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Pokémon Go Retro Cup – Great League Edition: Best Pokémon

Go back to the roots and achieve victory with these Pokémon
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Pokémon Go's PvP mode is starting the Timeless Travels Season with Retro Cup: Great League Edition, another limited format in Go Battle League.

Retro Cup will run from December 1 to 8, 2023, alongside the Great League for one week.

This Go Battle League competition runs on a special ruleset limiting participating Pokémon to a maximum amount of 1,500 competition points (CP). Since this tournament is all about doing things the old way, there’s a ban on Dark-, Steel-, and Fairy-type Pokémon – only categories from the original Pokémon games are allowed.

Show your opponents that size matters not with the best Pokémon for Retro Cup – Great League Edition in Pokémon Go based on statistics and simulations provided by

Pokémon Go Retro Cup icon on trainer battle background.

Retro Cup is taking PvP back to the basics.

Retro Cup: Best Leads

These Pokémon aggressively pressure your opponent right from the beginning of a duel and can survive even tough battles for quite a while – they are perfect to open a match up, enabling you to score an early knockout or set up a strong counter play.

  1. Arctibax (Dragon Breath, Avalanche, Dragon Claw)
  2. Mantine (Wing Attack, Aerial Ace, Ice Beam)
  3. Aurorus (Powder Snow, Weather Ball (Ice), Meteor Beam)
  4. Charizard(S) (Wing Attack, Blast Burn, Dragon Claw)
  5. Pidgeot (Wing Attack, Feather Dance, Brave Bird)
  6. Lickitung(XL) (Lick, Body Slam, Power Whip)
  7. Golbat(S) (Wing Attack, Poison Fang, Shadow Ball)
  8. Pelipper (Wing Attack, Weather Ball (Water), Hurricane)
  9. Shadow Gligar (Wing Attack, Aerial Ace, Dig)
  10. Dragonair(S) (Dragon Breath, Body Slam, Aqua Tail)

(S) = Regular form and Shadow form perform comparably; (XL) = Pokémon requires Candy XL to reach optimal battle performance.

Retro Cup: Best Safe Switches

If the opening pairing is to your disadvantage, you should consider switching out your lead for another Pokémon. This is where this class comes into play. They are either strong leads themselves or are specialized in countering some of the most popular leads. In any case, a switch will preserve your original opener to fight later on in the battle and perhaps force your opponent to also adapt their strategy on the fly.

  1. Arctibax (Dragon Breath, Avalanche, Dragon Claw)
  2. Dragonair(S) (Dragon Breath, Body Slam, Aqua Tail)
  3. Dubwool (Double Kick, Body Slam, Payback)
  4. Lickitung(XL) (Lick, Body Slam, Power Whip)
  5. Shadow Charizard (Wing Attack, Blast Burn, Dragon Claw)
  6. Shadow Gligar (Wing Attack, Aerial Ace, Dig)
  7. Goodra (Dragon Breath, Power Whip, Muddy Water)
  8. Shadow Latios (Dragon Breath, Dargon Claw, Luster Purge)
  9. Vigoroth (Counter, Body Slam, Rock Slide)
  10. Golbat(S) (Wing Attack, Poison Fang, Shadow Ball)

Retro Cup: Best Closers

These Pokémon are particularly useful when there are no shields left in play on either side – they are incredibly tough themselves or end battles quickly thanks to powerful charge attacks, which can’t be deflected without a shield.

  1. Froslass (Powder Snow, Avalanche, Shadow Ball)
  2. Shadow Raikou (Thunder Shock, Wild Charge, Shadow Ball)
  3. Shadow Mewtwo (Psycho Cut, Psystrike, Thunderbolt)
  4. Shadow Electivire (Thunder Shock, Ice Punch, Wild Charge)
  5. Shadow Sneasler (Shadow Claw, Close Combat, Aerial Ace)
  6. Regirock(S) (Lock On, Stone Edge, Focus Blast)
  7. Regice (Lock On, Blizzard, Earthquake)
  8. Staravia(XL)(S) (Wing Attack, Brave Bird, Fly)
  9. Rufflet(XL) (Wing Attack, Brave Bird, Fly)
  10. Trevenant (Shadow Claw, Seed Bomb, Shadow Ball)

Retro Cup: Best Attackers

These Pokémon perform best when fighting a trainer who still has shields, while you no longer have shields yourself. They combine important resistances and strong fast attacks to compensate for this disadvantage. For this reason, you rarely see Shadow forms in this role – they take more damage than their regular counterparts, making them a risky card to put on the table.

  1. Mantine (Wing Attack, Bubble Beam, Ice Beam)
  2. Lickitung(XL) (Lick, Body Slam, Power Whip)
  3. Pidgeot (Wing Attack, Feather Dance, Brave Bird)
  4. Araquanid (Bug Bite, Bug Buzz, Bubble Beam)
  5. Toxapex (Poison Jab, Brine, Sludge Wave)
  6. Cresselia (Psycho Cut, Grass Knot, Moonblast)
  7. Wobbuffet(XL) (Counter, Return, Mirror Coat)
  8. Altaria (Dragon Breath, Sky Attack, Moonblast)
  9. Shadow Bayleef(XL) (Razor Leaf, Grass Knot, Ancient Power)
  10. Pachirisu(XL) (Volt Switch, Thunder Punch, Thunderbolt)

The arrival of Arctibax certainly mixed things up with the Paldean Pseudo-Legendary taking two top spots and forming the meta in these categories. There are less changes among closers and attackers since the last time this format was around, but the recent balance changes for the Timeless Travels Season left their mark as well: The buff to Fly allowed a bunch of Flying-types to soar towards the top ranks.