Dragon Tail vs Dragonbreath PvP

For a long time now, Dragonbreath has been viewed as the best Dragon fast move. 4 DPT/ 3 EPT is pretty appealing, and it’s easy to see why it would make for a great move.

That said, Dragon Tail has 3 DPT/ 3.3 EPT. More EPT at the expense of a much greater fall off in DPT.

Still, that EPT advantage could come in handy. Is Dragonbreath really, truly overall superior to Dragon Tail in PvP?

I did just get a lucky DT Gyarados in trade… Which prompted me to start this discussion :smiley:

Dunno, but most likely usually DB is the superior choice. Take a look at Dragonite, for example.

Without too much experience in PVP, the tradeoff doesnt seem balanced enough to be worth it. The energy gains might not even be enough to fire off an extra charge attack, which would be the whole reason to focus on energy over damage

The slightly higher EPT from Dragon Tail can give it a slight advantage in some scenarios, but for the most part, Dragon Breath takes the cake. Aside from having higher DPT, Dragon Breath also wins in speed; it’s a 1-turn move vs Dragon Tail which is a 3-turn move. This can be a huge advantage for DB, as you’re spending less time waiting for the move animation to finish. That mean you can use charge moves faster once you have enough energy, and it gives you a better opportunity to win scenarios where both yours and your opponent’s Mons are at low health and you’re both trying to farm the other down with only quick moves.

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I thought the same thing, that the slight gain in energy might let one get the hard hitting charged attack off earlier, winning some battles that Dragon Breath might lose. However, looking at PvPoke.com, they simulate every matchup, and determine the fraction of the time that each move is the best choice (for every possible battle). Those results indicate that Dragon Breath, despite the lower energy generation, is the best choice far more often.

For example:
Palkia: Dragon Breath 92.8%, Dragon Tail 7.1%
Dragonite: Dragon Breath* 92.5%, Steel Wing 7.4%, Dragon Tail 0%
Gyarados: Dragon Breath* 55.5%, Waterfall 33.3%, Bite 11.1%, Dragon Tail* 0%

  • indicates a legacy move.

So Gyarados is more successful with Dragon Breath without STAB than with Waterfall with STAB. (Clearly some of that 33.3% for Waterfall comes against preferential matchups, likely fire and ground, but for general use, DB is the bees knees.)

Damn. And here I am loving my Waterfall bois in PVP. I notice it just tearing chunks of health, like Charm. I know how good DB is too, but for DB to outperform Waterfall on Gary…

Waterfall hits hard, but has slow energy generation. Charm (and Razor Leaf) hit harder, but generate even less energy. In fact, for water pokemon, usually Water Gun is preferred over Waterfall (in the few cases where you have a choice), because of the better energy generation for just a little less damage.

The damage levels for all PvP quick attacks are listed in gamepress’s site. You can sort by type, DPT, EPT (damage per turn and energy per turn, with 1 turn = 0.5 sec), and other things. Getting a good sense of the landscape there, combined with simulations from PvPoke.com will give you a good sense of what will work in real PvP training matches and in Rocket fights.

Final note, Gyarados with Waterfall certainly isn’t bad. If you’ve faced the shadow version, you know it’s deadly. But if you have a legacy one with Dragon Breath, that’s even better, despite the lack of STAB.

I’d think DT would be better on an opening 'mon since you can get to your charge attack first. Otherwise, it seems like DB is best.

DB and Dragon Tail are both great moves for PvP. DB is the superior option for damage output, and only takes 1 turn instead of 3, giving it tye edge in close matches like @BlameScott said. That’s the reason why forretress uses bug bite instead of infestation, and lanturn runs water gun more often than charge beam.
But this doesn’t mean dragon tail is a bad move at all. It’s actually one of the best moves for gyara, because it can go the way of dragon slayer, hitting SE with DT + outrage while been hitted neutral. Note that if you give it crunch also not a single mon will resist the combo, and crunch is quite spammable

Lots fairy resist that combo. Clefairy, Togepi, Snubbul, Jigglypuff, Marill families and Mawile and Alolan Ninetales.

Also Lucario.

My fault, you’re right. (I was taking into consideration waterfall variant, my own because I dont have DB)
So togekiss in master league (and lucario) resists that combo

I’d say it depends on your charge moves. if you got twister or something maybe, DT since you can charge a little faster, but the longer animation time might be an issue.

I was thinking theoretically a DT might be better in some cases, though my example was a DC dragonite where my thought process was getting the DC a little fast, but upon testing, no, they get the first DC at the same time, and shields up, nite with DT dies soon after to DB. But Gyarados with same charge moves (crunch in the test case I used), DT beats DB only in the 1v1 shields senario, assuming perfect mirror, so DT’s better energy gain does provide some advantages, but largely situational.

I’d still say in general, dragon breath’s the better fast move, both in practice, and in raw stats, you have a 33% higher damage output compared to DT, while only at 10% or so loss in energy gain, as well as longer animation time. Better raw energy gain doesnt mean much If the opponent’s got a similar/identical energy cycle, but a faster animation move, since if the final fast move takes lnger to preform, they still have out energied