With the upcoming Pokmon Go Battle League, you may be wondering how to build a strong and versatile team. Here's how!
Niantic recently announced a new feature coming to Pokmon Go: the Pokmon Go Battle League! While this feature will not be released until early next year and many of the details have yet to be released, there's still plenty players can do to prepare their roster for the League and we're here to help you do just that!
Which Pokmon should you focus on catching and powering up?
Which Pokmon are the best in Pokmon Go? There are more than 800 Pokmon out there and, though they've not all made it to Pokmon Go, more are being added all the time. So, even seasoned players can find themselves struggling to answer this question. Each new Pokmon, move, or rebalance to come to the game has the potential to be a game-changer (or to not matter at all!). Lucky for you, we've done the work in our own labs and are constantly updating our lists with each addition and alteration to the game.
While CP, IVs, and moves are all important in determining the value of a Pokmon in battle, some species of Pokmon are just better at their base. After all, the very best Pidgey with perfect IVs, high CP, and the best potential move set won't be able to hold its own against even a low-level Gyarados. So what makes any particular species battle-worthy? Three basic things: max potential stats, move pool and versatility. That can be a lot to go through for even a handful of Pokmon, so we have a cheat sheet for you:
- Machamp - The best Fighting type currently in the game and one of the best attackers in the game, Machamp is the final evolution of Machop.
- Rayquaza - A Legendary Dragon and Flying type, this one cannot currently be caught but if you already have one, it's definitely worth investing in this powerhouse.
- Rampardos - The Rock type final evolution of Cranidos, this Gen 4 Pokmon hasn't been available for long but if you happen to have one, it's well worth investing time and resources into building it up.
- Chandelure - The strongest Fire and Ghost type in the game, Chandelure is the final evolution of Litwick. It requires many candies and an Unova Stone to acquire and has only just been introduced so many players do not have this awesome Pokmon.
- Mewtwo - The iconic Psychic type Legendary from Gen 1, Mewtwo was the first EX Raid Pokmon but has since been rereleased in multiple forms. Still one of the strongest Pokmon, you'll want it on your team.
- Salamence - Another Dragon and Flying type, Salamence is the final evolution of Bagon. While it isn't quite as strong as Rayquaza, it is much more readily available and was featured in April 2019's Community Day so chances are you have this one already.
- Metagross - Another Community Day Pokmon, the Psychic and Steel type Metagross is the final evolution of Beldum. If you have one with Meteor Mash from October 2018's Community Day, it will be an invaluable addition to your roster.
- Kyogre - A Legendary Water type, Kyogre cannot currently be caught but if you already have one, it's the strongest Water type in the game and worth powering up.
- Darkrai - A Mythical Dark type, Darkrai was only available during the Halloween Event, but if you're lucky enough to have one, it is the best counter for Psychic type Pokmon in the Game.
- Giratina (Origin forme) - A Legendary Ghost and Dragon-type, Giratina is one of a select few Pokmon with multiple formes. In this case, the Origin forme is the one you want to focus on. While not currently available to catch, if you have one, build it up!
- Gengar - The Gen 1 Ghost and Poison-type, Gengar has remained one of the strongest Ghost-types in Pokmon Go. It is the final evolution of Gastly, a Pokmon you can catch all year round but which gets boosted spawn rates for the Halloween events.
- Kingler- The Gen 1 evolution of Krabby, this Water type boasts an even higher Attack stat than Gyarados and, since the introduction of its signature move, Crabhammer, it is an invaluable addition to any trainer's roster, especially for those who missed out on Kyogre.
- Raikou - The Legendary Electric-type, Raikou's potential move set makes it the best Electric Pokmon in the game. It is not currently available to catch but if you have one, it is well worth your resources to boost up.
- Electivire - The final evolution of Electabuzz, this Gen 4 Electric-type can be only be obtained with a Sinnoh Stone. However, if you missed out on Raikou, it is a solid alternative.
- Mamoswine - Another Pokmon to get the Community Day treatment, Mamoswine is the Ground- and Ice-type final evolution of Swinub. Although it requires a Sinnoh Stone to evolve, during the February 2019 Community Day, trainers could earn up to 10 Sinnoh Stones. If you participated or have since evolved this Pokmon, you definitely should power up your Mamoswines.
- Moltres - The Gen 1 Legendary Fire and Flying type, Moltres has been in Raids and Research rewards multiple times so many players will have at least one. It remains one of the strongest Fire types in the game and is worth your attention.
- Dialga - The Gen 4 Legendary Dragon and Steel type, Dialga is the only Dragon-type in the game who doesn't take Super Effective damage from other Dragon types and is the second strongest Steel types available. However, like most Legendaries, it has only been available in limited Raids so many do not have one to power up.
- Palkia - The counterpart to Dialga, this Dragon and Water type is a solid choice for your roster. While it's not nearly as powerful as Rayquaza and lacks the necessary moves to be used as a primarily Water type attacker, it can more than hold its own as a Dragon-type.
- Roserade - Another Sinnoh Stone evolution, Roserade is one of the best Grass and Poison-types in the game. If you happen to have one or a strong Roselia and a Sinnoh Stone, it is worth building up.
- Excadrill - The final evolution of the newly introduced Gen 5 Drillbur, this Ground and Steel type is one of the best Ground type attackers. It is still very new so many players do not have one yet but it fortunately only requires 50 candies to evolve so keep an eye out for those Drillburs.
- Dragonite - The Gen 1 Pseudo-Legendary Dragon and Flying type, Dragonite is the final evolution of Dratini. Having been featured in the second Community Day, as a reward for Special Research and one of the possible Shadow Pokmon featured in the Team Go Rocket's arsenal, most players have at least one.
- Tyranitar - Another Pokmon to get the Community Day treatment as well as having been a common Raid boss, Tyranitar is the Dark and Rock type final evolution of Larvitar. It boasts very high stats and is readily available so you probably already have at least one that you've invested resources in.
- Blaziken - The Fire and Fighting type starter Pokmon, Blaziken is the final evolution of Torchic. Blaziken is easy to get and was featured in May 2019's Community Day. While not the absolute best Fire or Fighting type, it is certainly one of the best that is readily available and its Community Day exclusive move Blast Burn make it a solid substitute for the stronger Fire types.
- Swampert - Another starter, Swampert is the Ground and Water type final evolution of Mudkip. Featured in July 2019's Community Day, its limited move Hydro Cannon makes it a solid replacement for players who missed out on the Legendary Kyogre.
- Breloom - Evolution of the readily available Shroomish, this Fighting and Grass-type Pokmon only costs 50 Candies to evolve and boasts the highest Attack stat of all the Fighting types. It has both excellent Fighting and Grass-type moves, making it a versatile addition to your roster.
- Garchomp - The final evolution of Gen 4's Gible, this Psuedo-Legendary Dragon and Ground-type Pokmon doesn't compare to the Legendary Dragon types currently in the game but for players who missed out on the Legendaries, it can be a decent substitute.
These are certainly not the only options by far but they are the top 26 so if you're hoping to achieve a high rank in the Pokmon Go Battle League, you should definitely focus on powering up Pokmon from this list. That having been said, we still don't know what teams for the Pokmon Go Battle League will look like. They could be set up like the current PvP battles and Team Go Rocket Battles, in which players can only choose three Pokmon or they could be set up like Gym and Raid Battles, in which players can choose six Pokmon. What's more, we don't know if players will get to build a new team for each battle or must use the same team for several battles. Even if players can choose their team each time, unless they see their opponent's team beforehand, the selection process could still prove quite challenging. However, these are the top 25 attackers, so if you work on them, you're bound to have the best to choose from when the Pokmon Go Battle League begins.
Back up Pokmon
So, a lot of the Pokmon on that list are Legendary or Mythical, while others are rare and require special means of Evolution. You might find yourself needing to fill in the ranks a bit. You could also be a really active player and just want an even more diverse selection when it comes time to enter the Pokmon Go Battle League. Fortunately, there are plenty more great Pokmon to choose from. The following may not be the absolute best but they're still worth your consideration:
- Zapdos - A Gen 1 Legendary Electric bird, Zapdos has a really high Attack stat but its Charged Move isn't great. Still, it's readily available and a good back up.
- Latios - Another Legendary, Latios is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. He is well rounded though and so makes a decent backup.
- Groudon - Another Legendary that has been available quite often, Groudon used to be the best when it came to Ground-type Pokmon but has since been edged out by Excadrill. Its moveset holds it back.
- Weaville - Weaville has a great moveset when it comes to Ice, Dark or even Ghost type moves. Sadly, its DPS really holds it back.
- Magnezone - Magnezone doesn't have the DPS of other Electric types like Raikou or Electivire, but it does have a resistance to Blizzard that makes it useful in certain battles.
- Hydreigon - Stronger than Tyranitar for Dark type attacks, Hydreigon doesn't match up to other Ghost or Dragon types.
- Venusaur - If you happen to have a Community Day Venusaur with the Legacy Move Frenzy Plant, it's one of the best Grass type attackers in the game. Roserade outperforms it but it is much more likely you have a few of these.
- Charizard - Another Community Day game-changer, a Charizard with the Legacy Move Blast Burn is a great investment of your resources and easier to build up than Moltres.
- Alakazam - While Alakazam cannot stand up to Mewtwo, if you're lucky enough to have one with the Legacy Move Psychic, it's worth building up.
- Gyarados - While Gyarados is outperformed in every area, it doesn't require a Legacy Move and Magikarp are extremely common.
- Feraligatr - With its Legacy Move Hydro Cannon, Feraligatr isn't as strong as Swampert, but it is still a good back up.
- Espeon - Easy to come by and power up, Espeon makes for a great Psychic back up.
- Entei - While this Legendary Fire type doesn't do the DPS that Moltres can, it's bulky and has a two-bar charge move that makes it great for certain battles.
- Sceptile - With the Legacy Move Frenzy Plant, Sceptile is a good back up, though it doesn't compare to Roserade or Breloom.
- Gardevoir - A very specified Pokmon, Gardevoir does great against Dragon types and in Cloudy Weather.
- Hariyama - While it can't hold up to Machamp, Hariyama got a rebalance back in November of 2018 that made it a great back up Fighting type.
- Torterra - Another Pokmon relying on a Community Day Legacy Move, Torterra with Frenzy Plant is comparable to Venusaur with the same move.
- Honchkrow - As a Flying type with Sky Attack, Honchkrow is pretty useful though you shouldn't rely on it as a Dark type.
- Rhyperior - A little slow but quite bulky, Rhyperior is a great back up, especially with Smack Down.
- Glaceon - Glaceon can do comparable DPC to Weaville as an Ice type and is super easy to come by so a good back up to invest in.
How do types factor into building a team?
Something else that any Pokmon trainer worth their salt must know is the various Pokmon types and how to use types to their advantage. In Gen 1, Pokmon had 15 types but 3 more have been introduced since. Having to keep track of 18 different types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, is challenging enough but many Pokmon have two different types making it even more complicated. Fortunately, we've summed up each type in this straight forward chart:
|Type||Super Effective Against||Resistant to||Not Very Effective Against||Weak to|
|Normal||None||Ghost||Rock, Steel, Ghost||Fighting|
|Fire||Bug Grass Ice Steel||Bug Fire Fairy Grass Ice Steel||Dragon Fire Rock Water||Ground Rock Water|
|Fighting||Dark Ice Normal Rock Steel||Bug Dark Rock||Bug Fairy Flying Poison Psychic Ghost||Fairy Flying Psychic|
|Water||Fire Ground Rock||Fire Ice Steel Water||Dragon Grass Water||Electric Grass|
|Flying||Bug Fighting Grass||Bug Fighting Grass Ground||Electric Rock Steel||Electric Ice Rock|
|Grass||Ground Rock Water||Electric Grass Ground Water||Bug Dragon Fire Flying Grass Poison Steel||Bug Fire Flying Ice Poison|
|Poison||Grass Fairy||Bug Fighting Fairy Grass Poison||Ghost Ground Poison Rock Steel||Ground Psychic|
|Electric||Flying Water||Electric Flying Steel||Dragon Electric Grass Ground||Ground|
|Ground||Electric Fire Poison Rock Steel||Poison Rock Electric||Bug Grass Flying||Grass Ice Water|
|Psychic||Fighting Poison||Fighting Psychic||Psychic Steel Dark||Bug Dark Ghost|
|Rock||Bug Fire Flying Ice||Fire Flying Normal Poison||Fighting Ground Steel||Fighting Grass Ground Steel Water|
|Ice||Dragon Flying Grass Ground||Ice||Fire Ice Steel Water||Fighting Fire Rock Steel|
|Bug||Dark Grass Psychic||Fighting Grass Ground||Fighting Fire Flying Fairy Ghost Poison Steel||Fire Flying Rock|
|Dragon||Dragon||Electric Fire Grass Water||Steel Fairy||Dragon Fairy Ice|
|Ghost||Ghost Psychic||Bug Poison Fighting Normal||Dark Normal||Dark Ghost|
|Dark||Ghost Psychic||Dark Ghost Psychic||Dark Fighting Fairy||Bug Fighting Fairy|
|Steel||Fairy Ice Rock||Bug Dragon Flying Fairy Grass Ice Normal Psychic Rock Steel Poison||Electric Fire Steel Water||Fighting Fire Ground|
|Fairy||Dark Dragon Fighting||Bug Dark Fighting Dragon||Fire Poison Steel||Poison Steel|
If a type is Super Effective against another, that means it will do more damage. If a type is Resistant to another, that means it will receive less damage. Likewise, if a type is Not Very Effective against another, that means it does less damage and if a type is Weak to another, it takes more damage. While preparing your roster for the Pokmon Go Battle League, make sure you have Pokmon with a variety of types and move sets that are also varied. The more of the different types you can build up, the better chance you will have at being able to effectively counter your opponent's team.
Which moves are the best for PvP battles?
Now that you know which Pokmon are the best to build up, you need to determine which move sets are best and if those move sets are even an option. While there are many moves that are either Legacy Moves (meaning they have been removed from a Pokmon's potential move pool) or were limited to special events like Community Day or Legendary Raids, each Pokmon has a pool of potential moves that it can be assigned. If a move is currently in a Pokmon's pool but your particular Pokmon doesn't have that move, you can use Technical Machines or TMs to change your Pokmon's move. TMs are single-use and change to a random move from the potential pool so be careful before using them. Be extra careful if you have a Pokmon with a legacy or limited move because once you change its moves, you cannot get those back.
Players may also consider paying the sizable Stardust and Candy cost to add an additional attack to their top Pokmon. While the cost can be as much as 100K Stardust and 100 Candies for a Legendary Pokmon, having a second Charged move can make your Pokmon more versatile and give you a better chance of being able to take down your opponent. If you do decide to add a second move, make sure the Pokmon you're considering has another strong charged move in its pool that is of a different type than the one it already has. While you may not get the move you want on the first try, using a Charged TM, you can select one of the moves to swap it out.
For more information on selecting the best possible moves for your Pokmon, see our Move Set Guide.
What are IVs and how do they impact the value of a Pokmon?
Another important factor to consider before building up any Pokmon is the Pokmon's Individual Values or IVs. Unlike CP and HP, which are visible, IVs are hidden and can only be determined by having your Team Leader appraise your Pokmon. While appraisals used to be far more complicated requiring players to interpret a list of possible phrases along with doing a fair bit of math, the appraisal system is much more straight forward now.
- Click on the Pokmon you wish to appraise.
- Select the menu icon at the bottom right corner of the Pokmon's screen.
- Select Appraise.
It's just that easy! Your Team Leader will show up and provide a chart with three stats (Attack, Defense and HP,) each consisting of three bars and an overall rating of 1, 2, or 3 stars. Ranging from 0 (the worst) up to 15 (perfect), the more of a stat's bar is filled-in, the better that Pokmon's base IV is. Having great IVs alone won't make your Pokmon battle-ready, but those IVs do determine the maximum Attack, Defense, and HP a Pokmon can have as you power it up. Ideally, you want those IVs to be as close to perfect as possible, but keep in mind that you'll still need to spend Stardust and Candy to reach that max. The lower a Pokmon's CP is, the more you'll have to spend to get it ready for the League. Because very few players have huge stockpiles of Candy and Stardust lying around, it's important to balance high CP with high IVs. After all, a lower IV Gyarados with CP in the 3000's is going to perform better than a perfect 100% Gyarados with CP in the low 2000's.
What will battles in the League look like?
As of right now, we don't know what these League battles will look like. They could be three-on-three or six-on-six. They could be set up like PvP battles with CP limits or they could implement a new feature that automatically adjusts every Pokmon's level to the same level, like the core Pokmon games use. Niantic already has a variety of options in Pokmon Go and the core games. Or, it's possible they could implement something entirely new.
Is there anything else you can do to prepare?
In addition to building up your existing Pokmon, you can practice battling in the various methods that already exist within Pokmon Go. Challenging Raid bosses, especially the 4- and 5-star Raids, not only gives you the chance to catch a new, strong Pokmon but also give practice attacking and dodging. Likewise, Team Go Rocket Grunts provide the chance to practice other battle mechanics, while also giving you the chance to catch and purify a Shadow Pokmon. Battling opposing Team's Gyms is also great practice, as well as providing its own share of rewards. Doing Trainer Battles against the Team Leaders and your Pokmon Go friends can give you practice using Shields and the new motions for Charged Attacks, as well as grant rewards.
It is also probably a good idea to stock up on Potions and Revives. While battles against Team Leaders automatically heal and revive your Pokmon afterward, most other types of Battles leave your Pokmon injured or fainted. We don't know for sure which way the League will operate but it's never a bad idea to have a healthy supply of Potions and Revives just in case.
So, get out there and play, Trainers! Catch as many Pokmon as you can, appraise each one and spin every Pokstop and Gym you come across. Expand your inventory to hold all those Potions and Revives. Practice every type of battle you can. And, most important, power up your best Pokmon! While January might be a few months away, the Pokmon Go Battle League will be here before you know it!