Great League Tier List

Best Pokémon to use in the Great League

Complete Tier List for playing and winning in the Pokémon GO Great League. Knowing what Pokémon to use for different situations in battle can be the difference between a win or a loss. Having a strong and diverse team composition combined with game knowledge is vital for climbing up the ranks ladder and being triumphant.

Quick overview

Pokémon GO PvP has increasingly become more and more popular since the release of the feature in December 2018. Since then, the GO Battle League has become bigger and better each season. With each new season, there is often a change in the meta which players must adapt to. This goes through some of the current strongest picks in a tier list format.

One of the most important things to factor in if you’re looking to get into the Pokémon GO PvP scene or if you are a seasoned veteran and want to learn more about achieving success in matches is to know everything there is about having a dominant team for the Great League which is the primary format for tournament play and arguably one of the most popular GBL formats too.

Important terms

It is important to know about what Pokémon you can and can’t use for a tournament and to learn all about the top meta-relevant Pokémon that have the best coverage. Some very important terms that need to be known before diving into building a strong Great League team are:

Pokemon GO Leads, Closers, Attackers and Defenders
Battle terms used in the graphic above are from


A Lead refers to a Pokémon that works exceptionally well as an initial ruling Pokémon in a battle, they’re ideal for sending out head first as they are capable of pressuring the opponent with good coverage and resistances, however, they more often than not rely on burning a shield or 2 to give them the best opportunity in battle.


Closer Pokémon are Pokémon that work well when you have no shields remaining, they have great typing and stats, alongside having exceptional moves to help them not have to rely on shields.


An Attacker is a Pokémon whose best asset is to take down an opponent’s Pokémon that has shields remaining when you’re all out of shields to use yourself. Their natural bulk, strong attacks, and resistances allow them to succeed against sturdy defenses.


Defenders are Pokémon that excel when you have shields and your opponent is all out. They are able to act as a sponge by absorbing damage and do not need to rely on the use of shields because of their bulkiness and diverse typings.

Now that you have learned about the categories, it’s time to talk about a few certain Pokémon for each category that have been an absolute powerhouse in the past for tournaments and why they did so well.



If you’re looking for an annoyingly strong Water/Ground-type Pokémon, then look no further than Swampert. Swampert’s well-rounded stats and typing make it an excellent counter to a ton of current meta picks. Swampert is able to quickly charge and spam Hydro Cannon, which can be an absolute game-changer.

The main issue with Swampert is its double weakness to Grass attacks which is why Swampert is great in the Lead since if you see a Grass type mon, you can simply swap out to attempt a pivot to win back switch advantage. Pokémon like Venasaur, Trevenant and Shadow Victreebel can melt Swampert in an instant and, if you’re not careful, take you down with one charge move.

Hydro Cannon is Swampert’s saving grace and is one of the best moves overall in the Great League. It allows Swampert to bait shields, while also allowing access to Earthquake for serious damage dealing.

One of the most popular cores in the Great League is running Swampert with Skarmory as these 2 can deal with almost every other meta Pokémon in the game


Similar to Swampert, Quagsire can be an excellent lead, especially with the newly added Water type move, Aqua Tail which not only provides coverage against commonly seen meta Pokémon such as Registeel, Gligar, Lanturn, Steelix, Alolan Ninetales and more, but it can also be beneficial as a bait move.

Having bulk combined with solid coverage moves makes Quagsire a force to be reckoned with. Before the season 15 move update, Quagsire was a decent closer since it only had nuke moves. Mud Bomb, paired with Stone Edge or Aqua Tail allows it to be an overall generalist that can pair well with many other picks.


Steelix was one of Season 16’s biggest winners with the move update. Steelix was granted the annoyingly spammy Dragon type charge move, Breaking Swipe. This move has a 100% chance to lower your opponent’s Attack by 1 stage. What this means is that Steelix can put up a fight against even some of its hardest counters Medicham, Swampert and Clodsire since you can shield their first Charge Attack and unleash a barrage of Breaking Swipe to continuously lower their Attack stat. 

Combining Breaking Swipe with Earthquake makes for interesting coverage. Having Earthquake means it can even threaten some of its Steel type counterparts such as Registeel and Bastiodon. Having access to this nuke means that you can perform baits with Steelix in order to maintain energy and creature future advantages.


Medicham has been a fan favourite since Season 1. It’s gotten even stronger with the release of XL Pokémon meaning that this Fighting and Psychic type deals more damage and has gained more bulk.

With this increase in stats, Medicham has a better time dealing with Pokémon that normally used to give it trouble in the past such as Azumaril. There are many ways to use Medicham depending on your movesets.

Some like to run Power-Up Punch to make those Counters hurt even more, Ice Punch to help take down those pesky Flying types that can give Medicham trouble, and even Psychic to deal heavy STAB damage.

The overall popularity of Ice and Steel types in the current meta means that Medicham can often sweep teams when aligned correctly.



Azumarill, aka the bulky blue egg, makes a great addition to any Great League team. Azumarill counters a lot of current meta picks naturally. Azumarill’s high defense allows it to withstand a few direct hits and still have a fighting chance. It is an exceptional Pokémon for making clutch comebacks without having to rely on shields to protect itself.

The addition of Ice Beam is a counter in itself to many Grass-type Pokémon, but consider it a last resort. Play Rough is also a great move that works against many popular picks in the Great League, such as Sableye and Medicham.

Hydro Pump has the potential to deal massive amounts of neutral damage to most match-ups and can just about eliminate an Alolan Marowak with no shields.


One of the recent new additions to the game, Carbink, took everyone by surprise as it instantly made its way to the top spots on PvPoke. Carbink is a dual Rock & Fairy type that has similar bulk to Bastiodon but also has heavy-hitting charge moves being Rock Slide and Moonblast.

While it may be a challenge to acquire the XL candy in order to completely power it up, if you can manage to do so, you have your hands on possibly one of the best Great League Pokémon we’ve seen in a very long time. 

Imagine a Rock type beating a Medicham, insane right?!


Despite the slight nerf to Zap Cannon, Registeel is still a highly used and incredibly strong Steel type tank. It has the ability to deal out massive nuke Charge Move damage and paired with Lock-On means that it can get to these moves insanely quickly.

It can be tough when you’re up against certain Pokémon such as Galarian Stunfisk, Swampert and Medicham, however, pairing Registeel with Pokémon that can deal with its weaknesses means that it can have an easier time showing off its potential.


Froslass is the undisputed queen of closing out games in the Great League. If you can save a shield or 2 for Froslass, it can deal deadly amounts of damage to almost everything in the entire current meta.

The overall popularity of Medicham along with Flying types such as Gligar and Mandibuzz, means that Froslass can be well-equipped to take on anything. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you can farm Pokémon down and come out with a lot of energy, it can be overwhelming for the opponent to deal with. 


Gligar was the fortunate Pokémon to have a moveset update which benefitted 2 of its preexisting moves, Aerial Ace and Dig, both now dealing more damage. Its dual typing of Ground & Flying means that it can deal out super effective damage against a whopping 8 types. 

You would think that common Water type Pokémon such as Lanturn and Swampert would be able to comfortably beat Gligar, but it has the capability to fight it out and even win in the even shields, depending on if Lanturn has Spark instead of Water Gun and the Swampert doesn’t have too much of an energy lead.

Just try to avoid any Ice types that will freeze Gligar to the abyss.



Ah yes, the ‘grasshole’ staple Pokémon, many trainers dislike finding this Pokémon in the lead because they know what the other 2 Pokémon are, which, most of the time are 2 Razor Leaf users. This tactic gained popularity in Season 4 which caused trainers on social media to vent about this epidemic.

Jokes aside, this would not be a list of top-tier picks without having this monster mentioned in it. Its job is what it looks like, a big strong wall, its only real “threat” is Fighting, Ground and Water-type Pokémon.

The release of XL Candy means that an XL Bastiodon is one of the tankiest Pokémon in the entire Great League. It can be a nightmare to take it down without having the right counters in place.

You will have to fork out a tonne of stardust though if you’re willing to employ it to your Great League team but in the grand scheme of things, it will be well and truly worth it and will be an extremely valuable asset to your team.


Lanturn, Lanturn, Lanturn… I’m sure by now you’re sick of seeing this electric fish since it’s been a powerhouse for the past few seasons. Since it was able to learn the charge move Surf, which is a 40 energy move, means that you don’t have to rely on its previous main Water-type damage output, Hydro Pump, which was only really good when your opponent’s shields were down or if you caught them off guard. 

The current 2023 meta has seen Lanturn gain popularity. Not only is it an excellent answer to a lot of the meta, but its bulk, spam and typing make it a solid option for players to get their hands on, not to mention, that acquiring a Lanturn is fairly simple and does not cost too much Stardust to power up close to 1,500 CP.

Ninetales (Alola)

Alolan Ninetales has a unique dual typing of Ice/Fairy typing which provides excellent coverage in the current meta. The release of its shadow variant means that it can hit like a truck now, especially when it has Charm as the fast move. Being one of the strongest and most versatile Charm user in the whole of Great League is nothing to sneeze at.

We have seen Alolan Ninetales gain popularity in regional tournaments since it can core break many team compositions, if you can avoid Steel types, you’re in for smooth sailing. This means that alignment is everything, pairing Alolan Ninetales with Pokémon which can cover its weakness, such as Lanturn for example, can create a deadly core that can cover most Pokémon in the meta.



Sableye has been a solid safe swap ever since its shadow variant was made available. It’s one of the rare cases where Purifying a Pokémon actually makes it have more play in a meta since it can learn the move Return. Paired with its high attack stat, this move can make your opponent’s Pokémon suffer.

Shadow Claw is one of the most top-performing Fast Moves due to its damage and energy per turn which Sableye has access to. It also knows Foul Play which is a 45 energy move that deals 70 damage.

Although Fairy types will eat Sableye for breakfast, having access to Return means that it can turn the tides on those that do not respect this heavy-hitting move and oftentimes you can win switch advantage back from tough situations (except Carbink).


Serperior was another winner when it came to the Season 16 move update which made the charge move, Aerial Ace deal more damage. Fortunately for Serperior, it can learn this move and gives it better coverage against Fighting, Grass and even to be a better option to deal neutral damage against other ‘mons which resist Grass type moves.

Its single typing of pure Grass means that it has fewer weaknesses whereas other Grass types have to watch out for certain Pokémon due to their second typing. It combines bulk with versatility and damage output. This is the reason why we are seeing it everywhere in the current regional formats around the world!

Sandslash (Alola)

Alolan Sandslash is somewhat of a specialized core breaker in the Great League. Because of its double weakness to Fighting types, Alolan Sandslash is either used as a lead or a closer. In the lead, it can be a safe option since you can swap out of bad leads to try to maintain alignment correctly, whereas if you decide to use it as a closer, it is more than likely paired with a Pokémon such as Dewgong to try and lure out the Fighting type so that Alolan Sandslash may sweep the game with shields.

With it now able to learn Drill Run, this means that you can threaten Pokémon such as Registeel, Galarian Stunfisk, Lanturn and more. It is recommended to use the shadow variant as you are already a squishy target, so sacrificing overall bulk for damage is a worthy tradeoff. 


Clefable has quickly made its way onto this list because of the newly introduced fast move, Fairy Wind which it can now learn. Fairy Wind is a Mud Shot clone meaning that it has the exact same energy and damage output. It can now get to those heavy-hitting nuke moves such as Moonblast and Meteor Mash.

If you can manage to force your opponent to use shields, Clefable will have a comfortable time sweeping the end game. While you do have to avoid certain typings such as Steel and Poison, it can provide an unexpected amount of damage which is also paired nicely with its ability to outbulk most other Fairy types.

Parting words

Ensuring you have a diverse team structure will aid you on your quest to victory in the competitive Pokémon GO PvP scene.

The great thing about PvP is that you never know what to expect when it comes to versing your opponents and how they have structured a team. Your opponent can completely throw you off with an off-meta team or use a Pokémon that you may not have much knowledge about, what moves it has or how well it will perform.

There is no exact list of what Pokémon to use for a single format, but take this article as a general guide on how to verse some of the most highly picked Pokémon in the current meta and also to understand what roles they perform best at.

It is highly suggested to have at least one Pokémon on your team that can cover a specific role in battle. This will help you build a diverse team and prepare you for every situation that will arise in a battle. Overcome your opponent with knowledge, rather than brute force.

Adam ‘Avrip’

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Writer/Editor for the Pokémon GO Hub. PvP enthusiast. 2023 Perth Regional Champion. 9th at Yokohama World Championship. Collector and enthusiast of rare Pokémon retro memorabilia. GBL Legend Multiple Seasons. Sold my soul to Niantic on 07/07/2016.

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