Putting together a strong Pokémon Go Master League team is worth investing in more than ever now it's regularly part of the Go Battle League.
For two weeks in every Go Battle League each season, the Master League will be the focus - meaning you have to come up with the best team possible regardless of CP.
The Master League is probably the easiest to work around, since you have no CP limits, though it's easily the most expensive if you want to reach the maximum possible power on your chosen team. That said, unlike other leagues, these Pokémon will be useful in other areas of the game, such as Raids, giving them extra value for your investment.
Of course, it isn't all about CP. Our Master League recommendations is based on the current Master League meta, allowing you to piece together an effective Master League team.
Things to know about putting together an Master League team in Pokémon Go
No CP limits means you have the most amount of freedom here of any League team, and though the Best Pokémon by and large do well here, the meta means there are certain creatures which will do better than others based on what everyone else is choosing.
By and large, Legendaries are the most useful in this group, but you can easily form a team without them, to both purposely counter them and offer a wide range of coverage.
The reliable staples of starter Community Day Pokémon are much less effective here than other leagues as a result, but others who have been highlighted have evolutions and exclusive moves that can really help you, if you were around at the time.
Though CP isn't everything in this league - above all, you want to go with types which suit the meta - maximising the power of your chosen team can give you a slight advantage. There's a couple of ways to make this cost effective - from performing Lucky Trades to halve their Stardust costs (and increase the likelihood of them having good stats) and having them as your Best Friend to give them a CP boost while they're your buddy.
And, the higher Trainer Level you are, the higher the CP cap grows. That said, there are diminishing returns of this final point - with Stardust and Candy costs going through the roof for very little CP gain as you reach its cap - so don't get hung up on this in particular.
As always - no matter what League you participate in, you are after Pokémon with a decent amount of bulk (the ability to survive charged moves - type weakness depending - so you can fire off a few of your own) and those that best counter or expose weaknesses in the current meta (which is a term for what the community is using at present).
Though there are specific Pokémon and types that dominate the meta, remember with the Go Battle League (and player versus player battles in general) you'll be going in blind; so even if you cover yourself with a wide range of offence and defence options, no team is invincible.
Still - even with a few of the below Pokémon in your team, you should be able to fare better than if you just selected those as close to the 2500 CP cap as possible.
Our Pokémon Go Master League recommendations, from Dialga to Mamoswine
There is no one '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 type of Pokémon.
Instead, here is a general list of recommended Master League Pokémon to build a team from, with a wide range of sources that should suit all players, whether you've been collecting Legendaries since their debut, or have just started playing.
Remember, when forming a team, 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 defence.
Our Pokémon Go Master League Team recommendations in no particular order:
Giratina (Origin ideally, or Altered)
Type: Ghost / Dragon
Giratina Altered moves: Shadow Claw (Fast), Dragon Claw or Shadow Sneak (Charged)
Giratina Origin moves: Shadow Claw (Fast), Shadow Ball or Ominous Wind (Charged)
Giratina weaknesses: Dark, Dragon, Ghost, Ice, Fairy
Giratina is, put simply, incredibly powerful, leaning on its brute strength and ghost / dragon types to take down most other creatures in a straight match up. Though you'll want to go after the Altered forme if you have the option, Origin is still a welcome alternative.
Giratina is a Legendary and until it reappears in Raids or weekly Research, cannot be found easily without trading.
With the meta forming around Giratina, expect to come up against plenty of counters against it (which is most of the choices on this page) so though it's a popular choice for a reason, going against the meta by not using it also makes sense - so don't worry if you don't have one available.
Type: Steel / Dragon
Recommended moves: Dragon Breath (Fast), Iron Head (Charged)
Dialga weaknesses: Fighting, Ground
Dialga is another Legendary with the right moves, typing (steel is generally very useful in competitive play) and the strength to roll over the vast majority of Pokemon it comes up against.
You could argue Dialga is a better choice than Giratina. It's about as powerful, has fewer type weaknesses, and it being harder to find makes it a more predictable counter for the opposition.
That said, expect to see well-rounded teams with fighting or ground moves to still be a threat against it.
Type: Fairy / Flying
Recommended moves: Charm (fast), Ancient Power and Flamethrower (charged)
Togekiss weaknesses: Poison, Steel, Rock, Ice, Electric
Togekiss is another Ultra League favourite which translates to a very strong Master League showing.
This is because Togekiss is an excellent Giratina counter - its fairy fast move Charge can take on a Giratina and fighting types such as Machamp with ease, while Ancient Power is a good counter to edge out another Togekiss.
Flamethrower, meanwhile, is helpful if you need to counter steel types - which it's weak against.
Togekiss is the best fairy type in the game, and also relatively easy to get your hands on - chances are you've hatched a few in Eggs over the years - and pretty cheap to level up and add a second charge move on provided you do it in its early evolution stages.
Type: Dragon / Flying
Recommended moves: Dragon Breath (Fast), Dragon Claw (Charged)
Dragonite weaknesses: Ice, Dragon, Rock, Fairy
Having been subject to a Community Day and around since the start of Pokémon Go, Dragonite is a popular choice to add to your team.
It has one of the highest CP caps in the game, giving it brute strength few other Pokémon can match, and works as a very efficient Giratina counter with its dragon moves and typing.
Just watch out for Togekiss, a meta favourite, and other dragon types - including Dragonite itself.
Recommended moves: Waterfall (Fast), Surf (Charged)
Kyogre weaknesses: Electric, Grass
Kyogre is another Legendary which stands out for its raw strength and bulk alone.
It's also, as far as Legendaries go, has been relatively common - so chances are you have one if you've been playing Pokémon long enough.
Though its water typing doesn't seem particularly useful in the current meta, outside powerful choices such as Dialga and Giratina, it should win out against the likes of Togekiss, Metagross, Snorlax and Mamoswine.
Recommended moves: Psycho Cut (Fast), Psystrike and Shadow Ball (event exclusive Charged)
Mewtwo weaknesses: Bug, Dark, Ghost
Despite Mewtwo once standing as one of the most exclusive Legendaries in the game with its EX Raid debut, chances are you've gone out of your way to get a Mewtwo over the years, and unsurprisingly, it fares well in the Master League.
Ideally you'd have Psystrike and / or Shadow Ball (two event or legacy moves) to make Mewtwo the most effective it can be, but even without them, a powered up Mewtwo stacks as one of the most powerful attackers in the game.
Recommended moves: Thundershock (Fast), Rock Slide and Superpower (Charged)
Melmetal weaknesses: Fighting, Fire, Ground
Despite being a steel-type Pokémon, Melmetal's strengths come from how it can use fighting, rock and electric-type moves.
Thundershock will allow you to cause quick damage to any Pokémon that are weak to electric-type moves, such as water Pokémon. The mixture of charged fighting and rock-type moves gives Melmetal an advantage over other useful Pokémon in the Master League, such as Snorlax.
Gaining a Melmetal, however, can take quite a bit of work, as you either need to complete the Let's Go Meltan special Research quest or use the Mystery Box by transferring Pokémon to either Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu or Let's Go Eevee to gain a Meltan.
Type: Steel / Psychic
Recommended moves: Bullet Punch (Fast), Meteor Mash (Community Day exclusive Charged)
Metagross weaknesses: Fire, Ground, Ghost, Dark
With steel proving very effective in the Master league, having the best Pokemon of its type - Metagross - comes in handy.
Metagross will work well against Dialga, Togekiss, Dragonite and Mewtwo, but will struggle against fire (Heatran), ground (Garchomp) and fighting types, as well as Giratina.
Though Flash Cannon is effective, to have Metagross at its best, you'll want Meteor Mash, its Community Day exclusive move.
Alternatively, the hard-to-get Melmetal is another great steel alternative, especially since it comes with fighting move Superpower and Thunderbolt, which is very quick at powering up, and useful for any Flying typings.
The Season of Legends is nearly here! With it comes a level cap increase - including the addition of XL Candy, the Legacy 40 Challenge quest and boosts to some XP sources - Platinum Medals, the arrival of Gen 6 Pokémon such as Espurr and changes to the Go Battle League We've recently seen the addition of 'Strange' red eggs and new Arlo, Cliff, Sierra and Giovanni line-ups.
Recommended moves: Lick (fast), Superpower or Earthquake or Outrage (Charged)
Snorlax weaknesses: Fighting
As with other leagues, Snorlax is a great option because it's strong defensively; it's weak to very few other types, and has general bulk to stay the distance in a fight.
With Giratina also running rampant, Snorlax works as a good counter here with Outrage. But if you can, couple it with a second move - Superpower is great against another Snorlax, while Earthquake can handle steel types.
It is also, like Togekiss, one of the cheaper and easier to find Pokemon on this list simply because it's not Community Day move dependant or Legendary, and counts as a strong third choice if you're struggling to round out a team.
Type: Ice / Ground
Recommended moves: Powder Snow (Fast), Ancient Power (Community Day exclusive Charged), Avalanche (Charged)
Mamoswine weaknesses: Fighting, Fire, Grass, Steel, Water
In a meta with Pokemon with several ice weaknesses (Giratina, Togekiss) and ground weaknesses (Dialga), Mamoswine's dual typing positions it as a very effective counter.
Mamoswine needs two charged moves to be at its most effective, ideally with Community Day exclusive move Ancient Power - though Stone Edge is also available.
Mamoswine's dual typing also has a disadvantage - more weaknesses. This means the steel types its strong against can damage it easily, as the mighty Kyogre, which you're likely to come up against.
Ultimately, it's a very good counter pick - especially when you factor in pre-evolution Swinub being a fairly common creature to make it a cost effective option.
Recommended moves: Snarl (Fast), Dark Pulse and Focus Blast (Charged)
Darkrai weaknesses: Bug, Fairy, Fighting
If you're fed up of being defeated by enemy Giratinas - either Altered or Origin - then Darkrai is the Pokémon for you. It will also give you an advantage over psychic Pokémon, making it a great opponent for Mewtwo as well.
This living embodiment of nightmares has the ability to use some very powerful dark-type moves. Snarl will allow you to quickly chip away at an opponent's health, while the charged move, Dark Pulse, will greatly damage any Pokémon, especially ghost and psychic-type Pokémon.
If you want to have a more diverse Darkrai, however, then it's worth teaching it Focus Blast as it's Charged move. This will allow you to land super effective hits on a far wider variety of Pokémon types, including normal, rock, steel, ice and dark.
Type: Dragon / Ground
Recommended moves: Mud Shot (Fast), Outrage and Earthquake (Charged)
Garchomp weaknesses: Fairy, Dragon, Ice (double weakness)
Garchomp is a good excuse to flex having found enough Gible - one of the most infamous creatures of recent generations - to eventually evolve its third evolution.
You'll notice Garchomp has a familiar typing, Dragon and Ground. Garchomp doesn't excel in either type against others on this list, but as something which can handle itself well in battle, Garchomp is a great all-rounder to have in reserve, especially if you can equip it with both Outrage and Earthquake charged moves to give you plenty of options. It is, at the very least, an excellent Metagross and Melmetal counter.
Ultimately, be aware of its weaknesses, several of which are prominent in the meta - so make sure you keep it well away from a Mamoswine or Togekess if they show up. Garchomp, however, does make up for that with excellent resistance to electric.