I must be stupid

I am unable to understand charge moves.

For example,

power gem vs foul play.

Game press tells me that Power Gem is virtually junk while foul play is one of the better charge moves in the game.

But PG is 80 damage and two bars.
While FP is 70 damage and two bars.

Apparently the intuitive “bars equal divisions” doesn’t work?

There is something else determining how often you can fire a charge move?

Could someone explain it like I’m 5 (and dumb) please?


No. The missing factor is how long a charge move takes.

To use your example, Power Gem takes 2.9 seconds while Foul Play takes 2.0 seconds.

The difference of 0.9 seconds could be used to fire off additional fast moves for more damage (and energy for the next charge move).

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Are looking at PvP or PvE?

Even that makes a difference sometimes. But you have to take into account that stab (move is the same type as the pokemon is) could mean a benefit of 20% more damage.

Next to that damage done and energy needed are 2 different things (and PvP or PvE are not the same) if both moves do the same 100 damage but A needs 50 engery and b needs 100 energy the dpe (damage per energy) of A 2dpe is way better then the 1dpe of B .

Next to look at is as @hkn said how long the move takes (cool down) if 2 moves do the same damage and a needs 2 seconds and b needs 3 seconds the dps (damage per second) of a will be about 50% more then the dps of B.

But I’m sure that others can explain this far better then I can but now you atleast know that you not only need to look at the damage an move does but also at the time it takes and at the energy it costs.

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To add on to this, looking at damage windows is also something to consider for PvE. This essentially looks at how long it takes during the charge attack animation sequence before the damage connects. Charge moves with a later damage window can be riskier, as your Mon could get hit and faint during the charge animation sequence before the damage connects.

So in addition to Power Gem having a longer animation time, it also has a slightly later damage window than Foul Play does.

In PvP battles, the energy costs are a bit different than they are in PvE.

Foul Play - 70 damage, 45 energy.
Power Gem - 80 damage, 60 energy.

When compared to other moves of similar energy cost, Power Gem lags behind. For instance, moves like Outage (110 dmg) and Thunder (100 dmg), also costs 60 energy. Then you have moves like Shadow Ball (100 dmg), Wild Charge (90 dmg), Power Whip (90 dmg), and Dynamic Punch (90 dmg), which hit harder than Power Gem and also cost less energy.

So comparatively, in PvP, the damage per energy for Power Gem is pretty lousy. It can serve a type coverage role on some Pokemon like Sableye, but otherwise performs rather poorly compared to other moves.

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Thank you. I should have been more clear in my question.

I am talking about PVP mostly.

Maybe I should ask this…

What do the energy bars mean even?

When I first started playing I assumed (logically?) that it was the amount of energy needed to fire the charge move. I thought that a 3 bar move required 1/3 the energy of a 1 bar move.

Now I’m not sure what the bars do?

Thank you for trying to help me get this. I really appreciate it!!!


This is some really difficult play design or gameplay design. Not intuitive at all! I understand what you are saying though.

But how is the average person supposed to know any of this? Then average player sees one, two or three bars and the amount of damage it does.

Looking for animation time and damage windows is some yoda-level gameplay. Especially since that info doesn’t appear to be in the game data when you are looking at a move.

Thank you all for this. I am slowly learning.

In PvE, the bars are pretty straightforward.

3 bars - 33 energy.
2 bars - 50 energy.
1 bar - 100 energy.

In PvP, however, they’re…not as straightforward. At all, unfortunately. This is something Niantic could stand to improve on. On top of that, multiple moves have different energy costs in PvP than they do in PvE.

2-bars - 35-50 energy.
1-bar - 55-80 energy.

Luckily, this site gives more accurate information on exactly how much energy moves cost in PvP. Your best bet is to click on a charge move on a Mon’s page (or you can search for it), which will take you to a separate page that lists all of the details of that move. At the bottom, it will list exactly how much energy that move requires in PvP.

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To your point on the bar system not being intuitive, the average player wouldn’t know. It’s unfortunate, how much optimal gameplay relies on third-party resources.

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Thank you!!!

I felt so stupid for not getting this. But seeing that PVE IS how I thought it would be, and PVP is not - that makes me feel better about it.

Also, I am understanding you guys more and more as I play and ask questions here. Thank you so much!


My previous answer was for PvE.

For PvP, you can ignore the bars. Each number of bars (1, 2, 3) represents a wide range of energy costs, so while a 1-bar move will definitely require more energy than a 2-bar move, the energy requirements for different 2-bar moves can vary widely.

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