Noxious Swamp Event: A PvP Guide

G’day PoGO lovers. The Noxious Swamp event is starting this Saturday 19 August and runs through to Tuesday 22 August, featuring a number of Poison and Dragon type Pokémon, plus the brand new shiny Skrelp! Let’s take a look at the event from a PvP perspective to help you work out where to prioritise your efforts throughout the event.


  • Overall, it’s a bit of a disappointing event from a PvP perspective, as most of the featured Pokémon have either limited utility, are fairly common / recent spawns, or are better in their shadow forms.
  • Dratini is far and away the best spawn to grind for throughout the event. Tentacool, Skorupi and Zubat are also high priority picks for their various evolved forms in PvP. These are the mons to hunt for if you’re missing their PvP evolutions from your arsenal – though it’s worth noting that the shadow forms of Dratini, Skorupi and Zubat are arguably more impactful in the various metas.
  • Axew, Skrelp, Shadow Nidoran, Shadow Onix and G-Weezing all have utility in the various leagues in their evolved forms, but are a lower priority.
  • There’s plenty of helpful XL candy on offer throughout the event, so consider taking advantage by mega evolving any Poison or Dragon types to assist you with your XL grind.
  • Thankfully Xerneas and Yveltal raids will be ongoing throughout the event, so it’s definitely worth continuing the grind for hunting the hundo for these two builds (or an Ultra League Yveltal build). You can read more analysis from JRE about these guys in PvP here

Highest Priority

The below are all meta relevant mons in the open leagues, and most require XL candy to be maxed out, so this is a good opportunity to grind!

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Dragonite GL, UL & ML Yes (ML)
Dragonair GL No
Dratini LL No

The Dratini line is by far and away the most meta relevant line to hunt for during this event. All three of its evolution lines are impactful across ALL leagues (although Dratini is in my view, the lowest priority – unless you’re really into all the Little Cups that we have on rotation these days!).

Dragonite now has significant relevance in all open metas, particularly since the introduction of Superpower to its movepool. SP gives it a lot of versatility and the ability to hit back hard against Steel types that it previously struggled against. Dragonair also has a lot more play since the introduction of Body Slam to its movepool, which allows it to hit for at least neutral damage in all matchups. It’s probably more suited to limited metas, but it is absolutely a great pick in the open meta given the versatility of its moveset and fast move pressure it can apply in all neutral matchups (just keep away from Steels and Fairies!).

Another consideration is whether you save up for the shadows when they come back into town through the Rocket Grunts. Shadow Dragonair is very powerful in the Great League, as is Shadow Dragonite in the Ultra League, so you might consider this the opportunity to save up the candy for the future.

Regardless of your choice, this is the #1 spawn you need to focus on if you don’t have decent ones built yet for the various leagues. That’s a big if – Dratini had its community day classic event in November 2022, and it has been featured throughout a number of events and been in various egg pools for a long time. Still, if you are new to the game or haven’t yet invested in building some of these, now is the time because you will need a lot of candy (including XL for the Master League) to build them all! 

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Tentacruel GL & UL Yes (UL)

Tentacruel was previously a bit of a meme pick due to its limited and expensive moveset. Since the buff of Poison Jab and the introduction of Scald to its moveset, Tentacruel is now an excellent anti-meta pick for the Ultra League. Look at that win-loss record! It struggles against some of the mudbois and prefers shields down scenarios, but it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. Tentacruel also prefers a bit more bulk in general, so grab the XL candy while its around. It’s probably less of a priority in the Great League, where its lesser bulk begins to limit its ability to reach its charged moves, but it can be quite useful in many limited cup metas. 

Tentacool has a bit of play in the Little Leagues, so save one for there too.

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Drapion GL & UL Yes (UL)
Skorupi LL No

Drapion is one of those mons that are really annoying to come up against. It’s super spammy with Crunch and Sludge Bomb, it’s an excellent safe swap that can pressure shields, its typing is really useful in most matchups, and it can hit pretty much everything for at least neutral damage. The catch is that it doesn’t have much bulk to help it hang around for too long, even with a typing advantage, and it kinda prefers to be a shadow, particularly in the Great League. Skorupi recently had a Spotlight hour, so you might not necessarily be in the market for a new one. However, I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity to collect the XL candy for an Ultra League build, and definitely consider investing in building a Drapion for both leagues (and Skorupi for the Little Leagues!).

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Golbat Golbat (Shadow) GL No
Crobat Crobat (Shadow) GL & UL (spice) No

It might surprise you to see Golbat in the high priority list, but it’s become an excellent pick in the open Great League as an answer to mudbois and Fighting types, particularly since the recent buff to Wing Attack. I am here to advocate it as a priority for a few reasons: it has an excellent W/L record in the Great League, you will be able to raid for the shadow variant (which I think is a much scarier proposition to face down than its record suggests), and it is one of the less expensive builds for the GL so it’s not going to break your stardust wallet. 

Crobat had a lot more relevance in the Ultra League before the nerf to Poison Fang, making it just a bit too expensive and clunky to use Crobat easily. Still, it has a decent W/L record in the Ultra League as both a regular and shadow, and it’s always worth saving one for later, because you never know what future updates could do for the big bat. 

Medium Priority

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Haxorus GL, UL & ML Yes (ML)
Fraxure GL & UL (spice) Yes (UL)

Axew was the featured community day in June 2023, so most players will have a Haxorus built and ready to go. It also really needs its community day move Breaking Swipe to have any play in the various leagues. It is definitely worth hunting down a good one if you are still searching for the one / hundo, and saving it for December when you can evolve it to get one with its comm-day move.

Fraxure is a super spice pick and needs to be XL in the Ultra League. I don’t see it myself, but if you’re looking to build something new, this could be your chance!

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Dragalge GL & UL Yes (UL)
Skrelp LL No

Skrelp is the new shiny for this event, so that alone renders this a priority pick! Its evolution Dragalge is a decent but awkward mon to use in the various leagues. It doesn’t have a bad record per se, but it just isn’t that great. The main challenge with using Dragalge is it doesn’t have a lot of answers to Steel and Fairy types even after it wins its initial matchup, so it can be challenging to build a team around in the open leagues. It has a lot of play in various limited cup metas, so it’s absolutely worth investing in a good one for the Great League, and consider investing in one for the Ultra League. You’ll also need some XL candy for the Ultra League, although it actually kinda likes having an attack weight so don’t stress too much about grinding for the L50 build.

Skrelp has a fair bit of play in the Little League, so keep one for that cup too if you’re invested in that format.

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Nidoqueen (Shadow) GL & UL Yes (UL)
Nidorina (Shadow) GL (spice) Yes
Nidoran (F) (Shadow) LL No

The Nidoran♀ family is another strong line that has play across multiple different formats. Nidoqueen has taken a bit of a hit in recent times due to the nerf of Poison Fang, but it’s still an excellent mon to build for the Ultra League, and to a lesser extent for the Great League. Not a lot of things like to be hit by Earth Power from the shadow-Queen, and it can absolutely rock and roll teams in the right matchups. The big challenge is that it’s only going to be available in shadow raids, so it’ll take a fair amount of dedication to hunt for a good shadow form to build through this event.

Nidorina is absolute spice in the Great League, and needs to be maxed to L50 to be used, so it’s not the time to grind for that build. Nidoran (F) on the other hand slides in nicely to the Little League format, and is an excellent choice if you find a decent one.

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Steelix (Shadow) GL & UL Yes (UL)

Onix will be available in shadow form through raids during the event. Given Onix recently exited the rocket pool, this is a good chance to grab a decent one for a Shadow Steelix build if you don’t have one yet. Shadow Steelix is an underrated pick in the Great League and in particular the Ultra League, where it can be a very annoying anti-meta pick to beat. It does like some additional bulk for the Ultra League, so don’t stress too much about grinding for that during this event – save one for later and grind the XL candy another time.

Note that Shadow Onix and Steelix are also very good in the lower-CP cups, but you won’t be able to obtain one at the lower levels throughout this event – you’ll need to wait for Onix to go back into the rocket circulation.

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Weezing (Galarian) GL & UL Yes (UL)

Since the introduction of Fairy Wind to its movepool, Galarian Weezing has gone from a sad state to an excellent Ultra League build. Its unique typing, excellent coverage moves and ability to access its nuke moves with great speed make it a meta relevant mon that can fit well into many different team compositions. It does need to be almost maxed out for the Ultra League, but your raid IV catches will be absolutely viable. The big challenge is obtaining the XL candy you need – though Koffing and Kanto Weezing have recently been in circulation in the wild, so hopefully you’ve got the XL candy ready to go. 

Lowest Priority

I won’t spend too much time discussing the remaining spawns and raids. Each of the below have a time and a place to shine, but they are typically going to be seen in limited cup formats. Some are also only available in raids/field research, which means the IV floor of 10-10-10 is going to limit your ability to obtain one with optimal IVs (in particular: the Grimer family, Mareanie and Qwilfish). The Grimer family have lots of play in various metas, but given their lesser availability during this event I’d prioritise some of the other spawns/raids.

It’s worth noting that Shadow Weavile does have some PvE utility, as does the monster that is Mega Salamence

PvP Evolution League/s XL Required?
Venonat Venomoth Venonat: LL

Venomoth: GL (spice)

Flygon GL & UL (limited cup) No
Swalot GL (limited cup) No
Tyrunt GL (limited cup) No
Weavile (shadow) GL & UL (spice) Yes (ML)
Druddigon   GL (limited cup) No
Turtonator   GL (spice and needing move update!) No
Sneasler Sneasel (Hisuian)   Sneasler: GL & UL

Sneasel: GL (limited cup)

Qwilfish (Hisuian) Overqwil Qwilfish: GL (limited cup)

Overqwil: GL & UL (spice)

Toxapex GL (prefers bulk) No
Muk (Alola) Grimer (Alola) Muk Grimer Grimers: GL

Muks: GL & UL

Grimers: Yes (GL)

Muks: No

Houndoom (Shadow) GL (limited cup) No
Salamence ML (super spice) Yes (ML if you’re investing for the future Mega ML Cup)

Don’t Bother!

Unless you’re planning on running some absolute spice (and losing a lot) none of these mons will cut the mustard. Noibat just had its community day so newer players should already have their shiny (with the redundant Boomburst to match).


Overall, there’s not a lot of exciting PvP picks throughout this event, though there’s still enough to keep things interesting for players that are missing some of these mons from their PvP arsenal. Good luck with the shiny hunt, and until next time, you can also find me on Twitter or Instagram for more PvP analysis!


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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