Master League PvP Guide

Master League is the highest PvP league in which you can currently participate in Pokémon GO. It has no CP limitations, so strong Legendaries, Pseudo-Legendaries and Mythicals such as Dialga, both Giratina forms, Melmetal, Darkrai, Dragonite, Garchomp, Metagross and Tyranitar are common picks.

The purpose of this article is to provide full details about the strongest Master League Pokémon, their best movesets, what they are strong against, and how to counter them.

First things first, here’s a handy semi-simple infographic that you can save and reference later:

The Elite 4 of Master League

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO DialgaDialga Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Iron Head Steel
  • Thunder Electric
Pokemon GO Giratina (Origin)Giratina (Origin) Shadow Claw Ghost
  • Ominous Wind Ghost
  • Shadow Ball Ghost
Pokemon GO TogekissTogekiss Charm Fairy
  • Ancient Power Rock
  • Flamethrower Fire
Pokemon GO SwampertSwampert Mud Shot Ground
  • Hydro Cannon* Water
  • Earthquake Ground


*Legacy Move

These four Pokémon are the strongest contenders in Master League. They also have really good team synergy as they cover each others’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities, so it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise if you see all four of them on any competitive Master League team.

Dialga is the most mandatory as it is the current king of Master League. With two shields it can beat almost everything, even some of the Ground types and Fighting types that are meant to beat it. What makes it so strong is its access to Dragon Breath which is one of the strongest fast moves in PvP, its amazing typing that grants it many resistances, and it’s the only Dragon type not weak to Dragon itself, which enables Dialga to counter opposing Dragon types very efficiently while having very good coverage moves that hit most Pokémon in Master League for at least neutral damage. Iron Head is Dialga’s fastest charge move. Although it’s quite weak for its energy cost, it’s still mandatory since it gives it the best shot at beating the Pokémon it’s supposed to beat such as Tyranitar and Dragonite. Thunder is overall the better second charge move since it hits opposing Steel types for strong neutral damage and gives extra insurance against foes such as Kyogre and Lugia. Draco Meteor can be used instead to win the mirror matchup and as a last ditch effort to nuke pretty much anything that doesn’t resist it before Dialga goes down. It also does a little bit more damage to Steel types than Thunder, however, the sharp attack drop makes Dialga pretty much obsolete after using it so you must be careful if you decide to go with Draco Meteor.

Giratina-O is the other king of Master League as it forms an almost unstoppable core with Dialga by checking the Ground types, Fighting types and opposing Steel types that trouble it. Dialga in return can switch into most of Giratina-O’s counters such as Dragonite, Palkia, Tyranitar, Darkrai, Porygon-Z and Hydreigon. Giratina-O is viable even in lower shield scenarios since it has access to a strong Shadow Ball. It also counters Lugia, Mew and Mewtwo reliably. Dialga can’t reliably beat Snorlax but it can at least soften it up for Giratina-O to have a chance of beating later.

Togekiss is one of the only Pokémon in Master League that can consistently beat Dialga with two shields and is one of the best leads in the format since it also easily beats both Giratina forms and Swampert with two shields. It also completely shuts down Garchomp due to its typing and access to the powerful Fairy type fast move Charm. Togekiss can beat pretty much anything that isn’t Heatran, Metagross, Regirock, Magnezone or Melmetal with 2 shields. On top of that, it has Ancient Power as a charge move which has a 10% chance to raise its Attack and Defense by 2 stages. Because there are currently so many Dragon types in Master League and more will come in the future, Togekiss will always be relevant.

Swampert is the best Steel type counter in the format. Although it can struggle to consistently beat Dialga in the two shield scenario, what separates it from the other Ground types is its resistance to Steel and access to the insanely fast and powerful Hydro Cannon which gives it viability early game and hits all of the Steel types neutrally or super effectively except Dialga. Earthquake nukes Dialga and the other Steel types and has good coverage with Hydro Cannon. The combo only misses out on Dragonite. Since Swampert resists Steel, Poison, Rock and Electric, it makes a very strong core with Togekiss. Togekiss has amazing matchups against Dragon types which are Swampert’s biggest counters.

Giratina-Altered Form, Pros and Cons

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO Giratina (Altered)Giratina (Altered) Shadow Claw Ghost
  • Dragon Claw Dragon
  • Ancient Power Rock


Giratina-A is much bulkier than Giratina-O, but lacks a lot of power, which is what separates them the most. The movesets are also different, with Tina-O solely using Ghost type moves while Tina-A has access to more diverse charge moves and Dragon Breath as an alternate viable fast move. Tina-A also has Shadow Sneak as a charge move for Ghost type damage which lets it beat Steel types easier, especially Melmetal, but it’s a very weak move and Tina-A can still usually beat them with Dragon Claw and Ancient Power so it’s not worth using for the most part. Tina-O does the Ghost type attacker job much better anyway. Overall, Tina-A is a safer and less risky pick than Tina-O as it isn’t easily hard countered like Tina-O is. One big advantage of Tina-O is it usually beats any moveset variant of Tina-A. It also has more solid and definitive wins, but gets hard countered by the Dark types and especially Snorlax as it double resists Ghost and is very bulky.

 

Tina-A loses to Darkrai, Dragonite, Tyranitar and Snorlax if it uses Shadow Claw. Hydreigon still loses because of Dragon Claw spam. If Tina-A uses Dragon Breath, then it can break through Dragonite, Darkrai, Snorlax with two shields, opposing Tina-A with Shadow Claw, and can at best tie with Tyranitar. Dragon Breath also solidifies the matchups against Hydreigon and Ground types even more, but you then lose the positive matchups against Metagross and Melmetal even if you also have Shadow Sneak. One of Tina-A’s main perks is that it can take on those two huge threats with a Shadow Claw set. Shadow Claw also gives you extra insurance against Articuno, Mew and Mewtwo and gives you the best chance against Togekiss so overall it’s the better fast move.

Tina-O should never use any other moves besides the ones listed. Dragon Tail is strong but it’s a slow fast move and has worse coverage overall. Dragon Pulse is weak and has a high energy cost, so even with it Tina-O still struggles to beat Dragon types, Snorlax and Dark types. Both Giratina forms have access to charge moves that grant a 10% chance to raise their attack and defense by two stages upon usage of the move, and if they ever get that boost the match is basically over unless they face a Snorlax or Tyranitar. They both lose to Dialga regardless of the moveset they have.

Garchomp

Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO GarchompGarchomp Mud Shot Ground
  • Outrage Dragon
  • Earthquake Ground

Garchomp is an absolute monster. It has a crazy high max CP and amazing stats that rival a lot of legendaries and Mythicals such as the Giratinas and Melmetal, while also having a movepool that fits it perfectly. Like Swampert, the main role of Garchomp is to counter Steel types, Tyranitar, Regirock and the rare Electric types. It unfortunately loses to Dialga in the two shield scenario but it picks up consistent wins on it when shields are down. Swampert is the only Ground type that can beat Dialga with two shields but it has to bait at least one shield successfully with Hydro Cannon in order to do so. Garchomp basically ties Dialga in the one shield scenario if it uses Earthquake over Sand Tomb. Against the other Steel types, Garchomp picks up convincing wins in all even shield scenarios with Earthquake, although its lack of a Steel resistance can prove problematic versus Metagross.

Earthquake Garchomp should only be used late game or when shields are down on the opponent’s side, as that’s when it can really show its true potential. It’s the best closer in Master League, Earthquake and Outrage can OHKO or 2HKO almost everything. The only things that can truly counter it when shields are down are Togekiss, Articuno, Regice and Lugia. Sand Tomb is an option over Earthquake, it gives Garchomp viability early game by allowing it to counter Dialga in the one shield scenario and Metagross more reliably in the two shield scenario. It can even beat both Giratina forms with two shields if it baits shields properly with Sand Tomb. Garchomp’s biggest enemy is Togekiss, it has no chance of breaking past it regardless of shields. Other than that, Hydreigon, Palkia and Haxorus each with two shields, Dragonite and Latios with at least one shield, Lugia, Regice, Mamoswine, Ice Fang Suicune and Articuno make really great counters. Because Garchomp is double weak to Ice, it also has to watch out for potential Ice coverage from Mew and Mewtwo.

Steel Types + Regirock

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO MelmetalMelmetal Thunder Shock Electric
  • Rock Slide Rock
  • Superpower Fighting
Pokemon GO MetagrossMetagross Bullet Punch Steel
  • Meteor Mash* Steel
  • Earthquake Ground
Pokemon GO HeatranHeatran Fire Spin Fire
  • Flamethrower Fire
  • Stone Edge Rock
Pokemon GO RegirockRegirock Lock On Normal
  • Stone Edge Rock
  • Focus Blast Fighting


*Legacy Move

As you can probably guess, the main role of these Pokémon is to counter Togekiss. It may sound silly at first to dedicate four Pokémon to beat just one, but since Togekiss is such a massive threat, you will have huge problems with it if you don’t have at least one of these on your team. All four beat it even if it has two shields. They also serve as checks to Dialga but the Steel types have to avoid Thunder to beat it and Regirock can’t take an Iron Head.

Melmetal is currently the hardest Dialga counter in the game, it can beat it using only Superpower without having to farm enough energy to fire two of them back to back! It shuts down Dragonite, Lugia and Tyranitar too. Metagross shuts down Smack Down Tyranitar and has Earthquake coverage which hits Dialga for super effective damage, but is less reliable than Melmetal and Heatran at beating Dialga since it has to bait shields. Heatran loses the hardest to Ground types, but it counters Metagross and Dialga reliably with Fire Spin and Flamethrower and double resists Charm from Togekiss and isn’t weak to any of its charge moves, making it the strongest Togekiss counter in the game. Stone Edge is the preferred second charge move since it’s stronger against neutral targets than STAB Iron Head and it gives it the best shot at beating Dragonite and Lugia. Its matchup against Melmetal is mostly even because of Superpower.

Regirock walls Heatran and boasts very good coverage with its charge moves. Rock/Fighting hits every relevant threat for at least neutral damage and hits many common threats for super effective damage. Focus Blast notably allows Regirock to beat Dialga, Hydreigon, Tyranitar, and Heatran each with two shields, even without baiting with Stone Edge! It can also beat Darkrai and Magnezone although shield baiting is required. What holds Regirock back from being entirely as good as the Steel types though, is its lack of useful resistances, but it somewhat makes up for it with its colossal bulk. Although Regirock has the fastest Stone Edge in the game, it loses to Dragonite. However, it beats Regice, Articuno, Zapdos and Lugia even if it has Hydro Pump.

Metagross functions as a generalist, using its hyper aggressive moveset and amazing coverage to wreak havoc on its opponents. It also counters Melmetal with Earthquake and only takes neutral damage from Fighting type attacks thanks to its sub-Psychic typing. It has the best matchup of the four versus Ground types and Fighting types but loses the hardest to Giratina-O, Darkrai, Bite Tyranitar and Bite Hydreigon. Overall, Melmetal is the best pick of the four as it is the fastest, has the most practical use and is reliable at beating what it’s supposed to. All four lose pretty hard to Swampert, Garchomp and Giratina-O. Regirock, Metagross and Heatran lose to Shadow Claw Giratina-A while Melmetal can potentially overcome it if it doesn’t have Shadow Sneak. Metagross and Melmetal beat DB Giratina-A but Heatran and Regirock still lose to it. Kyogre wrecks Heatran, Metagross and Regirock. Fighting types and Haxorus wreck Melmetal, Heatran and Regirock. Haxorus beats Metagross only with two shields.

Kyogre

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO KyogreKyogre Waterfall Water
  • Surf Water
  • Blizzard Ice

With both shields behind it, Kyogre can beat almost anything that doesn’t resist Water, which makes it a great lead. It notably counters Swampert, Groudon, Articuno, Regice, Regirock, Heatran, Metagross and Tyranitar. The only things it hard loses to are Dialga, the Giratinas, Dragonite, Hydreigon, Palkia, Haxorus and the Lati twins. All of the Dragons MUST watch out for Blizzard though. Raikou beats Kyogre even with two shields but not cleanly.

Dragonite

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO DragoniteDragonite Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Draco Meteor* Dragon
  • Dragon Claw Dragon


*Legacy Move

As a pure Dragon type attacker with the best possible Dragon type PvP moveset, Dragonite definitely makes some huge waves in Master League. Although its role as a generalist may seem completely outclassed by Dialga at first, Dragonite has a few advantages over the Master League king. For starters, Dragonite wrecks Ground types and checks Fighting types rather than being weak to them. Due to its typing and moveset, Dragonite is actually the strongest Swampert and Groudon counter in the game. It usually beats the Giratinas like Dialga does while also not having to worry about potential Ground type coverage from the likes of Snorlax and Metagross. Dragonite turns out to have a positive matchup against Snorlax. Dragonite also counters Haxorus but needs shields to make sure it doesn’t get overwhelmed by Dragon Claw.

Having only Dragon attacks, despite how powerful they are, leaves Dragonite extremely vulnerable to Togekiss, Melmetal and Dialga, although Dialga can’t afford to take too many Dragon Claws or a Draco Meteor, as it almost OHKOs it. Metagross and Heatran can’t even reliably counter this beast. Dragonite’s typing leaves it very vulnerable to Articuno, Mamoswine, Smack Down Tyranitar, Ice Fang Suicune and potential Ice type coverage from Mew and Mewtwo. Dragon Tail Lugia also usually beats Dragonite.

Dragon Claw is the charge move that Dragonite will be using most of the time since it’s fast and reliable. Although it’s a Community Day exclusive, Draco Meteor is the preferred second charge move as it’s ridiculously powerful and is only slightly slower than Outrage. It is so powerful in fact, that even Metagross and Heatran can’t afford to tank it despite them resisting Dragon. They both end up losing if they get hit by it after some chip damage from Dracon Claw or Dragon Breath. It does have a sharp attack drop after usage though so be careful when using it. If you don’t have any Dragonite with Draco Meteor, then Outrage is still a solid choice. It doesn’t have the attack drop so it does consistent damage but it’s much weaker than Draco Meteor. Heatran still loses if it gets hit by Outrage but Metagross can tank one. Hurricane allows Dragonite to hit Togekiss hard if it gets locked into it and demolishes Fighting types, but it has no other use besides that.

Dark Types + Snorlax

Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO SnorlaxSnorlax Lick Ghost
  • Body Slam Normal
  • Earthquake Ground
Pokemon GO TyranitarTyranitar Smack Down* Rock
  • Crunch Dark
  • Stone Edge Rock
Pokemon GO HydreigonHydreigon Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Dragon Pulse Dragon
Pokemon GO DarkraiDarkrai Snarl Dark
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Focus Blast Fighting


*Legacy Move

Hard counters to Giratina-O and most Psychic types. Darkrai, Snorlax and Tyranitar handle Shadow Claw Giratina-A very well. Hydreigon loses to both fast move variants of Tina-A. Bite Tyranitar beats DB Tina-A, beats Metagross with shields and 100% secures the win against any Mew or Mewtwo set with two shields, although in general Smack Down is better because it allows Tyranitar to tie with Togekiss and counter Dragonite, Darkrai with two shields and Hydreigon with two shields. Smack Down still secures the win against Tina-O, Shadow Claw Tina-A, Shadow Claw + Focus Blast Mew, Focus Blast + non-Psystrike Mewtwo, Heatran and Lugia. If you’re worried about Snarl + Focus Blast Mew or Psystrike + Focus Blast Mewtwo, Hydreigon is a better Bite user in general to use and counter them with due its more useful resistances. Bite Hydreigon also has an easier time against Metagross due to it not being weak to Steel.

Darkrai is glassy, but its massive attack stat and excellent coverage enable it to beat Shadow Claw Giratina-A, Giratina-O, Snorlax, Mew, Mewtwo, Bite Hydreigon, Bite Tyranitar, Extrasensory Lugia, Heatran with two shields and Metagross. Fighting types, Haxorus, Melmetal, Dialga and the Regis generally have an easy time against Darkrai but they all have to beware of Focus Blast, which destroys all of them or comes close. Dragonite and Dialga can easily beat Darkrai with two shields. Bite Hydreigon beats Dragon Tail Lugia with two shields, something Darkrai can’t even do. Dragon Breath has the same power as Bite, makes it much harder for Dragonite and Garchomp to counter it, has higher energy gain and hits Fighting types and opposing Dark types for strong neutral damage, making it the overall better fast move. However, it leaves Hydreigon more vulnerable to Steel types, Mew and Mewtwo. Dragon Breath still leaves it unable to beat Dialga.

Snorlax is the safest option of the bunch, having only one weakness that isn’t too common and it’s very bulky. It sort of functions as a generalist using the strong fast move Lick to wear things down combined with its charge moves Body Slam and Earthquake which give excellent coverage. It completely shuts down both Giratina forms but it has to be careful with DB Giratina-A. It also beats Swampert making it a very good lead. The main drawback of Snorlax is it has the lowest power of the four, which proves to be detrimental versus foes such as Mew, Lugia and Darkrai. Snorlax also has good matchups against Tyranitar and all the Steel types including Dialga if it’s using Earthquake as the second charge move, although it will have to bait both shields with Body Slam successfully and land an Earthquake in order to beat all of them in the two shield scenario. Darkrai, Bite Tyranitar and Hydreigon lose extremely hard to Togekiss. Snorlax generally has a losing matchup versus Togekiss. All four lose hard to Fighting types. Darkrai, Tyranitar, Bite Hydreigon and Snorlax lose hard to Haxorus. DB Hydreigon beats it with shields.

Groudon

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO GroudonGroudon Mud Shot Ground
  • Earthquake Ground
  • Fire Blast Fire

The second best closer in Master League. It’s bulkier and stronger than Garchomp but what holds it back is its lack of good coverage moves. Fire Blast, although really slow, is its best shot at beating the Flying types that resist Earthquake which are its biggest counters. Solar Beam is just as slow as Fire Blast and destroys Kyogre and Swampert, but exaggerates Groudon’s weakness to Flying types even more.

Groudon should strictly be used late game or once both shields are off of the opponent’s side, as it really struggles to beat things early on. The only things it can reliably beat with shields up are Melmetal, Regirock, Heatran, Raikou, Magnezone and Smack Down Tyranitar. Metagross wins if it has an energy advantage when shields are up. Dialga needs to have at least one shield down to lose. Both Giratina forms, Swampert, Togekiss, Dragonite, Articuno, Lugia, Ice Fang Suicune and Kyogre can even win with shields down.

Fighting Types

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO ConkeldurrConkeldurr Counter Fighting
  • Dynamic Punch Fighting
  • Stone Edge Rock
Pokemon GO MachampMachamp Counter Fighting
  • Cross Chop Fighting
  • Rock Slide Rock

Very strong Dark type, Melmetal, Heatran, Regice, Articuno, Regirock and Snorlax counters. Conkeldurr is bulkier and stronger than Machamp but significantly slower. It has much more closing power though, and one big advantage it has over Machamp is it reliably beats Dialga in all shield scenarios. They both have Rock type coverage to hit Flying types but they still hard lose to them the majority of the time, especially with shields up.

Cross Chop is the best Fighting charge move for Machamp as it’s very quick and most of the damage is done with Counter anyway. Both Fighters lose hard to Dragonite and Zapdos with two shields, Mew, Mewtwo, the Lati Twins, Lugia, Togekiss and the Giratinas. The Metagross matchup for both Fighters is very shaky as neither can afford to take a Meteor Mash. They should stay away from it as much as possible.

Articuno

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO ArticunoArticuno Ice Shard Ice
  • Icy Wind Ice
  • Ice Beam Ice


With so many Pokémon in Master League weak to Ice and the recent upgrade to Icy Wind, it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that a bulky Ice type like Articuno became viable. Its best trait is it’s the only Pokémon currently in the game that can anti-lead ALL of the Elite 4! Nothing else comes close except Snorlax, but it depends too much on shield baiting to beat Dialga and generally loses to Togekiss. Articuno interestingly enough can also anti-lead Snorlax. It completely wrecks Garchomp and Dragonite since they are double weak to Ice and checks Hydreigon, the Lati twins, Palkia, Lugia and Haxorus reliably. Groudon gets wrecked too as long as Articuno can avoid Fire Blast.

Ice Beam is needed as the second charge move as without it Articuno fails to beat Dialga. Unfortunately, Articuno has to land an Ice Beam to reliably beat it. Ice Beam is significantly stronger than Icy Wind and thus helps to make sure that things like Giratina-O and Snorlax don’t become too problematic. With it, Articuno can even overcome Raikou with two shields. Against Giratina-O, Togekiss, Swampert, Garchomp, Groudon, Dragonite, Snorlax, Hydreigon, Lugia, Haxorus, Palkia and the Lati Twins, spamming Icy Wind is usually sufficient for them to go down. Giratina-O needs to get hit by Ice Beam in the one shield scenario. If you switch into any of them and feel they got too much of an energy advantage or want to try to force a shield, then try hitting them with at least one Ice Beam.

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t mentioned Giratina-A, this is because it is the only Dragon that Articuno can’t beat. Giratina-A has Ancient Power as a charge move which is double super effective against Articuno. Its Ice/Flying typing may be wonderful and useful offensively, but defensively it’s terrible. Its only useful resistance is Ground and it brings crippling weaknesses to Fire, Steel, Electric and a double weakness to Rock. Because of this, Steel types and Rock types are Articuno’s biggest enemies. It has no chance of breaking past Melmetal, Heatran, Metagross, Magnezone, Regirock, Rock Slide or Ancient Power Mew and Smack Down Tyranitar. Kyogre and Regice also wreck Articuno since they resist Ice. Machamp has no trouble with it since it has Rock Slide coverage. Conkeldurr’s Stone Edge is too slow to reliably beat Articuno.

Pokémon Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO MewMew
  • Shadow Claw Ghost
  • or
  • Snarl Dark
  • Focus Blast Fighting
  • Psyshock Psychic
  • Ice Beam Ice
  • Dark Pulse Dark
  • Rock Slide or Ancient Power Rock
  • Dragon Claw Dragon
Pokemon GO MewtwoMewtwo Psycho Cut Psychic  
  • Psystrike* Psychic
  • Shadow Ball* Ghost
  • Ice Beam Ice
  • Focus Blast Fighting


*Legacy Move

As you can see, these Pokémon are very diverse. Their wide range of coverage moves allow them to hit almost everything in Master League for super effective damage. Because they mostly rely on their charge moves to inflict damage, they tend to struggle early game when shields are up, especially against Togekiss, Dialga, Dragonite, the Lati Twins, Dark types and Snorlax. However, they both have really good matchups against Machamp and Conkeldurr no matter what and Mew can be used early game depending on its moveset.

Mew is bulkier and much more diverse than Mewtwo but has much less power. It is the definition of a wildcard, Mew can do almost anything and is very unpredictable if your opponent hasn’t faced your Mew before! Snarl is Mew’s highest energy gaining fast move but it is quite weak. Shadow Claw is slightly slower than Snarl, but is stronger and lands more chip damage on opposing Psychic types, Togekiss, Fighting types and the Giratinas, making it the better fast move most of the time. Since Mew has a very large amount of fast moves though, just stick with whichever costs the fewest Fast TMs unless you have an abundance of them. Focus Blast is mandatory on Mew, especially if you want it to be the most self-sustaining as it gives it the best shot at breaking through Dark types, Regice, Regirock, Snorlax and Steel types, landing a devastating hit on all of them. Although it has a very high energy cost, Mew is bulky enough to reach at least one during the match. The second charge move is entirely up to whatever you think will support your team the best. Ice Beam has the best coverage with Focus Blast, hitting Flying types and most importantly the Giratinas, which resist Fighting, for super effective damage. Ice Beam notably enables Mew to get past Lugia and hits Garchomp and Dragonite for a near OHKO since they are double weak to Ice. Dark Pulse is an option to hit opposing Psychic types super effectively while still maintaining super effective coverage on the Giratinas, but leaves you very vulnerable to Togekiss. Rock Slide and Ancient Power are good options to hit Regice and Flying types and is faster than Ice Beam. The combination of Shadow Claw + Rock Slide or Ancient Power still allows Mew to beat Lugia and is its best option against Togekiss. Dragon Claw is Mew’s fastest charge move and makes it very annoying to deal with in general especially for Dragon types, but it fails to do significant damage to the Giratinas and Dialga and leaves you helpless against Togekiss. It should be noted though, that Dragon Claw paired with Focus Blast gives Mew the strongest shield bait potential. If you feel the rest of your team covers all of the aforementioned threats, Psyshock gives Mew a reliable, semi-quick STAB move to solidify its matchups against Fighting types even more but leaves Mew without a solid option to hit Lugia, Mewtwo, the Lati Twins and opposing Mew. Shadow Claw + Psyshock and Focus Blast is actually Mew’s most independent moveset, but for the most part Mewtwo does Psychic/Fighting much better since it’s much stronger and forces more shields. Interestingly enough though, Mew can still beat Mewtwo with two shields using that moveset. To make up for Mew’s lack of power, you should try using other coverage moves before Psyshock unless you are struggling with charge TMs. The charge moves listed are only the best ones for the current meta, if you think some of its other ones may be more useful for your team then by all means try them out. That’s the thing with Mew, almost any combination of charge moves can work with the right team support. Do you want Mew to be a scary closer? Try using Blizzard and Focus Blast. Do you want it to be a dedicated Dragon killer? Try using Dragon Claw and Ice Beam. Have a grudge against Metagross? Try using Dark Pulse and Overheat. Just remember that without Focus Blast, Dark types, Steel types, Snorlax and the Regis will be extremely problematic.

Mewtwo is much more straightforward than Mew, using its whopping 300 attack stat and strong charge moves to OHKO or 2HKO almost everything. It is significantly less bulky, however. Strong neutral attacks like Swampert’s Hydro Cannon, Garchomp’s Outrage and Metagross’s Meteor Mash can overwhelm it very easily. Psystrike is Mewtwo’s fastest and best charge move and paired with Focus Blast has fantastic coverage that only misses out on Mew, Lugia, the Lati Twins and opposing Mewtwo. Psystrike Mewtwo notably anti-leads Swampert, Heatran even just using Psystrike, Articuno and Regirock. It forces Togekiss to use both its shields if it wants to beat Mewtwo. Dialga is forced to used to use at least one shield if it doesn’t want to get destroyed by Focus Blast. Even Giratina-O can’t afford to take two Psystrikes. Shadow Ball takes two fast moves longer to reach than Psystrike, but has much better coverage overall and has completely unresisted coverage with Focus Blast. Shadow Ball hits opposing Psychic types for super effective damage and most importantly hits the Giratinas super effectively, netting an easy 2HKO on both of them. It also hits Dialga, Melmetal and Heatran for strong neutral damage so Mewtwo doesn’t have to rely on Focus Blast too much to hit them. Focus Blast is insanely powerful on Mewtwo, OHKOing anything weak to it, even Snorlax! If you don’t have any legacy Mewtwo, Ice Beam is the best charge move to use with Focus Blast for maximum coverage. If you have a Shadow Ball Mewtwo and you decide Focus Blast isn’t your cup of tea, then Ice Beam paired with it makes a pretty strong combination as well. The two moves hit every relevant threat in Master League for at least neutral damage. Both Mew and Mewtwo lose pretty hard to the Giratinas, Dark types, Snorlax and Dialga, especially with shields up, but they all need to watch out for potential super effective coverage moves. Togekiss, the Lati Twins and Dragonite can also easily beat them if they have two shields. Mew also struggles with the Regis, especially if it doesn’t have Focus Blast.

Honorable Mentions

Regice Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO RegiceRegice Lock On Normal
  • Blizzard Ice
  • Earthquake Ground


With shields down, Regice is a force to be reckoned with. Blizzard and Earthquake are powerful and combined they hit almost all of the core Master League meta for super effective damage. Ice is a terrible defensive typing, but Regice has the bulk to fire off multiple charge moves and survive some super effective hits. If it can manage to get a shield advantage over something, Regice is almost guaranteed to win. The only things that can truly stop it once shields are down are Machamp and Conkeldurr.

 

Lugia Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO LugiaLugia Dragon Tail Dragon
  • Sky Attack Flying
  • Hydro Pump Water


Say hello to the bulkiest Pokémon in Master League. Lugia’s sky high defense stat and great HP stat prevent it from being OHKO’d by any attack from full health, even Zapdos’s super effective Zap Cannon! Its typing and moveset lets it dispatch Ground types, Haxorus and Fighting types easily. Dragon Tail is by far the better fast move as it has superior coverage and most importantly allows Lugia to beat Darkrai with two shields, Dragon Breath Hydreigon, Palkia, Dragonite and Latios. Lugia needs two shields to reliably beat Latias because of Thunder. Extrasensory allows Lugia to beat Togekiss with two shields, although it worsens almost every other matchup, especially Dark types.

Sky Attack is the mandatory charge move as it has fairly good neutral coverage and is Lugia’s fastest move. Hydro Pump is the better second charge move since it’s a nasty surprise for Regirock, Magnezone, Tyranitar, Heatran, Melmetal and Metagross, but Heatran is the only one that really can’t afford to get hit by it. The others still beat Lugia fairly easily. Future Sight is Lugia’s best option to hit Zapdos and Raikou and lands a strong neutral hit on Dragonite, the Giratinas, Regirock and Snorlax. However, it leaves you completely helpless against Steel types and Tyranitar. Regardless of the second charge move you decide to go with, Lugia loses pretty hard to Giratina-O, Shadow Claw Giratina-A, Melmetal, Zapdos, Raikou, Magnezone, Metagross, Bite Hydreigon, Regirock, Dialga and Tyranitar.

The Lati Twins Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO LatiosLatios Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Dragon Claw Dragon
  • Psychic Psychic
Pokemon GO LatiasLatias Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Outrage Dragon
  • Thunder Electric

Alternate Dragon Breath users that resist Fighting but unlike Dragonite aren’t weak to Rock, so they aren’t as prone to Melmetal, Regirock and Heatran and are more reliable at beating Machamp and Conkeldurr. However, because they are part Psychic type, they can’t beat the Giratinas and Snorlax like Dragonite can, which is a huge downside. They both are also vulnerable to Bite Tyranitar and Bite Hydreigon which Dragonite isn’t. Another advantage they have over Dragonite is they aren’t double weak to Ice, but they both still lose to Articuno, Ice Fang Suicune, are vulnerable to Regice and still have to watch out for super effective coverage from Mew and Mewtwo. They both still counter Haxorus, Groudon, Swampert and Garchomp like Dragonite does but need shields to do so reliably. They both can overcome Darkrai with two shields. Dragon Tail Lugia, Togekiss, Bite Tyranitar, the Giratinas and Dialga beat both of them pretty easily.

Palkia Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO PalkiaPalkia Dragon Breath Dragon
  • Draco Meteor Dragon
  • Hydro Pump Water

Amazing stats, access to the almighty Dragon Breath and an awesome typing which leaves it only two weaknesses. The reason it isn’t higher on this list though, is because its charge moves are just too slow. Despite it resisting Steel and having Hydro Pump, all the Steel types including Heatran can deal with it. Heatran needs Stone Edge to beat it though. Dialga doesn’t even need to use charge moves to beat Palkia, it can farm it down with Dragon Breath but has to shield any of its charge moves. Togekiss is Palkia’s biggest enemy, but it has to make sure it doesn’t get hit by Hydro Pump which almost OHKOs it.

Palkia has really good matchups against Shadow Claw Giratina-A, Darkrai and Garchomp, each with two shields. It also beats Giratina-O, Swampert, Groudon, Articuno, Suicune and absolutely destroys Kyogre. Although Draco Meteor is Palkia’s fastest charge move, Hydro Pump is the move that Palkia will be using the most, even against resisted targets since Draco Meteor sharply reduces attack when you use it. Draco Meteor should only be used as a finishing move when Palkia is about to feint or to force Dialga to use a shield if you can’t make it to Hydro Pump in time.

Suicune Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO SuicuneSuicune Ice Fang Ice
  • Bubble Beam Water
  • Ice Beam Ice


Suicune is one of those Pokémon that wishes it was a different type, but at the same time is glad that it isn’t. In this case, it functions better as a bulky Ice type rather than a Water type. Unlike Ice types though, Suicune doesn’t have crippling weaknesses to Steel, Fighting, Rock and Fire.

With the Ice Fang moveset, Suicune makes a good counter to Togekiss, Dragonite, Garchomp, Groudon, Haxorus, the Lati Twins and Hydreigon. It can also go toe-to-toe with the Giratinas and Lugia, but those matchups are pretty even. Bubble Beam is very weak in power, but it has a nifty 100% chance to lower the opponent’s Attack stat by 1 stage which helps Suicune support its team even further. Although Suicune resists Steel, Metagross, Heatran, Magnezone and Melmetal make very good counters to the Ice Fang set and so do Regice and Kyogre since they resist Ice. Dialga and Palkia take neutral damage from Ice attacks but still counter Suicune due to their powerful Dragon Breath and strong charge moves.

Snarl lets Suicune spam Ice Beam and opens the gateway for Hydro Pump, letting it function similarly to how Azumarill is used in Great League. This set allows Suicune to turn the tides against Steel types, but leaves it very vulnerable to shields on your opponent’s side. Dragonite, Hydreigon and Togekiss turn from convincing wins for Suicune to crippling losses in the two shield scenario. Snarl only worsens your matchups versus pretty much everything besides Steel types. Raikou and Magnezone make excellent counters to both variants of Suicune. Zapdos can’t reliably beat Ice Fang Suicune but can beat the Snarl variant as long as it doesn’t get hit by more than one Ice Beam.

Haxorus Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO HaxorusHaxorus Counter Fighting
  • Dragon Claw Dragon
  • Night Slash Dark

A Fighting type in a Dragon’s disguise, Haxorus shouldn’t be underestimated. Unlike Machamp and Conkeldurr, it isn’t weak to Psychic or Flying and has the coverage moves to fight back at most of the usual Fighting type counters. Night Slash hits Mew, Mewtwo, Metagross and Lugia super effectively and has a 12.5% chance to raise Haxorus’s already crazy high 284 attack stat by two stages. Lugia still usually has no problem beating it though. Dragon Claw has STAB and hits Dragonite, the Giratinas, Garchomp, Hydreigon, the Lati Twins, Palkia and opposing Haxorus super effectively. However, Dragonite, the Giratinas, DB Hydreigon, the Lati Twins and Palkia still beat Haxorus relatively easily, especially with shields up. Dialga is weak to Counter but still beats Haxorus because it has Dragon Breath.

Haxorus is glassy and its charge moves are relatively weak, so it functions best early game with both of its shields. If it has two shields, it reliably beats Metagross, Garchomp, Melmetal, Heatran, Regirock, Swampert, Snorlax, Tyranitar, Bite Hydreigon, Darkrai, Raikou, Magnezone, Kyogre and Groudon.

Togekiss is Haxorus’s worst nightmare, it has no chance at ever getting past it. Surf might seem appealing over Night Slash or Dragon Claw to hit it neutrally and to hit Groudon and Heatran super effectively, but even with Surf Togekiss beats it no problem. Surf isn’t needed for Groudon and Heatran since they lose to Dragon Claw or Night Slash spam.

Electric Types Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO RaikouRaikou Thunder Shock Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric
  • Shadow Ball Ghost
Pokemon GO ZapdosZapdos Thunder Shock* Electric
  • Drill Peck Flying
  • Zap Cannon Electric
Pokemon GO MagnezoneMagnezone Spark Electric
  • Wild Charge Electric
  • Flash Cannon Steel


*Legacy Move

Generalists that apply a ton of shield pressure. With many of the top options resisting Electric though, they struggle to find positive matchups. Raikou and Zapdos can’t even beat Togekiss with two shields, Magnezone can because it resists Charm. All three lose pretty hard to Dialga, the Giratinas, Dragonite, Hydreigon, Palkia, the Lati Twins and Ground types. Raikou and Magnezone lose to Haxorus while Zapdos can usually check it with Drill Peck.

Raikou is the best of the three. It has fantastic Electric/Ghost coverage that is only currently resisted by Hydreigon. Unlike the other two, it can beat Kyogre with two shields. Shadow Ball hits the Giratinas, Metagross, the Lati Twins, Mew and Mewtwo for super effective damage. It still loses to the Giratinas, the Lati twins and Psystrike Mewtwo most of the time though. Shadow Ball also hits Dialga, Haxorus and Ground types for neutral damage. Since Raikou resists Steel, it makes a really strong Metagross counter but has to avoid Earthquake. Raikou shuts down Suicune and Lugia and also beats Magnezone since it resists Steel and Electric.

Zapdos is a very interesting Pokémon. For starters, its unique Electric/Flying typing makes it the only viable Electric type in Master League that resists Ground, meaning it doesn’t lose as hard to them as Raikou and Magnezone. Second of all, its access to a fast and reliable Drill Peck coupled with a nuke option in Zap Cannon makes it viable at virtually any point in the match. These two traits make Zapdos arguably the best Metagross and Lugia counter in the game. It is the only somewhat viable Master League Pokémon besides Gyarados that resists both Meteor Mash and Earthquake. Drill Peck allows Zapdos to wreck Fighting types but it has to watch out for their Rock coverage. Because Zap Cannon is insanely powerful, Zapdos is very good at baiting shields. Nothing that doesn’t resist Electric can tank it reliably. Even Snorlax, Regice and Regirock lose about 60% of their health from it. Swampert and Dialga both lose a little over 50% of their health from it despite them resisting Electric. Zapdos’s typing may help it for the most part but it is also a detriment, as it makes it vulnerable to Melmetal, Regirock, Regice, Articuno, Ice Fang Suicune and super effective coverage from Mew and Mewtwo. With enough energy advantage, Zapdos can potentially overcome Ground types with Drill Peck, but it has basically no chance at beating Dialga and the Giratinas. Raikou and Magnezone resist both Electric and Flying so they also make very strong Zapdos counters.

Magnezone loses the hardest of the three to Ground types and is the slowest, but it can beat Togekiss with two shields which somewhat makes up for it. Its sub-Steel typing enables it to beat Articuno, Suicune and Lugia more reliably than Raikou but makes it weak to Fighting type coverage from Mew, Mewtwo, Regirock, Melmetal and Darkrai. Fighting types and Heatran have no trouble beating it.

Mamoswine Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO MamoswineMamoswine Powder Snow Ice
  • Avalanche Ice
  • Bulldoze Ground

Having the best possible Ice type moveset and STAB Ground coverage sounds awesome, but Mamoswine isn’t as reliable at beating Dragon types and Flying types as you’d think, which is why it isn’t placed higher on this list. It is best used at the endgame when shields are down so Avalanche can do things like OHKO Dragonite, Garchomp, Haxorus and nearly OHKO Hydreigon. Mamoswine has to be careful with Groudon since it can tank an Avalanche and nearly OHKO back with Earthquake.

Mamoswine is glassy compared to most things in Master League and thus, if both shields are up, can’t reliably beat Dialga, the Giratinas, Lugia, Togekiss, Hydreigon, Heatran, Tyranitar, Psystrike Mewtwo and Haxorus. Even Dragonite can beat Mamoswine with two shields, although barely. The only things that it can reliably beat with both shields up are Garchomp, Groudon, Raikou and Zapdos. It loses hard to Fighting types, Kyogre, Swampert, Melmetal, Metagross, Regice, Regirock and Palkia.

Porygon-Z Best Fast Move Best Charge Moves
Pokemon GO Porygon-ZPorygon-Z Lock On Normal
  • Return* Normal
  • Blizzard Ice


*Legacy Move

A good closer but it is glassy, so it struggles to beat other closers such as Groudon, Mewtwo, Garchomp and Regice since it can’t tank their charge moves reliably. To get the most out of Porygon-Z, try saving at least one shield for it while burning both on the opponent’s side. Psystrike Mewtwo makes a fantastic partner in this regard since it forces shields on almost everything, destroys Fighting types (and to a lesser extent, Haxorus) for Porygon-Z and pressures Steel types with Focus Blast. Porygon-Z in return can switch into the Giratinas and Snorlax and assert immense shield pressure on them. Swampert, Garchomp or Kyogre make good third teammates since they wreck Steel types, Tyranitar and Regirock, have decent matchups versus Fighting types and also force shields on most things. These Pokémon together can anti-close pretty much everything.

Return is Porygon-Z’s fastest charge move so overall it’s better than Hyper Beam. Return is only obtainable from purifying a Porygon caught from a Team Rocket grunt. It might seem more appealing to use Zap Cannon instead of Hyper Beam or Return to hit Steel types, but Porygon-Z loses to them regardless.

Blizzard lets Porygon-Z beat Giratina-O semi-reliably even with shields up due to its Normal typing double resisting all of Giratina-O’s moves, but it can’t beat Giratina-A reliably, even if shields are down. Porygon-Z also has a good matchup against Snorlax since it double resists Lick. Blizzard OHKOs Garchomp, Dragonite, Hydreigon, Haxorus, Togekiss, Latios and Zapdos. It nearly OHKOs Latias and Groudon. The Giratinas and Lugia are bulky enough to tank one without having to worry too much. Hyper Beam and Return aren’t super effective against anything, but 150 and 130 base power moves with STAB coming from a Pokémon with 264 attack aren’t something to scoff at. Darkrai and Machamp are easily OHKO’d by Hyper Beam. Conkeldurr, Mewtwo and Swampert are KO’d after a little bit of chip damage. Even Snorlax, Regice and Lugia are easily 2HKO’d by Hyper Beam. Machamp is KO’d by Return after some chip damage. Porygon-Z loses really hard loses to Steel types, Tyranitar, Regirock, Fighting types and Haxorus, but overall its biggest enemy is shields on the opponent’s side.