Walrein Meta Cores
4 months ago
Walrein Meta Cores
Spheal Community Day is equipping Walrein with two powerful move additions which skyrocket its viability in all 3 main Leagues of Pokémon GO PVP. With extremely good coverage between the potent move options of Icicle Spear and Earthquake, Walrein is poised to take up a new space in the Water/Ice Pokémon category - acting distinctly from Lapras, Dewgong, and its pre-evolution Sealeo but with a strength that could eclipse all 3! Walrein in Ultra League has a nice position as a powerful meta option that doesn’t require candy XL to reach its true potential. Walrein additionally reaches the highest CP of the Water/Ices, possibly threatening the Master League meta!
Our meta analysis team has put together a slew of teams to try in the remaining GO Battle League formats of Season 10 when Walrein is available!
Note that any team with Shadow or Standard Walrein can have the alternate substituted in, we just thought certain teams could facilitate the Shadow variant more or needed the bulk of the Standard variant more!
Formats of teams below have the lead farthest left and the pivot/safe swap farthest right. This will hold true in the majority of instances, but the Pokémon you opt to swap to will always be somewhat situation-dependent!
Great League Cores
Walrein + Trevenant + Medicham (Can substitute Skarmory in lieu of Medicham)
This team is a triple-threat to a lot of the core meta, all 3 having good amounts of play against both Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk. Medicham as a pivot can draw out threats like Sableye or Skarmory and set up Trevenant for a sweep in the back.
Walrein as a lead is only substantially weak to Fighting-types, which both of the back 2 Pokémon cover. While this team is quite weak to a Scrafty or Obstagoon lead, if they are elsewhere in the team Medicham can tend to handle them well.
Drifblim + Diggersby + Walrein
This team leverages a very strong outside-of-the-meta core of Drifblim and Diggersby that share one glaring weakness in Ice with the new Walrein who double-resists Ice and can throw Earthquake back at the Ice-types that threaten Drifblim or Diggersby.
This team has a very sizable weakness to Scrafty or Obstagoon, but utilizing Walrein as a pivot will tend to draw out fighters and allow some spam to chip them down for another member to finish off!
Shadow Walrein + Venusaur + Deoxys Defense (Can sub Sableye or Drapion in lieu of Venusaur)
This team similarly plays around Walrein’s weakness to Fighting-types with two Pokémon that resist Fighting in the back. Similarly to our first team, all 3 of these Pokémon should have a good amount of play against Azumarill and Galarian Stunfisk!
With Sableye or (Shadow) Drapion in lieu of Venusaur this team effectively becomes “Walrein + two safe-swaps” and can leverage neutral matchup strength to win battles.
This team struggles with powerful Psychic-types like Hypno, Medicham, Mew, or Cresselia that can take down Walrein with coverage moves, resist Deoxys Defense’s Counter, and deal super-effective damage to Venusaur depending on moveset.
Walrein + Altaria + Jellicent
This team once again leverages two anti-fighters in the back to protect Walrein, as well as leveraging the two anti-Ice and anti-Steel-type Water-types to protect Altaria. While neither Walrein nor Jellicent have explicit anti-Fairy properties, they both tend to perform well against the most common Fairy-types of Azumarill and Alolan Ninetales.
This team is quite weak to Wigglytuff in the back if running Jellicent on the Hex moveset. It would appear that this team has a problem with a Bastiodon lead, but Walrein’s speed with Powder Snow and Icicle Spear means that it can often beat Bastiodon in the 1S scenario if baiting, or play the matchup very closely by going straight for Earthquake. This team would additionally struggle against a Scrafty lead or an Umbreon at any point in the battle.
Pidgeot + Shadow Walrein + Galarian Stunfisk
Pidgeot with two “anti-Steel” types in the back works well, as Galarian Stunfisk tends to beat out most other Steels and Shadow Walrein’s boosted Earthquake gets just the oomph to knock out many Steels.
This team is relatively soft to a bulky Water-type like Rainy Castform who can threaten Pidgeot in addition to the back two, or to a Pokémon like Vigoroth that can threaten Pidgeot and overpower the back two.
Shadow Nidoqueen + Walrein + Jellicent
Similarly to the team involving Altaria, Walrein and Jellicent are protecting Shadow Nidoqueen from Ice-types, as well as some of the Water-types and Steel-types that might give her issue. The powerful debuff that Shadow Nidoqueen provides helps allow the back 2 to overpower Pokémon in the end-game as well.
Similarly to previous teams this trio also features two anti-fighters to protect the icy walrus.
This team is quite weak to a Sableye lead or Hypno lead as they can threaten multiple members of the team.
Trevenant + Registeel + Shadow Walrein
This team leverages a very strong Trevenant/Registeel core with Shadow Walrein as a strong pivot and answer to Fire-types like Alolan Marowak.
As has been a constant truth in Ghost + Walrein teams, this trio is weak to Scrafty and Obstagoon. Registeel’s Focus Blast comes in handy compared with other popular Steel-types, as it can take out these Dark-type Fighters in no-shield situations. This team is also very soft against a Talonflame lead.
Medicham + Lickitung + Walrein
Last, but certainly not least, a recreation of a classic.
Long-time players may remember TheAsianMilkMan’s early-GBL team of Dewgong, Medicham, and Munchlax that both him and Arrohh popularized. For reference: the top meta Steel-type at the time was Registeel, which is why Munchlax was the Body Slammer of choice with its Bulldoze coverage move.
Many things have changed since then, including the entire GO Beyond update. We’ve changed the alignment and composition of the team to better compliment a new top Body Slammer in Lickitung, as well as an alignment that better posits the Fighting-type resisting Medicham in the lead. While Dewgong is relatively scared of Steel-types, Walrein’s Earthquake allows it to provide a better coverage profile in the back of this team and operate as a safe swap to pair with the Medicham + Lickitung core.
This team is relatively weak to a Deoxys Defense, Mew, Cresselia, or Hypno lead as it becomes difficult to align Lickitung on the Psychic-type. It additionally does not enjoy seeing Skarmory in the lead unless your Medicham is using Dynamic Punch.
While we’ve recommended Medicham lead, this team should work perfectly well in classic fashion with Walrein in the lead and Medicham and Lickitung (or even Munchlax for the true throwback) in the back.
Ultra League Cores
Walrein + Giratina Altered + Talonflame
This team utilizes the same tactics we’ve seen earlier of fighting-type counters behind a Walrein lead. These 3 very consistent and powerful Pokémon
This team has issues with Electric-type leads as both Walrein and Talonflame are weak to Electric damage. Luckily for this team, such Pokémon are rare in Open Ultra League.
Pidgeot + Scrafty + Shadow Walrein
Pidgeot as a lead Pokémon is powerful at setting up win conditions from favorable leads. With both Scrafty and Shadow Walrein in the back it should be easy to capitalize on a Feather Dance debuffed opponent, or with Shadow Walrein’s powerful coverage and speed with Icicle Spear you should have an okay time winning switch advantage from an unfavorable lead.
Similarly to the previous team this trio does not like seeing Electric-types in the lead due to Pidgeot and Walrein’s shared weakness.
Deoxys Defense + Walrein + Greedent
Bulk and spam is the trend on this team. While Shadow Walrein can certainly be afforded given the outstanding bulk, there is also often merit to just outlasting an opponent.
On this team the overwhelming spam that Greedent offers allows it to be a very potent safe swap as always, since even the majority of its Fighting-type counters cannot take Body Slams rapidly fired at them. The fact that Walrein assists Deoxys against the biggest, baddest Ghost-type in the meta in Giratina really helps this team solidify itself as a potent trio.
This team is fairly weak to a Cresselia lead as she threatens both Deoxys and Walrein. Additionally a bulky Dark-type like Umbreon or Mandibuzz in the lead could prove an issue, but not an insurmountable one.
Trevenant + Registeel + Shadow Walrein
I feel like this trio was mentioned before?
As mentioned earlier in the article around Great League, Trevenant and Registeel make for a very potent core; Walrein can both complement that and offer new benefits in a trio with them.
As in Great League there are a few issues with a Fire-type lead such as Talonflame, Charizard, or Typhlosion as well as glaring weaknesses to Scrafty or Obstagoon.
Ultra League Premier Classic Cores
Walrein + Shadow Machamp + Trevenant (Can substitute Venusaur in lieu of Trevenant)
Finally, in the safety of Premier Classic, Walrein and their ghostly friend get some respite from Scrafty’s punches. While Obstagoon is still around, Machamp is here to really scare the weasel and without STAB on Counter or Cross Chop, even Walrein has a better time against it than you might initially expect.
This team struggles against a Venusaur in the lead, or a Gengar in the back. Against Venusaur it’s important to know that Walrein can win the even 2 shield matchup if you want to force it.
Trevenant + Swampert + Walrein (Can substitute Lapras in lieu of Swampert)
A team that I can speak from experience on!
In Season 9 of GO Battle League I got to 3436 and then-56th on the leaderboards with a team of Trevenant + Swampert + Lapras in Ultra League Premier Classic. As Walrein might be even more potent than Lappy, it should be a no-brainer to slot in if desired. This team could be converted fully to ABB structure by switching Swampert out for Lapras, which would help alleviate a general weakness the team had to Dragonite leads.
While either variation of the team has some weaknesses (Dragonite on the former, Obstagoon on the latter), I am very excited to return to this team structure again this season with a variant that seems to offer both a better safe swap and better overall coverage!
Shadow Walrein + Venusaur + Escavalier
This team utilizes a strong Walrein + Venusaur core and uses Escavalier as a swap to draw out either Dragonite, Trevenant, or a Fire-type for Walrein to then handle so that Venusaur has potential to sweep in the back.
Fighting-types like Heracross or Gallade that also tend to do well against Venusaur are a real pain for this trio and should be kept in mind if choosing to run it.
Swampert + Gyarados + Walrein
Water we doing with this team?
Another team getting a fresh coat of paint, the Swampert + Gyarados + Lapras team should do just as well with Walrein featured in it, especially with the increased coverage against Electric-types and Grass-types that Walrein offers with its Ground and Ice charge moves respectively.
Grass-types like Venusaur that still give Walrein issue are a worry for this team, as is Tangrowth and its ability to throw rocks at Gyarados.
Master League Premier Classic Cores
Swampert + Gyarados + Walrein
Water we putting this team up again for?
Well turns out all 3 of these Pokémon can boogie up in Master League as well!
Swampert does a good job of protecting the back 2 against Magnezone, and the back 2 do a very good job at protecting Swampert from Dragonite!
This team does not love seeing Togekiss in the lead, as the play is usually to let Swampert faint and then farm down with Walrein and that plan leaves the back 2 Pokémon weak to quite a bit.
Walrein + Garchomp + Dragonite
Walrein pairs up with two Pokémon that would hate to see it in a mirror!
Walrein does a very good job of protecting these ice-fearing dragon against the likes of Mamoswine or Avalugg, as well as letting them rest easier around the threat of Togekiss.
In return these two protect Walrein from Pokémon such as Machamp and Snorlax.
A Magnezone or Electivire lead can prove extremely troublesome for this team and while there are certainly ways to come back and win from either, you’d very much rather see Electric-types in a position where Garchomp can pounce on them. Sylveon as well could cause issue, especially if the player uses shields optimally.
Togekiss + Walrein + Excadrill
For those who haven’t played Master League in a while - Excadrill has shown up in a big way since its acquisition of Mud Shot. As a destructive force paired with the destructive force that is Walrein, they only need mutual protection from Fighting-types like Machamp or Conkeldurr. Togekiss very happily fills that niche.
This team doesn’t love a Metagross or Magnezone lead, but the power of the trio allows a lot of other matchups to go smoothly due to how oppressive some of the hard-counter matchups can be. For instance - an opposing Dragonite has nowhere to go against this trio.
Garchomp + Avalugg + Walrein
The ice is nice!
There’s an important caveat to this team - Garchomp cannot look back or it might faint of shock! Hypothermia is no joke for the Ground Dragon!
This team is fairly straightforward ABB - Garchomp protects the Ice-types from Magnezone and Metagross and in turn they protect Garchomp from Togekiss and Dragonite. It’s a very nice and straightforward trio for those reasons.
This team is quite weak to a Gyarados lead, or that of an opposing Walrein. Perhaps it would be best to hold off on the ice age until initial Walrein hype dies down.
I hope you all enjoy these teams and the accompanying write-up!
May all of your games play smoothly and may all of your water be icy!