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Dialga and its Lieutenants: Shortmanning today’s Pokemon Go Raids

Last week’s writeup covered how to handle Tier 3 raid bosses which come to our on-campus gym at Mark Hopkins, as well as generally handling raid bosses with the least amount of people possible wherever you may be. As a reminder, us students here at MCLA aren’t privileged with legions of free time (and in almost every case, tons of spare money to spend on the game) to put into this game. Thankfully, it doesn’t demand every waking moment of your time to become good at, so shortmanning raids is still reasonably possible. This week’s writeup will cover the current Tier 4 raids at our disposal, which could see action at the Mark Hopkins gym or, if you have the time and don’t mind a little bit of walking, the Houghton Mansion, a few blocks down the road from Mark Hopkins.


Soloability: Impossible

Two man viability: Intermediate

Explanation: Even if I happened to have six, 100% IVed, max CPed Kyogres, all with a Waterfall + Hydro Pump moveset in rainy weather, the absolute maximum damage I could do, with expert dodging, going up against Rhydon’s easiest moveset, perfect charge move usage and flawless everything, would be 96.8%. So the solo falls short even with some insanely equipped player. For the average MCLA student? Forget about it.

Thankfully, the two man is a lot more reasonable. Rhydon does have good bulk, but this is offset largely by an easily expoitable, critically bad weakness to Water and Grass. Still, Rhydon is really bulky, so that Whiscash you caught off the street will have to ride the bench here; you need good Grass and Water types.

Dodge strategy: Grass types need to dodge Megahorn. Surf is really annoying for Groudon to face, but can be tanked by any other Grass or Water type. Gyarados can tank a few Earthquakes or Megahorns, but should try to dodge Stone Edge.

Counters: As you may have noticed from my usage of Kyogre in the earlier hypothetical situation, Kyogre is by far the best counter to any Stone Edge Rhydon set, and amongst the best against Rhydon in general. Gyarados slightly outperforms Kyogre against any non-Stone Edge set thanks to its typing. Most good Grass types work as counters. Roserade, Groudon and the Exeggutors stand out when facing the appropriate moveset; Roserade slaughters Surf, Groudon beats on any non-Surf (especially Stone Edge) easily, and the Exeggutors need to be kept away from Megahorn, but succeed against any other Rhydon set. Finally, there is never going to be a Fighting-weak raid boss where Machamp isn’t an incredibly solid choice, and this is no exception. However, Machamp will need a weather boost to stand out amongst the Water and Grass type counters.


Soloability: Forget it.

Two man viability: Extremely hard.

Explanation: The three man is definitely more plausible on this one. Here, we have a boss with great bulk, good offenses, and a great movepool to kick (or Dynamically Punch) your teeth in. Poliwrath is a classic raid boss, one who has been in and out of circulation since raid bosses became a thing years ago. To offer a testament to how difficult this is: it took two years for there to actually be documentation on a two man against this Raid boss. For the longest time, Mewtwo was viewed as the only viable Pokemon to two man this boss. Because there weren’t enough Mewtwos appearing in the game around Poliwrath’s beginning as a raid boss, nobody was able to two man it. Now that Mewtwo has been more widely distributed, Rayquaza has come and gone (and will soon be coming and going again), Raikou is better and Alakazam is a lot better, Poliwrath can be two manned. However, because this boss is so specific and requires extreme resource investment to be two man viable, the three man is a lot more practical for us college students.

Dodge Strategy: This depends a lot on what you’re using and what moves the Poliwrath has brought to the table. If your strategy is built around utilizing Psychic types to beat this thing, you will need to dodge 3-5 Hydro Pumps in order to not wipe out. That is assuming you’re aiming for a two man with Mewtwo and/or Alakazam. If you’re aiming for the three man, and have the ability to get an Exeggutor or two, do it. If you do this, you only need to ever dodge Ice Punch with your Exeggutors, and are at much less of a risk of wiping out. If your strategy is based around Rayquaza, you’ll still need to dodge a couple Hydro Pumps, and will certainly want to dodge Ice Punch. Be wary of triggering the death loop glitch, however, as doing so will quickly crush any chances you had of winning the two man. Raikou will need to dodge 3-5 Hydro Pumps or about 5-6 Dynamic Punches to not wipe out. You will also benefit from dodging a couple Ice Punches if encountering a Bubble Poliwrath.

Best Counters: Mewtwo in any weather is your best bet. In Windy weather, the two man actually becomes pretty simple if both players have loaded their teams with Mewtwo and an Alakazam or two. In neutral weather, Raikou and Alakazam are still viable, but they do hurt your win chance, and you cannot have teams full of these two if you are aiming for the two man unless they are weather boosted. Rayquaza in Windy weather is a volatile option; it works on par with Mewtwo against any non Ice Punch set, but two teams full of Rayquaza will be having an uphill battle against an Ice Punch Poliwrath. While there is no official documentation to back this up, Roserade with Grass Knot in Sunny or Clear weather would likely be good enough to be filler for the two man. For the three man, most decent Pokemon who can hit this thing super effectively will suffice. Ideally, you should look for a weather boost if you can’t get any of the aforementioned Pokemon. One good Pokemon to consider for the three man under weather boost is Lugia- it has outstanding bulk to take Poliwrath’s attacks very, very well with. It especially shines against Dynamic Punch Poliwrath due to its quadruple resistance to the move.


As for Dialga itself, there have already been successful, documented two man victories against it! We are also going to be seeing Rayquaza return to gyms for a week pretty soon. As the best Dragon type attacker and top neutral DPSer in the game, players will want to take advantage of it as much as possible. Something which should further excite college students; Rayquaza is one of the easiest two man T5s we’ve ever seen!


Two man viability:  Insanely Hard

Explanation: Dialga is a legendary Dragon type with Draco Meteor, meaning that it has the potential to be running a move which absolutely destroys whatever you have on the field. Its typing is a double-edged sword: you can’t hit it super effectively with Dragon or Ice type attacks like most other Dragons, rendering those typings unviable for the two man. However, the Steel typing which shields Dialga from Dragon and Ice gives it vulnerability to Ground and, you guessed it, Fighting. This, of course, means that raiders aiming for the two man have mobilized their armies of Machamps to come take this thing down. And it has predictably worked wonders.

Dodge strategy: No point in dodging Draco Meteor, as Machamp is sure to be OHKOed by the move. In fact, there really isn’t much a use at dodging much; maybe dodge an Iron Head here and there. If you’re working with a three or four man raid, are using Groudon and want to dodge, go for it; Groudon has stellar bulk, especially against Thunder Dialga, and can actually tank a Draco Meteor with HP to spare.

Best counters: For the two man, Machamp is the champ. In fact, the only documented Dialga two-man raids have been with two players exclusively using Machamp. There is a good reason for this; A single player with maxed Machamps in cloudy weather has a TTW (Time To Win) of 550 seconds. You get 300 seconds to try to take Dialga down, so if you divide 550 by 2, you get 275, meaning that two such players should be able to defeat Dialga with these teams. This is critically important to remember, because it means that any Dialga set, even Draco Meteor, can barely be two manned. With 25 seconds of wiggle room, there is just barely enough time for a player that got wiped out to Max Revive all their Machamps and get back into the fight. However, this means that the dodge strategy has to be pretty much perfect. If possible, having a second team of maxed Machamps is better, and will take up less time to get back into the fight. If not, you will need to have six Max Revives on hand, so that you don’t spend additional time using Potions to heal your Machamps. Under this situation, triggering the death loop glitch will result in a defeat. Not dodging an attack you should’ve dodged will put the raid in jeopardy. Not having all maxed Machamps makes the margin of error, already razor thin, even skinnier. Perhaps even more annoying is that, if a player’s phone fails them and causes them to accidentally, say, click on normal Revives when they meant to click on Max Revives, this can put the raid in jeopardy. To that point, Pokemon Go is notorious for causing phones to heat up; make sure you are attempting the two man in a decently cool environment. You don’t want it to be too cold, though, as that’s bad for phones and could still cause you to lag and misclick in a critical moment.

Of course, it is perfectly reasonable to just bring a third person along, a decision which keeps the rewards for winning the raid reasonable, still gives you the opportunity to catch Dialga and, more importantly, opens up a few more viable Pokemon as counters for the raid. This is a good idea for any college students, who may not have the greatest quality phones or legions of maxed Machamps.


Solo difficulty: Insanely Hard (in theory?)

Two man viability: Easy

Explanation: Yes, you read that right: Rayquaza could theoretically, in an extremely remote circumstance, be soloed. In order to even think about it, though, you’d need six maxed out Mamoswines in Snowy weather fighting a non-Outrage Rayquaza. You have 300 seconds to defeat Rayquaza, and a team of six Mamoswines in favorable weather has a Time To Win on average of 309 seconds. That makes the solo impossible though, right? Not quite! This number is an average metric which assumes Rayquaza’s attacks do average damage to you and your attacks do average damage to Rayquaza. Now, if we assume that Rayquaza is running either Aerial Ace or Ancientpower, does the minimal damage to you every time, and you do the maximum damage to it every time, your TTW now becomes….. 299 seconds! You have literally one second to spare!

But, because I think remote statistics are funny, let’s talk about the chances of that actually happening are (all numbers assume your Mamoswines are all somehow 100% IVs):

Mamoswine’s Avalanche does a minimum of 236 damage, and a maximum of 275. If you hit the maximum every single time (you average 44 Avalanches in a single game of a solo) you will end up doing 12,100 damage. You will do roughly three times the amount of Avalanches in Powder Snows, and will end up using 264 Powder Snows, each doing a maximum of 16 damage each. That amounts to 1957 damage, and you end up maxing out at 13,957 damage against a Raid Boss with 15,000 HP. Under snowy weather, that 13,957 becomes 15,352. However, this is all assuming you are doing the absolute maximum damage every single hit, which is its own can of worms. All of these numbers are only achievable if the Rayquaza in question has 0 defense IVs. Even a single point of defensive IVs changes the max damage you can do to 14,571, and the solo therefore becomes impossible. So, you have a 1 in 15 chance right off the bat. You need the weather to be snowy, which means the solo is essentially impossible when it’s not winter time (unless you live in Alaska or something). Finally, you need the Rayquaza to not be running Outrage; this attack kills off your Mamoswines too quickly for the solo to be possible. There is a 1 in 3 chance that the Rayquaza will be running Outrage. So, your odds of being able to defeat Rayquaza with perfect play and perfect Mamoswines are effectively a little bit less than a 9% chance of success. Predictably, even a single non-maxed Mamoswine renders this number to obscure levels of possibility.

Clearly, the two man is a lot more feasible. Seeing as  the solo is technically possible, the two man offers plenty of leeway. Any good Ice type (even bad Ice types) in Snowy weather are good for the two man.

Dodge Strategy: Dodging the first Outrage in the two man can be a good idea to try to avoid getting wiped out. The same applies for Aerial Ace. Dialga doesn’t need to dodge anything except for Outrage, same for Regice and Ancient Power.

Best Counters: Mamoswine is obviously the best. If you want some tankiness, to avoid wiping out, Articuno works very well against a non-Ancient Power Rayquaza, and Regice is just good in general. Dialga is quite solid as well, though these three are rather lacking in DPS. When in doubt, if your Pokemon knows an Ice type charge move, it is probably going to be good enough to get the job done in the shortman.

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