The Willpower Cup is here! As with the recent Halloween Cup, this Go Battle League special cup in Pokémon Go comes with heavy restrictions. So, if you’re ready to find out if you have #thatpower, now’s the time to start looking at the best Willpower Cup team in Pokémon Go.
As usual with these cups, the rules of the Great League in Pokémon Go apply here – but with the usual twist hinted at in the name. This time, not only do you have to come up with the most effective team possible at 1500 CP and under, but you can only pick Pokémon with great fortitude. In short, only fighting, psychic and dark-type Pokémon are allowed, with the only other ruling being that Gardevoir is banned.
If you’re looking for other Go Battle League recommendations, see our Ultra League page, which will run alongside this event.
Our Pokémon Go Willpower Cup recommendations
There is no single ‘best’ team you can choose – since, as mentioned previously, you don’t know what you are up against – and not everyone has access to every Pokémon species.
Instead, here is a general list of recommended Willpower Cup Pokémon to build a team from, with a wide range of sources that should suit all players, whether you’ve been collecting creatures since day one or just started playing. Plus, even if you don’t have a Victini, you can still be very competitive in this cup, as very few of our picks have any exclusive or Community Day moves. As long as you have the Pokémon and enough resources to power it up, you should be good to go!
Remember you are only allowed one of each in the Go Battle League, and ideally you’d want to build a team with different type strengths and defense. For example, if you build a team with all mono-psychic types, a single Umbreon with Snarl/Foul Play will likely destroy your team.
It’s also worth noting that if you want to really compete, each of your Pokémon need two Charged moves. If you want to skimp on Stardust and only run the one move, do so at your own peril – you have been warned.
Our Pokémon Go Willpower Cup team recommendations in order of their appearance in the National Pokédex — while there is some overlap with the Great League guide, make sure you read the full entry as we may be recommending some move changes:
Alolan Raichu Types: Electric / Psychic
Alolan Raichu Perfect IVs: 1/15/15
Alolan Raichu Weakness: Bug, Dark, Ghost and Ground
Alolan Raichu Moves: Volt Switch (Fast), Wild Charge (Charged), Thunder Punch (Charged)
Just like in the Psychic Cup, Alolan Raichu – the answer to ‘What if Pikachu evolved while it was in Hawaii?’ – is a surprisingly strong choice in this meta, especially given its move set, with wins against Mandibuzz, Victini and Cresselia. The upside to running triple-electric is that, with the exception of Zweilous, nothing is resistant to this move set, helping you get neutral STAB at the very least.
Looking to the quality of the moves, Volt Switch is decent, and the combo with Thunder Punch means Alolan Raichu applies both fast move pressure and shield pressure. Throw in the self-debuff Wild Charge ‘hail Mary’ for the win, and you have a decent contender in the Willpower Cup meta.
Of course, this Pokémon is not without its drawbacks: for all its spamminess, it’s also very glassy and has long attack animations, making it a little clumsy to use. Add in an ill-timed Wild Charge, which will massively drop your defence, and you can see why Alolan Raichu can be difficult to use correctly. Watch out for Umbreon, which will utterly destroy Raichu, along with Sneasler, Sableye and Hisuian Qwilfish.
Umbreon Type: Dark
Umbreon Perfect IVs: 0/15/15
Umbreon Weakness: Bug, Fairy and Fighting
Umbreon Moves: Snarl (Fast), Foul Play (Charged), Last Resort (Community Day Charged)
Umbreon, as an Eeveelution, was already a fan favourite before it joined Great Battle League as the extremely bulky, incredibly spammy Pokémon that it is.
While Snarl doesn’t hit particularly hard, it is a fast-charging Fast move that helps you get to your Foul Play attack faster – a cheap move that hits relatively hard. If you have Last Resort, this normal-type attack will deal slightly higher damage. There is an argument for psychic instead, which has very similar stats to Last Resort, but with the low number of fighting-types and the abundance of other dark-types at the top of the meta, you’ll likely do better without it.
That said, Umbreon does lose to Medicham and Sneasler (only the latter of which is weak to psychic), along with Zweilous and Mandibuzz. Still, by pulling in wins against Alolan Raichu, Hisuian Qwilfish, Sableye and Cresselia, it’s a great choice in this cup.
Hisuian Qwilfish Types: Dark / Poison
Hisuian Qwilfish Perfect IVs: 0/15/15
Hisuian Qwilfish Weakness: Ground
Hisuian Qwilfish Moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Aqua Tail (Charged), Shadow Ball (Charged)
Like with Overqwil last month’s Halloween Cup, you’ll either see Hisuian Qwilfish or you won’t, since there has only been one way of getting them to date. But the same logic applies to your opponents, so whether they run one of these is very much up to chance.
If you do have one, Hisuian Qwilfish offers your team the benefits similar benefits: both Fast move pressure and shield pressure, thanks to how hard-hitting and fast-charging Poison Jab is, and how cheap Aqua Tail is. The Shadow Ball must be respected, so if you hold off until you can fire off both, the opponent is more likely to put up shields, even if you ultimately choose the cheaper attack – they have no way of knowing which you’ve chosen, after all.
There are some interesting match-ups here, beating several psychic-types, including Victini, Medicham and Cresselia, along with Sableye. However, thanks to its relatively low bulk, Sneasler, Skuntank, Umbreon and Mandibuzz are likely to wreck your day.
Sableye Types: Dark / Ghost
Sableye Perfect IVs: 3/14/15
Sableye Weakness: Fairy
Sableye Moves: Shadow Claw (Fast), Foul Play (Charged), Return (Very Exclusive Charged)
Shadow and Purified Sableye are fantastic examples of the two different versions of the same Pokémon that perform well across Go Battle League. In this case, Shadow Sableye is a bit naff, but you can replace Return with Power Gem. Here, you really want to use Return – the Purified-excusive move that can’t be TMed into, which means if you want to run it, you need to have a Purified Sableye.
That all said and done, Sableye is a surprisingly tanky ghost, given that it has reasonable defence and stamina, and its typing means it is both only weak to fairy (which is great in this meta), and resistant to psychic, fighting, poison and normal (also pretty great in this meta).
If you haven’t had the pleasure of using the money ghost, it is a very spammy and dynamic Pokémon, thanks to Shadow Claw being an all-round good attack, Foul Play being cheap and cheerful (or dark, as the case may be), and Return being an excellent Neutral nuke. Sure, it may be sacrilege for a ghost, but show me a ghost that isn’t.
Onto the matchups, ghost and dark both beat psychic pretty hard, meaning that you’re going to beat Alolan Raichu, Medicham, Victini and Cresselia, and you’re going to out-tank Sneasler, too. On the flip-side, Mandibuzz, Hisuian Qwilfish and Umbreon outlast you, so know when to switch out.
Cresselia Type: Psychic
Cresselia Perfect IVs: 2/15/13
Cresselia Weakness: Bug, Dark and Ghost
Cresselia Moves: Psycho Cut (Fast), Moonblast (Charged), Grass Knot (Exclusive Charged)
Another mainstay of Go Battle League, Cresselia is an extremely bulky Pokémon that you should always expect to see when it is eligible in the league. Here, with its resistance to both psychic and fighting.
Psycho Cut is a very spammy Fast move, that charges up to the nuke Moonblast pretty quickly. With its 10% chance to drop the attack by one stage, it’s a great move to spam. Grass Knot is there for coverage, in case you come across something resistant, but if you don’t have one (or an Elite TM to get it), Future Sight is a more expensive nuke you can lean on, or Aurora Beam as an ice-type coverage move.
Obviously, the weakness to dark-type moves is your downfall here, with Zweilous being the only one you’re likely to beat (thanks to Moonblast). Beyond that, you can expect wins against Toxicroak, Medicham and Sneasler.
Victini Type: Psychic / Fire
Victini Weakness: Dark, Ghost, Ground, Rock and Water
Victini Moves: Quick Attack (Fast), V-Create (Charged), Overheat (Charged)
You either have a Victini or you don’t; either way, it’s a very strong Pokémon in the Willpower Cup, so you should strongly consider running it if you do.
Although it doesn’t run any moves that psychic-types that you’d expect, the fire-type attacks both have STAB, and the spammy Quick Attack coupled with two fast-charging Charged moves applies enough shield pressure to take down the likes of Cresselia.
The real downside here isn’t the inflexibility of having two charged moves – it’s trying to get two charged moves and power it up enough to be usable. Being as rare as it is, you probably won’t have the candy to unlock a second charge move, making it a tricky choice for an already technical Pokémon. Do you run V-Create, which will drop your defence by three stages, or Overheat, which will drop your attack by two stages? Your call, but be aware of the self-debuff going in.
Pawniard Types: Dark / Steel
Pawniard Perfect IVs: 2/15/15
Pawniard Weakness: Fighting, Fire and Ground
Pawniard Moves: Fury Cutter (Fast), Night Slash (Charged), Iron Head (Charged)
If you want something spammy that applies decent shield pressure, Pawniard is an interesting choice. Fury Cutter is a fast-charging attack and Night Slash is very cheap attack to fire off, while also offering a 12.5% chance to give yourself +2 attack. Should you need it, Iron Head is there as a harder hitting coverage move.
The glaring issue, however, is Pawniard’s typing giving an extreme weakness to fighting-types. Medicham will flex that little muscle and Pawniard will faint as a result. Hisuian Sneasel will also eventually take you down, as Victini and Skuntank’s fire attacks.
The positive match-ups, however, include Cresselia and all the dark-types at the top of the meta.
Mandibuzz Types: Dark / Flying
Mandibuzz Perfect IVs: 0/13/15
Mandibuzz Weakness: Electric, Fairy, Ice and Rock
Mandibuzz Moves: Air Slash (Fast), Aerial Ace (Charged), Foul Play (Charged)
Talking of dark-type Pokémon at the top of the meta, meet Mandibuzz, the top-ranked Pokémon in the Willpower Cup.
Interestingly, we’re running double-flying here, rather than seemingly obvious dark-type moves. Air Slash is preferable to Snarl – it charges slightly slower, but bits harder and isn’t likely to be resisted. The same does for Aerial Ace – it’s cheap to use and is likely to do unresisted STAB damage. Should you need to fall back on the dark-type attacks, Foul Play is equally cheap and even more powerful.
The match-ups here are a sight to see for those who want to run Mandibuzz. Sableye, Medicham, Hisuian Qwilfish, Cresselia and Umbreon all lose here, although Alolan Raichu has the obvious upper hand (paw). Zweilous will also beat you, so beware the number-one dragon in the meta.
Zweilous Types: Dark / Dragon
Zweilous Perfect IVs: 0/15/15
Zweilous Weakness: Fairy, Bug, Dragon, Fighting and Ice
Zweilous Moves: Dragon Breath (Fast), Body Slam (Charged), Dark Pulse (Charged)
Unopposed dragon-type Pokémon are always pretty scary in Go Battle League, and this is Zweilous’s chance to shine. It’s a spammy, dynamic option that applies Fast move pressure while also putting up solid defences.
Dragon Breath is a very good Fast move, leading into the cheap, spammy Body Slam or the stronger Dark Pulse with STAB. All of these are good options, as few things are going to resist the first two, and if it’s weak to the third it’ll take a lot of damage here.
Which brings us to the match-ups. Zweilous beats the other dark-types, while also taking down Alolan Raichu. Sadly, it loses to the few fighting-types at the top of the meta, Along with anything that can fire off a fairy-type moves – especially Cresselia and Galarian Rapidash.
Sneasler Type: Fighting / Poison
Sneasler Perfect IVs: 0/15/9
Sneasler Weakness: Psychic, Fighting and Ground
Sneasler Moves: Shadow Claw (Fast), Close Combat (Charged), X-Scissor (Charged)
If you’re looking for a good fighting-type Pokémon in this meta, your options are relatively limited – beyond Sneasler, Medicham is probably your next best bet, and that’s not even ranked top-20 in the meta.
Still, if you both have one and want to use it, Sneasler is a great option as a lead Pokémon, offering quick Shield pressure thanks to Shadow Claw into X-Scissor. The down-side is that Sneasler’s fighting-type moves are just bad. Rock Smash is straight awful, and Close Combat, which we do recommend using, comes with a guaranteed -2 penalty to your defence, making this already glassy Pokémon that much more of a risk.
This means that while Sneasler’s job is to burn fast and burn bright, its match-ups are a little shaky. Hisuian Qwilfish, Alolan Raichu, Umbreon and Medicham all lose to Sneasler, whereas Mandibuzz, Cresselia, Victini, and Sableye are all loses to watch out for.
The Willpower Cup will run until Thursday, 10th November and finish at the following times: