The Galar Gigantamax starters in competitive Pokemon

The latest Nintendo Direct gave us a peak at the Gigantamax forms for Rillaboom, Cinderace, and Intelleon. While we don’t have all the information yet, we did get a few interesting details.  First, we see that these Gigantamax moves all have unique animations. This is a nice change from other Gigantamax moves which just slightly tweak the animation from their Dynamax counterpart. More importantly, we got some information that allows us some speculation on the competitive viability of these Gigantamax starters.

It’s been revealed that all their Gigantamax moves would ignore the opponent’s ability. We see this in action as Rillaboom takes down a Shedinja with a grass move, Cinderace damages Mimikyu through Disguise, and Intelleon snipes a Gastrodon that presumably had Storm Drain.

Another more vague detail mentioned, was that these moves would be more powerful than regular Max Moves. I assume that this means they have a higher base power. Currently, the power of Max Moves are determined by the regular move they are based on. Will these GMax Moves have additional power on top of this base power, or will they have a set higher power?

Either way, it would be nice to see these moves get some additional power considering that ignoring the target’s ability is only situationally useful. I believe these Gigantamax starters will be generally superior to their normal Dynamax forms, and I will explain why for each Pokemon. Note, that this article will be focused on the VGC format.

gigantamax starters


Of all the Gigantamax starter Pokemon, Rillaboom has the potential to benefit the most from their new Gigantamax move, G-Max Drum Solo. The normal Max Grass move, Max-Overgrowth, sets Grassy Terrain. However, once Rillaboom’s has access to its hidden ability, Grass Surge, it will automatically set this terrain upon entering the field. This makes Max Overgrowth’s effect to be a bit of a waste. Of course, it’s entirely possible Grassy Terrain would expire or be overwritten by other terrain. Still, I believe the Grassy Terrain will usually stay up long enough for Rillaboom to make use of it. 

The biggest benefit of Grassy Terrain is the 30% increased power it provides to Grass moves. Depending on how much more power G-Max Drum Solo gets, it’s possible that it will be just as good as a terrain boosted Max Overgrow. Add the terrain boost from Grassy Surge to G-Max Drum Solo, and Rillaboom is going to be beating down opponents without breaking a sweat. 

gigantamax starters


Giving up the ability to set Sun from Max Flare may seem like a bad trade for Cinderace. Not only does Sun give a 50% boost to fire type moves, it also cuts the power of Water type moves in half. However, with only three turns of Dynamax, it is far better to make the most of these turns by having the Sun set up before firing off a move. We already see this with the popular Gigantamax Charizard, who also cannot set up the Sun by himself. If the Sun is already set up, then Cinderace will get the extra damage from it in addition to the increased power of his Gigantamax move – G-Max Fireball.

Cinderace could actually benefit from not having Sun up, once its hidden ability Libero is released. With Libero, Cinderace will change his type to match the type of the move he is using. This means Cinderace could become a type that does not resist Fire. Add that to its already mediocre defenses, and Cinderace could easily go down to a Sun-boosted Fire move from the opponent. Additionally, not setting up Sun makes it more viable to pair Cinderace with a partner that wants to use Water moves.

gigantamax starters


Aside from the obvious benefits of getting a sniper rifle in its Gigantamax form, Intelleon benefits the most from ignoring abilities. It’s not uncommon to see Gastrodons with the ability Storm Drain running around the Battle Tower Ladder. Storm Drain Pokemon will draw all single-target Water moves to themselves. On top of this, the Pokemon will not take damage and get a boost to its special attack stat. It’s always risky to fire off a Water type move, if the opponent can switch to a Storm Drain Pokemon.

With G-Max Hydrosnipe, Intelleon can rain down damage upon the opponent with no fear. Of course, there are still some questions about how it will interact with Storm Drain. As shown in the video, it will still damage a Gastrodon, but will it ignore the redirecting effect? We will see. Regardless, it’s promising to not have a turn of Dynamax wasted because a Gastrodon sucked up your move.

The normal Dynamax water move, Max Geyser, sets up Rain. Rain gives a 50% boost to Water moves and a 50% reduction to Fire moves. However, like with Cinderace, it’s better to have the corresponding weather set before using one of your precious Dynamax turns. Coupling Intelleon’s powerful G-Max Hydroshipe with a Prankster Pokemon that sets up Rain for it could make a powerful combination.

Currently, none of the starters have made a huge impact on the competitive scene. Intelleon is the most popular at the moment, but it’s still not a common sight. Hopefully with these new forms we can see these Pokemon surge in popularity. As I mentioned before, the ability to ignore abilities is only situationally useful, but if these abilities can hit harder than normal Max Moves, then there is certainly a lot of potential in the Gigantamax starters.

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Will Newhouse

Currently enjoying being the 2nd player on my wife's Animal Crossing island and falling down the Pokemon Battle Tower ranks.
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