Community Day | Meta Analysis on Obstruct Obstagoon
2 months ago
Written by PolymersUp
Analysis by Redspah, Tangent, Jibaku, Hotstriker, Nesabethan, and PolymersUp
August Community Day featuring Galarian Zigzagoon
August 13, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (local time)
The event-exclusive move for Obstagoon will be Obstruct
Full event details here
August Community has been announced, and the fluorescent pink and cyan shiny Galarian Zigzagoon will be wildly popular. The Blocking Pokémon Obstagoon has already established quite the reputation in Pokémon GO Trainer Battles, having carried two trainers to the grand finals of the Championship Series’ Milwaukee Regionals. However, notoriety is hard to come by, especially in a Great League meta where Azumarill and Medicham have been long-standing mainstays. But despite those obstacles, Obstagoon is solidly a borderline meta pick in GO Battle League’s Great League and Ultra League formats. As one of the few consistent answers to the Walrein-Trevenant duo that dominates both leagues, Obstagoon even now is well equipped for its role as a pseudo-Fighter that can shut down Ghost-types. Potentially adding a new wrinkle to its arsenal, the Community Day move Obstruct introduces a new style of Charged Attack into Pokémon GO with a Dark-type attack dealing 15 damage (energy still unconfirmed) and increasing the user’s Defense one stage while also decreasing the opponent’s Defense one stage. The closest moves for comparison currently in the game are Power-Up Punch, Drain Punch and Acid Spray.
Power-Up Punch 20 damage, 35 energy, 100% chance of +1 Attack for user
Drain Punch 20 damage, 40 energy, 100% chance of +1 Defense for user
Acid Spray 20 damage, 45 energy, 100% chance of -2 Defense for opponent
Obstruct 15 damage, ? energy, 100% chance of +1 Defense for user and -1 Defense for opponent
Likely worth noting, nearly all viable Power-Up Punch users also use the Fast Attack Counter to quickly ramp up one of the best Fast Attacks in the game save for Mawile—apologies to Kangaskhan and Heatmor. Only five Counters are required to reach Power-Up Punch, and similarly, the only Drain Punch user currently in the game Bewear also reaches Drain Punch in just five Shadow Claws. For Obstruct on the Counter-wielding Obstagoon, however, achieving what is essentially a double buff every ten turns (i.e. Obstruct at 35 energy) seems alarmingly efficient for only five less damage. In contrast, 50 energy cost or more would greatly reduce the moves viability with seven Counters yielding 49 energy, further delaying critical stat boosts for such a low damage move. Therefore, 40 or 45 energy would appear to be the most likely choice for the signature move Obstruct.
The combination of Obstruct and Night Slash make this addition to Obstagoon difficult to properly evaluate by multi-simulations alone. Most Pokémon have little incentive to shield the first move whether it’s Obstruct or Night Slash, considering that subsequent moves will do more damage due to the Defense drop from Obstruct or a potential Night Slash boost (12.5% chance to raise the user’s Attack two stages). Therefore, optimal shielding decisions are more nuanced with this moveset and not always perfectly recapitulated in simulations, requiring sandbox mode to explore win conditions for either side.
A deep dive into key meta matchups in Great League
Another premier anti-Ghost Counter user Scrafty currently outperforms Obstagoon in Great League and Ultra League from a usage perspective (source: gobattlelog.com). Scrafty’s primary advantage over Obstagoon is its same-type attack bonus (STAB) Counter damage, which ramps up quickly with Power-Up Punch. In contrast, Obstagoon lacks a Flying-type weakness as a Dark/Normal pseudo-Fighter, allowing it to perform better in certain matchups against Fliers. Although they both do well against the highly prevalent Walrein-Trevenant duo, Scrafty is generally more dominant in the Walrein matchup, while Obstagoon chortles at Trevenant’s Shadow Claws and comfortably withstands the Seed Bomb barrage. Despite generally consistent wins against these two across Great and Ultra League, Obstagoon interestingly loses the zero-shield matchup against Great League Shadow Walrein. Cross Chop is barely not enough to faint the hardy Ice Break Pokémon, and Obstagoon cannot survive the second Icicle Spear. Without the Charged Attack Cross Chop or a high enough Attack value to reach a Counter breakpoint, Obstagoon can even lose the one-shield scenario if behind 2+ Powder Snows and Shadow Walrein successfully baits. So does the Community Day move Obstruct outfit Obstagoon to muscle through this matchup? In the zero-shield matchup, a 40-energy Obstruct not only allows Obstagoon to survive the second the Icicle Spear, but also reach a critical Night Slash before fainting to flip the matchup. With a 45-energy Obstruct, Obstagoon barely falls short of reaching the Night Slash before fainting.
Sableye, another preeminent Ghost-type alongside Trevenant, notably has the defensive typing and offensive tools to apply pressure to both Scrafty and Obstagoon, taking neutral damage from their Dark-type Charged Attacks and threatening back with the hard-hitting Return. While Scrafty can lose in certain situations with shields in play, high stat-product Obstagoon specifically struggles with the zero-shield scenario, fainting to Sableye’s Return + Foul Play combination before reaching the requisite third Night Slash. However, a 40-energy Obstruct now swings the matchup dynamics into the immovable badger’s favor. The Defense boost from a single Obstruct is enough to force Sableye to double Return, allowing Obstagoon just enough time to reach two subsequent Night Slashes before the second Return. At 45 energy, delaying Obstruct and subsequent Charged Attacks by a single Counter (or giving Sableye a one Shadow Claw lead) allows Sableye to win charge move priority (CMP) and take the matchup. Notably, a Counter breakpoint (3 -> 4 damage) for high Attack values (115 to 117.02 to guarantee) can achieve a similar zero-shield result with straight Night Slash, although you’re giving up around 6.5-9% bulk compared to maximum stat-product Obstagoon chasing that breakpoint.
Obstagoon vs. Sableye in Great League with 40-energy Obstruct (Source: a custom offline version of PvPoke.com)
While Obstruct isn’t enough to flip the Great League Registeel matchup for high stat-product Obstagoon, it does retain a crucial aspect of the Cross Chop moveset. With a 40-energy Obstruct, a trainer can invest one shield and threaten to knock out the Registeel before it reaches the second Focus Blast against nearly all IV combinations—maximum stat-product Registeel can tank the Night Slash and survive with one HP to reach the second Focus Blast. Going down two shields is much more palatable now, having taken one shield back and exiting the matchup with ~77% HP and 37 energy. Importantly, a critical Counter breakpoint (5 -> 6 damage) for high Attack values (~115.5 to 118.02 to guarantee) can simplify the one-shield matchup, allowing straight Night Slash to faint Registeel before the second the Focus Blast.
Bastiodon and Umbreon are no issue for Obstagoon even when dropping Cross Chop. Obstagoon now even defeats Umbreon in the 0-2 shield scenario, a feat it previously could not accomplish even with Cross Chop. The zero-shield matchup against Galarian Stunfisk was key for Cross Chop, but Obstruct is sufficient to replace Cross Chop and maintain that win as long as Obstruct is thrown immediately. Air Slash Mandibuzz is an IV-dependent matchup for Cross Chop Obstagoon. However, 40-energy Obstruct adds a little more consistency for Obstagoon as long as Obstagoon goes double Obstruct into double Night Slash. Obstagoon can take the one-shield and two-shield matchups although it’s safe to assume neither side shields. Given that Obstagoon wins those scenarios even shielding late, the best approach is likely to wait until Mandibuzz shields first. In the zero-shield matchup, Mandibuzz faints with Aerial Ace energy, so a 45-energy Obstruct or poor Charged Attack timing could affect the outcome.
By narrowing the gap between Scrafty and Obstagoon with several improved meta matchups, Obstruct could potentially bolster Obstagoon into the top echelon of Great League Pokémon to become a meta-defining threat in its own right.
Obstagoon vs. Mandibuzz in Great League with 40-energy Obstruct (Source: a custom offline version of PvPoke.com)
A deep dive into key meta matchups in Ultra League
For these two anti-Ghost Counter users, the Scrafty comparison extends to Ultra League as well. Scrafty appears at a higher frequency in Ultra League (source: gobattlelog.com), despite Obstagoon having the slight edge in bulk (+1.4%) in comparison to Great League (-3.1%) and requiring far less Candy XL. In two notable meta matchups, Obstagoon and Scrafty trade super effective damage against Registeel and Cresselia. Defense boosts from Obstruct could play a critical role in these matchups, prompting us to explore win conditions for both sides. After a single Obstruct, Cresselia’s Moonblast damage drops from roughly 46.1% to 36.7%. The Lunar Pokémon still defeats Obstagoon in the zero-shield scenario, although one Obstruct does force a third Charged Attack. Cresselia barely survives in the one-shield scenario as well to reach a pivotal Grass Knot, highlighting how Cresselia’s bulk, Counter resistance, and rapid-firing Charged Attacks are not impeded by Obstagoon’s new tricks. Despite these losses, the margins are significantly closer, and Obstagoon still takes the two-shield matchup with straight Night Slash, which is more than Scrafty can muster.
Scrafty currently rocks the better Registeel matchup, winning with shields up, but perhaps Obstruct adds enough punch to supplant the underwhelming Cross Chop if it can narrow the gap against this iron titan. Obstagoon needs two Defense increases from Obstruct to withstand the Focus Blast from Registeel, meaning it’s easily outpaced in the zero-shield scenario. With both the 40-energy and 45-energy variants, however, two Obstructs can be reached in the one-shield scenario before the second Focus Blast lands. We’ll focus on the 40-energy variant, but sit down and grab a beverage because unpacking this matchup with shields up will make your head spin.
The optimal play from Registeel should be to Zap Cannon first if the intent is to stay in the matchup and not switch out. If playing the percentages, Obstagoon has to shield the first Charged Attack; it’s simply never worth the bait call here. After Obstagoon uses two Obstructs and the first Zap Cannon is shielded, Registeel is at a key decision point: Zap Cannon again or Focus Blast for the damage knowing it won’t faint Obstagoon? The optimal play from the Obstagoon is to always no-shield the second move here because shielding a second Zap Cannon is a potential lose condition in certain two-shield scenarios. Even after tanking a Focus Blast, Obstagoon can still reach double Night Slash before the third Charged Attack from Registeel to win the one-shield scenario. Should the Registeel decide to double shield the back-to-back Night Slashes and attempt to farm down with Lock-On, you will need a high stat-product Obstagoon (~179 HP). Obstagoon will, of course, also have to be wary of a Counter or Charm user quickly switching in attempting to knock out Obstagoon before it can respond with a switch or throw a Charged Attack.
Obstagoon vs. Registeel in Ultra League with 40-energy Obstruct (Source: a custom offline version of PvPoke.com)
With a menacing gleam in its eyes and a posture almost taunting the opponent to strike first, Obstagoon will be as formidable as ever with the new exclusive move Obstruct. If we ultimately get a 40-energy Obstruct, the double Dark moveset of Night Slash and Obstruct appears to be worth the lack of coverage against Fairy-types similar to Scrafty due its ability to flip key matchups and lower the Defense of the next Pokémon. A 45-energy Obstruct doesn’t quite tip the scales as heavily in Obstagoon’s favor in a few meta matchups, potentially leaving Obstagoon with a less obvious second Charged Attack. Regardless of the final energy cost, Obstruct-agoon will be relevant and usher in a compelling novel play-style to Pokémon GO Trainer Battles.