Ferocious Cup Meta: In-Depth Analysis

Ferocious Cup Guide

The second cup of the Silph Arena’s second season of competitive PvP tournaments is in full swing. For the first time within the Silph Arena, types do not determine whether a Pokémon is allowed to compete or not. Instead, it is land-based Pokémon with 4 legs or that have 2 legs and a tail.

The bans include Grass, Bug, and Flying types, Basiotodon, Zweilous, all “starter” Pokémon, humanoids (most Fighting types) and amphibian-based Pokémon (most Water type Pokémon) This has created a setting where some previously never thought of Pokémon have found themselves in the spotlight. So let’s dive in and see just what you’ll be seeing on your journey through the Ferocious Cup!

We have included the list of allowed Ferocious Cup Pokémon at the end of the article. Click here to jump down: ⬇️ List of allowed Ferocious Cup Pokémon ⬇️.

General Trends and Notes

The most important thing to note is that there is no true type map as this cup isn’t restricted to specific types. As a result, this means that it will be next to impossible to cover all potential threats with a team of six. This makes practicing with local players or those on discord servers, such as GO Stadium or Battle Park, paramount to familiarize yourself with all possible opponents in this cup and how your team can play its way around the holes it will have. Don’t get discouraged if you go through some losing streaks as you test different team compositions. Due to the wide array of good options, there’s a strong chance that you’ll run into players with a specific combination of Pokemon that just gives your team problems. Keep practicing and discover your counter-play to circumvent what issues your team may have.

While not as potent and restricting as the core 4 of the Kingdom Cup, (also known as the BALL core) there is a powerful core 4 that has risen within the Ferocious Cup that handles many of the top picks in the cup while covering themselves relatively well for the most part. While it isn’t mandatory for you to run this core on your team, it will be mandatory to have strong ways around them as many Battlers are likely to run all or parts of the core 4.

Utilizing double Water has also risen as a potent team of 3 strategy as the ban on Grass types means there is no hard stop to such a strategy. Even with some Electric types, remember that Electric type Pokemon take neutral damage from Water type moves, which means that one Water type can be used to weaken a foe’s Electric type for your other Water type to finish off the opponent’s team. A Ground type is usually used with this strategy to bait out the Electric type and switch lock it for the second Water type to have more freedom late game.

On the subject of Ground types, they are quite powerful despite the rough Water type weakness. Expect many teams to have a Ground type as they not only shrug at Electric types, but their STAB moves go unresisted in the Ferocious Cup as all of their natural resistances are banned.

Core 4 Picks

As mentioned previously, there has been a core 4 that has risen to popularity within the Ferocious Cup. At the very least, you will want to make sure you have counters for these Pokémon as you will see them often in any tournament you enter. Aside from the Water types listed, it is recommended to use the first option in each section if at all possible.

Light in the Shadow

Umbreon

Pokemon GO UmbreonUmbreonDark
Weaknesses Resistances
Fairy Bug Fighting Psychic x2 Dark Ghost
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Umbreon
SnarlDark Foul Play Dark Last Resort * Normal
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic Ghost Psychic

While there are many great Pokémon in the Ferocious Cup, Umbreon is without a doubt the best. This is due in large part to its amazing bulk and its ability to rapid-fire charge moves to put significant shield pressure on most opponents while not needing to shield itself. Because of this, Umbreon naturally creates shield advantage situations for its teammates to take advantage of later in the match. Similarly, it is one of few Pokémon that relies on charge moves for damage that can overcome shield disadvantage situations.

The moveset is simple… and probably where you’ll find the snag in using one yourself. Snarl is obvious for the great 4.33 EPT (Energy Per Turn) that allows Umbreon to use charge moves quickly. Foul Play is the more efficient of Umbreon’s Dark type charge moves, sporting lower energy cost and higher DPE compared to Dark Pulse. Last Resort is key for three specific match-ups: Skuntank, Alolan Raticate, and the mirror match. It will also get a stronger hit on Alolan Ninetales and Granbull, which can be useful should they be weakened. The obvious problem is getting Last Resort as it’s Umbreon’s Community Day move and may not be easy to find one as PvP wasn’t in the game at the time of Eevee’s Community Day in 2018. Due to the fact that anyone who has a Last Resort Umbreon is likely to bring it in their team of 6, it is virtually mandatory to have Last Resort on Umbreon should you want to use it.

Umbreon only really needs one thing: a switch-in for Charm users. Nidoqueen is the best to pair with Umbreon as she naturally works best as a closer with her hard hitting STAB Ground type moves and Umbreon can create shield advantage situations better than any other Pokémon in the Ferocious Cup. Nidoqueen also handles Skuntank comfortably should Umbreon be weakened and also beats Minun, one of the few neutral match-ups Umbreon can’t overcome in an even shield scenario. Lairon and Aggron are hard counters to any Charm user and don’t even need to use shields to win, but they have much less flexibility overall and they also stack a Fighting weakness with Umbreon, which can be exploited by Donphan and the less common Ursaring. A Water type, like Vaporeon, can aid with keeping Dpnphan from quickly wearing down Umbreon. Essentially, if a Pokémon isn’t weak to Charm, it can usually benefit from being with Umbreon.

Boundless Water

Vaporeon

Pokemon GO VaporeonVaporeonDark
Weaknesses Resistances
Electric Grass Water Steel Ice Fire
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Vaporeon
Water GunWater Aqua Tail Water Last Resort * Normal
Super Effective Versus
Ground Rock Fire Ground Rock Fire

Vaporeon is one of the many beneficiaries of the unique ruleset of the Ferocious Cup. With many of the top PvP Water types out of play due to the ban on amphibian-based Pokémon, Vaporeon has a chance to shine. Vaporeon is the most straight-forward of the top Water types in the meta which comes with its pros and cons. While it has less flexibility, and strengths by extension, Vaporeon also has fewer weaknesses and an easier playstyle when compared to its main competition.

Water Gun and Aqua Tail are absolutely mandatory for Vaporeon. There’s no debate on fast move as Vaporeon is one of the few Pokémon in the game with just one fast move. Aqua Tail is an easy pick as it’s the fastest charge move Vaporeon will have access to, making it a reliable source of damage and potential shield bait. Similar to its cousin, Umbreon, Last Resort helps Vaporeon in some specific match-ups. However, unlike Umbreon, it isn’t mandatory to have Last Resort to allow Vaporeon to function optimally. In fact, a valid argument could be made that Hydro Pump is superior for its massive closing potential. Even when resisted, only Suicune takes less than 50% of its max HP from a Hydro Pump. The obvious drawback to Hydro Pump is that it will take a long time to reach as Water Gun only has 3 EPT. This seems like a non-issue until you realize Hydro Pump costs 75 energy to use. The payoff is high with Hydro Pump, but the energy requirement can backfire in tight situations. In the end, both Last Resort and Hydro Pump are good second move options. Just remember to NOT TM a Last Resort Vaporeon as it is a Community Day move.

With no Grass types in play, Vaporeon doesn’t have match-ups where it gets auto deleted. That being said, Electric types can overwhelm Vaporeon with super effective damage while Shelgon resists most of Vaporeon’s damage output (all of it should it forego Last Resort) and can quickly push damage onto Vaporeon with Dragon Breath. Nidoqueen, Nidoking, and Donphan shrug off Electric type moves easily while Alolan Ninetales can quickly remove Shelgon from a match with its destructive Charm fast move. A Shelgon of your own can also handle most Electric types while also doing well against the other Water types that can force Vaporeon into drawn out battles that leave it too weak to handle an opposing Ground type. However, be careful as Vaporeon doesn’t do much to help Shelgon against Charm users.

Bibarel

Pokemon GO BibarelBibarelNormal Water
Weaknesses Resistances
Electric Fighting Grass Ghost x2 Water Ice Fire
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Bibarel
Water GunWater Surf Water Hyper Fang Normal
Super Effective Versus
Ground Rock Fire Ground Rock Fire

If you ever thought that Bibarel would be relevant in anything other than memes, then you were probably dreaming or looking at memes that gave you the thought. With that said, this definitely isn’t a meme and Bibarel is definitely something to consider for your Ferocious Cup team. While its play style is similar to Vaporeon, Bibarel gets STAB on Normal type moves in return for not beating Donphan as easily due to its weakness to Counter. Aside from these small differences, Vaporeon and Bibarel play very similar to one another and can be used as a very effective tandem as there’s no true hard counter to Water types with Grass type Pokémon not around.

Water Gun is the easy pick for a fast move as Take Down is arguably the worst fast move in PvP. Surf and Hyper Fang are chosen as the base moveset for Bibarel based on consistency. Surf is Bibarel’s quickest charge move and is only resisted by fellow Water types and Shelgon, making it a safe move to run. Hyper Fang also has extremely limited resistances and a lower energy cost than Bibarel’s third charge move, Hyper Beam. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a place for Hyper Beam. With extremely limited Normal type resistances, Hyper Beam is a devastating closing move that can rip off 70%+ against most targets. Similar to Hydro Pump on Vaporeon, the extremely high energy cost combined with Water Gun’s average 3 EPT means that using Hyper Beam over Hyper Fang can backfire in some situations. Thankfully, Bibarel has current access to both moves, so it’s much easier to test both moves to find what works for your team.

As Bibarel has a similar playstyle to Vaporeon, it stands to reason that it benefits from similar teammates and struggles with similar Pokemon. Nidoqueen, Donphan, and Nidoking handle Electric type counters with ease thanks to their double resistance. A Charm user, particularly Alolan Ninetales, can handle Shelgon easily while also ensuring Umbreon can’t put a lot of pressure on Bibarel. Shelgon can wear down and beat opposing Water types while also dealing with Electric type moves aimed at Bibarel. It also can handle Linoone, the only common source of Grass type damage in the meta.

Suicune

Pokemon GO SuicuneSuicuneWater
Weaknesses Resistances
Electric Grass Water Ice Fire
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Suicune
SnarlDark Bubble Beam Water Hydro Pump Water
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic Ground Rock Fire Ground Rock Fire

If Umbreon is the embodiment of consistency for the Ferocious Cup, Suicune is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward pick. Suicune is heavily reliant on shield baiting to reach its optimal potential as only one of its charge moves deals any real damage. Pull off the shield bait right, and Suicune will be one of the deadliest Pokémon to use in the cup. However, if you can’t pull off the shield bait, Suicune will merely be able to support the team with debuffs on parts of the opposing team.

With Snarl’s high 4.33 EPT, Suicune can reach Bubble Beam incredibly quickly and has reliable access to Hydro Pump, unlike Vaporeon and Bibarel. Utilizing Suicune to its fullest potential will rely heavily not only on your ability to shield bait the opponent, but also knowing how to balance the use of Bubble Beam’s Attack debuff to your advantage. It’s important to quickly use it to reduce the damage from Charm users and using it to lower damage taken from an Electric type early can help immensely should you not be able to successfully trap it with a teammate. Hydro Pump is obviously necessary for Suicune to have an offensive presence and it will take chunks out of opponents that are trying to predict a Bubble Beam or are simply out of shields.

Suicune is a tank, but it plays much differently than Umbreon does. It appreciates teammates that remove Electric types and can pressure the opponent into shielding so that Suicune doesn’t have to bait out the shields itself all the time. Nidoqueen, Donphan, and Nidoking can effortlessly remove Electric types. Raichu, Minun, Umbreon, and Alolan Sandslash can all reach their charge moves quickly and force shield pressure onto most foes they face. Raichu and Minun handle opposing Water types, Umbreon is a fantastic generalist and appreciates potential Charm users having their power reduced by Suicune, and Alolan Sandslash can handle Charm users and force Electric types to use their shields to survive repeated Bulldoze.

Charming the Darkness

Alolan Ninetales

Pokemon GO Ninetales (Alola)Ninetales (Alola)Ice Fairy
Weaknesses Resistances
Steel x2 Rock Poison Fire Dark Ice Bug
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Alolan Ninetales
CharmFairy Psyshock Psychic Ice Beam Ice
Super Effective Versus
Dark Dragon Fighting Poison Fighting Ground Dragon Grass Flying

Umbreon may be the best Pokémon in the Ferocious Cup because of how much it dominates neutral matchups, but Alolan Ninetales is quite possibly the most necessary Pokémon to hold a team together. Due to Umbreon being such a dominant force in neutral matchups, a hard counter to it is all but mandatory and you’ll find no better hard counter to it than Alolan Ninetales thanks to its powerful Charm. On top of this, Alolan Ninetales can soft check many Pokemon that fail to hit it for super effective damage so long as it has a shield to play with because of how incredibly hard Charm hits.

If you haven’t guessed by now, Charm is the big reason to use Alolan Ninetales. With an insane 5.33 DPT before STAB, anything that doesn’t resist the move is taking significant damage regardless of if they have shields or not. Psyshock is the fastest charge move for Alolan Ninetales and it is able to KO Nidoqueen after a few Charm hits while also hitting most of the meta for neutral damage. Ice Beam is a stronger move that can KO Nidoqueen from full in a pinch as well as hit anything that isn’t a Wateror Steel type for strong damage. Keep in mind that Charm has a measly 2 EPT, so you shouldn’t be counting on Alolan Ninetales’s charge moves to be a major factor when using it.

Alolan Ninetales will struggle against anything that can resist Charm. For the Ferocious Cup, that means Lairon, Aggron, Nidoqueen, and Nidoking. Thankfully, they all lose to Water types, so it’s highly recommended to use Vaporeon, Bibarel, Suicune, or a combination of the three when using Alolan Ninetales. Skuntank can also overcome Alolan Ninetales thanks to its STAB Poison Jab fast move. Nidoqueen, Nidoking, and Lairon are all good choices to take it on. Finally, uncommon Fire types can resist Charm and deal super effective damage in return. Once again, Water types work well to dowse these foes.

Granbull

Pokemon GO GranbullGranbullFairy
Weaknesses Resistances
Poison Steel Dragon x2 Dark Fighting
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Granbull
CharmFairy Crunch Dark Close Combat Fighting
Super Effective Versus
Dark Dragon Fighting Ghost Psychic Steel Dark Rock Ice Normal

Granbull is the only other viable Charm user in the Ferocious Cup and it does have a few key differences to Alolan Ninetales. The main differences lie in their stat spreads. As Granbull has a higher Attack stat, this means that it will do more damage for every Charm hit while also fainting quicker to Poison types due to lower bulk. While this seems really bad, it’s actually a blessing in disguise as Granbull’s lower bulk actually prevents Nidoqueen from getting enough energy to use back-to-back Earth Powers on the next Pokemon should it switch lock Granbull. Granbull also has a slight winning matchup against Bibarel whereas Alolan Ninetales has a slight losing matchup. On the flip side, Granbull falls behind Vaporeon while Alolan Ninetales beats it. These small differences are more than enough to earn Granbull consideration to use on your team.

Charm is what Charm is; it hits super hard and causes damage to anything that can’t resist it. Crunch is the quickest charge move that Granbull has access to and it does good neutral damage to much of the meta. Close Combat is a higher energy cost move that has the ability to flip the tables on Steel type counters should they not have shields remaining.

While there’s clear differences in the neutral matchups that Alolan Ninetales and Granbull win against Water types, they’re still beaten by the same things. Vaporeon and Bibarel are the best teammates to Granbull as they handle the Steel and Fire types that counter Granbull. They also perform well against Nidoqueen, Nidoking, and Alolan Sandslash. Skuntank is a nuisance with its Poison type damage, so a Steel type of your own, such as Lairon or Aggron, is a good choice to handle it. Should you not want to go the hard counter route against Skuntank, Bibarel is able to do well against it in a neutral matchup.

Charm Denial

Nidoqueen

Pokemon GO NidoqueenNidoqueenPoison Ground
Weaknesses Resistances
Water Ground Ice Psychic Electric x2 Poison x2 Fairy Rock Fighting
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Suicune
Poison JabPoison Earth Power Ground Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Fairy Grass Steel Electric Rock Poison Fire Steel Electric Rock Poison Fire

Nidoqueen is one of the most essential Pokémon in the Ferocious Cup due to the role compression she provides. Thanks to her resistances to Fairy and Electric, Nidoqueen can easily take on two of the bigger type archetypes in the meta. Nidoqueen also has powerful closing potential thanks to her high-powered STAB Ground type moves. In fact, one could argue that Nidoqueen is the most potent closer in the cup for one specific reason: there are no Ground type resistances in the cup. With Grass, Bug, and Flying types banned, that eliminates ALL Ground type resistances and means that no matter what Nidoqueen hits with her charge moves, it will take serious damage. The key to using Nidoqueen is setting her up against a Fairy type she can simply faint with fast moves alone to get her charged up with incredible amounts of energy to unleash on the next Pokémon, similar to how Battlers used Skarmory against the Grass types of the Tempest Cup.

Poison Jab is the mandatory choice for a fast move as it allows Nidoqueen to beat the Fairy types effortlessly and build up energy to use on the next Pokémon. Earth Power and Earthquake are the two charge moves of choice as there is no reason to utilize Stone Edge or Sludge Wave as Ground type resistances aren’t around to necessitate their use. With this moveset, NIdoqueen is capable of beating all but two Pokemon in a 1v0 shield scenario. Because of this, Nidoqueen’s mere presence on your team could cause your opponent to use their shields differently due to fear of being locked into a 1v0 shield scenario against arguably the best closer in the meta.

Nidoqueen’s main issue is with Water types as they capitalize on her Ground typing. While Minun and Raichu are strong stops to the Water types, you can also consider the use of Umbreon, Alolan Ninetales, and Shelgon to check them while being open to fewer targets. Umbreon and Shelgon are great at luring out an opposing Fairy type for Nidoqueen to lock in while Alolan Ninetales appreciates Nidoqueen’s ability to take down most Steel, Poison, and Fire types. Nidoqueen also effortlessly beats most Water type counters, so using her alongside two Water types in a team of three is a very potent strategy that can overwhelm many teams when used correctly. Vaporeon and Bibarel are particularly good as they reliably handle Alolan Sandslash and opposing Nidoqueen.

Skuntank

Pokemon GO SkuntankSkuntankPoison Dark
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Dark Psychic Ghost Poison Grass
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Skuntank
Poison JabPoison Sludge Bomb Poison Crunch Dark
Super Effective Versus
Fairy Grass Fairy Grass Ghost Psychic

Skuntank has always been a strong contender in any Silph Arena cup that it’s been allowed in, and the Ferocious Cup is no different. While it doesn’t hard counter anything like Nidoqueen can, Skuntank is able to soft check many Pokemon and is difficult to hard counter outside of a few Pokémon. Its ability to take on the Fairy types, Umbreon, and hit most of the meta for heavy neutral damage is something that can’t be ignored. Whether you need a source of Dark type damage because you lack Last Resort Umbreon or you just need a good check to Fairy types, Skuntank is a good option to consider.

Poison Jab is the easy pick for fast move as it hits the Fairy types for effective damage while also hitting opposing Dark types, aside from other Skuntank, for neutral damage. Sludge Bomb is a powerful Poison type STAB charge move that is resisted only by Steel types and opposing Poison types. Crunch is a slightly lower cost move that hits Poison type resistances for neutral damage while also smacking the odd Alolan Marowak for super effective damage. Flamethrower isn’t chosen as it makes it much harder for Skuntank to win against other Dark types, particularly Umbreon, but it is notable for being able to crush Alolan Sandslash and win the mirror match should your team be weak to those and need a way to lure them in.

Skuntank is more of a safe generalist, so it prefers teammates that are able to hard counter most Pokémon and have it to fall back on in unfavorable matchups. That said, Water types are great as they beat the Steel and Poison types that give Skuntank problems. Vaporeon and Bibarel are top picks for this as each has a way to beat one of the Fairy types to take pressure off of Skuntank at times. Skuntank has some issues with Electric types, especially Raichu because of its charge move pressure, so Shelgon and Nidoqueen can make for good options to handle them. Shelgon also handles Water types nicely and appreciates Skuntank being able to deal with Fairy types, but do mind the heavy vulnerability to Steel types when using both together.

Core Support

While the above Pokémon fit the core roles for a Ferocious Cup team, that’s still only filling out four or five team members. The core needs support to function at truly optimal capacity. While you can obviously double up on some of the roles above to pressure specific part of opposing teams, you can opt for a balanced attack and add some of the Pokémon below for this purpose.

Charging Cuteness

Raichu

Pokemon GO RaichuRaichuElectric
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Steel Electric
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Raichu
Thunder Shock *Electric Brick Break Fighting Wild Charge Electric
Super Effective Versus
Water Flying Dark Steel Rock Normal Ice Water Flying

Raichu is one of the top Electric type options in the cup for its heavy charge move pressure and coverage on fellow Electric types. The main downside is that it requires the legacy Thunder Shock to really perform at optimal capacity, and its frailty means that it will likely need shields in order to get the most out of its shield pressure tactics.

Thunder Shock is the fast move of choice for its lightning fast 4.5 EPT, which allows Raichu fast access to its charge moves. Brick Break is weak, but has important coverage on would-be Electric type counters like Linoone and Alolan Sandslash. Wild Charge is a hard-hitting STAB charge move that does good damage to anything that doesn’t resist the move and can one-shot Vaporeon and Bibarel without a second thought. Despite Brick Break being super effective on Umbreon, Raichu will still need to manage to connect a Wild Charge to win the matchup.

Raichu is stopped cold by Nidoqueen and overwhelmed by Charm users. Vaporeon and Bibarel reliably beat Nidoqueen with their STAB Water type moves while Charm users have a hard time with Nidoqueen, Aggron, and Lairon. Raichu also appreciates teammates that don’t necessarily have to use shields to function well. Umbreon and Suicune do this very well as can Nidoqueen. Nidoqueen and Suicune in particular appreciate the shield pressure Raichu can enforce on the opponent with its fast charge moves.

Minun

Pokemon GO MinunMinunElectric
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Steel Electric
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Minun
SparkElectric Discharge Electric Thunderbolt Electric
Super Effective Versus
Water Flying Water Flying Water Flying

Minun is another strong Electric type option that has an easier time beating Water types due to higher bulk than Raichu. The biggest thing Minun has over Raichu is its ability to reliably beat Umbreon in any even shielding scenario because of its higher bulk. The downside is that it has almost no counterplay to secondary Electric type counters as it only runs Electric type moves.

Spark is the chosen fast move as it has a very good 4 EPT to allow Minun to reach its charge moves quickly. As Swift is a very poor move in terms of stats, Discharge and Thunderbolt are used as the charge moves. Discharge is a shield bait move that has respectable power for what it does. Thunderbolt is a stronger move that can be used to win a lot of neutral matchups when shields are down. Worth noting is that Minun DOES NOT need to shield bait Umbreon to win a neutral shield matchup against it; it should just use Thunderbolt in that matchup.

Minun struggles heavily with anything that is able to utilize Ground type moves. Chief among them is Nidoqueen as she doesn’t even need to consider shielding in most situations to defeat Minun. For this reason, Water types and Alolan Sandslash make for excellent teammates to take her on. Although Alolan Sandslash is weak to Ground, it easily beats Nidoqueen to charge moves with speedy Ice Punches and also takes on Shelgon, a strong check to Minun. On the subject of Shelgon, it resists Electric type damage and can quickly wear down Minun with Dragon Breath. Alolan Ninetales and Granbull are easily able to delete Shelgon while Lairon and Aggron resist Shelgon’s Dragon type damage and appreciate Minun being able to handle Water types. Be mindful of the shared Ground weakness though.

Feel the Heat

Ninetales

Pokemon GO NinetalesNinetalesFire
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Water Rock Fairy Steel Ice Fire]
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Ninetales
Fire SpinFire Psyshock Psychic Solar Beam Grass
Super Effective Versus
Steel Ice Bug Grass Poison Fighting Water Rock Ground

The Alolan variation of Ninetales isn’t the only one around in the Ferocious Cup. Kantonian Ninetales is one of the few viable Fire types in the cup that can act as a Charm and Steel type check. The obvious downside is the complete vulnerability to arguably the strongest type in the meta, Water.

Fire Spin allows Ninetales to take on its Alolan counterpart as well as easily farm down Alolan Sandslash with ease because of its double Fire weakness. Psyshock is a quick charge move that gets super effective coverage on Nidoqueen and Nidoking while also hitting for neutral damage on most of the meta. Solar Beam may take a while to charge, but it has the ability to delete any Water type without a shield and can turn the tide of any battle as a result. A Ninetales with Flamethrower has a much closer matchup with Dark types and can even win some of them, but it is a legacy move.

Shelgon is a very interesting team option for Ninetales as it beats Water types and is able to mitigate the shield pressure Electric types can cause while it appreciates Ninetales being able to beat Charm users and many Steel types. As the Silph Arena species clause doesn’t account for alolan forms, you can use Alolan Ninetales as well for its ability to demolish Dark types and Shelgon and it will also chunk down any Water type used to counter Kantonian Ninetales. Minun, Linoone, and Raichu also work well for their strong matchups on Water types. Linoone can also beat Electric types with Dig while Raichu has Brick Break to overcome Alolan Sandslash should Ninetales not find a chance to lock it in.

Alolan Marowak

Pokemon GO Marowak (Alola)Marowak (Alola)Fire Ghost
Weaknesses Resistances
Dark Water Rock Ghost Ground Normal x2 Fighting x2 Bug x2 Fairy Ice Steel Fire
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Alolan Marowak
Fire SpinFire Bone Club Ground Shadow Ball Ghost
Super Effective Versus
Ice Steel Bug Grass Electric Steel Rock Poison Fire Ghost Psychic

Alolan Marowak has had strong performances before in the Silph Arena as a powerful pick in the Kingdom Cup and, more recently, the Sinister Cup. It appears in the Ferocious Cup as an alternate take on a Charm resistance by also boasting good matchups on the majority of Steel types. Alolan Marowak is a high risk Pokémon to use though as it has weaknesses to both Dark and Water types, which leaves it vulnerable to some of the strongest Pokémon in the entire meta. In the end, Alolan Marowak is either winning really easily, or losing super hard. Don’t let this deter you though as having clear cut matchups isn’t necessarily a bad thing provided you give it the right support.

Fire Spin is the superior fast move for the Ferocious Cup as it hits the Ice and Steel types for effective damage. Bone Club hits Electric, Steel, and Poison types which are rather common in the cup. It’s worth noting that Alolan Marowak is one of only two common Pokémon that give Ground type coverage without being a Ground type. Shadow Ball is a powerful STAB move that will chunk down anything that doesn’t resist it.

Water types are easily the best answers to Alolan Marowak as it lacks the counter coverage to hit them for effective damage. Bibarel is easily the hardest counter as it double resists Shadow Ball, Alolan Marowak’s only method of dealing meaningful damage to Water types. Shelgon, Minun, and Linoone can all take care of Water types for Alolan Marowak. It’s worth noting that Minun can also check Umbreon in even shielding scenarios. Speaking of Umbreon, it can effortlessly take on Alolan Marowak, as can Alolan Raticate. Alolan Ninetales and Granbull easily take down these Dark types while Donphan is also a good response that can also reliably beat Electric types and check Fairy types to lessen the pressure on Alolan Marowak. Be careful of the shared Water weakness though.

Other Options

Aside from the main core and the support for your core, there are some other options for you to consider. These Pokémon are either strictly inferior to above options or are absolute hard counters to a specific core group that loses easily to very common options or strategies.

Lairon

Pokemon GO LaironLaironSteel Rock
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground x2 Fighting x2 Water Poison x3 Normal x2 Flying x2 Fairy Dragon Ice Psychic Bug
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Lairon
Metal ClawSteel Body Slam Normal Rock Slide Rock
Super Effective Versus
Fairy Ice Rock Ice Fire Bug Flying

If you’re looking for a hard counter to Fairy types, this is the absolute hardest counter available in the Ferocious Cup. Thanks to its resistance profile, Lairon is the only Pokémon in the meta that can beat both Fairy types with fast moves alone to build up energy and annoy the next Pokémon coming in.

Metal Claw is a sub par fast move, but it’s at least workable, unlike Iron Tail. Body Slam is a great neutral coverage move that Lairon can fire off reliably in any matchup. Rock Slide is an efficient STAB move with the ability to significantly dent Water types while also crushing any Ice or Fire type that isn’t Alolan Sandslash.

Lairon struggles with Water types in a bad way as they resist Metal Claw and are tanky enough to handle a charge move while fainting Lairon down with Water Gun. Shelgon does a good job of handling these Water types as well as the Electric types that can sometimes pressure Lairon while it can easily bait out a Fairy type for Lairon to switch lock. A Fairy type of your own is also helpful as Lairon is outpaced by Umbreon. Alolan Ninetales is generally the safer pick and Lairon can handle Skuntank effectively due to its rare triple resistance to Poison type moves. Donphan and Alolan Sandslash can also overcome Lairon in different ways. Donphan beats it down with Counter while Alolan Sandslash can delete a shield-less Lairon with Bulldoze. Vaporeon and Bibarel easily handle both of these threats and appreciate Lairon’s ability to easily check Shelgon. Suicune doesn’t beat these as handily, but its Bubble Beam can swing many neutral matchups into Lairon’s favor later on.

Nidoking

Pokemon GO NidokingNidokingPoison Ground
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Water Ice Psychic Electric x2 Poison x2 Rock Fairy Fighting Bug
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Minun
Fury Cutter *Bug Earth Power Ground Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Dark Psychic Grass Electric Rock Steel Fire Poison Electric Rock Steel Fire Poison

While Nidoqueen is generally preferred for a stronger matchup against Fairy types and better bulk, Nidoking has a key advantage in speed. With Fury Cutter’s slightly higher energy gains compared with Poison Jab, Nidoking can get to lethal Ground type charge moves even faster than Nidoqueen can, meaning that he can win the matchup and pose a bigger threat to neutral targets due to the slightly quicker charge moves.

Fury Cutter is mandatory to standout from Nidoqueen and Nidoking needs to get to his charge moves as quickly as possible due to the lower bulk when compared to Nidoqueen. Earth Power and Earthquake are the chosen charge moves for the same reasons Nidoqueen runs both; Ground type resistances don’t exist in the Ferocious Cup. Megahorn looks appealing for its super effective coverage on Umbreon, but it is otherwise a lackluster move that makes Nidoking either be less consistent if used over Earth Power, or a weaker closer when used over Earthquake.

Similar to Nidoqueen, Nidoking struggles badly with Water types due to its Ground typing. Shelgon, Raichu, Linoone, and Minun all can handle Water types in varying ways. Shelgon is a good backup check to Electric types and appreciates Nidoking being able to beat Fairy types. Raichu can overcome Steel types, particularly Alolan Sandslash, if Nidoking can’t trap them earlier in a match. Linoone is an extra source of Ground type damage that can take pressure off of Nidoking when the opponent is running a Fairy and Electric or Steel type. Minun is one of few Pokemon that can overcome Umbreon in an even shield scenario and appreciates Nidoking being able to beat Nidoqueen to charge moves. Alolan Sandslash is problematic because it is able to beat Nidoking to super effective charge moves. Vaporeon, Bibarel, and Suicune can reliably handle Alolan Sandslash while Nidoking easily handles Electric types for them.

Aggron

Pokemon GO AggronAggronSteel Rock
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground x2 Fighting x2 Water Poison x3 Normal x2 Flying x2 Fairy Dragon Ice Psychic Bug
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Aggron
Smack Down[Rock] Heavy Slam Steel Thunder Electric
Super Effective Versus
Ice Fire Bug Flying Fairy Ice Rock Water Flying

While Lairon is the absolute hardest counter to Fairy types, Aggron is not far behind it. The main advantages of Aggron compared to its pre-evolved form is that it has powerful counter coverage and a much more sound fast move for PvP standards, but bear in mind that it suffers from very similar problems.

Smack Down is the far superior fast move as Iron Tail is bad on all levels. Don’t fret about the reduced damage against Alolan Ninetales; Aggron’s resistance profile still allows it to faint down Alolan Ninetales with just fast moves without shielding. Heavy Slam is a good neutral coverage STAB move that Aggron gets access to fairly quickly. Thunder is a powerful coverage move with the potential to quickly turn the tables on would-be Water type counters. It’s particularly threatening when Aggron has been able to faint down a locked in Fairy type in a previous match up.

While Aggron has good counter coverage, it still has major issues with Water types. Shelgon has great synergy as it also checks Electric types and lures in Fairy types like a magnet for Aggron to lock in. Linoone, Raichu, and Minun can also beat Water types. Linoone is especially notable for being able to hold its own against Ground type counters to Aggron as well as threaten Electric types. Donphan can bully Aggron with Counter while Umbreon can easily pressure Aggron with repeated Foul Plays while tanking hits. Donphan is beaten by Vaporeon and bibarel while Umbreon has issues with Alolan Ninetales and Granbull.

Alolan Raticate

Pokemon GO Raticate (Alola)Raticate (Alola)Dark Normal
Weaknesses Resistances
Fighting x2 Fairy Bug Ghost x3 Psychic x2 Dark
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Alolan Raticate
Quick AttackNormal Crunch Dark Hyper Fang Normal
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic

In every cup that’s allows the use of Dark types, Alolan Raticate has always been more of a poor man’s Umbreon. The same can be said of it within the Ferocious Cup as it features non-restricted access to Normal type moves to overcome fellow Dark types. Due to its lower bulk, Alolan Raticate will perform worse in neutral match ups than Umbreon does, but it will also faint quicker which will result in less energy for counters should Alolan Raticate get switch locked into a horrible match up.

Quick Attack’s higher energy gains and better neutral coverage give it the edge over Bite as Ghost and Psychic type Pokemon are extremely rare here. Crunch is Alolan Raticate’s fastest charge move, and it gets good neutral coverage while also ensuring that Alolan Marowak has no hope of overcoming the match up should you ever run across it. Hyper Fang is chosen over Hyper Beam for its better consistency in most match ups. Hyper Beam is a viable move that not only turns Alolan Raticate into a lethal closer, but also allows it to defeat Last Resort Umbreon should you be able to land the hit.

Similar to Umbreon, Alolan Raticate is doomed if it ever encounters a Fairy type. For that reason, Nidoqueen, Lairon, and Skuntank all make for good team options. Due to its lower bulk, Alolan Raticate can’t cover Water types like Umbreon is able to. Shelgon, Linoone, and Raichu are all good checks to Water types. Minun is also notable for its ability to beat Umbreon in even shielding scenarios. Due to its double weakness to Fighting, Donphan presents a massive problem for Alolan Raticate with Counter. Vaporeon, Suicune, and Alolan Ninetales can handle Donphan reliably. Vaporeon and Suicune also check Alolan Sandslash while Alolan Ninetales easily takes out Umbreon and Shelgon.

Ultimate Utility

The last set of Pokémon to consider running on a Ferocious Cup team are role compression specialists. These Pokémon do very well at checking multiple different types that are otherwise incredibly hard to counter with just one Pokémon. It’s worth noting that these Pokémon are NOT able to hard counter any subset of Pokémon, but are ideal blanket checks to multiple subsets of Pokémon that can help fill out your team.

Shelgon

Pokemon GO ShelgonShelgonDragon
Weaknesses Resistances
Fairy Ice Dragon Water Electric Fire Grass
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Shelgon
Dragon BreathDragon Flamethrower Fire Twister Dragon
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Steel Ice Bug Grass Dragon

Shelgon is one of the best role compression Pokémon in the Ferocious Cup. It is able to check dangerous Water types with ease while also reliably handling Electric types. Aside from Fairy types, Shelgon also isn’t hard countered by anything in the Ferocious Cup and is capable of pushing heavy neutral damage onto most opponents it encounters in the meta.

Dragon Breath has always been a powerful fast move in PvP with decent energy gains and high DPT, making it easily superior to Ember. Flamethrower is a mandatory coverage move with the ability to flip the tables on Alolan Ninetales, Alolan Sandslash, and other less common Ice and Steel types. Twister is the chosen STAB charge move for its earlier access, although Dragon Pulse can make Shelgon a better closer. Do note that Shelgon is usually played mid-game as a safe switch or counter switch that locks in a Water or Electric type. It will generally not be around to close a match.

Alolan Ninetales and Granbull are naturally auto loses for Shelgon due to Charm and their double resistance to Dragon. Nidoqueen and Lairon safely counter these Pokemon and appreciate Shelgon reliably handling Water types for them. Shelgon can also check Electric types with less risk than Nidoqueen if the opponent has the potential of running a double Water lineup. Even though Shelgon has Flamethrower to fight back against Steel type checks, it still appreciates teammates that more comfortably handle them. Vaporeon and Bibarel are the safest options while Suicune can weaken Electric and Water types with Bubble Beam to let Shelgon handle them even easier and potentially save energy for the next Pokémon. Like with many neutral match ups, Umbreon is able to outpace and tank Shelgon’s damage well, so Alolan Ninetales and Granbull make for solid picks. One of these in tandem with Shelgon can put significant pressure on opposing Steel types and Shelgon can significantly weaken or even beat Nidoqueen and Skuntank.

Alolan Sandslash

Pokemon GO Sandslash (Alola)Sandslash (Alola)Ice Steel
Weaknesses Resistances
Fire x2 Fighting x2 Ground [ Poison x2 Ice x2 Fairy Dragon Normal Bug Grass Flying
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Alolan Sandslash
Powder SnowIce ice Punch Ice Bulldoze Ground
Super Effective Versus
Ground Dragon Grass Flying Ground Dragon Grass Flying Electric Steel Rock Poison Fire

Alolan Sandslash is arguably the most underrated pick in the Ferocious Cup. It’s an incredibly unique Pokémon that not only checks Fairy types, but also beats all other Fairy type checks, Electric types, Nidoqueen and Nidoking, and even Umbreon! The risk is high though as it has very little counterplay against Water types and anything with Counter or Fire Spin will delete it from a match.

Powder Snow has great EPT and lets Alolan Sandslash get to its charge moves quickly. This is crucial for its match ups against Nidoqueen and Nidoking as its way of winning those match ups is the speed provided by Powder Snow. Ice Punch is a great move for Alolan Sandslash as it allows it to win against the Poison and Ground types reliably while also beating Umbreon in even shielding scenarios because of the strong blend of speed and power the move has. Bulldoze is great to take down Electric types and also force Lairon and Aggron to use shields if they want to win the match up.

Perhaps the best benefit to Alolan Sandslash is how easy it is to support. It has many good match ups and the losing matches it has are against Pokémon you should be covering anyway due to how good they are. Linoone is a great pick as it beats Water types handily while appreciating having a fallback option against Umbreon and Charm users. Minun and Raichu are also good options to face down Water types and they appreciate Alolan Sandslash being able to beat Ground types with its speedy Ice Punches. Although uncommon, Fire types are severe issues for Alolan Sandslash, as is Donphan, Vaporeon and Bibarel are easily able to handle these threats while Alolan Sandslash has strong match ups against most Water type checks and counters because of its typing and speed.

Linoone

Pokemon GO LinooneLinooneNormal
Weaknesses Resistances
Fighting Ghost x2
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Linoone
Shadow ClawGhost Grass Knot Grass Dig Ground
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic Water Rock Ground Electric [stee] Rock Poison Fire

In a similar mold to Bibarel, most players never could have imagined Linoone being relevant in anything. However, leave it to Silph to find a way to make Linoone be the only common source of Grass type damage in the meta. With a unique set of moves, Linoone is able to check most Water, Electric, and Steel types given the right situation. It also isn’t deleted by anything in the meta as it lacks double weaknesses and has coverage for the one common Pokémon that can exploit its weakness to Fighting type moves. It must be stressed though that Linoone is a safe switch; it won’t hard counter anything, but won’t be deleted by anything in return.

Shadow Claw is a great EPT fast move that doesn’t give up a lot of DPT to get those high energy gains. Ghost has very good neutral coverage in the meta, which lets Linoone fit its role as a blanket check to many subsets of Pokémon. Grass Knot is easily the biggest move in Linoone’s arsenal as it beats Water and Ground types while also getting neutral damage on most other opponents. Dig is horrible in terms of stats, but the extra coverage on Poison and Electric types makes up for it as it allows Linoone to check key Pokémon, like Nidoqueen, Skuntank, and Minun.

While Linoone isn’t deleted by anything, it struggles badly against Umbreon and Alolan Raticate. For this reason, Alolan Ninetales and Granbull are great options to use with Linoone as they also check Donphan, the only common Pokemon with Fighting type damage available to it. Linoone also appreciates checks to Charm users as it gets outpaced in damage due to how powerful Charm is. Nidoqueen, Lairon, and Skuntank can beat Fairy types to varying degrees. Nidoqueen takes pressure off of Linoone to land Dig on Electric types and Lairon can easily check Shelgon. Both appreciate Linoone’s ability to hold Water types in check.

Donphan

Pokemon GO DonphanDonphanGround
Weaknesses Resistances
Water Ice Grass Electric x2 Rock Poison
Best Ferocious Cup Moveset for Donphan
CounterFighting Heavy Slam Steel Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Dark Normal Rock Steel Ice Rock Ice Electric Rock Steel Poison Fire

Donphan is the only common source of Fighting type damage in the Ferocious Cup as all Fighting type Pokémon are counted as “humanoids”, which prevents them from being legal due to the ban on these kind of Pokémon. Donphan is one of few Pokémon that can reliably check Nidoqueen, Electric types, Fairy types, Umbreon, Steel types, and Alolan Sandslash. The big issue for Donphan is the glaring weakness to Water types, which limits its freedom to beat all of the Pokémon it’s capable of winning against.

Counter is arguably the best fast move in the game and Donphan is clearly the best user of it in the Ferocious Cup. Heavy Slam is pivotal for Donphan to be able to handle Fairy types in many situations. At the very least, it will force a shield advantage situation for your team as Donphan easily beats the Fairy types to charge moves. Earthquake is generally preferred overall as it is able to dismantle Niodqueen, Skuntank, and all Electric and Steel types. Play Rough is an option to strengthen Donphan’s match up against Umbreon should your team be weak to it, but it then becomes vulnerable to Nidoqueen and Nidoking should they manage to get an energy advantage before Donphan can come in.

Water types are Donphan’s worst nightmare, particularly Vaporeon. Linoone, Shelgon, and Minun all deal with Vaporeon relaibly. Shelgon especially appreciates Donphan’s ability to reliably beat Steel types and to wear down or defeat Fairy types. As Donphan needs to land Heavy Slam to defeat Fairy types, Pokemon capable of forcing shields can work well with it. Umbreon and Raichu are great picks for this as both have high EPT fast moves and low energy cost charge moves. Both can also check Water types when necessary. Although Donphan normally beats Alolan Sandslash easily, it can get tricky without shields due to Donphan’s Ice weakness and Alolan Sandslash’s speed. Bibarel, Vaporeon, and Suicune are easily able to defeat Alolan Sandslash while Ninetales can faint it with Fire Spin alone and potentially catch Water types off guard with Solar Beam.

Conclusion

The Ferocious Cup is a very wide meta with many viable options. Although the core is pretty obvious, there are many different ways to go about supporting and defeating the common Pokémon in the meta. Due to this versatility, it’s a real challenge to create a team of six that will always be able to defeat all foes. It’s up to you to find a team that works for your play style while covering as much of the meta as possible. More than any cup before it, it is paramount to understand your counter play options in as many situations as possible due to the many different possible team compositions there are.


List of allowed Pokemon

Absol, Aggron, Ampharos, Arcanine, Aron, Bagon, Bibarel, Bidoof, Blitzle, Buizel, Buneary, Camerupt, Cranidos, Cubone, Delcatty, Donphan, Drillbur, Eevee, Electrike, Entei, Espeon, Excadrill, Exploud, Flaaffy, Flareon, Floatzel, Furret, Gabite, Garchomp, Gible, Girafarig, Glaceon, Glameow, Granbull, Growlithe, Grumpig, Heatmor, Herdier, Hippopotas, Hippowdon, Houndoom, Houndour, Jolteon, Kangaskhan, Lairon, Larvitar, Lickilicky, Lickitung, Liepard, Lillipup, Linoone, Lopunny, Luxio, Luxray, Mamoswine, Manectric, Mareep, Marowak, Alolan Marowak, Meowth, Alolan Meowth, Mightyena, Miltank, Minun, Nidoking, Nidoqueen, Nidoran-F, Nidoran-M, Nidorina, Nidorino, Ninetales, Alolan Ninetales, Numel, Pachirisu, Patrat, Persian, Alolan Persian, Phanpy, Pichu, Pikachu, Piloswine, Plusle, Ponyta, Poochyena, Pupitar, Purrloin, Purugly, Raichu, Alolan Raichu, Raikou, Rampardos, Rapidash, Raticate, Alolan Raticate, Rattata, Alolan Rattata, Rhydon, Rhyhorn, Rhyperior, Sandslash, Alolan Sandslash, Sandshrew, Alolan Sandshrew, Sentret, Shelgon, Shinx, Skitty, Skuntank, Smeargle, Sneasel, Spoink, Stantler, Stoutland, Stunky, Suicune, Swinub, Tauros, Teddiursa, Torkoal, Tyranitar, Umbreon, Ursaring, Vaporeon, Vulpix, Alolan Vulpix, Watchog, Weavile, Zangoose, Zebstrika, and Zigzagoon

An avid Pokemon player for the majority of his life. He is always excited to share knowledge, learn new things, and do what he can to help others with how they play the game. He is always willing to answer questions about certain aspects of the game, particularly raids and PvP