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[Analysis] Community Day Haxorus with Breaking Swipe for raids: One of the many dragons

June 7, 2023 - Teban54


This is not a meta-breaking CD for raids. Not even close.

A small upgrade for Haxorus. Made it go from the bottom of the “group of non-shadow non-Rayquza dragons” (Salamence, Garchomp, Palkia, Dialga, Zekrom) to the top of the group. But it’s “just” equal to them, not meaningfully above, and still worse than Breaking Swipe Rayquaza and shadows.

Great chance for new players to build a dragon team. But if you already have a L40+ dragon team, L40 Haxorus does very little to you, being equal to what you have.

The good thing is, L50 Haxorus > L40 non-shadow dragons (though <= L40 Shadows). And Haxorus will be the easiest dragon to go L50 after CD.

Keep reading for:

  • Comparisons to Haxorus and other dragons, with its pros and cons
  • Did we miss out from not getting Outrage?
  • Shadow Haxorus in the future
  • List of my previous analyses – now in Google Sheets!


Axew Community Day happens this Saturday, June 10 (for Pokemon #610!), from 2pm to 5pm. Any Haxorus evolved before 10pm will know the CD move, Breaking Swipe.

The move Breaking Swipe made its debut in PoGo back in February, as a raid-exclusive move for Rayquaza. While players quickly recognized it was an incredible move in PvP, its impacts on raid attackers seemed like a nothingburger at first, with a low power of 30. However, I wrote an extensive analysis that showed Breaking Swipe performs better than Outrage on Rayquaza in practice. Despite a lower best-case ceiling (raw DPS), its speediness makes Ray more consistent than the powerful but sluggish Outrage does.

Haxorus never had Outrage to begin with, and until now, its only dragon-type charged move was Dragon Claw. This means Breaking Swipe is a much clearer upgrade on Haxorus as a raid attacker. But how much of an upgrade is it? Does it help Haxorus stand out among dragon types, one of the most contested attacking types for raids?

I’ll answer the question with the following parts:

  1. Chart of dragon-type attackers
  2. Breaking Swipe Haxorus compared to every other top-tier non-shadow dragon
  3. Did we miss out by not getting Outrage?
  4. Shadow Haxorus?

If you’re on desktop and want to jump to a particular part, search “Part X”.

You can now follow me (@teban54) on Twitter!

Since this post is too long, Reddit may not allow edits after publishing. Should there be minor changes or bug fixes, I will mention them in a comment.

Part 1: Dragon-type Attacker Charts

[Part 1 TL;DR] Haxorus rises from the bottom of the group of sub-Rayquaza dragons to the top of the group, but still not above the group, and still can’t reach Rayquaza or shadows. Great chance for new players to build dragon teams, but those with dedicated teams will need XLs to see benefit. L40 shadows >= L50 Haxorus > any L40 non-shadows.

Dragon attackers ranked by their average in-raid performance, using ASE and ASTTW.

Charts of ASE with and without dodging are here.

Note: Kyurem with Glaciate would have performed similarly to most non-shadow non-mega non-Rayquaza dragons, whenever ice is also super effective.

I’ll start by noting that when it comes to dragons, I usually focus more on Estimator (left plot) than TTW. The former considers relobbying, which happens quite often for dragons, because they may take a Super Effective dragon move from the boss.

Breaking Swipe is a clear upgrade on Haxorus, but only a small one – 3.4%.

  • For context, this is similar to the average difference between Draco Meteor and Outrage on Salamence.

However, this matters when comparing Haxorus to the huge group of non-shadow non-Rayquaza dragons (Salamence, Palkia, Garchomp, Zekrom, Dialga, Dragonite), which are all extremely similar to each other. Breaking Swipe moves Haxorus from the bottom of this group to the top.

Despite this, Haxorus still remains within this group – it can’t rise above them.

  • Notably, it’s still consistently worse than Rayquaza, and far worse than Shadow Salamence and Shadow Dragonite.
  • Even its difference to the rest of the group, like Salamence and Garchomp, is very small if not virtually zero. (At Level 40, their difference is within 1%.)
  • Dragonite is the only one that’s clearly worse on average.

So when comparing Level 40 to Level 40 attackers, Haxorus seems like a great “budget” option for new players, but long-term players who already invested in teams of dragons (including Salamence and Garchomp from past CDs) will gain very little from a L40 Haxorus.

Accessibility (XL) matters…

The above only talks about attackers at the same Pokemon level. Any Level 50 non-shadow dragon outperforms another Level 40, regardless of what the two Pokemon are.

Fortunately, Haxorus will be the easiest dragon to get XL candies of – and power up to Level 50 – just after this CD.

  • Many other dragons are legendaries, whose XLs are out of reach for everyone but whales.
  • Even those that had CDs didn’t guarantee a huge XL supply. Bagon CD was before XLs became a thing, Gible CD was before Mega Evolutions provided a strong XL boost, and Dratini CD Classic did not come with the 2x XL bonus that non-Classic CDs have.
  • Axew CD not only has all these bonuses, but also has the additional Water Festival bonus of boosted XLs from nice, great and excellent throws!

If you have enough XLs to build one or several L50 Haxorus, they’ll likely be your best non-shadow non-mega dragon attackers.

For hardcore players that have already powered up Shadow Salamence and Shadow Dragonite to L40, they’re better than Haxorus at any level.

Part 2: Haxorus compared to all other non-shadow dragons

[Part 2 TL;DR] As a glass cannon, Haxorus performs very similarly to non-shadow non-Rayquaza dragons, and worse than Rayquaza. Interestingly, it stands out in cases when most other dragons get OHKOed, thanks to added consistency from Breaking Swipe.

Haxorus vs. other similar Dragon attackers (L40 best friends)

Reminder: I’d prioritize Estimator for dragons due to relobbies.

Looking at estimator, we reach the same conclusion as Part 1 – Haxorus is just as good as every non-Rayquaza dragon now, maybe slightly above a few (Dragonite).

  • Compared to Salamence, Palkia, Garchomp and Zekrom, their estimator “win” rates are almost dead-on 50/50.

Haxorus does have better TTW than non-Rayquaza dragons, which means in large groups where you’re certain you won’t relobby, Haxorus performs better than the rest. In other words, a glass cannon.

However, Haxorus is consistently worse than Rayquaza (that has Breaking Swipe).

  • Rayquaza and Haxorus have the exact same base attack of 284, but Rayquaza has 15% more bulk, so that’s not surprising.
  • The ~10% cases where Haxorus is better mostly come down to typing advantages, such as rock and electric moves from the boss. Even then, Haxorus’s advantage is small.

Pros and Cons of Haxorus

Pro 1: Haxorus has great base attack and DPS.

  • Rayquaza’s 284 base attack has always been seen as the golden standard for dragons, but Haxorus ties it. No other currently released dragon can: Palkia 280, Salamence 277, etc.
  • Technically, Haxorus’s DPS isn’t the highest – both Rayquaza and Outrage Salamence are better. (Table) However, its DPS is still higher than all others, and its TTW (“DPS in practice”) ends up beating Salamence anyway. Which brings us to Pro 2 below…
  • This usually plays out to Haxorus’s advantage if it resists the boss’s charged move, or if the boss has weak attacks like Giratina-A. In these cases, Haxorus can live longer and fulfill its DPS potential.

Pro 2: Haxorus is very consistent in cases that are traditionally doomsdays for dragons, thanks to Breaking Swipe.

  • Most dragons rely on Outrage or Draco Meteor, which are both expensive, slow and unreliable moves that take almost 4 seconds. But Breaking Swipe? Takes 0.8 seconds, even shorter than a Dragon Tail, lets you spam consistent charged move damage and get back to Dragon Tails quickly and reduces energy waste.
  • The most advantageous matchups for Haxorus ends up being Palkia, Reshiram and Kyurem raids with Draco Meteor. These are bosses that OHKO most other dragon attackers before they can finish one or two Outrage or Draco Meteor. Haxorus also gets OHKOed, but it can spam more Breaking Swipes before going down.

Con: Haxorus is frail. Very frail.

  • Non-shadow Haxorus’s bulk is barely better than Shadow Salamence, and worse than Shadow Dragonite.
  • As a result, the worst-case scenarios for Haxorus are when it gets OHKOed by a charged move, but other dragons survive. Outrage Zekrom raid is a classic example: Haxorus can’t tank one until it gets to XL levels.
  • This is why, even though Haxorus does very well in TTW, I didn’t emphasize on it. Because if you use 6 Haxorus, you’ll have to relobby most of the time.

Overall, Haxorus is a classic glass cannon, but performs more consistently than most other glass cannons due to having Breaking Swipe. Its average power is almost the same as all sub-Rayquaza dragons, but its best-case and worst-case scenarios are a bit different from other dragons.

Part 3: Did we miss out by not getting Outrage?

[Part 3 TL;DR] No. Breaking Swipe is the best Haxorus could have hoped for.

Breaking Swipe vs. Outrage on Haxorus (L40 best friends)

If you plug in Outrage to the GamePress DPS/TDO spreadsheet, you’ll see that it has higher DPS than Breaking Swipe. That’s why, for a long time, players hoped for Outrage as the CD move.

However, I already showed that even on Rayquaza, Breaking Swipe ends up being better than Outrage. Haxorus, being even glassier than Rayquaza, appreciates a spammy move like Breaking Swipe even more than Ray does. It simply doesn’t have the bulk to use Outrage reliably, and Breaking Swipe is basically tailor-made for a glass cannon like this.

In fact, if you compute the average estimators and TTWs (plot from last time), Outrage ends up being a downgrade from even Dragon Claw, which is itself worse than Breaking Swipe.

The detailed comparison of BS vs. Outrage on Haxorus would have been extremely similar to Rayquaza, so I’ll omit the details.

Part 4: Shadow Haxorus?

[Part 4 TL;DR] Shadow Haxorus ends up a bit ahead of Shadow Salamence, mostly because the latter “underperforms”, not that the former overperforms. But otherwise, the same conclusions from the non-shadow discussion apply to shadows.

Obviously this will not happen anytime soon, but something interesting can be said about Shadow Haxorus with Breaking Swipe, whenever it does become a thing…

Future dragon attackers ranked by ASE and ASTTW.

Charts of ASE with and without dodging are here.

Note: I omitted shadow legendaries other than Rayquaza due to accessibility concerns. The only future shadows shown here are Rayquaza, Haxorus and Garchomp.

Remember when I said Haxorus and Salamence are very similar? Yet, when you compare their shadows in the chart above… Shadow Haxorus has a small but firm gap ahead of Shadow Salamence.

Why? Shadow Salamence, despite it being one of the best dragon attackers right now, is actually underperforming. Whereas Shadow Haxorus doesn’t underperform that much.

  • This mostly comes down to consistency. Shadow Salamence loses out on too much bulk from the shadow treatment, that its Outrage becomes unreliable. Even though Shadow Haxorus is paper thin, Breaking Swipe makes its worst cases not as bad.
  • I showed Shadow Garchomp here for this exact reason. Garchomp is very bulky, so the gap between Shadow Haxorus and Shadow Garchomp ends up being similar to their non-shadows. (This also applies to the omitted shadow legendaries, especially Dialga and Zekrom.)
  • Note that with dodging, Shadow Salamence no longer underperforms.

Despite this, Shadow Haxorus remains behind Shadow Rayquaza – but only if Ray also has Breaking Swipe.

  • Shadow Rayquaza with just Outrage would have flopped as badly as Shadow Salamence.

Overall, Shadow Haxorus’s placement among future shadow dragons is very similar to their non-shadows: Top of the group, but still not above them.

However, I do not encourage anyone to heavily rely on this info for current and future investments. We have no idea when we’ll get Shadow Garchomp, Shadow Haxorus, or multiple Shadow Rayquaza. Plus, it’s higly likely that Palkia and Dialga will have their signature moves by then, and their shadows would have destroyed the competition. Given how unpredictable the future is, I wouldn’t advise against building Shadow Salamence and Dragonite now, nor would I specifically prepare for Shadow Haxorus.

  • It is true that Axew XL will probably never be so available again, so if your eventual goal is XL Shadow Haxorus, you might want to stock up XLs for that. The question is if you want to (no major reason to), and if you’ll still be playing by then.

Closing Remarks

Unlike many pseudo-legendary or “almost pseudo-legendary” CDs, like Tyranitar (for 2018), Metagross, Garchomp (which I felt was overhyped) and Hydreigon, this CD’s impact on raid attacker rankings is probably far less than what you may have imagined. This is not a meta-breaking CD, not even close.

CD Haxorus’s role ends up being similar to Salamence when its CD first happened in 2019, but even worse – a tiny upgrade, excellent option for new players, but does little for well-prepared players. But this time, “well-prepared” went from “whaled out 6 Rayquaza” to just “did the biggest CDs of the past”.

I’m actually okay with it, though. Practically everything has changed from 2019 to 2023. And today, it’s harder and harder to make new raid attackers stand out from existing ones, most of which already have shadows and/or overpowered moves. Not all “big hype” CDs can be meta-breaking, and not all of them need to be.

If anything… This is much better than Goomy and Jangmo-o will be, assuming we’re only talking about raids. And I’m sure not everyone treats raid relevance as the sole reason to care about CDs – otherwise, Noibat CD wouldn’t have been nearly as hyped as it was… Right?

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!

Breaking Swipe
community day
dragon pve
dragon raid pokemon
dragon types
raid attackers

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