This weekend I had the privilege of interviewing one of the top 50 GO Battle League (GBL) players in the world, and asked him his opinions on what Niantic can improve on with its new ranked PvP system, and his advice to other players looking to begin or hone their careers in the league.
Below is the full interview.
- Name: TrojanTroy1 (Troy)
- Team: Valor (Repping Team Red)
- Total XP: 83,048,978
- GBL (GO Battle League) Rank & Score: Rank 10, 3109 (33rd in the world at time of interview)
Preferred GBL Team (fast, charge/second charge):
- Dialga* (Dragon Breath, Iron Head/Draco Meteor)
- Kyogre (Waterfall, Surf/Blizzard)
- Garchomp (Mud Shot, Outrage/Sand Tomb)
*Dialga is Best Buddy level so it has a CP advantage, which Troy will point out later as an advantage in GO Battle League.
Where are you from? (City/State):
Tallahassee, Florida, United States
How long have you been playing Pokémon GO?
I started playing this game on July 7th, 2016.
Were you a fan of Pokémon before Pokémon GO? If so, what has been your favorite game so far?
I have been into Pokémon as a franchise since Pokémon Yellow for the Game Boy, but I was too young to really appreciate a game like that back then, so my favorite game is Pokémon Platinum. It had everything you could ask for and none of it felt forced.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about the GO Battle League?
My favorite part of playing GO Battle League is the competition. This game has evolved in many ways, but it wasn’t until GBL that you could channel your competitive spirit. Gyms are too easy, raids can feel automated, and battling your friends can get boring after a while because there isn’t that feeling of something you can lose. Having stakes on the line like in-game rewards and ratings can exhilarate the experience.
My least favorite aspect of GBL is the feeling that you are playing rock-paper-scissors. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve won and lost plenty of battles that should have been lost and won, but generally speaking, winning the lead match-up is very decisive in high rank battles, as every team in rank 9+ is typically balanced enough to gain switch advantage.
Do you have any advice for players that are skeptical to start playing the GO Battle League or are just starting out?
If you are exploring the idea of GO Battle League and want to make the most out of your time, I highly suggest utilizing PvPoke. You can see which Pokémon are going to be the most consistent, simulate different scenarios in which you win or fall short, and cover up your weaknesses in team building.
What are some suggestions you have for Niantic on how to improve the GO Battle League in terms of gameplay, seasons, etc.?
I really like the current format. It would be nice if we could see our win/loss record in each league, but that’s not necessary.
However, I would like to see changes to a couple things.
1) Switching needs a pause in gameplay. There are Pokémon I’d love to use like Rhyperior in Master League, but I’m too afraid of Kyogre coming out of nowhere, hitting 2 Waterfalls during the switch animation before you have a chance to make the decision to switch out your half-dead Pokémon. Ground-types take an L in Great League too, as Razor Leaf users can obliterate a 4x weak Pokémon before you can humanly respond.
2) An option in each league to enter the standard blind 3v3 OR enter a blind 6v6. Alternatively, a 3v3 with 6-team preview like in Silph Cup tourneys would be an excellent addition. Both of these are meant to either lessen the impact of winning lead Pokémon matchups, or place more thought and skill into choosing your lead.
What league do you think you perform the best in and why?
While Great League is my favorite league due to sheer variety of Pokémon, Master League is my best league in terms of performance, probably because it’s easier to predict the meta and move sets. You also don’t have to worry too much about getting the right IV combination; there’s only one rule: the higher IV the better.
Also, I just love Garchomp. It has, in my opinion, the best advantage state in the game. Use it correctly, judging the flow of the match, and you’ll be winning games you really should have lost.
Are you active in your local Pokémon GO community? If yes, how so?
Before COVID-19 took over, I was quite an active player in my city and my local Discord that I help administrate. It’s fun seeing a lot of familiar faces on community days as well as spending afternoons or evenings raiding with friends in the community.
Troy, thank you so much for your time with this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers interested in the GO Battle League?
Thanks, I appreciate the interview. For anybody not into PvP, give it a shot! You just might get hooked. It can feel like a very different game than what you’re used to in a refreshing way.