It'll probable end up based on usage similar to how Smogon tiers things. Certain Pokemon get used more than others for one reason or another in main series competitive, I don't see why Go's PvP will be any different. It might take a while to iron out since the style of combat is different from raids and gyms but eventually we'll get a pretty good list of what gets used frequently and what doesn't.
Will tier lists even be a thing in pvp?
Unlike with raids and gyms, where we know what we are going against, and what the best coutners are for which movesets, we cant exactly do the same thing I PvP, assuming you cant see your opponents team prior to battle.
That and the meta before was DPS centric, and PvP seems to be more balance between both TDO and DPS by concept.
That and the shield and double charge moves change a heck of a lot of how we will set ups teams.
Tier list is still possible.
Max tdo options, using actual damage considering charge moves time to power up and odds of drawing out a protection shield (maybe assume 2/3's of a charge move is blocked for each Pokemon).
Then among the best picks, which ones counter the other ones the most.
In PvP stuff like this, there's typically three kinds of strategies:
- the top strategy, which beats everything (in expected value) that's not explicitly designed to counter it
- top tier strategies that generally lose to the best strategy but have a chance at beating it, and otherwise beat the counters to the top strategy easily
- counters to the top strategy that generally beat it, but lose to any other meta strategy
Then it becomes Rock paper scissors
I think the tiers will be twofold: One for which types are generally the best (have the most resistances, best general attacks, etc), and then within the types which species are the best of their type at different CP levels. For example, Blastoise is the top water attacker (does the most TDO of any water type) at the 2500 and 1500 CP levels, and water is a marginally useful type with 4 resistances and only two weaknesses.
Also, there are the general tanks that survive most everything right now (like Blissey and Chansey) - unless niantic nerfs those further, they'll never lose PvP battles...
Blissey and Chansey are going to be popular for sure, but there will be decent counters to them. For Chansey in Great League, (you can check all this with DPS/TDO spreadsheet) Bastiodon/Probopass will be top picks v. Hyper Beam, Registeel handles Dazzling Gleam, and Umbreon destroys v. Psychic/Psybeam. In Ultra, Metagross and Focus Blast Registeel seem like solid picks v. Blissey regardless of moveset.
I have never been able to figure out how to get the DPS/TDO rankings to update for different movesets, and I *JUST* figured out that it's because I've only ever tried to put in a charge move (because the fast moves never mattered that much). I only now figured out how to make that work - thanks for the giving me the impetus to check that again!
Like any pvp game there will absolutely be a tier / viability list. We'll have metagame staples, then top tier but less splashable threats, and niche picks. As the metagame adapts, things will move up and down, and we'll see trends. To give an example of how it might look like, here's how it can be done in the main series (within a specific ruleset).
The main seires and GO arent really comparable, digen the vastly differing battle mechanics. the main series has abilities, status moves different effectiveness multipliers and speed as well as weather that GO doesnt have. And those factors largely are what made the biggest impacts on pokemon.
Okay so tier lists similar to smogon usage lists will probably be loosely created as more of a guideline of what to use overall. But these tier lists won't be as relevant as the smogon counterparts. The reason being is there still isn't really "roles" present in PoGo even with PVP. There are no entry hazard setters, walls (in the traditional sense), status spreaders, clerics, and sweepers etc etc.
Pokemon don't play a role other than Pokemon A doing more damage than Pokemon B, but Pokemon B can survive slightly longer than Pokemon A.
So I think what you will see is a ranking based on "cores". 2-3 Pokemon cores that synergize well based on typing, bulkiness, attacking threat and attacking coverage. These cores could be determined by some simulation of win% vs pokemon within a tier.
As an example VGC is an extremely popular competitive format in pokemon. And as time goes on top players can determine the best core pokemon to include in every team no matter the circumstance. For example, the 2015 VGC was dominated by a team structure called CHALK. Which was an acronym for Cresselia, Heatran, Amoongus, Landorus-T, and Kangaskhan. Just about all teams consisted of those 5 pokemon.
I think something similar to that will occur in Pogo PVP. Sure there are a lot more meta relevant pokemon now when compared to the raid scene, but the cream will always rise to the top. And in Pogo's case I believe it will be in the form of cores