How To Counter And Beat Ho-Oh In ‘Pokémon GO’

Credit: Niantic

Last night, Niantic dropped a surprise on the Pokémon GO community. The successful completion of the first Global Catch Challenge had already rewarded us with a mass Farfetch’d migration out of its native East Asia, but apparently, there was a slightly more dazzling bird in its wake as well. Ho-Oh, the final Legendary Bird and one of the most powerful creatures in the game, is now available at Legendary Raid battles and will be for the next two weeks. Ho-Oh comes from Gen-2, and is the pair for Lugia, which is the first Legendary Bird we received way back at Pokémon GO Fest. It’s an interesting case, as well, and could be very easy or very difficult depending on what the game throws at you.

Ho-Oh, like Lugia before it, has the potential to come with a charge attack that really throws a wrench into your attack strategies. In this case, it’s Solar Beam, which can cause trouble for typically strong Rock and Water-type counters. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still use them if you’ve got some high-powered attackers — that damage bonus still counts, after all — just that you should be aware of the variability if you have a deep enough team of strong Pokémon to round things out. Here are some strong attackers:

Zapdos: One of the three Gen-1 Legendary Birds makes for a reliable attacker against Ho-Oh. Zapdos won’t be vulnerable to any of Ho-Oh’s moves, and loading it up with Electric-type attacks ensures you’ll get a super-effective bonus against the boss. High overall stats contribute to solid survivability as well, and even an unpowered Legendary can be perfectly helpful in a pinch.

Raikou: Next, we’ve got another Electric-type Legendary that should prove a solid counter against Ho-Oh’s Flying-type weaknesses. Like Zapdos, it doesn’t come with any special resistances to any of Ho-Oh’s attacks, and so it doesn’t do as well on survivability as it might otherwise. Electric attacks should still do strong damage against either variant of Ho-Oh, and like Zapdos Raikou starts off at a high level when you catch it.

Vaporeon: If you’re up against a Ho-Oh with Fire Blast, Vaporeon is a cinch. The alway-reliable and generally ubiquitous attacker will do super effective damage against Ho-Oh and resist its fire attacks to boot. Solar Beam presents a bit of a pickle, but Vaporeon is still a strong counter overall. Remember, doing high damage and letting your Pokémon faint isn’t always the worst strategy in a Legendary Raid: you can always revive and head back in if they all go down. You lose some time, but might do more damage overall

Golem: Ah, Golem. Useful against virtually every Legendary in the game. Golem’s weaknesses make it something of a glass cannon here, but Rock-type attacks do such impressive damage that it’s still worth throwing in there. Some calculations on Silph Road suggest that a properly outfitted Golem can actually do as much damage as a comparable Zapdos, it will just faint quicker when doing so.

Omastar: Omastar isn’t quite as common as some of these other Pokémon, but it’s still an excellent choice in most Legendary Raids, and here as well. Solar Beam might still cause you some trouble, but Rock Throw should do excellent damage. It’s still a good counter if you don’t have the legacy moveset, just not quite as strong.

Dragonite: Dragonite is decently common as far as top-tier Pokémon go, and represents a somewhat unremarkable but very reliable choice here. Good overall stats mean solid damage, Dragonite holds its own here as one of the most reliable generalist attackers in the game. It will resist Solar Beam, as well, which makes it doubly useful.

Other good options include Tyranitar, Gyarados, Mewtwo, Jolteon, Starmie and other lower-CP creatures from the same types that get Super Effective damage against Fire or Flying. After that, it’s just up to the catching: Ho-Oh appears to come with a base 2% capture rate so…good luck.

And with that, we’ve got all the Legendary Pokémon from both Gen 1 and 2, paving the way for the full release of Gen 3. My guess is that we’ll see it soon.

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