Yet again, we’re revisiting a format that we’ve done several times before. And yet again… I just didn’t have time or mental capacity to crank out a full “Nifty Or Thrifty” meta/budget review for such a MASSIVE format. Great League Remix is basically just Open Great League with “the 20 Pokémon that are most used by Trainers ranked Ace and above in the Great League” being left out. This is still a meta where I could cover nearly 100 different options and STILL be missing viable things. So I decided to just keep it simple and direct.
In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at the ban list, and what’s new on it since last time, as well as what is coming OFF the ban list and how potent those options are. Then we’ll see what the ripples of that list do the rest of the meta… Pokémon that rise up to become new top options here, either because they’re filling roles left open by the bans, or because they’ve just improved themselves over time.
So here’s the new ban list. New additions this season will be marked as such.
“JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT, THEY PULL ME BACK IN!”
- Altaria Dragon
- Azumarill WaterFairy
- Bastiodon SteelRock
- Deoxys (Defense) Psychic
- Froslass (NEW) IceGhost
- Lanturn WaterElectric
- Medicham FightingPsychic
- Noctowl (NEW) Normal
- Obstagoon (NEW) DarkNormal
- Pelipper (NEW) Water
- Ninetales (Alola) IceFairy
- Registeel Steel
- Sableye DarkGhost
- Skarmory Steel
- Stunfisk (Galarian) GroundSteel
- Swampert WaterGround
- Trevenant GhostGrass
- Umbreon Dark
- Venusaur GrassPoison
- Bulbasaur IceWater
NOCTOWL‘s exclusion from Remix is one of the least surprising bans ever. The thing is everywhere now, in GBL and at worldwide tournaments on the Play Pokémon circuit…. Also unsurprising is the ban of FROSLASS, in this era of Medicham and on-the-rise Flyers that Lass can handle in equal measure. Granted, Medi and Flyers like Noctowl and Altaria (AND Pelipper) are out in Remix, ironically taking some of Froslass’ best uses away, but the ban is not a surprise in today’s Great League meta…. PELIPPER has been able to shake off the Weather Ball nerf with the eventual buff to Wing Attack took it back to its glory days. It is not wholly dominant, but certainly was getting pretty annoying and very popular. I get the ban…. Honestly, OBSTAGOON surprised me a little. Has it gotten THAT popular again? Maybe I’ve just been fortunate to miss out on most of them. Either way, it will be nice not to have to guess will-they-or-won’t-they-Obstruct for a week.
Back OFF the ban list this time are the following:Lickitung Normal
- LICKITUNG is back, and one of the better reason to consider keeping a good Fighter close at hand. Its Lick being resisted by other Normal types means that many of them also emerge victorious, as well as Darks for a similar reason, and several Grasses and Steels and such. But overall, Lickitung does its usual thing, hanging around annoyingly long and just outlasting much of the meta. Not super happy about this one being back, personally.
- NIDOQUEEN will likely never quite return to her former glory, but the buff to Poison Fang does help to make her interesting again (at least in Shadow form). She is still a fantastic way to control the Fairies and Fighters that are likely to be popular in this meta, and having key Steel, Water, and/or Ice types plucked from the standard Great League meta (banished to the banlist) only makes her better.
- SCRAFTY may be down a bit in usage (at least, according to whatever calculus Niantic relies on), but it’s still plenty scary here, even with many of its more famous targets on the banlist. And yes, its numbers are, of course, elevated by baiting into big boosted Foul Play, but keep in mind that Scrafty is plenty scary without ever baiting at all. I think it will be the one everyone is questioning this time around “why wasn’t THIS thing banned?!”
- TALONFLAME is also more than viable without baiting, needing Brave Bird only to overcome a handful of things (mostly those that resist Fire) like Ninetales, Jellicent, and Haxorus, as well as bulky Lickitung. Obviously you WILL be running it with Brave and Flame Charge (no reason to cheap out, since the second move is only 10,000 dust, after all), but it’s nice to know it can carry on well without having to necessarily nerf itself with Brave Bird.
Now, let’s get into things that are rising up in this meta. Our first one is WAY up….
CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCKCarbink RockFairy
I think it’s only fair that CARBINK get a brief section all its own. Not only is it brand new to the meta, but just like in Open Great League, Carbink is ranked #1 in Remix. It benefits greatly from the ban list, with more than half of its Open Great League meta losses being banned in Remix. Its overall record in Remix (with either Rock Throw or Tackle) isn’t overpowering, but other than the handful of Ground and Grass types that rise up in the Remix meta, there are very few fights where Carbink can’t at least hang around and do some serious damage, even in losses. Not many players will have one ready for Great League use at this point (even a hundo requires enough XL Candy that it will have been hard to grind for it yet), but people that have it WILL be wanting to use it, and you can’t find a GL Remix Teambuilding video out there without Carbink front and center.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
In this section, we’ll review other Pokémon that make a notable climb in the rankings in GL Remix as opposed to where they stand in Open Great League. In other words, what gets markedly better with the removal from the meta of the 20 Pokémon on the ban list?Guzzlord DarkDragon
- GUZZLORD. The easiest-to-acquire-in-Great-League Ultra Beast shows several ripple effects of the bans. Key Steel, Fairy, and Ice types — as well as Fighters or “quasi-Fighters” (read as: Counter users) — on the ban list free up this Dark/Dragon type to rumble. Guzzlord directly benefits from more than half of the bans in this way, and rises from well outside the top 30 in Open to just outside the Top 10 in Remix, and looks poised to take a big bite out of this meta.
- DIGGERSBY. Rising even further, from 38th in Open to a slot above Guzzlord in Remix, there is lot to like about Diggs here, particularly with its Normal — not Ground — moves. Earthquake is important for beating Poisons and certain Rocks like Toxapex, Aurorus, and sometimes Toxicroak, and I certainly won’t say that running it is “wrong”, and in fact is probably preferable for many teams. But Hyper Beam legit works on Diggersby, and in this meta brings in wins like Guzzlord, Dubwool, Gliscor, Pidgeot and others. (One particularly big downside: without Ground moves, you can’t beat Carbink either.) The major advantage Diggersby continues to enjoy over other Ground options is resisting Ghost damage (thanks to being half Normal), though of course the major drawback is being vulnerable to Fighters. But overall this meta is more good than bad to Diggs, as it loses to the majority (almost three quarters) of the 20 banned Pokémon, so it appreciates having them removed! And more good news: you can run near-hundo without needing any Candy XL and, while you do miss out on Charizard and Steelix, you actually gain Lickitung.
- MUD BOYS. Along a similar vein as Diggersby, WHISCASH and QUAGSIRE both move up a bit, though this is more just rising up into the void left by the banning of Swampert than by them gaining a new role, per se. Quagsire is getting all the hype right now since receiving Mud Bomb, which is deserved, but in THIS meta, a big fat Ice closing move is just better than a big fat Rock closer, and it shows with Whiscash being able to beat Dragons (Guzzlord, Zweilous, Haxorus), Flyers (Gliscor, Charizard), Grounds (Diggersby, Quagsire), and others like Primeape, Dubwool, and Cofagrigus too.
- VIGOROTH. Moving up from about 20th in Open to a Top 5 option in Remix, I think that Viggy benefits, ironically, from the major Steels that have been banned. Its Body Slam is great neutral coverage, but unlike true Fighters (those with spammy Fighting charge moves and usually good coverage like Rock Slide or Ice Punch to threaten Flyers or Night Slash to hurt Psychics and Ghosts), Vigoroth is less effective versus Flyers… and Steels, seeing as how the latter resist Body Slam. Having key Steels and Flyers out of the meta allows Vigoroth’s neutral coverage to be much more beneficial than awkward. Put simply: Body Slam is better in this meta than it usually is in Open, and Vigoroth stands to benefit.
- PIDGEOT. There is not really any replacing Noctowl, coming with nice coverage move Shadow Ball. But then again, Shadow Ball is particularly great for Noct in GL because of what it beats that Flying moves alone cannot, most notably Galarian Stunfisk. But of course, there’s no G-Fisk here, and several Steel and Ice types are gone, so the sky is the limit. Heck, Pidgeot even performs pretty well without having to rely on Brave Bird!
- STEELIX. Rising from almost triple digits in Open GL rankings to well within the Top 50 in Remix, and that doesn’t even tell the whole story… Steelix is quite a nice wild card here in multiple configurations. It’s no Galarian Stunfisk replacement, actually operating quite a bit differently by beating things like Chesnaught, Diggersby, Dubwool, and even Primeape (with Heavy Slam, along with Carbink and other Fairies, obviously) or stuff like Jellicent, Quagsire, Vigoroth, Stunfisk (Unovan), Lickitung, and Meganium (with Crunch). So this one is NOT so much filling a void as it is just fitting the meta pretty well.
- ALOLAN SANDSLASH. As with Quagsire, this is a little bit of a cheat, since A-Slash didn’t have new move Drill Run until much more recently. But it’s still up in the rankings as compared to Drill Run A-Slash in Open GL, and puts in a performance to match, especially in Shadow form. And yes, I think you DO actually want to consider Powder Snow here instead of exclusive Legacy move Shadow Claw. Unless you want a dedicated Ghost killer (Claw does manage to beat Cofagrigus and Jellicent, as well as Aurorus), Powder just seems a better fit in this meta with many Normals that resist Ghost damage and many other things weak to Ice damage, with Powder’s unique wins including Lickitung, Munchlax, Stunfisk, Meganium, and Guzzlord.
- CRESSELIA. Another product of the ban list, Cresselia looks ready for a mini-breakout here. The biggest Steels and Darks and Ghosts that challenge Cress are banned, as well as Venusaur and Noctowl that give it a hard time too. Both Grass Knot and Moonblast have a lot of good targets in this meta, giving Cresselia a lot of utility with very few hard counters to look for over its shoulder.
- REGIROCK. Hey, the meta needs a Regi, right? No more Registeel means Regirock rises up to the fill the gap. If you don’t have one, Shadow can work, it’s just not quite as potent.
Even THAT list is far from comprehensive (various Fighters, Grasses, Flyers, and even Electrics like Togedemaru are pretty good here too!), but hopefully gives you some good ideas about many of the better, newer things in the meta. Good luck!
Tomorrow should be a brief Field Guide to the Catching Some Zs event that starts this weekend. (Komala and DUBWOOL IN THE WILD W00T W00T!). Until then, you can always find me on Twitter (@JRESeawolf) or on Threads for regular analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!
Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you out in this new edition of Great League Remix! Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!