Scorching Sands Excadrill narrowly outclasses Earth Power Garchomp. This moderate upgrade makes it one of the best regular non-legendary ground attackers, although it’s still well below shadows and PB Groudon.

  • Watch out for its typing disadvantages, though.

Shaymin (Sky) gains the most from Magical Leaf. It’s now only behind Kartana, above shadows and Zarude. However, it’s far behind Kartana, to the extent that low utility of grass types may be a concern.

Roserade also gets a small upgrade from Magical Leaf, which solidifies its position as the best regular non-legendary. But it’s still way worse than Kartana and shadows (just like Excadrill).

Shadow Zapdos is a top-tier electric attacker (ETM or not), but not one that’s worth the grind IMO, unless you like variety or love Zapdos. Other top-tier options are better, cheaper, likely to be in raids soon (esp. Shadow Raikou), and/or have better IV control.

My analyses of other types are in this spreadsheet. You can also follow me on Twitter (X) and Threads!

Note: This post does not focus on new Paldean Pokemon, even though some were shown in the charts. The next article will discuss all released Paldean Pokemon during the events that have just ended.

“Event” Info

Season of Adventure Abound is underway until the end of November. On all weekends during the season, Shadow Zapdos will appear in local-only Shadow Tier 5 raids.

The season also brought many permanent, regular-TM-able move pool changes as part of the regular GBL updates. This post shows the most influential changes for the raid scene: Scorching Sands Excadrill and new Magical Leaf users.

  • Most other changes have little impacts on raid attackers, even though some became the best options on niche or budget attackers (e.g. Scorching Sands Flygon and Hippowdon, Breaking Swipe Mega Sceptile).

Scorching Sands Excadrill

Ground attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.
Excadrill vs. similar ground attackers (L40 not friends)

Chart with ASE and ASE Dodge can be found here.

If you thought Gible Community Day in 2021 was one of the most hyped CDs ever, then Excadrill (Mud-Slap/Scorching Sands) should be of great interest to you. Without even needing an exclusive move!

Excadrill was already among a giant pool of very similar ground attackers, but now it rises to the top of the bunch, or at least near top.

  • As seen in the comparison charts, it does perform better than Garchomp and Landorus-T more often than not.
  • Its advantage over Garchomp is even bigger in TTW (ignores relobbies), and of course raw DPS.

The caveats are its more frequent typing disadvantages and lower bulk, making Excadrill less consistent than Garchomp.

  • Steel is a great defensive typing, but in this case, it makes Excadrill weak to fire-type moves (often from fire-type bosses that it’s supposed to counter), as well as common ground and fighting moves.
  • The most common practical scenario is Heatran raids. Excadrill is either super good or super bad against it.
  • The steel typing still helps it more often than not, with unique niches such as against Dialga. You just need to have a back-up plan.

Another downside is that ground types typically have lower power than alternative attacking types. Excadrill still faces the same problem, just like Garchomp (detailed here).

  • Comparable options include: Machamp, Gigalith, and Swampert. Yikes.
  • Many raid bosses are double weak to ground (where they’re the only options), though, so that helps a bit.

One last word on Scorching Sands: It’s currently the best ground-type non-signature PvE move, so any Pokemon that gets it will benefit.

  • (Shadow) Flygon and Hippowdon already do, though they’re still not very notable.
  • Other potential candidates: Krookodile, Rhyperior, and… Garchomp.
  • FYI: Future Shadow Excadrill ends up slightly worse than Shadow Garchomp on average. The shadow treatment hurts glass cannons more than tanks.

Magical Leaf Users: Shaymin Sky, Roserade and Future Decidueye

Grass attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

Chart with ASE and ASE Dodge can be found here.

Everyone can now use Shaymin Sky (Magical Leaf/Grass Knot). It’s now narrowly but consistently above all shadow grass types and Zarude, with only Kartana ahead of it.

  • Magical Leaf is better than Hidden Power Grass.

However… Heavy (rare candy) investment in Shaymin is still questionable, aside from variety lovers.

Besides the obvious option of “just grab another Kartana”, the performance difference means that low utility of grass types becomes a real concern for Shaymin:

  • Not too many raid bosses are weak to grass.
  • Most of them are also countered by something stronger than Shaymin.
    • Kartana also faces the utility issue, but I didn’t emphasize on it before (because I didn’t think about it) because it’s so strong that it starts to outclass many other types (even Metagross and Kyogre). Shaymin Sky doesn’t have that luxury.
  • In particular, Kartana’s typing makes it the best non-mega (Primal) Kyogre specialist, but Shaymin Sky does terrible at it.
    • Beating Kyogre is one of the most significant roles of grass attackers, but while Kartana takes neutral damage from Blizzard Kyogre, Shaymin Sky is double weak to it.
  • It’s not that Shaymin doesn’t have its niche… It has typing advantages against Earthquake Groudon and most future bosses weak to grass (Urshifu Rapid Strike, Ting-Lu, Keldeo in case of Elite Raids). But several of them are also (much?) better countered by other types.

As for non-legendaries…

Roserade (Magical Leaf/Grass Knot) gets a small upgrade over the old Razor Leaf. It was already at the forefront of non-Kartana non-shadow non-Zarude grass types, but now it’s solidly ahead of others in this tier. (Sorry, Tapu Bulu.)

Decidueye still doesn’t do much today even with Magical Leaf, but the real story is when/if it gets Frenzy Plant (2025?). ML/FP Decidueye will sit near where Roserade used to be: one of the best regular non-legendaries. Just that it’s slightly outclassed by the new Roserade.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Shaymin (Land) would have also appeared on the chart, close to Roserade. I didn’t show it because there’s no reason not to change its form.
  • Shadow Roserade, when released, will be a little bit above Shaymin Sky.
  • Meowscarada, even right now without Frenzy Plant, already shows up as a strong counter – but again worse than the new Roserade. More on this in the next article.

Shadow Zapdos

Electric attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.
Shadow Zapdos vs. similar ground attackers, and Spark vs. Volt Switch on Shadow Magnezone (L40 not friends)

Chart with ASE and ASE Dodge can be found here.

Unlike Shadow Articuno, Shadow Zapdos (TS or CB/Thunderbolt) is actually useful. Legacy/ETM Thunder Shock is the best and puts it in a cluster of top-tier electric types, but even the non-legacy Charge Beam is not far behind.

But unfortunately, its purpose kind of stops there. (Again, aside from variety lovers and those who don’t have any other top options.)

To make this point, I’ll compare Shadow Zapdos with every other non-mega electric attacker that’s also top-tier:

  • Shadow Raikou
    • Better performance
    • Will almost certainly be in Shadow Raids soon-ish (possibly as soon as 2 seasons from now)
  • Xurkitree
    • Better performance
    • Much easier to get good IVs (10/10/10 IV floor for Xurkitree, 6/6/6 for Shadow Zapdos)
    • More accessible: Could get from remote raids, lower stardust cost
    • Will almost certainly be back in raids at some point
  • Shadow Electivire
    • Generally better performance (though less consistent)
    • Much cheaper: No rare candies required, easier to get XLs
    • More accessible in the past: Had been in Rocket grunts for a long time, so veteran players likely have good IVs
    • Likely will be back at some point
  • Shadow Magnezone
    • Similar performance, but becomes better than Zapdos with better IVs
    • Much cheaper: No rare candies required, easier to get XLs
    • Much more accessible in the past: Had been in Rocket grunts for a long time, and was in leaders
    • Likely will be back at some point
  • Zekrom (Fusion Bolt, legacy/ECTM)
    • Similar performance, but becomes better than Zapdos with better IVs
    • Much easier to get good IVs
    • More accessible: Could get from remote raids, lower stardust cost
    • More useful in PvP Master League
    • Will almost certainly be back in raids at some point (though may not be with Fusion Bolt)
    • Possible to get another boost from Bolt Strike eventually

Every one of them is better, cheaper, likely to be in raids soon, and/or have better IV control. And most of them don’t need an Elite TM.

Being a shadow legendary, obtained from in-person-only raids, requiring expensive candies and extra stardust, and with only a 6/6/6 IV floor… You better be something spectacular to be worth grinding. And I don’t think Shadow Zapdos makes the cut, even though it’s clearly far from useless. It may be a better idea to save your raid passes for Shadow Raikou or Xurkitree instead.

Shadow Zapdos is also functional as a flying attacker with Thunder Shock/Drill Peck, but it’s only similar to non-shadow Moltres.

Brief words on Volt Switch Magnezone

  • If you can only pick one fast move, Spark is better on average.
  • However, in simulations, Volt Switch is situationally better 1/3 of the time. Even if not, it’s also very closely behind.
    • Sadly, whether Volt Switch is better or not in a given situation seems unpredictable.
  • Much worse for dodging than Spark due to longer duration.

I won’t call Volt Switch an upgrade, but it’s certainly intriguing on a theoretical level.

Minor note: Due to Pokebattler bugs, all simulations in this analysis are without friendship boost (as opposed to best friends that I’ve used in the past).

What’s next?

An article on new Paldean Pokemon (starters, Baxcalibur, Bombirdier, Pawmot) is in the works.

  • This may seem very late, but between waiting for the Pokebattler site to update, international travel, dealing with Pokebattler bugs and other IRL matters, this is the earliest I could do.

Before or after that, a quick analysis/charts of Vikavolt before its CD.

  • Spark vs. Volt Switch (CD move) is again the question. Spark is still better on average, but it may be slightly different from Magnezone due to different charged moves, so I need to check.

A consolidated chart with every type will probably be out afterwards, as well as a note on some long-term changes.

Past analyses on other types

A complete list of all my past analyses – on every single type other than normal – can now be found in this spreadsheet!

You can also follow me on Twitter (X) and Threads! I often post sneak peeks of WIP articles before they go live.