A PvP Analysis of GO Battle League Season 18 Reward Pokémon

Good day, Pokémon trainers! A new season of Pokémon GO Battle League is upon us. Which means new moves, rebalances, and new entrants to PvP! A lot of this has already been covered by other members over here at GOHub, such as these extensive move rebalance analyses by JRE and the Nature’s Madness Analysis by Jtizzler. 

And today I want to add to the discussion by talking about the often understated part of Pokémon GO PvP. The Pokémon available as rewards for getting three in a set wins in the GO Battle League! I had made a similar article before for season 16, and season 17 so I will avoid talking about the same Pokémon that were available in last season’s reward pool. Key terms I’ll be using are explained in the season 16 article. Now let’s get right into it and focus only on the newcomers or the Pokémon that got a substantial update this season.

Pokémon Leaving The Pool General icon

These are the Pokémon that were available in the GBL reward pool last season but are no longer available as GBL rewards this season:

Honestly, not much lost this time. And the Pokémon replacing the old ones are strictly more interesting in my opinion. Arguably the biggest loss is Drilbur which has nothing new to replace it. Thankfully, there are still many good Pokémon in the pool. Including:

Rank 1+ General icon

These are the new or meta-shifted Pokémon that will be available as soon as you hit rank 1:



Type: FightingGhost(Annihilape)

Viable League: Great League, Ultra League

Best IVs: 2/15/15 (Great League), 0/15/15 (Ultra League)

Usability As Is: Yes (Great League)

Medicham is long gone, Poliwrath had its time to shine. But now, Annihilape, Primeape’s evolution is THE Fighting type of choice for the Great League. Sure it might not have Medi’s bulk, but it has the fantastic Ghost subtyping. And an amazing set of moves to go along with it. With which it can ahem annihilate meta stables such as Skarmory, Whiscash, Lanturn, and Charjabug.

And of course, depending on which moves you run on it, it can threaten if not outright defeat types it’s weak against. You can run Ice Punch for coverage against Flying types or Night Slash for coverage against Psychic. It can even go toe to toe with the very top two Great League Pokémon Lickitung and Cresselia. So ya, can’t go wrong with this one.

It’s also solid in the Ultra League. But the caveat is that you can only get one Primeape through the reward pool as a guaranteed Rank 1 encounter. And there aren’t any IV combinations from the reward pool for the Ultra League that’s worth it. And even in the Great League, you’d have to get lucky and get very specific 10/15/11 or 10/15/12 IVs for it to be viable. Nevertheless, Primeape is a second-stage evolution, so pop in a Pinap or Silver Pinap Berry and that’s some good candies at least.



Type: BugElectric(Charjabug)

Viable League: Great League

Best IVs: 0/13/15 (Great League)

Usability As Is: No

Electric types are rather underrepresented in all three open metas, and Bug types even more so. So, Charjabug, Grubbin’s second form comes as a surprise as both a solid Electric type and a solid Bug type. A very rare type combination only shared by the Joltik line. And it is a fantastic combination at that. Giving Charjabug only two weaknesses Fire and Rock. And a better stat spread actually makes Charja better than its evolution in PvP as well.

But really, Charjabug had all these benefits beforehand. What changed it to make it so viable today? Two words: Community Day. It got it’s legacy fast attack Volt Switch. That move’s animation might be as slow as a snail, but boy does it generate energy FAST. And that is what made Charja a mainstay in the Great League.

And Charjabug’s future is looking great for this season. More Water types got buffed, which means this little bug has more targets! As such, if you catch a particularly solid IV Grubbin, I wouldn’t hold you for using an Elite Fast TM. Those don’t come in handy as often as Charged TMs anyways and Charja is a solid one to use it on right now. Though, you certainly won’t find a good IV one in the GBL reward pool. Might as well transfer those to get candies for one you catch in the wild.



Type: Normal

Viable League: Great League, Ultra League

Best IVs: 1/12/14 (Great League), 3/15/15 (Ultra League)

Usability As Is: No (Great league), Yes (Ultra League)

Run Greedent with Crunch in GL. Thank me later.

Rank 6+ General icon



Type: WaterFighting

Viable League: Great League, Ultra League

Best IVs: 0/14/15 (Great League), 0/14/14 (Ultra League)

Usability As Is: No

As stated before, we are in a post-Medi world. And for the brief moment when Annihilape was not in the scene, it seemed Poliwrath would be the face of Fighting types. And while Annihilape seems like the main choice now, Poliwrath is still really really good. 

What really brought Poliwrath to the forefront is its community day. Which gave it the legacy fast attack Counter. It already was spoilt for choices in terms of solid charged attacks, and access to the best Fighting type fast attack really sealed the deal. Though, as a GBL reward it’s the same case as Primeape. Not much in the way of good IVs here, and it’s a singular guaranteed mon for rank 6. So just Pinap it for the candies for when catch a good one.



Type: RockFairy

Viable League: Great League

Best IVs: 5/15/15

Usability As Is: Yes (Great league)

Now, nothing much has changed since two seasons ago when I last talked about Carbink in the reward pool. But I don’t hide the fact that I quite like this mon. Which is why it is my great displeasure to inform you that buff to more Water types means it is not a good day for the rock baby. Fortunately, Carbink is still very good thanks to its sheer bulk and fast attack pressure. 

In even better news. Carbink is now available in the wild in mountain habitats. So if you live near such a habitat this is a great opportunity to finally build up this very expensive GL Pokémon. As far as GBL rewards are concerned, both 10/15/15 and 10/14/15 IV spreads work well enough. And you might actually prefer these comparatively worse spreads, as they are less expensive to build. And believe me, Carbink is a veeery expensive Pokémon to build, with its rank 1 requiring over 200 regular and XL candies.

Rank 11+ General icon

Alolan Marowak

Marowak (Alola)

Type: FireGhost

Viable League: Great League

Best IVs: 0/14/14

Usability As Is: No

Alolan Marowak is still a spice/limited meta pick at best. And even then you want its signature legacy move Shadow Bone and maybe the shadow form for it to be useful. So why am I still mentioning it? Well, Shadow Bone did get an update making it stronger now. So if nothing else, its interesting to see Alolan Marowak here in the rewards alongside the update.

Ace+ General icon

Goomy and Jangmo-o

Type: Dragon, +Fighting Kommo-o/ Hakamo-o

Viable League: Great League, Ultra League, Master League

Best IVs: N/A

Usability As Is (Goodra): Yes (Great League) (Ultra League), Absolutely! (Master League)

Usability As Is (Kommo-o): Yes (Ultra League), Absolutely! (Master League)

The last time I talked about these two dragons, I was rather harsh on them. I said Jangmo-o’s evolutions were best relegated to limited metas. And outright said Goodra, Goomy’s final evolution didn’t have much of a PvP use case at all. So, it seems these two are now back with a vengeance to prove me wrong!

Both of them got their charged attacks buffed. I’ll talk about Goodra, Goomy’s final evolution first. It’s available in the GBL reward pool starting from Ace rank. It now has access to the charged attack Aqua Tail. And Aqua Tail also got a direct buff to how much damage it does. Now allowing Goodra to get quite a few impressive wins with even just a single shield up. And it’s even able to go toe-to-toe with the usually preferred dragon type, Shadow Dragonair, which also benefits from the Aqua Tail buff. And this is not even mentioning how it could have more potential in Ultra League now as well.

As for Jangmo-o, its second form, Hakamo-o actually benefits more from this season’s move updates than its final form, Kommo-o does. As Brick Break now requires less energy and has a guaranteed chance to debuff your opponent’s defense. Allowing Hakamo-o to finally be able to make use of its Fighting sub-typing offensively. This gives quite a lot more potential as its Dragon typing already gave it resistances against elemental types, and now it can threaten bulky Normal types like Lickitung as well.

As a final note, it’ll be interesting to see if these mons final forms will have play in Master League Premier, which is returning in rotation this season. As both these Pokémon have multiple use cases, I recommend checking ideal IVs for these Pokémon for multiple leagues. You can find them here, here, and, here.

Pokémon From The Last Season General icon

These Pokémon are staying this season from last season’s pool and my opinion of them also remains more or less the same from the previous article:

Conclusion General icon

And there you have it. A look at every Pokémon available as rewards in the GO Battle League. If you’re into PvP in Pokémon GO, you’ve probably figured out by now that you need to be smart about how you use your resources and make use of any and all benefits that come your way. Since you’ll be catching these Pokémon while participating in GBL anyways, might as well know how to make the best use of them. That was the idea behind this article anyway. So I hope it has been useful for you and happy battling!

Goodbye for now, Pokémon trainers. Priom-out!

Author & tags

Pokémon fan since as early as object permanence allows. Me and my Pokébuddy, PoppyGO are here to hopefully help you with all of Pokémon GO's going-ons!

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