|I take solace in the fact that Hypnos have no mouths,|
cannot eat, and they only live about a week. At
least... mine only live that long... Ah.... nature.
Some areas are blessed (more like cursed) with a crapton of Drowzee. This gives players access to Hypno from very early on. What Hypno is really good for is being a capable battler for its relative CP. A low-CP Hypno can trade neutrally with a lot of Pokemon well, which means players can start attacking gyms with their Hypno early. This unfortunately also means that new players can put weak Hypno in their friendly gyms, which does very little to protect the gym, but a lot to make it difficult to level up. So, what is Hypno good for? Why is it bad? Why is it good?
|All these "streaky line" backgrounds|
make me realize how crappy the
animation budget is for the TV series
Zen Headbutt + Psychic
If you're just starting out, and you have access to loads of Drowzee, then you may find yourself attacking with Hypno. Psyshock isn't a bad attack, but Shadow Ball doesn't do that much better than Psychic, even against opposing Psychic types; though it does charge faster. Zen Headbutt has a faster cooldown and better DPS than Confusion, and given that Drowzee can be incredibly common in some areas, holding onto your Confusion Hypno as defenders can be worth it. Trading neutrally isn't ideal, and Hypno often takes attacks neutrally due to its typing, so it isn't a great attacker, but it is one of many people's first competent attackers.
Confusion + Psychic
Confusion + Psyshock
Hypno's greatest asset is being an incredibly annoying defender. Confusion is a very strong defending quick move, and Psychic is a great charge move for defence. Psyshock is also a good charge move thanks to its shorter cooldown and lower energy requirement. The one thing Hypno does really well as a defender is trade neutrally. When you're attacking, taking attacks neutrally isn't great... but on defence it's a fantastic trait!
Base stats and typing
Hypno's high Defence and reasonably good Stamina make it well-suited to defending. A 162 Attack stat isn't anything to write home about, but 162 is still capable enough when combined with strong attacking moves like Confusion (with STAB). The interesting thing about Hypno is that it's the game's strongest pure-Psychic type currently available. Psychic is an extremely difficult type to hit super effectively right now, and few Pokemon get STAB while also hitting Psychic-types super effectively. Parasect? It takes so much damage if it fails to dodge anything.
Essentially, Hypno's got strong enough defences to defend competently, while also having a strong attack in Confusion to boost an otherwise middling Attack stat. The one problem with Hypno's stats is that their distribution prevents Hypno from having a high maximum CP. The CP formula is 2*Attack + 0.5*Defence + 0.5*Stamina. Having Attack be your worst stat really holds Hypno back from rising up in a gym's order. So while it's a good defender, it tends to be left in the front of gyms, not near the back.
Popular Pokemon Hypno deals with
So... Hypno will be out-damaged by anything stronger than it, and you don't need a specific Pokemon to deal with it. Lick + Hyper Beam Snorlax, Bite + Hydro Pump Gyarados, or Bite + Fire Blast Arcanine make for good Pokemon to take Hypno down. I specifically say Bite + Fire Blast Arcanine because Bite's shorter cooldown let you dodge incoming Psychics, and its DPS is similar to Fire Fang (especially when it's hitting for super effective damage). Water Gun + Psychic Slowbro is also a decent attacker just because Water Gun is decent, and Slowbro gets to resist Hypno's Psychic moves. But none of these Pokemon get away unscathed if Hypno is in a similar CP bracket to them.
The issue is that Psychic-type attacks are just so strong that nothing really trades "well" with Hypno unless it's just massively overpowering it. Obviously something like a 2500 Dragonite can make short work of low-CP Hypnos, but when one of the only ways you can take down a defender relatively undamaged is to use a high-CP Dragonite or Snorlax, Hypno's doing something right.
|Hypno's nose is about as large as|
Misty's face. I just learned this.
This is the biggest issue I have with Hypno. The way that Gym prestige works, you need to beat the defending Pokemon with a Pokemon of lower-CP in order to earn any decent amount of prestige. But as I've said throughout this article, Hypno battles incredibly well for its relative CP, because it's defences are quite solid and its Attack is its weakest attribute; this leads to an underestimate of Hypno's combat ability based on the generally perceived average combat ability per CP. Because of this, it is very, very difficult to beat Hypno with a lower-CP Pokemon.
The best answers I have found are the Hypno counters mentioned above. The issue with these Pokemon is that they are unlikely to be at low CP in your box, just waiting for their moment to shine. If you're "lucky," you'll have caught a Lick Snorlax at a poor total CP that you just never levelled up. That Snorlax will be your greatest weapon against defending front-line Hypnos if you want to add your own Pokemon to a friendly Gym. Low-CP Dragonites with Dragon Breath will also do the trick. But it's pretty sad to say that the best way to beat a low-CP Hypno and earn your gym prestige is to "luck" out and catch a crap ultra rare.
That all said, if you don't try and maximize your CP difference, a number of capable Pokemon can beat out an opposing Hypno through sheer willpower (and with the aid of dodging). Examples include Water Gun + Hydro Pump users, any Psychic types (especially if they have a non-Psychic move), and strong attacking Pokemon like Arcanine, Gyarados, and Charizard.
|What a friggin' jerk|
Hypno is probably the most frustrating Pokemon in the game, due to its accessibility and its relative combat ability. If you don't have numerous Drowzee in your area, feel blessed, because you don't have to deal with Hypno all the time. Even when you're taking it down, it just feels like a slog regardless of how efficient you're being. Its prevalence also prevents it from commanding any respect. At least a Pokemon like Wigglytuff has the unique factor to it that makes people unsure of what they're getting into if they haven't faced too many Wigglytuff before. But with Hypno, you know it's going to hit with Psychic quick moves and charge moves, or maybe Shadow Ball.
For the first month that I was playing Pokemon GO, I was in a country without Drowzee running around everywhere. I wanted my first Hypno and I was perplexed by my friend's complaints about Drowzee being everywhere. I thought to myself: "At least you get Drowzee! Imagine if every Drowzee you got was a Zubat, or a Rattata. Because that's what the rest of the world is like." Little did I know I'd come to hate the tapir myself. But hey, at least I get decently strong Pokemon to abandon in gyms and never heal upon their return. #Heartless #HypnoDeservesIt