Movesets in-depth explanation

In Pokémon Go, the term “Movesets” refers to the available attacks each monster can learn. These movesets directly impact how useful that Pokémon will be in the meta game. The goal of a moveset is to optimize a Pokémon’s Damage per Second (DPS) for its dedicated purpose, be it attacking rival gyms, defending gyms for the glory of your respective team, or defeating the fierce raid bosses! That being said, movesets break down into two parts: Fast Attacks and Charge Attacks.

Fast Attacks

The most common attack a Pokémon will use is its Fast Attack. The purpose of this skill is to deal consistent damage to a defender while generating energy quickly to deliver devastating blows with its Charge Attacks. A Pokémon’s Fast Attack can be changed by using a Fast TM item. These attacks can be found in game on a Pokémon’s info page as the first attack from the top.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when selecting a Fast Attack for a Pokémon:

Damage Per Second (DPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Floor(1/2 * Power *Atk/Def * Effective) +1 (see more at Damage Mechanics in Pokemon GO)

Energy Gain Per Second (EPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Energy Gain = Energy of attack / Time (in seconds)

These calculations allow Trainers to determine which Fast Attacks do the most damage and generate the most energy the quickest.

SceptileDamageCast TimeDPSEnergyEPS
Bullet Seed Grass81.10s8.71412.7
Fury Cutter Bug30.40s7.5615

We can see in the above example that Sceptile has two viable Fast Attack options with Bullet Seed and Fury Cutter, and though they are very close in overall DPS, Fury Cutter generates more EPS which makes it the better option for this Pokémon.

Charge Attacks

Charge Attacks are swift and powerful spike damage attack available once a Pokémon has generated energy from its Fast Attacks. Although, these attacks are used less often than your Fast Attacks, they play a huge factor in how successful your Pokémon will be in battle. A Pokémon’s Charge Attack can be changed by using a Charge TM item. These attacks can be found in game on a Pokémon’s info page below the Fast Attacks; these will have charge meters underneath them as well.

There are a few calculations that assist Trainers to determine the optimal Charge Attack for a Pokémon:

Damage Per Second (DPS)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Floor(1/2 * Power *Atk/Def * Effective) +1 (see more at Damage Mechanics in Pokemon GO)

Damage Per Energy (DPE)

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Damage * Number of Charge uses / 100

Casting Time

The formula for calculating this in Pokémon Go is Animation Time (in seconds) * Number of Charge Uses

Taking these calculations into account, we can now look at our example of Sceptile once again:

SceptileDamageCast TimeDPSEnergyDPE
Leaf Blade Grass702.40s35-332.1
Earthquake Ground1203.60s33-1001.2
Aerial Ace Flying552.40s22.9-331.65

Sceptile has access to three very different Charge Attacks that can be used for different purposes, however, the highest DPS option is Leaf Blade. Although the use of all three of the Leaf Blade Charge Attacks takes a total 7.20 seconds, a single strike does comparable damage to Earthquake while benefitting from Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB), and uses substantially less energy.

Defending Movesets/Type Coverage:

Some Pokémon have found their place in the meta game as dedicated Gym Defenders. These Pokémon typically have dedicated movesets using the DPS formula with a focus on taking down the specific types to which they are weak. Blissey Normal, for example, is currently the best gym defender in the game. It has amazing stats and access to both a Fast and Charge Attack that are Super Effective against its only weakness, Fighting.

By becoming familiar with your Gym Defenders and their weaknesses you can optimize their movesets based on their available attacks.

Related reading: Type Effectiveness

Versatility

In some cases, selecting a moveset is based specifically on the attacks available and the potential use of that Pokémon. A great example is Kyorge with access to Thunder Electric, it is a decent option for battling against other Water type Pokémon.

By balancing a Pokémon’s typing with its attack options, you can create interesting movesets that take reduced damage from its target while dealing Super Effective damage at the same time.


Legacy Movesets in Pokémon GO

With meta changes, some Pokémon lost the ability to learn a particular moveset. These are called legacy moveset. For many Pokémon, these were the best movesets available for them to date. If you are lucky enough to have a Pokémon with one of these movesets, you may want to think twice before changing it a TM.

PokémonFast AttackCharge Attack
AlakazamDazzling Gleam
Psychic
ArcanineBiteBulldoze
Flamethrower
BeedrillBug Bite
BlazikenStone Edge
ButterfreeBug Bite
ChanseyPsybeam
CharizardEmber
Wing Attack
Flamethrower
CharmeleonScratch
ClefablePound
CleffaPsychic
Body Slam
CloysterBlizzard
Icy Wind
DewgongIce Shard
DiglettMud Shot
DodrioAir Cutter
DoduoSwift
DragoniteDragon BreathDragon Claw
Dragon Pulse
DugtrioMud Shot
EeveeBody Slam
EkansGunk Shot
ElectrodeTackle
ElekidThunderbolt
ExeggutorConfusion

Zen Headbutt

Farfetch’dCut
FearowTwister
FeraligatrWater Gun
FlareonHeat Wave
GastlySucker PunchOminous Wind
GengarShadow ClawSludge Wave
Dark Pulse
GolbatOminous Wind
GolemMud ShotAncient Power
GravelerMud Shot
GrimerAcid
GyaradosDragon Breath
Dragon Tail
Dragon Pulse
Twister
HaunterLickShadow Ball
HitmonchanRock SmashBrick Break
HitmonleeStomp
Brick Break
HypnoPsyshock
Shadow Ball
IgglybuffBody Slam
JigglypuffPlay Rough
Body Slam
JynxPoundIce Punch
KabutopsFury Cutter
KangaskhanBrick Break
Stomp
KingdraWater Gun
KinglerMud Shot
KoffingAcid
KyogreDragon Tail
LaprasIce ShardDragon Pulse
Ice Beam
LoudredCrunch
MachampKarate ChopCross Chop
Stone Edge
Submission
MachokeCross Chop
MachopLow Kick
MagbyFlamethrower
MagnetonThunder ShockDischarge
MeowthBody Slam
MewHurricane
Dragon Pulse
MiloticWater Gun
MoltresEmber
OmanyteRock Tomb
Brine
OmastarRock ThrowRock Slide
OnixIron Head
Rock Slide
ParasectBug Bite
PersianNight Slash
PichuQuick Attack
PidgeotWing AttackAir Cutter
PikachuThunder
PinsirFury CutterSubmission
PolitoedEarthquake
PoliwhirlScald
PoliwrathMud ShotSubmission
PonytaFire Blast
PorygonQuick Attack
Tackle
Zen Headbutt
Discharge
Psybeam
Signal Beam
PrimeapeKarate ChopCross Chop
RaichuThunder ShockThunder
RapidashEmber
RhydonMegahorn
SandshrewRock Tomb
ScytherSteel WingBug Buzz
SeadraBlizzard
SeakingPoison JabIce Wind
Drill Run
SeelWater GunAqua Jet
SmoochumFrost Breath
SnorlaxBody Slam
SpearowTwister
StarmieQuick Attack
Tackle
Psybeam
StaryuQuick Attack
SuicuneHidden Power
TangelaPower Whip
TogepiZen Headbutt
TogeticSteel Wing
Zen Headbutt
VenomothBug BitePoison Fang
VoltorbSignal Beam
WeepinbellRazor Leaf
WeezingAcid
ZapdosThunder ShockDischarge
ZubatSludge Bomb

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