Noctowl PVP IV Deep Dive

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Article by RyanSwag

Update Log: 

11/26/22 - Given the strong performance of Noctowl in the current Play Pokemon Championship meta, Noctowl’s matchups have been explored in greater detail. The “Azu Slayer” build has been refined with a 168 HP minimum (old was 167) and considerations for the Licktitung 1-2, Obstagoon 1-1, and Medicham 2-2 have been added. The range for a more bulk focused Noctowl has been developed, adding the “Slight Atk + Bulk” build. A wild style “Alolan Ninetales Slayer” build has also been added. Anecdotes from several World’s qualifying Noctowl trainers have been added as well.

Full Article:

Noctowl recently got buffed in Pokemon GO with the GO Battle League Season 10 update.

With Shadow Ball, Noctowl is no longer stonewalled by Rock and Steel-type Pokemon, removing one of the greatest downsides to fielding the owl in Great League PvP. At the moment, Noctowl still feels like a “spice pick” or side-grade to stronger Flying-type Pokemon, but has enough potential, especially in Cups, that you should consider building one.  

The guide below highlights Noctowl’s most relevant Breakpoints and stat checks in Great League PvP.

PvP IV Basics

Breakpoints (BPs) are the point in which a Pokemon’s Fast Move does 1 extra damage based on their and the opponent’s hidden true stats. With simulators like we are able to pinpoint these important stats. The PvP IV Deep Dive series highlights the most meta relevant stat checks for the featured Pokemon. 

Stat Product (SP) is the product of a Pokemon’s true Atk, Def, and HP. In general, a high SP Pokemon are the best because they have the most stats. Important BPs may deviate from a high SP because gaining an Atk or Def BP in a critical matchup can be more important than having “more stats.” Outside of the Top 20 high SP options, the value of SP vs BPs tends to favor BPs. Often, important BPs can ensure a Rank 100+ SP Pokemon performs as well, if not better than, the Rank 1 high SP Pokemon. 

Given that the BPs and SP of a Pokemon are hidden values in game, you’ll need to use an app like CalcyIV or Pokegenie, or a website such as GOStadium or to get the most out of these PvP IV Guides. That said, game visible IV tables are provided to help simplify your search. 

If this all sounds like Greek to you, check out this video to help you understand PvP IVs more:

Also, the Breakpoint sections mention 1-1, 0-1, 1-2, etc. for matchups. These represent Shield Scenarios. 1-1 is when both you and your opponent spend a Shield, 0-1 is when you don’t spend a Shield but your opponent spends 1 Shield. The rest follow this format. 

Noctowl Basics

Noctowl only has 2 critical Atk Breakpoints (Azumarill and Galar Stunfisk) and they both come pretty early (105.02 Atk compared to the Rank 1 SP’s 104.1 Atk). Therefore, you may as well go with a slight Atk weight on Noctowl opposed to building the Rank 1, as the bulk gains are nebulous where the advantages against Azumarill and Galar Stunfisk are very clear. That said, if Noctowl is fielded in a meta where Azumarill and Galar Stunfisk aren’t available, Noctowl doesn’t have much to gain with the Atk weight. 

The main Atk Breakpoints are:

  • 105.06-106.66, Azumarill for the 1-1 and 2-2
    • 105.38 is a more likely Atk cap than 106.66
    • The 1-1 win may be off depending on Charge Move timing
  • 104.23-106.91, Galar Stunfisk for the 1-0 and 2-1
    • 104.23 for 127 Def (Rank 1 GFisk
    • 104.61 for 127.4 Def 
    • 104.8 for 127.7 Def (Rank 2 GFisk)
      • Safe upper limit
    • 104.95 for 127.9 Def
    • 105.37 for 128.4 Def
    • 105.94 for 129.1 Def (Rank 3 Gfisk)
  • 105.8, Medicham Charge Move Priority
    • With 169 HP or 168 HP + >118.75 Def gives higher Medicham 2-2 consistency
  • 106.36, Charm Alolan Ninetales 2-2 consistency, 1-1 potential
    • Requires either 172 HP or >118 Def
    • The HP is more consistent as the Def competes against Ninetale’s Atk weight
  • 106.2, Shadow Machamp 2-2

The lower ranges for the Breakpoints are based on the Rank 1 max SP iterations of the opponents. Given that Azumarill generally favors a slight Atk and/or HP weight, you could roll lower than 105.06 Atk. The rule of thumb for Galarian Stunfisk however is “if you don’t have the Rank 1, have higher Def than the Rank 1” therefore you may want a slightly higher Atk for that matchup (hence the lengthy list of Atk checks). Check out the Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk PvP IV Deep Dives for more details.

The Alolan Ninetales stat check could roll lower, as many players don’t have the Rank 1. That said, our current progress on the Alolan Ninetales PvP IV Deep Dive suggests the Rank 1 may be the ideal.

Def Breakpoints

Testing against various opponents with different IV compositions, roughly 117.58-118.27 Def is “safe” for Noctowl. This Def range includes Breakpoints from a variety of matchups, most importantly though is that it makes the 168 and 171 HP goals more consistent. 

Specific Def BPs you’d want to be aware of include:

  • 118.09-121.23, Powder Snow and Charm Alolan Ninetales
    • Powder Snow: 1-0, 2-1 potential
    • Charm: 2-2, 1-1 potential
    • ~118.79 could be a “safer” lower limit
  • 117.14-120.53, Obstagoon 1-1 potential with 171+ HP
    • Chasing higher Def for the mondo high Atk stat Obstagoon featured the Obstagoon PvP IV Deep Dive costs too much HP to maintain the 1-1
  • 114.75, Shadow Skuntank 0-0, 1-1, and Umbreon 0-0
    • Good to keep in mind for “Ninetales Slaying” Noctowl

The HP

Bulk testing against a variety of opponents with various IVs and shield scenarios, along with some specific energy lead/prior damage situations, suggests that 168 HP is a “safe” HP goal for an Azumarill Slaying Noctowl. That said, 169 HP may be “safer” if your Noctowl’s Def is <118. 171 HP is required for some specific high end bulk matchups, many of which will be out of the Azumarill Slayer’s reach. 172 HP will allow you to reach the 3rd Sky Attack in the Alolan Ninetales 2-2 more consistently. 174 HP can enable the Tapu Fini 2-1.

Noctowl PvP IV Tables

Slight Atk + Bulk Focus (104.23 Atk, 118.27 Def, 171 HP)

  • Rank 24 >= Rank 4 > Rank 40/41 > All else
  • 104.8 Atk for 127.7 Def (Rank 2 GFisk)
  • You can thrift on Def, just be cautious about sinking below 117.58

Azu Slayer (105.2 Atk, 117.58 Def, 168 HP)

  • Ranks 67 & 68 have notable bulk
  • >105.8 Atk can get Charge Move Priority on Medicham which can be significant
    • 169 HP or 168 HP + >118.75 Def have higher Medicham 2-2 consistency
  • >106 Atk gets the GFisk Breakpoint on the Rank 3 (0/15/11) (the highest reasonably Def weighted GFisk)

Alolan Ninetales Slayer (106.36 Atk, 172 HP)

  • Enables the 2-2 vs nearly all Alolan Nineales
    • 138.9 Def weights will require >107 Atk
  • The Top 5 of the group have bulk balanced to the 0-0 mirror & potentially the Venusaur 0-1
    • The 2/0/15 can also 2-1 Tapu Fini
  • The Alolan Ninetales flip can also be achieved with high enough Def, but given the wide Atk Range of Alolan Ninetales + the HP drop, the high HP low Def versions are generally more useful

A Champion’s Noctowl

Given that this guide has 3 different Noctowl builds, it could be good to get some direction from the players who’ve topped their regionals with Noctowl. At the time of writing this, 7 of the 14 2023 World’s qualifying players had Noctowl on their team. We currently have IVs and anecdotes from 5 of them.

Colin6ix (1st place Lille) used the Rank 40 (Slight Atk + Bulk). He stated it was the highest Atk weight he had that hit well, and hoped to catch some lower Def Azumarill with it. He would have preferred a higher Atk weight, but was pleased with the bulk grabbing him some critical wins, such as the 1 HP victory over ThoTechtical in the final round.

HouseStark (1st place Baltimore) used the Rank 1. He stated he’s a stat product purist and that he finds the extra bulk is comfortable for uneven matchups, highlighting how he survived SilentBeast’s Brave Bird. Reviewing the scenario, the (Slight Atk + Bulk) crew would have had the same win con, but that’s none of my business.

Hotpoket777 (1st place Peoria) used the Rank 45. 1485 CP?? He stated he used the one he had built years ago for a Silph Cup and wouldn’t mind getting a better one, noting that overcoming GFisk in the 2s is useful. Despite the goofy CP, the Rank 45 still manages to meet the bulk checks so ayyy.

ThoTechtical (2nd place Lille) used the Rank 186. He stated it was his only option that met the Azumarill Breakpoint, favoring the matchup advantages over bulk. He’s hoping to get a slightly lower Atk option in the future, in order to meet the Azu matchup but have more bulk.

Tomahawk (2nd place Warsaw) used the Rank 2. He stated he had no good Atk weighted options, so he went with his best bulk one. He also added that he’s patiently awaiting this Deep Dive’s update.

The Results: We’ll give it a rough 50/50 between the “Slight Atk Weight” and “Azu Slayer” groups. 3/5 went with non-Atk weighted builds, but 2 of those 3 only did so out of a lack of access. 


Given the slight variations in play between the stat groups, it’d probably be prudent to aim for 1 from each and use the Noctowl that gives you the advantages you want for the meta you’re expecting. In GO Battle League, Noctowl may find itself locked in with Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk often enough where going with an “Azu Slayer” build could be more effective. If you are a “1 and done” type builder though, the “Slight Atk + Bulk” group scratches both the breakpoint and stat product itch.

It's surprising how simply nerfing Walrein and Registeel has taken Noctowl to even greater heights than it has ever seen before in the Open Great League. It’ll be interesting to see what future updates have in store for Mr. Owl.


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