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3 Pokemon GO Pros explain how to get better at Battle League

How to improve in Pokemon GO PvP? That’s what we asked three pros in the game. They explain: Just playing is not enough.

Who is speaking here? At the Pokemon European International Championship in London, we had the chance to speak to three Pokemon GO Battle League pros.


Those were:

  • “DancingRob”, the first and reigning world champion in Pokemon GO
  • Kevin “JBGWinsenHSV” Chlupka
  • Dominik “Fr43ka” Wieber

All three professionals have already participated in international tournaments and achieved success there. So it’s not surprising that their focus is primarily on PvP. But the other aspects of the game also use them.

Especially when it comes to catches, they have recorded high numbers. Kevin Chlupka has collected almost 400,000 Pokemon so far, DancingRob is at 200,000. However, Dominik Wieber holds the record of the 3 with 730,000 catches: “When I run around outside and catch, that relaxes me, I can switch off,” he explains.

In PvP, on the other hand, switching off is forbidden, maximum concentration is required here. After all, there are all sorts of things to consider – things that casual gamers might not be aware of.


In an interview, the three gave us a little insight into how you can improve as a beginner or casual player in the Pokemon GO Battle League – and what you need for it.

“You can’t get around the theory on the outside”

How do you get better at PvP? All three explained that they started Pokemon GO a few years ago and gained experience in PvP, first through the Battle League, then through tournaments on the “Silph” platform, towards becoming a professional. “Initially, there were no official Niantic or in-game tournaments,” recalls Wieber.

So Silph became the go-to place for all PvP enthusiasts. And that combat experience is paying off today. Or: The knowledge of game mechanics and what the different Pokemon can do.


You have to gather a lot of knowledge – also outside of the game

You don’t get this knowledge by just playing the game, the pros explain. “There are some aspects that you just have to learn. That starts with effectiveness, that’s the basis. You can also learn that in the game if it says ‘very effective’,” explains Wieber.

It is also an important basis to know the movesets of the most important Pokemon that you could meet.

But then other aspects come into play: “Things like energy generation, or what a move costs,” you don’t learn in the game. You need other sources for that.


What source do the pros use? “The first thing you really have to do is learn PvPoke. If you know how PvPoke works, you get into PvP very quickly,” explains Kevin Chlupka. PvPoke is a database that provides various rankings and simulations related to the battle league.

Here is the link to

“You can see every move there, every Pokemon, the HP, the attack values, the defense values. You can see what is currently good in the meta, you also have good example teams that are currently being played,” explains Chlupka: “Learning how this website, rankings and simulations work is a very good foundation, to get good at PvP.”


It is crucial that you first learn the theory and then put it into practice. If you know your own and your opponent’s Pokemon inside and out, you have a huge advantage.

The season “Rising Heroes” is currently running in Pokemon GO


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Why do I need another source than the game? DancingRob explains it relatively simply: “You can compare it a bit with chess. They can quickly explain to you how the pieces move and play a few games against each other, fights can also be close. But if you want to be particularly good or achieve a lot, you have to bring in external sources,” said the world champion.

He also recommends PvPoke, or finding YouTubers who explain basic mechanics in PvP: “You can’t get around the theory on the outside, it’s all about information. How much energy which attacks generate, which synergy effects result. Shielding scenarios, how to play with the switch timer, how to time moves to get the most out of it.”


In Pokemon GO, success depends a lot on which teams compete against each other with what efficiencies. That’s why it’s usually not enough to know your own team – you also have to be aware of potential opponents.

What teams do the pros play?

If you ask the pros about the “best team”, it quickly becomes clear that there is no such thing as a direct one. Too much depends on synergies and efficiencies. Therefore, all you can do is find out what your favorite play style is and which teams suit it.

If you want to try something, here are team tips from the pros:


Dancing Rob’s team: DancingRob explains: “Personally, I try to play neutral so as not to be so dependent on the opposing team. I’m trying to work with energy advantage and switch more aggressively.”

To do this, he uses Pokemon that can still win in “bad matchups” – i.e. against monsters that actually have an advantage.

“My favorite Pokemon is Crypto Sumpex. If you’re just half a second faster than the opponent, you can get so much advantage that you can keep up against counters like Trombork,” explains DancingRob.


It should be remembered that Crypto-Sumpex has the wrong moves at first, because: Frustration has to be unlearned first. But with the right attacks, it is extremely strong.

“There are core Pokemon that are generally never that bad. Galar Flunschlik, Meditalis, Registeel, Lanturn, Trombork, Noctuh. You can build teams around it. I like to play a variant with Vulnona, Crypto Sumpex and Galarian Flunschlik for example,” says the world champion.

Which team does Fr43ka play? “I also like energy management and flexible Pokemon, with which you can still flip matchups,” says Wieber: “I used to have clear favorites, but they have changed in the meantime. I played the same team for seven GBL seasons with Altaria, Azumarill and Regen-Formeo. It worked for seven seasons.”


Azumarill was an early Pokemon that, while harmless in appearance, terrified the PvP league.

But in the meantime he had to rebuild and uses Lanturn instead of Formeo, for example: “Due to many updates, new Pokemon, also Move updates and the XL change, the team became weaker and weaker and just wasn’t really playable anymore.”

Which team uses JBGWinsenHSV? Kevin Chlupka has a clear favorite: “I’m currently playing Crypto-Charizard, Registeel and Zobiris. Charizard is one of the best Pokemon in the league simply because it can always draw a shield. And Zobiris in the back is almost unstoppable.”


Do I really only have to study theory?

No. Gathering the knowledge is just the first step: “Practicing in between is really important, only theory is useless,” explains Fr43ka: “You have to internalize it,” says the professional.

But there’s a problem: “In Pokemon GO, you only have 25 battles a day, with a few exceptions. It’s usually just a coincidence that you practice against people who also have this level. You don’t hit people. It’s not that easy, especially when you’re casual.”

In general, there are some aspects of the game that could be improved from the pros’ point of view. For example, they suggest more regular updates in PvP that bring a breath of fresh air.


In addition, Fr43ka emphasizes: “There were many bonuses that simplify the game or make it more accessible, like the remote raids, or the better smoke. That was really good for players in the country,” said the professional: “I’d like it if something like that comes back. The long-distance raids in particular, which have become more expensive, put a strain on players who don’t have a local community.”

The discussion about long-distance raids has been going on for a few weeks now, and many players are dissatisfied with the developers’ decision to make them more expensive. You can find out more about the big discussion about long-distance raids in Pokemon GO here.