Why Dodging in Pokemon GO is Important

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On April 30, 2019, Niantic pushed a significant change to their server/client synchronization routine. The update significantly lowered the frequency of the classic "dodge glitch" or "death loop" present in multi-trainer raids since the feature dropped. Now that dodging a knockout charged move is no longer a certain death sentence, we can finally take advantage of the full set of combat inputs when playing with a group.

Simulations tend to indicate that dodging increases time to win (i.e., slows you down), which makes conceptual sense: every dodge is a minimum of 500ms not spent attacking, while receiving only a quarter of the damage from incoming attacks means less total energy and a greater reliance on your fast move for energy generation. Nevertheless, trading a little DPS for extra survivability can bring significant overall benefits. If you find yourself in any of the following circumstances, consider running some sims with dodging as part of your preparation!

Item Conservation

Rural player? Bad best friends? Too many short-man attempts? Whatever the reason for your item shortage, dodging can allow your counters to last two or even three times as long, meaning you'll only need half as many Revives. In a mid-sized group of five to eight, this can turn net-neutral or net-negative item raids into net-positive ones. You'll be throwing away Hyper Potions in no time.

On the other side of the coin, "I'm saving revives" is no longer an excuse to use a low-DPS counter. Dodging all specials, Roserade can output trio-worthy damage against Groudon with the same number of deaths as a team of Lugia tapping away (~20 deaths at L40, no friendship, no weather boost). Furthermore, by using stronger counters, the raid will be done more quickly, so a raid group will use even fewer potions and revives. Dodging is the perfect antidote to a healing item shortage.

Counter Preservation

Most of us are still working on a full team of legendary counters, and therefore suffer a DPS drop after our first two or three Pokemon. By dodging charged moves, you can output top-tier DPS for longer. The 20% DPS drop from Kyogre to your 2016 Vaporeon won't hurt your performance if your Vaporeon never enters the battle.

This can also be a Stardust and candy saving strategy: why power up six Rayquaza for Giratina-O when you and three best friends can beat the boss with three each and a bit of dodging? With the resources saved, you can max three Giratina and do the same to Mewtwo!

Wa-Fu or Walk-Fu Raiding

The "wa-fu" style of raiding is distinguished by using the battle time to travel between active raids, whether by car (wa-fu) or on foot (walk-fu). Since relobbying while out of range of the gym hosting the raid will kick the trainer from the battle prior to completing the raid, wa-fu raiders often have to choose between maximizing the number of raids completed and maximizing the rewards from each raid. Through proper counter selection and careful dodging, a group of three or four can wa-fu with no pauses, and this style can be fully optimized.

Challenge Raiding

Raid challenges have two parameters: damage output and survivability. Dodging offers a skillful player control over both, and as such has two major applications.

On the survivability side, dodging can frequently lower the number of expected deaths below a threshold for a relobby—from 28 to 20 for a duo, for example. Avoiding a relobby can save 12-20 seconds of no damage being dealt, as well as limit opportunities for boss HP regeneration due to server desync. If the number of dodges required to avoid a relobby is less than 20, it's almost certainly worth doing. This is an instance where dodging simulations show an improvement in time to win—for example, Gengar (Lick/Shadow Ball) vs Giratina-O (Shadow Claw/Ominous Wind) goes from an impossible 44 deaths and 603 seconds to win to a reasonable 18 deaths and 595 seconds to win by dodging all specials (L40, best friendship, neutral weather).

Dodging can also help improve damage output. With the current move damage values, a Pokemon's DPS is highest immediately after using a charged move, and decays (sometimes significantly) afterward. This is especially true of Pokemon with low-energy fast moves, such as Kyogre and Smack Down Tyranitar. If Kyogre would be knocked out with a nearly full energy bar, a well-timed dodge can allow you to unleash that last Hydro Pump or Draco Meteor, spiking your DPS. Since simulation results are usually averages based almost totally on the randomness of boss behavior, you may find that effective dodging for cycle correction enables you to consistently beat the robots.

A Word of Warning

Although the classic multiplayer dodge glitch appears to have been largely mitigated, phantom hits are as pernicious as ever. Unpredictable and demoralizing, dodging opens the door to this most capricious variety of server/client desync. As ever, dodge at your own risk, and tweet @NianticSupport with desync gifs. #AntiPhantom2020


After nearly two full years of tap-tap raiding, the benefits of swiping have largely been forgotten. No longer! While the usefulness of the feature will vary from matchup to matchup and group to group, more player control is always better, particularly when it improves the viability of a variety of playstyles.

About the Author(s)

CuttyWow is an admin of r/pogoraids, a moderator of his local Pokemon GO server, and a leader of the #AntiPhantom2020 campaign. His Rattata is different from regular Rattata.