Zarude and its Place in the Meta

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Article by RyanSwag
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Starting October 1st, Zarude is coming to Pokemon GO via a Special Research Event. Is Hoopa at it again? Not quite, this event is a promotion for “Pokemon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle” which is focused on the Mythical Pokemon Zarude. Of course, Trainers want to know just how good this Gen 8 Mythic is in Pokemon GO. Turns out, Zarude is quite good for both Raids and PvP!

The article below covers Zarude’s potential in Raids, the Ultra League, and the Master League. Zarude’s minimum Master League IVs are also discussed. 

Zarude Basics

  • Zarude’s catch CP range is 1577-1643
  • Zarude’s level 40/50 max CP are 3833/4334
  • Zarude is a Dark/Grass dual-type Pokemon with a statline similar to Tyranitar’s 
  • Zarude’s Fast Moves are Bite and Vine Whip
    • Vine Whip is ideal for Raids and PvP
  • Zarude’s Charge Moves are Dark Pulse, Power Whip, and Energy Ball
    • Power Whip is ideal for Raids and is decent in PvP
    • Dark Pulse is decent in Raids and PvP
  • Despite its name and similarities to Tyranitar, Zarude does not currently know Sandstorm 

Zarude - PvE

Grass Attacker

Zarude has the 2nd highest Atk stat of all currently released Grass-type Pokemon (1 point behind Roserade). Zarude also has one of the most powerful Grass Fast Move/Charge Move combinations: Vine Whip + Power Whip. As a result, Zarude is indisputably the best non-Mega, non-Shadow Grass-type attacker currently released for Raids, and the competition isn’t even close. If you consider a Pokemon’s overall Raid goodness (DPS^3*TDO), Zarude is only second to Mega Venusaur. 

When it comes to future non-Mega Grass-type Pokemon, only Kartana and Frenzy Plant Rillaboom can compete with Zarude. Given that Kartana is a Gen 7 “Ultra Beast” and that Frenzy Plant Rillaboom is a Community Day iteration of a Gen 8 starter (we don’t even have Gen 7 starters yet) it’ll probably be a good 2 years or so before anything steps to Zarude’s power. 

Given that Zarude also has a solid performance in the Master League, Zarude overall looks worth powering up in Pokemon GO. 

Dark Attacker

As a Dark-type, Zarude isn’t as impressive for Raids. With similar stats to Tyranitar and Bite + Dark Pulse, Zarude is effectively a Grass sub-type Tyranitar. This wouldn’t be so bad, but Dark-types share the same “Ghost and Psychic-type” countering role as Ghost-types, so Zarude not only faces competition from Yveltal, Darkrai, Weavile, and Hydreigon, but also competes with Giratina-O, Gengar, and Chandelure. 

Overall, if you’re already powering Zarude up as a Grass-type and/or for the Master League, TMing Zarude over to Bite to help out against Ghost or Psychic-type Raids is more showing off than optimal. That said, if you don’t already have a full team of Dark and Ghost-type attackers for Raids, Zarude will be a solid addition to your roster. 

Zarude - PvP

Zarude Ultra League

In the Ultra League, Zarude is effectively a budget Shiftry. Shiftry is overall the better Pokemon for the “Grass/Dark” role, having better Charge Moves (Leaf Blade, Foul Play, and the spicy nuke Hurricane), but Shiftry does come with a steep XL cost, as it ranges from level 45.5 to 50. Zarude on the other hand is Ultra League ready in the mid 20’s. 

Given that Zarude is a sub-optimal Shiftry, that Shiftry is barely meta to begin with, and that Zarude has a great performance in Raids and in the Master League, Zarude is probably better used outside of the Ultra League. 

Zarude Master League

Zarude stands out in the Master League Classic as the only truly viable Grass-type and one of the few viable Dark-type Pokemon. In its role, Zarude parallels Yveltal as a Dark Pulse spamming Dark-type. On the surface, Yveltal appears to be “better” as it carries Focus Blast to nuke Steel-type Pokemon (such as Dialga), but Zarude has several key advantages over Yveltal. 

Unlike Yveltal, Zarude can comfortably handle Excadrill, Rhyperior, Landorus Incarnate Forme, and Kyogre, even when at a Shield disadvantage. When it comes to Melmetal and Landorus Therian Forme, Zarude just has to avoid Superpower to get ahead while Yveltal is under constant fire from their Rock-type attacks. To add, many of Yveltal’s wins are based on actually landing the Focus Blast, where Zarude’s Charge Move use is consistent. Even the Yveltal v Zarude matchup relies fully on the Focus Blast. 

This isn’t to say that Zarude outright replaces Yveltal. Yveltal still has a more consistent Giratina matchup and is stronger against most Flying, Steel, and Psychic-type Pokemon. As much as missing a Focus Blast can hold Yveltal back, Focus Blast can secure Yveltal matchups that Zarude would struggle to claw out from. Overall, both Zarude and Yveltal are solid options in the Master League (and both need to watchout for Togekiss). 

If you’re curious about Master League XL, Zarude is solid there too, but good luck getting all that XL Candy. 

And if you’re curious about Sludge Bomb Darkrai, it still fails to compete as well as Yveltal and Zarude.  


Zarude Master League IVs

Given that we’re likely only getting 1 Zarude, your IV spread may hold it back in the Master League. Fortunately, a 10/10/10 IV spread doesn’t appear to hold Zarude back much in the Master League Classic. The IVs highlighted below will improve Zarude’s performance in some key matchups though. 

Atk - Vine Whip

  • 11 for Melmetal and Landorus-I
    • It’s nice to have and can help avoid Charge Moves, but doesn’t feel mandatory
    • Easily fixed with Best Buddying


  • 13 for Best Buddy Dialga
    • Kind of a big deal, energy/shield/damage leads on Dialga can flip the fight
    • 12 Def can fix this with Best Buddying
  • 12 for non-BB Dialga and Zekrom
  • 14 as a Best Buddy for Palkia
    • Basically a “16” Def IV for non-Best Buddy Zarude
    • Turns this even matchup into a big win for Zarude, especially if Palkia doesn’t land Draco Meteor
    • Flips the 1-1, 2-2, and potentiates the 0-1 and 1-2 shield scenarios 


  • 14 = 15 (empty HP at level 40, but not 41)
  • Anything lower doesn’t appear to have a significant impact on outcomes
    • Obviously, more HP is always better

The 13 Def IV appears to be the big ticket item here. This suggests you have a 50% chance to receive an “ideal” Zarude or a “very ok” Zarude. If you’re not swimming in stardust or particularly interested in the Master League Classic, not having at least 13 Def is a major turn off. If you do have Stardust to spend and/or are very invested in the Master League, having less than 13 Def doesn’t make Zarude unviable. 

When will Pokemon GO allow us to fix our IVs? The world may never know. 


Overall, Zarude is a nice addition to Pokemon GO. Zarude is one of the best Grass-type attackers we’ll likely have for a long time and isn’t too shabby as a Dark-type either. As an added perk, it’s great in Master League PvP and isn’t held back too much by having random IVs. That said, not having a 13 Def IV can hold it back significantly and the current IV analysis doesn’t account for the unknown future of the meta. It’s unfortunate that Pokemon GO is essentially dividing the player base into those who get the “good” Zarude, and those who are stuck with the “very ok” Zarude. Hopefully they’ll add a way to fix IVs in the future. 

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