After getting a perfect shiny Mewtwo, I realised that something was missing. My Mewtwo needed a second move. And what other move could I give it other than Shadow Ball? To do so though, I would need an Elite TM. But the problem is, aside from potentially buying one with actual money via an event… I’d have to play PvP. That meant wading back into the GBL. And getting to rank 7.
That meant a lot of work.
If I wanted an Elite TM, I had to earn it.
Now, frankly, my first few games in GBL didn’t go great. The last two weeks (as of writing), the GBL has been focused on the Master League, which means any Pokemon, regardless of CP. But because most Pokemon don’t have a particularly high CP, you end up with a very hard fight and a stiff meta.
Whatever League I fought in though, I’d have issues. And frankly, I didn’t want to wait until the last 2 weeks of Season 1. Why? Because that’s when all the Leagues are available and everyone overall is better. After all, if you have the option, why wouldn’t you play at the League you’re best at?
But Master League is Hard
Unlike Great and Ultra League, Master League is genuinely tricky. A lot more work needs to go in to playing Master League. You need the best Pokemon possible, with the best moves and fully maxed out. Or as maxed out as you can get. In Great and Ultra League, you have to get as close to CP 1500 or 2500 as possible, meaning you get to be a bit more creative. But in Master League, as there are no restrictions, you need to use the best you can.
This means you end up facing mostly powerful Legendaries. Things like maxed out Togekiss, Pokemon with 2 charge moves and most commonly, 4000CP Dialgas.
The best you can, in my case, isn’t anything special. In fact, my team is actually pretty mediocre and definitely not maxed out. Mainly because I have the worst luck with TMs, and it took me 10 Charge TMs to get Surf on my Kyogre.
Couldn’t have done it without help though.
I actually only managed to get this far thanks to the advice of a nice guy called AdonisEc, who gave me advice on what to use. At first I was genuinely struggling, but his recommendations based on what I had saved the day. Okay, sure, I still haven’t been able to get Super Power on my Melmetal, but based on what I had, I ended up with a good party.
So my team (and I might as well tell you because it’s not like it’s original) is pretty simple. I have a Kyogre with Surf, a Dialga with Draco Meteor and a Rhyperior with Rock Wrecker and Super Power. It’s not the cheapest squad you can get, but aside from Dialga, it’s… somewhat accessible? Still needs a Community Day move though, mainly because Rhyperior’s job is to cover for both Flying and Steel types. There are still things I struggle against (namely Giratina and fighting types if I don’t have Dialga or Kyogre ready), but this team’s main thing is high neutral damage.
After a rough start, I somehow blazed through the ranks and somewhat quickly reached level 7.
Master League still lacks variation
Even with that party though, I did see the same few things over and over. Mainly Dialga and Togekiss. All the time. There were some other things I saw regularly, like Melmetal and other Kyogres, not to mention both forms of Giratina. If anything, Giratina was by far the most difficult enemy to fight against because of his high damage, spammy attacks and strong typing.
The thing is, there’s always going to be a meta. But because Great and Ultra League have limitations, you have more room to experiment. You can get most Pokemon to fit in either of the smaller leagues pretty easily. But the maximum CP of most Pokemon doesn’t scale upwards that well. For example, the maximum CP of a Lucario is about 2700, but a Machamp goes up to over 3000CP and a Terrakion goes up to over 3600 CP.
There are other problems too
Master League requires a LOT of effort to get a good team, not to mention being around for a while. After all, Dialga hasn’t been available since early 2019, and some good Pokemon require legacy moves.
The other leagues aren’t without issues either. There is a strong dominant meta in each league which is hard to break, and even if you just want to do well in Great League, you still need a LOT of candy and TMs for powering up and second moves. After all, getting an Azumarill for PvP means getting it to nearly max rank, and you’ll want second moves for it too, which sucks if you are evolving a Marill and or didn’t give one to its baby form when it’s cheaper. And even with a perfect team? You can still lose simply because everyone chooses their Pokemon blindly and you happened to just pick wrong.
That’s also assuming that the meta will remain stable – it’s easily possible that moves might be nerfed, like Ancient Power was back in March. While there are tools that will calculate the best Pokemon, stats and attacks, buffs and nerfs can come at any moment, and meta shake ups are somewhat common.
And there are still issues with latency and bugs and lag. I’ve had long delays in trying to get charge attacks off and bugs have hurt me. I lost a match because somehow the other player got an extra shield, and another match was lost simply because I couldn’t attack at all. The bugs aren’t as common as they used to be but the lag is still genuinely there.
In the end though, I hit Rank 7.
I managed to get 3 Landorus, a Metagross, a Scraggy and a Snivy in the process. Which isn’t too bad. However I have no real desire to continue, mainly because I was only playing PvP to get an Elite TM at the end of the season.
I didn’t enjoy climbing the ranks though, and frankly all that was required was to win matches. I’m not going to continue to ranks 8 through 10 because the only real rewards (aside from encounters and stardust) are bragging rights and a Pikachu in a costume. I’d also have to invest in 1. a better phone and 2. the second moves for Dialga and Kyogre, as well as backup Pokemon like Melmetal and Togekiss.
Frankly, I just don’t find tapping on a screen against someone else enjoyable. It’s all so unpredictable and chaotic, and you can be screwed over so easily through no real fault of your own.
What IS impressive however is my win rate.
I mean, it kinda speaks for itself.
But yeah, I am so glad that this is over, and I can just sit back and wait for my Elite TM… And then have to do it again in season 2…