Pokemon GO has announced the details for the next season of GO Battle League: The Season of Mythical Wishes. This article details the big winners and losers of the move adjustments and movepool expansions. It also features a lite overview of the various Cups this season, to help highlight which Pokemon you should keep an eye out for.
Wing Attack Buff
The most significant change with the Season 13 update would have to be the Wing Attack buff. Previously, Wing Attack had 5 base power with 7 energy gains every 2 turns. With the buff, Wing Attack now gains 8 energy, making it a Vine Whip clone. Between Flying-type’s strong neutral coverage and the variety of Pokemon that have Wing Attack, this undoubtedly will impact the Great League and Ultra League metas.
- Best Moveset: Wing Attack + Sky Attack + Shadow Ball
Noctowl has already been making a name for itself in the 2023 Play! Pokemon World Championship series. Half of the current World qualifying teams have used Noctowl, and in 3 tournaments 100% of the players that used Noctowl made it to Day 2. Did Noctowl need a buff? Who knows, but it got one!
With this change, Noctowl is now able to manage a variety of threats more consistently, including but not limited to Lickitung, Medicham, and Galarian Stunfisk. For Lickitung and Medicham, the increased speed to Sky Attack means Noctowl is less reliant on specific bulk checks and Charge Move Priority to manage them effectively. For Galarian Stunfisk, if you have the slight Atk Breakpoint highlighted in our Noctowl PvP IV Deep Dive, Noctowl may now flip the 2-2 shield scenario either with perfect baiting or a single Fast Move energy lead (from swapping in, for example). Either way you cut, Noctowl was good before and just got way better.
- Best Moveset: Wing Attack* + Brave Bird + Feather Dance
Pidgeot is probably the most menacing benefactor from the Wing Attack buff. Back in Season 9, Feather Dance received a harsh nerf to its energy cost as Pidgeot was reaching the 100% chance -2 Atk stage debuffing move too quickly. Now that Wing Attack generates more energy, Pidgeot can reach Feather Dance more quickly than before. As a result, Pidgeot is once again one of the top most threats in both the Great League and the Ultra League. The main caveat to this power is that Wing Attack doesn’t have as aggressive damage as Gust, so it may come down to baiting games and hoping to land the Brave Bird, more so than raw domination. It’ll be interesting to see how much of an impact Wing Attack Pidgeot will have in the new meta.
(Note: Wing Attack is an Elite TM exclusive move for Pidgeot).
- Best Moveset: Wing Attack + Weather Ball (Water) + Hurricane
Pelipper was a solid general pick and safe swap back before Weather Ball got nerfed. With the Wing Attack buff, Pelipper is arguably better than ever, as it is able to not only spam Weather Ball on a faster cycle, but can also reach Hurricane more quickly than before. Pelipper’s return to safe-swap glory doesn’t come without risk though, as Lanturn is likely to become more popular than ever with the surge of Flying-type Pokemon.
- Best Moveset: Wing Attack + Bubble Beam + Ice Beam
With the buff to Wing Attack, Mantine can now reach Ice Beam as quickly as Trevenant can reach Shadow Ball and can reach Bubble Beam as fast as Galarian Stunfisk gets to Rock Slide. While these two matchups aren’t everything, they do exemplify the significant increase in the flying fortress’s speed.
While we don’t have a Mantine PvP IV Deep Dive up yet, it has a similar Atk weight as Noctowl, and the same significant Breakpoints for Galarian Stunfisk (Rank 1- 105.23, Rank 2- 105.8) and Azumarill (Rank 1- 105.06). Until we get time to dig deeper on Mantine, it could be worthwhile to check out the Noctowl PvP IV Deep Dive for some inspiration.
Gliscor and Shadow Gliscor have just been on the cusp on the meta for ages, having fantastic resistances and near perfect coverage. With the added speed of Wing Attack, they are now able to consistently manage Ghost-type threats (such as Giratina in the Ultra League) and can even hammer in Swampert. With the threat of Earthquake, Lanturn and a variety of Steel-types struggle to be a consistent answer to it. Aside from Ice-type Pokemon, Gliscor’s most consistent counter may be Mandibuzz, as Gliscor cannot touch it with Dark and Ground-type attacks.
Staraptor has always been a tantalizing closer in both the Great League and Ultra League, but has never been quite fast enough to reach multiple Charge Moves in time. It saw an uptick in utility with Season 12’s Quick Attack buff, and Wing Attack’s coverage could give it more farm down opportunities. It’s hard to say if this extra utility will be enough to allow Staraptor to outrun its bulk issues, but it is clear that Staraptor is a bit more versatile than before.
With the Wing Attack buff, Golbat is still able to reach Poison Fang in 5 attacks, despite Poison Fang’s energy nerf. To that end, Golbat is as good as ever and can also reach Shadow Ball more quickly now. With the Shadow Ball speed, Golbat can now reach its 2nd and 3rd Shadow Ball before Galarian Stunfisk can reach its 3rd and 4th Rock Slide, enabling it to have more potential to flip the 0-1 and 1-2 shield scenarios. With the drop in utility of Nidoqueen and Charm users, it’s difficult to place where Golbat will stand out compared to other Flying-types in the Season 13 meta.
In the Ultra League, Charizard competes with Talonflame as a Fire/Flying-type Pokemon. Charizard’s one shred of utility over the bird was being able to hit into Giratina with a super effective Dragon Claw. Unfortunately, Charizard was never fast enough to consistently threaten the lord of the Ultra League and would often find itself on the back foot against Talonflame. With the buff to Wing Attack, Charizard is back. In general, Talonflame will likely be the more consistent closer, but the Dragon Claw spam + larger upfront Fire-type damage with Blast Burn shouldn’t be underestimated.
In the Great League, Charizard is unfortunately a hair too slow and too fragile to be consistent. The Wing Attack buff has earned both Charizard a Top 100 ranking on PvPoke, but Charizard will likely need a >4 energy per turn Fast Move to stand out (such as Fire Spin or Ember getting reworked into energy heavy attacks).
(Note: Both Wing Attack and Blast Burn are Elite TM moves for Charizard).
Poison Fang Nerf
Shadow Nidoqueen has been an absolute wrecking ball in both the Great League and Ultra League metas ever since Season 8 buffed it. Similar to the energy nerf to Pidgeot’s Feather Dance and Walrein’s Icicle Spear, Poison Fang’s nerf may be enough to nearly kick the Queen out of the meta. Unlike those other two Pokemon, this nerf will take a few other Pokemon down with it.
Sharpedo, Seviper, Venomoth, Salazzle, Crobat, and Nidorina all saw some spicy, niche utility with the buff to Poison Fang. With Poison Fang nerfed, all 6 of them are nearly ruined. Nidorina’s likely the most unfortunate for players that built her, due to the steep stardust and XL investment. As mentioned in the previous section, Golbat emerged unscathed in this situation, as the Wing Attack buff enabled it to retain its Poison Fang speed. Unfortunately, not all Poison Fang users were as fortunate.
The day has come: Charm has been nerfed. While many players are celebrating the fall of what has been seen as one of the most oppressive Fast Moves in the game, not all players share this opinion.
At the moment it isn’t clear what major meta effects the Charm nerf will have. Given how slow and hard hitting the attack is, many Charm matchup changes may not be heavily affected. That said, this does push the anti-Dark-type role more into Fighting-types basket. With the buff to Flying-types, it’s hard to say how well Fighting-types will keep up. Similarly, countering Dragon-type Pokemon may be more reliant on Steel-types now. This also has the effect of buffing Ground and Fighting-type’s viability, both of which are vulnerable to Flying-type Pokemon.
It’s too early to call, but without counterbalancing the Charm nerf with other Fairy-type buffs, along with the Wing Attack buff, the Great League and Ultra League meta’s may be careening into a heavy Flying/Dark/Steel era. It’ll be interesting to see what Pokemon GO’s reaction to this shift will be in Season 14.
Litleo and Pyroar gained Incinerate to their movepools, and no one is sure exactly why. Both Pokemon are typically deployed for their anti-Ghost utility in limited formats. The extra Charge Move speed is helpful, but the change doesn’t appear to impact their consistency significantly. Perhaps this buff will be more appreciated in the Holiday and Love Cups this season.
Meteor Beam is taking Aurorus to new heights in both the Great League and the Ultra League. While the derpy dino is limited by having the worst defensive typing in the game, Aurorus has good stat product, great Charge Move speed, and, with Meteor Beam, a solid nuke attack. In the absence of Fighting and Steel-types, Aurorus will be a difficult Pokemon to challenge. Its large list of weaknesses will likely keep it in check however.
The other Meteor Beam recipients are a bit more on the Incinerate side of things. For Sudowoodo, Meteor Beam competes with Rock Slide and Earthquake. In some limited formats, the ability to ramp up Sudo’s Counter damage could be more useful than Earthquake itself for coverage, so it may see use. Overall though, not exactly a priority buff on paper. As for Aggron and Tyrantrum, they’re both still poor at everything- nothing has changed there.
In both Raids and PvP, Poltergeist is a terrible attack. Why Pokemon GO decided to make this attack so weak is a mystery. Distributing it to several Pokemon is just plain cruel. Despite its flaws, Dusclops and Golurk aren’t exactly unappreciative. Both Pokemon lack a Ghost-type nuke attack and get put into positions where they could reasonably farm up 75 energy. It’s not exactly a buff but it’s something.
With the addition of High Horsepower in Mamoswine’s moveset, Mud Slap + High Horsepower Shadow and regular Mamoswine have skyrocketed in power for Raids. Mamoswine is a solid non-Legendary option for the Master League as well, giving it fantastic role compression as an Ice-type attacker, Ground-type attacker, and overall Master League option. While High Horsepower isn’t that exciting of an attack in PvP, it is strictly better than Bulldoze, so it’s a nice buff to Mamoswine there as well.
As for the other High Horsepower recipients, it’s a buff but only slightly in PvP. As with Mamoswine, High Horsepower is better than Bulldoze for Piloswine, but it doesn’t change its viability. High Horsepower gives Galarian Rapidash a way to hit into Steel-types, but it’s still too slow and soft hitting to make an impact in the open Great League. At least Pokemon GO had to horsesense to not give this attack to Kantonian Rapidash, as it already has the superior Drill Run.
No single Pokemon is known for their relentless brutality as much as Ampharos is. This Ultra League Premier Cup Classic, Trevenant beware. The beast is coming. Outside of the Trevenant matchup specifically, Brutal Swing doesn’t help Ampharos out too much in either meta, beyond giving it an earlier non-Electric attack. It is nice to see Pokemon GO referencing Ampharos’s deeper lore, though.
Season 13 also gave Brutal Swing to Galarian Weezing. GWeez is still as much of a meme/spice Pokemon as ever, and having an extra tool in its belt to surprise opponents with is always helpful. As with most moveset expansions this season, it’s nice, but not very impactful.
Great League Remix
In the absence of Azumarill, Registeel, Galarian Stunfisk, and Lanturn, it will be challenging to safely break the Steelix-Pelipper core outside of Unovan Stunfisk. As a result, the meta is forecasted to revolve around Fliers, Fighters, Steelix, UFisk, and the few Ice and Rock-type Pokemon that manage to wedge themselves into the fray.
Fighting Cup: Great League Edition Remix
With the removal of every good option from the Cup aside from Toxicroak, expect to see a lot of Toxicroak! If you want to manage the Toxicroak mirror better, our Toxicroak PvP IV Deep Dive has an entire section dedicated to the Toxicroak mirror.
As for what else to use, Shadow Machamp and Poliwrath have the speed and power to break most opponents down. Hisuian Sneasel is kind of like a diet Toxicroak. With Buzzwole and the Dragons out of the picture, Throh may finally see use with its meme Zen Headbutt set.
Ultra Premier Classic
Every season, 3 trends stand out with the ULPC: Gallade is good, Trevenant is good, and Fire-types are good. Walrein, Lapras, Empoleon, and Dragonite are generally solid picks as well, along with Ampharos as a core breaker. One of Ampharos’s biggest limitations has been its inability to touch Trevenant. This year, things might get a little more brutal.
Also, say farewell to the ULPC. Pokemon GO announced that this will be the last season GO Battle League features a Classic Cup forever. While this is understandable for the Master League, the ULPC has a very unique meta compared to UL and UL Premier. Hopefully they reconsider and keep ULPC going for seasons to come.
Holiday Cup: Great League Edition
2022’s Holiday Cup saw a balanced Talonflame/Vigoroth side and a domineering Tropius/Double Rock side to the meta. Perhaps Dunsparce will make the difference in 2023?
If you haven’t dropped the stardust on Dunsparce yet, it could be worthwhile to check out the Dunsparce PvP IV Deep Dive.
Holiday Cup: Ultra League Edition
Giratina is a Ghost-type Pokemon. Ultra League has no shortage of Ice-type Pokemon to threaten it, but both Obstagoon and Dubwool manage those Ice-types and Giratina well. Alolan Ninetales stands out from the bunch, despite the Charm nerf. All of which sets the stage for Wing Attack Charizard to flex its new speed tier. It’s hard to say precisely how this meta will shape up, but there is a strong chance it will involve Giratina.
Weather Cup: Great League Edition
The Weather Cup: Ultra League edition was a fun and balanced Cup in Season 12 for everyone who had enough XL Candy and Stardust to participate in it. This balance however, doesn’t trickle down to the Great League where the Lanturn + Araquanid core stonewalls the meta. Cradily and XL Lileep are two decent core breakers, but their victory against Araquanid hinges on shields and Bubble Beam usage.
The question is, will everyone who XL’d Cradily for the Weather Cup: Ultra League edition have enough XL Candy to XL Lileep? And will Pokemon GO ever officially add Bullet Seed to Lileep’s movepool so somebody other than ThoTechtical can use it?
Electric Cup: Great League Edition
Unovian Stunfisk and Charjabug are banned, and Vikavolt and Heliolisk know Mud Slap. While a crafty Tackle or Quick Attacker could make the difference, chances are this meta’s going to boil down to Galvantula + Vikavolt + Heliolisk. With Rock Throwers in the mix, the Electric Cup will likely be the definition of: Win lead, win swap, win game. At least the battles will go quickly.
As before, Ultra Premier still focuses on Trevenant and the Dark-types that beat it. Dragonite was an interesting core-breaker in Season 12. It’ll be interesting to see how much impact the Wing Attackers and Aurorus will have in Season 13.
Love Cup: Great League Edition
Love Cup has historically seen a good amount of Talonflame, Ariados, Alomamola, Magcargo, and Medicham twisted in a strange RPS format that doesn’t feel as RPS as it could be. Love Cup 2023 may not be all that different, barring new releases such as Diancie, Tinkaton, Flamigo, or most terrifying of all, Scream Tail. This is by no means an exhaustive list of potential new and Love Cup impactful Pokemon, just a few that standout on paper (should they get the right movesets).
Hoenn Cup: Great League Edition
There is but 1 Pokemon in the Hoenn Region that can break the Altaria-Registeel Core in all shield scenarios and that’s Whiscash. Should you side with Daddy Cash, you’ll want to make sure it has at least 107.3 Def to avoid Altaria’s Dragon Breath Breakpoint (most high stat product Whiscash meet this). Given that Altaria may try to chase that Def stat, having >109.77 Def is ideal (but not necessary).
It goes without saying that Medicham will also be a potent option, along with Sableye, Shadow Gardevoir, and Pelipper. Dusclops also makes for an interesting option, as it can manage Altaria consistently with Ice Punch and has the opportunity to show off Poltergeist’s cool animation against Registeel. While the meta feels stacked against them, Swampert and Walrein both have opportunities to make waves as well.
While the only thing the Season of Mythical Wishes brought to the table was Wing Attack buffs, it’s interesting to see how that alone has shuffled the meta around. This seasonal update also features the rare PvE buff in the form of High Horsepower Mamoswine taking over the Ground-type role for Raids. New moves and more buffs would have been appreciated, but it’s clear Pokemon GO is taking a more cautious approach to altering the meta now that PvP has taken the world stage with the Play! Pokemon Championships. The question is, are “safer” small changes better?