Battle League Season Five in Pokémon Go has introduced three new ways to compete against other trainers as you grind towards Rank 10, all using special rulesets beyond simple CP limitations.
Following the Little Cup competition that focused on pre-evolved Pokémon with a CP of 500 or less, now the Kanto Cup is underway, meaning players can only use Pokémon within the original 151 spots of the Pokédex.
This spotlight focuses on all of the Pokémon originally from Kanto, with a CP limit of 1,500 for all competitors. Ironically, you can also use the Alolan and Galarian forms of Kanto Pokémon in this competition too since they technically share a Pokédex number with their original, Kantonian forms.
You have a lot of room to work within the Kanto Cup, as a lot of Pokémon are available within that 1,500 CP limit, including a few Legendary Pokémon. Here are a few of the best options you can put together while you compete in the second Cup of the season from Nov. 16 to 23.
A decently bulky Psychic-type that has access to the Elemental Punches, Shadow Ball, and Focus Blast makes for a strong contender if you need a Pokémon to slap into a team for coverage. You also won’t need to worry about too many Dark or Bug-types in the Kanto Cup, so it fits nicely on nearly every team composition.
One weakness and access to Earthquake and Body Slam is enough to make Snorlax fit nearly as well as Hypno into any team, though you are a bit more limited in hitting some matchups super effectively. The only real problem you might see is a Machamp being a high-usage Pokémon too, so beware if you are building a core around the bulky Normal-type.
Coverage troubles or a specific matchup giving you issues? Why not pick a starter.
Charizard and Blastoise both have decent coverage and can handle themselves in most matchups. Venusaur is the most limited in terms of coverage, but it can still take a hit and deal some incredible damage in the right scenario.
Two of the three Legendary Bird Trio from Kanto are great in this specific Cup, both thanks to their high stats and great coverage over the other highly used Pokémon.
Articuno has Ice and Flying-type moves that can handle Dragonite, other Flying-types, things like Machamp, while Zapdos is a good option to counter Water, Flying, Fighting, and more. You will need to worry about surprise Rock-type moves from the likes of Machamp or even another Articuno, but these are both solid choices.
As the only Dragon-type available for the Kanto Cup, outside of Alolan Exeggutor, you can pick your preferred option when building your team.
If you have a bad weakness to Rock or want to minimize a devastating matchup against an Ice-type opponent, Dragonair offers a strong option as a pure Dragon-type that still hits hard. It won’t have access to Hurricane or some of Dragonite’s more extreme moves, but you can go with whatever fits your lineup the best.
If you don’t have something to deal with Mew or aren’t running an Ice-type, Gyarados will work just fine for you.
It can take multiple strong hits from anything that isn’t an Electric-type and dish out its own powerful blows in the form of Water, Dragon, or Dark-type moves. Waterfall and Hydro Pump alone can deal more than 63 DPS.
The ultimate form of versatility is having access to nearly every possible type of move.
Mew can be whatever you need it to be for your team, a wall that tanks hits and deals out a variety of damage or a specialized attacker to cover the rest of your team’s weaknesses. You will need to watch out for Gengar and Gyarados if you don’t have Thunderbolt, but you can’t go wrong with Mew on most rosters.
The go-to Fighting-type for most of Pokémon Go’s competitive history, Machamp offers powerful moves, with slight coverage in the form of Rock and Steel-type options. You won’t be demolishing teams with a properly used Machamp, but it does its job well in providing an out for Snorlax and other beasts.
Gengar provides you with a lot of offensive options with five different typings it can use, especially if you have the Shadow Claw and Shadow Ball monster combo that has haunted the game for years. Just be wary of over-relying on it in certain matchups.
As for team compositions, really anything where you have a core coverage that can hit its own weaknesses would be acceptable. Hypno, Gengar, and Machamp make for a solid core, as do Snorlax, Zapdos, and a Water-type like Blastoise.