Sableye PvP IV Deep Dive

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Article by RyanSwag

Sableye has been lauded as one of the best Ghost-types in Pokemon GO Great League PvP for years now. After the “Best Buddy” feature was added, level 41 Sableye became the name of the game, having gained several critical wins with the extra bulk. With the level cap now increased to 50, Sableye is more tanky and expensive than before. Given that you’ll want to use a Purified Sableye with Return, getting the “perfect” IV spread is nearly impossible. 

This PvP IV Deep Dive will let you know the important stat checks and breakpoints so you can build the best possible Purified Sableye from the options you have. The future potential of Mega Sableye in PvP is discussed as well.

PvP IV Basics

Breakpoints (BPs) are the point in which a Pokemon’s Fast Move does 1 extra damage based on their and the opponent’s hidden true stats. With simulators like we are able to pinpoint these important stats. The PvP IV Deep Dive series highlights the most meta relevant stat checks for the featured Pokemon. 

Stat Product (SP) is the product of a Pokemon’s true Atk, Def, and HP. In general, a high SP Pokemon are the best because they have the most stats. Important BPs may deviate from a high SP because gaining an Atk or Def BP in a critical matchup can be more important than having “more stats.” Outside of the Top 20 high SP options, the value of SP vs BPs tends to favor BPs. Often, important BPs can ensure a Rank 100+ SP Pokemon performs as well, if not better than, the Rank 1 high SP Pokemon. 

Given that the BPs and SP of a Pokemon are hidden values in game, you’ll need to use an app like CalcyIV or Pokegenie, or a website such as GOStadium or to get the most out of these PvP IV Guides. That said, game visible IV tables are provided to help simplify your search. 

If this all sounds like Greek to you, check out this video to help you understand PvP IVs more:

Also, the Breakpoint sections mention 1-1, 0-1, 1-2, etc. for matchups. These represent Shield Scenarios. 1-1 is when both you and your opponent spend a Shield, 0-1 is when you don’t spend a Shield but your opponent spends 1 Shield. The rest follow this format. 

Sableye Basics

Overall, Purified Sableye favors a high SP build. If it’s not able to meet 124.7+ Def with 123+ HP or 122.4+ Def with 125-126 HP (described later in the guide) then you may want to save your XL Candy for a better Purified Sableye. If you have over 296 XL Candy and are sick of waiting, the guide below catalogs the importance of the Def and HP checks. 

Slight Atk weights on Sableye can have big payoffs in the right matchups, but are generally less important than the aforementioned bulk checks. Atk BPs should be used as tie breakers between two similar Sableye stat spreads or the focus of an “early” Sableye if none of your Purified Sableye candidates meet the bulk checks.

Return vs Power Gem vs Shadow Sneak

Return is the 2nd Charge Move of choice for Sableye. This isn’t because Return is so good, it’s that Power Gem and Shadow Sneak are that bad. To simplify, for Power Gem to make sense for Sableye to use, the opponent either has to be doubly weak to Rock (Talonflame) or they have to resist Dark and be weak to Rock (Mandibuzz). Return, on the other hand, merely needs the opponent to resist Dark-type attacks and can function as a “nuke” attack. If you’re unconfident you’ll reach 2 Foul Plays (90 energy) but can land 1 Return (70 energy), Return has similar Damage per Energy as Foul Play in neutral matchups. As for Shadow Sneak, it’s similar to Power Gem in overall power but has significantly worse coverage. 

As a result, using a Purified Sableye is almost non-negotiable and makes getting an “ideal” PvP IV Sableye much more difficult. A “very ok” PvP IV Purified Sableye will often be better than a “perfect” PvP IV Power Gem Sableye. A “bad” PvP IV Sableye, Purified or not, will often just be “bad,” and shouldn’t be built once unless you want to build twice. Building a “perfect” PvP IV Power Gem Sableye isn’t advised unless you have very specific plans for it. 


Def Breakpoints and HP

Sableye has 2 different Def “weights” you can pursue: High Def and Med Def. 

High Def Sableye aim for 124.7+ Def with 123+ HP (more HP the better)

Med Def Sableye aim for 122.4+ Def with 125-126 HP

High Def BPs include: 

  • 122.4-124.7 Skarmory 1-1, potentially 2-2
    • May need at least 123 HP
  • 123.7+ 0-1 and 1-2 potential vs Hex Jellicent
    • note: vs very low Atk “high SP” Jellicent
  • ~124.41 Lapras 2-2
  • 124.7+ Vigoroth 0-1 and 2-2 potential
    • note: vs very low Atk “high SP” Vigoroth
  • 123.22+ Bastiodon 1-2 potential
    • note: vs very low Atk “high SP” Bastiodon
  • ~124.26 Obstagoon 0-0

Several of the high Def BPs are only useful vs “high SP” opponents, which may lead to you favoring the Med Def builds. That said, the featured “high SP” Pokemon are ones that are most optimal with the “high SP” build and could be more common at higher levels of gameplay.

Med Def BPs include:

  • 122.4-124.7 Skarmory 1-1, potentially 2-2
  • 117.86-121.54 Froslass 1-1 potential
  • ~122.13 Dewgong 1-1 potential
  • ~120.35 Galar Stunfisk 1-1
  • ~118.72 Galvantula 1-1
  • ~119 Shadow Nidoqueen potential 

As for HP, 123 is generally “safe” for most even matchups, but of course higher is better. The next major HP check is at 125, then finally at 126 for the 1-1 mirror match. If you’re going High Def, you can overlook most HP checks and settle with 123. If you’re going Med Def, then you’ll probably want the 125-126 HP to make up for the lack of Def. 

Atk Breakpoints

Sableye has some interesting Atk Breakpoints that may be worth pursuing and may serve as a “tie breaker” if you can’t decide between several Purified Sableye PvP IV builds. In general, these Atk Breakpoints aren’t goals but if they strongly appeal to you then they could be goals.

Slight Atk - 120.8+

  • 120.8+ gets CMP on Froslass (high SP)
    • If Froslass isn’t high SP, then they usually don’t have enough Def/HP to win if you have enough Def/HP
  • 120.61 enables you to fully farm Deoxys Defense Forme in the 1-1
  • 118.58-122.64 Meganium 2-2
    • 118.58 for max SP, 122.64 for max Def Meganium
  • 119.3+ Mew CMP
    • 121.5 is the cap, but that’s only 1 Mew of 216
    • 120.23-121.01 are safer “goals” overall

High Atk - 121.6

  • 121.6 Greedent 1-1 potential straight Foul Play
    • Watch out for debuffs
  • 120.96 Abomasnow and Shadow Abomasnow 1-1 straight Foul Play
  • 121.5 is the Mew’s Atk Cap for CMP

Sableye PvP IV Tables

High Def

  • With Slight Atk (there’s only 1, the 5/12/15)

Medium Def

Desperation Def

  • 121.54 Def is acceptable if you truly don’t believe you’ll get a better split
  • Adds about 47 more spreads (180 vs 133)

If your Purified Sableye doesn’t fit into any of the four tables, then it may be in your best interest to hold out on building Sableye until you get one of the 133 highlighted spreads. 133 of 2774 possible spreads sounds bleak, but probability math says it ought to take 15-29 catches (51-75% probability), 47+ (90% probability) if luck really isn’t on your side.

Mega Sableye

Before you toss all of your “sub optimal” Purified Sableye, you should consider IV checking them for how they’d perform as Mega Sableye. Mega Sableye is the only Mega Evolution that actually improves its SP in the Great League. If/when Megas are allowed in GO Battle League, you may want to have one ready to go. Another perk to Mega Sableye is that it caps at level 30 instead of 48/50, meaning no XL Candy would be required.

Despite having the same type and same moves as non-Mega Sableye, Mega Sableye has different enough stats that you can’t use the previous stat checks for it. Mega Sableye will never have lower Def than the max Def non-Mega Sableye and it is unlikely to meet the same Atk or HP checks as well. That said, the Mega Sableye mirror matchup suggests you’ll want at least 108 HP, so let that guide your decision making for now.


Sableye would be a lot easier to build if Return wasn’t so important for it. If Power Gem received a slight buff to its base power or energy cost, it could make non-purified Sableye more competitive. Until that happens, good luck on the hunt! Here’s hoping Sableye stays in the Rocket pool for a long time. 


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