Thanks to the 2019 Ultra Bonus, we now have the Legendary Beasts of Johto back in raids. Following them, we will see the first-ever release of a Mythic Pokemon into freely available raids; Deoxys in its four forms. Deoxys-Normal has a small niche as a pseudo-Electric type with blisteringly high DPS while being very frail, Deoxys-Attack has the highest DPS in the game alongside the defenses of a wet tissue paper, Deoxys-Defense is one of the absolute kings of the Great League PVP, and Deoxys-Speed…. exists. Among all of the forms of Deoxys, its Speed forme got the short end of the stick. Every other forme has some niche, no matter how small, but Deoxys-S has nothing to its name that it’s even worth considering for. For this reason, we’re going to be taking a look at the Pokemon that’s the king of a stat that doesn’t exist in Pokemon Go, and try to fix Deoxys-S’s moveset in order to see if it’s possible for this Pokemon to have its own niche to shine in.
As with any theorycrafting project, countless different options exist. Our goal here is not to say that the moveset(s) that we put together are the absolute greatest possible or the only viable options, but rather to put together existing pieces in such a way that proves that the Pokemon in question has the potential to be worthwhile if given the proper tools.
Stats for Deoxys-S
Deoxys-S in the PvE Meta
Deoxys-S has an attack stat that is best described as “serviceable”. It’s slightly higher than Giratina-O, meaning it could potentially be useful in some scenarios. It also has the second-highest bulk among the Deoxys forms, beating out the famed glass-cannon Gengar on that metric. However, that’s where the advantages end. The combined HP of a glass cannon and attack of a bulky tank do not meld well in the current metagame, and this is made worse by the fact that its moveset is atrocious. Psycho Boost and Swift are bad moves in PvE, leaving Thunderbolt as its only “useful” move, which it can pair with Charge Beam for an Electric-type attacking set. However, it’s outclassed to an embarrassing extent in this niche by its Normal forme, which is an all-around better choice.
Deoxys-S in the PvP Meta
To begin with: Deoxys-S cannot currently join the Great League. Even at 10/10/10 IVs at Lv.20 (All Deoxys formes are considered Mythic Pokemon and cannot be traded), its CP is still above 1500, meaning its only possible appearances are in the Ultra and Master Leagues. Deoxys-S’s low bulk combined with the fact that the Ultra League is dominated by the Ghost-type juggernaut, Giratina, means that it has no hope of functioning in the league, while most of the titans of the Master League absolutely squash it without a thought. It does have Psycho Boost, which is very powerful in PvP, but it’s doubtful that it will get much of a chance to use it.
As stated previously; Deoxys-S has no niche to call its own. Anything that it can do it does poorly. It is outclassed in every role that it could take up by another Pokemon; most likely another forme of itself. As it sits, Niantic has provided us with absolutely no reason to ever consider using Deoxys-S for anything.
To be honest, this is an uphill battle as we’ll soon see. As always, we’ll make use of existing and not-yet existing moves to try to make Deoxys-S usable. We will not be attempting to change the base mechanics of the game or Deoxys-S’s stats.
Fixing Deoxys: The PvE Meta
Each of Deoxys’ formes sports a fairly extensive movepool in the main series, which gives Deoxys a number of types to try to find a niche in. Here is a list of every same-type Quick and Charged move that Deoxys-S has available, as well as its top contenders within each of these types:
As should be fairly obvious, Deoxys-S is outclassed on every potential front. Even if given every possible move that it can learn in the main series, it still falls short of being a worthwhile attacker in literally any type that it could hope to contend in. And since the PvE meta focuses almost exclusively on DPS with a small emphasis on TDO afterward, Deoxys-S will remain unviable short of a change to the system and/or moves that are currently available.
Buffing Existing Moves/Adding New Moves
Buffing its existing moveset is outright unviable. Great enough buffs to Charge Beam or Zen Headbutt would facilitate far-reaching meta shifts and would serve to raise Pokemon above Deoxys-S more than they would actually benefit our DNA Pokemon friend. The same can be said for Thunderbolt, and Psycho Boost would simply make its other formes even more appealing rather than making Deoxys-S more appealing. Even buffing Swift, which is a genuinely bad move that can’t ever deal Super Effective damage, would benefit Azelf more than Deoxys-S. In short; Deoxys-S’s current moveset will remain untouched.
An initial look at its competition within each type made Bug-type a potential option due to how weak this type is in general. However, Deoxys-S only learns the lackluster Signal Beam in the main series, and even with an ideal Bug-type moveset it still falls short of every meaningful metric for the type.
Having STAB on its attacks is virtually needed for Deoxys-S to shine given its less than stellar attack power, so we will make a custom Charged move for Deoxys-S and raise its power to the point where it becomes worth considering. In this case, we will use the move Psyshock as a template, and name it after a currently unused Psychic-type move that Deoxys-S can learn: Psycho Shift. In the main-series, Psycho Shift is a move that transfers status damage from the user to a target, so it is not a damage-dealing move. However, the only remaining damage-dealing Psychic type move that Deoxys-S can learn and is currently unused is Dream Eater, which makes even less sense given the lack of a Sleep status. On top of this, we have the precedent of a non-damaging move becoming a damaging move in Go with Charm. Regardless, this is a bit of a stretch, but it's simply for the sake of a thought-experiment, so please humor us as we attempt to give meaning to this poor, disenfranchised Pokemon:
Given this move, this is Deoxys-S’s new data:
With this move, we have successfully made Deoxys-S a viable Psychic-type attacker! It sits between Deoxys-A and Psychic Mewtwo, with much higher TDO than the former and somewhat higher DPS than the later. This is what it would take to make Deoxys-S a good Psychic-type attacker. However, one issue with this move should be obvious to some, so let's make it even more obvious by giving the same move to Mewtwo:
….it’s painfully obvious that this move is downright broken. How likely is Niantic to release such an overtly broken move just to fix not a Pokemon, but one forme of a Pokemon? Extremely unlikely, to say the least. For this reason, we can say with confidence that Deoxys-D is a hopeless cause to the PvE meta unless the game changes around it at some point in time.
Fixing Deoxys: The PvP Meta
Before we begin with the PvP side of things, we have to cover a few absolute facts:
- the sheer presence of Giratina will make Deoxys-S a niche pick at best in the Ultra League for the foreseeable future regardless of reasonable changes.
- The Master League is plainly out of Deoxys-S’s reach regardless of reasonable changes.
- If released as a sub-1500cp Pokemon, Deoxys-D will always remain the stronger forme regardless of reasonable changes.
Assuming the current state of the game holds true, these factors will not change. As such, our main focus will be on a Great League viable Deoxys-S that isn’t entirely in the shadow of its Defense forme.
Sadly, Deoxys-S does not have the main-game movepool to differentiate it from Deoxys-D in PVP. Its most noteworthy move is Power-Up Punch, but this leaves it as little more than an inferior Medicham. So we’re going to take a hard left this time and go directly into theorycrafting entirely new moves.
Our goal to differentiate Deoxys-S will be to give it a high-energy Quick move and low-energy Charged moves, thus allowing it to circumnavigate its stats to a certain degree by spamming Charged moves as quickly as possible. To begin with, we’re going to give Deoxys-S a clone of the move Psycho Cut. Deoxys-S cannot learn Psycho Cut in the main series, so we will instead be using the non-damaging move Kenisis; this is a viable choice given the nature of Charm. On top of this, we will be keeping Psycho Boost due to how stellar it is. However, in order to make Deoxys-S claim its own niche, we’re going to have to make yet another broken move: Drain Punch.
To begin with: Yes, data miners have found the move Drain Punch in the game’s data, but we don’t know the stats or who will be getting it, so it’s still fair game for the moment. Because it has an HP-leaching effect in the main series, we’re going to translate this into a defense-raising property here since we haven’t seen recovery implemented yet.
The point of this theorycraft is, as previously stated, to pump out as many charged moves as possible in as short a period as possible; a tactic that not only has the potential to be fairly effective if implemented correctly but also suits the “speed” half of Deoxys-S’s name very well. In order to make up for its low Great-League stats, we’ve given Drain Punch relatively high power and a fair chance to proc a defense buff, thus putting patches on both its defense and offense.
That said; the damage from its Quick Move given this moveset would be horribly low, even if Super Effective, which means the typing of its Charged moves is basically all that matters. That said; Psychic and Fighting have decent coverage together but gives this version of Deoxys no way of dealing with opposing Psychic-types in particular.
Note-worthy in this theorycraft is the typing of the second move: Psychic is not a particularly strong type in terms of matchups, and it's hard to not leave it vulnerable to another type in one way or another. By picking Fighting, it can put up a fighting chance against many Dark types that threaten it and Steel types that wall it. However, opposing Psychic types and many Ghost types are a much harsher threat as a result. If we could find a reasonable match for this type of move in Dark type or Ghost type, we'd be able to handle many opposing Psychic and Ghost types with ease, but we'd leave ourselves open to Dark types and in bad matchups against the Steel-type tanks of the tier. Deoxys-D can somewhat circumnavigate this as Counter provides an effective 3rd type coverage due to how powerful the move is, but our chosen theorycraft deals pathetic damage with its Quick move, making this point null.
Despite all of these effects, this version of Deoxys-S would likely not make a very harsh impact on the meta; it would be a worthwhile counter-pick for covering weaknesses, but it probably would not become a top threat. Still; any niche is better than the lack of niche that it has now.
In the end, making Deoxys-S worth having will require one of four changes: give it an absurdly powerful moveset, change the mechanics of the game to make Speed an actual stat (perhaps speeding up energy gains and/or attack speed…?), add some sort of support/utility function to select Pokemon that doesn't rely on damage or longevity as heavily, or allow Deoxys-S to change its forme into one of it actually useful incarnations. Without one of those changes or some other unforeseen change to the system, Deoxys-S will forever be “that other Deoxys form”; the undisputed worst incarnation of an otherwise interesting and fun to use Pokemon.