The Timeless Cup In-Depth Analysis

Timeless Cup Silph Arena

The December 2019 Silph Arena Cup focuses heavily on “Starter Pokémon” as a nostalgia trip of sorts. Battlers are able to pick a singular “Starter Pokémon” and build a team around it in order to challenge their rivals in battle. As is the case with any Silph Arena Cup, there are bans in order to try and create a more balanced playing field that’s enjoyable for all. Unlike with other Silph Arena cups though, the Timeless Cup lasts 5 weeks in order to account for the busy holiday season that most players are likely to encounter outside of the game.

While this was the primary reason for the Cup lasting 5 weeks, the announcement by Niantic for December Community Day in late November also allows communities to host Timeless Cup tournaments after the December Community Day event that bring back powerful Community Day moves that multiple top picks in the Timeless Cup rely on.

So what options should you be ready for? How should your team be constructed? And just what are the bans that shape this cup? Let’s find out together!

Timeless Cup Restrictions

The following bans are in effect within the Timeless Cup. “Starter Pokémon” are exempt from the type bans as every team MUST include a Starter Pokemon. The following table shows which Pokemon can’t be used in the Timeless Cup.

Forbidden Pokemon in Timeless Cup
Types Species Generations
  • Fighting
  • Normal
  • Fairy
  • Flying
  • Steel
  • Psychic
  • Mythical
  • Legendary
  • Umbreon
  • Sableye
  • Unova
  • Alola
  • Galar

Timeless Cup Trends

Due to all teams having to have a Starter Pokémon, that means that every team will have at least one Grass, Fire, or Water type Pokémon. Dragon type Pokémon resist all of these types and have their two main issues, Fairy and Steel types not allowed in this format aside from Empoleon. Because of this, almost every team will feature at least one Dragon type. This will, in turn, necessitate the use of at least one Ice type to combat these powerful Dragon types reliably. Although not required as there’s already been a major Timeless Cup tournament completed at the time of this writing with the winner not even using a Dragon type on their team, the liklihood of encountering such teams is incredibly low.

Beyond that, the Timeless Cup is a much wider meta than most other Silph Arena Cups in the past, which makes multi-purpose (or role compression) Pokémon powerful picks late in team building to fill out your team. As is always the case, practice is the key to success, so be sure to use all the tools available to you. That includes practicing tournament setting battles with players in your local community, using the amazing tools that sites like PvPoke provide, and even using PvP-specialized Discord servers, such as GOStadium and Battle Park, to get in practice against players from around the world to test your team ideas before your tournament. So let’s help you with that team building by going over all of the Pokemon you’re likely to see or consider for your team.

The Pillars; Dragon and Ice

Within the Timeless Cup, you’re forced to use a Starter Pokémon, but that doesn’t mean that should necessarily be the most important pick. In fact, Dragon and Ice types are overall the strongest picks in this Cup.

Beastly Dragons

Dragonair

Pokemon GO DragonairDragonairDragon
Weaknesses Resistances
Dragon Ice Fairy Grass Water Fire Electric
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Dragonair
Dragon BreathDragon Aqua Tail Water Dragon Pulse Dragon
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Fire Rock Ground Dragon

With only one Dragon resistance even available within the Timeless Cup, Dragon Breath’s 4 DPT is incredibly potent. Dragonair is the safest Dragon type to use as it has quicker charge moves than its Dragon type bretheren to wiggle out of tight spots when needed. Dragon Breath and Aqua Tail are necessary picks on Dragonair as Dragon Breath is the real threat with Dragonair and Aqua Tail gives coverage on Fire types, particularly Charizard as well as a neutral hit on the Mud Boy group if you can’t align your counter onto them. With the change to Return in the December 2019 combat rebalance update, Dragon Pulse is the clear best option for Dragonair’s second charge move as it capitalizes on the fact that Dragon type resistances largely don’t exist. Wrap is an option for a slightly faster secondary option, but Aqua Tail already does a good job with shield baiting while Dragon Pulse is great for closing when shields are down.

Dragonair’s only major issues are Lapras, Sealeo, and other odd Ice types like Froslass or Snowy Castform. Due to Lapras and Sealeo being the much more common Ice types, a Razor Leaf user is a potent teammate option for Dragonair. Ludicolo is especially noteworthy as it only takes neutral damage from Ice type moves and has Ice Beam to potentially delete an opposing Dragon type to free up Dragonair even more. For Froslass and Snowy Castform, a Fire type, such as Charizard or Sunny Castform, is ideal. A Sealeo of your own can beat opposing Lapras, go toe-to-toe with opposing Sealeo, and beat Snowy Castform while also doing well against opposing Dragon types. A Double Dragon strategy is extremely potent as there’s so few resistances to Dragon Breath. Kingdra is easily the best Dragon to pair with Dragonair as it has a secondary Water typing to handle Lapras and Sealeo more comfortably.

Kingdra

Pokemon GO KingdraKingdraWaterDragon
Weaknesses Resistances
Dragon Fairy Water x2 Fire x2 Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Kingdra
Dragon BreathDragon outrage Dragon Octazooka Water
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Dragon Fire Rock Ground

If Dragonair is the safe, more consistent option as a Dragon type, then Kingdra is the ultimate scary pick. Although it will normally have to shield a move to get to its charge moves, Kingdra will get that shield back if the opponent wants to survive as its charge moves hit so incredibly hard. Dragon Breath is the easy pick for a fast move due to next to no resistances. Outrage is an easy pick for similar reasons and it will KO just about anything if it doesn’t get met with a shield due to its incredible base power and STAB bonus. Octazooka is a new move made available to Kingdra in the December 2019 combat rebalance, and it’s exactly what it needed. While Octazooka isn’t super efficient at all, it has a significantly lower energy cost than Outrage, which means Kingdra has a bait tool to land Outrage in more matchups. The 50% chance of reducing a Pokémon’s attack stat by two stages also means that a successful shield bait can be that much more deadly.

Kingdra is in fact the master of the Dragon type group as it is able to beat Dragonair, Shelgon, and all other Dragon types with Dragon Breath alone as long as it has a shield available to it. Don’t fret about giving up shield advantage in a Dragon type matchup; Kingdra will get it back on the next Pokémon because of how powerful Outrage is on the Timeless Cup field and you’ll gain switch advantage to help keep your team aligned properly against the rest of the opponent’s team. This comes at a cost though, and Kingdra is much weaker to Razor Leaf users than other Dragon types, so it will need Pokémon capable of taking them on. Skuntank, Ice Fang Drapion, Sunny Castform, and Charizard all reliably beat Grass type Pokémon. Skuntank and Sunny Castform have decent matchups against Ice types like Lapras and Sealeo while Drapion and Charizard have ways to fight back against Dragon types if saving Kingdra for later is a priority. Due to Kingdra’s heavy hitting charge moves, it likes teammates that can pressure shields. Sealeo, Whiscash, and Swampert have quick charge moves to force shields against many opponents. Due to its double resistance to Fire and Water type moves, Kingdra can use Pokémon like Sunny Castform, Blastoise, and weakened Swampert as energy to help it negate the high energy cost of its charge moves. A Kingdra that is able to farm energy is among the most dangerous in the Timeless Cup as speed is normally its biggest problem.

Ice Wave

Lapras

Pokemon GO LaprasLaprasIceWater
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass Rock Electric Fighting Ice x2 Water
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Lapras
Ice Shard *Ice Surf Water Skull Bash Normal
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Grass Ground Flying Fire Rock Ground

Lapras is an amazing pick in the Timeless Cup, which should come as no surprise to any experienced Battler due to its performance in virtually any format that allows its use. As is always the case, Lapras is able to use its incredibly beefy HP stat and decent Defense to bulk its way through many neutral matchups and it has the offensive coverage necessary to capitalize on many opponents. Ice Shard is a legacy move, but mandatory to help it against the likes of Dragonair and Venusaur. Remember that there was a Lapras raid day earlier in 2019 that featured Ice Shard in the moveset, so even if you don’t have one yourself, odds are that members in your community do. Surf is a great charge move that has low energy cost and great coverage on the Fire types you could come across. Skull Bash seems like a really odd choice, but it allows Lapras the chance to fight back in the mirror match and boost its own Defense upon use. Ice Beam and Dragon Pulse are notable alternatives. ice Beam locks down the Kingdra matchup and will obviously shred any Razor Leaf user looking to finish off or counter a Lapras. Dragon Pulse is a quicker move in the mirror match and against Sealeo, but it will otherwise generally be a worse version of Ice Beam. Note that both Dragon Pulse and Ice Beam are legacy moves, although the latter was featured in the same raid day as Ice Shard, thus making it easier to obtain.

While Lapras is bulky and has Ice Shard, it will still lose a damage race against any Razor Leaf user, especially Ludicolo. Venusaur beats all of the Razor Leaf users and Meganium, which are the Grass types Lapras is worried about having to face. Poison types like Skuntank, Drapion, and Venomoth can also handle Grass types comfortably. Charizard, Sunny Castform, and Ninetales are notable Fire types that can deal with Grass types, Charizard and Ninetales also handle Blaziken, quite possibly the scariest matchup lapras has to deal with as a Blaziken with 1 shield can actually completely farm down a Lapras with Counter alone and unleash powerful Blast Burns on Lapras’s teammates after the fact. Whiscash, Swampert, and Quagsire can also handle Blaziken and beat Sunny Castform, the only common Fire type Lapras has trouble with although they will want a shield handy due to the threat of Solar Beam erasing them from existence. A double Ice strategy with Sealeo is also a viable option as Sealeo helps Lapras against double Dragon strategies as well as opposing Lapras.

As Lapras needs the legacy Ice Shard at the very least, it will be difficult to obtain the most optimal PvP IV spread. A 2 / 14 / 14 IV spread is ideal from trades while a 10 / 14 / 15 IV spread is optimal if you only have ones from the raid day available to you.

Sealeo

Pokemon GO SealeoSealeoIceWater
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass Rock Electric Fighting Ice x2 Water
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Sealeo
Powder SnowIce Body Slam Normal Aurora Beam Ice
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Grass Ground Flying Dragon Grass Ground Flying

Sealeo is the other mainstay when it comes to Ice types in the Timeless Cup, and it has a much different playstyle than Lapras. While it has a lower HP stat than Lapras, Sealeo has much faster charge moves thanks to Powder Snow, which makes it a far superior shield breaker due to just how fast it can get to Body Slam. Powder Snow is necessary for Sealeo to be able to get to its charge moves super quickly. Body Slam only costs 35 energy and, in conjunction with the 4.5 EPT from Powder Snow, means Sealeo doesn’t have a matchup where it won’t be able to throw a Body Slam or two at the opponent. Normal also has nearly unresisted coverage among the main options you’ll run into in battle. Aurora Beam isn’t exactly efficient, but it gets necessary coverage on Dragon and Grass types as Powder Snow doesn’t hit all that hard. Water Pulse should only be considered if your team is weak to Fire type Pokemon as it is otherwise inferior to Aurora Beam in terms of coverage.

Sealeo is similar to Kingdra in that it beats the more popular option in the same type role as it. Although Sealeo can reliably handle Lapras in most situations, it is weaker to Razor Leaf users as Powder Snow doesn’t hit hard at all. Charizard, Sunny Castform, Skuntank, and Venomoth are all notable options that can handle Grass types. Although uncommon, Sudowoodo can easily beat Sealeo as it lacks a secondary Ground typing for Sealeo to hit with Aurora Beam. Meganium, Venusaur, Victreebel, and Ludicolo all relibaly handle Sudowoodo. Swampert, Quagsire, and Blastoise are other solid options that can also comfortably beat Charizard and Sunny Castform.

Pillar Support

While the Dragon and Ice types are the pillars of most Timeless Cup teams, the choice of starter will take teams on different routes as it pertains to filling them out. As each team requires a Starter to be a legal Timeless Cup team, we will be looking at each Starter within their own role. Keep in mind that you are only allowed one Starter, so it’s important to pick the one that is hardest to replace for the type of team you are wanting to run. Starters will be denoted with a “*” next to their names as you can only use one.

Raging Waters

Swampert *

Pokemon GO SwampertSwampertWaterGround
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass x2 Fire Poison Electric Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Swampert
Mud ShotGround Hydro Cannon * Water Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel Fire Rock Ground Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel

When the Timeless Cup was first announced, Swampert was one of the big three picks for a Starter Pokémon alongside Venusaur and Charizard. While Swampert might not quite be at that level of good, it certainly is the best Water type starter to use in the Timeless Cup and a Pokemon to not be taken lightly in the slightest. Mud Shot’s incredible 4.5 EPT is exploited to the max with Hydro Cannon’s low 40 energy cost. With these factors combined, Swampert has access to one of the most efficient move in all of PvP in under 7 seconds. Earthquake is a necessary second move to hit the many Water type resistances for heavy damage.

Swampert has a couple of glaring problems in the Timeless Cup. The first is incredibly obvious. It’s a Water / Ground type, which means it’s highly allergic to Razor Leaf. Razor Leaf is pretty common in the Timeless Cup and some are so strong that they’ll delete Swampert before it can even use Hydro Cannon to do any meaningful damage to them. So the likes of Muk, Skuntank, and Sunny Castform are mandatory picks to shield Swampert from these threats. Muk and Skuntank appreciate Swampert’s ability to beat Whiscash and Quagsire while Sunny Castform can surprisingly come out on top against Lapras and Sealeo thanks to its fast Weather Balls. The other issue Swampert has is the myriad of Water type resistances to stomach Hydro Cannon. Dragonair, Lapras, Kingdra, and Sealeo are all common Pokémon that can use their Hydro Cannon resistance to make life difficult on Swampert. However, if Swampert can land an Earthquake on these Pokemon, then it can beat them all. Because of this, Swampert enjoys being a closer with shields down so it doesn’t have to fool around with trying to shield bait. Sealeo and Muk are among the best shield pressure Pokemon in the Timeless Cup. Muk obviously removes Grass types from play while Sealeo can take on Dragon type checks. Both also have good counterplay against Lapras, one of the few Earthquake targets that can handle one.

Whiscash

Pokemon GO WhiscashWhiscashWaterGround
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass x2 Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Whiscash
Mud ShotGround Mud Bomb Ground Blizzard Ice
Super Effective Versus
Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel Dragon Grass Ground Flying

The original “Mud Boy” has been missing on the Silph Cup scene for a few months, but it’s back in the Timeless Cup to firmly remind everyone of why it was one of the standout performers back in the Boulder Cup way back in January of 2019. Swampert’s Hydro Cannon may make life hard on Whiscash to stand out in open formats, but Ground type coverage is much safer and reliable in the Timeless Cup than Water type coverage due to the ubiquity of Dragon types, Lapras, and Sealeo. Whiscash has the same great Mud Shot move that Swampert has to get to those charge moves really quickly. Mud Bomb is a very low energy cost move that hits most of the Timeless Cup meta for neutral damage. Blizzard is a powerful coverage move that has the ability to OHKO virtually any Grass or Dragon type it hits, although it does have a fairly high energy cost to use.

Whiscash’s fast Mud Bombs are the key reason to pick it over Swampert. As already mentioned, Ground coverage hits the most common Pokemon for neutral damage, and with how quickly Whiscash gets access to it in combination with its solid bulk, Whiscash is able to soft check all the Dragon and Ice type Pokémon. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same big problem Swampert does with Razor Leaf. Whiscash might be a little bulkier, but it’s still getting deleted super fast by Razor Leaf. Muk, Skuntank, and Charizard are all good Grass type counters. Charizard is especially notable as it has the ability to fight back against Dragon types thanks to Dragon Claw. Swampert is a little problematic as Hydro Cannon will obviously outdamage Mud Bomb. A Grass type of your own, particularly Venusaur, can prove beneficial. Keep in mind that Venusaur and Charizard can’t be used together. Other good Grass type options to remove Swampert and pressure Lapras and Sealeo include Ludicolo, Victreebel, and Bellossom. As Whiscash has good shield pressure, Pokémon with powerful charge moves to close out matches are a good choice to capitalize on the shields Whiscash can force the opponent into using. Charizard and Kingdra have potent charge moves that seriously dent or outright KO most opponents if they land.

Quagsire

Pokemon GO QuagsireQuagsireWaterGround
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass x2 Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Quagsire
Mud ShotGround Stone Edge Rock Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel Fire Ice Bug Flying Fire Poison Rock Electric Steel

Quagsire is the last of the “Mud Boy” crew to talk about Timeless Cup with and it’s a very solid addition. While Swameprt and Whiscash have good speed, Quagsire is exclusively about closing and hitting hard. Mud Shot’s great 4.5 EPT allows Quagsire to keep a decent pace despite its higher energy cost moves. Stone Edge is the most important move for Quagsire for its coverage on key Pokémon like Lapras, Charizard, and Venomoth. The main debate always seems to be with Quagsire’s second charge move, and it’s no different with the Timeless Cup. Earthquake generally gets the nod as Ground type moves are largely unresisted within the Timeless Cup and only Torterra can resist both Stone Edge and Earthquake among legal Pokémon. Acid Spray is a good alternative if you wish to turn Quagsire into more of a set-up Pokémon. With most teams having powerful Dragon Breath and Razor Leaf users, Acid Spray’s 2 stage Defense drop turns most Pokemon into liabilities that are incapable of doing much of anything for a team defensively.

Like with Swampert and Whiscash before it, Quagsire can’t stand Razor Leaf users or any Grass type for that matter. Muk, Venomoth, Charizard, and Sunny Castform all reliably handle Grass types and can do various other things on top of that. Muk is capable of running Acid Spray should you desire a set-up Pokémon but don’t want to forfeit Earthquake on Quagsire to do it. Venomoth’s Confusion hits very hard and this can be amplified by an Acid Spray Quagsire. Charizard is able to fight back against Dragon types thanks to Dragon Claw and the threat of its pwoerful Blast Burns could force the opponent into shielding. Sunny Castform can alleviate pressure on Quagsire by also checking Lapras and Sealeo with quick Weather Balls. Sealeo’s fast Body Slams can put shield pressure on most opposing Pokemon, which means Quagsire will have an easier time finishing a match should Sealeo get through both shields or even one shield.

Blastoise *

Pokemon GO BlastoiseBlastoiseWater
Weaknesses Resistances
Grass Electric Ice Water Fire Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Blastoise
Water GunWater Hydro Cannon * Water Ice Beam Ice
Super Effective Versus
Fire Rock Ground Fire Rock Ground Dragon Grass Ground Flying

Blastoise has always seemingly been held back by being purely a Water type attacker and nothing else. However, it has a few traits in the Timeless Cup that could prove to be invaluable as a Water type. The first is its fast move, Water Gun. While it has a much lower 3 EPT compared to Mud Shot, it is quite a bit stronger at 3 DPT when compared to Mud Shot’s paltry 1.5. This means that there are many situations where Blastoise could potentially just finish off a foe with Water Gun to save its energy for the next Pokémon where as the other common Water types can’t due to to Mud Shot’s low DPT. A Blastoise with energy turns into a complete mindgame as its best counters are all smashed by Ice Beam. The coverage provided by Ice Beam against Grass and Dragon type Pokemon is invaluable as these are common picks against the Water types of the Timeless Cup. Hydro Cannon is necessary on Blastoise to land powerful STAB neutral hits on the likes of Venomoth and Skuntank as well as smashing Fire types like Charizard and Ninetales should Blastoise be at an energy disadvantage or simply lower on health.

While the threat of Ice Beam can always get Blastoise out of a jam against Grass and Dragon type Pokémon, it would still much rather not have to deal with them. Muk and Venomoth are top answers to Grass types while Lapras and Sealeo generally fare well against Dragon types. Blastoise isn’t necessarily slow, but it’s by no means fast with its charge moves. This can lead to it getting overwhelmed by faster Pokemon like Whiscash, Muk, and Sealeo. Ludicolo can erase Whiscash and Sealeo from existence with Razor Leaf while Muk struggles to deal with Quagsire, Venomoth, and Whiscash. Blastoise is at its best when it’s able to align itself to a Fire type to take them down with Water Gun and have energy ready for the next Pokemon. So consider the likes of Victreebel and Froslass as threatening leads that tend to force in Fire types to quickly remove them.

Mellow Grass

Meganium *

Pokemon GO MeganiumMeganiumGrass
Weaknesses Resistances
Ice Fire Poison Bug Flying Grass Water Ground Electric
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Meganium
Vine WhipGrass Frenzy Plant * Grass Earthquake Ground
Super Effective Versus
Dragon Fire Rock Ground

The race for top Grass type starter is a very tight one between Meganium and Venusaur. Depending on who you ask, you’ll probably get a different answer; that’s how close the two are in terms of performance in the Timeless Cup. Meganium’s biggest perks are its matchup against Lapras, ability to flip the script on Poison and Fire type counters, and lack of a secondary Poison typing which makes it a much safer pick if Venomoth is popular in your local community. Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant are mandatory moves on Meganium as the solid EPT of Vine Whip let’s Meganium exploit the high power of Frenzy Plant reliably. Earthquake is the obvoius choice for a second move as all of Meganium’s other moves are Grass type and worse than Frenzy Plant. Earthquake’s counter coverage on Poison and Fire type Pokemon can turn certain defeat into victory if there’s no shields left as Meganium is bulky enough and fast enough in most situations to land an Earthquake in a no shield situation. The obvious exception is Charizard due to its secondary Flying typing.

Charizard is without a doubt the safest counter to Meganium as Earthquake goes from an effective hit to a resisted hit thanks to Charizard’s secondary Flying typing. Lapras is a bulky option that can stomach a Blast Burn if necessary and easily KO with Surf. Lapras also fares well against Dragonair and Shelgon, two Dragon types that can cause Meganium problems if shields are still up. On top of this, Lapras beats Venusaur in most even shielding situations, the main Grass type Meganium can’t beat. Additional Venusaur coverage is appreciated as Meganium loses the race to coverage moves due to Earthquake’s higher energy cost compared to Sludge Bomb. Muk, Venomoth, and Sunny Castform are all solid general Grass type counters. Muk’s Thunder Punch can cause Charizard problems if you can’t align something like Lapras or Quagsire to it while Venomoth’s Confusion damage will put down most Poison types so that Meganium doesn’t have to worry about trying to land an Earthquake against them. Whiscash and Quagsire are also good options to consider as they beat most Poison and Fire types handily, though you’ll want to be sure you have coverage for Venusaur if you pick one of them. If you lose your Grass type counter early in a match, don’t fret if it’s a Razor Leaf user. Remember that Meganium is bulky and that Razor Leaf has very low EPT. With one shield, Meganium can beat all Razor Leaf users when necessary, so always identify it as a solid emergency check against any Razor Leaf user.

Venusaur *

Pokemon GO VenusaurVenusaurGrassPoison
Weaknesses Resistances
Ice Fire Psychic Flying Grass x2 Water Electric Fighting
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Venusaur
Vine WhipGrass Frenzy Plant * Grass Sludge Bomb Poison
Super Effective Versus
Water Ground Rock Water Ground Rock Grass Fairy

Venusaur has historically been a good pick in any Silph Arena format and the Timeless Cup is no different. This is thanks in large part to the overwhelming power and efficiency of Frenzy Plant. It’s one of the most energy efficient moves in all of PvP and Vine Whip ensures that Venusaur can get to it reliably. Sludge Bomb allows Venusaur to beat all other Grass type Pokemon and pressure Dragon and Fire type Pokémon consistently. The big advantage Venusaur has over Meganium is consistency and the head-to-head. With Meganium being a very good Starter Pokémon pick, Venusaur is always around as an option for players to counter Meganium users while also pressuring Dragon and Fire type opponents into shielding as Sludge Bomb has a lower energy cost than Earthquake.

While Venusaur is a fantastic Grass type counter that still does what Grass types do, it’s lower bulk compared with Meganium means that a Lapras with a shield will win more often than not. Because of this, Venusaur greatly appreciates teammates that can handle Lapras. Quagsire is among the best partners for Venusaur as its Stone Edge can overcome Lapras and delete Venomoth and Charizard from a match. On the subject of Venomoth, Venusaur has very little hope against it as Confusion simply overwhelms it too quickly. Sunny Castform and Ninetales are two notable Fire types that can hold up against Confusion and take down Venomoth. Sunny Castform has fast and powerful Weather Balls to beat Lapras if it has a shield for Surf while Ninetales is a Fire type that can beat Charizard thanks to Psyshock and Charizard’s below average bulk.

Victreebel

Pokemon GO VictreebelVictreebelGrassPoison
Weaknesses Resistances
Fire Ice Psychic Flying Grass x2 Water Electric Fairy]
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Victreebel
Razor LeafGrass Leaf Blade Grass Sludge Bomb Poison
Super Effective Versus
Water Ground Rock Water Ground Rock Grass Fairy

Victreebel is arguably the top Razor Leaf user in the Timeless Cup due to its high Attack stat and decently fast charge moves. Razor Leaf is obvious in order to chunk down any Water type Victreebel is faced with. If the opponent is a Swampert, Quagsire, or Whiscash, it’s almost laughable how fast they go down. Leaf Blade is a very low energy cost charge move that makes up for Razor Leaf’s paltry 2 EPT. Sludge Bomb won’t be used often, but it is a last ditch effort move that can strike the likes of Sunny Castform and Charizard for heavy damage if Victreebel can get some energy on a Water type beforehand. Acid Spray is an alternative, but with the change in switching and what it does for buffs and debuffs, it will generally take Victreebel too long to use the move and have it flip a neutral matchup in its favor.

Victreebel is amazing when Razor Leaf is neutral or super effective, but if it gets resisted, then Victreebel is generally done for due to the low 2 EPT. Because of this, using the likes of Swampert, Whiscash, and Quagsire is highly advised to punch through Fire and Poison type foes. Venusaur and Meganium are also problems for Victreebel as they can use their charge moves and Razor Leaf resistance to get ahead of Victreebel. Charizard, Sunny Castform, and Venomoth do well to take down these two Grass types as well as most other Grass types in the Cup. Lapras and Sealeo are also good team options to take on Dragonair and Shelgon. Keep in mind that Kingdra is also part Water type, so Victreebel can chunk it down very quickly if you don’t want to give up switch advantage in a lead situation.

Shiftry

Pokemon GO ShiftryShiftryGrassDark
Weaknesses Resistances
Bug x2 Fire Ice Poison Flying Fairy Fighting Psychic x2 Grass Water Dark Ghost Electric
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Shiftry
SnarlDark Leaf Blade Grass Foul Play Dark
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic Water Ground Rock Ghost Psychic

Shiftry was a huge winner in the 2019 December combat rebalance update, and it gets to go to work right away in the Timeless Cup. Snarl is a pivotal move that it gained as its incredible 4.33 EPT means that it finally has a chance to show off its powerful charge moves. Leaf Blade is among the most efficient moves in PvP with 70 damage and only 35 energy. This will force heavy shield pressure on the likes of Lapras, Sealeo, and the”Mud Boy” crew. Foul Play is another efficient, lower cost charge move that hits much of the meta for neutral damage. Draonair, Kingdra, Venusaur, Venomoth, and Meganium are all key Pokémon that take heavy neutral damage from Foul Play. While Snarl is greatly preferred to exploit Shiftry’s powerful charge moves, Razor Leaf is an alternative if you simply need an immediate way to beat Water types. However, Snarl is generally preferred because it gets to Leaf Blade very quickly to deal with Water types while also having solid counterplay against Grass type resistances.

Skuntank and Drapion are easily the best counters to Shiftry as they resist its charge moves and can fight back with Poison and Bug type moves respectively. Whiscash, Swampert, and Quagsire generally handle these Poison types with powerful Ground type moves and can overcome Venomoth in shield disadvantage situations, which Shiftry can’t do despite its heavy Confusion resistance. While Foul Play is great at pressuring checks and counters, Sunny Castform, Charizard, Muk, and Dragon types still cause problems for Shiftry as it is glassy and weak to some of their moves. Charizard and Sunny Castform can be handled by the Water types listed above as well as a Dragon type of your own, such as Dragonair or Kingdra. Shiftry’s heavy shield pressure can open up Dragonair and Kingdra to close a match with powerful Dragon type moves. Lapras and Sealeo are good answers to Dragon type Pokémon thanks to their Ice type moves while Muk falters against the Mud Boy crew as well as Venomoth. If using Razor Leaf over Snarl, it’s even more imperative to have some of these Pokemon as Shiftry has fewer chances to counterplay with Grass type resistances with Foul Play.

Sizzling Heat

Charizard *

Pokemon GO CharizardCharizardFireFlying
Weaknesses Resistances
Rock x2 Water Electric Grass x2 Bug x2 Ground Fire Steel Fairy
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Charizard
Fire SpinFire Blast Burn * Fire Dragon Claw Dragon
Super Effective Versus
Grass Ice Bug Steel Grass Ice Bug Steel] Dragon

With Grass and Dragon types being very common options in the Timeless Cup, Charizard has emerged as one of the best Starter Pokémon picks due to its strong matchups on Grass types and ability to fight back against Dragon types. Fire Spin is generally the preferred fast move for its slightly better energy gains when compared with Air Slash, although an easy argument for Air Slash’s neutral damage on Dragon types can be made. Blast Burn and Dragon Claw are Charizard’s best charge moves due to the unresisted coverage they provide. Dragon Claw is a fantastic bait tool to allow Charizard to more consistently land its powerful Blast Burns and the low energy cost means it can fight back against Dragon types, which is something other top Fire types aren’t really able to do.

Charizard has a hard time with Water types and is instantly deleted by uncommon Rock types like Sudowoodo. Victreebel, Shiftry, and Bellossom are solid Grass type teammates that can reliably remove Water types from play for Charizard to more comfortably use Blast Burn. Lapras and Sealeo can handle Dragon types as well as beat Swampert and Whiscash under most shielding scenarios. Whiscash and Quagsire are good counters to Charizard, but they can also set up Charizard for success like no other due to their tendency to lure in Grass types. If Charizard can lock in a Grass type and faint it with Fire Spin alone, it becomes one of the most dangerous Pokémon to switch into because of how powerful its coverage is between Blast Burn and Dragon Claw. This is the big advantage Fire Spin has over Air Slash as Air Slash’s energy gains aren’t quite enough to set up a potential double Blast Burn or triple Dragon Claw against the next Pokemon in a situation where Charizard locks in a Grass type. As Charizard wants to finish with Blast Burn, Sealeo, Whiscash, and Shiftry are among the best of the options discussed for their charge move pressure to force shields and set up Charizard to blaze through the opposition.

Sunny Castform

Pokemon GO CastformCastformFire
Weaknesses Resistances
Water Ground Rock Grass Ice Bug Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Sunny Castform
EmberFire Weather Ball Fire Fire Solar Beam Grass
Super Effective Versus
Grass Ice Bug Steel Grass Ice Bug Steel Water Ground Rock

Sunny Castform is a great Fire type in the Timeless Cup because of its speed with Weather Ball and above average bulk. Ember might not be a flashy fast move, but it’s good enough to get the job done. Weather Ball Fire is where Castoform really shines as its a low energy cost Fire type move that even lets it beat Lapras and Sealeo in even shielding situations as its not overwhelmed by their speed and has the bulk to handle an unshielded super effective move from them. Solar Beam is a powerful coverage move that can OHKO virtually any Water type counter to Sunny Castform, but the high energy requirement means that Sunny Castform will usually need to have the energy advantage to successfully get to it before fainting.

Dragon types are by far the best counters to Sunny Castform as they resist Fire and Grass type moves. Lapras and Sealeo are top options as partners because of their strong matchups on Dragonair, Shelgon, and Kingdra. Because Sunny Castform can generally overcome Lapras and Sealeo consistenly, Venusaur makes for a very powerful pick to beat the Water types so that Sunny Castform doesn’t have to worry about trying to hit the Solar Beam. Weather Ball Fire’s speed means that Sunny Castform can generally beat Poison type foes, especially Venomoth and Venusaur. This makes Shiftry and Victreebel viable Grass type teammates should you already have a starter on your team. Dragonair is a solid partner that takes care of opposing Fire types as Sunny Castform doesn’t have coverage for them and it can usually handle Lapras and Sealeo for Dragonair.

Blaziken

Pokemon GO BlazikenBlazikenFireFighting
Weaknesses Resistances
Water Psychic Ground Flying Bug x2 Grass Ice Dark Steel
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Blaziken
CounterFighting Blast Burn * Fire Blaze Kick Fire
Super Effective Versus
Ice Rock Dark Steel Normal Grass Bug Ice Steel] Grass Bug Ice Steel

Blaziken is probably the most unique of all the Starter Pokémon in the Timeless Cup. It’s the only Fighting type allowed due to its status as a Starter Pokémon letting it bypass the ban on Fighting types, and it certainly has perks that make it a solid pick. Counter is arguably the best overall fast move in all of PvP and Blaziken is the only STAB user of the move. Blast Burn hits incredibly hard and will take a huge chunk out of virtually any Pokémon that doesn’t resist it. Blaze Kick is the perfect second move for Blaziken as the sheer power of Blast Burn can force shields and using Blaze Kick to catch those shields can set up Blaziken for huge success. Blaze Kick isn’t ecactly a weak move either, so even if the shield bait is unsuccessful, it will usually be enough to take down foes weak to Fire

Blaziken’s key advantages lie in its Dark type resistance and ability to beat Lapras with Counter alone so long as it has a shield for Surf. The Dark type resistance has become increasingly important with Drapion and Shiftry getting much better in the December 2019 combat rebalance update while Lapras is a central pick for many players. Blaziken’s problem lies in its bulk… or rather its lack of bulk. As Blaziken is pretty glassy, it tends to lose a lot of neutral matchups when shields are still up as it needs to land Blast Burn to push through them before it faints. This makes Whiscash, Sealeo, and Shiftry among the best partners for Blaziken as they can pressure the opponent with quick and powerful charge moves to potentially open the door for Blaziken to land Blast Burn reliably. Shiftry handles the Mud Boy crew that Blaziken dislikes facing while Sealeo can handle Dragon types for Blaziken. Whiscash easily handles Venomoth and Haunter, which are major problems for Blaziken to deal with. Dragon types of your own, particularly Dragonair, are good options as a secondary check to Grass types as Blaziken needs to land charge moves to reliably beat Grass types while Dragonair obviously appreciates Blaziken’s ability to easily dispose of Lapras and Sealeo.

Ninetales

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

Ninetales is the last of the viable Fire type options in the Timeless Cup, and it’s a surprisingly good one. The recent change to Overheat has made it all the more dangerous as it now has a single-use nuke move with workable energy cost. Fire Spin and Psyshock are absolutely mandatory for Ninetales as they ensure it beats all the Grass and Bug types that a Fire type should beat. Psyshock also allows Ninetales to push damage onto Dragon types reliably, which is something Sunny Castform in particular struggles with. Overheat had a major reduction in energy cost in the December 2019 combat rebalance at the cost of reducing the user’s Attack stat by two stages when used. This makes Ninetales incredibly dangerous when shields are down and just in general as the sheer threat of an Overheat on any Pokemon neutral to Fire is generally enough to force a shield to avoid fatal damage.

Smart use of Overheat is absolutely key when using Ninetales as the Attack reduction will force it to switch out after use. It’s important to understand when the risk is worth it as the resulting Attack drop will force you to give up shield advantage if Ninetales is needed for something you already know your opponent has. Of course, when Ninetales is already low on health, Overheat is the perfect option to go for since Ninetales is already near the end of its lifespan. Also note when Ninetales has fulffilled its role in a specific match. For example, if the Grass type or Venomoth has already fainted, then Ninetales is likely not doing much else important in the match and a powerful Overheat on the likes of Sealeo or Lapras could drastically give you an advantage. Ninetales struggles with the Mud Boy crew as it doesn’t have super effective coverage to threaten them with. Venusaur, Meganium, Shiftry, and Victreebel are all powerful Grass types to pair with Ninetales to alleviate this issue. Shiftry in particular puts heavy shield pressure on most opponents, which can open up Ninetales for a powerful Overheat later. Although Psyshock pushes damage onto Dragon types, Ninetales still struggles against them, especially Kingdra. This makes Lapras and Sealeo good options to take them on comfortably. Sealeo beats opposing Lapras and has great shield pressure with Body Slam and both are able to handle Swampert and Whiscash while appreciating Ninetales’s ability to reliably handle Razor Leaf users and Blaziken.

Generalist Coverage

While it’s entirely possible that you can pick six Pokemon out of the above groups, it’s more likely that you’ll have one or two slots left to fill on your team. Due to the variety provided by the restrictions in the Timeless Cup, it can be very important to have more general attackers that can cover multiple groups of Pokemon at the same time.

Drapion

Pokemon GO DrapionDrapionPoisonDark
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Grass Psychic Poison Dark Ghost
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Drapion
BiteDark Fell Stinger Bug Aqua Tail Water
Super Effective Versus
Ghost Psychic Grass Dark Psychic Fire Ground Rock

The addition of Fell Stinger in the December 2019 combat rebalance update has given Drapion a powerful new toy to show off in the Timeless Cup. It was already a threat most teams prepared for due to Ice Fang, but the combination of Bite + Fell Stinger exploits the general lack of Dark type resistances the Timeless Cup has. Bite is a powerful 4 DPT move that will chunk down most targets in the Timeless Cup. Its 2 EPT is the main drawback, but Drapion has quick enough charge moves to overcome this reliably. Fell Stinger is a clone of Power-Up Punch as its main purpose is to simply increase the damage that Bite does. Aqua Tail is still low enough energy that Drapion can pressure Fire type opponents in combination with the heavy damage that they will sustain from Bite.

Drapion has always been a technical Pokémon and the same is true in the Timeless Cup. To get the most out of it, it’s imperative to remove any Ground type from play as Drapion will lose its Attack boosts if it switches out of battle. Victreebel, Meganium, and Shiftry are great answers to the Mud Boy crew as they exploit their double weakness to Grass. Drapion appreciates being matched up against a Grass type foe as it can use its above average bulk and resistances to set itself up for success and a potential sweep. This makes Swampert, Whiscash, and Quagsire ideal teammates as they lure out Grass types better than any other. Before it buffs the damage of Bite, Drapion doesn’t like the heavy damage taken from Dragon Breath. Therefore, Lapras and Sealeo are good teammate options and both can potentially force in Razor Leaf users for Drapion to set up on. A Dragon type of your own can be beneficial as well as they can check Fire types as it takes a long time for Drapion to pressure them with Aqua Tail.

Muk

Pokemon GO MukMukPoison
Weaknesses Resistances
Ground Psychic Grass Bug Fighting Fairy
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Muk
Poison JabPoison Thunder Punch Electric Dark Pulse Dark
Super Effective Versus
Grass Fairy Water Flying Ghost Psychic

Muk is one of the few reliable sources of Electric type damage in the Timeless Cup, and this in combination with its typing makes it a very powerful generalist pick. With Thunder Punch, Muk can beat Lapras, Sealeo, and Charizard while its typing allows it to be a natural check to Grass type foes. Poison Jab is the fast move of choice as it has great all around stats and lets Muk easily handle Grass types that lack a secondary Poison typing. Thunder Punch is key for coverage on relevant Pokemon like Lapras, Charizard, and Sealeo. Dark Pulse has a lot of neutral coverage as Dark type resistances are few and far between. It’s a solid move that even has decent closing power against a weakened team.

While Muk has amazing coverage across three groups of Pokémon, it has no hope against the Mud Boy crew and hates Venomoth. Shiftry is an extremely powerful pick as it can beat the Mud Boy crew with powerful Leaf Blades and use its Dark typing in combination with fast Foul Plays to heavily pressure Venomoth. Swampert, Whiscash, and Quagsire also handle Venomoth as well as other opposing Poison types that aren’t Grass type. Dragonair and Shelgon appreciate Muk’s ability to push through Lapras and Sealeo with its Thunder Punch and can serve as secondary checks to Grass types as Muk is heavily reliant on its resistances to beat them as it doesn’t use a Poison type charge move, while Meganium is very thankful for Muk’s ability to threaten Charizard with its Thunder Punch and it can easily take on the Mud Boy crew for Muk. Just be sure you have Venomoth covered when using Meganium with Muk as both are at asignificant disadvantage against it.

Skuntank

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

Skuntank performs very similarly to how it did in the Ferocious Cup. It thrives as a safe switch that can gain energy advantage as a result as even a couple of Poison Jab energy gains is enough to flip many of its neutral matchups into wins and shield bait wins into outright wins. Poison Jab and Crunch are mainstays on Skuntank regardless of the meta its in as the energy gains from Poison Jab are greatly preferred over Bite’s damage for the playstyle Skuntank prefers. Crunch is its lowest energy cost move and has great neutral coverage in the Timeless Cup. Sludge Bomb is generally preferred as the second move for the much stronger hit on the likes of Lapras, Sealeo, and Dragonair. With just two Poison Jab energy gains, the Lapras win turns from a necessary shield bait to a scenario where Skuntank can just go straight for Sludge Bombs to come out on top. Flamethrower is a viable alternative to hit opposing Skuntank as well as Drapion much harder, but the utility provided by Sludge Bome in other neutral matchups is generally too much to give up.

As mentioned already, Skuntank is best as a safe switch that can come in and gain energy advantage to win tons of neutral matchups. That said, it struggles badly with the Mud Boy crew and appreciates Pokemon that can handle them. Meganium, Venusaur, and Victreebel are among the top options for this. Meganium and Venusaur have counterplay against Dragon types and Venusaur can handle opposing Grass types reliably if Skuntank is weakened from a neutral matchup earlier in a match. Lapras and Sealeo are more direct answers to Dragon types that can also handle Swampert and Whiscash comfortably as well as Quagsire as long as they block Stone Edges. Aside from Mud Boy counters, Skuntank generally doesn’t need much support due to its role as a safe switch for the team.

Venomoth

Pokemon GO VenomothVenomothBugPoison
Weaknesses Resistances
Fire Psychic Rock Flying Grass x2 Fighting x2 Poison Bug Fairy
Best Timeless Cup Moveset for Venomoth
ConfusionPsychic Poison Fang * Poison Silver Wind Bug
Super Effective Versus
Poison Fighting Grass Fairy Grass Dark Psychic

Venomoth isn’t quite the generalist that the above Pokémon are, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. With Psychic types banned, venomoth is one of only three Confusion users available in the Timeless Cup and its easily the strongest. Confusion is a powerful 4 DPT fast move that will shred through Blaziken and most Poison type foes. Poison Fang is a necessary legacy move for its low energy cost and decent neutral coverage. Silver Wind is a powerful Bug type charge move that can make Venomoth into a monster 10% of the time with the Attack and Defense buff chance.

While powerful with Confusion, Venomoth will have issues in neutral matchups and especially against Fire types as its bulk is less than stellar. The Mud Boy crew, particularly Whiscash and Swampert, are great for their Fire type coverage and can easily set up Venomoth against a Grass type opponent. Lapras and Sealeo are great for their ability to take on Dragon types as well as their ability to outdamage Whiscash, Swampert, and Quagsire. Dragonair and Kingdra are good alternate Fire type responses that can also pressure the likes of Whiscash and Swampert with their Dragon type damage. Meganium is a strong Starter Pokemon pick that appreciates the removal of Muk and Venusaur, though be sure you have Charizard coverage if you go this route.

Final Conclusion

The list of viable options could go on and on as the format creates versatility. Of the options not covered, Sudowoodo, Tangrowth, Tentacreul, and Pinsir are some powerful picks that are worth looking into. Sudowoodo destroys Fire types and pressures Lapras and Sealeo heavily. Tangrowth is a Grass type that can instantly delete Charizard and hit other Fire types hard with Ancient Power. Tentacruel is a potent closer with its STAB Poison type moves and it can force switches with Acid Spray’s Defense drops to put your team in switch advantage. Pinsir is the biggest beneficiary of the December 2019 combat rebalance update within the Timeless Cup as it has gone from an afterthought to a powerful pick when Close Combat is used in the right situation. Even Golduck with its colorful movepool can be tricky to deal with outside of Razor Leaf users. While there’s core options for all teams, almost every team will have one or two teamslots to play with after forming their core and this is what leads to the great versatility found within the Timeless Cup. Will you think outside of the box and bring some spicy picks, or will you stick to the norm and use the proven strong picks? The choice is yours as the Timeless Cup is one of the most versatile cups that the Silph Arena has produced.

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