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[Analysis] Shadow Weather Trio (Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza) and other new Shadows as raid attackers

February 3, 2024 - Teban54
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Teban54
su-2024-no-speculation

Main Points (TL;DR)

Yes, Shadow Kyogre is the #1 non-mega Water attacker. But this article primarily focuses on what to use the “stacked” Super Rocket Radars (SRRs) for (which I think is the underlying question for many players).

My one-sentence summary: Shadow Groudon > Shadow Rayquaza > Shadow Kyogre. But there are many nuances, and none of them are perfect.

[Shadow Groudon]

  • Pros: Extremely useful against many bosses (due to ground type’s wide coverage)
    • Remains useful even in the far future
  • Cons: High cost & “somewhat lackluster” within-type performance
    • Needs ETM, and even then, “only” 7% above Shadow Excadrill/Garchomp
    • Future Shadow Landorus-T (2030?) will be (ever so slightly) better, though may not be worth the wait
      • Shadow Terrakion and Reshiram also take on similar roles

[Shadow Rayquaza]

  • Pros: IF it gets Dragon Ascent, it’s insane
    • As good as Shadow Mewtwo with Psystrike
  • Cons: Depends too heavily on getting Dragon Ascent, which is uncertain; if not, it may not be what you’d expect from “Rayquaza the name”
    • Shadow Ray with Aerial Ace or Hurricane << Regular Ray with Dragon Ascent
    • Shadow Ray with Breaking Swipe (ETM) is the top non-mega dragon, and quite consistent, but just barely
    • With Outrage? So risky that you might as well get a Shadow Salamence/Garchomp (with better IVs even)
      • Shadow Dialga and Palkia with signature moves can also be a huge threat, if they become a thing
    • Utility also lower than you’d like (though improves with Dragon Ascent)

[Shadow Kyogre]

  • Pros: Great within-type performance, even without ETM; Stronger than Shadow Groudon head-to-head
  • Cons: Underwhelming utility as a water type

For those looking further long-term, my 2023 analysis on SRRs largely still holds: Terrakion, Reshiram and Dark Void Darkrai. I’d also add RoT Shadow Dialga if it happens.

Miscellaneous:

  • Poison: Shadow Toxicroak and Revavroom surprisingly show up on poison charts. But their biggest issue is lack of bosses to use them against.
  • Shadow Gen 4 starters: Empoleon > Torterra > Infernape, though all are generally outclassed by Shadow Gen 3 starters.

My analyses of other types are in this spreadsheet. You can also follow me on Twitter (X) and Threads!

Article Structure and Preliminaries

This article is mostly divided into two parts:

  • Part 1: Strength of Shadow Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza, among their own types
  • Part 2: Utility of them, compared to all other attackers (current & future), using the Strength & Utility (S&U) metric
  • And a small “Part 3” with minor notes on Revavroom and new shadows: Empoleon, Infernape and Toxicroak.

For the Pokebattler version of this article, charts will be presented throughout the text whenever deemed fit. If you want to view all charts at once, you can find them at the Reddit version of this article (with the same contents).

This article makes heavy reference to my January 2023 analysis on all future shadow legendaries (RedditGo HubPokebattler). It’s not a prerequisite, but it greatly helps understanding the context.

  • Two major changes in the 2023 article’s assumptions: (1) Super Rocket Radars are much more “stackable” now, if you’re willing to skip dex entries; (2) Shadow Raids mean any shadow legendary will (presumably) eventually be obtainable in large numbers if you wait enough years.

Part 1: Strength

Shadow Kyogre’s Strength

Water attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

Strength-wise, within water types, Shadow Kyogre has very few drawbacks. It’s the #1 non-mega water attacker, and rather consistently above Shadow Swampert, regardless of IVs and movesets!

  • A 15/15/15 Shadow Kyogre with Origin Pulse is ~10% better than Shadow Swampert. It stands out more than Shadow Groudon and Shadow Rayquaza (Dragon).
  • Even Shadow Kyogre with Surf isn’t too bad! Only about 3% worse than Origin Pulse, and still above Shadow Swampert. You can put away that ETM if you want to.
  • The same conclusions hold for most IVs.

Also note that whenever Shadow Kyogre and Shadow Groudon can both be used, Shadow Kyogre is generally better. Though these scenarios are rare, and Groudon’s moveset may be more suitable for Party Power.

Shadow Groudon’s Strength

[Section TL;DR] Also the top of its type, but you NEED the ETM, and the gap from Shadow Excadrill/Garchomp is a little bit smaller. Future Shadow Landorus-T is also a little bit better.

Ground attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

Shadow Groudon is similarly strong, even if it “loses” the head-to-head contest with Kyogre. It’s the #1 non-mega ground attacker. Not only that, but right now (2024), it’s the best counter against many bosses, some of which you wouldn’t expect a ground type to be #1 for:

  • Cobalion, Dialga, Miraidon, Regirock, Reshiram, Stakataka, Zekrom, Mega Mawile, Mega Metagross, Mega Aggron
  • (This does not include bosses that can only be countered by ground, for which Shadow Groudon is automatically the best counter.)

There are only two factors that make Shadow Groudon less ideal than Shadow Kyogre in terms of strength: ETM cost, and comparison to cheaper counters.

  • Precipice Blades is mandatory. Shadow Groudon with Earthquake is “just another shadow”, at which point you’re much better off with one of the many non-legendary shadow ground types.
  • Shadow Excadrill (Scorching Sands) and Shadow Garchomp do similar things as Shadow Groudon (PB), and the gap is slightly narrower than Shadow Kyogre’s case (5-8%, admittedly not by much).
    • The gap in practice will probably be even smaller due to IV differences.
    • Shadow Garchomp does need Earth Power, but there’s speculation that it may be available upon evolution as part of the upcoming Lunar New Year event without ETMs.
    • If you go down further, there are even more alternatives: Shadow Mamoswine/Rhyperior, and Landorus-T and regular Groudon (both with legacy moves). In contrast, water types have fewer such choices.

In the grand scheme of things, these issues are somewhat minor, especially if you’re willing to spend a Super Rocket Radar (which is often rarer than an ETM).

Note that in the future (2027-30?), Shadow Landorus Therian with signature move Sandsear Storm will likely be a little bit better than Shadow Groudon, though the difference is almost negligible. Shadow Terrakion and Shadow Reshiram (both with signature moves) will also take away a lot of crowns from Shadow Groudon.

Shadow Rayquaza’s Strength: Flying

[Section TL;DR] With Dragon Ascent, it’s an absolute top-tier flying type and even as a generalist. If it can’t get Dragon Ascent, it’s extremely underwhelming.

Flying attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

This section is particularly tricky to write, because it almost entirely depends on whether Shadow Rayquaza gets Dragon Ascent, even with a Meteorite. It’s uncertain: Dragon Ascent is for Rayquaza to mega evolve, but shadows can’t mega evolve anyway.

  • My best guess from the Game Master structure is that it should be eligible, but we don’t know.
  • Even if it’s possible, remember, Meteorites are extremely rare regardless. The last time Mega Rayquaza was in raids, anecdotes suggested its drop rate seems to be 1/30 (unconfirmed). And we don’t know if there will be another guaranteed one from special research, and whether it will cost $.

As a flying attacker, Shadow Rayquaza’s outcome is night and day depending on whether it gets Dragon Ascent.

With Dragon Ascent: Not only does it completely dominate flying types, but it can even be somewhat of a generalist.

  • Perhaps most amazingly, it rivals Shadow Mewtwo! And that’s a very realistic comparison, as they’re both super effective against fighting-type bosses (and are their primary counters).
    • On paper, Shadow Rayquaza has slighly higher DPS than Shadow Mewtwo and similar bulk. In practice, their performances are largely a wash (except against Zamazenta which has Ice Fang and Moonblast).
    • There is a very small number of fighting bosses where this is relevant, though.
  • For a huge number of raid bosses, Shadow Rayquaza only does 15-30% worse than the #1 super effective non-mega counter, even when just dealing neutral damage. (In other words, it’s typically similar to regular non-legendary counters.) This means it can fill a hole in most of your teams as a generalist.

Without Dragon Ascent: It’s worse than regular Rayquaza with Dragon Ascent (and other top flying attackers). Even a 100% IV Shadow Ray is only above/below Shadow Staraptor depending on charged move. Definitely not what you’d hope from a Super Rocket Radar.

Shadow Rayquaza’s Strength: Dragon

[Section TL;DR] While Breaking Swipe Shadow Rayquaza is indeed the #1 non-mega dragon and very consistently so, it’s only very slightly ahead of Shadow Salamence, Garchomp etc. The more popular Outrage is only a little bit worse, but makes it “just another shadow dragon”. Shadow Rayquaza also faces much more threats from future dragons.

Dragon attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

While you probably think of Rayquaza mainly as a dragon attacker, its within-type performance here is probably the worst among the Shadow Weather Trio.

Breaking Swipe Shadow Rayquaza (15/15/15) does become the #1 non-mega dragon attacker, but its margin ahead of shadow non-legendaries is too small. In estimator at L40, its average performance is 4% ahead of Shadow Garchomp and 5.7% ahead of Shadow Salamence. At this point, IVs start to matter.

The difference is that, unlike Shadow Groudon where ETM has obvious value, there’s a dilemma with using an ETM for Breaking Swipe:

  • With just Outrage, not only does it almost not stand out from shadow non-legendaries, but it starts to suffer from unreliability.
    • Outrage Shadow Rayquaza’s ASE is equal to Shadow Garchomp, and only 1% better than Shadow Salamence.
    • Shadow Rayquaza is a glass cannon, with virtually the same bulk as Sh-Salamence, a bit short of Sh-Dragonite, and well short of Sh-Garchomp. A slowww move like Outrage is usually not great on glass cannons, especially for dragon attackers, as they are always at risk of taking super effective damage. (In fact, when I compare Shadow Rayquaza (Outrage) to Shadow Garchomp, there’s about 10% of the time when Shadow Ray just collapses.)
      • (FYI: While Outrage Sh-Rayquaza does compare much better in TTW and with dodging, I prefer using estimators (first bar in the comparison charts) for dragon attackers, mostly due to the “super effective risk”.)
  • But even though Breaking Swipe does offer much-needed consistency (rare among dragon attackers), on average, it’s still a very small improvement from Outrage (4.4%). That, combined with the fact that Outrage does have higher DPS on paper, can easily make many people “not feel right” with the ETM.

If we move into the future and speculation category, Shadow Rayquaza faces more threats:

  • Origin Palkia and Dialga — even without shadows — already perform very similarly to shadow dragons, Rayquaza included. Their signature moves are simply OP.
  • The biggest future threat may come from Shadow Dialga and Shadow Palkia. We don’t know if they will even get the signature moves, but IF they do, they bring dragon attackers to a whole other level that’s well beyond Shadow Rayquaza (Shadow Dialga is 11% better).
  • Future Shadow Haxorus and Zekrom are also very close to Shadow Rayquaza (especially with Outrage).

This is not to completely write off Shadow Rayquaza’s strength: Not only is Breaking Swipe Shadow Rayquaza still the #1 non-mega dragon after all, but it’s amazingly consistent, a rare trait among dragon attackers. And it’s good that it’s still usable with Outrage (having Outrage be not far off from BS is obviously better than having it be trash). But the question is whether that’s enough for a Super Rocket Radar, especially for people who have already built shadow non-legendary dragons, and especially if typing differences are considered.

Part 2: Utility

In addition to “how strong an attacker is”, another question that’s also important but often overlooked is “how often can you use the attacker in (legendary) raids”. Not all attacking types are created equal, and some (e.g. Ground) will enjoy a greater mileage in raids than others (e.g. Poison). This is especially relevant for something as scarce as Super Rocket Radars (even if more common than expected a year ago) and Elite TMs.

When I was addressing this question for the 2023 article, I came up with the Strength & Utility (S&U) metric to reflect this. The metric combines both the number of raid bosses (current and future) to use them against, and the attacker’s relative power compared to the #1 non-mega counter (of any type) against that boss. Now, it’s the perfect time for one final update on the metric.

Methodology behind the S&U metric was explained in the 2023 article.

S&U without speculative moves

Strength & Utility of current and future attackers, without any speculative moves

S&U with speculative moves (DA, RoT)

Strength & Utility of current and future attackers, without moves whose availability are uncertain (Dragon Ascent, Roar of Time and Spacial Rend on shadows)

Utility of Shadow Weather Trio: Right now, in 2024

[Section TL;DR] Shadow Groudon tops the utility charts. Shadow Kyogre is below-average and the least useful of the trio. Shadow Rayquaza falls inbetween, which improves greatly IF it gets Dragon Ascent, especially if your other types’ teams are lacking.

Shadow Groudon

Shadow Groudon (PB) is the most useful of the trio, against the greatest number of bosses. In fact, it might be the most useful attacking type, period. This is true regardless of whether you only care about the #1 counter, or also find value in those further down the counters list.

  • It’s not too surprising when you think about it: Ground-type attackers are Super Effective (SE) against 5 types (Electric, Fire, Poison, Rock, Steel). This is tied with Fighting as the greatest number of SEs among all types.
  • Traditionally, ground types are handicapped by weaker moves compared to other more specialized attacking types. But that’s not really a problem with Shadow Groudon.
  • The only single attacking type within the same tier of utility in raids is Dark (Shadow Tyranitar). While Dark’s role is more specialized, it’s helped by the massive number of psychic-type legendaries.

Shadow Kyogre

Shadow Kyogre (OP) is the least useful of the trio. Depending on your priorities, if may actually be below-average among all attacking types.

  • Water is only SE against Fire, Rock and Ground bosses. Ground attackers cover two of them, plus 3 extra ones.
  • Most attacking types — that you probably built teams of — see greater utility than Water.
    • The ones that are usually below Water are: Grass (barely), Psychic (barely), Flying, Fairy, Bug and Poison. Most of these are not known as “good in raids”.
  • The saving grace: For the most part, Shadow Kyogre is the best counter against Ground-type bosses, surpassing Kartana. (However, there aren’t many relevant scenarios for this to take place: regular Groudon and Ting-Lu raids.) Also, Primal Groudon raids require water attackers automatically.

Shadow Rayquaza (Flying)

Shadow Rayquaza is again hard to analyze, because its utility differs based on Dragon Ascent. As a flying attacker:

  • If Shadow Rayquaza doesn’t get Dragon Ascent, the best non-mega flying type is non-shadow Rayquaza. In this case, flying types’ utility is rather limited: mostly because of a relative lack of bosses, and to a lesser extent, because Shadow Mewtwo dominates the anti-fighting scene.
  • Shadow Rayquaza with Dragon Ascent gets a significant boost on S&U, but it doesn’t seem to solve flying types’ main issues. Its gains mostly come from:
    • “Stealing” from Shadow Mewtwo (anti-Fighting)
    • As a generalist, 15-20% behind the top counter
    • Partially “stealing” from Bug and Poison attackers when the boss has a double weakness

Shadow Rayquaza (Dragon)

As a dragon attacker:

  • Dragon types, as a whole, is mid-tier in utility. Great in itself, but probably lower than you may expect.
    • Dragon is only Super Effective against one boss type: dragon. Yes, dragons see disproportionately higher representation among legendaries, but it’s still one type. Many dragon-type bosses have other counters, too (including Shadow Groudon).
  • Shadow Rayquaza (BS) already extracts most of the potential out of dragon bosses, with the notable exceptions of Latias, Zekrom, Kyurem and Miraidon. The main reason why it doesn’t get a higher S&U score is really quantity.

Overall, Shadow Rayquaza’s utility (combined between Flying and Dragon) lies between the other two members of the trio. Not getting Dragon Ascent would push it lower towards Shadow Kyogre. Getting Dragon Ascent would fully add on utility as a Flying type, pushing it higher towards Shadow Groudon’s level, especially for a player without full rosters of raid counters (including lesser-used types like Bug and Poison). A well-invested player will probably get lower than that, though.

Utility of Shadow Weather Trio: Long-term (2030)

If/when all future shadow legendaries up to Gen 5 are released (see my 2023 analysis for a speculative timeline):

Shadow Groudon faces fierce competition: Not only from Shadow Landorus-T (not on the chart but marginally better), but more importantly, from Shadow Terrakion and Shadow Reshiram with signature moves. They share many of Shadow Groudon’s duties, but do so 5-10% better. Regardless, it will remain one of the most useful attackers, just not necessarily the top.

Shadow Kyogre’s utility remains low. If anything, it becomes slightly worse in terms of “#1 shares” (further left on the chart), primarily due to Ting-Lu and Chi-Yu being better countered by Shadow Terrakion.

Major uncertainties remain with Shadow Rayquaza, primarily as a dragon attacker:

  • Dragon: The biggest potential threat is Shadow Dialga, and to a lesser extent, Shadow Palkia. IF they get their signature moves — which is uncertain — they will completely transform the field of dragon attackers, entirely replacing Shadow Rayquaza. But if that does not happen, Shadow Rayquaza (Breaking Swipe) will largely stay where it is now.
    • (Shadow Dialga would also become extremely useful in itself, elaborated in the “Bonus” section below.)
  • Flying: With Dragon Ascent, Shadow Rayquaza’s utility is rather stable here, but its benefits as a generalist gets reduced (due to specialized shadow legendaries).

“Part 3”: Quick mention of other new shadows and Revavroom

Water attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

Shadow Empoleon, with Hydro Cannon, is quite a potent water attacker, though generally below Shadow Swampert and around the level of Origin Pulse non-shadow Kyogre. You’ll have to wait for a future event (time unknown, if ever) or an ETM, though the same applies to Swampert.

Fire attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

In contrast, Shadow Infernape… Exists. It does do some work with Blast Burn, but when it’s in the same tier as non-shadow Chandelure and Darmanitan, few players will find it worth the wait/ETM. Even Blaze Kick Shadow Blaziken is much better.

(Shadow Torterra is not new, so it’s on previous grass-type charts. With Frenzy Plant, its within-type performance is inbetween the other two Gen 4 starters, while generally worse than Gen 3’s Shadow Sceptile.)

Poison attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

If you’re surprised by Shadow Toxicroak (Poison) and Revavroom… So am I! They’re fully functional poison attackers that don’t even rank badly at all, above/below the better-known Roserade (and Overqwil, also rarely known). But that reflects a lack of poison attackers more than anything else, and don’t address the low utility of poison types. (Look at where Nihilego is on the S&U charts.) All in all, they’re unlikely to be anything more notable than someone’s Tapu Bulu counters.

[Bonus Section] Comparing S&U 2024 to S&U 2023 – What changed?

This section is for the curious readers who are more interested into the S&U metric and/or its future implications, beyond the topic at hand.

Methodology changes

  • S&U 2023 ignored all Mega non-legendary raids that were unreleased at that time. S&U 2024 includes past mega non-legendaries, but each of them is “discounted” and only contributes 20% as much as a legendary raid.
    • This is a result of this survey that showed many people still do them occasionally, such as for megas they missed.
    • Keep in mind that more megas were released in 2023, so their overall contributions remain similar at 23%.
  • S&U 2023 included some speculative raid bosses, mostly those speculated to be in (Elite) raids at some point (e.g. Zarude, Shaymin, Meloetta, Galarian birds, Zygarde), and some future mythicals (e.g. Volcanion, Marshadow, Magearna). S&U 2024 removed almost all of them, as that doesn’t seem to be the direction Elite Raids are heading towards.
    • The only ones that were retained are Arceus, Keldeo, Mega Diancie and Hoopa, as I think the first three are more likely to be in raids than the other mythicals (Keldeo due to its ties with the trio).
  • Gen 9 non-DLC legendary raid bosses have been added, as they’re in Game Master and Pokebattler now. (But not Enamorus, DLC legendaries, or Paradoxes.)
  • Many Gen 1-5 raid bosses are also simulated with their Shadow T5 raids in addition to regular T5 raids. Their contributions per boss are split evenly between them.
  • I forgot to add Shadow Volcarona in 2023. It’s in the 2024 chart now.
  • The line chart looks much nicer now, hopefully!

Results changes

(With a focus on future charts)

  • The biggest confirmed winner is Shadow Terrakion (Fighting). It was already one of my top recommendations in 2023, but Gen 9 adds 4 dark-type legendaries, and Shadow Terrakion is the best counter to 3 of them.
  • I anticipated Dragon Ascent, Spacial Rend and Roar of Time in the 2023 analysis, but didn’t expect them to come with special mechanics that make their availability on shadows uncertain. Anyway, if they’re available, all three massively outperformed expectations.
    • Shadow Rayquaza (with DA) is obviously much stronger than Sky Attack that I simmed with. However, because flying types’ meta impacts are rather isolated, the effects on the left half of the S&U are smaller. It basically added as much scores from fighting-type bosses as Shadow Mewtwo gets. Most of the “shooting up to the right” comes from Shadow Rayquaza’s role as a generalist, which it does even better than Shadow Mewtwo. (This, in turn, reduced Shadow Mewtwo’s tail by a bit.)
    • But the bigger impact by far comes from Shadow Dialga (with RoT). The move’s availability is even less certain, but if it happens, Shadow Dialga would immediately become Tier 1 in utility, at Shadow Reshiram levels. It dominates the #1 spot for all dragon-type bosses and replaces attackers of other types, something no dragons had been able to do so far. With raw power between Reshiram and Mewtwo, it also works as a generalist.
      • Shadow Dialga’s entry knocks down a few other competing attackers: Sh-Tyranitar, Sh-Groudon, Galarian Darmanitan Zen, Sh-Volcarona, and Sh-Gardevoir.
    • (Shadow Palkia with SR is slightly worse. On the other hand, Shadow Origin Palkia would probably do better than Shadow Dialga, but that’s too speculative.)
  • Shadow Tyranitar (Dark) didn’t exist on the 2023 S&U chart, because it didn’t have Brutal Swing yet. With the new move, it now tops the chart, taking over all I said about Shadow Hydreigon back then. (The threat from Shadow Darkrai still looms.)
  • Shadow Volcarona (Bug) and Shadow Chandelure (Ghost) are newly added, as I missed both types last time. They may seem promising on the chart, but it’s really a result of the sheer number of psychic-type bosses. They have similar power among themselves, but can’t begin to compare to Shadow Tyranitar.
  • Removal of mythicals, Galarian birds etc. as raid bosses has some slight negative impacts on Shadow Reshiram and Zekrom, but they’re very minor. Shadow Rhyperior slightly improved, and I can’t figure out why, but it may be for the same reason: removal of later-gen mythicals shifted more weights to early-gen legendaries, which are disproportionately weaker to rock.
  • Shadow Kyogre gets a small boost from Ting-Lu and Chi-Yu, though not enough to significantly change the conclusions.

Imgur Links and Additional Charts

General attacker charts: ASE and ASTTW*

Comparisons:

Strength & Utility (S&U):

* indicates additional charts that are not in the main post.

dragon pve
dragon raid pokemon
dragon types
empoleon
fire pve
fire raid pokemon
Fire types
flying pve
Flying raid pokemon
flying types

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