The annual Equinox event has begun on Pokemon Go. Throughout five of the seven days’ worth of the event, MCLA students will mostly be off campus and on spring break. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your hometown Pokemon Go scene. Is your scene bustling, hundreds of players within close proximity in your city? Or could the average resident not be able to tell you who Pikachu is? Areas with mainly the latter are more common than you think, and it is still important to know how to solo or two-man content when it pops up, lest you miss out on limited edition Equinox Event Raid Bosses!
For Tier 3 Bosses, Machamp and Alolan Raichu return. Breloom gets a promotion to Tier 3 status, and Tangela is back from a lengthy hiatus. Meanwhile, for T4s, Tyranitar, Absol and Marowak are back, while Shiftry returns and Victreebel graces the gym with its presence.
As usual, this will focus on shortmanning T3 and T4 Raid Bosses. T1s and T2s are laughably easy and do not warrant a written guide to beat them.
Starting with new Tier 3 Bosses:
Solo difficulty: Trivial
Explanation: Breloom might very well be the easiest Tier 3 to solo ever devised. It’s extremely fragile and has a very common set of weaknesses, including a x4 weakness to Flying. Flying also happens to resist both of Breloom’s STABs, so it’s not like Sharpedo, where Breloom could at least threaten to rip a hole in your team. Before writing this article, I debated as to whether or not a writeup for Breloom would even be necessary. As if things weren’t easy enough, Rayquaza just came and went through our raid gyms. You could pluck two Rayquazas off the streets, bring them here and win easy. Speaking of Rayquaza, a maxed out Rayquaza with Air Slash + Aerial Ace can actually defeat Breloom by itself, and in under half the allotted time to win as well.
Dodge Strategy: You don’t need to dodge, but it’s not like you’re in this heartstopping battle against the clock where dodging risks losing the game. So go ahead and dodge if it’ll save you a potion or two.
Best Counters: Lugia is another Pokemon which can take on Breloom all by itself. Roserade with Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb can nearly go 1v1 with Bullet Seed + Seed Bomb Breloom too. If you really want, go ahead and take that random Skarmory or Crobat you powered up. Anything with a Flying type attack is viable for this raid. Most stuff with Psychic, Poison, Fire or Ice is too. Really, even strong neutral attackers like Metagross or Gengar suffice as well. I think it’d be a more interesting writeup if I were to come up with a list of stuff that *doesn’t* counter Breloom in some way.
Solo difficulty: Hard
Explanation: Worth clarifying is that the “Hard” designation is mostly contingent on the question of “Were you active in the month of January when Heatran was a T5 Raid Boss?” If the answer is yes, then you should switch “Hard” to something a little more like “Intermediate” mainly because Heatran simplifies this raid significantly; you only need about one or two to have an adequate team to take on a Tangela raid. Thankfully, even if you weren’t, there are still options, but without Heatran, things get a little trickier. Survivability can be a bit tricky if you come upon a Tangela with Sludge Bomb (if you’re loaded with Flying types) or Grass Knot (for a team lacking in Heatran, Moltres, Charizard or Rayquaza). Better yet, Tangela itself is pretty bulky, and having good enough DPS can be a bit challenging.
Dodge Strategy: If you’ve got so much as two decent Heatrans, you don’t need to dodge at all, regardless of the moveset. Beyond that, Flying types and Roserade should mix in a couple dodges against Sludge Bomb, especially in Roserade’s case against Infestation Tangela. For Fire types, Moltres and Charizard should also dodge Sludge Bomb, but they can pretty adequately tank Grass Knot or Solar Beam thanks to their resistances. Flareon should do some fairly regular dodging regardless of Tangela’s move, due to its moderate fragility.
Best Counters: Heatran is head and shoulders above the competition. As previously mentioned, the mere presence of a single Heatran or two simplifies this raid significantly. Beyond that, neutral DPSers, like Mewtwo or Metagross, should generally ride the bench unless they’re weather boosted; you need super effective hits to win this raid. To that point, Moltres and Charizard achieve this and can take hits from Tangela decently enough. Rayquaza with Air Slash + Aerial Ace is a somewhat niche but useful option as well. Flareon is an interesting choice even with a group of Heatrans to back it up, as it’s a fairly low expense, decent return option that can help get ahead of the clock early in the raid. It doesn’t perform too well against Sludge Bomb or even Grass Knot though, due to its fragility, and should generally perform as a lead most of the time if being used.
For new Tier 4 bosses:
Solo difficulty: Impossible
Two-man difficulty: Very Hard
Explanation: Victreebel has a reputation for being a bit glassy in this game, which makes the average player surprised when they discover that it’s a big, hulking punching bag as a Raid Boss. Victreebel’s stats are decent, but it’s STAB is easily resisted, and it has some attacks which just do virtually no damage at all even when neutral. Therefore, while survivability generally won’t be a problem, doing enough damage to win is predictably a big problem.
Dodge Strategy: Like with Tangela, if you have one or two Heatrans, don’t dodge anything at all. Going past that, Victreebel has two attacks in Acid Spray and Leaf Tornado which are extremely weak and don’t even necessitate dodging from frail threats like Alakazam and Espeon. The only time you should have a coordinated dodging plan is if you’re up against Sludge Bomb or Leaf Blade Victreebel when using these frail Pokemon, as that move can threaten to wipe your team out if it is front loaded with glassier Pokemon.
Best Counters: Heatran is an incredible anchor and puts out good DPS on its own, too. Mewtwo, Rayquaza and Mamoswine also really shine, especially when the latter two are facing Victreebels with resisted movesets. If possible, try and have super effective hits which are being weather boosted for the shortman. Victreebel is really, really bulky as a Raid Boss, and it’s also immensely passive with certain moves, which stagnates your own energy growth and reduces the rate at which you can fire off Charged moves. Against Acid Spray or Leaf Tornado variants, you could go ahead and load your team straight up with six glass cannons if you don’t have any Heatrans readily available. Alakazam, Espeon, Weavile, Flareon and Honchkrow fit that profile. Deoxys-A is a stellar lead option, and it can actually survive a single undodged Acid Spray too! Therefore, you are certain to get off at least two Psycho Boosts, and it becomes a good option for two players who need a little bit of a DPS lift early in the fight.
Solo Difficulty: Extremely Hard
Two-Man Difficulty: Easy
Explanation: As of the time of writing this article, Shiftry is the only Tier 4 Raid Boss in the post-HP buff era which has had many documented instances of being successfully soloed. Where we have Tyranitar, bulky but insanely weak to Fighting, and we have Absol, immensely frail but lacking any 4x weaknesses, Shiftry is a happy medium: it is immensely frail WITH a 4x weakness. Of all the types to shine in the context of a shortman raid, Bugs finally get to have their fun! Load up a team full of six decent bugs and go watch them do more damage to a high tier Raid Boss than you’ll ever see them do in your life.
Dodge Strategy: Entirely contingent on both the context of the shortman and your selection of counters. Are you two manning this raid? You don’t need to dodge a thing, as you and your friend will likely cut Shiftry straight down before it can even dent your team. Are you soloing it? Then things get a bit more interesting. Moderate dodging of Foul Play is needed regardless of your selection of counters. Dodging Hurricane will also generally be useful, especially if your team is primarily composed of Pinsir/Yanmega instead of Scizor. Leaf Blade can generally be tanked by any Bug in the book, sheerly because of how weak the move is and how easily resisted it is.
Best counters: For the two-man, you could actually beat this raid with silly Bug types like the almighty Butterfree, Beedrill or Kricketune. For the solo, things predictably get tighter. Scizor is viable and consistent against any of Shitry’s sets, and stands out for being a Bug who is not weak to Hurricane; this is key to defend against getting wiped out by this move. Yanmega performs similarly to Scizor against Foul Play and Razor Leaf. Pinsir actually puts out more DPS than either of its Bug comrades, but it is very frail and gets annihilated by Hurricane, so you’ll want to limit your reliance on it. It does, however, make for an excellent lead, especially against Leaf Blade Shiftry. Believe it or not, there are also options for soloing Shiftry without leaning too heavily on Bugs. However, it should be noted that there isn’t a non-Bug type with a 100% win rate at max level against Shiftry, so you should use them sparingly. Machamp in cloudy weather can work decently well, but note that in neutral weather, it has a win rate of less than 10%, a number which sinks to nearly zero against Hurricane Shiftry. Moltres with Sky Attack is also excellent, but its win rate against Foul Play is very low, even in favorable weather. Similarly, Roserade in Cloudy weather with Poison Jab + Sludge Bomb is viable against Leaf Blade Shiftry, but actually has a win rate of dead zero against any other Shiftry set, favorable weather or not, as it gets cleanly wiped out by Foul Play or Hurricane Shiftry. Generally, using something that isn’t a Bug type is not a great idea, but can be done in very concentrated moderation.