Typing Review: An Overview of Bug Types for Raids in Pokemon Go

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When it comes time to review a given Pokemon for raids, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Sure, we think of Attack and Moveset, but before that the first question on most minds is "what's its type?" Typing is an incredibly important factor in the Pokmemon series, and Pokemon Go follows along perfectly. Whenever a raid comes around, our first thought isn't "what's my strongest Pokemon?", it's "what's my best Pokemon that it's weak to?" In order to help shine a bit of a spotlight on this fact, we're beginning a new series that basically is a more in-depth version of our Best Attackers by Type list titled Typing Review, where we take a look at the current state of a given type and then attempt to forecast its future given what we know.

And what better place to start this series than the first type that we encounter alphabetically, and one of the first types that most of us will likely encounter in most Pokemon games: Bug. This is an often-overlooked type that's a favorite among a lot of players, but it's hailed as pretty mediocre in Pokemon Go. So is that view justified, or is there more to the multi-legged Pokemon that reside within the heading of Bug Type? Let's take a look, as we review the Bug Type and its impact on the raid meta.

The State of the Type

The current top Bug Type attackers in the game are already outlined in our Best Attackers by Type list, linked above, so we recommend that you take a look at that to get a better list-breakdown, but these are the current candidates that we'll be working with in this article:

As a type, Bug is actually kind of unfortunate. In the main series it's frequently seen as one of the "beginner types", with most Bugs relegated to the role of early-game, easy to level Pokemon with a low power ceiling. In Pokemon Go, this translates into most Bug Types falling short of the DPS needed to excel in raids. Add to this the fact that Bug Types only deal Super Effective damage to Psychic, Dark, and Grass types, all three of which are also countered by some of the objectively strongest types in the game, and it becomes pretty obvious why Bug Types tend to be ignored outside of double-effectiveness.

Looking at the current top attacker list reveals just how harsh this type has it in practice; the top non-Mega Bug Types are mostly shadows of Pokemon that are now considered mediocre at best, although we do have two main exceptions to this rule. The first exception is the Ultra Beast Pheromosa, which sports the highest Attack stat among the current Bug Types and one of the best possible Bug Type movesets, but paper-thin defenses that make it easy to KO in short order. The second is Volcarona, which is probably the overall best Bug Type in the game, with power that actually allows Bug Type to be somewhat competitive with many other types in the game, though it's still below the performance of many other types. 

Overall, Bug is easily one of the saddest types in Pokemon Go. The ability to take on Dark, Grass, and Psychic Types at the same time could make them useful for role-compression, but they ultimately lack the power needed to excel.

The Primal Advantage

One easily overlooked advantage to Bug Types is their synergy with Primal Kyogre, as this legendary titan provides deeper advantages than what's apparent on the surface.

Simply having Primal Kyogre active in your party, not just on the field, will grant a boost to all Water, Electric, and Bug Types utilized by your team mates, meaning Bug can potentially enjoy a perpetual boost if one member of your Raid Group brings a Primal Kyogre along for the ride. This boost requires some planning and team-work to pull off, but its advantages are genuinely huge.

The Secondary Options

While the top options are pretty much always the best way to go, bug does have a handfull of options that don't quite hit the numbers of the above. So here are a few options for those struggling to put together a team that can help out in Bug-weak raids. Just note that Bug is a pretty weak type in-and-of itself, so digging deeper than the top options is unlikely to grant much advantage.

Bug Type Moves

As of the publishing of this article, we currently have access to 12 different Bug Type attacks, divided into 5 Fast Moves and 7 Charged Moves.

Fast Moves Charged Moves
Bug Bite Megahorn
Fury Cutter Bug Buzz
Infestation X-Scissor
Struggle Bug Signal Beam
Hidden Power (Bug) Fell Stinger
Silver Wind

The Good Moves

Despite its reputation as a weak type, some Bug Type moves actually tend to be very strong. In particular, they have access to a few absolutely stellar Fast Moves in Fury Cutter and Bug BiteFury Cutter is actually one of the objectively best Fast Moves in the game, sporting great Energy Generation and good DPS due to just how rapidly it can be used. Bug Bite, meanwhile, it just an all-around solid move, and arguably the best Bug Type move when dealing Super Effective damage and/or dealing with other damage boosts, and has good overall parameters that allow it to stand out. After the big-two, we come to Infestation which is just.... fine in its own right. It's not quite as great as Bug Bite or Fury Cutter, but it's still a good alternative.

On the Charged Move side, the big attacks to watch for are Megahorn and Bug BuzzThey aren't hugely powerful, but they fall in line with the concept of a "standard good move" like Thunderbolt or Ice Beam. After the big-two, X-Scissor makes the cut as a "good" move as well. It's weaker than the competition, but it's still decently strong and easy to dodge with, so it just barely gets by in this section.

The Bad Moves

The remaining Fast Moves worth mentioning here are Struggle Bug and Hidden Power (Bug)and these two moves are literally identical in terms of stats. You can switch one for the other on any given Pokemon and it will make literally no difference. On that note, neither of these moves are "objectively horrible", as they have solid performance in their own right, but they do fall behind the big-name Bug Type Fast Moves. It's also worth mentioning that if you score Hidden Power Bug on a Pokemon, then it's almost definitely a Pokemon that you do not want Hidden Power Bug on.

Charged Moves, on the other hand, take a bit of a dive after X-Scissor. Signal Beam could be seen as barely serviceable if we had a Bug Type Pokemon with 320+ base Attack, but it's a bit of a nose-dive when compared to the admittedly borderline X-Scissor. Fell Stinger, Silver Windand Lungemeanwhile, are what you put on a Pokemon if you just don't want it to do raids. These are weak moves that genuinely have no redeeming qualities in the PvE meta.

The Future of Bug Types

Currently Unreleased Bug-Type Pokemon

Currently Unreleased Bug-Type Moves

  • Attack Order*
    • Vespiquen
  • Defend Order*
    • Vespiquen
  • First Impression**
    • Golisopod
  • Heal Order*
    • Vespiquen
  • Judgment*
    • Arceus
  • Leech Life
  • Multi-Attack*
    • Silvally
  • Pin Missile
  • Pollen Puff
  • Pounce
  • Powder
  • Quiver Dance
  • Rage Powder
  • Silk Trap*
    • Spidops
  • Skitter Smack
  • Spider Web**
    • Ariados
  • Steamroller
  • Sticky Web
  • String Shot
  • Tail Glow**
    • Volbeat
  • Twineedle**
    • Beedrill
  • U-Turn

*: Signature Move

**: Formerly a Signature Move

The Non-Threats

Right off the bat, we can discount a number of these Pokemon. Anything that's not fully evolved is an obvious "no", but we can also ignore Orbeetle, Rabsca, and Spidops. These Pokemon all lack the sheer power needed to compete in the raid-meta, and don't have any real redeeming aspects. Spidops at least has a  Signature Move in Silk Trap, but this move would have to be stupidly strong to compensate for its low Attack stat, so this potential future is exceedingly unlikely. Even Silvally falls pretty far short. Even if given Multi-Attack as a clone of Psystrike and U-Turn as a clone of Volt Switch (the most likely stats for it given its main-series performance) it ends up close to Pinsir in terms of overall performance.

The Existing Threats

Pokemon in this section have already been released into Pokemon Go, but their future is still bright. Due to moveset updates or other bonuses, they have the potential to rise on the list to varying degrees.

Note that we may treat select unreleased Mega Evolutions and alternate formes as Existing Threats, where applicable, due to their base-formes already existing in-game.

  • Current Moveset: Struggle Bug + Megahorn
  • Best Possible Moveset: Struggle Bug + Megahorn

In terms of where it can go from here, Mega Heracross doesn't have a lot of room to grow. It's already got its best possible moveset, though Pin Missile does have the potential to be a great move.

...but Mega Heracross really doesn't need to improve beyond what it is now. Despite having a mediocre Fast Move, Mega Heracross sports tremendous power thanks to its sky-high Attack stat and outstanding Charged Move; Megahorn. Mega Heracross is set to pretty much rule the Bug Type Meta, and few Pokemon have the potential to dethrone it.

  • Current Moveset: Bug Bite + X-Scissor
  • Best Possible Moveset: Bug Bite/Fury Cutter + X-Scissor

This one is a bit of a long-shot, but Mega Beedrill does have the potential to rise in the rankings. This is due to the fact that Twineedle was once its signature move in the main series and has very limited availability, so it could drop as a powerful Signature to rocket this toxic wasp to new viability.

That said; Twineedle would HAVE to be about on a par with Psystrike to allow Mega Beedrill to take the #1 spot, so it's not super likely. Still, it does have the potential for growth! 

The Future Threats

These are the Pokemon that we don't currently have in-game, but have the potential to join our Top Attackers by Type list if Niantic does them justice. Note that this list won't necessarily order Pokemon according to their potential, as we will take likelihood of a good implementation into consideration as well.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Bug Bite + Bug Buzz

Interestingly, while Volcarona is hailed as the current power-house bug, its fairly newly revealed variant from a distant past has the potential to directly rival it. Slither Wing is just barely behind Volcarona in terms of attack, but has higher Defense and a different sub-typing to play with, meaning it's going to be just as viable in select situations if it gets a good moveset.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Bug Bite + Bug Buzz

Frosmoth is a bit of an unexpected Pokemon here, but it's currently set to be blessed by Niantic with its best possible moveset and it has a surprisingly high Attack stat, putting it about on a par with Yanmega in terms of raid performance. Its Ice sub-typing can be an issue, but it's got potential to be an overall solid Bug Type attacker.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Fury Cutter + Judgement

This is a pretty iffy one due to the fact that we genuinely don't know how Arceus will be implemented in Pokemon Go, but this is definitely one of the types that Arceus has the potential to shine in.

The only possible way for Arceus to stand out would be if it was given Fury Cutter alongside a Bug Type Judgement with great stats, about on a par with Psystrike. At that point, it could potentially surpass the Bug Type Mega Evolutions, and potentially even make Bug an actually viable type in raids. But still, we have way too many "what ifs" to confidently put Arceus any higher on this list at this time.

  • Best Possible Moveset: Bug Bite + Bug Buzz

Great news for Censiskorch: it s another Bug that actually has access to its best possible moveset in the game data right now! With this set, it's actually a pretty competent Bug Type attacker, sitting on a par with Genesect, but without that nasty 2x Fire weakness... just keep it away from anything throwing rocks.

The Looming Shadows

Beyond these big-names, the other way that Niantic could really shift the Bug Type meta is in terms of Shadow Pokemon. Right off the bat, a Shadow Volcarona could rival Mega Heracross in terms of sheer power, nearly reaching Pheromosa's DPS with substantially more TDO to give it huge viability while also weighing on the Fire meta at the same time. And on that same note, if we are ever given a way to evolve Scyther into Kleavor in Pokemon Go, then Shadow Kleavor will instantly follow. While not as strong as Shadow Volcarona, it has the potential to rock the Bug meta as well... pun intended.

Those aside, Shadow Vikavolt, Shadow Yanmega, Shadow Frosmoth, Shadow Genesect, Shadow Venomoth, and Shadow Centiskortch all have some potential, but they wouldn't provide much utility over existing Bug Type Shadows.

The Gigantamax Factor

While not extremely likely, it's possible that Niantic could release the Dynamax/Gigantamax system first introduced in Generation 8/Galar into Pokemon Go. For those unaware, this system turns Pokemon giant, gives them new/overpowering moves, and grants a tremendous HP boost while active. And while the release of this feature isn't super likely, we thought it best to at least list the possible candidates with unique formes just to cover all bases, so these are all of the Bug Type Pokemon with a Gigantamax forme:

Verdict for the Future

Once Mega Heracross finally hits in Pokemon Go, that represents the likely cap for Bug Types for the foreseeable future. Gamefreak seems to not like making strong Bug Types at all, and we don't even have any note-worthy moves that are super likely to make a huge difference. Shadows will definitely help, but the Pokemon that would need to be Shadows to make a major difference, like Volcarona, aren't extremely likely to show up any time soon.

As of right now, the main way to fix Bug Types is to introduce powerful new Bug Type moves and/or buff existing moves, as most bugs are just flatly too weak to do well without some major outside help. We have a fair number of potential options with fairly wide distribution available like U-Turn, Leech Life, Pin Missile, or Skitter Smack, so it would be simple to buff a lot of the weaker bugs without touching the most powerful members of the type. This could potentially make the top bugs competitive with other big-name types without needing to prey on a double-weakness.

Overall, Bug's future doesn't look very bright. It would take fairly large changes to bring it up to a par with its competition, meaning it will probably remain one of the "only use if double effective" types for as far ahead as we can possibly see.

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About the Author(s)

Gamepress Pokemon Go site lead with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization and a background in business management and freelance writing.  A bit of a hermit, but also an outdoors enthusiast who loves cycling and hiking. Long-time Gamepress fan who is very proud to be a part of the team.