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This question already has an answer here:

Are high powered special attacks with a smaller number of large blue energy bars better than low powered special attacks with a higher number of small energy bars?

For example, is having a special attack with 70 damage and 1 blue bar better than having a special attack with 15 damage and 5 blue bars?

marked as duplicate by Dragonrage, Frank, Wrigglenite, two bugs, GodEmperorDune Jul 22 '16 at 18:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    @Dragonrage I'm not asking what the difference is, I'm asking which is better – Three Legs Jul 22 '16 at 17:19
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    There is no better or worse. You have to understand the differences and then decide for yourself which situations call for one or the other. – Todd Wilcox Jul 22 '16 at 17:22
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    I'm honestly not too sure why so many people here are so trigger happy with the duplicate. Your question is definitely not a duplicate and none of the answers on the other question answer your question. – Kevin Tian Jul 22 '16 at 18:30
  • "If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question" I really really don't see how this a duplicate. Can ANYONE who claimed this a dupe care to explain how? Because those answers clearly don't address this question regardless of how the other question is stated if any of you guys actually bothered to read the answers. – Kevin Tian Jul 22 '16 at 19:07
  • It's not about the answers, @Kevin. It's about the questions. If they're asking the same thing, they're duplicates. If they're not, then edit your question to clarify how they're not. – Frank Jul 22 '16 at 19:38
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Essentially these dictate how long until you can use a special attack - the smaller bars fill up faster, and you can store multiple charges.

But it should be noted that the bars doesn't affect the move's Damage Per Second though - they each deal a certain amount of damage over a certain time when activated. A more meaningful way of comparing each move is to compare their DPS.

For example with Poliwrath's special moves, Ice Punch does 13.5 dps while Hydro Pump does 20.7 dps (which is clearly superior).

But on this pokemon, to deal the most damage you should just use the Mud Shot quick attack, which does 21.8 dps - greater than any of the main moves. (The only exception would be when fighting against a pokemon type that is super Effective / Ineffective to your move type).

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There is a general best moveset for each pokemon. You can find the whole list here. Obviously different movesets are optimized for different matchups but in general you should focus on getting the moves they list in the link.

Personally I like having either 2 or 3 bars. 4 bars fill up too fast and the animation takes a while so you might actually lose damage since your fast attacks might do more damage in the same amount of time. One bar takes too long to fill up and your pokemon might actually die before it can use it in a poor matchup and even then you are almost only able to use it once.

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    Another great resource for looking up the DPS of abilities for each Pokemon is here: pokemon.gameinfo.io – Ellesedil Jul 22 '16 at 18:58

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