Meta Shifts and Surprises: What GBL Season 19 Brings To NAIC and Beyond

Good day, Pokémon Trainers! GO Battle League Season 19 has brought some updates to Pokémon GO’s PvP roster. And there has been no shortage of speculations and analyses of how these changes will shake up the meta. Many are testing out some previously ignored Pokémon or strategies to see who the biggest winners and losers of the new season are.

But perhaps one of the best indicators of what actually does and doesn’t work in the current meta is the official Play! Pokémon Pokémon GO tournament circuit. Where Trainers from around the world compete for the eventual title of World Champion. As such the stakes are high and trainers are incentivized to get a sense of the best strategies each season quickly.

With that being said, we are in a unique situation this time around. As the only tournament that is streamed on the official channels before the world championships is the New York International Championship, which has already taken place. Since this is a big tournament and the last chance for many participants to be able to qualify for worlds, the sense of competition is high. As such, it should be the perfect look into what the current season has to offer. So what early signs did NAIC bring? Let’s take a look and find out!

The New Mudboi in Town Battle icon


It seems we have seen a full rotation as to which WaterGround type (lovingly referred to as mudbois) is the most popular. Last Play! Pokémon season, Swampert was the premier choice. Its huge damage potential made it a devastating force for opponents with shields down.

Then, of course, came Whiscash. With better bulk and the notorious Scald with a 50% chance to debuff your opponents. I think it’s no exaggeration to say that Whiscash brought about rather passionate feelings among trainers who partake in PvP. Which is why we finally got a Scald debuff this season, with it now having only a 30% chance.

Now where does that leave us? Well with Scald now having a debuff and Quagsire receiving its Community Day move last year, it leaves us with the unmatched sire! Now, to be transparent, I love the Wooper line! I personally used Quagsire even when Swampert and Whiscash were the popular options.

But now it feels like Quagsire is genuinely the best option. It just reaches those Aqua Tails so so fast. And if you’re using a Shadow Quagsire, the damage is nothing to scoff at either. Resulting in Quagsire having a fantastic performance at NAIC 2024. Granted, Whiscash was definitely still around. But Quag’s performance was definitely commendable and one that shows a lot of potential.

Lights Out for Lanturn? Battle icon

Another much-requested change brought about this season is a nerf to Lanturn’s Spark. This is after Spark already received a nerf in a prior season. That just goes to show how powerful Lanturn was as a Pokémon. But finally, it seems Lanturn has finally, truly been nerfed.

This doesn’t mean Lanturn is useless now though. Quite the opposite in fact. There were still quite a few Lanturn appearances at NAIC. Some still running Spark, and some preferring Water Gun instead now. But the nerf to Spark damage really does show. And Lanturn, at least as a primarily Electric type force, is definitely far from its glory days now.

But where does that leave us now? Well, there was a moment when Charjabug was the Electric type of choice for a bit. But because there are so many Flying types in the meta, Lanturn eventually reclaimed its throne, as it resists Flying type attacks. Well, now, it might be Charjabug’s time to shine again. As the top 8 performers at NAIC, all had Charjabug on their teams. Also, uhh, Typhlosion spice anyone? It does have Thunder Punch now and Incinerate can also melt Skarmory!

Marine Paradise Battle icon

It seems Pokémon is going with an aquatic theme this month. Even Pokémon GO’s current loading screen has an aquatic theme, that we actually took a look at. So it should come as no surprise that Water types are having a great time in PvP as well. 

Granted, Water types have always had a significant presence in PvP. Which makes sense. Water is the type shared between the largest pool (haha) of Pokémon after all. However, other than the mudbois, using other water types had a substantial risk to them. Other than being weak to Grass coverage moves, they had to worry about Electric damage as well. But now with Lanturn nerfed, and Charja being somewhat inflexible, other Water Pokémon can shine as well.

The first one of these is Azumarill. I always say this in some form or another. But Azumarill is perhaps the most enduring Pokémon in Pokémon GO PvP. This blue bunny has been a force to be reckoned with since the beginning. And with less Electric threats Azu can use its bulk a bit more safely as well. Best seen by LNDsTSteinar at NAIC, who used Azumarill really smartly to get the right alignment.

Feraligatr is arguably the second most substantial. This pure Water type has kind of replaced Swampert as the big damage water type mon. It had certainly helped the winner of NAIC, OutOfPoket out. Poliwrath also saw some play as a Counter user, as it has been seeing for a while. 

Finally, there’s Mantine. Which I feel as though has been getting a lot of love since Great League Remix last season. And I can see why. Despite its glaring weakness to Rock and Electric, Mantine is quite bulky and spammy. Making it quite the support for any team to tip the balance in your favor.

Conclusion Battle icon

And there you have it. As is the case with seasonal updates before the world championships, we don’t get a large list of changes. But it is interesting to see substantial updates such as the Spark and Scald nerfs that trainers have been asking for a while. From just what we have taken a look at today, such changes definitely have ripple effects across the entire meta. And there can definitely be more to talk about. Which we will hopefully take a look at during the world championship speculation articles this year.

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!

Further reading

Popular today

Latest articles

Support us

Buy GO Hub merch

Get your very own GO Hub t-shirt, mug, or tote.