An article discussing Garchomp's Community Day move options, written by Nesabethan and PolymersUp.
Special thanks to Tangent444, NHoff, G47IX, RughPoo, and everyone else on the Go Stadium team.
After a couple of years of community days alternating between starter Pokémon and rarer Pokémon, Niantic started a series of community days with more common Pokémon, such as Weedle and Abra. These have had mixed receptions, especially if the exclusive move didn’t prove very useful. Gible looks to be the first rare Pokémon from a pseudo-legendary family since 2019. Garchomp is a fan favourite and a powerful pick in Pokémon GO, with relevance for raiding when needing Ground or Dragon damage, and relevance in the Master League and its discontinued Premier Cup. Niantic are leaving the exclusive move for this community day a mystery for now, so this article will explore some of the possibilities, with a focus on PvP. In Master League, Garchomp has been a common presence. It has a very large stat product, larger than pseudo-legendaries Dragonite, Metagross, and Tyranitar, and even larger than some dominant legendaries, such as Dialga and Giratina. It learns the high energy generation fast move, Mud Shot, and can convert this energy into considerable damage with the high damage per energy (DPE) moves Outrage and Earthquake. Dragon and Ground are a good combination of coverage moves in general in PvP, with the Dragon-type Outrage dealing neutral damage to any Bug, Grass, Flying Pokémon that resist Ground, and the Ground-type Earthquake dealing neutral to Fairy Pokémon that resist Dragon, and dealing super effective to Steel Pokémon. A good combination with Master League’s famous exception of one charming problem, the Fairy/Flying Pokémon Togekiss. Garchomp’s only option against its nemesis Togekiss is the rarely seen Fire Blast, which costs a pricy 80 energy and doesn’t get the same-type attack bonus (STAB) on Garchomp. In addition to Garchomp’s Togekiss problem, the high energy cost of Outrage and Earthquake can cause Garchomp to be somewhat wasteful with its energy. This problem was partially mitigated in December 2019 when Niantic made changes to the move Sand Tomb, including lowering its energy cost to 40. However, Sand Tomb is a very poor source of damage, worsening Garchomp’s coverage damage if it wants to run the faster charged move. As a result, Garchomp could benefit from a charged move that is cheap to charge and provides a more significant amount of damage than Sand Tomb, especially so if this move could damage Togekiss.
Charged Move Options
For comparison, here are the parameters of Garchomp’s current charged moves:
Sand Tomb 30 Damage, 40, Energy | 0.75 DPE (with STAB), 100% chance -1 Def opponent
Outrage 132 Damage, 60 Energy | 2.2 DPE (with STAB)
Earthquake 144 Damage, 65 Energy | 2.22 DPE (with STAB)
Fire Blast 140 Damage, 80 Energy | 1.75 DPE (without STAB)
Earth Power 108 Damage, 55 Energy | 1.96 DPE (with STAB), 10% chance -1 Def opponent
Earth Power is a TM move for Garchomp in the main series games. It would be a useful option on Garchomp, though it wouldn’t be the biggest change from its existing moves. It’s only 5 energy cheaper than Outrage, and 15 more expensive than Sand Tomb, so wouldn’t be able to replace Sand Tomb’s pace. It would most likely be run as part of an Earth Power + Outrage set, which might be a small upgrade over the Outrage + Earthquake set, but would still be a tradeoff compared with Sand Tomb + Outrage. It’s also worth noting that Earth Power does have lower DPE than the slightly slower Outrage and Earthquake. Outside of Master League, Earth Power would also bring benefits to raiders. The move individually does less damage in the same cooldown time as Earthquake, but it charges at twice the speed, and its 50 energy cost (historically known as two-bar) makes it less wasteful with energy. It generally performs better than Earthquake in simulations, and would make Garchomp even more exceptional for this purpose.
Dragon Rush Ideally: ≤ 45 Energy | ≥ 1.6 DPE (with STAB)
Dragon Rush is a level up move for Garchomp in the main series games, and the last move it learns. The move currently isn’t implemented in Pokémon GO. With a limited distribution on other Pokémon, it is suitable as Garchomp’s exclusive move, though could have benefits if any other Pokémon were given it too. To be a beneficial move in Master League, it would likely want to be less like the powerful but slow Outrage, and more like a faster Dragon move, such as Dragon Claw.
Dual Chop Ideally: ≤ 45 Energy | ≥ 1.6 DPE (with STAB)
In the main series games, this move has been a level up move for Garchomp since the move was added in generation five. Similarly to Dragon Rush, it doesn’t currently exist in Pokémon GO. It would also be beneficial to Garchomp as a faster charged move. In the MSGs, this move does two weaker hits, which might be thematically appropriate for a faster charged move.
Either Dragon Rush or Dual Chop could have additional benefits for raiding, if they are given strong PvE parameters. Currently Garchomp outputs Dragon damage slower than Rayquaza, due to Garchomp's lower Attack stat, despite having more staying power. With a better Dragon charged move, Garchomp could close the gap. Dragon Claw (AKA Big Flygon) 60 Damage, 35 Energy | 1.71 DPE (with STAB) Dragon Claw is a level up move for Garchomp in the main series games. It would provide an even faster move than Sand Tomb, and a more significant source of damage. Garchomp would most likely pair it with Earthquake instead of Outrage, to maintain the type coverage. Dragon Claw and Earthquake is already a combination learned by Flygon, and has proved potent in certain Great League restricted metas. Dragon Claw would likely be a beneficial move for Garchomp. One notable matchup it can flip at level 50 with careful timing is Kyogre in the one-shield scenario. The higher speed and damage of Dragon Claw compared to Sand Tomb comes in crucial in this neutral matchup. Despite the similarities this move would give Garchomp to Flygon, Garchomp would likely remained confined to Master League usage, because Flygon’s slightly more defensive stat distribution is beneficial in a CP-capped league.
Body Slam 60 Damage, 35 Energy | 1.71 DPE (without STAB)
Body Slam is a TR move for Garchomp in the main series games. This move has identical parameters to STAB Dragon Claw, which would be a weaker move if not for STAB. Body Slam would also likely be run alongside Earthquake to maintain coverage against Steel types. Normal + Ground is a good coverage combination. Although it is resisted by a slightly larger number of Pokémon than Dragon + Ground, most of these Pokémon (such as Skarmory, Drifblim, and Aerodactyl) are unlikely to appear in Master League, whereas Body Slam does give Garchomp a way to hit Togekiss with neutral damage. However, unlike Dragon Claw, Body Slam can’t hit for super effective. This makes it much harder for Garchomp to bring down Dragonite, which attacks Garchomp with its own super effective moves, and it worsens Garchomp’s position against other Garchomp. Body Slam also seems a less likely move for Garchomp to receive than Dragon Claw. Dragon Claw is a level up move in the MSGs, rather than a TR move, and it matches one of Garchomp’s types.
Draco Meteor 180 Damage, 65 Energy | 2.77 DPE (with STAB), 100% chance -2 Atk self
Draco Meteor is learned by Move Tutor in the main series games. This move is monstrously powerful in Pokémon GO, with the second highest base damage in the game, after Aeroblast. Even when resisted, it has higher DPE than an unresisted Dragon Claw would have. It’s a significant gain in power over Outrage, although throwing two in a row would be less practical due to the drop to Garchomp’s Attack stat. It wouldn’t give a speed boost over Garchomp’s current nukes, so might not be the move Garchomp is looking for, despite its power.
Rock Slide 75 Damage, 45 Energy | 1.67 DPE (without STAB)
Rock Slide is a TM move for Garchomp in the main series games. It would provide even better coverage for Garchomp, allowing it to hit Togekiss for super effective damage, and offering the unusually strong Rock + Ground type coverage that is only resisted by four Pokémon in the whole game (Breloon, Chesnaught, Torterra, and Virizion), none of which are relevant in Master League. With an energy cost of 45, it gets close to Sand Tomb’s speed, and would likely displace Sand Tomb as the cheap charged move of choice. This move could have a big impact in Master League, although making one of the most popular things from the old Premier Cup harder to counter might be a questionable balance decision.
Stone Edge 100 Damage, 55 Energy | 1.82 DPE (without STAB)
Stone Edge is a TR move for Garchomp in the main series games. Similar to Rock Slide, it would offer Garchomp exceptional coverage, and would hit a fair bit harder. Togekiss and Dragonite take about ¾ damage from this move, which could be inefficient if they haven’t already been chipped, given Mud Shot does little damage, and Garchomp might be forced to charge a second Stone Edge. This move would likely be less beneficial to Garchomp than Rock Slide due to its higher energy cost, which is further from Sand Tomb’s speed.
Flamethrower 90 Damage, 55 Energy | 1.64 DPE (without STAB)
Flamethrower is a TR move for Garchomp in the main series games. This move would have uses on Garchomp. It would be slightly faster than Outrage or Earthquake, useful if not running Sand Tomb, and Fire + Dragon is very good type coverage, only resisted by rare dual types such as Azumarill and Mega Altaria. It would allow Garchomp to continue to do super effective damage to Steel, while having a neutral hit on Togekiss. As a result, Garchomp would likely pair it with Outrage. Unlike Fire Blast, this move has a more accessible energy cost, and would be a more practical move. However, Flamethrower isn’t the most powerful move Garchomp could learn, especially without STAB.
Crunch 70 Damage, 45 Energy | 1.55 DPE (without STAB)
Crunch is a level up move for Garchomp in the main series games, and feels appropriate on a land shark Pokémon. Costing only 45 energy, it would give an alternative to Sand Tomb as a cheap charged move, while doing more damage. It could be paired with either Outrage or Earthquake. Crunch + Earthquake is slightly less widely resisted because almost all Fairy types resist Crunch + Outrage, but the main Fairy in Master League is Togekiss, so their coverage is similar in this meta. Crunch already hits Metagross for super effective, so Outrage might be preferred over Earthquake. This move could be somewhat beneficial on Garchomp, though it wouldn’t solve Garchomp’s Togekiss problem.
Iron Head 70 Damage, 50 Energy | 1.4 DPE (without STAB)
Iron Head is a TR move for Garchomp in the main series games, and a shark’s main weapon is its head. Iron Head isn’t the most powerful move in Pokémon GO, with only 1.4 DPE, but it would hit Togekiss with super effective damage. It could be paired with Outrage or Earthquake; both combinations struggling to damage certain targets. Iron Head + Outrage would struggle to damage Steels, and Iron Head + Earthquake would struggle to damage Gyarados and Ho-Oh (and even not hit Dragonite and opposing Garchomp especially hard). It’s faster than Garchomp’s nuke moves, though still 10 energy more expensive than Sand Tomb. It would have some viability on Garchomp, but not be as desirable as some other moves listed here.
Surf 65 Damage, 40 Energy | 1.63 DPE (without STAB)
Surf is an HM and TR move for Garchomp in the main series games. It would offer the same speed as Sand Tomb, while dealing more damage. Water + Dragon is a widely unresisted combination, only resisted by unusual dual types not seen in Master League (such as Azumarill, Empoleon, Ferrothorn, and Whimsicott). As such, Surf would likely be paired with Outrage. Surf isn’t the heaviest move to hit Metagross with, but this matchup would still remain generally better for the Garchomp player. Garchomp is a land shark, but this move might give it some connection to its aquatic relatives.
Fast Move Options
For comparison here are Garchomp’s current fast move parameters:
Mud Shot 3.6 Damage, 9 Energy, 2 Turns | 1.8 DPT, 4.5 EPT (with STAB)
Dragon Tail 10.8 Damage, 10 Energy, 3 turns | 3.6 DPT, 3.33 EPT (with STAB)
Dragon Breath 4.8 Damage, 3 Energy, 1 Turn | 4.8 DPT, 3 EPT (with STAB)
Dragon Breath is a level up move for Garchomp in the main series games, and would generally be an improvement in PvP over its existing Dragon-type fast move, Dragon Tail. As well as its significantly higher nominal DPT, Dragon Breath often benefits from PvP’s damage formula, which effectively rounds up damage. This generally benefits shorter duration fast moves, especially one-turn moves like Dragon Breath. Dragon Breath would access Garchomp’s high DPE charged moves slower than Mud Shot, which would still be a viable move on Garchomp. Dragon Breath Garchomp can still lose to Mud Shot Garchomp because Outrage almost one-shots, and Mud Shot can often reach this move before Garchomp dies to Dragon Breath damage. Dragon Breath would change the play-style of Garchomp to be more similar to other Dragon Breathers, such as Dragonite. Sand Tomb would likely be run alongside Dragon Breath, which would charge Outrage and Earthquake more slowly, but would have its already considerable damage output increased when Sand Tomb drops the opponent’s Defense. It's worth adding Dragon Breath would undermine Garchomp's role as a Metagross check.
Shadow Claw 6 Damage, 8 Energy, 2 Turns | 3 DPT, 4 EPT (without STAB)
Shadow Claw is a TM move for Garchomp in the main series games. It is widely regarded as one of the best fast moves in Pokémon GO, although it doesn’t quite reach its full potential on Garchomp due to not receiving STAB. It would give Garchomp noticeably more fast move pressure than Mud Shot, and allow it to farm down and then unleash its energy on the next Pokémon in more scenarios. Due to this bump in fast move damage, level 50 Garchomp would become able to defeat level 50 Groudon and Kyogre in the one-shield scenario, where before it came up just short, and can also flip Giratina Altered and Landorus (both forms) where Shadow Claw has improved type effectiveness. Shadow Claw reaches Garchomp’s primary charged moves Outrage and Earthquake one fast move slower than Mud Shot, but reaches Sand Tomb (40 energy) at the same time for the first charged move. A lower energy charged move might also be necessary for Garchomp to see much usage in Great League (GL). Shadow Claw+Dragon Claw would help distinguish it from the bulkier Flygon and help it apply better fast move pressure, more like other Attack-weighted, GL-relevant Pokémon like Haunter, Sirfetch’d and Dragonite. There is precedence for receiving two community day moves. This happened with Blaze Kick on Blaziken (not exclusive) and Bullet Seed on Roserade (exclusive) on their respective Community Days.
There are many more moves Garchomp can learn in the main series games, but this article has discussed some of the more interesting and beneficial moves. We still have to wait until Niantic reveal the exclusive move, so enjoy speculating while we wait!