TL;DR – Hunt down those Cliffs before Shadow Larvitar goes away!
Shadow (Dark) Tyranitar redefines dark/ghost attackers now. It’s at Mega Gengar tier, MILES ahead of all other non-megas, is one of the most useful shadows in raids among all types, and is very future proof.
L30 Shadow Tyranitar = L50 Hydreigon and all others
Once released, Mega Tyranitar will become #1 Dark and #1 Rock, both in solo performance (though Mega Diancie will be better), and especially in group damage contribution due to its bulk.
Dark or Rock? Save 1 non-shadow of each for the mega, then: Shadow Dark > Shadow Rock > Regular Dark = Hydreigon > Regular Rock.
Ideally, both Shadow Dark and Shadow Rock are worth making teams of (rock team mixed with Rampardos), but prioritize Dark.
Shadow Rock is also #1 non-mega rock, but just barely, and will eventually be outclassed. Keep at least 1 for Rockets though.
DO NOT PURIFY!
Keep reading for:
Why each Tyranitar can’t double duty
Dark/Ghost and Rock-type attacker comparison charts and Mega comparison charts
Brief mention of Mega Sableye (it disappoints)
Is Shadow Tyranitar (dark) the most useful raid attacker of all types? (Strength & Utility metric)
Pairwise comparisons involving shadow and regular Tyranitar
Shadow Darkrai with Dark Void is the only one that can truly outclass Shadow Tyranitar
More detailed recommendations on “Dark vs. Rock”
List of my previous analyses – now in Google Sheets!
At the start of the Season of Hidden Gems, we got our seasonal Go Battle League move update. As part of the update, Tyranitar can now learn Brutal Swing as part of its regular, non-legacy moveset, using a Regular Charged TM.
Additionally, the season website has (accidentally?) revealed that Mega Tyranitar will make its debut in Mega Raids from July 25 to August 4 (full schedule on Go Hub). A detailed look at the website’s source code also shows Mega Sableye release from June 29 to July 6.
When I previously wrote about Tyranitar for its Community Day Classic in January, my tone was rather bleak, as regular Tyranitar had already fallen way below the tier lists of both rock and dark attackers. Quoted from the TL;DR back then:
Unless you missed December CD, relax – 2023 is not 2018. Regular Tyranitar is not a must-have anymore.
Teban54, January 2023
But that was when Tyranitar’s dark moveset was Bite/Crunch, both being mediocre to bad moves. Now, Tyranitar can instead use Brutal Swing, a borderline overpowered (OP) move designed for Hydreigon to shine on its Community Day a year ago.
Does Brutal Swing help both regular and Shadow Tyranitar restore its 2017 glory? How will Mega Tyranitar (and Mega Sableye) perform in raids once they arrive? I’ll address these questions with the following parts:
Tyranitar (Regular, Shadow, Mega) and Mega Sableye as Dark/Ghost-type raid attackers
Mega Tyranitar as a Rock-type raid attacker
Future Considerations – What else can catch up with Shadow Tyranitar?
Verdict: Dark or Rock?
If you’re on desktop and want to jump to a particular part, search “Part X”.
A legacy fast move – why each Tyranitar can’t double duty
A minor note that should be obvious for veteran players, but still useful to point out.
To function as a rock type, Tyranitar needs Smack Down, a legacy fast move. This means you can’t build a single Tyranitar and TM back and forth between dark and rock movesets. An individual Tyranitar is locked in as either a rock type or a dark type, not both.
This may force you to build twice as many Tyranitars as you normally would – a dark team and a rock team – if necessary.
Do note that you will be able to get Smack Down by evolution during December 2023 Community Day, without needing an Elite Fast TM.
And if you really want to, you can TM a Smack Down Tyranitar to Bite. It’s a one-way street: Rock -> Dark is a yes, Dark -> Rock is a no (or at least expensive).
Part 1: Tyranitar as a Dark Attacker
[Part 1 TL;DR] Shadow Tyranitar redefines the Dark/Ghost meta, being at Mega Gengar tier, and L30 Shadow Ttar = L50 other options. It’s now a Tier 1 shadow in utility across all types.
Regular Tyranitar is virtually the same as Hydreigon, mayyybe 1% worse and typing-dependent.
Mega Tyranitar is also at Mega Gengar tier, and will likely be the choice for a Dark/Ghost Mega from now on.
Brutal Swing is a HUGE upgrade on Tyranitar: an 18% improvement, almost the same as shadow vs. non-shadow, and enough to cross several tiers.
Put it another way: Non-shadow Tyranitar with Brutal Swing is as good as Shadow Tyranitar without Brutal Swing.
As a result, Shadow Tyranitar REDEFINES non-mega Dark/Ghost attackers now.
Shadow Tyranitar’s power gets to Mega Gengar tier, and most people should know how OP Mega Gengar is. (Detailed comparisons later…)
Everything that we used to call “a top dark/ghost type” gets left WAY behind. This includes: Hydreigon, Shadow Weavile, Shadow Tyranitar without Brutal Swing, Shadow Mewtwo (Shadow Ball), Giratina Origin, Darkrai. Now, Shadow Tyranitar at Level 30 = all these options at Level 50, Hydreigon included.
For the DPS lovers, here‘s the ER and DPS table. Indeed, even in raw DPS, Shadow Tyranitar is now the highest among all non-mega dark/ghost types – and it still has good bulk!
Regular Tyranitar is now virtually the same as Hydreigon, mayyybe 1% below. Together, they’re the top non-shadow non-mega options.
This also means it’s better than Giratina-O and Darkrai.
So, non-shadow Tyranitar isn’t meta-defining per se, since Hydreigon already existed. If you had a Hydreigon army from its CD, regular Ttar doesn’t do anything extra, aside from typing differences. Put your resources into the shadows.
(Detailed comparisons later…)
When Mega Tyranitar arrives, it will sit in the same tier as Mega Gengar and Shadow Tyranitar in individual performance. In other words, top of the type.
Mega > Shadow, but DO NOT PURIFY.
(Detailed comparisons and mega charts later…)
Shadow Tyranitar (Dark)’s Incredible Utility
[Section TL;DR] Due to the high utility of dark/ghost types (many bosses to use them against), Shadow Tyranitar is now one of the most useful raid attackers across all types. This will remain the case even after most future shadows (including shadow legendaries) are released. A solid Tier 1 shadow for raiding.
I’ve always treated dark and ghost types as “one” of the most useful types for raiding, if not the most useful. Their main roles are anti-psychic and anti-ghost, and it happens that there’s a crazy number of psychic-type T5 bosses (perhaps the most common type among legendaries).
Back when I wrote the Shadow Mewtwo analysis in January, I defined a “Strength and Utility” (S&U) metric, which combines individual powers of raid attackers with the number of raids they can be used against. For example, Shadow Mewtwo as a psychic type doesn’t do too well, because psychic attackers are rarely needed.
With all expected future Gen 1-5 shadows at that time – which included Shadow Hydreigon, but not Shadow Tyranitar with Brutal Swing – the metric looked like this:
Treat the “Hyderigon” on the chart as Shadow Tyranitar.
That means… Shadow Tyranitar (dark) is one of the most useful raid attackers – #1 by the S&U metric. Both right now, and in a future where all Gen 1-5 shadows are released.
The incredibly powerful (future) shadow legendaries that you’re thinking of: Shadow Mewtwo, Groudon, Rayquaza, Terrakion… In terms of utility, they all pale in comparison to Shadow Tyranitar.
One caveat is that this chart only considers utility of a single type. Shadow Mamoswine’s utility in either of its types may be lower than Shadow Tyranitar, but its combined utility will likely be higher, at least today.
So yes, I would absolutely rank Shadow Tyranitar (dark) as a Tier 1 shadow in raids today. (And my definition of Tier 1 was very restrictive. I ranked Shadow Mewtwo as Tier 2… And people hated it.)
Comparisons: Mega & Shadow Tyranitar, and Mega Gengar
[Section TL;DR] Mega > Shadow Ttar. Mega Gengar technically “wins” more often than both (and still has the highest DPS/TTW), but it’s very unreliable, and when it fails, it fails very badly.
Mega Tyranitar vs. Mega Gengar: (Individual power, without damage boosting)
Mega Gengar may be better than Mega Tyranitar more often, but it’s WAY less consistent.
This is due to Mega Gengar’s fragility and weakness to psychic moves. On the other hand, Mega Tyranitar doesn’t fear much, except fighting moves.
As a result, Mega Tyranitar gets better average Estimator. (Remember the bar chart above doesn’t show how much better each option is.) In TTW, Mega Gengar still pulls ahead.
The other two pairs are comparing apples (megas) to oranges (non-megas), but:
Shadow Tyranitar vs. Mega Gengar:
Same discussion as above, except that Shadow Ttar fares worse than its Mega counterpart.
Their average Estimators are similar at L40-50, whereas Mega Gengar is ahead in TTW.
Mega Tyranitar vs. Shadow Tyranitar:
In theory, Shadow Ttar actually out-DPSes Mega Ttar by 2.1%. But Mega Ttar has 54% more TDO, more than enough to make up for it.
Indeed, in practice, Shadow’s tiny DPS advantage almost evaporates. Mega is better.
Comparisons: Regular Tyranitar vs. Hydreigon and others
[Section TL;DR] Hydreigon is technically still better, but only by 1%, and basically typing-dependent. Tyranitar outclasses most other options, arguably except Shadow Weavile.
Everything listed here used to be the “golden standard” for dark and ghost. Now, even non-shadow Tyranitar at least puts up a fight, if not straight up outclasses them. (Recall that Shadow Tyranitar is above all of them by 18%.)
Starting with Tyranitar vs. Hydreigon, as it’s the most relevant pair.
Hydreigon has 256 base attack to Tyranitar’s 251, but Ttar has more defense and HP. Now that they have the same moveset, Hydreigon naturally has slightly higher DPS, while Tyranitar has higher TDO.
From the bar chart… Yes, Hydreigon is technically still better.
However, it’s only better by a tiny amount – usually on the scale of 1%.
Here‘s a plot of the extent to which each one is better than the other. In 80% of cases, the difference is really small.
In practice, what’s preferred essentially boils down to typing differences.
Tyranitar vs. Shadow Weavile is also interesting: Shadow Weavile is a classic glass cannon, stronger in the best case, but very risky. But if you’re comparing to a shadow… Why not use Shadow Tyranitar instead?
Tyranitar basically outclasses the rest (Darkrai, Giratina-O, Chandelure, Gholdengo), aside from typing disadvantages, such as Focus Blast Mewtwo.
Dark and Ghost-type Mega Comparisons
[Section TL;DR] Mega Tyranitar > all dark megas, and > Mega Gengar unless everyone else uses ghost. Mega Sableye disappoints.
As usual, this chart looks at the question “which mega contributes the most damage to the group”, accounting for both its own damage output and its mega boost to other raiders. Note that Primal Kyogre/Groudon in the 6th slot may still be the best way to contribute damage (method explained in my Mega Pinsir analysis).
If you don’t want to “use” a Primal…
Yes, Mega Tyranitar will outclass all Dark-type Megas on all fronts – in both power (Houndoom) and group boosting (Gyarados).
Comparing to Mega Gengar:
If you coordinate so that everyone else uses ghost types, then Mega Gengar is better.
However, if you’re not sure what others will bring, Mega Tyranitar is better, often by far.
Brief mention on Mega Sableye. In theory, being able to boost both Dark and Ghost damage – regardless of what others choose – sounds very enticing. Sadly, Mega Sableye’s laughable power and mediocre bulk means it can’t execute that well. It’s worse than Mega Tyranitar in almost all situations, including when others use ghost types.
Part 2: Mega Tyranitar as a Rock Attacker
[Part 2 TL;DR] Mega Tyranitar’s individual power is barely above Mega Aerodactyl (current best rock type), and slightly below Mega Diancie. However, its superior bulk makes it the best mega for contributing damage in group raids.
In individual power, Mega Tyranitar is the best rock attacker, being better than Mega Aerodactyl… But just barely.
It will also have worse solo performance than Mega Diancie, when/if it’s released at Go Fest. (Not shown on the chart)
However, Mega Tyranitar has a massive bulk advantage over Mega Diancie and Aerodactyl, making it the Rock-type Mega of choice due to boosting other players. (More on this in a moment…)
Brief note on Shadow and regular Tyranitar:
Shadow Tyranitar is the best non-mega rock type in Estimator, but only barely ahead of Rampardos. In large lobbies (TTW), Rampardos actually catches up.
Shadow/Mega Tyranitar are tanks, while Rampardos and Mega Aerodactyl are glass cannons. The latter have higher DPS respectively, but not enough bulk to fully shine when relobbying is a concern.
A mixed lobby of, say, 3 Rampardos followed by 3 Shadow Tyranitar may perform even better.
Non-shadow Tyranitar is worse than several options, and #6 non-shadow non-mega.
More discussions on Shadow and regular Tyranitar with Smack Down can be found in my CD Classic analysis.
Rock-type Mega Comparisons
Very simple chart.
Mega Tyranitar is the best rock-type mega to use in group raids for damage contribution, due to its superior bulk providing the 30% mega boost for longer. Even though it’s weaker than Mega Diancie by itself.
Part 3: Future Considerations – What else can catch up with Shadow Tyranitar?
[Part 3 TL;DR] Shadow Tyranitar is very future-proof as a dark type. Future counters such as Shadow Hydreigon may become similar, but nothing can truly outclass it until we get Shadow Darkrai with Dark Void. However, as a rock type, it will eventually be outclassed by Shadow Rhyperior, Shadow Rampardos, etc.
If we’re only talking about what can outclass Shadow Tyranitar? The answer is: Only Shadow Darkrai, once it gets Dark Void.
Several things can become equivalent to Shadow Tyranitar or barely below, however:
Shadow Hydreigon. Just like their non-shadow forms, their shadows will likely tie each other.
Darkrai (non-shadow) with Dark Void, if the move is sufficiently OP.
Shadow Darkrai with its current moves. If Niantic never gives us Dark Void.
Calyrex Shadow Rider, if it gets a Game Master moveset change and receives Hex.
Hoopa Unbound with its signature move.
Blacephalon (with the best possible moves) and Shadow Chandelure will lie between non-shadow and Shadow Tyranitars, but probably on the lower side.
In short… Shadow Tyranitar is pretty darn future-proof as a dark type.
Future Rock Attackers
On the other hand, as a rock type, Shadow Tyranitar is waiting to be outclassed by future shadows. In particular, Shadow Rhyperior and Shadow Rampardos. (And to a less extent, Shadow Terrakion and Shadow Gigalith.)
I covered them in my CD Classic analysis in January, including possibilities of Tyranitar receiving better rock-type moves. You can jump to the charts here.
Part 4: Verdict – Dark or Rock?
So here’s a punchline:
Do you want a #1 dark that’s miles ahead of other dark types, or a #1 rock that’s only barely ahead of other rock types?
A #1 dark that’s very unlikely to be outclassed, or a #1 rock that will be outclassed sooner or later?
Based on this, here’s a more detailed set of advice:
1 non-shadow Dark for Mega
1 non-shadow Rock for Mega
As many Shadow Dark as possible
Ideally also a team of Shadow Rock and Rampardos, at least 1, but lower priority than dark
Round out your Hydreigon team, if you lack Shadow Ttars
Just the 1 Mega, unless you lack all the better options
Or, as a one-liner: After 1 Mega for each, Shadow Dark > Shadow Rock > Regular Dark = Hydreigon > Regular Rock. If you need to choose between limited Shadow Larvitars with good IVs, prioritize dark.
DO NOT PURIFY! Use another non-shadow for the mega.
I recommend having at least 1 Shadow Rock for Rocket battles. Smack Down Ttar is awesome especially against flying grunts.
Factors that went into the recommendations above, which also serves as a recap of the whole article:
Megas for both types are a must.
Both Shadow Dark and Shadow Rock are currently #1 non-mega of their types. Both are worth building teams of (though the rock team may be mixed with Rampardos).
Shadow Dark fares significantly better among its own type than Shadow Rock, is stronger in raw power, and is also more future proof.
I’d try my best not to TM a Shadow Rock to Dark – find a better one from Cliff. But if you really have to, Rampardos and Rhyperior get you covered. Shadow SD Tyranitar is ahead of Rhyperior, but they fulfill the same role: a rock-type tank.
Shadow Ttar > Regular Ttar, of course. So ideally, any resources should preferably go into the shadows before the non-shadows (if at all).
Regular Dark = Hydreigon, or 1% below. Anyone that has already built a Hydreigon team doesn’t need another regular Tyranitar. If you haven’t, regular Ttar is awesome, but why not build a Shadow Ttar instead?
Regualr Rock < Rampardos, Rhyperior, Terrakion, Tyrantrum, Gigalith. TM’ing Regular Rock to Dark wouldn’t be too crazy.
Of course, these are general guidelines, and may differ based on your availability of attackers, preferences (e.g. Unique 6, hate shadows), etc.
Ultimately, do what makes you happy.
I’ll start working on Breaking Swipe Haxorus analysis ASAP. Preliminary thoughts can be found here.
Beyond that, I will likely be scaling down the frequency and depth of my analyses soon. More details and explanations to come. (This article is already less in-depth than it could have been.)
Appendix: Past analyses on other types
A complete list of all my past analyses – on every single type other than normal – can now be found in this spreadsheet!