Putting together a strong Pokémon Go Ultra League team is worth investing in now it's regularly part of the Go Battle League.
For two weeks in every Go Battle League each season, the Ultra League will be the focus - meaning you have to come up with the most effective team possible at under 2500 CP.
The Ultra League is perhaps the most difficult one to plan for, because you don't have the creativity of the Great League's low CP requirement, or the no holds barred freedom of the Master League where the overall Best Pokémon rule (meta depending, of course).
That said, there are some clear types and moves that shine in this league - and so this page explains our Ultra League recommendations based on the current Ultra League meta, allowing you to piece together an effective Ultra League team.
Things to know about putting together an Ultra League team in Pokémon Go
While the Ultra League isn't as cheap to form a team as the Great League, due to there still being a CP cap of 2500, you won't be maxing out Pokémon in the same way you would the Master League - keeping your Stardust and Candy costs down.
Though with a slightly higher CP to work with, you'll notice more Legendaries appearing - so hopefully you've been catching them in Raids or weekly Research throughout the years.
That said, there are still enough common catches that work as excellent alternatives, or can be easily recommended if you want to keep costs down. (A second move for a Legendary is, by and large, very expensive.)
Like the Great League, Community Day starters are a welcome source of easy-to-find Pokémon with stronger moves than usual, so if none of our recommendations suit your needs, that's another great place to start so you can begin climbing the ranks.
Remember - 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 Ultra League recommendations, from Giratina to Togekiss
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 Ultra League 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.
When forming a team, note 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 Ultra Team recommendations in no particular order:
Giratina (Altered or Origin)
Type: Ghost / Dragon
Recommended moves: Shadow Claw (Fast), Dragon Claw (Altered, Charged) or Ominous Wind / Shadow Ball (Origin, Charged)
Giratina weaknesses: Dark, Dragon, Ghost, Ice, Fairy
It's very powerful for the CP range of the League, and provided it's not up against any counters - of which, as you'll find, most of our recommendations consist of due to its popularity in the meta - it can roll over most Pokémon.
Giratina is a Legendary and until it reappears in Raids or weekly Research, cannot be found easily without trading. And though you'll want to go after the Altered forme if you have the option, then Origin is a welcome alternative.
Recommended moves: Lock On (Fast), Flash Cannon (Charged)
Registeel Weaknesses: Fighting, Ground, Fire
Registeel was a firm favourite in the Great League, and its strengths translate to the Ultra League too, thanks to few meta weaknesses (fighting, in particular, is out of favour in the Ultra League), ability to take on Giratina, Cresselia and Togekiss, and offers real staying power in battles.
It is, of course, another Legendary, making it both hard-to-find and expensive - so if you want a cheaper steel alternative, Steelix comes in handy. Melmetal, if you're lucky enough to have access to a supply of Meltan in Pokémon Let's Go, is also good.
Type: Water / Ground
Recommended moves: Mud Shot (fast), Hydro Cannon (Community Day exclusive) and Earthquake (Charged)
Swampert Weaknesses: Grass
With both Hydro Cannon and Earthquake, Swampert can deal with many meta relevant types, such as Charizard and steel Pokémon Registeel and Steelix. Though it won't knock out a Giratina, it will certainly put up a good fight.
As a starter, it's also one of the easier to find on this list (especially if you participated in Community Day) and cheapest to invest in, especially as you'll want that second move.
Recommended moves: Lick (fast), Superpower or Earthquake or Outrage (Charged)
Snorlax weaknesses: Fighting
Snorlax is a great defensive option for many reasons - it's weak to very few other types, and has general bulk to stay the distance in a fight.
Snorlax can counter Giratina counter thanks to Outrage, and with another second move it holds its own against others too - with Earthquake it can take down Registeel and other steel types, while Superpower is a fighting move that will beat another Snorlax - a type itself is weak against.
Since Snorlax has become reasonably straightforward to find over the years, it's something you can drop into an Ultra League team with little effort if you're looking for a solid third option.
Type: Fairy / Flying
Recommended moves: Charm (fast), Ancient Power and Flamethrower (charged)
Togekiss weaknesses: Poison, Steel, Rock, Ice, Electric
Fairy holds up very well in the Ultra League - it's weak to very few of the popular types you'll come up against - and since Togekiss is the best of its type, it's highly recommended to be part of your team.
Togekiss's 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 also a popular choice thanks to Togepi's prevalence in Eggs - just remember to add the second move while it's in its infancy to save on cost.
But if you can't get hold of one, other fairy types such as Clefable (even with max CP, it's still eligible for the Ultra League) and Gardevoir - or anything else with access to Charm - is worth using.
Recommended moves: Counter (fast), Cross Chop or Close Combat (charged)
Machamp weaknesses: Flying, Psychic, Fairy
Though fighting isn't as prevalent in the Ultra League as it was in the Great League, they're still useful - and Machamp is strong enough to be worth considering if you're looking for something to round off some of the stronger picks in this list as an additional counter option.
It's specifically good against Registeel and Snorlax, which you're likely to run up against - though will struggle to face the mighty Togekiss.
Pokémon Go in 2020 continues to add new features, such the arrival of the Go Battle League - which is currently highlighting the Master League - and soon, Clone Pokémon. We've also recently had the Buddy Adventure feature, which introduces a variety of perks - including finding Souvenirs - as well as a new trade evolution feature. 2019 saw the release of the first Gen 5 Pokémon, along with new regional exclusive Pokémon, Egg charts, and the introduction of the Unova Stone. Pokemon Go also sees regular events - including weekly Spotlight Hour and Mystery Bonus evenings, monthly Field Research rewards and Pokémon Go Community Day, plus a new Giovanni counters quest - the latest being The Shadowy Threat Grows. There is also an upcoming paid in-game event, A Drive for Discovery.
Type: Water / Flying
Recommended moves: Dragon Breath (fast), Crunch or Outrage or Hydro Pump (charged)
Gyarados weaknesses: Electric, Rock
If you're value for money, then few come better than Gyarados, with Marikarp continuing to be very common to make Gyarados cheap to power up and add a second move.
Thanks to its range of charged moves - Crunch (Dark), Outrage (Dark) and Hydro Pump (Water) - means you have several options for matchups.
Gyarados is especially weak to Electric types, but it's rare you'll see many in the Ultra League - unless Melmetal featuring one as a second move appears.
Type: Poison / Dark
Recommended moves: Poison Jab (fast), Dark Pulse and Acid Spray or Sludge Wave (charged)
Alolan Muk weaknesses: Ground
Though it will struggle against Togekiss, Swampert and Registeel, Alolan Muk can take down some of the league's other heavy hitters, such as Giratina, Cressela and Snorlax.
Recommended moves: Psycho Cut (fast), Future Sight (Charged)
Cresselia Weaknesses: Bug, Dark, Ghost
Cresselia is another Pokémon that, while it wouldn't shine in comparison to others Legendaries if CP wasn't capped, has great stats that allow it to punch above its weight in the Ultra League.
Cresselia is generally a strong all rounder with a strong fast move and can last long enough in a fight to cause some problems. Though Giratina can beat it, it'll come away heavily damaged in the process. Cresselia is also great for any fighting types that might appear.
Just watch out for steel types, such as Registeel, which can topple it easily.
Since Cresselia is reasonably rare as Legendaries go, so it might be worth looking at Mew and Armoured Mewtwo if you want alternatives.
Type: Fire / Flying
Recommended Moves: Fire Spin (fast), Blast Burn (Community Day exclusive) or Overheat (charged)
Charizard weaknesses: Rock, Electric, Water
Like all starters, Charizard really shines when you balance how easy it is to get hold of, cheap to power up and add a second move on, while remaining pretty strong. There's also something comforting about having one of the most iconic Pokémon of all time in your team, right?
But like all other starters, you'd ideally want its Community Day move Blast Burn for it to be at its most effective. Either way, a fire move is great against Registeel and other steel types, but it will particularly struggle against Swampart, a popular choice in the Ultra League meta.