Notable Gen 3 Desert Pokemon and Countering Aggron


On 1/23/18, 23 new Gen 3, “desert-themed” Pokemon were added to Pokemon GO. This batch of new Pokemon brought us a day- and night-specific regionals in Solrock and Lunatone, a regular regional in Torkoal, and the fan favorites Aggron and Flygon; the former becoming a tier 4 raid boss and shiny evolutionary line. Naturally, trainers have been asking about their use on offense and defense. Using our best mathematical understanding of raid AI, simulated matchup data, and real-world analysis, we here at GamePress believe we have the answers players are looking for!

New Pokemon

Aggron - More than Meets the Eye

For what looks to be a steel-plated dinosaur that eats nails for breakfast, Aggron’s Atk stat suggests otherwise. However, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or by the appendix. Taking a closer look at Aggron’s performance reveals that while it isn’t as explosive as it was in the main series games, it's still as sturdy as ever!

Aggron stands out as the highest total damage output (TDO) option available against future Rayquaza raids when averaging all of its potential movesets. In fact, Aggron is the only Pokemon to surpass Blissey in TDO. Blissey-tier bulk without the Blissey-tier Atk stat is pretty good, especially for more item-efficient players. For those more interested in maximizing their DPS, the plethora of Ice-type Pokemon will still serve them better.

For gym defense, Aggron’s steel-plating suggests that it could be quite the wall. Unfortunately, its Rock sub-typing gives it double weaknesses to both Fighting and Ground. Since the most common "Fight Club" battle party has 6 Machamp, every player equipped to beat Blissey is ready to rock Aggron’s world. Despite this disadvantage, it still has an above-average performance coupled with a naturally low CP-decay rate. While Aggron isn’t the best option to throw in a gym, it is by no means the worst. Aggron’s best defensive moveset? Anything without Thunder.

Raid Boss Aggron

Based on appearances, Aggron has quite the intimidating presence. Its demeanor is reminiscent of mighty Tyranitar. Like Tyranitar, Aggron is also doubly weak to Fighting-type damage. I think you can guess who the champ of this raid is. Machamp, Hariyama, Heracross, Blaziken, and Breloom all make excellent counters in this fight!

Unlike Tyranitar, Aggron also has a double weakness to Ground. While its STAB, Steel-type attacks keep Golem and Rhydon at bay, they do little to scare off personification of land itself, Groudon. Aside from the aforementioned Pokemon, Kyogre, Poliwrath, Donphan, Mewtwo, and Swampert all make decent adjunct counters.

Flygon and the Rest

Flygon’s unique typing suggests that it’d be an excellent counter to Electric-type Pokemon: it deals super effective damage while triply resisting Electric-type attacks. But Flygon suffers the same problem in GO that it has in the regular Pokemon games: it lacks the elite stats to really shine. Groudon and Dragonite do just about everything that Flygon can, but better. Overall, as an adjunct Ground or Dragon-type attacker, Flygon isn’t useless, it just isn’t very useful.

Solrock and Lunatone are notable as Rock-type Pokemon with access to the coveted Rock Throw + Rock Slide moveset. While Sudowoodo already has this going for it, these two celestial rocks have a higher Atk stat. None of them will never be as good as Golem, but being able to be wild caught at level 35 without an evolutionary line has its perks. Cacturne finds itself in a similar situation, competing with but being strictly worse than Shiftry; both of which lag behind several more qualified Grass- and Dark-type Pokemon.

As for the rest of the sandstorm conglomerate, we have 13 new trophies for the Pokedex. Until Niantic unveils its “new battle mode” (whatever it is) teased at the release of Gen 3, this will likely be the fate of most Gen 3 Pokemon.

Nosepass does stand out as a useful prestiger, however. If it still existed.