This is 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.
This is a big analysis, so it will be in parts.
Top Power Up Choices: Mewtwo and Raikou (Zapdos)
I bet nobody saw this one coming…
Mewtwo is indisputably the strongest generalist in the game. It boasts the highest DPS, Effective Health on par with Rhydon and Tyranitar, and the ability to output massive amounts of damage over the course of its life. Due to its mono Psychic typing, you’ll be hard pressed to find defenders and Raid bosses with coverage against Mewtwo, not to mention that Psychic type moves are largely unresisted anyway.
Remember, Game Freak had to create Dark typing in order to counter how unbalanced Psychic types were in Generation I. Now at this point, you only want to know one thing: how does Mewtwo stack up against specific ideal counters? Considering that type effectiveness was buffed and STAB was nerfed, is there still a place for a Generalist in a Specialist meta?
Even after the changes to type effectiveness, Gengar actually has a higher DPS than some Super Effective counters to various defenders. But this may not be apparent, because Gengar is a glass cannon (moreover, one of the glassiest from that category), and therefore often overlooked. Mewtwo not only doesn’t have Gengar’s fragility problem, but has an even more impressive DPS output. Let’s look at some examples.
Disclaimer: This is going to be a common pattern. Mewtwo is strong to keep up with type effective counters, and in some cases surpass them. This is mostly in comparison to non-Legendaries. Later in this write-up I will compare Mewtwo to the likes of Raikou and Zapdos in their type effective matchups.
Arcanine and Flareon. Both Tier 3 Raid bosses, Arcanine and Flareon’s highest DPS counters include Gengar, Omastar, Golem, and Starmie. With the arrival of Mewtwo, it will be the new highest DPS counter for this raid.
Alakazam. Obviously, Gengar has the highest DPS against Alakazam. But Confusion/Shadow Ball Mewtwo can keep up with Shadow Claw/Shadow Ball Gengar, despite Confusion being NVE to Alakazam, and more importantly outlives Gengar by a long shot. And when I say keep up, I mean we are talking about a roughly 6% difference. Shadow Ball Mewtwo will kill another Psychic type faster than Tyranitar and Houndoom.
Jolteon. You may not know this, but Jolteon’s SE counters like Rhydon and Golem are already outclassed in terms of DPS by generalists like Gengar, Alakazam, Dragonite, and Flareon. So Mewtwo obviously claims the top DPS spot in this matchup as well.
Gengar and Machamp. Mewtwo, PoGo’s unmatched DPS king, now has type advantage. Enough said. Many of Gengar’s best DPS counters are punished by its Ghost/Dark type moves, so in my opinion this doesn’t diminish Mewtwo’s value. Even Tyranitar has to worry about possible coverage from Gengar’s Focus Blast.
Vaporeon. Vape has some very high DPS counters in Exeggutor, Victreebel, and Jolteon. Mewtwo doesn’t outright surpass them, but its DPS is definitely competitive, within 10% of Solar Beam Exeggutor.
Venusaur. Mewtwo has type advantage. Enough said.
Blastoise. Similar story to Vaporeon, except Blastoise has Ice Beam which can be a problem for Grass counters, erasing any effective health advantage they could have gleaned from a Water resistance. Yes, Blastoise learns Bite, but no, Mewtwo doesn’t care.
Charizard and Rhydon. We now have two Pokemon with a double weakness. At this point, type effectiveness creates a gap that even Mewtwo can’t bridge, which is a good thing in my opinion. Of course, if you don’t have 6 Rock Throw/Stone Edge Golem (or double Rock Omastar) to use against Charizard, Mewtwo is going to have a higher DPS than some of the “go-to” single SE counters like Vaporeon (however, Vape does have a higher effective health).
Against Rhydon, Mewtwo of course is not going to be better than a double SE Vaporeon. And actually, you do run the risk of taking a hit from Megahorn, which will hurt – Mewtwo isn’t really worth using against Rhydon.
Lapras and Snorlax. Both are currently countered, in terms of maximum DPS, by Machamp. Counter is a very strong fast move which gives Machamp the edge considering Mewtwo is only going to be able to deal SE damage with its charge move, Focus Blast. So no, Mewtwo does not reign supreme here in terms of raw DPS, however, Focus Blast Mewtwo hits very hard. Mewtwo is generally superior to Machamp in terms of bulk, and resists Snorlax’s Zen Headbutt. Mewtwo could care less about getting hit with Lick.
Tyranitar. No question, as with Charizard and Rhydon, specialized counters reign supreme in double weakness matchups. Tyranitar is best countered by Machamp in terms of DPS. But how does Mewtwo fair with its Psychic quick moves taking a significant dive in DPS due to Tyranitar’s immunity? Well, you may find this surprising, but it is possible for Focus Blast Mewtwo to kill a regular/non-Raid Iron Tail/Crunch Tyranitar without dodging. It manages incredible DPS considering Tyranitar’s immunity to Psycho Cut and Confusion. Focus Blast Mewtwo will be around 15% worse than Machamp.
Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno, Ho-Oh. Unsurprisingly, Mewtwo is going to get out-DPS’d against the birds with a double weakness to Rock. Against Zapdos, as far as I can tell, Confusion/Shadow Ball Mewtwo not only keeps pace with Golem and Tyranitar, but outright exceeds them in terms of DPS (only beat out by Frost Breath/Avalance Jynx, but Jynx is so glassy I wouldn’t even bother). Against Moltres, Articuno, and Ho Oh, Mewtwo will be on par with many single weakness counters like Vaporeon (against Moltres and Ho-Oh, Mewtwo’s DPS is actually better here than Vape’s) and Jolteon.
Suicune, Entei, and Raikou. Against Suicune, Mewtwo does find competition from the current non-Legendarfy Grass and Electric counters, not to mention it will not be as strong as Raikou and Zapdos here. But against Raikou itself and Entei, Mewtwo is the DPS king.
Lugia, Mew, Mewtwo, Celebi. Similar to the Alakazam matchup, what makes Mewtwo worth looking at here is access to Shadow Ball (and Confusion/Shadow Ball happens to be its strongest neutral DPS moveset anyway).
Against Lugia, Mew, and Mewtwo you’ll find that Gengar indisputably possesses the highest DPS output. The problem is that it is extremely fragile even taking neutral damage, and taking Psychic damage from Mewtwo especially renders it unusable in my opinion. (fun fact: Haunter is actually one of the highest Psychic DPS counters as well, but should be ignored for obvious reasons).
Shadow Ball Mewtwo out-DPS’s all Dark and Bug types against Mew, Lugia, and another Mewtwo. Despite losing out on damage due to its quick moves being NVE to other Psychic types, Mewtwo’s Shadow Ball is delivered by an ungodly Attack stat. Its weave DPS with Confusion/Shadow Ball outmatches everything that isn’t Gengar.
And yes, it even outperforms Bite/Stone Edge Tyranitar against Lugia in terms of DPS. Against Celebi, there is a lot of competition. Scizor and Pinsir enjoy about a 15% DPS increase over Mewtwo, because double SE is just that much of a game changer. Mewtwo is, however, neck and neck with Fire Spin/Overheat Flareon in the Celebi Matchup, but possesses a clear durability advantage.
Conclusion: Smash That Power Up Button