Rivals Week Event: Top Priorities

G’day PoGO lovers! The newly announced Rivals Week event begins tomorrow, and for PvP fans, it is an absolute rip-snorter of an event for PvP! With a host of meta-relevant spawns, and the availability of some region-locked mons worldwide, this is an excellent opportunity to hunt for some builds for your PvP roster. This event will coincide with the Rediscovering Kanto event, and appears to be a concerted effort to even the playing field for new players to the PvP scene.

Below are the details, and then let’s look at some of your priorities for this event! 

Rivals Week Event icon

Date & Time 📅

  • Starts Saturday, May 4, at 10:00 a.m. PDT
  • Ends Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 8:00 p.m. PDT

Bonuses 🎁

XP icon 10× XP from spinning Photo Discs at Gyms
Candy icon 2× Catch Candy
Pokemon Encounter icon Increased chance to encounter Shiny Zangoose, Seviper, Throh, Sawk, Heatmor, and Durant


Pokémon GO Rivals Week Event (May 2024)

Priority 1: All Wild Spawns! Pokemon Encounter icon

This is the definitely the longest part of the guide – with good reason. All of these should be a priority for your PvP hunting during this event. 

Mankey -> Annihilape

Mankey’s evolution Annihilape burst onto the scene in January and has been a Great League meta staple since. As a fighter that resists Fighting type damage (with its Ghost sub-typing), and blessed with a fantastic moveset, it is now a priority build for all serious PvP players. I know Mankey has been around a lot recently, but it can be difficult to catch low-CP variants with decent IV’s for Great League (I personally am still on the hunt some with good stat product), and not only that – Annihilape has a lot of play in the Ultra League and Master League (particularly the Premier Cup format).

Another recommendation I have is building 2 Annihilapes for Great League – one with the nuke move Shadow Ball, and another with Close Combat. They perform very different roles – Shadow Ball allows Ape to close out against fellow Ghost and Psychic types, without the defense debuff that comes with Close Combat. Close Combat conversely allows Annihilape to power through Normal, Dark, Steel and Rock types more effectively (particularly with shields to hide behind / as a closer), and not get as stuck against bulky Dark types such as Umbreon and Mandibuzz (which resist Night Slash and Shadow Ball). If you want to get really funky and avoid the Charged TM tax, you could also consider a variant with Ice Punch, which allows it to hit back against Flying types and punish Gligar safe swaps.

Moving into the higher CP leagues, Annihilape is very viable in the Ultra League, but it is much more commonly run with Ice Punch and Shadow Ball (although the sims suggest Night Slash is still the way to go). I’ve personally seen a lot less of Annihilape in the UL format, and it does tend to struggle a bit with the higher bulk of some of the staples in the meta, such as Giratina, Cresselia and even Tentacruel – all of which resist its fast move, Counter. If you can get shields down and land enough charged moves, this allows Annihilape to have the most play for you. 

In the Master League, Annihilape has really decent matchups against some important meta picks in the 1v1 scenarios, such as Dialga (both forms) and Palkia (both forms) – nothing to sneeze at! However, Annihilape tends to struggle the longer shields are used, and even if it is able to win switch, it is hard countered by Fairy-types which tend to be paired with the things that Annihilape beats. My personal recommendation would be to play it as a closer with Close Combat and Shadow Ball and retaining shields to protect it in the end game, meaning there are less baiting games in your win conditions.

What else to consider? Primeape is still decent, although surpassed by its evolution these days. Primeape is good in the Ultra League but needs a significant XL investment to be viable – and of course, in the Master League you want the maxed out hundo for your Annihilape, meaning you’ll need 296XL candy. It may be worth mega evolving your Fighting types to improve your XL candy grind.

Gligar -> Gliscor

I’ve written about Gligar previously, but in summary – it is a fantastic Great League pick. It is speedy, has great typing, and overall has decent bulk to it. I personally prefer the shadow as the increased power really lets it threaten shields and take down the likes of Lanturn, Annihilape and Poliwrath more easily. If you’re still hunting down a decent IV Great League variant, now’s your opportunity! IV’s do matter with Gligar, with a (very slight) attack weighting sometimes allowing it to overcome Whiscash (provided you tank one Scald and depending on debuffs). It’s worth playing around with the sims on PvPoke to see whether your Gligar IV’s are meeting your battle needs.

Gliscor is also really good, particularly in the Ultra League – but also, moreso as a shadow. It has the same typing as its pre-evolution, but a little more power with access to Earthquake. You’re often playing the bait game with Night Slash or Aerial Ace, but played right, Gliscor can often flip switch or shield advantage with its speedy moveset.

Poliwag -> Poliwrath

Poliwag’s community day transformed Poliwrath from a spice pick to a meta staple overnight. Blessed with good typing, the best fast move in the game (Counter), the addition of Icy Wind to its movepool, and the recent double buffs to Scald, Poliwrath is now a must have for your PvP roster in Great League and even more so in the Ultra League (its low CP holds it back in the Master League). The recent buffs to Steel types and Feraligatr have only enhanced its prevalence in the open meta. It’s not often so many factors coalesce to produce such a change in a pokémon’s viability in PvP!

In terms of IV’s, I would prioritise high bulk for the non-shadow variant, which allows it to hang on in some of its unfavourable matchups, particularly when Icy Wind debuffs have been applied to your opponent. If I was choosing, I would prioritise a shadow variant for Great League, and non-shadow for Ultra League (where the extra bulk matters more than the attack weighting).

You can also run Poliwhirl in the Great League! It is absolutely on the spice side, and requires an Elite Charged TM (for Scald) to use, and probably wants to be the shadow… but if you’re looking for a project, this could be the one! 


Lickitung has so much play in the Great League as a bulky safe swap that can withstand hit after hit. Even in matchups it doesn’t win, it typically takes soft losses and is an excellent pick in the open meta. It operates even better with additional bulk – for example, in the 0v0 shield scenario against Gligar, with higher defence it can tank 2 Digs, allowing it to farm down. Licki has been around a lot lately, but I would take advantage of the available spawns to try and farm for XL candy and a really bulky build. Note, you need Body Slam for Lickitung to be viable, which will require an Elite Charged TM.

Lickilicky is a less common pick in the Great League due to having comparatively less bulk than its pre-evolution. It does have some spice play in the Ultra League, but also requires XL candy to be at its most effective. Lickilicky tends to see more play in competitive limited formats, rather than the open meta, but it’s a good opportunity to find one for your build – the bulkier the better!

A-Sandshrew -> A-Sandslash

Alolan Sandslash is another mon that has benefited greatly from both its community day move (Shadow Claw) and the recent addition of Drill Run to its movepool. A-Slash is now an incredibly viable pick in the Great League, and if you’re willing to invest in the XL candy it is also very good in the Ultra League. This is another one of those occasions where I would say that the shadow variant is slightly better (including in the Ultra League, where it kinda needs the extra power in the higher CP format, but it’s a steep investment!). Although the reduction in bulk can mean that in bad matchups A-Slash gets essentially deleted (in particular against all Fighting and Fire type moves), its Steel typing offers it a number of useful resistances, and its versatile moveset makes it very dangerous in the right matchups. Paired with mons such as Tentacruel, Azumarill and Altaria to counter its risks, A-Slash can put in some serious work for you. A-Shrew is still around in Ice and Steel type rocket grunts so take advantage if you’re on the hunt for one.

Machop -> Machamp

Machamp Raid Boss

Machamp has fallen out of the meta in recent times, not necessarily due to its lack of viability, but moreso due to the rise of slightly better Fighting types (see above). The OG fighter can still put in work, but it prefers to be a shadow in the Great League and Ultra League where the increased damage output can help it to either grab shields or sweep with shields down. I couldn’t really advocate for it in the highest CP meta, either the Master League or the MLPC, but in the right situation and team composition, it can put in work! The good news is, Machop is available in Fighting type rockets at the moment, so definitely take advantage of that if you’re still hunting one for the lower tier leagues.

Machoke also has its time and place in limited metas as well, so it’s worth hanging onto one for the Great League while you’re at it!


Stunfisk (Galarian)

Galarian Stunfisk has fallen out of favour a little in recent times for a few reasons, including the nerf to Sky Attack which impacted the likes of Noctowl and Altaria, the nerf to Earthquake, and the rise of the aforementioned Poliwrath and Annihilape which destroy G-Fisk. Still, in the right situations, G-Fisk has a lot of play and a very favourable record in the open Great League. Overall, the bulkier the better, so if you can nab one with good stat product IVs, it’s worth it.

In the Ultra League, G-Fisk definitely has play, but loses to a lot of meta staples, such as Poliwrath, Swampert, Feraligatr, Verizion… basically anything watery or fighty, G-Fisk struggles against. That said, in the right team compositions and playstyles, G-Fisk can play a role! If you find yourself the hundo during this event, absolutely hang onto it for a future build! It needs to be maxed out to L50 to be most usable in the Ultra League, so it’s also worth stocking up on XL candy too.

Ralts -> Gallade / Gardevoir

Ralts can evolve into either Gallade or Gardevoir, depending on its gender. Gallade was the recent beneficiary of the addition of Psycho Cut to its movepool during the last season’s move updates. Overall, this has absolutely improved its stocks significantly in both the Great League and Ultra League, where previously it was stuck with the powerful but slowww Confusion. Gallade’s lack of bulk really holds it back in any sort of extended matchups. I feel like I’m on repeat a little here, but this is another instance where you really want the shadow variant to maximise its damage output while its on the park. Still, if you’re somehow missing a decent IV variant, now is a good opportunity to get your hands on one. It is also a good opportunity to try and get the hundo for the soon to be released mega form of Gallade, which will be decent in PvE.

Gardevoir is much better suited to PvE as a Fairy or Psychic type attacker, or as a crazy attack-weighted shadow Charmer in the Great League in limited metas. I don’t know how, but Gardevoir needs another quick energy generating fast move in its arsenal to have any real viability, similar to the Gallade treatment, and even then it’s probably not going to make Gardevoir anything more than a niche pick.

Priority 2: Region Locked Pokémon Pokemon Encounter icon

The region locked ‘rival’ mons aren’t much more than spice picks in the open leagues, but each have their own utility in certain limited metas. I would be grabbing some decent IV variants of these while they are around and hanging on until the day when Niantic’s light shines on them with a new moveset in their arsenals.

  • Zangoose and Seviper are both super fragile and need to be in the right meta to be viable… Zangoose actually already has a fantastic moveset in Shadow Claw, Night Slash and Close Combat as the nuke move. It is a pretty decent counter to Giratina and Cresselia in the Ultra League! It’s just really challenging to use in general due to its squishiness and debuffing effects of Close Combat, so proceed with caution! Seviper is another really cool mon in theory that struggles in the open Great League meta due its squishiness. It can be really decent in limited metas, but does suffer a bit from a (lack of) secondary typing and a really strong nuke closing move – often Crunch just doesn’t quite do as much as you need it to do to finish the job. Seviper has been rarely seen globally since its release so take advantage of the spawns while they are around and we’ll see whether Niantic has a move tweak in the future to improve its overall viability.
  • Throh and Sawk are both pretty much unseen in GBL due to their bad moves (despite the recent addition of Brick Break to their movepools). Throh actually has more than decent stats for the Great League and Ultra League, but is held back by the just bad fast move of Low Kick. Meanwhile, Sawk is a lot squishier and Poison Jab doesn’t do it a lot of favours. I sniff another move update in their futures, and I’ll be handing onto some of each just in case.
  • Heatmor and Durant are also both no more than spice picks at present. Heatmor’s stat product is a bit low for the Great League and being a mono-Fire type doesn’t give it a lot in the way of typing resistances to help it out. Without a radical change to its movepool (which is definitely wishful thinking right?), its win-loss ratio isn’t changing too much. Durant is sadly the inferior BugSteel type of the bunch, and even a movepool update is unlikely to change that – but you never know! Both of these guys are rarely seen en masse so hang onto one of each and let’s see what the future holds!

Priority 3: GO Battle Weekend Pokemon Encounter icon

Go Battle Weekend will run on the weekend of 4th of May (10am) to 5th of May (8pm), during which you will be able to complete up to 10 sets per day and earn 4x stardust from completing battle sets. I’ll be sharing a guide for the weekend shortly, in summary this is a great opportunity to improve your ELO position with the increased number of sets available to compete in. The leagues running will be Great League Remix and the Ultra League, so get your teams ready for the weekend!

Priority 4: Tapu Fini Pokemon Encounter icon

We’ve also seen the release of Tapu Fini with its signature move Nature’s Madness this week. I’ve previously written about the move for all the Tapu’s in this guide, and needless to say you will definitely be wanting to raid for these while they are in town. It would also be prudent to try and trade with some friends to try and squeeze one into the Great League sub 1500CP cap!

Priority 5: Enjoy the Bonuses Pokemon Encounter icon

There are some very decent bonuses on offer throughout this event, including 2x catch candy and 10x XP for spinning gym stops! Spinning a pokéstop typically nets you 100XP per spin, so with the bonus this equates to 1000XP per spin. If you happen to be playing in an area heavily populated with gyms and pokéstops, it could be worth your while to throw down a lucky egg or 2 and take advantage of this.

PokeStop Names influence Spawns

Priority 6: Don’t forget the Kanto event bonuses Pokemon Encounter icon

The Rediscovering Kanto event is running simultaneously as the Rivals Week event, meaning you will still have access to the exclusive evolution moves for Venusaur, Charizard and Blastoise, as well as increased XP and stardust for 7-day streaks and 2x friendship increase bonuses. Definitely take advantage of these while they are around!

I hope this quick guide has helped you prioritise your hunting for this event, and as always, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram for more analysis.

See ya later,


Author & tags

The one enlisted to explain games to new starters. Lover of all things Pokemon. Great League and Ultra League PvP specialist, and a dabbler in PvE.

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