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Top 10 Generation 5 Pokémon for Great League

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Introduction

Gen 5 movesets are out, and that means we can get a real sense of how every Unovan Pokémon will be able to perform in Trainer Battles! While this isn’t a complete list of every mon you’ll see over the next year or so, it’s certainly a good start!

Disclaimer: All of these movesets are from an initial version of the Gen 5 Game Master. This means that, by the time any given Pokémon gets released, Niantic could choose to alter the moves available to any given mon.

10 - 9

No. 10
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
249 155 139 2140

Moves

Fast Moves Astonish, Feint Attack
Charged Moves Foul Play, Sludge Bomb, Grass Knot
Set: Feint Attack + Sludge Bomb and Grass Knot
A mon historically more known for its utility than its damage output, Amoonguss fills a very interesting role in Great League. It manages to beat non-Tropius Grass types, a number of threatening Ghost-types and can perform fairly well against Deoxys-Defense (though it needs to shield Psycho Boost). However, it does lose to Azumarill, struggles hard against Confusion users, and obviously doesn’t really stand a chance against Grass’s normal predators (the Flying-types).
No. 9
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
198 204 129 2395

Moves

Fast Moves Lick, Fire Spin
Charged Moves Power-Up Punch, Flamethrower, Thunder Punch
Set: Fire Spin OR Lick + Power-Up Punch and Flamethrower OR Thunder Punch
It’s got Power-Up Punch, and other solid moves all around. What more needs to be said? Despite its heavily Attack-weighted stat distribution (and consequent low bulk), Heatmor’s powerful moveset could let it put in work! Especially in the lead position, as it likes being protected by shields to let Power-Up Punch do its magic. However, it will probably always have to compete for its spot with a powerhouse like Charizard. It has consistently powerful matchups against (non-Rock) Steel-types and Grass-types, but does struggle against Pokémon like Altaria, Azumarill, Lanturn and most Counter users.

8 - 7

No. 8
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
179 158 223 2321

Moves

Fast Moves Bullet Seed, Metal Claw
Charged Moves Power Whip, Flash Cannon, Acid Spray, Thunder
Set: Bullet Seed OR Metal Claw + Power Whip OR Thunder and Acid Spray
Ferrothorn is pretty bulky, and it has some fantastic charged moves in Power Whip and Acid Spray. Notably, Ferrothorn beats Azumarill in every single possible shield scenario! However, it is, overall, somewhat held back by mediocre fast moves. Strong matchups against the Mudbois, Charm users, Probopass, Lanturn, and some Psychic-types make it a tempting pick, though you do absolutely have to be on the lookout for Fighting-types, Flying-types, and fellow Grass types.
No. 7
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
233 188 150 2564

Moves

Fast Moves Mud Shot, Bubble
Charged Moves Muddy Water, Earth Power, Sludge Bomb
Set: Mud Shot + Earth Power and Sludge Bomb
Mud Shot has the fastest energy gain available in GO PvP. Mix that with Earth Power and Sludge Bomb, and you’ve got some fantastic offensive coverage, only getting walled by a few Pokémon. Seismitoad has some pretty nice bulk as well. While it does get torn to shreds by Razor Leaf due to its Water/Ground typing, it does fill an interesting role as a faster alternative to the Sludge Bomb variant of Quagsire, boasting a similar spread of matchups.

6 - 5

No. 6
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
216 195 182 2797

Moves

Fast Moves Zen Headbutt, Mud Shot
Charged Moves Megahorn, Stomp, Skull Bash, Earthquake
Set: Mud Shot + Megahorn OR Earthquake OR Skull Bash
Bouffalant? Yes, really. With access to Mud Shot and some really interesting charged moves, the bull could absolutely perform in PvP. It has access to the fastest possible Skull Bash (tied with the too-squishy Thunder Shock Raichu). Mix that with Megahorn and Earthquake for coverage and you’ve got a mon that could absolutely make waves as a closer. Depending on the moveset, Bouffalant can get strong matchups against a multitude of Steel-types, the Dark/Poisons, Umbreon, and a number of Psychic-types. However, it struggles to beat Flying-types, Azumarill, Grasses, Charm users, and of course, Fighting-types.
No. 5
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
225 159 178 2338

Moves

Fast Moves Bubble, Hex
Charged Moves Shadow Ball, Ice Beam, Bubble Beam
Set: Bubble + Shadow Ball and Ice Beam
While the moustachioed jellyfish didn’t get Surf, Shadow Ball + Ice Beam should absolutely be able to carry it to glory. Its monstrous bulk, combined with incredible defensive typing, should allow it to wall Counter users very hard. Most notably, it resists the entirety of Medicham’s traditional Counter + Power-Up Punch and Ice Punch set. It also manages to beat out other Counter users, Azumarill, Mudbois, and non-Mew Psychic-types. However, it struggles against Probopass and Lanturn, as well as Grass-types and Sableye, Umbreon, and Haunter.

4 - 3

No. 4
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
176 159 135 1839

Moves

Fast Moves Bite, Dragon Breath
Charged Moves Dragon Pulse, Dark Pulse, Body Slam
Set: Dragon Breath + Body Slam and Dark Pulse
Dragon Breath + Body Slam? Yes please. While this may be a bit more of an out-there pick than some of the others on this list, the mon has some objectively powerful moves. Zweilous could function as a draconic Vigoroth, powering out Body Slams while still firing off strong consistent fast move damage, so keep an eye out for this one for any cup that includes Dark-types. Just make sure to keep it away from Charm users. Zweilous is surprisingly strong, too! It beats out Umbreon, Bronzong, Hypno, Jirachi, Haunter, Sableye, Grasses, and Lanturn. As previously stated, it does lose to Charm users, but it also struggles against Flyings (Skarmory, Altaria, and Dragon Tail Lugia), Counter users, and Azumarill (even without Play Rough).
No. 3
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
163 163 222 2283

Moves

Fast Moves Counter, Snarl
Charged Moves Power-Up Punch, Acid Spray, Foul Play
Set: Counter OR Snarl + Power-Up Punch and Foul Play
While just having Counter + Power-Up Punch is exciting enough, Scrafty gets a number of other exciting moves as well! Snarl, Acid Spray, and Foul Play are all powerful moves in their own right that give Scrafty a very interesting niche. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it can hard wall Sableye, which would otherwise prey on Counter users! While it is weak to Counter, that’s never exactly stopped Lucario from being a beast in every format it’s been legal in. Once again, like with Zweilous, keep it FAR away from Charm users. Scrafty can beat Mudbois, including Swampert (outside of the 0-0 matchup), Steel tanks, Lanturn (outside of the 0-0), Bronzong, Mew, Hypno, Jirachi, Umbreon, and the Dark-Poisons with Counter. Snarl lets it pick up consistent wins against Haunter, as well as letting it handle Cresselia with shields up. However, it will consistently struggle against Tropius, Azumarill, and other Fighting-types.

2 - 1

No. 2
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
240 144 171 2162

Moves

Fast Moves Thunder Shock, Mud Shot
Charged Moves Mud Bomb, Discharge, Muddy Water
Set: Thunder Shock OR Mud Shot + Mud Bomb and Discharge
Bulky? Check. Incredibly powerful moveset? Check. Flat? Not exactly a normal category, but also check. Stunfisk got everything it needed to be a massive threat in Great League. Just to start, Stunfisk beats Skarmory by a wide margin in every shield scenario, even with Mud Shot. Consistent matchups against the Steel Tanks, Dark/Poisons, and Sableye make this a great mon to look out for. However, it does struggle against Deoxys-D, Medicham, Altaria, Umbreon, and Charm users (other than Togekiss).
No. 1
Base HP Base Attack Base Defense Max CP Type
242 129 205 2138

Moves

Fast Moves Snarl, Air Slash
Charged Moves Dark Pulse, Sky Attack, Aerial Ace, Foul Play, Shadow Ball
Set: Air Slash OR Snarl + Sky Attack Aerial Ace and Foul Play
Bulkier than Probopass and Deoxys-Defense, Mandibuzz was going to be a flying wall no matter what.
Then, Niantic decided to go the extra step and give it every single good move it could possibly have learned. Maybe the single most exciting Gen 5 Pokémon for Great League PvP, Mandibuzz is a huge threat, and definitely a mon to get your hands on! No matter the fast move, Mandibuzz can beat Swampert, Whiscash, Grass-types, Ghost-types, Umbreon, Steelix, Bronzong, Mew, Hypno, Lugia, and Cresselia. It also consistently loses to Charm users, Steel Tanks, and Altaria. With Air Slash, it can consistently beat Medicham and Psycho Boost/Thunderbolt Deoxys-Defense, but loses to Lanturn hard. Using Snarl instead, it picks up Rock Slide Deo-D in the 1-1 and 2-2, loses the Medicham 2-2, and struggles way harder against Azumarill and Lucario.

Niantic made the decision to alter Mandibuzz in the time after initial publication, replacing Sky Attack with Aerial Ace in Mandibuzz's movepool. This does mean that the mon is strictly weaker than it otherwise would have been. However, its raw stats should still enable it to be a very powerful Pokémon in the format, only performing worse in situations where the Flying-type damage is necessary (most notably against Pokémon like Medicham, Azumarill, and Grass-types). While this may mean it no longer deserves the #1 spot on this list, don't write it off just yet!

Honorable Mentions

Crustle (Fury Cutter + Rock slide and X-Scissor)
Crustle’s Bug/Rock typing leaves it only weak to Water, Steel, and Rock-type moves. This, combined with a high energy gain fast move and some cheap charged moves let Crustle pressure shields and hit hard.

Leavanny (Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade and X-Scissor)
One of a few Pokémon with the coveted Razor Leaf/Leaf Blade combination, this one brings some unique Bug-type coverage as well.

Krookodile (Snarl + Earthquake + Outrage)
Krookodile brings some very powerful coverage to the table. While it’s pretty Attack-heavy, its hard-hitting Charged moves can tear through anything that doesn’t resist them.

Zoroark (Shadow Slaw + Foul Play + Sludge Bomb or Flamethrower)
Zoroark functions a little like Haunter as a super squishy, high damage monster. It’s a bit slower, and it takes super effective damage from Fighting, so its niche is somewhat questionable.

Emolga (Thunder Shock + Aerial Ace + Discharge)
Emolga’s kinda like Minun, except it can perform better against Grass- and Fighting-types.

Escavalier (Bug Bite + Drill Run and X-Scissor OR Aerial Ace)
Escavalier shares its Bug/Steel typing with known threats like Forretress and Trash Cloak Wormadam. While it is uncomfortably fragile, it brings some very unique coverage which could make it a threat to be considered.

Carracosta (Water Gun + Ancient Power and Body Slam)
Carracosta is kinda like Omastar, except it trades in Mud Shot for some powerful neutral coverage in Body Slam.

Eelektross (Spark + Crunch and Dragon Claw OR Thunderbolt OR Acid Spray)
Eelektross could function kinda like Alolan Raichu, as a fast but fragile Electric-type, without the Psychic typing, and with much more diverse offensive coverage.
 

Conclusion

Generation 5 will be bringing a ton of new toys for battlers to play with, and they will absolutely shape both the Open and Silph Cup metagames in the coming year. All that's left is to see when the Pokémon actually get released, and if they decide to change movesets. 

About the Author(s)

Tyler is a contributing writer for GamePress, primarily focusing on Trainer Battle content. Fan of dogs and fighting games.

Writer and graphic designer for GamePress, from Sicily (Italy). Illustrator since childhood.