I’ve been thinking of making this post for a while. Ever since I saw that Rhyperior was voted winner of the next CD, I immediately realized Tyranitar would soon get its final nail in the coffin. I’ll explain why by summing up its history in the Pokémon GO metagame in False Swipe Gaming style, and then cover possible solutions for its tragic fall from grace.
Since the beginning of Gen 2, Tyranitar has and has always had incredible base stats, it has a great Attack stat, and for a Pokémon with such high Attack, its defensive stats are insanely good, which is to be expected from a pseudo-legendary, like Garchomp and Dragonite. These stats are what made it good in the first place, and in the days where you could only attack gyms, its lack of a Rock type fast move wasn’t much of a drawback, since Bite and Stone Edge had such good coverage on common defenders like Arcanine and Gyarados, not to mention it was a top defender by itself, except when it’s in front of a Fighting type.
In June 2017, a new core mechanic was introduced to Pokémon GO: Raid Battles. In Raids, what you want the most is to take down the Raid Boss before the time runs out, and as fast as you can to net better rewards. To fight the coveted legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, it lived in the shadow of Golem, who despite having worse base stats, was one of the only Pokémon at the time with access to the lone Rock fast move: Rock Throw. This made it preferred over Tyranitar for those opponents. When fighting Mewtwo, on the other hand, Tyranitar was unrivaled. Its helpful double resistance to Psychic and resistance to Shadow Ball and Hyper Beam made it the perfect Pokémon to choose for the task. Gengar dealt higher DPS, but it didn’t perform as well in practice due to its sheer frailness.
In Gen 3, even more good news came around for Tyranitar. First, it was discovered that no new Hoenn Pokémon were projected to dethrone King Tyranitar from its yearlong throne. Second, its own special event fixed just the issue that didn’t let it outperform Golem, by granting it access to a brand new Rock fast move: Smack Down. With it, Tyranitar found itself miles ahead of any other Pokémon in its two typings, making it a quintessential meta staple, especially with the imminent return of the Legendary birds, who were breakfast for Tyranitar. The only problem was, if you didn’t participate in the Larvitar Community Day, you had no way of getting this monster unless you had a friend willing to trade one to you, which obviously wasn’t the most reliable solution given the randomness of IV scored after trading. It was Gen 3 where Tyranitar had reached its apex…
…Until Gen 4, where everything started to go south for our big green hero. Game Master discoveries had shown that four newcomers of both the Rock and Dark type had been about to arrive. For Rock, there was Rhyperior, and especially Rampardos, who both had Smack Down naturally. The former being very close to Smack Down Tyranitar’s Raid performance, but not dependent on a limited time window, but rather a new evolution item: the Sinnoh Stone. The latter had absolutely bonkers DPS, so much more than Tyranitar, that most of the time its frailness wouldn’t even matter. Rampardos was hard to get though, so most players would still be relying on Tyranitar for Rock type DPS. As for the Dark types, first there was Weavile, being roughly on par with Tyranitar, trading some TDO for a bit of DPS, but the next newcomer was the long-forgotten sleeping giant Darkrai, who stood along another Gen 4 legendary Pokémon, Giratina, in its Origin form, as the premier Psychic and Ghost slayer. It wasn’t detrimental to Tyranitar just internally, but Pokémon of different typings that counter the things that Tyranitar does, and better, also came around, like Meteor Mash Metagross for Ice, Hydro Cannon users for Fire, and Mamoswine for Ice.
Neither did Gen 5 bring Tyranitar any favors, as the new Terrakion did the job of Rock type tank better, not to mention fellow pseudo-legendary Hydreigon and also Chandelure for countering Psychic and Ghost types, and finally, of course, the threats of Crabhammer Kingler, Conkeldurr, etc. But Tyranitar still had a trick up its sleeve despite all of the better Pokémon that came around, and it was the ease of its access. It has been a mainstay 4-Star Raid boss, meaning the Dark type set of Bite and Crunch was very easily obtained, and Smack Down Tyranitar has already been featured over a total of four full days for people to evolve.
Then, finally, we come to the present day, the final nail in the coffin, the advent of Rock Wrecker Rhyperior. The move’s stats have been revealed, and it sounds like another sad story for our beloved behemoth. Datamines show that Rock Wrecker is on par with Shadow Ball and Blast Burn, two of the best moves in the game. The move’s incredible stats compared to Tyranitar’s old Stone Edge don’t lie: Tyranitar was outclassed in every way: damage, survivability, and finally, accessibility, the last of which Rhyperior was on par, arguably better than Tyranitar for.
The Pokémon that is supposed to be a hulking Pseudo-legendary is now outdone by numerous Pokémon that aren’t on its level of stats, and I’m 99% sure that is because of Tyranitar’s lackluster charge moves. Stone Edge and Crunch just don’t seem to me like they quite cut it anymore.
Finally, I want to emphasize all of the other Pseudo-legendary Pokémon have something that set themselves apart both in Raids and PvP. Dragonite is still very accessible and consistently a top 6 dragon in raids, and also has one of the highest TDO of all Dragon Breath/Claw users in all three PvP leagues. Salamence is on par with Rayquaza as a dragon attacker, which is nominally the best one at that regard. Metagross is a beast with Meteor Mash altogether, for virtually anything. Garchomp is also immensely powerful in the Master League and is capable of holding its own in Raids as well. Hydreigon completely outclasses Tyranitar as a Dark type attacker in raids. Meanwhile, Tyranitar is now also outclassed by Rhyperior in the Master League, due again to Rock Wrecker’s amazing PvP stats.
In conclusion, it’s been a rough three years for Tyranitar. But I’ll suggest possible solutions to make Tyranitar the monster it truly deserves to be.
#Solution 1: Buff Stone Edge and Crunch’s base damage/energy cost.
By having Stone Edge buffed to 120 and Crunch to 80, It would help Tyranitar get a significant boost to its damage output, helping it reach roughly 15.5 neutral DPS as both a Rock and a Dark attacker, for reference creeping up close to Weavile and Rhyperior, even though it wouldn’t come close to Rampardos’s damage. It probably would make Tyranitar a top 8 option for Regice and Mewtwo raids, at worst.
For PvP, if Stone Edge’s base damage or energy cost were to be decreased, it would definitely see some spike in usage and help it keep up with Rhyperior.
#Solution 2: Give Tyranitar better existing charge moves, like Rock Slide and Foul Play.
Kyogre got that treatment as well. If it were to receive Rock Slide or Foul Play, this would not only generate more revenue from the TM grind, but it would only mean good things for Tyranitar, so it seems more probable. While 120 S. Edge is better than current Rock Slide, 80 Crunch is better than 70 Foul Play. Giving similar results overall, but slightly less balanced.
That concludes the analysis.