Meta analysis of Bug Types in Pokémon GO: can Niantic fix them?

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Shedinja got replaced as a research breakthrough in favor of good ol’ Generation 1 and 2 Legendaries, marking a departure of another Bug type. Let’s talk about Bug type Pokemon and the role they (don’t) play in Pokemon GO.

In each new generation, there’s always a Bug type evolution line seen on your region’s starting route. Kanto has Caterpie and Weedle, Johto has Ledyba and Spinarak, Hoenn has Wurmple, and Sinnoh has Kricketot. From the humble Butterfree to the intimidating Volcorona, Bug types have been very versatile and surprisingly powerful when given the right tools.

Much like Ground types, most Bug type Pokemon are offensively inclined, so it’s a shame that you don’t see Bug types as offensive threats, even as a Psychic type counter. For example, against Alakazam with Focus Blast, on neutral weather, Groudon and Metagross will still fare better than any of the top Bug type Pokemon. As I mentioned in my previous article, it’s not that Bug and Ground have the weakest move combinations, it’s the difference between both of their best moveset compared to the rest of the 15 types. We know why Ground is weak, so why is Bug weak as well?

Bad Charge Moves

Looking at all of the Bug type Fast Moves, all of them are at least usable. Bug Bite is actually one of the better Fast Moves in the game. It’s the exact carbon copy of Lick. Fury Cutter is the quickest Fast Move in the game with 0.4 second cooldown, and even if it’s the weakest non-zero Fast Move, its 6 Energy Gain is enough to make it usable, even on non-Bug type Pokemon. Infestation is slow yet on par with Fury Cutter because of its high Energy Gain. The only Fast Move that’s a bit weak is Struggle Bug, but 3 good Fast Moves are enough since most of them have great coverage among each other, since Infestation is a TM, Bug Bite is a common move for first stage Bug types, and Fury Cutter was a former TM and Move Tutor move. On the other hand, when you look at the Bug type Charge Moves, you’ll clearly see that they’re either too slow or too weak.

Charge Move Power Cooldown Bar
Signal Beam 75 2.9 2
X-Scissor 45 1.6 3
Bug Buzz 90 3.7 2
Silver Wind 70 3.7 3
Megahorn 90 2.2 1

Should They Fix Bug-types?

Overall, only a few Pokemon would benefit in fixing Bug type Charge Moves, because the types that Bug types are good against have other more viable counters:

  • Psychic is also weak to Dark and double resist Psychic in return
  • Dark is weak to Fighting, an already prominent attacking type
  • Grass is weak to Fire, another already prominent attacking type

The few Bug type Pokemon that stand out either have a secondary typing or stats that actually justify their use. Scizor’s Steel typing is definitely handy, having it resist Psychic and and improve its resistance to Grass. Pinsir and Yanmega have the stats to make them usable when given the right moves.

Other than those three, there won’t be any meta shift when Bug type Charge Moves become strongerbecause they aren’t as impactful as Ground types, which boasts 5 types it is strong against, with Electric having its sole weakness to it, and Fairy types, which is the only type to safely counter the very powerful Dragon type.

With that said, what if Niantic still intends on fixing Bug types?

Improving Charge Moves

Among the 5 Charge Moves, we’ll be focusing on X-Scissor and Bug Buzz. We won’t be improving the others because there aren’t a lot of Bug types that learn Silver Wind, and while Signal Beam is a Move Tutor move that can be learned by a lot of Pokemon, it’s only learned by a handful of Bug type Pokemon. On the other hand, while Megahorn, like Silver Wind, can only be learned by a few Bug type Pokemon, this was once a signature move of Heracross, so the Pokemon fan in me says its a bit iconic for it to be left unusable. Still, some people might say that Heracross is a region-exclusive so it shouldn’t be buffed, which I agree as well. Still, X-Scissor and Bug Buzz is enough to buff other great Bug types like Scizor, Venomoth, and Yanmega.

X-Scissor is a bit weak, even for a 3-bar Charge Move. Bumping up the Power to 55 will make Scizor’s Fury Cutter and X-Scissor have 22.50 Cycle DPS while Pinsir’s Bug Bite and X-Scissor have 22.69 Cycle DPS. There’s nothing to compare X-Scissor with since there are not much prominent 3-bar Charge Moves in the game, but what I am avoiding is going into the territory of the unreleased move Weather Ball, which is a 60 Power 3-Bar Charge Move with the same cooldown.

Bug Buzz is a slow move at 3.7 seconds compared to other Charge Moves of the same Power. Lowering it to a full second will put it on par with Dynamic Punch and Avalanche. Yanmega would like this upgrade because its Bug Bite and Bug Buzz moveset will now have a Cycle DPS of 23.01, the most powerful Bug type moveset in the game, DPS wise.

What about the unreleased Bug Type Moves?

There are three Bug type moves that are hinted in an APK Mine: Lunge, Leech Life, and Fell Stinger. I don’t really see any of them as a Fast Move since there’s really no problem with Bug type Fast Moves. You may think that Leech Life should be a Fast Move since moves with low power and learned very early on in the main series games tend to be Fast Moves, like Water Gun and Ember. The thing is, if you’re not aware with the changes in Generation VII, Leech Life is buffed tremendously, and Pokemon that learned Leech Life in early levels now learn Absorb instead. That means, Leech Life is not a shoo-in to be a Fast Move.

The problem with these moves is that they are not as common as the current available Charge Moves, except for Leech Life. This means that even if they do release these moves, and they have the same Damage and Cooldown as the improvements mentioned earlier, it won’t do a significant difference in the meta given their rarity.

Effect in the Meta

While Bug types won’t be replacing Fighting as a Dark type counter nor Fire as a Grass counter, they will definitely have a big impact on Psychic counters. Even though Dark has the double resistance to Psychic, most Psychic Pokemon have a Charge Move to cover against Dark types, usually Focus Blast and Dazzling Gleam, sometimes Moonblast. They rarely carry moves that are strong against Bug types. The only notable Pokemon that have these moves are Mewtwo and Azelf (Fire Blast). This means Bug types are the safer option.

Fast Move Charge Move Cycle DPS
Bug Bite Bug Buzz 19.17
Fury Cutter Bug Buzz 19.06
Infestation Bug Buzz 18.97
Bug Bite X-Scissor 18.91
Fury Cutter X-Scissor 18.75
Infestation X-Scissor 18.68
Struggle Bug Bug Buzz 18.18
Struggle Bug X-Scissor 17.91

When we apply the improvements we discussed, Scizor will rise in usage as one of the best Psychic counter. Right now, Scizor’s Steel typing make it resist Psychic moves without really being scared of Focus Blast, but it doesn’t deal a lot of damage because of X-Scissor. With a boosted Bug type moves, it’ll be on par with Dark types on some matchups, and outright beat them on matchups with Fighting moves. Pinsir and Yanmega would also be great Bug type attackers. Both of them will actually fare better against Fighting moves compared to Scizor (with Yanma having double resistance), but both of them do not resist Psychic moves.

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