With all Gen 4 cross-gen evolutions having debuted in GO, most cross-gen evolutions in Gen 4 are obtainable through use of the Sinnoh Stone, an item that can be obtained in weekly research breakthroughs and as a PvP reward. Because of this, players want to use their Sinnoh Stones wisely.
This article examines the current best uses for the Sinnoh Stone, with a heavy focus on PvE. We discuss current and future competition these Pokemon have, as well as exclusive moves to potentially hold out for.
Before we continue, we’d like to mention with extra emphasis that it’s best to save resources until absolutely needed. If you evolve an Electabuzz today and Niantic surprises us with Heatran's return as a raid boss a week later, you may wish you had a Rhyperior instead.
This becomes increasingly important as Niantic continues to release exclusive time-limited moves. Multiple Sinnoh Stone Evolutions have now received exclusive moves, making it more important than ever to follow the advice of only evolving what you need.
These Pokemon can be the best options in your battle party. Their performance makes them valuable additions to rosters of both established and new players. They face competition from other species, so your evolution priorities should reflect your current collection.
For example, a player with multiple maxed Grass-types may find that they don’t need to evolve into a Roserade. If, instead, he lacks powered Groudon, Rhyperior might be a better choice. The optimal use of a Sinnoh Stone is always going to be a Pokemon you power up and use.
Mamoswine is one of the most powerful Pokemon from Sinnoh. It exists in a tier all its own. Considering another Ice and another Ground-type Pokemon both manage to crack the Top Tier, using a Sinnoh Stone on a Mamoswine is a powerful option to add to your raid lineups.
Powder Snow + Avalanche
This moveset likely represents the highest Ice DPS the game will ever see. Mamoswine's stats are high enough that it's useful against Grass, Flying, Ground, and Dragon types. It's an obvious standout when doubly super effective (usually against Dragons) but shows up as a top counter against specific Groudon movesets, rivaling Kyogre. It trails slightly behind Moltres if attacking Grass-types. Mamo's drawback is its poor defensive typing, giving it weaknesses that its counterparts don't have.
Its use as a Rayquaza counter is unrivaled. While Ray may be among the easier bosses to defeat, being the top counter to one of the most useful legendaries in the game is enough alone to put Mamoswine atop this list.
Competitors: Kyogre, Moltres, Weavile, Glaceon, Dragons
Mud Slap + Bulldoze
While the real draw to Mamoswine is the Ice moveset, having access to double Ground STAB moves is a great bonus. Mamoswine ranks behind Groudon in DPS but ahead of Rhyperior, the other Sinnoh Stone option.
Again, Mamoswine's typing becomes a huge drawback here. Ground is effective against Electric, Poison, Rock, Steel, and Fire. Mamoswine is weak to 2 of those. This can actually have a huge impact on wanting to use Mamoswine as a Ground attacker, but if you already maxed one out for an Ice attacker, pay attention to what moveset you're fighting. Mamo may be a great option.
Competitors: Groudon, Garchomp, Rhyperior
With Mamoswine's Community Day out of the way, that is a non-factor. If you find a Swinub you want to teach Ancient Power to, save it for the end of the year's Community Day flashback event.
The only Ice type Pokemon that may give Mamoswine trouble is the Ice-type Gen 5 legendary, Kyurem. Its Black and White versions in particular may be impressive enough to outpace Mamoswine, despite not even having Ice moves. For once though Mamoswine's typing may be an advantage here.
Smack Down + Rock Wrecker
It took a while, but we finally got Rhyperior's signature attack: Rock Wrecker. This titanic blow puts Rhyperior near the top of the Rock Type DPS chart, right below Rampardos, with a very nice TDO to back that speed up. The sheer power of this attack also has great utility in PvP as well, where it's basically a rock-type clone of Blast Burn, which is an attack known for its power.
In short; unless you're absolutely desperate and need a rock-type attacker now, save your Rhydon for the next Community Day review, because Rock Wrecker makes Rhyperior a Superior choice for your Sinnoh Stone!
Competitors: Rampardos, Terrakion, Tyranitar
Mud Slap + Earthquake
Ground-type is finally getting a makeover with the Gen 4 release. The previous serviceable Ground attackers were Groudon and Rhydon. Rhydon is still 93% as good as Rhyperior here, and both trail Groudon while remaining good budget options, better than the next best option, Donphan.
Competitors: Groudon, Garchomp, Mamoswine
Highest DPS Rock Type Attackers:
Rhyperior has seen its community day, and it definitely stands as a winner in that regard. With high performance in both of its types, Rhyperior is likely to remain where it stands now for a while at least; not the undisputed best choice, but a good choice none the less!
Thunder Shock + Wild Charge
This incredible evolution leads the charge among Electric attackers. With the exception of the fragile Deoxys, Electivire has the highest DPS against Pokemon weak to Electric. It's frailer than Raikou, so it fails to completely obsolete the other legendary option.
Highest DPS Electric Attackers:
Competitors: Raikou, Zapdos, Magnezone
Don’t count on an exclusive moveset. Considering it already tops the charts, there’s not much room to improve on Electivire. It also has a baby form (awkward for a Community Day) whose shiny form was released in the Gen 4 Hatchathon.
The biggest drawback to evolving Electivire is its lack of utility in legendary tier 5 raids. It's among the best counters to Kyogre and Lugia, but not much else. Evolving other Pokemon may take priority depending on the legendary in rotation.
Those in need of an Electric-type attacker should feel great about using their Sinnoh Stones on Electabuzz. Electivire should remain best until Gen 5 brings a pair of Electric legendaries, and that’s not something to expect any time soon.
Razor Leaf + Grass Knot
With Roserade gaining Grass Knot on 1/31/19, it rose head and shoulders above its Grass competition in the way of DPS. The previous 1-bar Solar Beam often disappointed trainers, who found that Roserade would be KO'd before being able to use the move.
Grass is a useful attacking type, but there are many other good and available Grass attackers, meaning Roserade may not be worth your Sinnoh Stone just for this purpose. Without the help of weather boost, Grass attackers fall behind the best Water-types against Ground and Rock and behind the best Electric attackers against Water-type targets. For this reason, too, Electivire may be a better candidate. Grass-types still remain second class attackers in Pokemon Go overall.
Highest DPS Grass Type Pokemon:
Competitors: Venusaur, Sceptile, Breloom, [Alolan] Exeggutor, Tangrowth
Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb
Roserade also boasts the top Poison DPS in GO. Poison has less type coverage than Grass, effective against only Fairy and non-Poison Grass-types, but this double role helps Roserade stand out. However, again, it needs weather boost to compete with Meteor Mash Metagross or elite Fire-types in the relevant matchups.
Competitors: Moltres, Entei, Flareon, Metagross
Roserade is a similar story to Electivire, making it an equally safe bet. There’s a baby form and the shiny has already been released in its own mini event featuring increased shiny rates.
Barring changes to Grass Knot or Frenzy Plant, Roserade performs just as well as Frenzy Plant Sceptile. As a Poison attacker, nothing threatens Roserade’s spot until Gen 7, making it the least likely cross-gen evolution to become obsolete.
Feint Attack + Foul Play
Weavile currently has the highest Dark-type DPS. Similar to the Grass / Electric comparison, the best Dark attackers typically fall behind the top Ghosts, but both are boosted in fog. Thus, Dark’s only edge over Ghost comes from its defensive strengths against Psychic, Ghost and Dark attacks, contributing towards higher TDO.
Highest DPS Ghost Counters:
TDO is where Tyranitar really comes out ahead against Weavile. Dedicated players with armies of powered Giratina-O, Tyranitar, and Gengar at the ready should reconsider evolving Sneasel for the Dark specialization.
Competitors: Giratina (Origin), Gengar, Tyranitar, Mewtwo
Ice Shard + Avalanche
Weavile was also blessed with a powerful set of Ice attacks. This dual utility contributes to Weavile being an excellent recipient of a Sinnoh Stone. However, Mamoswine outperforms Weavile in all Ice-related aspects.
Competitors: Mamoswine, Glaceon, Mewtwo
Highest DPS Rayquaza Counters:
Weavile has the most powerful Ice- and Dark-type movesets already, and would be a bit out of left field as an exclusive move target. If anything, should we ever see repeat Community Days, Tyranitar could use a boost with Foul Play to put it back on top.
Peck + Sky Attack
Most of the pre Gen 4 hype surrounding Honchkrow was predicated on it learning Sky Attack, which is the best Flying charged move in Pokemon GO. That didn't happen until 1/31/19. With Sky Attack, Honchkrow has top tier DPS vs. Fighting, Grass, and Bug. It's still far behind Mewtwo and Moltres in the way of bulk, though.
One major point against Honchkrow is that Flying simply doesn't have good coverage against legendary Pokemon, who are often not Fighting, Grass, or Bug type.
Competitors: Moltres, Rayquaza, Mewtwo, Alakazam, Espeon
Snarl + Dark Pulse
Many of the same things can be said for Honchkrow that were said for Weavile, though the ‘krow comes with less DPS and less bulk. Refer to the DPS table for Weavile. Honchkrow’s draw is that it is much more common, but that doesn’t help much when the bottleneck is Sinnoh Stones.
Competitors: Giratina (Origin), Gengar, Tyranitar, Mewtwo, Weavile
Murkrow received its shiny treatment for April Fools Day 2018. Honchkrow doesn't have much room to improve on its Flying set, but it could potentially learn better Dark-type moves. However, this likely would not close the gap between it and myriad Dark and Ghost competitors.
After gaining Wing Attack, Moltres has ousted Honchkrow from the position of boss bird. Flying competition is fierce in future generations, including a trio of Gen 5 legendaries.
These Pokemon aren’t going to be leading any battle parties, but they are serviceable second string attackers. They may not even make your top six. Competitors are less of a concern when evolving Pokemon in this category because they are obviously outclassed. You either don't have a better option or you're using them out of personal preference.
The final stop in the Togepi evolution line has an interesting claim to fame; considerable bulk and a double resistance to Fighting attacks. This makes for a decent gym defender, though recent stat nerfs to the typical Normal-type gym walls leave gym defense in a state of flux.
Charm + Dazzling Gleam
Finally with a Fairy-type fast move, Togekiss finds itself as the second best Fairy attacker. This gives Togekiss an interesting niche though mostly outclassed by Gardevoir in PvE. In PvP content, Togekiss is playable in all three leagues because of its typing, stats and moveset.
*Note on PvP
Togekiss is considered one of the best Pokemon in the Master League as of the writing of this. It's the undisputed best user of Charm, and the huge number of dragons in the tier means that Togekiss fills a huge counter-play niche.
Although Togepi is a beloved Pokemon, a Community Day for it would deviate from established precedent considering it's a baby Pokemon with a shiny variant already released. It’s unlikely that Togetic would appear in boosted numbers and Togepi has never spawned in the wild. Togepi CD or a Togetic raid day are both possible, but don’t expect them.
Vine Whip + Solar Beam
It seems like a travesty to list Tangrowth as a benchwarmer despite its overall great, well-rounded stats, but there's too much Grass competition. Every 6 months there's a new Grass starter featured in a Community Day, in addition to the established forms of Exeggutor and newcomers Breloom and Roserade. You could have a unique team of the 6 top Grass attackers, and Tangrowth wouldn't make the cut.
Tangrowth has the highest TDO of all current Grass attackers, which provides a cool niche. It uniquely can survive Kyogre's Blizzard with HP to spare, which would've been great had Kyogre not just rotated out of legendary raids.
Tangrowth is one of the most likely Pokemon to get the Roserade treatment, which is later addition of a two-bar Grass charged move to its movepool. Its unevolved form could learn both Grass Knot and Power Whip at some point. Either would benefit it, although it would still trail Venusaur in DPS.
Bug Bite + Bug Buzz
Yanmega debuts on par with Pinsir and Scizor as the joint best Bug attackers in GO. The problem is that they're the best of a lackluster crowd. Anything that Bugs can do, another type can do better. The only exception is when Bug is doubly effective, such as in a Shiftry raid. However, no legendary Pokemon to date are doubly weak to Bug.
Though a weak type overall, stronger Bugs await in future generations, one of the most notable being Volcarona in Gen 5. Any improvement to Yanmega itself is contingent on buffs to its existing Bug-type moves, which are already the best in the game.
Fire Spin + Fire Punch or Fire Blast
Magmortar, like Heatran, got a bad draw in the moveset lottery, hampering its viability as a Fire contender. Its best charged moves are Fire Punch and Fire Blast, both far inferior to Overheat. As it's strictly inferior to the ubiquitous Flareon, it can’t be high on a Sinnoh Stone priority list.
Highest DPS Fire Attackers:
While Magmortar lacks an established signature move for a prospective Community Day, if it were given Overheat, it could secure the 2nd highest Fire DPS behind Moltres. This would place it on par with Blast Burn Charizard, giving a reprieve to those who missed Community Day and lack the resources for legendaries.
While unlikely, it’s not impossible for Niantic to release Overheat Magmortar in a future moveset update. We already have shiny Magby, echoing many Gen 4 Pokemon with baby forms, so a Community Day seems unlikely.
Low Kick + Close Combat
The problem with having blades for arms is that Gallade can't Dynamic Punch (or Counter, either). These are insurmountable obstacles in the race for Fighting DPS. Toxicroak, Lucario, and Heracross are all much better. Against Normal-type targets, Focus Blast Mewtwo also outputs higher DPS than Gallade.
Confusion + Synchronoise
Note: Must evolve during December Community Day or other similar events to obtain Synchronoise.
Gallade's Fighting moves are so mediocre that Confusion + Synchronoise is a higher DPS moveset. But you might as well use Alakazam or Espeon, who deal higher DPS and have been around forever.
There are a lot of Fighting-type moves in Pokemon, only a small fraction of which are reflected in GO. Gallade definitely has a lot of potential for improvement, as his stats are quite good. He just needs better moves. Gallade's Community Day has come and gone, gifting it just a decent Psychic-type charged move.
Hex or Sucker Punch + Shadow Ball
Mismagius is next in line for Dark / Ghost attackers. It sits behind Tyranitar in DPS with much lower TDO. This is a hard pass unless you’ve already bought the matching hat, in which case Mismagius is a top tier buddy Pokemon.
There’s not much room for Mismagius to improve. It can’t learn Lick or Shadow Claw, and its Attack stat isn't that high. Even with those moves, it would reach around Sharpedo levels in DPS.
These Pokemon don't have the raw power to make much headway as gym or raid attackers, but their more defensive stat distributions can lend to usage in PvP. The key word is usage: we don't claim that these Pokemon will rock the PvP meta.
Fury Cutter + Earthquake + Aerial Ace
Gliscor benefits from a defensively oriented stat distribution, decent moves, and a unique typing with defensive utility. At a high level it's viable in Ultra League; it faces competition from Gligar in Great League, as both can minimax around 1500 CP.
Lick + Solar Beam + Earthquake
Lickilicky has a stat distribution and moves resembling Snorlax. Its high energy charged moves are a real drawback, though. Run Solar Beam if you are going to use Lickilicky, otherwise it's just a worse Snorlax. Its max CP fits right in Ultra League. In Great League, Lickitung is strictly better.
Exclusive Move: Body Slam
For Lickitung Raid Day, both Lickitung and its Sinnoh evolution received Body Slam as a time-limited exclusive move. While this move may randomly return, the nature of the event makes it difficult to plan for. If you've got a good Lickitung, you may consider holding out.
These Pokemon are largely useless, serving no meaningful function as attackers, defenders, or PvP combatants.
Porygon-Z has great base stats but suffers from its movepool. Normal-type Pokemon can’t get STAB and have their attacks be super effective, which already sets it back, even with its incredibly high Attack. As a defender, it is another punching ball for the ubiquitous Machamp.
Porygon is a former 10 km egg Pokemon that seems to have been skipped as a Community Day target. Without a shiny variant released, it would be a very reasonable Pokemon to feature.
Porygon also has a noteworthy signature move in Tri Attack. A Normal-type fast move, on the other hand, could make Porygon-Z in partly cloudy weather comparable to Metagross as a generalist, although type effectiveness (1.6x) is more powerful than STAB (1.2x).
With only 180 Attack, this one-eyed Ghost unfortunately doesn’t have much going for it. One would expect Dusknoir to be good at PvP given its defensive stat distrubtion, but its moves don't do it justice. In Great League, Dusclops is the better choice.
As mentioned above, Dusknoir's stats are tailor made for PvP. With the format being in its infancy, there's high potential for tweaks and balances in the future to improve Dusknoir's prospects there.