This is Third 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.
The Usability Of Fire Types
The fire bird offers the highest Fire type DPS, and it comes at a time when the meta isn’t as unforgiving to Fire types. Most of the top 7 CP defenders resisted Fire: Vaporeon, Gyarados, Rhydon, Dragonite, and Tyranitar. Now we see less Water/Rock heavy gyms in general, and Raids offer many neutral matchups that allow good Fire types to function as generalists.
For dealing SE damage, your only Tier 4 Matchup is Venusaur, and your only Tier 5 Matchups are Articuno and Celebi. Moltres, strictly an improvement over Flareon and Charizard, has higher DPS and higher effective health than either of them.
This essentially allows Moltres to function as a much stronger generalist than Flareon, performing well against anything that doesn’t resist Fire (and deal SE damage back). Fire Spin/Overheat Moltres is basically another Dragon Tail/Outrage Dragonite, though slightly less bulky.
You could use it against Mew, Mewtwo, and Lugia for decent DPS if you do not have type effective counters. Though Moltres has one problem – it is also a Flying type. This greatly hinders its general usability against the likes of Raikou and Zapdos.
So while I did recommend Flareon (assuming you didn’t have better type counters) to power up for Raids, with Moltres you need to consider that its typing detracts from its overall utility.
Conclusion: Maybe Power Up Moltres.
Entei is a bulky Fire type with better survivability then Moltres and Flareon, though not quite as good DPS. Because of its Effective Health, Entei will deal more damage over the course of its life then either Moltres or Flareon.
But please note that its bulk is largely comprised of its Stamina, it has a much lower Defense stat than Flareon – Entei takes more damage per hit and is less potion efficient as a result. Now here’s what we need to consider: Moltres isn’t really a glass cannon; it has a respectable Effective Health, which can be bolstered by a double resistance to Grass.
Is Entei’s general combination of DPS and general bulk preferable to Moltres’s superior DPS? Moltres is about 80% as bulky as Entei, while Entei’s weave DPS is about 94% of what Moltres can do (both with Fire Spin/Overheat). Based on my calculations, I can expect Moltres to deal about 87% of the damage that Entei can deal (to a neutral target, receiving neutral damage) over their lifespans. Their performance is neck-and-neck.
What it really comes down to is that Moltres is going to be the better specialized attacker into Grass defenders (e.g., Venusaur Raids), while Entei is a better overall generalist in the current raid meta because it doesn’t have a weakness to Electric or Ice.
Which makes Entei the more broadly usable choice. Much like Flareon, you have a type advantage into Articuno and Celebi (with the resistance to its coverage move Dazzling Gleam), in addition to solid matchups for general DPS and survivability against Mew, Mewtwo, Zapdos, and Raikou. I would choose Entei over Moltres as the successor to Flareon.
Conclusion: Maybe Power Up Entei.
The Leader of the Johto beasts has unbelievable base stats, with an even higher PoGo BST than Mewtwo. Tankier than Snorlax, and able to hit like a Dragonite. Ho-Oh’s amazing potential is squandered because of its movepool. Extrasensory or Steel Wing/Solar Beam Ho-Oh would have made for a great defender, even with its double weakness to Rock. But you can’t use it to defend gyms (and even if you could, it would suffer from the high CP decay rate). Which leaves us with figuring out how to use it on offense.
First, Ho-Oh’s weave DPS on its best offensive movesets underperform relative to its base 263 Attack stat. Steel Wing/Solar Beam has the highest neutral weave DPS, which is similar in strength to Fire Spin/Flamethrower Flareon. Not bad, but considering with Fire Spin/Overheat its DPS would surpass Dragon Tail/Outrage Dragonite, it is somewhat disappointing (note: Ho-Oh does not learn Fire Spin in the main series).
Moreover, Fire Spin/Overheat Ho-Oh would have had the highest Total Damage Output on offense in the game, higher than Mewtwo and Blissey. That’s how good its base stats are (and how good those moves are). And if you can indulge me on this brief tangent, Ho-Oh appeared to be able to use Sacred Fire in Niantic’s Legendary Trailer, but doesn’t have it in its actual in-game movepool. This nettles me, especially since it is saddled with Fire Blast and instead of being given Overheat.
Anyway, Let’s talk about Ho-Oh’s other problems. Most of the Gen I and Gen II Legendaries are of an elemental type that resists Steel – being Zapdos, Raikou, Suicune, Entei, Moltres, and Ho-Oh itself. Next, many of them resist Grass moves, which renders Solar Beam pretty useless on offense in Legendary Raids, the only exception being Suicune.
Solar Beam is double SE against Rhydon, and SE against Tyranitar and Lapras, but you risk taking a double SE Stone Edge from Rhydon and Tyranitar, as well as an SE Hydro Pump from Lapras. Brave Bird again runs into usability problems against Zapdos and Raikou, not to mention Rhydon and Tyranitar. With Extrasensory/Fire Blast, you could function as a generalist into some of the Legendaries at least, but remember Ho-Oh is also a Flying type and takes SE damage from Electric.
The Extrasenory/Fire Blast moveset only has type alignment with one raid boss, Venusaur. Whereas, Extrasensory/Brave Bird covers at least Machamp and Venusar, but it still isn’t that useful, not to mention it has less than impressive DPS hindering generalist functionality. So we have an extremely confusing situation, in that Ho-Oh has problems attacking into many Pokemon. The question you want answered is, does Ho-Oh’s tremendous bulk and raw power negate its various type disadvantages?
The answer is no. As of now, matchups do exist where Ho-Oh will turn in great performances, but it will always be out-DPS’d by the ideal attackers, and I don’t think its bulk makes up for that. Solar Beam Ho-Oh is strong enough to approach the performance of top tier Grass types against mono Water defenders, but so is Mewtwo. Ho-Oh can also be incredibly strong into Rhydon with Solar Beam, but we already have powerful type counters that don’t have a double weakness to Stone Edge.
Right now, there are only suboptimal niches for Ho-Oh that are already occupied by better specialists, and as a generalist its damage output and general usability is trumped by Dragonite (not to mention, Mewtwo). Even taking its Effective Health into account, Ho-Oh’s bulk is undermined by its relatively poor offensive typing. Both Moltres and Entei are better suited into attacking defenders weak to Fire, and it’s not like either is a glass cannon. With a pure Fire moveset, they both accommodate more convenient type matchups, while Ho-Oh struggles to find an optimal defenders for both its fast and charge moves.
Conclusion: Do Not Power Up Ho-Oh.