So The Adventure’s Abound Season of Pokémon GO not only brought about a rather substantial update to PvP and shifted the meta, but also coincided with the start of the 2024 Play! Pokémon Tournament season. As such I took a look at the first regional tournament this season to gauge what Great League PvP going forward might look like, and made some bold assumptions along the way.
And now that we’re either half or two-thirds of the way into the season depending on when this article comes out, I thought it would be fun to take a second look at the state of the official tournament format.
So what did I get right? What did I get wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names in PvP right now and find out!
That Which Has Been Decided: Gligar
One prevalent theme since the start of the season is the avenue for choices. All of a sudden, we found ourselves with multiple viable moves and forms for meta-defining Pokémon. One such decision to make was whether or not regular or shadow Gligar was more desirable for PvP. And it seems trainers that participate in the official tournament circuit have come to a consensus. Regular Gligar is in, Shadow Gligar is out. With both the Sacramento and Lille regional tournaments seeing practically no Shadow Gligar action.
So I suppose Gligar’s natural bulk is preferred over the damage boost Shadow Gligar may bring. If you are yet to build a Gligar for yourself, you might want to save your candies and just build a regular one, rather than the more expensive shadow variant.
Though while talking about Gligar, I don’t think it would be fair to just leave with talking about which version of Gligar is preferred. Because Gligar being part Ground has had a rather substantial ripple effect in the meta overall. Most notably, Steel types have taken the largest hit, being perpetually afraid of those super-effective digs.
And this of course had further effects on other Pokémon down the line which will be discussed in due time. Yet despite its contribution to shifts in how the Great League is played, I would argue Gligar itself is not as prevalent as prior Flying types such as Noctowl and Altaria were. With trainers top-cutting and even winning tournaments with other flying types such as Pelipper, Mandibuzz, Mantine, and even Dragonite.
The Decision Yet To Be Made: Medicham
Now here’s the thing, Medicham was always a major player for PvP in the Great League format. And it feels as though that isn’t changing any time soon, as Medichams are even more prevalent right now than ever. But with the slight nerf to Psychic this season, a question arose on whether Dynamic Punch is preferred over it. And unlike the decision regarding shadow or regular Gligar, this decision doesn’t seem as clear-cut.
On one hand, Dynamic Punch feels reaaally good in the current meta. It makes matchups against bulky meta staples such as Lickitung and Umbreon a lot better on the side of Medicham. And completely destroys Pokémon weak to Fighting such as Alolan Sandslash. But on the other hand, Psychic does perform better in the Medicham Vs. Medicham scenario. And with both Sacramento and Lille tournaments seeing 100% Medicham usage on day 2, I think it’s safe to say Medichams will meet each other! In such a scenario, having access to Psychic does give you an advantage.
So while Dynamic Punch was a bit more preferred in Lille, I think we will still continue to see Medichams running Psychic going forward. As for whether or not you want to run Dynamic Punch or Psychic, I think it comes down to team composition. If you think you have other solid counters for Medicham Dynamic Punch is the way to go, but if your main counter to Medi is Medi, then Psychic might be the preferred move.
A Throne Fit for A King: Serperior
Coming back to the ripple effects in the meta as a result of Gligar being the Flying type of choice, we have Grass types. Honestly, there were always grass types with solid moves and stats for PvP. But unfortunately, they couldn’t really break out into the open meta with so many bulky Steels and Flying type threats going around. But with Gligar scaring out the steels and prevalent flying types not doing as significant flying-type damage as before, it’s finally time for the grass types to shine!
Shadow Venusaur and Shadow Victreebel are nice with their heavy damage. But I think there is (rather fittingly) a clear winner that stands above the rest, Serperior. Can you believe I considered Serperior a spice pick in my initial article? Serperior already had impressive bulk, the fast energy-generating Vine Whip, and the community day Frenzy Plant. Now it also has fewer threats to contend with and access to a buffed Aerial Ace for coverage.
But a lord doesn’t even need such feeble things as buffs! Galaxkobolten ran a pure grass Serperior build. Running Leaf Tornado instead of Aerial Ace and relying on the chance at a double attack debuff. And it clearly worked out for Galaxkobolten, earning him complete victory in Lille. And solidifying Serperior’s place in the roster of top-played Pokémon this season!
Fall of Steel, Rise of Ice: Froslass
As mentioned prior, Steel types have seen somewhat of a fall from the meta. What was once the type that was constantly in the top 6 played Pokémon, just isn’t seeing that much play anymore. With Galarian Stunfisk having more or less disappeared (though Kimisui did use one, so I wasn’t completely wrong that it would still be hanging around). And both Alolan Sandslash and Registeel reaching the top 12 but never quite reaching top 6 in terms of usage, especially on Day 2 in the recent tournaments.
The double trouble of Gligar’s Dig and Medicham’s Dynamic Punch is definitely responsible for this. Between Registeel and A.Slash, Shadow Alolan Sandslash is definitely the one that is being used the most and performing well. In fact, it was pivotal in Zzweilous’s win in the Barcelona Special Event. Though it was running Powder Snow, as opposed to the previously preferred Shadow Claw. Because you know what Gligar (and the newly popular grass types) really don’t like? Ice
So I believe A.Slash is the most popular because of its ice typing, and not as a steel type. Also you know a Pokémon that did enter the top 6 in Lille day 2? Frosslass. An Ice type but not a Steel type. Being part Ghost instead. Thus being able to handle Medicham better. So it really does seem Steel which was once a great defensive typing, just isn’t as popular anymore. It’s a new cold age of Ice. So, uhh, Regice spice anyone?
Don’t Blink, It’s: Carbink
So despite the title of this segment being Carbink, I want to start off by talking a bit about Dark types. And really, just about how slight changes can shake up the metagame in general. I’ve talked about how Steel types are becoming less popular due to other Pokémon and moves running in the meta. And then that now affects what other Pokémon might work out well on a team. Grass is one of course. But other types such as bulky Dark types have a bit of wiggle room as well.
Most notably as early as the first tournament in the 2024 season, the Pittsburgh regional, LyleJeffsIII, constantly led with his shiny Umbreon. It was pretty safe to run with the lack of steel types. And Mandibuzz saw quite some play in Lille as well. However, in that tournament, Umbreon actually saw a decrease in usage, especially on day 2. This is definitely because more people are running Dynamic Punch on Medicham now which does super-effective damage to Dark.
With this information in hand, I want you to consider another type entirely, Fairy. Another type that benefits from the absence of Steel and does well against both Dark AND Fighting. Which brings us back to Carbink. Sure it wasn’t the meta breaker it was initially expected to be thanks to shifts in the meta. But in Lille, it proved to be quite solid. Earning Elepfandflasche a respectable second place. And it wasn’t just bench pressure either. Carbink’s bulk did come into play, acting as a very good closer. And I believe other fairy types such as Alolan Ninetales once again has a chance to shine again as well.
…Or their chance could completely be ruined thanks to the upcoming GroundPoison type Clodsire. Who knows really?
And there you have it. A look at the current season of Pokémon GO from the perspective of the official tournament circuit. Whether you’re an avid enjoyer of the official tournament format or someone who enjoys GBL, I hope you’ve found some use in this analysis. Overall, I believe the changes made this season of Adventures Abound were in general, more positive. As exemplified by the fact that no one Pokémon is completely dominant (except maybe Medicham), and each new tournament brings something new to the table as well.
With that being said, I certainly hope to see Pokémon GO’s PvP continue to grow in a positive direction still. Happy battling and:
Goodbye for now, Pokémon trainers. Priom-out!
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