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Highlights of the April 2020 Update

Last updated April 1, 2020

The April movepool update for Pokemon GO came with a lot of twists and turns that will reshape the meta in all three leagues! It’s so crazy it’s almost unbelievable. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. We’re going to dive into all the changes and how to approach battle in the post-April world.

Jump to a section:

  1. Ancient Power Hooking Mechanics
  2. Status Moves
  3. Movepool Updates
  4. Shiny Damage Bonus Changes
  5. Alt Forme Giratina

Ancient Power Hooking Mechanics

If you’ve been battling it out in Ultra League, you know it’s all about that boost! Niantic knows it, too, and has made a few corresponding updates.

When you attempt 3 or more stat-boosting moves like Ancient Power in a row, your app now connects directly with Amazon to deliver a fishing rod to your door (2-day shipping). It’s a convenient source of food if you live next to a river or lake, and is exactly 6 feet long to help you maintain social distancing. Long-term, this change will hopefully curb boost behavior as most players besides Blake from Minnesota don’t have the bag space to store dozens of fishing rods. I’ve got my eye on you, Blake.

Status Moves

A huge addition to the game is a third Status Move for certain Pokemon. These moves cost energy like other Charged Moves, but have special effects instead of dealing damage and can’t be used to bait. These moves add a whole new dynamic to the game. Here are a few examples of the new Status Moves and their effects and potential strategies!

  • Gyarados: Dragon Dance - 65 energy, raises your Attack by 2 stages. This move turns Gyarados’s Dragon Breath damage up to 11. For maximum effectiveness, you must dance in sync with the on-screen prompts. A new XP grinding feature, “Dance Dance Evolution”, is slated for this Fall.
  • Bellossom: Sweet Scent - 50 energy, lowers your opponent’s Defense by 1 stage. In addition, a random Pokemon appears that both players must catch to return to battle. This move is excellent as part of timeout strategies, especially if you spawn the current legendary Pokemon. In the upper ranks, it’s recommended you toss all the balls in your inventory to escape this move’s effect.
  • Ledian: Baton Pass - 60 energy, switches and transfers stat changes to the new Pokemon. This move works even when your switch isn’t available but restarts your switch clock. Combined with Silver Wind, you can now get that +2 Atk/+2 Def Registeel you’ve always wanted with a 90% chance to make your opponent rage quit. Note that Baton Pass stacks with the hooking changes described above, so expect double the number of fishing poles than normal.
  • Hypno: Hypnosis - 75 energy, puts opponent to Sleep. While asleep, your opponent can’t attack and must complete a swiping Mareep minigame to wake up. Experienced players will be able to minimize their downtime. After Hypno lost the Community Day vote to Stone Edge Shuckle (a move Shuckle already had), Niantic decided to swing the pendulum in Hypno’s direction this update. If you’re one of those crazy people who plays with the sound on, Hypnosis emits high-pitched tones that have a chance to put you to sleep as well. This is particularly dangerous against players who are in bed rushing to complete their GO Battle League sets before midnight.
  • Snorlax: Belly Drum - 100 energy, increases Attack by 4 stages. This is a go big or go home move that reaches Lick breakpoints in the stratosphere and is banned on Snorlax Libre in tournament play.
  • Gengar: Double Team - 40 energy, raises Defense by 1 stage. In addition, Gengars multiply across your opponent’s screen and eventually emerge from the device itself. This helps distinguish Gengar from Haunter in Great League and is even more effective in Ultra and Master League where it has more relative bulk to work with. Niantic isn’t liable for any real-world hijinks that may ensue from the resulting Gengars.
  • Shadow Gengar: Triple Team - See above except Niantic is liable.

Movepool Updates

Below are the major, exciting movepool updates including developer commentary on the changes!

  • Probopass: Lock On - “Our analytics showed that GO Battle League teams were severely lacking in moustaches. Lock On helps Probopass compete with other Steel types and spend more time close up to the camera with constant Charged Moves.”
  • Aggron: Superpower - “You should have voted for Dragonite.”
  • Machamp: Tickle - “This new move leverages haptic feedback to disarm your opponents. It also deals 1000 damage so who’s laughing now?”
  • Regice: Icy Wind - “Previously, Regice wasn’t seeing as much use as its counterpart, Registeel. Trainer Battles aren’t just a contest of ability but a contest of will, and this change will really test that.”
  • Sealeo: Earthquake - “See Probopass.”
  • Toxtricity: Acid Spray - “It’s years away but we just wanted to give you a heads up.”

Shiny Damage Bonus Changes

In this update, Niantic decided to remove the damage bonus (x1.2) that Shiny Pokemon previously earned in battle. This was due to a game-breaking error where a Best Buddy Shiny Shadow Camerupt could sometimes win. There is no word on when this bonus may return, and the Shiny Cup has been postponed until further notice.

Alt Forme Giratina

In an effort to promote fair play, Niantic has released a new forme of Giratina, Alt Forme. It has six hands instead of six feet, and is obtained by trading Giratina with the account your SO stopped playing two summers ago but you sure didn’t. Alt Forme Giratina always freezes one Fast Move short of its Charged Moves and when you attempt to switch, it attacks your Life Points directly. I’ve also seen reports that Alt Forme Giratina is trapped spamming 1-damage Ancient Powers until the match times out. This is illegal to pair with Baton Pass Ledian in some counties and provinces (check your local ordinances).

That’s a wrap! Hopefully this article helps guide you through the magical meta that will result from these changes. Until next time!