Nihilego and its Place in the Meta

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Pokemon GO recently teased that the Ultra Beast Nihilego will be coming soon to Pokemon GO. Of course, Trainers want to know just how good Nihilego will be in Raids and PvP, as well as what the best counters will be for the Nihilego Raid. The article below covers all of that information and more for Nihilego. As it stands, Nihilego looks pretty exciting. 

If you’d like some insight on all 11 Ultra Beasts, check out our previous article The Ultra Beasts: Speculation on Future Viability

Nihilego Basics

  • Nihilego is an Ultra Beast Pokemon (effectively a Legendary)
  • Nihilego is a Rock/Poison-type Pokemon
  • Nihilego has 249 Atk, 210 Def, and 240 Sta
  • Nihilego has a level 40 max CP of 3949, and level 50 max CP of 4465
  • The level 20 max CP for Raids is 2256, 2821 with a weather bonus

Ultra Beasts are effectively Legendary Pokemon and are treated as such in the main series games. Pokemon GO however appears to have its own “Ultra Beast” distinction for them in the current Game Master, so it’s uncertain how they will precisely be treated in Pokemon GO in regards to Gyms, Classic Cups, and Trading. At this time we can probably expect Pokemon GO to give them the same restrictions as they do Legendaries.

Nihilego Raid Counters

Given that Nihilego’s Rock/Poison dual-type gives it a doubled up weakness to Ground-type damage, it’s not hard to guess what the best counters to the Nihilego Raid will be. Shadow Mamoswine, both Landorus Therian and Incarnate Forme, Excadrill, Garchomp, Groudon, and Rhyperior will all be optimal counters to the Nihilego Raid. Psystrike Shadow Mewtwo makes an appearance as a powerful option as well, preying upon Nihilego’s Psychic-type weakness. Normal Psystrike Mewtwo and Shadow and non-Shadow Metagross with Bullet Punch and Earthquake make decent budget options as well, provided you don’t have a full Ground-type arsenal to work with. 

Nihilego as a Raid Attacker

While Nihilego’s movepool isn’t present in the current Game Master, we can simulate Nihilego’s performance with what moves it can learn from the main series games that are present in GO. 

As a Raid attacker, Nihilego only stands to have presence as a Poison-type attacker, as it has no Rock-type Fast Moves available. As a Poison-type, if it were to receive any combination of Poison Jab or Acid with the Charge Move Sludge Bomb, it would outpace Roserade as the best non-Mega, non-Shadow Poison-type attacker. Even if it doesn’t get Sludge Bomb, Nihilego’s high bulk still makes it a worthwhile Poison-type to consider, provided it at least gets Gunk Shot or Sludge Wave. 

Nihilego in PvP

In the main series games, notable moves Nihilego has to work with include Poison Jab, Hex, Sludge Bomb, Acid Spray, Rock Slide, Thunderbolt, Grass Knot, and Foul Play. With Poison Jab alone, Nihilego stands to be the single greatest counter to Zacian in Master League PvP. If it gets a decent movepool, Nihilego could manage Flying-types, Zarude, and a few other neutral matchups as well. The biggest problem for Nihilego is that it has no way to really hurt opposing Ground and Steel-type Pokemon. With Foul Play as a neutral hit, Nihelgo would at least be able to put in some work, post-Fairy-type farm down.

In the Ultra League, Nihilego will likely be a step behind Alolan Muk and Nidoqueen, even if it gets its most optimal moveset. The only real perk it could have over them is managing Walrein a bit better, but Walrein could easily OHKO Nihilego with a doubly Super Effective Earthquake. We’ll have to see what moves Nihilego gets to have a more clear picture, but right now it’s not looking so good.

As for the Great League, a level 20 Nihilego can’t trade into IVs that put it under 1500 CP. Even at level 15, assuming Pokemon GO ever gives us Legendary Research Rewards ever again, a 1/1/1 Nihilego would be over 1500 CP. In short, we probably will never see Nihilego in the Great League. 


While we only know the stats and types of the Ultra Beasts right now, all of them stand to make an impact on Pokemon GO meta. Our first one, Nihilego, stands to be a solid all arounder, functioning well in both Raids and Master League PvP- provided it gets the right moves. Hopefully Nihilego at least gets Poison Jab and a serviceable Poison-type Charge Move. 

If you’d like to read up more on the Ultra Beasts, check out our article The Ultra Beasts: Speculation on Future Viability.

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