Comprehensive guide to Moves in Pokemon GO

Moves in Pokémon GO are one of the main factors when evaluating Pokémon’s strength. Before any words on quick and charge moves, it is important to understand several key terms related to battles in the game.

Pokémon GO Battle Terminology

STAB

Stands for the Same Type Attack Bonus. STAB increases damage of moves that are of the same type as the Pokémon using them by 20%. For example, psychic type Alakazam has STAB on Psychic type move Futuresight. This is not the case for its other moves – Ghost Shadow Ball or Fighting Focus Blast.

Weather Boost influence

When there is the weather that boosts certain type, the move of that type deals additional 20% damage. Pokémon typing does not matter at all in this situation.

DPS

DPS stands for damage per second. It is explained more in depth in How is move damage calculated in Pokemon GO. In short, the damage is influenced by the base damage of a move, Pokémon attack stat and attack IV value, weather boost and STAB. The results are then floored.

EPS

EPS is an acronym for Energy per Second. It indicates the value how fast the quick move can fill the charge move bar.

Breakpoints

Because the damage formula floores the DPS, powering up a Pokémon to certain level will “break” rounding so the Pokémon can deal more damage. This is a particularly useful feature to know for saving  the stardust. Breakpoints are described more in What are Damage Breakpoints in Pokémon GO.

Legacy moves

These are moves that Pokémon once knew but can no longer learn. If Pokémon is Evolved or the move is changed by TMs, legacy move cannot be obtained. Full list of Pokémon with their legacy moves can be found in Movesets Explained.

Double weakness

Double weakness is possible only on a Pokémon with dual typing. Both types have to share the weakness against certain move. If so, then this Pokémon takes 1,96x more damage.

Learn more in Damage Mechanics in Pokemon GO.

Quick Move

Pokémon can have up to 2 quick moves available, but only one of them is active at a time. Several Pokémon can learn only one. It is the first attack displayed on the Pokémon’s summary screen. There is additional value and icon added if the move type is boosted by the weather. Quick move is activated by tapping the screen during gym and raid battles. It deals damage and fills the charge move energy bar at the same time.

There are basically two categories to rank quick moves. Those with faster energy gain and shorter cast time are best suitable for attacking purposes. The faster the move the better dodgability and EPS it provides. On the other hand, slow and hard-hitting moves with better DPS are great on defense, since Pokémon defending the Gym can use their quick move every 2 seconds.

Quickest moves of each type

Quick MoveTypeDPSEPSCast time
Fury CutterBug7.5150.4
TackleNormal10100.5
BiteDark1280.5
Dragon BreathDragon1280.5
LickGhost10120.5
Water GunWater10100.5
Low KickFighting10100.6
Mud ShotGround8.311.70.6
Poison StingPoison8.311.70.6
Psycho CutPsychic8.313.30.6
Thunder ShockElectric8.313.30.6
Vine WhipGrass11.7100.6
Metal ClawSteel11.4100.7
Wing AttackFlying1011.250.8
Fire FangFire12.28.90.9
Rock ThrowRock13.37.80.9
Frost BreathIce11.18.90.9

Fast quick moves are particularly useful in short-man raids. Gengar can be used as a great example since it is a definiton of glass cannon – Gengar deals huge amount of damage in short period of time but also cannot take a hit very well. Its legacy move Shadow Claw is only slightly better than Hex in terms of DPS. However, Shadow Claw is significantly faster which helps in finding a better dodging pace.

The most useful quick moves

Quick MoveTypeDPSEPSCast timeStrongest Pokémon
Dragon TailDragon13.67.51.1Rayquaza
Rock ThrowRock13.37.80.9Golem
CounterFighting13.38.90.9Machamp
WaterfallWater13.36.71.2Kyogre
Razor LeafGrass13.36.71.2Venusaur
Shadow ClawGhost12.98.60.7Gengar
Fire SpinFire12.79.11.1Moltres
ConfusionPsychic12.59.41.6Mewtwo

Charge Move

Charge move is the second attack displayed on Pokémon’s summary screen. Pokémon can have up to three different charge attacks but only one of them active. That makes use of Charge TMs a lottery with a 50% chance of getting the desired move. The only exception to this is Mewtwo with 4 moves available and also Pokémon with a legacy move.

Charge move bars are filled by using the quick move and once the bar is filled, it is activated by clicking on the button. Common strategy in raids is to tap only the button in order to use the charge move as soon as it is activated while simultaneously spamming the quick move. Prior to version 0.85.1 the player had to hold the screen to release the charge attack.

Old charge bars

1 bar charge moves are typically stronger, at least on paper. Simply looking at the DPS is not enough. The main reason for that is, it completely ignores the total damage output (TDO) and other factors that play crucial role in the real battle. As a rule of thumb, 2 bar charge moves usually provide better TDO and dodgability. 3 bar moves are considered generally inferior with the exception of Grass Leaf Blade and Dragon Dragon Claw.

Another measurement to determine strength of a move is the weave damage. It takes into consideration more variables but the value is bound to specific Pokémon’s stats. The formula assumes that the quick move is used constantly and charged move immediately when it is ready. It also compensates for energy drain and attack duration in those cycles. For the full list and rankings, see Pokebattler spreadsheet.

Strongest charge moves in terms of DPS and overall damage

Quick MoveTypeBarsDPSEnergy drainCast timeStrongest Pokémon
Future SightPsychic144.4-1002.7Alakazam
Stone EdgeRock143.5-1002.3Tyranitar
Dynamic PunchFighting233.3-502.7Machamp
Hydro PumpWater139.4-1003.3Kyogre
SurfWater238.2-501.7Milotic
Solar BeamGrass136.7-1004.9Exeggutor
Wild ChargeElectric234.6-502.6Raikou
AvalancheIce233.3-502.7Jynx
Dragon ClawDragon329.4-331.7Dragonite
OutrageDragon228.2-502.8Rayquaza
Leaf BladeGrass329.2-332.4Sceptile
OverheatFire140-1004Moltres
Heavy SlamSteel233.3-502.1Aggron
Rock SlideRock229.6-502.7Omastar
Dazzling GleamFairy228.6-503.5Gardevoir
Sky AttackFlying233.3-502Lugia
Foul PlayDark235-502Houndoom
X-ScissorBug328.1-331.6Scizor
Shadow BallGhost233.3-503Mewtwo

Type Effectiveness Advantages

Type effectiveness accounts for 1.4x damage and is indicated by a super effective text message in the battle log during the battle. Pokémon with double weakness takes 1.96x damage yet the message remains the same. Pokémon with a resistance to the move type takes only 0.714x damage and 0.51x when there is a double resistance. More on type advantages in Damage Mechanics.

The most popular Pokémon with double weakness are Tyranitar, Golem, Rhydon, Dragonite, Gyarados, Exeggutor, Moltres and Aggron. Any of these would not make a good defender (excluding legendaries that cannot be put in gyms).

In general, the best case scenario is having two attacks of the same type on a Pokémon, ideally with STAB. It rarely happens that defending Pokémon is weak particularly to two different types of moves attacking Pokémon can learn.

There are situations where generalists offer better damage output than super effective Pokémon, as long as the defender does not resist attacker’s moves. It all depends on overall attacker’s statistics in combination with the moveset. This is something to bear in mind especially in raid battles when the damage translates into more Premier Balls and more rewards.

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