Fighting-Types in Pokemon GO PvP: Meta Analysis Per League

Fighting-types have always been a staple in the Pokémon competitive scene, and in Pokémon GO this is no different. Fighting-types are known for their great coverage and powerful attacks, but only some of them are considered bulky. With Trainer Battles slightly favoring defensive behemoths over offensive powerhouses, some fighting types will have a hard time in certain match-ups. Still, it is hard to ignore the Fighting-type’s raw attack power, and with a good strategy and by utilizing the fighting-types’ strengths, you may end up running away with the win.

Fighting-types on Offense

Fighting Pokémon are effective against five individual types, tied with Ground for most of any type. Among these five, Fighting-types have two key strengths: Normal and Steel. While Normal are rarely a threat to your team, it will definitely struggle if you don’t have an answer to Steel mons. The other three types they are effective against include Dark, Ice and Rock.

Counter is the go-to Fast Move since it has both great EPS and DPS. Some can learn Bullet Punch, but you rarely need it, unless you want to surprise Fairy types switching in to your attacker. On the other hand, Dynamic Punch is a solid choice, and Cross Chop charges fast. While Focus Blast can easily decimate foes when shields are down, it’s very hard to charge it, let alone survive until you can use it.

Fighting-types on Defense

Fighting-types are not really known for defense. While there are some that have the bulk to be a great defensive pivot, most will have trouble with even neutral match-ups. This makes them vulnerable to shield baiting. An offensive Fighting-type has limited safe switch-ins, like Tyranitar, Scizor, and Armaldo. However, stay away from potential Fairy, Psychic, and Flying Charge Moves. All of those types are resisted by Steel types, so they are good partners with Fighting-types as long as you have the Pokémon to cover Steel types’ weakness as well.

Meta Relevant Fighting-types

Great League

PokémonATKDEFHPFast MoveCharge Move(s)
MedichamMedicham

@ level 40

107132134
  • Psycho Cut Psychic
  • Counter Fighting
    • Power-Up Punch Fighting
    • Ice Punch Ice
    • Dynamic Punch Fighting
PoliwrathPoliwrath

@ level 20 – 23.5

119120134
  • Mud Shot* Ground
  • Bubble Water
    • Power-Up Punch Fighting
    • Ice Punch Ice
    • Dynamic Punch Fighting
HitmonchanHitmonchan

@ level 22.5 – 26.5

13213496
  • Counter Fighting
  • Thunder Punch Electric
  • Ice Punch Ice
  • Fire Punch Fire
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
BreloomBreloom

@ level 19.5 – 23

15494101
  • Counter Fighting
  • Bullet Seed Grass
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Seed Bomb Grass
  • Grass Knot Grass
HariyamaHariyama

@ level  18.5 – 21.5

12974182
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Heavy Slam Steel

*Legacy move

Ultra League

PokémonATKDEFHPFast MoveCharge Move(s)
PoliwrathPoliwrath

@ level 37.5 – 40

153154172
  • Mud Shot* Ground
  • Bubble Water
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Ice Punch Ice
HariyamaHariyama

@ level  31.5 – 40

16695236
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Heavy Slam Steel
MachampMachamp

@ level 28.5 – 36

179123159
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Rock Slide Rock
  • Heavy Slam Steel
LucarioLucario

@ level 34.5 – 40

191120140
  • Counter Fighting
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
  • Shadow Ball Ghost
ToxicroakToxicroak

@ level 40

179117166
  • Counter Fighting
  • Poison Jab Poison
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Mud Bomb Ground
  • Sludge Bomb Poison

*Legacy move

Master League

PokémonATKDEFHPFast MoveCharge Move(s)
HariyamaHariyama177102251
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Heavy Slam Steel
MachampMachamp197138175
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Rock Slide Rock
  • Heavy Slam Steel
LucarioLucario198126148
  • Counter Fighting
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
  • Shadow Ball Ghost
HeracrossHeracross197153162
  • Counter Fighting
  • Close Combat Fighting
  • Megahorn Bug

*Refer to detailed sets down below

The levels shown are the lowest and highest possible levels for the Pokémon to reach the CP that maximizes the CP Limit of a specific League. Because of how a stat varies depending on IVs, the stats above are determined with the highest CP possible with balanced IVs, to see the average possible stat. For example, a Perfect IV Poliwrath can only reach up 1477 CP at Level 20, but since a Level 20.5 Poliwrath with 14/14/14 IVs reaches 1499 CP, the stats of that Poliwrath are considered instead.

Detailed Sets

Medicham – Great
MedichamMedicham
  • Psycho Cut Psychic
  • Counter Fighting
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
  • Ice Punch Ice
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting

Overview

Medicham is one of the best Pokémon in Great League. It has surprising bulk and enough firepower to threaten would-be counters. Psycho Cut has the EPS to quickly fire Power-Up Punch to boost quickly, but Counter is a great option as well if you want the extra oomph to your Fast Move without sacrificing that much Energy Gain. Power-up Punch should be your go-to attack so you can boost its Attack, and Ice Punch should scare off Altaria and other Flying-types who dare to threaten Medicham with Sky Attack. Dynamic Punch is also a good option but since it’s also a Fighting-type move, it doesn’t have good synergy with Power-up Punch, and worse when you also have Counter. It also scares off Flygon and other Ground-types who plan on spamming Charge Moves with the help of Mud Shot. Psychic is a great option to surprise that Azumarill hoping to wall you.

Counters

Medicham is easily defeated by Skarmory, which only takes neutral damage by either move. Azumarill and other bulky Water-types should take down Medicham without any issue, assuming it doesn’t have Psychic.

 

Poliwrath – Great / Ultra
PoliwrathPoliwrath
  • Mud Shot Ground
  • Bubble Water
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
  • Ice Punch Ice
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting

Overview

Poliwrath embodies the essence of what a Water and Fighting-type should be. Sporting a huge HP stat compared to other Fighting-types and a huge Attack stat compared to other Water-types. These attributes of Poliwrath makes it a great tank, and Niantic blessed this Pokémon with Mud Shot, one of the best Fast Moves in the game (although it’s a legacy move now). Bubble should still be worth using, but it’s not as effective as Mud Shot. Almost every Fighting-type that learns Power-Up Punch will see use in Trainer Battles, and Poliwrath is no different. With Mud Shot, it should have an easier time to boost its Attack compared with other Power-Up Punch users. Ice Punch is a good coverage move that should make opponents think twice on switching Flying or Grass-types in on Poliwrath. Dynamic Punch is still a good option and is a better closer than Power-Up Punch.

Counters

The drawback of Poliwrath’s typing is that none of the two typings’ weaknesses are covered up by the others’ resistances, therefore having 5 weaknesses. The Electric, Flying, and Grass-type weaknesses will hurt since they are some of the most common moves to be used in Trainer Battles. While it does have an answer to all of those via Mud Shot and Ice Punch, Poliwrath doesn’t have the answer to the other two, Psychic and Fairy-types.

Hitmonchan – Great
HitmonchanHitmonchan
  • Counter Fighting
  • Ice Punch Ice
  • Thunder Punch Electric
  • Fire Punch Fire
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting

Overview

Hitmonchan’s coverage is only matched by the likes of Mewtwo and Mew. As the only Pokémon in the meta that learns all the Elemental punches, namely Fire Punch, Thunder Punch, and Ice Punch, Hitmonchan would be a good glue Pokémon to patch up your teams’ weaknesses. Learning Counter as a Fast Move is nice since it doesn’t have a go-to Fighting-type Charge Move to use, nor can it afford using one since both of its Charge Moves should be allotted to the Elemental Punches. Thunder Punch and Ice Punch are the best combinations since they hit almost all Pokémon with at least Neutral coverage except for the Magnemite Line, but since you have Counter, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t need the perfect coverage, you can always go for Fire Punch since it would provide more damage against stuff like Scizor and Forretress, while still dealing super effective damage to Skarmory. Do remember that losing Thunder Punch will make you vulnerable to bulky Water-types while losing Ice Punch will make you vulnerable to Flygon, Altaria, Gligar, Gliscor, and once it’s available, Garchomp. Power-Up Punch is a good option but since Hitmonchan values coverage than damage output, it’s a distant second option but is still usable. You will have to pick between Ice Punch and Thunder Punch, depending on which  Pokémon you want to check.

Counters

What Hitmonchan lacks is pure firepower. It will get by with super-effective hits, but if it doesn’t have the super-effective move against the opponent, it’ll have a hard time. This means Psychic-types and even fellow Fighting-types such as Cresselia and Medicham should have an easy ride against it.  The common Water and Ground-type Pokémon should also do well, but it is better to come in when the opponent is already damaged, as they won’t have a good time on a purely 1v1 match-up. Finally, some Ghost-types will like a match-up against Hitmonchan assuming they have Shadow Claw- Gengar especially since it triple resists Counter. If there’s no Fire-type Charge Move, Forretress should be used the same with the Water and Ground-type Pokémon, coming in when the opponent is already damaged.

Breloom – Great / Ultra
BreloomBreloom
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Seed Bomb Grass
  • Grass Knot Grass

Overview

Breloom, believe it or not, boasts the highest Attack stat among Fighting-types. While it does beat Blaziken by just 1 point, it has two STAB moves that charge up fast with Dynamic Punch and Seed Bomb, while Blaziken is stuck with high energy Charge Moves (at least until its Community Day arrives possibly in May of 2019). Breloom also has Counter which is a superb Fast Move. Bullet Seed might not win on a neutral match-up, but with Water and Ground-type Pokémon being common, this kind of Breloom might be good to save, if and when you need it. The 2019 Hoenn event also gave Breloom Grass Knot. While it is stronger and more efficient than Seed Bomb, in the cases of very tight Trainer Battles, it can be a battle against who can fire off a Charge Move first. This is where Seed Bomb will fare better since it needs less energy to charge. Additionally, if you only plan on hitting your Seed Bomb on those common Water and Ground-type Pokémon, Seed Bomb will surely be enough. In some cases, even having Bullet Seed as a Fast Move is enough to chip away at them, so not having a Grass-type Charge Move and just choosing Sludge Bomb instead is a good option. It will also surprise Fairy-types like Togekiss, Togetic, and Azumarill, and doesn’t get you walled by Flying-types.

Counters

While Breloom does have the Attack stat to be great, its bulk leaves a lot to be desired. It goes down easily when it is weak against the opponent’s Fast Move and you can double that when you go against Skarmory, who will almost always have Air Slash. Breloom won’t even survive long enough to take Sky Attack.

Toxicroak – Great / Ultra
ToxicroakToxicroak
  • Counter Fighting
  • Poison Jab Poison
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Mud Bomb Ground
  • Sludge Bomb Poison

Overview

Toxicroak is a relatively new Pokémon however it has access to great moves. It is the only Fighting-type that not only gets neutral damage from Fairy-types but can also hit back with a super-effective STAB move against them, something Lucario struggles to do. It might be double weak to Psychic-types, but since there is a lack of good Psychic-type moves, Toxicroak has fewer things to worry about. Counter and Poison Jab have the same energy gain, and while Counter is more powerful on neutral damage, Poison Jab hits Medicham, Venusaur, and most Flying-types with Neutral damage, while hitting Fairy-types like Azumarill and Togekiss with super-effective damage. Dynamic Punch and Sludge Bomb are great in their own right, and but Mud Bomb lets you have a good move against other Poison-types, so you won’t completely get walled by them. Still, Sludge Bomb not only lets you hit Fairy-types, but it gives you a neutral matchup against most Flying-types.

Counters

Even if there are only a handful of Psychic-type moves that are “usable”, Toxicroak will still fear Extrasensory and Psyshock, as well as other super-effective hits from Flying and Ground-type moves. The best wall against Toxicroak is Skarmory, as it doesn’t fear any of Toxicroaks’ moves and can hit back with Air Slash and Sky Attack if it gets that far. Other Flying or Poison-types can wall Toxicroak as well. Noctowl earns a mention since it learns Extrasensory and Sky Attack. In Ultra League, Mewtwo can cause a great deal of damage with Psycho Cut alone and just be content with any Charge Move to finish Toxicroak off. Metagross may take damage from Mud Bomb or Dynamic Punch, but with a Poison Jab moveset, it’ll have an easier time and hit STAB Meteor Mash in return.

While Great League seems to be the best fit for Toxicroak, the prevalence of Psyshock and regular Pokémon with Psychic Fast Moves in Great League makes Toxicroak fare better in Ultra League where it gets the least amount of hard counters. The problem is that to reach Ultra League, much like Medicham, you have to reach Level 40 and it’s best to have Perfect IVs.

Hariyama – Great / Ultra / Master
HariyamaHariyama
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Heavy Slam Normal

Overview

Hariyama has one of the biggest HP stats among Fighting-types (higher than Poliwrath) and can be a surprise against ill-prepared teams. The fact that it can absorb hits and deal big hits as well, is a bit unfair. Counter and Dynamic Punch are staples and Heavy Slam is just there for coverage. While it is a bit bulky, it still fears super-effective hits from Flying, Psychic, and Fairy-types making this Pokémon a bit one-dimensional and that is why there are other options in Great League that would do better than Hariyama. Even though it does its best in Ultra League, it still faces stiff competition with Poliwrath which not only has High HP, but great Defense as well.

Counters

Hariyama can also fare decently well in Master League. Even though there are no Fighting-types with a CP above 3100 (except for that weird kid who maxed out his Perfect IV Heracross), Fighting-types are still relevant in Master League, since Pokémon like Tyranitar and Melmetal are present. Even though there are better options for a Tyranitar and Meltmetal counter like Groudon, Tyranitar will always be at the mercy of a Counter Fast Move.

Machamp – Great / Ultra / Master
MachampMachamp
  • Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Heavy Slam Normal

Overview

Machamp is basically a slimmer version of Hariyama (or Hariyama is the bulky version of Machamp; you be the judge). While it’s not as bulky as Hariyama, it still has the defense to survive many neutral hits without sacrificing that much Attack. Counter and Dynamic Punch are staples and Rock Slide is a good coverage move. While Machamp has bulk, it definitely fears super-effective hits from Flying, Psychic, and Fairy-types. Like Hariyama, this Pokémon is a bit one-dimensional. Unlike Hariyama however, it has Rock Slide and so Machamp is the middle ground between bulky Pokémon and glass cannons, or the “Goldilocks zone”, which may entice players, especially beginners.

Counters

Machamp can also do well in Master League, but at this point, it can’t really be proud of its bulk, and can only survive resisted hits, which means it can be a good hard counter to a Bite Tyranitar, but it needs to be dealt in the right circumstance, such as baiting a Tyranitar Switch.

Lucario – Great / Ultra / Master
LucarioLucario
  • Counter Fighting
  • Power-Up Punch Fighting
  • Shadow Ball Ghost

Overview

While Lucario seems underwhelming, it’s the only Fighting-type that has access to Shadow Ball, which is powerful even as a neutral hit. Lucario does learn Counter, and while it does learn Power-Up Punch, it doesn’t have the bulk to even survive a boost or two. Even if Lucario is considered a glass cannon, its Steel-typing allows it to receive neutral damage to Flying, Fairy, and Psychic-types. This Pokémon does have a weakness to Fire, Ground, and Fighting-types though.

Counters

It’s easy to find a counter in Ultra League for Lucario. Fire-type starters Charizard and Typhlosion’s Blast Burn should hurt, and props to Charizard for resisting all but Shadow Ball. Other Fighting-types such as Poliwrath and Hariyama should be great, and may even survive a Shadow Ball in the right circumstances. Finally, the plethora of Ground-types like Flygon and even Donphan can take on Lucario.

Final Thoughts

How about you guys? Do you think I missed other Fighting-type Pokémon? Should I have included Hitmontop since it’s basically Hariyama but high Defense, low HP, and no Dynamic Punch? Should I have mentioned that Machoke has greater attack than Machamp in Great League? Why did I not write Heracross’s details for Master League? Did I consider that Gallade has Leaf Blade which should be good enough to defeat Tyranitar in Master League? Why is there no love for Infernape? Comment down below, or reply on GO Hub’s twitter feed.

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