire clones”: At long last… We finally managed to outclass Metagross… But still well below Shadow Metagross. Welp. Not shown on the chart.
- This is an extremely unlikely scenario, that requires Steel Beam somehow being a fast move, plus an absolutely busted Make It Rain.
In summary, unless a combination of improbable events happen, Gholdengo and Melmetal aren’t gonna get to Metagross levels. If you’re looking for something to outclass Metagross, this is not it.
This analysis really highlights the impacts of power creep that goes beyond what people typically think of. When Pokemon with already good base stats like Metagross and Hydreigon get overpowered moves (CD or otherwise), newcomers in later generations will simply find it hard or impossible to keep up, sometimes even with their own busted moves like Double Iron Bash.
Sometimes they do add variety, like Gholdengo is doing as a ghost attacker. But most players, especially veteran players, will simply not care. They don’t add much to their already strong teams, as seen from complaints of Roggenrola CD.
Even if Niantic really wants to keep the power creep going by introducing another Doom Desire clone, it only delays the inevitable, and doesn’t eliminate it. As long as the “PvE meta” is still defined as “top attacker(s) of each type”, nothing’s gonna change – short-term hype for a good CD- or raid-exclusive move will always result in more Pokemon in the long-term future being seen as dex fillers, or worse, “PvP mons” (even when they’re not). Not to mention more Doom Desire clones introduce their own series of problems.
This practice is simply unsustainable, and it’s not Niantic’s fault for “not giving us enough PvE content”.
This analysis does not contain the typical appendices, such as past analyses of other types and guides on reading the charts. This is because I’m working on a revamped “Teban54’s landing page” to display these information in a more systematic and elegant manner. In the mean time, you can find them here if you really need to.
Articles coming up next
- A very quick look at Mega Slowbro with Surf from CD. Surf is an upgrade over the laughable Water Pulse and allows it to actually show up on my water-type charts, but that’s an incredibly low bar lol. The article will hopefully take me 30 minutes max.
- Which shadows are useful in raids? This will be more of a tier list with no plots involved. Hopefully before the Rocket takeover on Mar 21, and hopefully with an infographic in collaboration with my Go Hub colleagues!
There are a few other long-term ideas and improvements that I may continue working on when time permits. I gave a list of ideas at the end of my most recent poison-type analysis in case you missed it, but these are just preliminary thoughts and may not always come to fruition.