Mereanie and Toxapex are debuting in Pokemon GO on September 27th with the Fashion Week event. This is huge news for both the Little Cup and Great League formats as both are monstrous, high bulk behemoths. Given the current game master, Toxapex stands to crush about 2/3rds of the Great League meta through Poison Jab spam alone
and could subdue the other 1/3rd with “unholy” Muddy Water debuffs. Update: Muddy Water has been replaced with Brine. The article below discusses Toxapex’s projected power in Pokemon GO, and tips on moving forward in the post-Toxapex meta. It will also feature some discussion on Muddy Water vs Brine.
Toxapex crashes into the Great League meta with a huge 2476 stat product and fantastic Water/Poison dual-type. Given the moves in the current game master, Toxapex stands to bully just about every Fairy, Fighting, and Grass-type Pokemon out of the meta and out-neutrals Umbreon and Altaria. Unless Toxapex gets the Chansey/Blissey treatment, there’s no denying that it will immediately become a meta staple and shake up the Great League in the biggest way since Walrein got its Community Day.
The best answers to Toxapex will be powerful Steel and Ground-type Pokemon, such as but not limited to: Registeel, Galarian Stunfisk, Swampert, and Nidoqueen. Ghost-type Pokemon will also be powerful options, such as Sableye, Cofagrigus, Runerigus, and Jellicent, but Trevenant will have to be wary of the neutral Poison-type damage. Electric-types are also strong, but anything other than Lanturn may struggle to navigate what may be a Ground-type heavy meta. Psychic and Rock-types will likely continue to struggle to pull ahead in the meta.
Likely teammates for Toxapex will be Pokemon that can answer the Steel, Ground, and Ghost-types that threaten it. Lanturn, Sableye, and Swampert are likely suspects. Similar Pokemon, such as Nidoqueen, Qwilfish, and Tentacruel, will also be effective for drawing in would-be counters in ABB style teams. Leads in such teams would likely be strong Dark or Ghost-type Pokemon that can effectively farm a weakened Ground, Steel, or Ghost-type Pokemon.
The Post-Toxapex Meta
Assuming Toxapex bullies out Fairy, Grass, and Fighting-type Pokemon while boosting Steel, Ghost, and Ground-types, the Great League may see more Dark, Ground, and Steel-type Pokemon raining in. The result could be a meta even more focused on Registeel, Galarian Stunfisk, Nidoqueen, and Swampert. This could bring in some new faces to the meta too.
With Toxapex boosting Sableye while punishing Obstagoon and Scrafty, Psychic Umbreon may see an increase in usage. Kanto Sandslash may also start to appear in the mainstream meta, as it threatens both Steel and Ghost-type Pokemon while also managing opposing Ground-types well. To add, Kanto Sandslash falls into the same Atk weight range as Sableye, Swampert, and Venusaur for Charge Move Priority, making “poor” IVs on a Shadow Pokemon surprisingly useful. Vensuaur may be especially useful in a Ground dominate meta, as it can go toe to toe with Toxapex and appreciates less Trevenant lurking around. Ferrothorn may similarly see a rise in utility.
Toxapex is Problematic?
Given the dominance of Toxapex, it does bring some interesting questions to Pokemon GO. For example, the Peoria Regional Championship is a few days after Toxapex’s arrival to the game. Given that not all competitors will have time to capture a good IV one and get practice with it, Toxapex may be temporarily banned to give all competitors time to catch up. It’s possible, as the first tournaments of the 2023 saw the Galarian Birds, the new Ultra Beasts, and Togedemaru banned. So far there hasn’t been an official announcement on Toxapex.
Also, despite players begging Pokemon GO for new, powerful Pokemon over the 6 months leading up to the 2022 World Championship, many are asking Pokemon GO to reconsider elements of Toxapex’s moveset. The Tap Master RyanSwag was quick to sound the alarm on twitter, highlighting the toxic elements of Muddy Water in Toxapex’s moveset. The 30% debuff chance, combined with Toxapex’s bulk, could cause it to flip or severely maim would-be “hard counters.” Months prior, GO Stadium’s Tangent put out an article highlighting how Poison Jab may also be an issue that could be resolved by giving Toxapex Poison Sting instead. With Poison Sting, Toxapex would have less opportunities to Fast Move farm opponents down for a massive advantage.
Pokemon GO has been known to change movesets just before a Pokemon’s official release. There also appears to be a correlation between public outcry and last minute adjustments made, further increasing speculation that Toxapex may see some changes. Whatever does happen, with Toxapex’s bulk and resistances, it is very likely to see meta play regardless.
Update: As of 6/22/22, Muddy Water has been replaced with Brine in both Mareanie and Toxapex's movepool. This change doesn't drastically change Toxapex's viability as Toxapex still beats over half the meta with Poison Jab alone. To add, Brine has higher Damage Per Energy than Muddy Water and is still fast enough to enable bait dependent wins where it counts. In some respects, Brine could be considered a buff to Toxapex's moveset. Some players feel this change was unfair to Toxapex, but they'd quickly find out what is truly "unfair" as games would eventually come down to who got the most 30% chance debuffs.
The biggest casualty to the Brine change would be Omanyte. Pokemon was powerful and meta defining as Toxapex don't see their moves buffed, only nerfed. Bubble and Play Rough are relatively poor attacks, and Azumarill and Zacian have ensured they will stay that way. Zap Cannon was a goofy, fun, spicy move, and Registeel has completely spoiled it. Brine always had the opportunity to get buffed one day, but now that may never happen. Most Water-types don't mind this though, as they can still hold onto hope for a Water Pulse buff. Omanyte is also being a sport about the whole situation too, stating that it has all it could ever need and more with Bubble Beam and Rock Blast, and that it wishes the best for its Water-type brethren.
Either way you cut it, Toxapex is coming. Perhaps Season 13 of GO Battle League will see a buff to various Ground attacks. Mud Slap, Mud Bomb, Bulldoze, and Dig could all use an increase in utility, and could take the edge off of Swampert and Galar Stunfisk dominating the archetype. There are also rumors that Ursaluna will be the November Community Day Pokemon. Perhaps it’ll bring Headlong Rush or High Horse-Power along with it.
Until then, we’re going to have a tough two months of Toxapex. It’ll be interesting to see the Play Pokemon Championship Series response to the meta shift. Will Toxapex be embargoed from use while Pokemon GO collects data and responds with Season 13? Will we see a mere 2 week ban, similar to the TCG when a new set is released. Only time will tell.