Gengar Raid Challenge Day: What to Know and Expect

Gengar Raid Challenge Day: What to Know and Expect

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On November 3rd, Gengar will be taking over the raid scene in Pokemon GO. During this time trainers will have the opportunity to capture a shiny Gengar from raids and all Gengar caught (and evolved during the event) will have the moveset combination of Lick + Psychic. While Psychic is uninspiring, Lick rivals the legacy move Shadow Claw in power. Naturally, trainers have been asking just how valuable the Lick move is and what the best counters are to the Gengar raid boss battle. Below this article will cover the details.
If you’d like an audio version of this information, check out this video.

Event Info

  • Asia-Pacific region: November 3, 2018, from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. JST (GMT +9)
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India: November 3, 2018, from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. UTC (GMT +0)
  • The Americas and Greenland: November 3, 2018, from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. PDT (GMT -7)

Max Catch CP: 1496

Boosted Max Catch CP (Cloudy/Foggy): 1870

Optimal Movesets: Shadow Claw or Lick + Shadow Ball

Great Movesets: Shadow Claw or Lick + Sludge Bomb / Hex or Sucker Punch + Shadow Ball

  • Shadow Claw is a strong attack with decent energy gain. If you're lucky to have a legacy Gengar, keep this move.

  • Lick is also a strong attack but with less overall power but faster energy gain than Shadow Claw. Both perform similar in practice.

  • Hex and Sucker Punch are quite close in performance. The main difference is that Hex is resisted by fewer types.

  • Shadow Ball is Gengar's best charge move, sharing the same typing as its best fast moves.

  • Sludge Bomb also has STAB, but its Poison typing lacks synergy with Ghost-type attacks.

  • Psychic is a bad charge move and is worse on Gengar who lacks STAB.

Gengar has the honor of having the highest pure DPS currently in the game. Its Ghost typing hits a wide variety of targets for neutral damage, and handy resistances can make up for its extreme frailty. Unfortunately, Gengar is weak to the Psychic-types that it's supposed to counter, causing it to underperform in scenarios where total damage output (TDO) matters more than DPS. Normal-types such as Blissey and Snorlax, which are common sights in gyms, also doubly resist Gengar's optimal movesets.

Gengar can earn its spot on raid teams against specific bosses to help beat the clock but it requires immaculate dodging to be effective. An evasive Gengar will swiftly deplete large chunks of a raid boss’s HP.

Lick vs Shadow Claw

A lot of hype surrounding Lick comes from the combination of Lick and Shadow Ball having a higher simple cycle DPS and comprehensive DPS than Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball. However, in practice there often isn’t a clear cut “winner” between the two moves on Gengar. To truly understand the differences you have to consider the differences between the two Fast Moves themselves.

Shadow Claw Lick
Pokemon Type Ghost Ghost
Base Damage 9 5
Energy Delta 6 6
Move Cooldown 0.7s 0.5s
Damage Per Second (DPS) 12.86 10
Energy Per Second (EPS) 8.57 12

On paper, Shadow Claw has higher DPS than Lick, where Lick has higher EPS. In order for Lick to gain an advantage in performance over Shadow Claw, Lick would have to net Gengar at least 1 extra Shadow Ball in practice than Shadow Claw would allow. Given that Lick’s higher performance is reliant on launching an extra Charge Move, Lick could be seen as high risk, high reward Fast Move when compared to Shadow Claw. In scenarios where there is very little luck involved (such as at the very beginning of a raid), Lick looks like the clear choice. Overall, both Fast Moves have their own advantages due to situational differences, and therefore are graded equal to each other.

Breakpoints and Bulkpoints

It’s not mandatory to hit these breakpoints or bulkpoints, but they are the levels where your attackers will have a noticeable improvement in their performance. If you are unfamiliar with what a breakpoint or bulkpoint is, we suggest checking out our guides on breakpoints and bulkpoints. If you’re curious about the breakpoints of other Pokemon or fast moves, you can find them using our breakpoint tool. You can find your Pokemon’s unique bulkpoints using our bulkpoint tool as well.

Weather boosts will also affect the breakpoints of Pokemon. We have noted the relevant breakpoints for commonly weather boosted Pokemon down below. Friendship will also influence breakpoints. This article will assume ultra friend status.

Pokemon Breakpoints (Ultra Friend, Best Friend💗, Wind Boost🌬️) Bulkpoints
Tyranitar 24.5, 30.5
Mewtwo, Confusion 31.5, 35.5, 39.5 | 40💗 | 31🌬️, 34🌬️, 37.5🌬️ | 37.5🌬️💗 31.5, 37.5
Gengar, Lick 35.5 29.5, 30.5, 37, 38
Gengar, Shadow Claw 30, 39.5 29.5, 30.5, 37, 38
Gengar, Hex 28.5, 35.5 29.5, 30.5, 37, 38
Metagross 31, 39 | 30🌬️, 36.5🌬️ | 39🌬️💗 30, 34, 40
Houndoom 30.5, 39.5 30, 33.5
Latios 33.5 | 37.5💗 | 31🌬️, 37.5🌬️ | 40🌬️💗 30, 35, 37, 38
Groudon 31.5 | 28.5🌞 | 36.5🌞💗
Alakazam, Confusion 31, 35.5, 40 | 32.5🌬️, 36🌬️, 40🌬️ | 40🌬️💗 29.5, 35, 37.5
Espeon, Confusion 31, 35.5, 40 | 30🌬️, 33🌬️, 37🌬️ | 37🌬️💗 29, 32.5, 34
Gardevoir 32.5, 37.5 | 39💗 | 32.5🌬️, 37🌬️ | 37.5🌬️💗 29.5, 32.5, 36

Counters - Shadow Ball & Sludge Bomb

The best counter to Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb Gengar is Tyranitar as it resists both attacks, and it deals immense damage by level 27.5 (enough to duo). Mewtwo is also an excellent option with Confusion + Psychic or Shadow Ball, trading some tankiness for damage over Tyranitar. Gengar is a clear option against Sludge Bomb, having a doubled up resistance to Poison-type damage, but is too risky to use against Shadow Ball. Should you want to use Gengar against the Shadow Ball moveset, try putting a Lick or Hex Gengar in the lead position. Given the time it takes for the enemy Gengar to use Shadow Ball at the very beginning of the fight and the extra energy from Lick and Hex, Gengar will be in a better position to launch an extra Shadow Ball than it would be otherwise.

Other great options for this raid includes Latios, Houndoom, Meteor Mash Metagross, and Groudon. In Clear weather Groudon may even be favored over Tyranitar depending on how much dust you’ve put in. If you lack the above options, Rayquaza, Exeggutor, Shadow Ball Lucario, Dragonite, Lugia, and Kyogre all very ok options. Against Shadow Ball, Cacturne and Shiftry may be considered. Against Sludge Bomb consider Espeon, Alakazam, or Rhydon.

Counters - Focus Blast

Focus Blast Gengar is overall easier than Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb, but requires a different approach for teams reliant on Tyranitar. Here, Mewtwo becomes the greatest counter followed by Gengar due to their high damage and resistances to Fighting-type damage. After these two, Alakazam and Espeon offer high damage where Gardevoir and Meteor Mash Metagross offer more tankiness. Any of these options offer duo worthy damage when properly leveled.

If you lack the above options, Lugia’s supreme tankiness and decent damage makes it stand out above other alternative options. Aside from Lugia, Rayquaza, Latios, Groudon, Dragonite, Sky Attack Moltres, and Exeggutor all make decent counters for this raid. If you’re bold, a maxed out Drifblim may also be considered for the Focus Blast Gengar fight.


Given that Lick + Shadow Ball Gengar has the best pure Ghost-type DPS in the game, this will definitely be an event you won't want to miss. Even if you're stocked up on Shadow Claw Gengar, the potential for Lick to outperform Shadow Claw suggests you'll want a few in your collection. The raids themselves will be relatively easy and the counters aren't all that exclusive. If you're lacking Mewtwo and Tyranitar, Gengar itself and the recent Meteor Mash Metagross will serve just fine. Good luck!