Great v Ultra v Master: Which is the most challenging PvP format in Pokemon GO?

Pokemon GO Battle League
What is the most challenging format of the Pokemon GO Battle League? (Image via The Pokemon Company)

Pokemon GO's PvP scene, called GO Battle League or in short, GBL, has three main formats: Great League, Ultra League, and Master League. While the mechanics are the same across the board, the Pocket Monsters you can enter in each category are quite different. This leads to varying levels of challenge and competitiveness.

This article discusses which among the Great, Ultra, and Master Leagues, is the most challenging format in the GO Battle League.

Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinions.

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What is the most challenging format of Pokemon GO Battle League?

There are three main formats of the Pokemon GO Battle League (Image via The Pokemon Company)
There are three main formats of the Pokemon GO Battle League (Image via The Pokemon Company)

Considering that the battle mechanics across the board are the same, no format is technically more challenging than the other. However, the eligibility criteria for each determine what creatures are good and which are not. This creates a problem of accessibility more than anything.

Here are the 10 best-rated Pocket Monsters in each of the formats at the time of writing:

Great League (allows critters only up to 1,500 CP)

  1. Cresselia
  2. Registeel
  3. Annihilape
  4. Carbink
  5. Skarmory
  6. Shadow Gligar
  7. Mandibuzz
  8. Shadow Quagsire
  9. Lickitung
  10. Feraligatr

Ultra League (allows critters only up to 2,500 CP)

  1. Registeel
  2. Shadow Feraligatr
  3. Tapu Fini
  4. Altered Forme Giratina
  5. Feraligatr
  6. Poliwrath
  7. Complete Forme Zygarde
  8. Pidgeot
  9. Shadow Registeel
  10. Shadow Poliwrath

Master League (no CP cap)

  1. Origin Forme Palkia
  2. Complete Forme Zygarde
  3. Therian Forme Landorus
  4. Dragonite
  5. Altered Forme Giratina
  6. Palkia
  7. Dawn Wings Necrozma
  8. Groudon
  9. Shadow Dragonite
  10. Origin Forme Giratina

Among the 10 best Great League and Ultra League picks, only two and four, respectively, are Legendary. On the other hand, Dragonite is the only non-legendary critter that makes the cut for the top 10 in the Master League of Pokemon GO.

The non-legendary creatures are usually easy to get via wild encounters, Eggs, and so on. Most Legendaries, meanwhile, can only be found via 5-star raids that require Raid Passes.

Moreover, to power up critters for the Great and Ultra League, you need fewer resources — specifically the rare Candy XL. Doing several raids for Legendaries to farm Candy requires you to spend real-world money on Raid Passes regularly.

Considering the availability of creatures and the resources needed to power up Pocket Monsters, the Great League emerges as the easiest, while the Master League is the most challenging.

That said, it must be clarified that you can compete in the Master League without top-rated Legendaries. However, the difference in power levels is so high that you would find it difficult to garner favorable results. Hence, if you are a free-to-play player looking to dip your toes into the competitive aspect of Pokemon GO, you are best off trying out the Great League.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei
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