Single Bar vs Multi Bar Charge Moves

Article by RyanSwag


A common debate in the PoGO community is which is better on attack: one strong and solid charge move, or multiple charge moves? In general, most simulators and interpretations of DPS support the usefulness of single bar charge moves, but how good are they in practice? Anyone who has had a Pokemon faint in battle just before getting their energy bar to 100 often feels that having a multi bar charge move would have allowed them to deal more damage, but how much of a benefit is there? Here at GamePress, with help from u/Celandro and u/ClamusChowderus of Pokebattler, we have the answers trainers are looking for!

“Good” vs “Bad” Charge Moves

Before we dive into which type of charge move is better, we would like to point out that some break the mold. Not all single bar charges moves are statistically superior to same typed multi bar iterations. For example, Thunder is strictly inferior to Thunderbolt, and Close Combat is worse than Dynamic Punch. This being said, for the sake of analysis, we will be operating under the assumption that single bar charge moves have superior DPS in all situations (which is often the case).

Single Bar Charge Moves

The main reason why we assert single bar charge moves have the best  DPS in raids and in gym battles is because of their higher damage ceiling. In addition to that, they also have a noteworthy effect on the defender’s energy bar which can make them even more valuable in raids.

Like your Pokemon, a raid boss or gym defender has an energy cap of 100. Unlike your Pokemon, once a defending Pokemon has enough energy to use a charge move, it only has a 50% chance of using it every 2 seconds. As a result, single bar charge moves give attackers more control over filling the defender’s energy bar and the rate at which they release charge moves. This is because most times the spike in DPS from a single bar charge move will “overfill” the defender’s energy bar, causing significantly less of an attackers DPS to contribute to the defender’s energy gains. In theory, in both raids and in gym battles this should result in the defender firing off less charge moves because they’ll spend more time of the fight below 100 energy.

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This graph shows the spikes in energy from charge move usage. Multi bar charge moves will maintain a defender’s energy at 100 throughout the fight, allowing them to access their charge moves at all times. Single bar charge moves cause large, concentrated bursts of energy, which should lead to the raid boss having their energy below 100 longer than they would otherwise. Tall, spaced out spikes in energy > small, frequent spikes. Data from

While this all sounds great, there are times when single bar charge moves fail us. Your Pokemon may faint or you may defeat the defending Pokemon before your energy bar fills back to 100. There also may be times where a defending Pokemon uses a charge move before you’re able to fire yours off, “overfilling” your own energy bar. Circumstances such as these give rise to multi bar charge moves.

Multi Bar Charge Moves

As stated above, there may be times where you are unable to charge a single bar charge move all the way before either your Pokemon or the defending Pokemon faints, leading to wasted energy. In gym battles, this wasted energy translates into wasted time. In raids, this can lead to lower personal DPS (and by extension, less premier balls). Emphasis on “it can.”

When in gym battles, especially with gym defender CP decay, there is a greater time benefit in using multi bar charge moves. Against a weakened defender, a multi bar charge move will likely end the fight much sooner. If you’re battling a gym with multiple allies, this benefit is multiplied. You can also mimic the burst DPS of a single bar charge move by holding out on using your charges until you’re close to 100 energy. This may allow you to suddenly finish off a defender before they have a chance to use their charge move.

In raids, using multi bar charge moves is a double edged sword. On the one hand, in many circumstances you will have a more consistent DPS output meaning you’re free of the wasted energy risk. On the other hand, firing your charge moves off early and often may result in the raid boss filling their energy bar to 100 much sooner than they would otherwise, which can result in the raid boss using their charge moves more often in the fight. In unorganized raid battles, where anyone and everyone is using whatever they have whenever, using a multi bar charge move is like hedging your bets where using a single one is more of a gamble.

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This graph compares the DPS of the single bar charge move Overheat and the multi bar charge move Flamethrower. Notice the wide range of performance Overheat has compared to how Flamethrower is more consistent. While it is clear that Overheat has a higher damage ceiling and will often be more effective than Flamethrower, Flamethrower will likely be as good if not better than Overheat over 60% of the time. In practice, this figure is likely even higher. Data from

There isn’t a defined line of when wasted energy harms your DPS that applies to all situations. Whether you cross it or not is basically random, but there are some tips that could help things swing in your favor either way.

Tips on Charge Move Usage in Raids

  1. For your first Pokemon, try to use one with a single bar charge move (or hold out until you’re near 100 energy before using a multi bar charge move). At the very beginning of the fight, everyone (including the raid boss) is at 0 energy. Holding out as long as you can to use your charge moves (before you overfill) will help keep the raid boss’ energy bar below 100 for more of the fight.

  2. Use single bar charge moves as soon as you can. Damage you give and take contributes to charging your energy bar. Holding out on using a single bar charge move (or any charge moves once you’re at 100 energy) will likely result in less DPS.

  3. If the raid boss hasn’t used a charge move in a while, use multi bar charge moves as soon as you’re able. You want to use charge moves before the boss uses theirs, not after. Using them before the raid boss uses theirs will result in your DPS contributing less to their energy gains (i.e. less charge moves from them).

  4. Holding out so you can dodge a charge move isn’t worth it. As stated before, holding out on using your charge moves will likely result in less DPS. Not only that, but dumping your charge moves immediately after a raid boss uses theirs will result in their energy bar filling back up sooner (i.e. more charge moves from them)! Battles are also still laggy as all get out.

  5. Don’t get too technical about it. All in all, don’t overthink it. If you’re in a party of 15+, which moves you use and when you use them probably won’t matter. Just be mindful of the impacts of multi bar charge moves.

  6. Don’t be “the Raid Boss.” If you’re in a disorganized group, trying to command when and how people use their charge moves will result in people giving you annoyed looks more than it’ll contribute to the overall success of the raid. While single bar charge moves and coordinated usage is beneficial for challenge clears, in large disorganized groups, charge move usage only really affects personal performance.


In general, multi bar charge moves appear to have a clear advantage in gym battles due to the defender CP decay, but in raids the argument is a bit more complex. In raids, multi bar charge moves will offer a more consistent DPS output, where single bar charge moves may result in less charge moves used by the raid boss, which benefits solo/low party clears.

All in all, unless you’re going for some challenge clear or have excess Pokemon/TMs, we at GamePress feel you should just use what you have and not worry too much about it. The differences between single and multi bar charge moves are minimal, but they can add up. This discovery is not game breaking but is helpful, especially for low raid parties. In the end, having more people to battle with will always outweigh what kind of charge moves you’re using.