With Pokemon Legends Arceus, we get an alternate Hisui form in Hisuian Goodra, in which our gooey Dragon friend gains the Steel typing. Goodra has always been a favorite of many Pokemon trainers and for good reason. Its gooey exterior only adds to the charm of this Dragon-type mon. While its competitive usage has fallen in recent years, it was a solid mid-tier Pokemon during its debut generation of X & Y.
Despite some players not fond of the more snail like design, it’s important to keep in mind the original Goodra was based on slugs in the first place. Design concerns aside, is Hisuian Goodra a good Pokemon in relation to its traditional form and could it be a contender in competitive play?
First off, we must address Hisuian Goodra having different stat lines compared to traditional Goodra. The Hisui form has 80 base HP compared to the original 90 HP, but makes up for this with 100 physical defense. It also retains its solid attack stats (100 base Attack, 110 base Special Attack) and high Special Defense (150). Unfortunately, in exchange for beefed up physical Defense, it loses 20 speed, falling to a mediocre 60.
However, this loss in speed isn’t necessarily all that bad for a couple of reasons. Of course, defensively, Hisuian Goodra gains the utility of the Steel type. While it picks up Fighting type and Ground type weaknesses, it also no longer gets blown out by Fairy-type or Dragon-type moves. It now resists Water, Electric, Normal, Flying, Rock, Bug, Steel, and Psychic type moves. Then, Grass is now double resisted and Poison is no longer effective whatsoever.
On defense, Hisuian Goodra is an absolute house. It’s similar to a specially defensive Duraludon, the only other Dragon/Steel dual type mon in the games currently. Goodra also learns a new move in Hisui called Shelter which boosts both defense and evasion. If this move transfers to future games such as Scarlet and Violet, suddenly the lower speed is much less of an issue. Also, Goodra now learns Iron Head, which now has a same-type Attack Bonus. If Fairy-type mons gave traditional Goodra fits, the tables are now turned. Not only does Hisuian Goodra take neutral damage to Fairy-type attacks, it now can hit for super effective damage against Fairy types with Iron Head.
Yes, Hisuian Goodra is a very good Pokemon. It’s obviously a house even in its native game of Legends Arceus. The Training Grounds gives Goodra even more coverage options, including its more traditional moves of Outrage and Draco Meteor, plus Steel Beam, which takes 50 percent of your HP but hits for 210 base power with STAB. Of course, it also learns Rest, which thanks to the busted “drowsy” mechanic, allows you to fully heal your HP while still having a chance to still attack. Imagine a move set of Draco Meteor or Outrage, Iron Head, Rest, and Shelter; actually, you don’t have to imagine it if you catch one in Legends Arceus. This is a silly powerful Pokemon.
Is Hisuian Goodra going to impact the competitive scene? It’s not like regular Goodra is unusable. In fact, Goodra has shown up in Series 11 VGC in Sword and Shield, albeit at a fraction of a percent in usage. Your typical Goodra in doubles packs Fire Punch, Stomping Tantrum, Iron Tail, and Breaking Swipe. If that seems like an underwhelming moveset, that’s because it is. Hisuian Goodra still has Fire Punch, but it also has Iron Head, Outrage, and more. Thanks to much lower Special Defense, original Goodra can’t stick around nearly as long as has been utilized more as a revenge killer; whereas Hisuian Goodra can be more of a tank option in the future.
In singles, normal Goodra does occasionally appear in Overused, despite being Rarely Used by usage. The singles move-set is wildly different, packing Thunderbolt, Fire Blast, Ice Beam, and Hydro Pump. On some occasions, it will alternatively pack either Dragon Pulse or Sludge Wave. It’s likely that in the transition between games, Hisuian Goodra could learn a similar move set thanks to TM’s and TR’s. In the Underused metagame, Goodra can run Draco Meteor, as it’s a format where Amoonguss’ Spore reigns supreme, but Gooey Goodra is immune to such effects.
In Rarely Used, Goodra switches in Earthquake and becomes more of a mixed attacker. Finally, in Never Used, the tier in which it’s fallen most recently, Goodra sees a fair amount of NU usage around 6 percent, typically packing Draco Meteor, Fire Blast, Sludge Bomb, and Hydro Pump.
So, traditional Goodra is present across the spectrum of competitive play already, albeit in very low percentages of usage. Hisuian Goodra can fill the same role, but more effectively. It doesn’t learn Fire Blast in Legends Arceus, but it does learn Draco Meteor, Hydro Pump, and Flamethrower. It’s possible we just see Iron Head as its final attack.
On defense, Hisuian Goodra really only has to fear Body Press and Close Combat among the top players in Never Used, and Rarely Used has a few more regular Earthquake users. However, Underused is full of Earthquake and Close Combat, making it a hazardous place for an otherwise very bulky mon like the Dragon/Steel Goodra from Hisui.
Unfortunately, as strong as the addition of Steel typing is for Goodra overall, in competitive play there are just too many mons with Fighting and Ground type moves to blow Hisuian Goodra out of its shell. That being said, it could prove a solid pivot mon, especially in Trick Room teams, where its lower speed actually benefits it. As a cleanup mon that now can wall physical attacks that original Goodra didn’t resist, Hisuian Goodra should see a lot more usage than its predecessor.
On the game’s highest level, though, that being VGC Doubles, Zacian, Landorus, Thundurus, and Urshifu aren’t going anywhere. These being mons on almost every top team, Hisuian Goodra has a poor defensive matchup against all of them. But, the Goodra from Hisui is most certainly an upgrade in many ways over its traditional form. Deployed correctly, Hisuian Goodra could be a nice surprise underdog in both singles and doubles and it will certainly make some noise in the lower tiers of the Smogon competitive scene.
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