Late last week Niantic surprised Pokemon Go players by changing up the Raid Bosses in Non-Legendary Raids for the first time since they implemented the feature over the summer. While it was something most everyone was clamoring for, the new Raid Bosses left a lot to be desired, with most players criticizing the choices made. With that in mind, I decided I would try to make sense of the new bosses as best I could, so here is some info you might want to know.
Tier 1 Raid Bosses
I’m not even going to sugarcoat this, but in my opinion, the new Tier 1 Raid Bosses are almost entirely and completely useless for use within with game.
- Ivysaur – Let’s start this off with the only Tier 1 Raid Boss that is useful. With Venusaur being the second most useful Grass type and the third most useful Poison type in the game, having Ivysaur around still makes more sense than the other starter evolutions in the game. Do as many Ivysaur raids as you can in order to try and catch one with high IVs. Grass types do huge damage against Water, Rock, and Ground types, while the Poison side of the coin will eventually become useful against heavy-hitting Fairy types.
- Wartortle & Charmeleon – Unlike their Grass friend Ivysaur, Wartortle and Charmeleon aren’t very useful as other Pokémon of their types. Blastoise and Charizard are both near the bottom of the pile when it comes to Water and Fire types, so the only reason to have them around is to get your possible 100% IV, and if you still don’t have them, the Water and Fire Medals.
- Metapod – Metapod is the only new raid boss that is truly a mystery. Butterfree is one of the worst Bug types in the game, coming in near the middle or back end of rankings on every stat, and its best moveset (Struggle Bug/Psychic) isn’t even all Bug moves. The only thing I can guess is that with the coming of Gen 3, Butterfree might be getting a buff to its stats that will make it a contender for battling. Lots of new Psychic Pokémon show up in Gen 3, including the powerful Gardevoir, so having an extra Bug type in your arsenal couldn’t hurt.
Tier 2 Raid Bosses
The new Tier 2 Bosses look to be mostly made up of fairly easy to beat Pokemon of types that aren’t very easy to obtain.
- Sandslash & Marowak – Sandslash is a fairly middle of the road Ground Type, being Top 10 in overall CP, and Top 5 in Attack. Marowak doesn’t really shine in any particular field, so it’s essentially useless. Both of these Raid Bosses are probably included just to help boost your Ground Type medal. I did a Sandslash Raid on its first day as a Boss and easily soloed it. Also, Gen 3 sees 9 new Steel Pokémon introduced, which Ground is strong against, so it could be that these two may get buffs in the future to help take on some of those heavily armored Pokemon.
- Tentacruel – Tentacruel is an odd choice as a raid boss as both water and poison types are fairly common. Perhaps Niantic thought that because if its high Defense stat and a high number of resistances (Fire, Ice, Steel, Water, Bug, Fairy, Fighting, and Poison) it would be a tough raid boss, but with the abundance of Electric and Psychic-type Pokémon out there, it goes down pretty easily. I soloed one and it went down while I was still on my second Pokémon. As a Water type, Tentacruel is pretty bad, but it is one of the better Poison-types in the game. Again, Niantic could also be preparing for an influx of Fairy-type Pokemon by including a Poison type boss.
- Sableye – Another headscratcher is the dual-type Sableye. As a Dark/Ghost type it should theoretically be great against Psychic types, but it falls into the last or second to last spot for every stat in both types. The only reason Sableye is a raid boss is because they took Magikarp away and they needed to give people a chance at catching a shiny from a raid. I easily defeated a Sabeleye solo.
- Magneton – This dual Electric/Steel type is almost certainly included for a few reasons. The first is that it has a Gen 4 evolution so you can stockpile candies for that. The second is that both Steel and Electric types are hard to obtain, so they’re just trying to help you get those medals. And lastly, once Steel is the only other type that is strong against Fairy, so again, we may just be getting ready for an eventual fight against them.
- Cloyster – Probably the best of the new Tier 2 Raid Bosses, you’re going to want to capture these for your Ice badge and for use against Gen 3’s whopping 9 new Dragon types. Of course, catching one will be the problem, as Cloyster’s defense stat is off the charts and it’s a pain in the rear to solo. I fought one over half a dozen times and failed, coming within just a couple hits of defeating it every time. Make sure your team has a few high-level Machamp and Raikou on it.
Tier 3 Raid Bosses
While we lost Arcanine and the Eeveelutions as Tier 3 Bosses, Machamp, Alakazam, and Gengar remain. They are joined by the following four new Pokemon:
- Ninetails – Ninetails is far from a great overall Fire type, though its defensive stat is the 3rd best in that group. It is most likely included as Arcanine’s replacement because Vulpix is a fairly hard to get Fire type, even in Fire Biomes. Fun Fact about that defensive stat, computer simulations against Ninetails have consistently failed to solo it even with high-level Pokémon, so while this fire fox may have replaced the hot-headed pooch, don’t expect it to drop as easily as it.
- Scyther – Scyther is one of the best Bug Types in the game and an ideal substitute for Scisor if you’re missing one in Mewtwo Raids. It’s also one of the rarer Bugs out there, so sticking him as a raid boss will help people get candies for it and at good IVs to evolve into Scisor, thus helping you get to your Steel badge a little faster.
- Porygon – Porygon is stupid hard to find, which would be the only the first reason to make it a Raid Boss. Because it’s is so rare, you may also need to stockpile Candy for it, since out has not only Porygon2 as an evolution, but once Gen 4 hits, Porygon Z as well. So I suggest doing every Porygon raid you see, because you’ll want to hit them all with Pinap Berries.
- Omastar – While it may be on the low end of good, Omastar is still that, a solid Water Type, having the 6th best CP of all Water Pokémon. Its Attack stat is better than Vaporeon and its Defense better than Blastoise. If only raids would have been available when Omastar still had its Rock superiority, then this Pokemon would have been a truly awesome addition to the Raid Bosses.
Tier 4 Raid Bosses
We may have lost Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, and Rhydon, but at least Lapras, Snorlax, and Tyranitar are still Tier 4 Bosses! Let’s see if the new kids on the block have the right stuff.
- Nidoqueen & Nidoking – Both of the Nidos are Poison/Ground dual types, and both are middle of the road performers in either type. Their Stamina stats are decent, but still, nothing that will keep you up in a real fight. Their inclusion as Tier 4 Raid Bosses may be to get your Ground Medal.
- Poliwrath – Its best moveset may be Bubble/Hydro Pump, but Poliwrath is better served as a Fighting Type. It is the 3rd best overall Fighting Type in the game right now, behind only Heracross and Machamp. Catch this one to round out your Fighting Medal and get a couple of good Fighting types in your arsenal.
- Victreebel – I’m not sure why Niantic chose Victreebel over Vileplume, as the latter is a better choice in gym and Raid battles, but Victreebel isn’t that much further behind. This one isn’t too bad on Attack or Stamina stats, but its Defense is bad, so only use in a pinch if you’re forced to. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, Poison will wreck Fairy.
- Golem – I don’t think I need to outline Golem. When the Legendary Birds were first released we all suddenly tried evolving our Geodude into Golem in order to take down the Fliers quickly. Golem was also a huge help against Raikou and Entei, and when Ho-Oh is eventually released, they’ll be great against it as well. Catch as many Golem as you can. You’ll need them and the candy they provide.
So whether they were included for strategic purposes, or if Niantic just wants us to get our medals, or even if they really just didn’t have any better options (they did), these are the new Raid Bosses in Pokemon Go. Hopefully, we’ll see the next batch before another 6 months go by.