Pokémon GO in September: PvP Priorities


G’day PoGO lovers. The new Adventure Abounds Season dropped mere moments before September, and with it a LOT of PvP updates! Frankly, it’s a huge PvP update with a lot to like for competitive players. Our team have taken a look at some of the new meta impacts here, and here, so I’ll take you through the headline events for September, plus some other considerations throughout the month.

Also, apologies up front for the delay, as most readers will have already participated in the Charmander community day classic – hopefully you didn’t miss the chance to catch some of the awesome shinies!

Spotlight Hours

Date Pokémon Bonus
September 5, 2023 Wooper
XP icon 2× XP for evolving Pokémon
September 12, 2023 Mankey
Candy icon 2× Candy for catching Pokémon
September 19, 2023 Girafarig
XP icon 2× XP for catching Pokémon
September 26, 2023 Growlithe
Stardust icon 2× Stardust for catching Pokémon


There’s some great opportunities for PvP players during September’s spotlight hours.

  • Wooper is available on September 5 with 2x evolution XP. With the addition of Mud Bomb to its charged movepool, and the increased usage of Carbink and Stunfisk in the open meta, Quagsire has become highly relevant in the Great League. I would probably recommend finding a good shadow variant, as the extra power really improves its matchups against things weak to Stone Edge (flips the matchups against Pelipper, Ninetales, Walrein to name a few). However, now is still a good opportunity to hunt down a good IV variant. Note that Wooper is still in the Team Rocket circulation for this rotation, so it’s worth hunting them down too. If XP is more your thing right now, you can always evolve all your Caterpie’s you’ve totally been saving up from GoFest!
  • Mankey is available on September 12 with 2x candy per catch. Primeape is a sneaky strong (and fragile) pick in both the Great League and Ultra League, though the latter requires a lot of XL candy to build. You should absolutely consider mega-evolving a Fighting type and grinding for the XL candy, because the future release of Annihilape is going to be huge for PvP in all leagues. If you’re into the Master League (or considering in the future) you should definitely prepare for the future by grinding for the XL candy while Mankey’s around.
  • Girafarig is available on September 19 with 2x XP per catch. Girafarig is more of a limited meta pick, and doesn’t have the greatest record in the open meta, however it is a pretty fun pick in the right circumstances with its spammy Double Kick / Psychic Fangs combo. The big giraffe is an easy excellent throw target so this is a good time to throw on a Lucky Egg and take advantage of the XP on offer. I like the shadow ttoo, altthough
  • Growlithe is available on September 26 with 2x stardust per catch. Arcanine was the recent beneficiary of the addition of Scorching Sands to its movepool, which makes it even spicier than before! (Note to readers, stick with Wild Charge). There’s a good reason you don’t see many Arcanine floating around the open meta – it’s just too fragile and doesn’t have a good Fire type moveset. There is a Growlithe event coming later in September as well, so there’s probably going to be a lot more of the good bois during that time. 2x stardust is very nice though so it’s probably a spotlight hour worth doing for that alone.

5 Star Raids

From a PvP perspective, the 5 star raids are on the spicier side this month, with not a lot of open meta relevance.

Kartana and Celesteela will be switching between the northern and southern hemisphere on September 8, so you’ll have a chance to raid for both.

  • Celesteela is not a bad pick in the Great and Ultra League, but it’s a bit of a clunky mon to use. It’s definitely a good idea to keep one for the future, in case of a future movepool update or shifts in the meta.
  • Kartana is a PvE powerhouse, with some of the hardest hitting Grass type damage you can deal out. Sadly, it’s too fragile to be meaningful in any open metas (although it can be a fun way to take down mudbois in the Great League!), but it’s definitely worth raiding to build for your PvE team.
Date Raid Bosses
September 16 – September 23

Burn-Drive Genesect returns to the 5 star rotation this month. It’s not a bad pick in the Ultra League meta (at Level 20 base catch it’s too high to fit under the Great League CP cap), but you arguably want the Chill Drive variant for its Ice type coverage. It’s worth raiding for the candy, particularly if you’re keen to build one of each drive, but I would stop short of recommending it as a must-do.

Date Raid Bosses
September 23 – October 6

I have loved the 3 legendary dogs since their release in Pokémon Gold and Silver (note to Niantic – make these guys available as daily incense spawns!). Sadly, none of these guys have a lot of play in the open metas at present.

  • Raikou has potential with a pretty decent moveset, with some play as a spice pick in the Ultra League and limited Great League metas (particularly in its shadow form). However, it lacks the bulk and coverage of Amphoros, which just does things a little bit more effectively.
  • Entei is the recent beneficiary of Scorching Sands to its movepool, which does… not a lot for it. I still hold out hope for Entei – it has great stats and potential, but Charizard just does its job better, and has the Flying typing to help it out against Ground and Fighting types. Hang onto one but it’s probably not worth going all out.
  • Suicune is another disappointment due to its bad moveset. I’d love a movepool update for this guy (look at this potential!) so I will hold out hope, but I can’t see it happening any time soon. Still, keep one for the Ultra League because you just never know what Niantic has in store.

Shadow Raids

Zapdos (Shadow)

I’m pretty pumped for Zapdos to hit the Shadow raids. In the Ultra League, it really likes having the extra power on its hard hitting charged moves. It’s spicy, for sure, but the good kind of spice!

Mega Raids

Date Raid Bosses
September 1 – September 16 Manectric (Mega)
September 16 – October 1 Gardevoir (Mega)
  • Manectric is really not that hot in the open meta, unless you’re thinking of running some insane spice, and even then you probably want to run it as a shadow in the Great League. Mega Manectric is a very good Electric type to add to your raid teams, so it’s not a hard miss, but not for PvP.
  • Gardevoir is a mon that I wish could break out into the meta, but you’re much more likely to see it run as a shadow in limited Great League metas. The embrace pokémon is held back by its clunky moveset and is just a bit too squishy to have the versaility needed to break out in open meta. Even in the Master League (where you would consider running the raid IV variant, ideally the hundo), it does not have a good enough record to justify the expense. A fairy that loses to Dialga is hard to swallow, and even access to the newly released move Triple Axel isn’t enough to change that. Gardevoir is still a good Fairy type raid mon, so stick with it for PvE.

Events 📅

There are a lot of events this month, although we have limited information at this point about them all.

Charmander Community Day Classic
September 2, 2023 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time

This event will likely have come and gone for readers by the time of reading, but Charizard is an absolute beast in the open Great League and Ultra League metas. The shadow is kinda the preferred variant that you want to run, so don’t stop hunting down the rockets. Your evolved Charizard will have access to Dragon Breath and Blast Burn, but I would recommend using your Elite Fast TM’s for access to legacy Wing Attack, which provides Zard much faster access to its hard hitting Blast Burn. The numbers speak for themselves. Given the timing, I won’t do a deep dive on this, but rest assured this is a great (although repetitive) community day for PvP players.

Mega Charizard X and Mega Charizard Y
Mega Charizard X and Mega Charizard Y
A Paldean Adventure
September 5, 2023 10:00am to September 10, 2023 10:00am local time

The Paldean Adventure sees the release of 11 new mons! There’s a lot of reasons to go hard for this event (4x stardust and XP per catch is insane!), so let’s take a quick look at the fun new toys we have to play with!

  • Meowscarada is the final evolution of starter Sprigatito, sporting Grass and Dark typing. It looks like it’s going to have some play in the Great League, but struggle a bit in the other leagues. Grass type damage has the most usefulness in the lower CP leagues to combat the numerous Water types that dominate the meta. You’ll want to run it with Leafage, Night Slash and Grass Knot, which already feels a little underwhelming. A buff to Leafage and access to Frenzy Plant (one day) is what will be needed to shift the dial, but even then I’m not sure how far. 
  • Skeledirge is the final evolution of starter Fuecoco, sporting Fire and Ghost typing. Skeledirge doesn’t have a lot of competition in terms of its typing, with really only Alolan Marowak as direct competition. Where A-Wak is limited by its CP ceiling, Dirge looks like it’s going to have some serious play in the Ultra League. It’s quite tanky and has a pretty great moveset on release – Incinerate, Disarming Voice and Shadow Ball is very decent! This is one to get excited about! 
  • Quaquaval is the final evolution of starter Quaxly, sporting Water and Fighting typing. The dancing bird has been shafted a little with it’s release moveset, with non-stab Wing Attack as the preferred fast move, non-stab Aerial Ace bait and Close Combat for closing. Right now, it’s Great League record is… only ok. WA + CC are objectively great moves, and AA has just been buffed, so if nothing else it’ll be pretty spammy, but… with Counter, it just looks much better. There’s promising signs in the Ultra League, but faces competition from Poliwrath, which has a lot more bulk and relevant coverage moves to help it out. It’s not all downside – one day with legacy Hydro Cannon (and hopefully Counter), it will be a beast.
  • Oinkalogne is the evolution of Lechonk. For PvP, it’s moveset is currently pretty trash, but I would absolutely hunt them down and save them for later. Why? Remember the initial release of Dubwool? It was unusable upon release with a very similar moveset to Oinkalogne, and with a single move update to its arsenal, its now absolute meta. It won’t even need many XL candies for the future Ultra League build. I don’t think it has quite as much potential as Dubwool, but it could definitely be decent. Save some for later!

In addition to the above, Turtonator, Machamp, Metagross and Camerupt will be in 3-star raids.

  • Metagross requires Meteor Mash to be usable, and is for the Master League only. I would pass unless you’ve missed out on this build in the past and you’re willing to burn an Elite TM.
  • Turtonator is pretty spicy at the moment due to its sluggish moveset, but has pretty great typing and potential.
  • Machamp is a first gen fan favourite, and if you pick up a hundo from raiding it’s worth powering up for the Master League and PvE.
  • Camerupt is really not worth the investment.

Ultra Unlock: Paldea
September 10, 2023 10:00am to September 15, 8:00pm local time

Much like the Adventure Abounds event, the Ultra Unlock event sees the release of 9 new mons and the same 4x stardust and XP per catch bonuses.

  • Lokix is a new Bug and Dark type mon that really won’t have a lot of play in the open meta. Bug Bite as a fast move is just a bit lacklustre, and it doesn’t have the bulk to handle the time it takes to get to its charged moves. Get one for the Great and Ultra Leagues and let’s see what the future has in store.
  • Pawmot is a new Electric and Fighting type mon. It gets access to Spark right after the recent nerf, which is a little unlucky, and all its best moves cause it to nerf its defense, hurting its ability to stay in battle for long. It’s hard to get too excited about it in its current state, but it could be decent in the future Electric Cup!
  • Baxcalibur is a new Dragon and Ice type and looks like it’s going to be one of the most exciting new releases of the bunch! For Master League enthusiasts, Bax threatens to be the new dragon king of the meta – although this may change depending on the 9% nerf that comes with the 4000+ CP. The trick is that Frigibax will be a rare spawn, and part of the egg pool, so getting hold of a good one and the candy you need could be a challenge. Good luck!
  • Bombirdier looks pretty good in the Great and Ultra League! One of the rare beneficiaries of the fantastic move Fly, and of the recent nerf to other Flying types that were nerfed with Sky Attack, I think we’ll see this bird a lot in the meta going forward. I highly recommend raiding while they’re around during the event.

Aside from the above, Hoppip, Houndour, Buizel and Fletchling will be in the wild.

  • Jumpfluff (Hoppip evolution) is very decent, but wants its community day move Acrobatics, so save your evolutions for the future.
  • Houndoom (Houndour evolution) has some spice play in limited metas, but is super fragile and tough to use in its current state. Not a bad Dark type build for its mega evolution though!
  • Talonflame (Fletchling evolution) is decent, but needs Incinerate to be at its best. The hundo is preferred for the Ultra League, so if you find one of them it’s worth hanging onto it. In practice, it’s a little tricky to use but the ceiling is high for sure.
  • Floatzle (Buizel evolution) is a hard no, even with Liquidation.

Oddish Research Day
September 17, 2023 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time
Azurill Hatch Day
September 30, 2023 at 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time

We don’t know much about these events yet, but personally I’m not super excited about them yet for PvP (Azumarill likes more bulk which egg hatches don’t afford, and the Oddish line hasn’t really broken out in the meta despite being around for a long time). Let’s see what’s in store when more is revealed.

Psychic Spectacular
September 10 2023, 10:00am to September 24 2023, 8:00pm local time
Niantic Community Day September Community Day
September 23, 2023, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm local time
Out to Play Event
September 27, 2023 from 10:00am to October 2, 2023, 8:00pm local time

September community day is rumoured to feature Grubbin, and Out to Play is likely to involve Growlithe. We don’t know a lot about these events yet, but once we do we’ll dive into them for you! 


Fresh from the huge GOFest event, September has a lot to get excited about for the PvP scene. I hope you enjoyed the read, you can also find me on Twitter or Instagram for more PvP spot analysis. Have fun in September, don’t miss out on the Master Ball through time research, and as always good luck with your shiny hunt!

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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