Pokemon GO’s December Community Day is Saturday December 18th and December 19th, 11am to 5pm local time. As with previous December Community Days, instead of a new featured Pokemon, Community Day Pokemon from the past 2 years will be available to evolve with their previous Community Day Moves. This is a great opportunity for players to get Community Day exclusive attacks they may have missed out on, and to “upgrade” by evolving Pokemon with better IVs without having to spend an Elite TM.
With 29 different species to evolve (38 with Shadow Pokemon), it can be overwhelming to know what to focus on. The article below highlights the most valuable Pokemon with their Community Day exclusive attacks, highlights their utility in PvP, and gives some PvP IV tips to help you pick the best Pokemon to evolve. Given that several Mega Evolutions may also be good in PvP in the future, Mega Pokemon are also highlighted too.
- SP - Stat Product, mostly used in reference to the “high SP” iteration of a species for PvP (often the low Atk, high Def, high HP). Unless specific Breakpoints are known, the high SP version of a Pokemon is considered the ideal PvP IV spread. Check out this video for more information.
- BPs - Breakpoints, the point in which a Pokemon does 1 more or less damage to an opposing Pokemon, mostly in reference to their Fast Move damage. BPs are “hidden” values in the game and only come to light using tools like PvPoke.com.
- CMP - Charge Move Priority, when two Pokemon throw a Charge Move at the same time, the Pokemon with the higher Atk stat (not Atk IV, but “hidden/true” Atk) lands their attack first.
- 1-1, 0-1, etc - These represent Shield scenarios in PvP. With 1-1, you use 1 Shield and your opponent uses 1 Shield. With 0-1, you use 0 Shields and your opponent uses 1 Shield.
- Meta Pick - Top of the line Pokemon for the format. Think Azumarill for the Great League, etc.
- Spice Pick - A Pokemon that functions well against Meta Picks but often isn’t consistent enough to be considered a Meta Pick itself.
- Meme Pick - A Pokemon that is too inconsistent to be considered a Spice Pick. Usually functions off a singular gimmick.
Moonblast isn’t exactly a “game changer” for Altaria, but it is Altaria’s best in slot 2nd Charge Move. You wouldn’t want to burn an Elite TM on Moonblast, but if you could evolve it, you’d definitely want it. If you’re serious about the Great League or have plans to use Altaria in the Ultra League, then you want to evolve a few Moonblast Altaria.
Altaria PvP IV Tips: Generally you want a high SP Altaria. In the Great League, the max HP Altaria specifically (0/0/15) is able to win most mirror match scenarios thanks to CMP and by having exactly 1 HP extra for the 2-2 specifically.
Due to CMP and a few specific matchups, Atk weight Altaria in general is also an optimal option. With an Atk weight of 101.82-102.79 (102.79 ideal), you can get a BP on Trevenant, clipping it from reaching Shadow Ball in a significant amount of scenarios. This Atk weight can often maintain the same exact damage after a Bubble Beam vs Jellicent as well. If you pursue higher Atk, try to maintain at least 139 HP to tie the 2-2 Altaria mirror rather than lose. Ironically enough, the 0/0/15 also has this Atk weight (103.1). This makes the 0/0/15 look extremely ideal, but the lower Def means most Trevenant can get a Shadow Claw Breakpoint re-flipping some of its bait-dependent matchups.
For Ultra League Altaria, you’ll want the perfect 100% IV Altaria as it caps at 2293 CP at level 51. This makes UL Altaria sound bad, but the appeal of it is that it has a higher SP than Dragonite while sharing a similar role. Despite having less CP, XL Altaria technically has more stats than Dragonite. To add, the level 50 Altaria has role compression when used as Mega Altaria for Raids and in the Master League if/when Megas are allowed in GO Battle League.
As for the future potential of Mega Altaria, Mega Altaria stands out in all three Leagues as a Dragon Breath user that resists Dragon-type attacks, as it trades its Flying sub-type for a Fairy sub-type. This makes Moonblast even more important for Mega Altaria as Moonblast becomes more of an auxiliary move than a contingency move.
Mega Altaria PvP IV Tips: None at the moment as Megas aren’t allowed in GO Battle League yet. Most PvP IV apps and websites will let you know which IVs are high SP for Mega Altaria.
Interesting note: Some GL Altaria IVs parallel Mega Altaria’s UL IVs but are off by exactly 2 power ups. Being Best Buddied effectively gives a Pokemon a temporary 2 power up bonus. Therefore, if you have the right IV spreads, you could toggle the Best Buddy feature to use the same exact Altaria in both roles. Here’s a list of the 17 IV spreads that do this of the Top 200 high SP Altaria/Mega Altaria.
Beedrill is a passable Spice Pick in the Open Great League, but often shines as a Meta Pick in limited formats such as the Remix Cup and Kanto Cup. While X-Scissor + Sludge Bomb Beedrill has its uses, you’re generally not running Beedrill in PvP without Drill Run. When it comes to Shadow vs Regular Beedrill, they’re about even. If you’re serious about PvP, you’ll want both with Drill Run, no question.
Beedrill PvP IV Tips: Generally you want a high SP Beedrill. That said, a slight Atk weight of 126.49-129 can get Breakpoints on Alolan Ninetales (farm potential), Swampert (2-2 potential), and Vigoroth (1-2 potential). A 129.6 Atk stat offers similar advantages against Abomasnow and Shadow Abomasnow. For Shadow Beedrill, an Atk stat of roughly 128.51 an get Breakpoints on Shadow Machamp (2-2 potential), Medicham (1-1 potential), and a Charge Move Breakpoint on Sableye (1-1 potential).
Mega Beedrill isn’t worth considering for PvP, so no concerns there.
All of Charizard’s Fast Moves have different utilities over each other. The advantage to Dragon Breath Charizard is having a Dragon Breath user that isn’t weak to Dragon Breath, enabling it to counter other Dragon Breath users. To add, DB Charizard is a Dragon Breath user that can counter Charm users. This utility is mostly valuable in the Ultra League, but DB Charizard shouldn’t be slept on in the Great League. The heart breaker with DB Charizard is that you’ll have to spend an Elite Charge TM to get Blast Burn. With limited Elite TMs and Elite Charge TMs being more valuable, you may want to stick with just the Ultra League.
Dragon Breath Shadow Charizard is arguably worse than normal Charizard is, as the drop in bulk greatly reduces its potential against Charm users.
Charizard PvP IV Tips: Dragon Breath Charizard doesn’t appear to have any relevant Atk BPs in the Ultra League, so DB Charizard ought to focus on SP. Dragon Breath Shadow Charizard is arguably worse than normal Charizard, but if you are tempted a 171.44+ Atk can get a Breakpoint on Shadow Machamp, enabling the 2-2. Great League Dragon Breath Charizard’s PvP IVs haven’t been explored much, so high SP is advised.
In the Master League, Mega Charizard Y stands out as one of the best options in the future Mega Meta. Its utility in the Master League parallels normal Charizard’s in the Ultra League- a Dragon Breath user that isn’t weak to Dragon Breath and resists Charm. Mega Charizard Y can subdue Dialga in all even shield scenarios, unless Dialga is Best Buddied (which can be remedied by Best Buddying Charizard). Dragon Breath Mega Charizard Y can also subdue the dreaded Togekiss in the 2-2 shield scenario straight Blast Burn.
Mega Charizard X on the other hand hasn’t been explored well. Getting STAB on Dragon Breath is nice, but it kind of defeats the purpose of not being weak to Dragon Breath and resisting Charm. Basic simulation data suggests Mega Charizard X could have a place in all 3 Leagues, as its Dragon + Fire dual-type is fairly unique, so it could be safe to evolve a Mega Charizard X candidate for each League.
Best Moveset: Waterfall + Drill Peck + Hydro Cannon
Used in: Great League and Ultra League
Empoleon is one of the best Ultra League Pokemon and is very powerful in the Great League, but only if it has Hydro Cannon. No questions asked, you’ll want 1 for each League, arguably multiple for different Atk weights for CMP if you really want to get big brained about it.
Empoleon PvP IV Tips: Generally you’ll want to side with high SP or slight Atk weights for CMP. In the Ultra League, Trevenant and Shadow Nidoqueen do have a Def breakpoint that they may miss if you have enough of an Atk weight on your Empoleon, so using a slight Atk weighted Empoleon for CMP could confer other benefits as well. These potential gains however don’t appear to outweigh the raw value of high bulk.
Garchomp and Mega Garchomp have two distinct flavors: Earth Power or Sand Tomb. Which Ground-type Charge Move is better and paired with which Fast Move is a huge debate and mind game for your opponent. While you don’t strictly need Earth Power for Garchomp, you’ll definitely want the option. To add, if you’re into optimizing your Raid Party, Earth Power is both Garchomp’s best Ground-type Charge Move.
While Garchomp is mostly a Master League only Pokemon, it does have some interesting meme potential in the Great League and Ultra League. Generally the lower League Garchomps run Sand Tomb, but for that reason Earth Power could be an unexpected nuke.
Garchomp PvP IV Tips: It’s a Master League Pokemon- build the 100%. If you are thrifting though, you’ll want a 15 Atk IV and at least a 14 Def IV for Zekrom, non-Best Buddy Dialga, and Best Buddy Dragonite. A 13 HP IV is also acceptable, but any less and you’re rolling the dice.
Mega Garchomp doesn’t stand out as much as other future potential Mega Master League Pokemon do. That said, if you’re building Garchomp for Master League you’re technically already building Mega Garchomp for Master League.
Gengar has seen better days in the Ultra League. The introduction of XL Candy brought in Umbreon, Greedent, and Galar Stunfisk, three big hits to Gengar’s meta viability. That said, Gengar is still a force to be reckoned with and is as good as ever in Classic Cups. While Gengar can function without Shadow Punch, more often than not you’ll want this deadly bait move.
In the Great League, Gengar’s utility over Haunter is its bulk and keeping your opponents on their toes by threatening to maybe have Focus Blast. Gengar isn’t strictly better than Haunter, but all things considered, it is an upgrade. Gengar won’t be much of an upgrade however without Shadow Punch.
Gengar PvP IV Tips: For Gengar in both Leagues, you want high SP. One of Gengar’s key advantages over Haunter is its higher SP. If you want to chase Atk BPs or CMP, it could be better to just use Haunter. In the Ultra League, high SP is still the name of the game, but slight Atk weights could get CMP in mirror matchups.
As for Mega Gengar, Mega Gengar is prophered to be one of the best Mega Pokemon for Master League PvP. Given that it can nearly subdue Dialga straight Shadow Punch, not having Shadow Punch on a 100% IV Gengar for the future could be a mistake. The lack of Shadow Punch also removes some of its win conditions against Mega Charizard Y and other future Mega Pokemon as well.
Gyarados has historically been the best safe swap in the Open Ultra League and Master League Premier Cup with Aqua Tail. In the Great League, Gyarados isn’t good in general, but if you ever do use one, you’ll want Aqua Tail there too. While Gyarados can get by in all Leagues without Aqua Tail, you aren’t really playing at its full potential without it. The same can be said for its Shadow version and Mega. So if you missed out on evolving an Aqua Tail Gyarados before, you won’t want to miss out on it now.
Gyarados PvP IV Tips: For the Ultra League, Gyarados wants a high SP with a slight favor towards Defence. For the Master League Premier Cup, you’ll want to make sure you have a 15 Def IV for Best Buddy Metagross, Dragon Tail Garchomp, and Snorlax. As for the Great League, Gyarados’s PvP IVs haven’t been explored yet
If Mega Charizard Y and Mega Gengar both look good for the future Mega Master League, you can imagine how much Mega Gyarados could be a headache for them. As a Water/Dark-type Pokemon, Mega Gyarados resists their Fire and Ghost-type attacks and terrorizes the meta as yet another Dragon Breath user than isn’t weak to Dragon Breath. While the Mega Gengar matchup is easy, Mega Gyarados won’t be overcoming Mega Charizard Y without Aqua Tail. Without Aqua Tail, Mega Gyarados won’t be having a good time against Charm users either.
Best Moveset: Poison Jab/Bullet Seed + Weather Ball + Leaf Storm
Used in: Ultra League, occasionally Great League
When Roserade had its Community Day, giving it Bullet Seed and Weather Ball (Fire), it was still pretty weak. Future buffs to Poison Jab and Leaf Storm however have made Roserade a powerful option for the Great League and the Ultra League Premier Cup- of course, not without Weather Ball. While Roserade isn’t a top meta threat in either League, it’s still an option you’ll want to have for team building, meta shifts, and Cups.
Given how powerful Poison Jab is as a Fast Move, there is an argument to be made for it over Bullet Seed. To get the best of both worlds, you’ll want to evolve 2 Roserades for both the Great League and the Ultra League.
Roserade PvP IVs: Roserade’s PvP IVs haven’t been explored yet. Therefore, high SP is recommended, or potentially a slight Atk weight for CMP.
Best Moveset: Charm + Psyshock + Moon Blast
Used in: All Leagues, mostly Ultra League
Nothing improves Charm users more than having a lower energy cost Charge Move and Psyshock happens to be Sylveon’s lowest energy cost Charge Move. The extra speed from Psyshock transformed Sylveon from a budget option in the Ultra League into arguably the best Charm user in the Ultra League. Psyshock also caused Sylveon to take over Shadow Gardevoir’s place in double Charm teams in the Master League Premier Cup. As with many other Pokemon in this article, if you’re going to be playing with Sylveon, you’ll want to be playing with Psyshock Sylveon.
Sylveon doesn’t see too much play in the Great League as Charm itself is relatively weak in the Open Great League. Cups that favor Charm however, could favor Sylveon.
Sylveon PvP IVs: For the Ultra League, there is an argument to be made for both a high Def Sylveon and a slight Atk weight Sylveon. Check out our Eeveelutions PvP IV Deep Dive for more details. For the Great League, you likely want high SP. For the Master League, Sylveon doesn’t seem to be picky about Breakpoints/PvP IVs, just try not to stray lower than 12/12/12.
Best Moveset: Incinerate + Flame Charge + Brave Bird
Used in: Great League and Ultra League
Talonflame is one of the best Pokemon in the Ultra League and is very powerful in the Great League, but only if it has Incinerate. If you missed out on evolving one last time or have better PvP IVs to choose from, you’ll want to make sure you evolve one for each League
Talonflame PvP IVs: Talonflame wants as much bulk as possible in both the Great League and the Ultra League. Given how important throwing your Charge Move or having that final Fast Move register is, you shouldn’t shirk on the bulk (high SP). That said, it’s advised to build a non-Best Buddy Talonflame for Ultra League PvP to keep the Best Buddy slot open for other Pokemon (i.e. Galar Stunfisk, Umbreon).
What separates Machamp and Shadow Machamp from the previous Tier is that their Community Day Move, Payback, isn’t exactly their best move. However, Payback does have the potential to OHKO some of Machamp’s counters that think they’re in for a free meal. For example, in the Kanto Cup, Payback can enable Shadow Machamp to oneshot Hypno and Nidoqueen, two of its biggest threats. Even if your opponent smells the Payback and shields it, you at least got a shield in a matchup you otherwise wouldn’t (unless of course you were bluffing that you had Payback).
In short, if you forget to evolve Payback onto a Machamp and Shadow Machamp for Great League and Ultra League PvP (and Master League for good measure), you probably won’t be missing out. That said, Payback is easily the spice that can allow you climb up ranks in GO Battle League when the meta hits just right.
Machamp PvP IVs: For both Great League and Ultra League, both Machamp and Shadow Machamp prefer having high bulk, but don’t mind having a slight/moderate Atk weight. In the Ultra League specifically, a 175.5+ Atk stat can win CMP ties with other species. Checkout this video for more details:
Best Moveset: Mud Slap/Smack Down + Surf + Rock Wrecker
Used in: Mostly Master League, occasionally Great League
Rhyperior used to be a staple pick in the Master League. As the meta has evolved, Rhyperior has lagged behind, but it still remains threatening enough to show up when the meta hits just right. Of course, all of its threat is lost the minute you don’t have Rock Wrecker. When it comes to the Great League, Rhyperior only really sees use in Cups and Rocker Wrecker is the only thing that gives it a leg up on its pre-evolution Rhydon. And while Rhyperior isn’t the “best” Rock-type Raid attacker, it is a Stardust efficient one as it is also able to function as a Ground-type attacker and has use in Master League PvP. In short, if you missed out on evolving one for Raids/Master League and one for Great League last time, don’t miss out on it this time or you’ll never be using Rhyperior.
Rhyperior PvP IVs: It’s a Master League Pokemon- build the 100%. If you are thrifting though, 14 Def IV is necessary for non-Best Buddy Metagross and Shadow Metagross, and 13 Def IV encompasses most other Def Breakpoints. Simulation data also suggests you won’t want to drop lower than a 13 HP IV. A 15 Atk IV is also still highlighly recommended.
Fun Trivia: Rhydon and Rhyperior have identical stats in the Great League. The key difference is one has Rock Wrecker and the other doesn’t.
Best Moveset: Snarl + Foul Play + Last Resort
The Move Fighting and Poison-types fear: Psychic
Used in: Great League and Ultra League, mostly Great League for Psychic Umbreon
As with Payback Machamp, Psychic isn’t Umbreon’s bread and butter move. While Psychic sounds good on paper, covering Umbreon’s vulnerabilities to key Fighting and Poison-type Pokemon, it does give Umbreon new found problems with opposing Dark-type Pokemon. If you want to spice it up and run both Community Day attacks, you now have problems with Sableye and Steel-types. At the end of the day, Psychic is good enough to warrant having, especially in the Great League, but you’ll want Last Resort on your bulkiest Umbreon.
Umbreon PvP IVs: In the Great League, Umbreon wants high SP with a slight favor towards Def. Basically, since every Umbreon wants to be the “Rank 1 SP,” BP minded opponents might not consider Def weights higher than the Rank 1’s. As for Ultra League, you want the hundo, but the 14/14/13 is “acceptable.” Check out the Eeveelutions PvP IV Deep Dive for more details.
Given Alakazam’s low bulk, it isn’t exactly a “Counter user that can beat Counter users” but it is unique enough that it could catch an opponent off guard. Counter Alakazam is best used in Cups where it can hit just right and is often preferred as a Shadow Alakazam. It will likely never be a top meta threat in any Cup, but its unique combination of attacks and resistances has crushed unprepared teams in the past. In short: Don’t sleep on Counter Alakazam.
If you’re curious about the future potential of Mega Alakazam, it doesn’t appear to be good or salvageable for the Master League.
When it comes to Electivire and Shadow Electivire in the Great League and the Ultra League, Ice Punch generally covers all the bases that Flamethrower would. There could be scenarios where landing Flamethrower does just enough extra damage in a handful of common matchups where it could warrant using the Community Day exclusive Flamethrower instead. Right now, the reward isn’t there, but that doesn’t mean it will never be.
Best Moveset: Spark + Psychic Fangs + Wild Charge
Used in: Great League and Ultra League
Luxray is pretty mediocre in both the Great League and the Ultra League. Psychic Fangs however, is just good enough to give it some hope in Cup formats. If you don’t have a Psychic Fangs Luxray evolved for both the Great League and the Ultra League, that hope could be lost forever.
Best Moveset: Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant + Aerial Ace
Used in: Great League
Until Aerial Ace stops being bad, Serperior is condemned to live in Meganium’s shadow. That said, there are some limited formats where Aerial Ace doesn’t feel as bad and there are cases where Serperior’s higher Def can allow it to outperform Meganium. To add, if you don’t have a Frenzy Plant Meganium and don’t plan on Elite TMing one anytime soon, Serperior is good enough to fill Meganium’s shoes. And if you ever do get into draft PvP Leagues, you won’t want to be the fool passing up the Serperior pick just because you don’t have one.
Pokemon GO gave Shiftry Bullet Seed for a Community Day Move. Bullet Seed has the same stats as and objectively worse coverage than Snarl. That said, the day could come where Bullet Seed does just enough extra damage to a common meta threat where you’re the fool for not having a Bullet Seed Shiftry and/or Shadow Shiftry for the Great League and/or Ultra League. That day hasn’t come yet, and that day may never come, but if it does, you should be ready.
Could Get Buffed
The following Pokemon aren’t currently advised to use in PvP, but they could get buffed in the future. The following section highlights their limitations and what would need to change to make them worthwhile. Because the potential is there, you should still consider evolving these Pokemon just in case future changes do help them out.
Dusknoir is completely overshadowed by every single Shadow Claw + Shadow Pokemon Ghost-type in existence. Why Pokemon GO didn’t give Dusclops Shadow Ball too for Community Day is anyone’s guess. At any rate, Dusknoir has Shadow Ball now, which is one step closer than it has ever been before to being meta. Future movepool additions could give it a niche.
Ember and Low Kick are two Fast Moves that could really use a buff. Should that day come and it puts Emboar on the map, you’ll want to have Blast Burn.
As it stands, Espeon is just the low Stat Product Confusion + Shadow Ball Pokemon. That said, it is the Confusion + Shadow Ball Pokemon that learns Psychic Fangs in the main series games. Even with Psychic Fangs, Espeon would likely still be a fringe/Cup pick, but it wouldn’t be terrible.
Flareon’s in a similar position as Emboar, but is instead praying for an Ember or Fire Spin buff. If Flareon ever becomes good, you’ll want Super Power to push through Steel and Rock-type counters.
Electric-type coverage on a Fire-type Pokemon is fairly useful on paper. Unfortunately, Magmortar’s Karate Chop and Fire Punch leaves a lot to be desired. As it stands, Magmortar is just too weak as a Fire-type to be useful as a Fire-type with Electric attacks. If an update to Fire Spin, Fire Punch, or Magmortar’s movepool were to help that, then Magmortar could be an interesting Fire-type option for the Great League and/or the Ultra League.
Porygon Z lives in Porygon 2’s shadow. Porygon 2 has the same moveset, better SP, and doesn’t need a special event to get Tri-Attack. While the Zap Cannon buff was nice for both Porygon, Porygon-Z is going to need something extra special to ever stand out from its pre-evolution.
Imagine Empoleon but without Drill Peck. Maybe one day Samurott will get its own “Drill Peck.”