Giratina is rather unique, in the sense that it has two forms: Its “Altered” form, and it’s “Origin” form. For the purpose of this article, I’ll refer to each as their more commonly known names in “Giratina-A” and “Giratina-O.” With Giratina-A hitting gyms as a raid boss on March 28th, and Giratina-O accessing gyms on April 3rd, this article plans to talk about both Giratina forms in today’s Pokemon Go metagame.
As a brief overview, the forms have two key differences: different stat builds and different movepools. The latter wasn’t actually thought to be a factor until early on March 26th, when Niantic announced Giratina-O would have an almost totally different movepool from Giratina-A. The only move the two share in common is the fast move Shadow Claw. As such, two similar looking, but drastically different Pokemon became even more distant from one another. In some ways, this is a good thing, and in some ways, this is a bad things. So, let’s talk about each form in-depth!
Giratina-A is an interesting case of a Pokemon. Starting off with gyms and Raid Bosses, and we find that Giratina-A is pretty much useless here. It has a terrible movepool in this context; Shadow Sneak and Ancientpower are horrible moves, and Dragon Claw is decent-ish at best. Giratina-A then has Shadow Claw and the uninspiring Dragonbreath for fast moves. Dragonbreath is frequently inferior to Shadow Claw when they hit for the same effectiveness, meaning Giratina-A’s only “usable” movepool is Shadow Claw + Dragon Claw. This means that Giratina-A’s only real role in the metagame of Raids is as a generalist- a terrible one at that. You have no reason at all to use this Pokemon in the generalist role over the likes of Rayquaza, Metagross, Gengar, Roserade or Mewtwo. Therefore, Giratina-A doesn’t really have a niche in Raids, and frequently rides the bench in this capacity.
In PvP, however, it is a TOTALLY different story. In fact, Giratina-A is by far the best Pokemon in all of PvP, and this is not even close to debatable. Giratina-A is so insanely overpowered, that I am of the belief that legitimate PvP tournaments would benefit from banning it from use altogether. How is it so dramatically different? It’s movepool, which severely underperforms in Raids, is actually perfect in PvP. Dragon Claw eats up shields and has great coverage, and Ancientpower not only hits Alolan Ninetales for super effective damage, but has the chance to further boost Giratina-A’s power and bulk to insane levels. To that point, Giratina-A is overpowered mainly because the stuff that is designed to defeat it actually frequently fails to beat it, or does so by incurring a severe shield disadvantage and setting the team back. Case in point: Giratina-A is “checked” in theory by Alolan Ninetales, Dialga, Tyranitar and Lugia. Alolan Ninetales gets brushed aside by Ancientpower, and can only actually defeat Giratina-A if it uses both shields and the Giratina user decides to use none- an act placing Ninetales’ team severely into shield deficit. This actually means that Alolan Ninetales is a fairly worthless answer to Giratina-A, despite clamping down on just about every other Dragon in the game hard. The same can be said about the likes of Tyranitar and Lugia- they must incur shield deficit in order to come out on top. Dialga straight up loses to Giratina-A, despite also frequently being able to defeat other Dragons. Finally, as a testament to how great Giratina-A is, the only Pokemon who can actually defeat Giratina-A without going into shield deficit is Steelix. That said, even Steelix has some problems here. First, Steelix is a generally underwhelming pick in general, only useful because it can defeat Giratina-A more consistently than anything else, lacking merit in any other notable way. Second, Steelix can actually still lose this match to a lucky boost from Ancientpower to Giratina-A. Steelix is incredibly bulky and can take hits from Giratina-A all day, but it lacks the firepower to quickly take Giratina-A down. This incentivizes the Giratina-A player to continually aim for Ancientpower boosts. If the Giratina player gets lucky and triggers the 10% chance to boost their stats, Steelix will lose, and the other player frankly may as well just end the game. After an Ancientpower boost, Giratina-A takes pitiful damage from just about everything and has raw power roughly on par with the terrifying Mewtwo. It will proceed to simply delete your team, taking no damage in the process.
I believe Giratina-A is ban-worthy in PvP in serious tournaments with cash buy-ins, because of this. Giratina-A is unhealthily centralizing; you either base your entire team around countering it, while also including one of your own, or you straight up just lose to someone who has it before the fight even begins. Giratina-A would be healthily centralizing if it had decent, reasonably accessible, consistent counterplay. It definitely does not; it has one extremely niche, inconsistent counter, and a bunch of “maybe I can defeat Giratina-A by severely disadvantaging my team in the process?” candidates, and that’s it.
Now, let’s talk about the Distortion World’s own, Giratina-Origin:
Starting off with the Raid meta: Oh man, are we in for a treat here. Initially, when Giratina-O had access to the same moves as Giratina-A, things looked rather bleak for it in the raid meta. However, Niantic then granted Giratina-O Shadow Ball, and it has the entire playerbase absolutely salivating. Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball is going to be one hell of a contender for best Ghost type in the game. More importantly, Ghost now has a Pokemon which can actually compete with Tyranitar for something other than a glassy lead! Giratina-O’s DPS isn’t quite as high as Lick or Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball Gengar, but its DPS is practically the same as Hex Gengar’s, meaning Giratina-O becomes the undisputed best non-legacy Ghost, and a great case can be made for it to simply just be the best Ghost, period. It’s very presence immediately renders any Ghost which isn’t legacy Gengar totally irrelevant, as Giratina-O thoroughly outclasses every other Ghost in the game with its amazing moveset and brilliant stats. Considering that legacy Gengar hasn’t been available in well over a calendar year, and most players will begin to simply field teams of six Giratina-Os after obtaining them. As previously mentioned, Giratina-O still competes with legacy Gengar for best Ghost period; Giratina-O is head and shoulders better than Gengar at beating Psychic types, its better bulk keeps it going against fellow Ghosts or Pokemon with Ghost moves a lot longer, and its secondary Dragon typing gives it an upper hand against Fire Punch Alakazam, a notoriously very difficult Raid Boss whose difficulty will diminish overnight once Giratina-O is released. Giratina-O’s TDO also completely outclasses legacy Gengar’s, sometimes even tripling it up against Psychic types.
As for competing with Dark types, Giratina-O stands tall in this regard as well. While it can’t perform quite as adequately against Ghost or Psychic move users, due to Dark’s defensive, resistance based advantage, Giratina-O outclasses the vast majority of them in TDO in neutral matchups, and has the advantage of not getting absolutely erased by Gengar or Alakazam’s Focus Blast. Giratina-O blows Tyranitar out of the water in DPS, and is able to do the same to every other Dark type attacker not named Weavile, who Giratina-O easily outclasses in TDO the majority of the time.
In raids, Giratina-O will become a phenomenal anchor, and a tanky Pokemon who can hit back very hard as well. Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball is an utterly perfect moveset. To that point, it does have access to Ominous Wind as an alternate Ghost option, but it should be noted that Ominous Wind is a horrible move, one which removes almost all of Giratina-O’s excellent traits that make it as amazing as it is. Don’t let Giratina-O use this move; TM it away at once!
While Giratina-O also has access to Dragon Tail and Dragon Pulse, it is not anywhere near as appealing with a Dragon type moveset. It falls short of Alolan Exeggutor’s TDO most of the time, and is generally outclassed by Rayquaza, Dialga and Outrage Dragonite. Still useful, just not as useful as in its Ghost type attacking capacity.
For the PvP meta, Giratina-O is a pretty strong pick. Shadow Claw is a strong PvP fast move, Shadow Ball is a good Charged move for PvP, and Ominous Wind is pretty appealing, as a Ghost-type Ancientpower. It isn’t as oppressive as its Altered forme cousin, but it’s a pretty strong, useful pick which has utility at all stages of the game. With Ominous Wind, Giratina-O can lead, eat up opposing shields, and fish for a stat boost from Ominous Wind. For as powerful as Giratina-O gets after an Ancientpower boost, Giratina-O’s power actually exceeds that of Deoxys-A after a boost, and its bulk becomes elite as well; this generates lots of early momentum and can even turn into a game-ending sequence. Of course, Ominous Wind’s potential is curbed by a mere 10% trigger rate, and the move itself is fairly weak without a boost. Therefore, investing in a second Charged move and selecting Shadow Ball is a good idea for the raw power. Alternatively, a player could opt for the more consistent Dragon Pulse over Ominous Wind, to give Giratina-O better coverage and a chance to fight back against Pokemon like Tyranitar and other Ghost resists. It removes the potency of having ridiculous stats, but also gives the player something more consistent that strictly benefits them more if Ominous Wind doesn’t provide the boost. Giratina-O is negatively affected by the prevalence of its Altered forme, who soundly defeats Origin forme. It also can’t really beat Dialga, often loses to Tyranitar, and has a difficult time with Alolan Ninetales. But, it’s strong, has great bulk and a great moveset, ensuring it stays useful in the PvP spectrum.
Ultimately, both Giratina formes are great in their own ways. Giratina-A isn’t useful in raids, but aside from this, they’re both generally good picks at just about anything. Having said all of this, make sure to take advantage of their availability towards the end of March and throughout the month of April!