Ultra League Tier List

Best Pokémon for Ultra League in Pokémon GO

A quick guide on the best Pokémon you can use in the Ultra League. This guide covers tiers of Pokémon best in the Ultra League, with a focus on All Pokémon in the traditional Ultra League. At the time of writing this article, we are currently in GO Battle League is in Season 16.

💡 Please note that this guide will not cover every single Pokémon available to use in the Ultra League. Therefore, you can still be surprised when battling other Trainers, but at least you will know which battlers to look out for!

It is important to note that these are the Top Tier Pokémon based on rankings from PvPoke, investigation, and research. What team you choose to use is entirely up to you and it is our hope that this guide will help you make the best choices for your play style. You can mix the teams however you want, but bringing any of these top Pokémon will easily boost your performance!


Quick overview Battle icon

Note: Pokémon are not organized directly in order of usefulness.


Important Terms Battle icon

It is important to know about what Pokémon you can and can’t use to be successful in the Ultra League and to learn all about the top meta-relevant Pokémon that have the best coverage. Some very important terms that need to be known before diving into building a strong Ultra League team are:

Pokemon GO Leads, Closers, Attackers and Defenders
Battle terms used in the graphic above are from PvPoke.com


A Lead refers to a Pokémon that works exceptionally well as an initial ruling Pokémon in a battle, they’re ideal for sending out head first as they are capable of pressuring the opponent with good coverage and resistance, however, they more often than not rely on burning a shield or 2 to give them the best opportunity in battle.


Closer Pokémon are Pokémon that work well when you have no shields remaining, they have great typing and stats, alongside having exceptional moves to help them not have to rely on shields.


An Attacker is a Pokémon whose best asset is to take down an opponent’s Pokémon that has shields remaining when you’re all out of shields to use yourself. Their natural bulk, strong attacks, and resistance allow them to succeed against sturdy defenses.


Defenders are Pokémon that excels when you have shields and your opponent is all out. They are able to act as a sponge by absorbing damage and do not need to rely on the use of shields because of their bulkiness and diverse typings. However, I have chosen to opt this out in favor of “Switches” as that feels like a more relevant term nowadays. And denotes Pokémon who are safe to switch into if facing a bad lead thanks to a combination of their natural bulk and defensive typing.

Now that you have learned about the categories, it’s time to talk about a few certain Pokémon for each category that have been rather successful in the Ultra League.

Key Pokémon Battle icon



Swampert is a dominant force in both the Great League and the Ultra League. What makes it such a strong lead is that it has a 4x weakness to Grass. But that’s its only weakness! And when you think of Grass types in the Ultra League, how many can you think of? Virizion and Venusaur maybe? This makes Swampert pretty safe to send out into the front lines so it can quickly load up its heavy-hitting charged attacks with Mud Shot.


While Noctowl was the popular NormalFlying of choice in the Great League (Rest In Peace Sky Attack), Pidgeot was always the signature choice in Ultra. Though honestly, Pidgeot in the lead plays more similar to Ho-Oh in the Master League. Where, in the case of a good lead you stay in and spam your opponent debuffing Feather Dance, and in the case of a bad lead you shoot out a self-debuffing Brave Bird and then switch out. Of course, not being part fire means Pidgeot does struggle a bit if facing a Steel type lead.

Alolan Sandslash

A.Slash is more of an anti-meta pick. Its IceSteel typing just helps it have a positive matchup against a lot of the common lead choices. Both of its types block Flying types, Steel helps against Fairy, Ice against Dragon, and access to Drill Run for other Steel types.


Dragon types work as interesting leads as they resist all “elemental” types (the starter types + electric) and can really deal some quick fast-move damage with their Dragon Breath. This is what makes Dragonite a good option as a lead. Giratina (Altered) can also fill a similar role.


All of the closers exist to counter each other and play similarly so let’s just describe them in one go. Tapu Fini and Jellicent are here to take care of stray Giratinas (or other dragons in the case of Tapu Fini) and work well neutrally as well. Staraptor can one-shot a lot of things in the end game with Brave Bird. Registeel is here to counter these three. And then finally Cobalion is here to counter Registeel and does well against the others mentioned as well.



Steelix has become an absolute menace in the Ultra League since it gained access to the opponent’s attack debuffing Breaking Swipe. This is also why there can’t be a better example of an Attacker than Steelix. The opponent has a shield advantage? Who cares! Debuff with Breaking Swipe and then out-damage your opponent with Dragon Tail. You only need 4 Dragon Tails to reach those Breaking Swipes as well so Steelix manages to be quite spammy.


Same but the opposite in the direction of Steelix is Scrafty. Instead of the opponent debuffing Breaking Swipe, it runs the self-buffing Power-up Punch. It’s also DarkFighting with access to Counter, arguably the best move in the game. Which allows it to spam Power Up Punch while keeping up the fast move pressure.


Mandibuzz (and Cresselia as well) work in a different way. Instead of relying on fast attack pressure, these Pokémon focus on getting shield parity back. They accomplish this by being extremely bulky thus hard to remove from the field, and being very spammy with their charged attacks. In the case of Mandibuzz, it has the fast attack Snarl, which generates energy very very fast. And then has the choice of Aerial Ace, Dark Pulse, and Foul Play for those charged attack spams.



Charizard is already known as a very solid glass cannon in the Great League. But access to a bit more bulk makes it much more potent in the Ultra League. If you get a good read on your opponent’s team, switching out Charizard is a good way to get an advantage against your opponent. Even if the opponent sends out something Charizard isn’t too happy to see, Blast Burn takes a good chunk out of most things. And Charizard charges up quickly as well (a common theme it seems, for Pokémon that are good in the Ultra League it seems). So you can reliably either do big damage or eat up your opponent’s shields before Charizard leaves the field.

Dubwool and Greedent

Admittedly, Charizard is a bit of an outlier. Under most circumstances you want your safe switch to be a Pokémon that does well neutrally. Both Dubwool and Greedent fit the bill well as they are bulky Normal types. And Normal has a singular weakness to Fighting. So they can hang around the field for a while. Which one of these two you want depends on your personal preference and team composition. As you can’t really go wrong with either. Dubwool does more fast attack damage with Double Kick, whereas Greedent can spam faster with its fast attack of choice Mud Shot.

Parting Words Battle icon

When choosing a team, make sure you are covering your type weaknesses and creating a well-balanced team. The lead, switch, and closer positions are important for the current meta and gameplay, but you can potentially pick outside of these parameters. This is intended to be a general guide to equip you with the necessary knowledge to build a basic team that will perform well in the Ultra League.

It’s up to you to choose whichever team you want and create teams, but this guide is intended to make those decisions a little easier. This guide is not exhaustive and does not touch on potential movesets which can be somewhat subjective. There is decent flexibility in how you build your team in the Ultra League. Check out our Pokémon PvP Spotlights for in-depth move analyses. Now, do your best to create a fun and worthy team. If you find a team that works really well for you, please comment below!

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I am an environmental scientist from Sacramento, CA. I was given my first Charmander Pokemon card by a friend in the 4th grade in 1999 and was hooked ever since. I was ranked Ace trainer in season 1 of Silph League's world rankings for PvP.

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