This is Fourth part of the a comprehensive analysis of how Legendaries function in Pokemon Go, within the context of the Legendary Raid meta, regular Raid meta, and Gyms in general. Using that information, you can determine which Legendary Pokemon are worthy of resource investment.
Like Ho-Oh, Lugia is tankier than a Snorlax, but that bulk is somewhat wasted on a very average DPS output. Extrasensory/Future Sight or Sky Attack Lugia actually comes in lower on the DPS totem pole than Lick/Hyper Beam Snorlax.
It would get praise for walling one of the strongest attackers in the meta right now, Machamp…but it’s the same old story – Legendaries cannot defend gyms. And even if it could, it is strongly hard-countered by the increasingly pervasive Tyranitar, which can be easily obtained in areas with organized raid groups.
On offense, Lugia does have some benefits. In my opinion, while its DPS is too low to function as generalist, Lugia is redeemable when it has type advantage. Lugia has three type matchups in the current raid meta, Gengar, Machamp, Venusaur, and Celebi (Lugia resists Psychic moves, Sky Attack is SE against Grass.
You’d want Dragon Tail instead of Extrasensory for this matchup). Now while it doesn’t excel in any of them in terms of time to win, it does have considerable bulk, and to my surprise, the DPS to be able to clear some of these raids in time.
Against Machamp, you cannot expect it to come near the DPS levels of Alakazam and Espeon. Even though Dragonite can’t hit Machamp for SE damage with its fast move, any Hurricane moveset will out-DPS Extrasensory/Sky Attack or Future Sight Lugia. Lugia’s base bulk in combination with a double resistance to fighting make it a very durable choice for Machamp raids.
Aided by an SE multiplier, Lugia manages DPS that is good enough to win in time, and the bulk to be able to outlast more fragile attackers, even Dragonite. Lugia’s DPS isn’t amazing. But its TDO is. After re-examining it, Lugia has merit as a raid tank when it has type advantage. If you are having trouble soloing Machamp raids because your attackers get killed off before you can win, that is the where Lugia shines.
When I look at the matchup with Gengar, it obviously under-performs compared to Tyranitar, both in terms of time and survivability. Though it is going to be more useful than glassy Psychic attackers like Alakazam and Espeon, which really don’t survive long enough to contribute significant amounts of damage to the battle. Lugia’s use here is again going to be its Total Damage Output, enduring SE damage from Gengar while dealing an adequate amount of DPS back.
Now let’s look at Venusaur. Lugia resists Grass, and has a lot of bulk as we know. But it lags far behind the top DPS counters. The trade off for Effective Health is also somewhat negated as Pokemon like Charizard benefit greatly from a double Grass resistance (which Moltres will also have when it arrives). Overall, I don’t really see much of a benefit using it over Flareon and Charizard, except maybe against Sludge Bomb movesets. I’ll admit that it has usability against Venusaur.
Conclusion: Lugia can fit some specific needs right now, but I think its a costly investment for a Pokemon that really doesn’t have a broad utility on offense. Snorlax is a comparable raid tank in neutral matchups, so Lugia is relegated to a few niche matchups in Tier 3 raids when it can produce a superior Total Damage Output.