Hello everyone and welcome to Meta Cores!


We’re excited to introduce this new series where we will break down top Go Battle League(GBL) meta cores. This first post will be focused on Great League (GL) GBL. So if you’re considering what to bring after seeing a LOT of Azumarill with Galarian Stunfisk or Azumarill with Abomasnow, the aim of these graphics is to highlight Pokémon that break these top cores.


What is a Core?


A Core is a pair of Pokémon that synergize well together, and trio cores are composed of multiple powerful duos. Therefore, any single Pokémon in the trio core can often be substituted for another partially complementary Pokémon to create a solid line that’s less predictable.


How does the Graphic work?


Each GBL meta-defining Trio Core is surrounded by six Core Breakers. Each segment of the encircling ring reflects its matchup with the respective Trio Core Pokémon. A Win (dark teal) or Loss (dark purple) generally indicates the outcome in even-shield scenarios, and these matchups are less likely to flip due to slight energy differentials. Even (grey), Narrow Win (light teal) and Narrow Loss (light purple) reflect which way the matchup generally trends and implies that IVs and slight energy differentials might play a larger role in the outcome. Importantly, Pokémon walled by one of the three (e.g. Meganium against Altaria or Tropius) were not considered despite having solid matchups against two of the three. As these trios are composed of multiple strong duos, sometimes one of three Pokémon are replaced with another pick to reduce predictability or better counter the current meta. We limited the graphics to 6 of the top Core Breakers but there are of course other solid options, some of which are highlighted in the Alternatives sections. Try integrating these Core Breakers into your lineup to counter some of the top cores in GBL.




— Terms —


Note that 0/1/2S refers to the even-shield scenarios in simulations from PVPoke. All wins or losses mentioned are even-shield scenarios with zero starting energy unless otherwise stated. Stat Product (SP) and IVs are occasionally referenced. Exclusive moves (^(E)) cannot be acquired by regular TMs and are either legacy or obtained through previous events, purification or use of an Elite TM.


— Galaraian Stunfisk + Azumarill + Tropius —


(Also referred to as SAT or gSAT)


A challenger approaches at the end of Season 2, threatening to shake up the meta as it offers broad coverage behind a... bear trap leading the charge. Much like the ARA core that we’ll cover later, these 3 combine a Steel tank alongside a flier and a blue devil to take out a vast majority of the GL meta.


Galarian Stunfisk Mud Shot + Rock Slide + Earthquake


With a bear trap visage, Galarian Stunfisk chews through immense amounts of the meta. Upon its release, the Electric counters to the dominant Azumarill-Registeel duo are all but extinct and it supplanted Registeel as the Steel type that beats other Steel types. Galarian Stunfisk works well alongside Azumarill providing better matchups against Electrics at the expense of Grass coverage. As arguably the strongest duo in GL, Galarian Stunfisk pairs exceptionally well with Tropius and covers the Fire, Ice, and Steel types that threaten it.


Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam or Hydro Pump or Play Rough


The residing queen of GL, our bouncing blue bunny is featured in all 3 trio cores, and a team that loses to her will struggle to thrive in GBL. Combining its bulk with two of the strongest typings in Fairy and Water, Azumarill is able to handle much of the meta, while playing a central role in defining it. In this trio, Azumarill covers Galarian Stunfisk in much the same way as it does Registeel (Fire, Fighting and Ground) and Tropius in similar ways to Altaria (Steel and Ice). Exemplifying its versatility, Hydro Pump (HP) threatens Steel types, and Ice Beam (IB) provides coverage against its Grass counters, while Play Rough (PR) helps against opposing Water types including the mirror.


Tropius Air Slash or Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade + Aerial Ace


The highest-ranked regional Pokémon in GL and the most likely to be seen in GBL, Tropius uniquely combines Grass and Flying coverage. Its general bulk when paired with the power and speed of Leaf Blade equip it to excel in neutral matchups. Unfortunately, its inability to threaten Fliers and most Steel types and limited accessibility have reduced the prevalence of Tropius in GBL. Within the trio core, Tropius covers the Grass, Fighting and Ground types against which Galarian Stunfisk struggles. Alongside Azumarill, Tropius covers Grass and Electric types well.


As the season has progressed, we’ve often seen Skarmory over Tropius in this trio due to the reduced presence of Electric and increased Ice threat. We chose to highlight the SAT core as the stronger trio, but still wanted to mention that Rainy Castform, Swampert and Thunder Ferrothorn are excellent core breakers for the Galarian Stunfisk-Azumarill-Skarmory trio.




Ferrothorn Bullet Seed + Power Whip + Flash Cannon


Ferrothorn is able to consistently beat Galarian Stunfisk in the 2S scenario and is able to win the 1S on either IVs or correctly shielding an Earthquake. It also remains one of the strongest Azumarill counters in GL. Following the Flash Cannon energy cost increase, Ferrothorn is no longer able to beat Air Slash Tropius in even-shield scenarios beyond 0S, but against Razor Leaf Tropius it still performs quite well.


(Shadow) Abomasnow Powder Snow + Weather Ball (Ice) + Energy Ball


Abomasnow handles both Azumarill and Tropius well from even energy. The regular variant cannot beat Galarian Stunfisk in even-shield scenarios, but the Shadow variant is able to take the 1S and 2S.


Dewgong Ice Shard^( E) + Icy Wind^( E) + Water Pulse


Double Legacy Dewgong—while expensive— is a very good counter to the SAT core. It can beat any variation of Azumarill, although it has to expend a shield on the first charge move from Azumarill. It is able to beat both variations of Tropius in even shields save for Razor Leaf Tropius in 2S. Finally it has an IV-dependent matchup against Galarian Stunfisk, but performs better than sims show in the 1S if you go straight Icy Wind.


Lapras Ice Shard^( E) + Surf + Skull Bash


Against Tropius, Lapras wins all even-shield scenarios against Air Slash and can narrowly win the 1S against the Razor Leaf variant in the 1S. Against Azumarill, Lapras can win all even-shield scenarios going straight Skull Bash even if Azumarill has Play Rough. Against Galarian Stunfisk, Lapras loses in even energy but can win the 1S with a single Ice Shard energy advantage, making Galarian Stunfisk an unreliable counter switch to Lapras. Shadow Lapras requires an Elite fast TM and can defeat Galarian Stunfisk in the 1S without an energy lead. However, it does drop the 0S against Air Slash Tropius and Play Rough Azumarill and has to bait to defeat 1S Play Rough Azumarill as well.


Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam or Hydro Pump or Play Rough


Against Galarian Stunfisk, Azumarill can win the 0S and 1S with only Hydro Pump and the 0S and 2S with only Ice Beam. If it can bait a shield with Ice Beam and land a Hydro Pump, it does even better. Azu can comfortably win the mirror in even shields if it has Play Rough and the opponent does not. Against Air Slash Tropius, it can win in the 2S scenario with Ice Beam but it cannot win against RL Tropius.


Ludicolo Bubble + Ice Beam + Energy Ball


Ludicolo handles Galarian Stunfisk and Azumarill rather well with the power of Energy Ball alone. It loses any matchup where Galarian Stunfisk shields twice. However, it does win the 0-1 shield matchup, so it can wait to see if Galarian Stunfisk burns 2 shields before shielding once. Against Azumarill, it can win all even-shield scenarios and also the 0-1 shield situation against non-Play Rough Azumarill from lead. Ludicolo only beats Air Slash Tropius in the 0S, which can force a shield advantage, and can narrowly defeat Razor Leaf Tropius in the 1S.


— Altaria + Registeel + Azumarill —


(Also referred to as ARA)


A trio of absolute GL powerhouses, the only way you escaped these three in GBL prior to the recent update was by sitting out of GL. These three beat much of the field individually and also cover each other’s weaknesses well, forming a dominant trio core. Even after the nerf to both Flash Cannon and Focus Blast, Registeel still performs exceptionally well and importantly maintains its coverage role within the trio.


Altaria Dragon Breath + Sky Attack + Dragon Pulse


Altaria is sometimes considered the "weakest" of ARA due to its limited play in the trio mirror and the rise of Abomasnow and Galarian Stunfisk. But make no mistake, it is still a force. As one of the top Fliers and Dragons in GL, it decimates Grass types, and the Dragon Breath is unrelenting for all but Steel and Fairy types. Even some Steels cannot withstand the onslaught, as Altaria can beat Skarmory and Registeel in the 2S. Within the trio, Altaria covers the weaknesses to Ground, Fire, and Fighting types of Registeel and covers the Grass and Electric holes for Azumarill while generally outpacing the Poison types. The entrance of Galarian Stunfisk and Abomasnow into the meta—as well as Azumarill’s continued dominance—has threatened it a bit, but Altaria remains a solid core partner to both Azumarill and Registeel.


Registeel Lock-On + Flash Cannon + Focus Blast


The big tin can that got jump-started into relevance with the introduction of Lock-On has been a looming titan throughout GBL's existence. So strong is this automaton that it basically pushed other Steel types out of relevance in Seasons 1 and 2. Skarmory and Bastiodon still had their niche, but both feared the Iron Pokémon (Registeel's actual title with which I take issue). Registeel also benefits from having one of the best Azumarill matchups of any Steel.


Within the trio, Registeel covers Steel, Fairy, and Ice types for Altaria and dispatches most Grass and Poison types for Azumarill, as well as the more versatile Psychics such as Cresselia and Hypno.


Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam or Hydro Pump or Play Rough


Within the ARA core, Azumarill handles most Steel, Fairy, and Ice types for Altaria and similarly covers the Fire, Fighting, and Ground threats for Registeel. Depending on the moveset, Azumarill can better handle Grass counters with Ice Beam or opt for the edge in the mirror with Play Rough.




Seaking Poison Jab^( E) + Icy Wind^( E) + Drill Run^( E)


Triple Legacy Seaking has wins against the entirety of the ARA core in the 1S and 2S. It loses the 0S against Altaria and Registeel, but wins against Azumarill in all even-shield scenarios.


If the triple legacy is too steep, the Waterfall variant has play as well. This sacrifices the Altaria matchup and drops the 0S against Azumarill, but fares better against Registeel and gains a better Galarian Stunfisk matchup.


Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam or Hydro Pump or Play Rough


Generally, Azumarill can comfortably win against Altaria in even shields with either Ice Beam or Play Rough, although a high Attack Altaria can flip the 1S against a Play Rough Azumarill. Following the Flash Cannon nerf, Azumarill can comfortably win against Registeel in even shields with only Hydro Pump, but still doesn’t want to be at a significant energy deficit in the 0S. Near max SP Registeel can narrowly take the 2S in some cases. See the SAT section for details on the mirror matchup.


Whiscash Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Blizzard


Whiscash wins handily against Registeel as one of its hardest counters. However, the Altaria matchup is a bit tricky. Whiscash can go double Blizzard in the 1S to win unless Altaria hits a breakpoint to force Whiscash to bait. The 0S is a clean win with Blizzard, but the 2S always requires baiting. Against Azumarill, Whiscash loses all even-shield scenarios, although none are hard losses, and can manage a win if at a shield advantage.


Alolan Raichu Volt Switch + Wild Charge + Grass Knot


Alolan Raichu can comfortably defeat Registeel by tanking the first charge move and then throwing Wild Charge in rapid succession. Against Azumarill, the matchup can get sticky if it goes to 2S but Alolan Raichu should still win. Alolan Raichu generally loses to Altaria but can win the 1S with double Wild Charge if Altaria misses a breakpoint. Grass Knot doesn’t accomplish much against ARA but feels increasingly necessary with the current prevalence of Ground threats.


(Shadow) Zapdos Thunder Shock^( E) + Drill Peck + Thunderbolt or Thunder


Zapdos has a similar matchup against Registeel as Alolan Raichu and even can barely outpace 0S Registeel to the second charge move following the Flash Cannon nerf. Regular Zapdos must run Thunder to defeat 1S Azumarill unless it can reach a breakpoint (141 Attack to guarantee) to get the win with Thunderbolt. Shadow Zapdos can naturally hit this value and should always run Thunderbolt. All Zapdos lose the 0S to Ice Beam Azumarill, but can flip the matchup against others. Against Altaria, Zapdos cannot win in any even-shield scenarios or even the 2-1 shield situation. Zapdos notably has better Grass matchups than its Electric counterparts, which gives it a bit more play in the current Ground and Grass-heavy meta.


Lapras Ice Shard^( E) + Surf + Skull Bash


Ice Shard is so good against Altaria that Lapras can generally use only fast moves and emerge with 100 energy for the following matchup. Lapras may need to use a shield depending on the IVs on both sides, but it doesn't have to throw a charge move. Against Registeel, Lapras needs a shield advantage and cannot afford to be at an energy deficit in the 0-1 scenario where high SP Registeel can still reach the 3rd charge move. See the SAT section for details on the Azumarill matchup.


— (Shadow) Abomasnow + Azumarill + Defense Deoxys —


(Also referred to as AAD)


(Shadow) Abomasnow Powder Snow + Weather Ball (Ice) + Energy Ball


This new meta core rose quickly with the buffs to Abomasnow. Shadow Abomasnow (SAbo or ShAbo?) is arguably preferable for the better 1S Toxicroak, 1S Galarian Stunfisk and 1S Skarmory matchups, but difficult to obtain due to the rarity and event-exclusive removal of Frustration by TM. All three of those matchups are key for this trio core, as other core partners have narrow wins in those matchups. Abomasnow hard counters Electrics and wins most Grass mirrors save Ferrothorn (Sunshine Cherrim is a Fire type and you cannot change my mind) to cover most major threats to Azumarill. As a partner to Defense Deoxys, Abomasnow hard counters Ground types and the handful of Grass types to which Defense Deoxys narrowly loses, while partially covering the Ghost threats.


Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam or Hydro Pump or Play Rough


Azumarill is an excellent core partner if you haven’t gathered already. It’s probably best served by dropping Play Rough as the other two partners cover opposing Azumarill well enough, especially if running Thunderbolt on Defense Deoxys. Within the trio, Azumarill covers many of Abomasnow’s meta-relevant weaknesses, of which there are many, including Fire, Fighting, Flying, Steel and Rock types (inb4 a Bug-heavy open GL meta). Azumarill is a strong compliment to Defense Deoxys countering the Ground, Ghost and Dark types that threaten it.


Defense Deoxys Counter + Rock Slide + Psycho Boost or Thunderbolt


Defense Deoxys could run Thunderbolt to maintain a stronger Azumarill, Registeel and Bastiodon matchup, but Psycho Boost allows it to have more play against Galarian Stunfisk, Toxicroak and Grass/Poisons. As a partner to Abomasnow, Defense Deoxys checks Fighting, Flying, Steel and Rock types while situationally having Rock Slide and potentially Psycho Boost to threaten Fire types and Poison types, respectively. Alongside Azumarill, Defense Deoxys sports close wins or losses to most Grass, Electric and Poison types.




Skuntank Poison Jab + Crunch + Sludge Bomb


Skuntank is one of the best options against this trio, but needs Sludge Bomb for Azumarill and Crunch for Defense Deoxys. Its only losses are the 0S against Defense Deoxys and the 1S as well depending on IVs on both sides.


Beedrill Poison Jab + Drill Run^( E) + X-Scissor


With shields in hand, Beedrill can check all three, but struggles in the 0S against high SP non-Shadow Abomasnow, Azumarill and Psycho Boost Defense Deoxys. Drill Run isn’t needed in any of these three matchups, but allows Beedrill to threaten the Steels that previously walled it.


Defense Deoxys Counter + Rock Slide + Psycho Boost or Thunderbolt


Defense Deoxys is a strong option against this trio and better positioned than either Skuntank or Beedrill against the rest of the meta. Rock Slide is the best option in the mirror and other neutral matchups unless Psycho Boost can faint the opposing Pokémon. With Thunderbolt, Defense Deoxys can defeat Azumarill in the 0S and 1S, while Psycho Boost gives it more play in other meta matchups such as Whiscash, Galarian Stunfisk, and Poisons.


Sableye Shadow Claw + Foul Play + Return^( E) or Power Gem


Sableye hard counters Defense Deoxys and checks Abomasnow outside of the 2S. Its worst matchup is against Azumarill but it can threaten to take the 2S if it lands Return. Power Gem is a viable move alternative, but it has slightly less play in the Azumarill matchup. Sableye also touts excellent safe switch potential against the meta than the two Poison Jabbers above.


Sunshine Cherrim Bullet Seed + Weather Ball (Fire) + Solar Beam


Sunshine Cherrim needs high SP to avoid baiting and double Solar Beam against 1S Azumarill. Shadow Abomasnow cannot tank a Weather Ball (Fire) and narrowly loses the race to charge moves, but regular Abomasnow can just survive to take the 0S and 1S. The Defense Deoxys matchup is the weakest for Sunshine Cherrim but landing a Solar Beam can reduce the margin of victory.


Cresselia Psycho Cut + Moonblast + Grass Knot^( E) or Future Sight


Grass Knot gets the 0S against Azumarill, but Cresselia can still win with shields up using Future Sight. Grass Knot also generally turns the Defense Deoxys matchup from Narrow Losses to Narrow Wins across the board. Future Sight, however, can get 1S Shadow Abomasnow and is better against Grass/Poisons, whereas Grass Knot is better against specific Steels like Galarian Stunfisk and Bastiodon.




(Shadow) Hypno Confusion + Thunder Punch or Fire Punch or Shadow Ball


Hypno, either the regular or Shadow variant, can obtain Narrow Wins against two out of the three depending on its charge moves, while only having a Narrow Loss to the third. Thunder Punch provides the best Azumarill matchup although shielding Hydro Pump can be necessary at times, whereas Fire Punch and Shadow Ball are needed for Abomasnow and Defense Deoxys, respectively.


Alolan Muk Snarl or Poison Jab + Dark Pulse + Sludge Wave or Acid Spray


Alolan Muk has a strong Defense Deoxys matchup with Snarl, but drops the 0S and 2S with Poison Jab. Alolan Muk doesn’t need to bait in the lead 1S against Abomasnow, but cannot switch into Abomasnow or win the 2S unless it runs Poison Jab. The 1S Azumarill matchup depends on baits on both sides, and Poison Jab+Acid Spray are needed for consistent wins with shields up. Snarl is recommended here, however, for better safe switch potential against the rest of the meta.



Hope you enjoyed the first installment of this new meta core series and good luck battling out there!