Top Great League PvP Teams

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Trainers, Season 13 of the GO Battle League is finally upon us. What better way to kick things off than with a complete team-building guide you can use to gain an advantage over your opponent and to be able to understand team reading at a more advanced level.

Although we have spoken about the top performing Pokémon in our famous tier lists, it’s time we sit down and discuss some of the strongest ways to combine these Pokémon to create solid team compositions.

By the end of this guide, you will have a more clear understanding of what it takes to build a solid team in the Great League, how to predict your opponent’s team, helpful terminology and advanced strategies you can implement in your own gameplay.

Let’s start with the basics…

What Makes a ‘Good’ Team?

For starters, let’s make this clear. There is no such thing as a perfect team. Each and every team has strengths and weaknesses, what separates a good team from a bad team is a mixture of versatility, bulk, consistency and how it deals with the current meta. To the untrained eye, a team consisting of a Fire, Water and Grass type Pokémon may seem like a good idea since you can cover most typing, however in most cases, you’d be wrong and here’s why.

Diversity

Diversity is key, you want to make sure your team has coverage and some sort of play against almost all of the popular typings in the meta. Going back to why a team of Fire, Water and Grass may not be the best idea is simply due to the fact that this would be considered what we call in the PvP community, an RPS team, meaning Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Unless lady luck is constantly on your side and you can perfectly align each Pokémon to its respective counterpart, i.e. a Fire type to a Grass type, then that’s great, however, let’s say you’re like most people and think the ‘algorithm’ is against you (let’s not go there), then you’ll need a plan of action for when things do not align with your team.

Before we jump into some of the top-performing teams in the Great League, let’s first go through some helpful terms so that you can easily follow the PvP mumbo jumbo that I’ll be talking about.

PvP Terminology

ABC Team: An ABC team is 3 Pokémon consisting of all different typing to try and maximize effectiveness and coverage. Usually has a solid safe swap or ‘pivot’ which can be used to try and regain switch advantage if you are up against a bad lead.

ABB Team: A team that consists of a certain typing in the lead and using 2 of the same typing which covers the lead Pokémon’s weaknesses. The idea behind this is that if you win the lead matchup, stay in. If you lose the lead, swap out to one of your back line Pokémon, and if you’re up against a neutral lead, swap out to try and bait out a counter so that your last Pokémon can attempt to sweep the game usually with a shield advantage.

ABA Team: Usually on the more uncommon side, an ABA team has a Pokémon in the lead that has the same typing as one of your back line Pokémon. This lead Pokémon should, in some degree, deal with a large chunk of the meta, the idea here is to stay in no matter the lead and do whatever is necessary to win the lead matchup so that you can line your back Pokémon up correctly.

Pivot: A pivot Pokémon is a Pokémon that has exceptional coverage even in bad matchups, for example, one of the most famous pivot Pokémon is Sableye (Purified) because of its ability to almost always get a shield from your opponent or flip the match completely due to its overwhelming moveset of Shadow Claw, Foul Play and Return.

Core: A core is a combination of Pokémon that cover each other’s weaknesses. For example. A common core is Swampert and Skarmory since Swampert is highly threatened by Grass types, which Skarmory covers well. The same goes for Skarmory being weak to Fire, Rock and Electric which Swampert can also cover for.

Core Breaker: This is a Pokémon that can essentially beat all 3 of your Pokémon. Almost every team has at least one core breaker whether it be a conventional or non-conventional pick. You should expect to come up against these Pokémon and try to think around the bad situation.

To find the main core breakers in your team. You can simply look at your team and determine what typing/Pokémon you are weak to. Another way to find out what your team is weak in is to utilize the resources on PvPoke.com. While on the website, simply click on the Team Builder option and enter your team. PvPoke will do the work for you and come up with a detailed list of what Pokémon your team excels at beating and which Pokémon your team is weak to. If you want to dive even further, you can click on the Advanced tab and enter different scenarios such as ‘Shield Bating’, 2,1 and 0 Shield matchups, IVs, HP and Energy.


Common ABC Teams

Team 1:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Altaria Lanturn Registeel

Altaria has gained popularity again due to the fact that Walrein got a small but significant nerf last season to the energy cost of its charge move Icicle Spear. Its combination of bulk, coverage and usability makes Altaria a dominant pick in the meta. 

Pairing Altaria with solid backline Pokémon can make it an incredibly solid option to use. Registeel and Altaria create a superb core. Altaria is weak to Ice, Fairy, Dragon and Rock which Registeel covers almost perfectly.

The reason why Lanturn is a popular 3rd option in this team is mainly because of one meta Pokémon which might come to mind, Galarian Stunfisk. Lanturn with its newly added charge move, Surf, means that it has more play to matchups which normally gave trouble before. Surf only being 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. 

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Stunfisk (Galarian) Medicham Whiscash

Team 2:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Swampert Skarmory Sableye

Personally, this is one of my favourite teams which has helped me to achieve Legend, the highest rank in GBL multiple times. For starters, we all know by now that Swampert is the king of spam. Hydro Cannon, which is Swampert’s bread and butter, is a 90-damage move that only costs 50 energy

As mentioned above in the ‘core’ example, Swampert + Skarmory has been a staple since the early seasons and is still incredibly popular to this day. While they may be a solid core, alignment is key, which is why they must be paired with a strong pivot Pokémon.

Sableye, being one of my absolute favourite pivots in the game, does a great job at trying to regain switch advantage to align each Pokémon correctly, or even just getting a shield advantage which can be important too. 

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Scrafty Altaria Walrein

Team 3:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Lickitung Medicham Nidoqueen

Although Nidoqueen received a slight nerf this season, that’s not to say that it is by any means bad, if anything, many trainers will not be prepared for it since they believe that the Poison Fang nerf means that there will be no more Nidoqueen. This team has exceptional bulk paired with spamming potential, a debuff move and nukes. Coverage at its finest.

This team works well since Lickitung deals with Ghost types where as its backline struggles with them. While this team does require the XL versions of Lickitung and Medicham, if you do have access to these 2, this team can be dominant in the current meta.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Stunfisk (Galarian) Swampert Altaria

Common ABB Teams 

Team 1:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Venusaur Bastiodon Stunfisk (Galarian)

Our first example of an ABB team is this classic team consisting of Venusaur paired with 2 steel types. This team can be incredibly effective if played correctly. As we know, Bastiodon is a powerhouse this season due to the fact that Flying type Pokémon are everywhere due to the Wing Attack buff. It is the definition of a Rock, Paper, Scissors Pokémon. If you can align it correctly, you’re smooth sailing. If aligned incorrectly, it’s a downward spiral of throwing pebbles instead of rocks.

Venusaur’s job is to deal with potential Fighting, Water and Ground type Pokémon so that your backline does not have to deal with them. Again, as mentioned in the examples, the strategy behind this team and any other ABB-style team is to stay in if you have a good lead, swap out if you have a bad lead to your safe swap (Galarian Stunfisk in this team) to bait out any Fighting, Water and Ground types so that you can sweep the end game with Bastiodon, and swap out even if you have a neutral matchup in the lead.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Deoxys (Defence) Medicham Toxicroak

Team 2:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Stunfisk (Galarian) Noctowl Pelipper

By now, I’m sure you’re getting the idea of how these teams work. Galarian Stunfusk does well against Electric and Ice types whereas your backline loses to those typings, the same principal/strategy applies. 

With the recent buff to Wing Attack, Pelipper and the already strong Noctowl, create a deadly ABB line. They get to their Charge Moves a lot quicker now and can force a shield advantage and even now can deal with Pokémon which, before, gave them trouble.

This team is extremely solid since there are not many Pokémon in the current meta which can deal with the Galarian Stunfisk and Pelipper core. If you can successfully bait out the Flying type counter with Pelipper, Noctowl will have free reign against your opponent’s team.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Mantine Swampert Lanturn

Team 3:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Swampert Aurorus Froslass

While this team may be squishy, its damage output and coverage make up for it. Aurorus, the new meta destroyer has almost immediately gained popularity since it can now know the move Meteor Beam which is a powerful Rock type move that not only nukes but also has a guaranteed chance to increase your attack stat by one stage.

This team just makes sense for this season since Steel and Flying types are dominating the current meta. Having an energy lead on Froslass can mean that it can almost always take shields or be too overwhelming for your opponent.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Lickitung Araquanid Scrafty

Common ABA Teams  

Team 1:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Azumarill Skarmory Swampert

ABA teams are less common but once you realise the main strategy behind them, can actually be quite useful if played correctly. 

Take this team for example.

(A) AzumarilWater / Fairy

(B) SkarmoryFlying / Steel

(A) SwampertWater / Ground

This team is a great example of how an ABA team should look like. Your lead Pokémon, to some degree, must be able to put in work against anything, even its counters. Azumaril’s charge moves have coverage against even some of its hardest answers. The idea is to stay in and dish out as much damage as possible to either gain an early shield advantage or to soft-lose the lead so that your other (A) can gain an energy lead that your opponent would not be prepared for.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Trevenant Registeel Lickitung

Team 2:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Sableye Registeel Trevenant

Another example of having a lead Pokémon which can dish out damage to pretty much every ‘mon in the meta to some degree. The dangerous thing about this team is that even if you soft lose the lead, farming down and having energy on either Registeel or Trevenant can be deadly for your opponent, which makes this a solid ABA lineup.

Consider even using the shadow variant for Sableye in this team since you want to try your hardest at guaranteeing switch advantage, plus you will have a stronger matchup against most common leads.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Swampert Diggersby Scrafty

Team 3:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Deoxys (Defence) Lickitung Medicham

Although this team can have an obvious weakness to Ghost types, if you face one in the lead, stay in and attempt to deal enough damage to them while sacrificing Deoxys, Medicham will then have free reign to take over the mid/late game. On the contrary, if you get a decent lead and can maintain switch advantage, this can be a dominant team if played correctly.

Potential Core Breakers:

Pokémon #1 Pokémon #2 Pokémon #3
Trevenant Runerigus Mandibuzz

Parting Words

Hopefully these team examples gave you some insight into what it takes to create a diverse Great League team. If none of these teams appeals to you, feel free to get creative. Use these examples as guidelines on how to build your next team. Sometimes, the best team you can run is one that is unexpected.

Once you’ve crafted your team, remember to input them into the Team Builder option on PvPoke.com to see what their strengths and weaknesses are and to also tweak your team if necessary.

Practice makes perfect, don’t swap teams too often, even if you do find yourself losing frequently, persistence is key to success when it comes to well… anything really but especially in GBL.

Now then, go forth, create your dream team and become victorious.

Adam ‘Avrip’

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