GO Battle League Team Builds: Master League

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Welcome to Master League! With no CP cap, everything is optimal at Lv40, 100% IVs (or even Lv41 if you can get something Best Buddied!). While the format can be expensive, it's pretty fun to be able to finally use Pokémon you've maxed for raids in PvP. Even if you don't quite have the resources to max out and 3move full teams of legendaries, just use what you can and take this as an opportunity to farm up resources!

Budget Teams

Budget for Master League will look somewhat different than it does for Great and Ultra. If you want to stay competitive, you have to come to terms with maxing things out, and that’s never not going to be expensive. “Budget” here mainly means picking things that you may already have powered up, be it for Raids, Gyms, Rocket battles, or maybe just because it was a hundo! That’s always going to be the cheapest option.

And of course, if you want to max out something new, use Luckies for that 50% stardust discount, or Purified Pokémon for the 10% discount on both stardust and candy!

Through this section, you’ll be seeing a number of species with Community Day exclusive moves (marked with an asterisk), and that’s for a reason! These pokemon are generally very powerful and quite accessible. If you missed out on them, they can absolutely be worth a Lucky trade.

Dragonite, Metagross, Rhyperior
  • Dragonite: Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw
  • Metagross: Bullet Punch + Meteor Mash* and Earthquake
  • Rhyperior: Mud Slap + Rock Wrecker* and Surf

Dragonite/Metagross is a very strong core, as they cover each other’s weaknesses almost perfectly, and they’re two pokemon that you probably already powered up if you’ve been playing regularly. While Dragonite can situationally benefit from having Draco Meteor in late game scenarios, it doesn’t really need it the majority of the time, especially if you use it as the lead pokemon. The other two cover its weaknesses to big threats like Dialga and Togekiss, but they share a vulnerability to Water-types, so make sure you catch those with Dragonite.

Metagross, Dragonite, Snorlax
  • Metagross: Bullet Punch + Meteor Mash* and Earthquake
  • Dragonite: Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw
  • Snorlax: Lick + Body Slam and Earthquake or Superpower

If Metagross and Rhyperior have Dragonite’s back in the team above, here Dragonite and Snorlax cover Metagross’ glaring weakness to Giratina-Origin. Try to use them as switch-ins with Metagross in the lead position. Building Snorlax only requires about 120k stardust if you manage to get a Lucky at high level, or as a Munchlax. If you got a big one from the old Gym days (as many dedicated players do), that’s even better!

Mamoswine, Swampert, Dragonite
  • Mamoswine: Powder Snow + Avalanche and Bulldoze
  • Swampert: Mud Shot + Hydro Cannon and Earthquake
  • Dragonite: Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw

Mamoswine’s a pretty interesting Pokémon. While its overall meta winrate isn’t the highest, it has key wins against Giratina, Togekiss, and Dialga (depending on the shield scenario). This team does struggle against Kyogre if you can’t line Dragonite up into it, so be careful! Fun fact: while Mamoswine technically loses to Groudon in all even shields, you actually win if they only throw Fire Punch. They have to Earthquake to KO! This isn’t obvious, so you may be able to exploit that knowledge.

Machamp, Snorlax, Gyarados
  • Machamp: Counter + Cross Chop and Rock Slide
  • Snorlax: Lick + Body Slam and Earthquake or Superpower
  • Gyarados: Dragon Breath + Crunch and Aqua Tail* or Hydro Pump or Outrage

Machamp is one of two viable Fighting-types in Master League (the other being Conkeldurr), and they’re more or less interchangeable. Despite Machamp’s versatility in the other Leagues, here they’re pretty one-note: they’re here to beat down Dialga and Melmetal. The catch, of course, is that there’s a lot of Giratina, Mewtwo, and Togekiss running around here, where Fighting-types will struggle a lot. Gyarados prefers Aqua Tail, though Hydro Pump and Outrage can both put in work!

Advanced Teams

A large part of the Master League is dominated by Legendaries. This means, if you catch them unboosted, it’s going to cost you 348 candy per mon (248 to get from Lv20 to Lv40, then 100 to 3move). For any but the most invested and whaley of players, this means you’ll have to budget. Don’t feel like you have to run these teams, though! As strong as these Pokémon are, take stock of your own resources and decide what you can afford. Master League is only here ⅓ of the time, and you may still have Silph cups to worry about.

Note that if you intend to power up a Dialga, make sure it meets the usable threshold: 15 Attack, 14 Defense, and 12 Stamina. If not, you might catch yourself losing the mirror unnecessarily! And Best Buddy it, too!

Dialga, Kyogre, Melmetal
  • Dialga: Dragon Breath + Iron Head and Draco Meteor or Thunder
  • Kyogre: Waterfall + Surf and Blizzard or Thunder
  • Melmetal: Thunder Shock + Rock Slide and Superpower

Possibly the most “generic” team in the format, there’s a reason you can expect to see this team a lot. Dialga + Kyogre is an immensely powerful core with basically no clean way to break it. Melmetal is a strong answer to both Dialga and Togekiss, and can put up a good fight against pretty much everything else!

Dialga can either run Draco Meteor for a huge nuke move to close out matchups, or Thunder to give you a bit of extra power against Pokémon like Melmetal, Metagross, and Kyogre. Kyogre can use Blizzard as a big hit against Dragon-types, or Thunder to help out the mirror.

Groudon, Dialga, Melmetal
  • Groudon: Mud Shot + Fire Punch* and Earthquake
  • Dialga: Dragon Breath + Iron Head and Draco Meteor or Thunder

Groudon is possibly the strongest anti-Steel Pokémon in the format, with an incredible matchup against both Melmetal and Dialga. It does have pretty hard losses against Pokémon like Kyogre and Togekiss, though, so watch out for those. Also, note that it needs its legacy Fire Punch to fill its role. If the one you got isn't good, lucky trade until you get one that is!

Giratina-Origin, Dialga, Melmetal
  • Giratina-Origin: Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball and Ominous Wind or Dragon Pulse
  • Dialga: Dragon Breath + Iron Head and Draco Meteor or Thunder
  • Melmetal: Thunder Shock + Rock Slide and Superpower

While Giratina-Origin loses hard to Dialga and Snorlax, it can put up a great fight against pretty much everything else. Shadow Ball has fantastic neutral coverage. Shadow Claw + Shadow Ball is mandatory. You can follow that up with either Ominous Wind for more effective baiting, or Dragon Pulse to give you more play against Snorlax.

Togekiss, Melmetal, Giratina-Altered

While nowhere near as dominant as it is in Ultra League, Giratina-Altered is an incredibly underrated Pokémon in Master League. One of the best safe switches around, it can handle pretty much anything with a little bit of energy advantage. Togekiss is very strong as well, with a great matchup against all the Dragons in the format. Do note that you need to shield twice if you want to beat a full-health Dialga that shields once. This leaves you at a shield disadvantage, but with a ton of health left to Charm away at whatever's in the back!

Mewtwo, Dialga, Kyogre
  • Mewtwo: Psycho Cut + Psystrike* and Focus Blast
  • Dialga: Dragon Breath + Iron Head and Draco Meteor or Thunder
  • Kyogre: Waterfall + Surf and Blizzard or Thunder

Mewtwo is one of the most versatile Pokémon in Master League. While you should always bring Psycho Cut + Psystrike, you have a plurality of options for your secondary. Focus Blast gives you an incredible hit against Pokémon like Dialga and Melmetal, Flamethrower nukes non-Dialga Steels, Ice Beam is good against Dragons and Groudon. Shadow Ball gives some extra neutral coverage, and can help hit Pokémon like Metagross and Giratina. Fun fact: Mewtwo beats Dialga in the 1shield straight Psystrike!

Team Submissions

Is there a team you're using that you've been having success with at higher ranks? Are you willing to share it? If so, please consider leaving it here in the comments, or sending it to me on Twitter at @TForgery_, and I may include it in the article for others to use! If you do, please include which mon you preferred to lead with, and which movesets you used!

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About the Author(s)

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