The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: the 2023 Edition of Love Cup, in this case. As is typical for the NoT series, I’ll cover not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs.
Because for those on a stardust budget – and/or folks trying to save up some dust for the future – it can be daunting trying to figure out where to spend or not spend it. We all want to field competitive teams, but where can we get the best bang for our buck and where should we perhaps channel our inner scrooge?
As I try to usually do, I will start with those with the cheapest second move unlock cost and steam ahead until we finally arrive at the expensive 75ks and even some things that dip into XL Candy (sometimes heavily!). I do try and put extra emphasis on the thriftier stuff, especially for formats like this where you may not use some of these things much in the future.
To that end, for a rough guide to reusability, I will rank things with ♻️s, with three being solid in other Great League formats, two being okay in at least certain Cup formats, and only one being something that, honestly, you’re unlikely to use again. Additionally, I will mark things new to the meta (or at least vastly improved since last time) with a 💥.
Before I get into the standard run through least to most expensive options, I HAVE to set aside one special group to start with, as they A.) stradle the line across 10k, 50k, AND 75k options, but mostly B.) they really require a section all on their own, grouped together, to show the many similarities AND subtle but key differences between them. And that grouping is:
WIGGLYTUFF, CLEFABLE, AROMATISSE, & SYLVEON ♻️♻️♻️
Charm took a hit in a move rebalance since last time through Love Cup, but it will remain a popular and potent component of the meta even now. WIGGLYTUFF still has a notable advantage over the rest thanks to its inherent resistance to Ghost damage. And I know what you’re thinking “are Ghosts even a big part of Love Cup?” Well, no… there actually aren’t ANY Ghosts in the format, but there is a prominent Ghost damage dealer, and you may have heard of it: it’s called Lickitung. (And Lickilicky too, as a matter of fact.) While Lick usually deals 2 damage per fast move to the other Charmers, Wigglytuff typically cuts that in half. That may not sound like a big difference (just 1 damage per Lick), but considering Licki typically racks up 40+ Licks when battling Charmers, that ends up being a BIG difference, and it’s enough to enable Wiggly to Charm Licki down, whereas the other Charmers just die.
Beyond that, your decision of which one to roll with comes down mostly to coverage; while anything running Charm won’t be reaching charge moves often, it WILL happen and what coverage you have WILL matter at some point. Wiggly has Ice Beam (fantastic versus troublesome Grasses), Clefable has Meteor Mash (really good versus OTHER Charmers and a wide swath of the rest of the meta), Aromatisse has Thunderbolt (hitting big Waters and Flyers HARD if it connects), and Sylveon has Psyshock (a really good answer to anything Poison). If you’re not so much worried about Lickitung, perhaps the distinction in coverage can be your guide. (And yes, we’ll revisit Sylveon with its other fast move later.)
Alright, now let’s get into a more standard Nifty Or Thrifty review of the rest, starting with the cheapest and working out way on up from there.
10,000 Dust / 25 Candy
SCOLIPEDE ♻️♻️Scolipede BugPoison
Poison Jab | X-Scissor & Megahorn/Sludge Bomb
This might seem an odd place to start in with the 10,000k ‘mons, but there’s a method to my madness. Because Scolipede comes with Poison Jab , and that move alone – combined with Scolipede’s natural resistance to Charm thanks to being a Poison type – is able to completely farm down the Charmers and most all Grasses. But adding in the charge moves, of course, leads to much more, as Scolipede can also beat Bug-hating Medicham, Scrafty, and Galarian Slowbro,, as well as Alomomomola, Milotic, Seaking, and even fully maxed Lickitung. Note that Scolipede wants both Bug charge moves more than Sludge Bomb ; Bomb is better for one shotting Fairies, but Megahorn is necessary to beat Medicham and Lickitung, and those are kiiiiiiiiiiind of a big deal, so Horn gets the nod from me… as does Scolipede on the whole!
ARIADOS ♻️♻️Ariados BugPoison
Poison Sting | Megahorn & Lunge/Cross Poison
As with Scoli, Ariados also wants Megahorn, and on paper, is even better. But I hesitate to raise it above Scoli, as Ariados relies on busting down shields; wheras Scoli can beat Charmers and Grasses with fast moves alone, Ariados can’t beat anything that way. Granted, it does good things even if blocked by shields thanks to Lunge debuffs (or the sheer speed of Cross Poison instead, if you prefer, to better outrace Druddigon and sometimes Lickitung, though you give up Medicham without Lunge), but it is imperative to break through those shields eventually, leaving Ariados less options early in matches. The potential is obviously still BIG, as Ariados is also capable of slaying Charmers, Grasses, Fighters, Waters, and many more besides. I just personally like the way Scoli can work even around shields a bit more overall. But that’s me… no wrong way to go with these two!
CRUSTLE ♻️♻️♻️Crustle BugRock
Smack Down/Fury Cutter | X-Scissor & Rock Slide
One huge problem BOTH of those Bugs have is Fire types, but Crustle doesn’t have that issue. As a bonus, it smashes those other Bugs too, as well as G-Slowbro, Electrode, Seaking and a couple others. (With good IVs, potentially Charmers too.) Crustie doesn’t have a super long list of wins, but it covers a unique niche that actually works great alongside the Bugs above. Bug core for the win? Oh, and Fury Cutter is a viable alternative if you care more about handling Grasses, winning the mirror, and having a decent shot at taking out Lickitung.
MAGCARGO ♻️♻️Magcargo FireRock
Incinerate | Rock Tomb & Overheat
It was in the original Love Cup that the vast majority of their players had their eyes opened to the potential of humble Magcargo… and then it fell off mostly into oblivion after that. Since then, of course, has brought newfound success for Magcargo in PvP with the addition of Incinerate , and the buff to Rock Tomb that really only benefits Magcargo. Anyway, fast forward to the here and now. We return to Love Cup, and Magcargo is still a major part of the meta, even moreso than last year. 💪🐌 With Rock Throw it could not reliably overcome Lickitung, Vileplume, or Cherrim… but with Incincerate it can, as well as beating Galarian Slowbro too. There IS one downside to not running Rock Throw : losses to Crustle and in the mirror match. Overall I think that’s a small and acceptable price to pay, but I’d be a bad guide to thie meta not to at least point that out. Avoid those Rocks, Fighters, and of course Waters, and Magcargo is gonna roast a lot of what’s left. 🔥
CHARIZARD ♻️♻️♻️ 💥Charizard Fire
Wing Attackᴸ/Dragon Breathᴸ | Dragon Claw & Blast Burnᴸ
I spent a LONG time last year highlighting the differences between the various fast moves, but as with basically every meta now, the choice these days is clearly Wing Attack, and it should drive Charizard to its highest Love Cup use yet this time around. It’s now much more consistent in beating Medicham, Talonflame, and even the Slows, and better outraces Lickitung too. Heck, Wing Attack is even fast enough to now outrace Electrode! Shadow Zard is also great with Wing Attack, but Dragon Breath makes a better case for itself there too, giving up Medi, Trode, and Scrafty, but gaining surprising wins versus Seaking and usually-terrifying Magcargo!
TALONFLAME ♻️♻️♻️Talonflame Fire
Incinerateᴸ | Brave Bird & Flame Charge
Really just a worse Charizard now, struggling to match new and improved Charizard’s wins over Druddigon, Medicham, and especially Electrode, and losing the head to head. But uh… it more easily beats Seaking? So there’s that. Talonflame is actually still a very good Pokémon here and elsewhere, it’s just sadly watched Wing Attack Charizard surge past it.
Continuing to slip further behind both of those Flying Fires is BLAZIKEN. It’s a Fire that can easily handle Crustle and Magcargo and Lickitung, which is nice, and also handles Electrode much more easily and consistently. It even manages to overcome Talonflame… with only Fire charge moves! But being a Fire that loses to the Charmers and Trashadam (and even comes this close to losing to Vileplume) is tough. I think some folks will find a way to make it work, but it’s an uphill battle. Godspeed, brave souls who try! Heck, if I were considering another cheap, spicy Fire, I might even lean something like BRAXIAN or even a purified CHARMELEON instead. Now THAT is spice! 🔥 Also intriguing is INCINEROAR, a Fire that resists Psychic and Ghost, giving it wins over stuff like Lickitung and Confusion users. Or you can sub out big fat Fire Blast for self-boosting Flame Charge instead, dropping Licki to beat down Magcargo instead. But honestly, even this one’s a bit of a reach and you’re probably best off with Zard (or Talon) instead.
CHERRIM (Sunny) ♻️♻️Cherrim (Sunny) Grass
Bullet Seed | Weather Ball (Fire) & Solar Beam
Admittedly, Cherrim continues to get a little shakier each time through Love Cup as things like Galarian Slowbro and Druddigon and now Lurantis have risen up and pushed it down. But Cherrim is still worth a spot on teams for handling scary Waters and Bugs, as well as Electrics and Vileplume. Don’t let the simple win/loss record decieve you… Cherrim remains fixed in place in this meta, it just has a couple more things to watch for over its shoulder now. I do NOT generally recommend running it with Razor Leaf, though folks tried before and likely will this time too.
50,000 Dust / 50 Candy
LURANTIS ♻️♻️ 💥Lurantis Grass
Fury Cutter | Leaf Blade & Leaf Storm/Superpower
Sure, you CAN run it as a Razor Leafer, but that’s a waste of potential. Nah, the way to utilize this exciting new-to-Love-Cup option is with Fury Cutter racing to Leaf Blade and either Superpower (mainly for beating Magcargo) or the awesome Leaf Storm (to instead potentially overpower things like Medicham, Crustle, Seaking, and even Grass-resistant Druddigon!).
VILEPLUME ♻️♻️Vileplume GrassPoison
Razor Leaf | Sludge Bomb & Moonblast
The only Razor Leafer you really want to use in Love Cup. Unlike the other Grasses above, Vileplume comes with some very handy resistances thanks to a Poison sub-typing, enabling it to handle all the Charmers and Scrafty. (And it can do all that without even needing charge moves, saving any energy buildup to throw a Sludge Bomb or even Moonblast at whatever follows.) On the downside, without any real charge move pressure (and the great coverage that Fire Weather Ball offers Cherrim), Plume cannot beat things Cherrim can like Trashadam and other Grasses (even Hisuian Electrode beats it!). Just as it was last year, Plume is likely to be all over the place in this year’s Love Cup. It is still uniquely dangerous in this format. Generally prefer non-Shadow though… Shadow Plume tends to suffer an unfortunate loss to Scrafty, though it DOES at least have a good shot at taking down Crustle.
SEAKING ♻️♻️Seaking Water
Poison Jabᴸ | Drill Runᴸ & Icy Windᴸ/Ice Beam
Another of Love Cup’s breakout stars, and unlike several of them mentioned already, Seaking has gotten slightly better this time around. Thanks to Poison Jab , Seaking wears down the Charmers, softening them them up along the way with Icy Wind. And even with JUST Icy Wind, Seaking goes on to also finish off stuff like Charizard, Druddigon, Lurantis, Cherrim, and Waterfallers Alomomola and Milotic. Already impressive, but then Drill Run adds on Magcargo, Lickitung, and both of the Super Slow Bros. But of course, Seaking eats up a lot of Elite TMs if you don’t have one already, so you CAN get away with running Ice Beam in place of Icy Wind and miss out only on Drudd and Shadow Zard. But Elite TMs are certainly not “thrifty”, so also trying to present options for those that aren’t TM rich! It’s worth it, though… Seaking is an absolute hoot in PvP, and a viable option in several limited formats (and even decent in Open GL on the right team!). It’s a project that pays off, trust me.
PARASECT ♻️Parasect BugGrass
Fury Cutter | Cross Poison & Solar Beam
Honestly, this is kind of a worse Scolipede/Ariados, but it’s certainly viable if you’re a fan and have just always wanted to use it in PvP. There will likely never be a better opportunity. And Solar Beam is an admittedly awesome way to nuke somebody, capable of picking off even beefy Lickitung and Alomomomomola, and beating the menace known as Scrafty is always nice.
CAMERUPT ♻️ 💥Camerupt FireGround
Incinerate | Earth Power & Overheat
Speaking of fan favorites that some players have been dying to use, the meme lives! Camerupt has learned a couple new tricks since last time through Love Cup, with Incinerate and a Shadow version both hitting the game since last time. Incinerate adds wins like Magcargo, Electrode, and Galarian Slowbro, and potentially Lickitung, and then Shadow drops Lickitung to instead overpower Kanto Slowbro and Slowpoke, plus Talonflame. This can still blow up quickly if Water enters the picture (among other things), but hey, Camerupt has a legit shot to finally make its mark on a meta. Huzzah!
THE SLOWS ♻️♻️
Water Gun | Various Charge Moves
The Galarians are interesting in their own right, but first let’s cover the original Kantonians. Slowbro has popped up the most in the past, and though it has a limited set of wins, they are at least ALL big names: Alomomomola, Milotic, Medicham, Magcargo, and Charizard. SLOWKING is actually capable of doing the same AND beating Slowbro itself, but can be clunkier with Blizzard (or Fire Blast , if you prefer) being much slower to bring to bear than Bro’s Ice Beam. By far, the best of all is actually SLOWPOKE, which can add on Galarian Slowbro, Seaking, AND all the Charmers, but it’s crazy expensive (has to be leveled all the way to 50), so not a project for the feint of heart (or light in XL Candy) and not one I’d expect to actually see too often. Be ready if you do, though, as it can be a legitimate monster. (And no, you don’t want Shadow, partly because it loses the ability to utilize Return, and partly because it lacks the bulk to get Seaking or G-Bro.)
And now their distant cousins….
GALARIAN SLOWBRO ♻️♻️Slowbro (Galarian) PoisonPsychic
Poison Jab/Confusion | Sludge Bomb & Focus Blast/Psychic
An exciting new addition last year that popped up a lot, you can run G-Bro with both Psychic-type moves and Sludge Bomb, and already you can see the improvement over K-Bro: still beat Alomomomomola and Medicham, and beat all the Fairies too (as well as non-Confusion enemy G-Bros). But I think better overall is Poison Jab and basically your favorite combination of the charge moves. Notes that may help you decide: Focus Blast is basically required to knock out Alomomomomomola, Psychic is the best way to ensure Poisons like Ariados and the mirror match, and Sludge Bomb being the cheapest of the three makes it a key piece in outracing Electrode and (Waterfall) Milotic. Technically Bomb/Psychic has the best record, but I lean towards a set including Focus Blast… Alomomomomomomola is just that important to me, plus you gain the ability to blow away things like Magcargo in the right spot too.
GALARIAN SLOWKING ♻️♻️Slowking (Galarian) PoisonPsychic
Confusion/Hex | Shadow Ball & Sludge Wave/Future Sight
Not QUITE on the same level as G-Bro, but G-King is certainly good in its own right. If I had to make one moveset recommendation, it would be Confusion/Shadow Ball/Sludge Wave for maximum coverage and flexability (and Confusion is the way to best handle Alomomomola), but Hex movesets can work too (and better outrace things like Electrode and Cherrim).
ELECTRODE ♻️♻️Electrode Electric
Volt Switch | Foul Play & Hyper Beam OR Discharge & Thunderbolt
Yet another breakout star last year in Love Cup AND Kanto Cup, and though it hasn’t made huge splashes outside of those metas, it’s still solid in Love Cup, with that now-standard Foul Play/Hyper Beam set or a full Electric moveset. Either way, while Trode is best versus Waters and Flyers, but it can also take out Galarian Slowbro, Lickitung, and Ariados, as mentioned, which are all huge pickups too.
HISUIAN ELECTRODE ♻️♻️Electrode (Hisuian) ElectricGrass
Thunder Shock | Energy Ball & Wild Charge
Lacking the higher win totals of its Kantonian cousin, but H-Trode holds its own. The bigs wins Kanto can get that Hisui cannot are G-Bro and the Charmers, while H-Trode is more consistent in beating Lickitung and, somewhat surprisingly, Charizard.
DARMANITAN ♻️Darmanitan Fire
Incinerate | Rock Slide & Focus Blast
Boom or bust in a nutshell. Beating the Fairies and (most of) the Grasses and Bugs are probably no great surprise. More surprising may be Galarian Slowbro, Magcargo, Talonflame, and Electrode, all of whom Darmanitan can simply outrace with its high damage output (and often some help from Rock Slide and even Focus Blast). This is a pick that will blow up in faces… just hard to tell whether that face will be your opponent’s or your own. There is NO bulk to speak of here, so things could go very badly very quickly. Blaze of glory either way! 🔥
LYCANROC (Midnight) ♻️♻️Lycanroc (Midnight) Rock
Counter | Psychic Fangs & Stone Edge
Lycanroc’s haunting red form allows it to sneak into the meta like a wolf sneaks into a flock of sheep, and with similarly bloody results. It all starts with the blessing of Counter , making this a Rock type that can handle things like Lickitung, Chansey, and Trashadam while also still doing Rock things (beating the big Fire and/or Flying types and Bugs, mostly). Add on some perhaps surprising wins versus big names like Seaking, Druddigon, and all members of the Slow family (Kanto and Galar), and it becomes clear that Lycanroc could, well, rock this meta.
MEDICHAM ♻️♻️♻️Medicham FightingPsychic
Counter | Ice Punch & Psychic
Technically you can run Power-Up Punch and/or Dynamic Punch as well, but I think the standard of Ice Punch/Psychic (the move) is probably still the best way to go. Thanks to that combination and its Psychic subtyping, Medicham is the odd Fighting type that can overcome the Grasses and Trashadam, as well as beating things you’d expect of a Fighter, like Scrafty, Lickitung, Crustle, and Magcargo, plus some Waters and Electrode. Unfortunately, you probably do want one that is deep into the XL Candy, as a Medicham even in the upper 40s can lose to things like Trashadam and Magcargo. 😬
SCRAFTY ♻️♻️♻️Scrafty DarkFighting
Counter | Foul Play & Power-Up Punch/Acid Spray
So in the past I have recommended treading lightly with things like Scrafty, as Power-Up Punch (or Acid Spray , if you prefer) tends to overinflate the win column in simulations. And while that is certainly true and I would still advise some caution, Scrafty was everywhere in past Love Cups and I don’t expect that to change this time around. Scrafty’s record is even more impressive when you realize that about half of its listed seven losses are to Charmers, another is Medicham (any decent Fighter is going to beat the half-dark Scrafty, let’s be honest), and the others are to things that resist Fighting damage (Poisonous G-Bro and Ariados and Flying Charizard and Talonflame… though even Talon can flip to a win if you get the bait.) Scrafty can tangle with just about everything else.
DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT
ROTOM actually has some legit spice with nice wins over Fires AND Waters, plus Trashadam and G-Bro, but it’s a niche pick at best and quite flimsy…. CRAWDAUNT (with Snarl ) actually does some nice things, but being half-Dark, Daunt has no chance against Fighting damage and loses especially hard to the Charmers, and its other half is Grass/Electric-weak Water. It hits nice and hard but feels even more fragile here than normal, and that’s saying something…. SIMISEAR is a bit more common in people’s Pokédexes after 2022’s GO Fests, but it shouldn’t be common in this meta…. On paper, PORYGON2 has got the goods (specifically with Hyper Beam ). But in practice… yeah, it rarely actually works out that way. I don’t hate the pick if you settle on this for your spice, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
75,000 Dust / 75 Candy
ALOMOMOLA ♻️♻️Alomomola Water
Waterfall | Psychic & Hydro Pump/Blizzard
Yep, what else would I lead this section with? Alomomola is THE Love Cup star, which makes sense when you consider all that it can do, particularly with high rank IVs. Beats the Fires, beats the Charmers, beats its closest competitor Milotic, beats Crustle, beats Trashadam, and makes a fantastic bodyguard for any Charmer(s) you run. And those high rank IVs can add on Medicham, Ariados, and the mirror. But Alomomomola is not without flaws… it does still generally lose to Lickitung, Scrafty, Waters with non-Water moves (like Seaking and the Slows), and of course the Grasses and/or Electrics. Alomomomomola is not dominant by any means, but it fills a lot of holes you would otherwise have on many teams. It’s a good contributor to several team builds and is sure to remain a fixture of the Love Cup meta.
MILOTIC ♻️♻️Milotic Water
Waterfall | Surf & Blizzard/Hyper Beam
As with Talonflame and Charizard, it’s not that Milly is a bad Pokémon here, because it’s solid in its own right. It’s just that it can’t match the same success as Alomomomomomomomola, typically falling short versus stuff like Medicham, Ariados, and Aloe itself. Use it if you like it, or perhaps as part of a Waterfaller ABB line or something, but 9 times out of 10, you’ll just wish it was Alomomola instead.
SYLVEON ♻️♻️ 💥Sylveon Fairy
Quick Attack | Psyshockᴸ & Moonblast
I said at the beginning I’d circle back on Sylveon, so here we are, because Quick Attack makes it quite unique among Fairies in this format. It still beats Dragons and Fighters as you would expect, as well as Amololola and Electrode and a few others, but it also now beats all of its fellow Fairies (except sometimes Spritzee, for anyone rich/crazy enough to run that). Sylveon isn’t new to this format, but this configuration certainly is, and could be a great piece of secret tech to spring on the opponent.
MAGMORTAR ♻️♻️Magmortar Fire
Karate Chop | Thunderboltᴸ & Fire Punch/Brick Break
If you’ve been sitting on a Thunderbolt Magmortar and wondering what the heck to do with it, I’ve got good news: you can use it here! Bolt allows Magmortar to actually beat things like Seaking, Talonflame, and the Kanto Slows straight up while still doing the normal Fire tasks of beating Charmers, Grasses, and Trashadam. Or you can run Shadow and pick up Ariados and Magcargo for the low cost of giving up Sylveon.
SCIZOR ♻️♻️Scizor SteelBug
Fury Cutter/Bullet Punch | Iron Head & Night Slash
For when you absolutely need Charmers dead, call in the exterminator. There isn’t much that can outslug the Charmers in a battle of JUST fast moves, but Scizor with Bullet Punch can! That alone gives it value, but then it also goes out and beats several other relevant things like the Slows, Poisonous Bugs, Crustle, Druddigon, and Seaking. It’s not cheap, but Scizor is an above average Fairy killer that plays as a pretty good generalist too. Perhaps even better is Fury Cutter, which gives up the fast move pressure but retains the same wins otherwise AND gains Lickitung!Bisharp SteelDark
BISHARP is often an interesting alternative to Scizor, but here the fact that is is half-Dark means that it cannot beat the Fairies, a major black mark that holds it down.
DRUDDIGON ♻️♻️Druddigon Dragon
Dragon Tail | Night Slash & Hyper Beam
The first Dragon introduced into the format, but I know what you’re thinking… “JRE, there’s Charm all over the place! Surely a Dragon can’t thrive here, can it?” Actually, you’d be surprised. Judge Drudd does most of that work with just Dragon Tail and Night Slash, beating the Grasses, Electrics, Waters (aside from a close loss to Seaking), and Magcargo and Talonflame, thanks in large part to its resistances – remember that pure Dragons resist Grass, Water, Electric, and Fire – as well as Crustle, Ariados, and Galarian Slowbro. If you remove the obvious Charm losses from the loss column, it really only struggles versus Medicham, Scrafty, Trashadam (who resists Dragon damage, so….), Lickitung, and Charizard. Oh, and one more win I didn’t mention: Drudd with Hyper Beam can blow away the great-evil-I-have-yet-to-mention Chansey (giving up only Crustle in exchange). We’ll wipe that smug smile right off your face, egg boy! Ahem… anyway, Druddigon is surprisingly good here despite the looming presence of the Charmers. I actually give it an enthusiastic thumbs up as one of the most exciting new-ish wrinkles in this year’s Love Cup meta.
TYRANTRUM ♻️ 💥Tyrantrum RockDragon
Dragon Tail | Crunch & Meteor Beam
Now our second Dragon in Love Cup, and while not quite as impactful as Drudd, Tyrantrum is surprisingly viable. Unlike Drudd, Tyrantrum cannot beat Crustle, Ariados, Talonflame, and Grasses Cherrim and Vileplume, but it also beats Charizard and Trashadam that Druddigon cannot defeat, as well as beating Drudd in the head to head. I don’t strongly recommend it, but it CAN be used if you love it, yes.
MILTANK ♻️♻️♻️ 💥Miltank Normal
Tackle/Rollout | Body Slam & Thunderbolt/Gyro Ball/Ice Beam
Wrapping this section up with a very, very good addition to the meta this time. Miltank was of course eligible in the past, but that was before Miltank had a usable fast move. Now it actually has two. The first one that surely comes to mind is Rollout, which can pair with Thunderbolt to beat Alo-nom-nom-nom-ola, Shadow Charizard, and Seaking, Ice Beam to hold Shadow Charizard and add on Electrode, or even Gyro Ball for Fairy control (losing those other names I mentioned above but gaining ALL Fairies). Or another alternative is running Tackle instead, which is best with either Thunderbolt to hold onto Aloyoyomaola or Gyro Ball to beat Crustle instead. And conveniently, Tackle adds on the potential to beat Seaking even without Thunderbolt, and all the Charmers whether running Gyro Ball or not! Moooooooove over, Love Cup… here comes your new queen!
DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT
In this extra section, I cover a few mons that are no less “nifty” than those in the main article above, but require maxing out to Level 40 or going beyond and dipping into Candy XL, so they are FAR from “thrifty”!
CHANSEY ♻️♻️Chansey Normal
Zen Headbutt | Psychic & Hyper Beam
sigh Alright, let’s get this over with. DO NOT RUN CHANSEY. I know some folks will anyway, despite the nerf to Pound … so now it’s just the very slightly less terrible Zen Headbutt instead. I am at least happy to report that Chansey is rather limited in terms of wins in Love Cup, but people that run it are usually looking to stall anyway. And yes, sadly, Chansey can still do that as well as anything. If you want to wipe it away, bring Fighters or heavy damage (or a major tank of your own, like Alomomomomola). And pray this isn’t a common sight this time around.
LICKITUNG ♻️♻️♻️Lickitung Normal
Lick | Body Slamᴸ & Power Whip
Yes, Lickitung is still very good, and there should be more of them out in force as more and more players acquire the XL Candy required. But you don’t HAVE to power one all the way up near Level 50… a hundo pushed into the mid-40s actually looks like it could be just as good, if not better; while it drops Electrode and Cherrim, it gains Seaking and, of course, the mirror match (thanks to winning CMP).Lickilicky Normal
As an aside, you can run LICKILICKY ♻️ much cheaper, but uh… you get what you pay for. It’s fine, and actually beats Magcargo (thanks to Earthquake) where Lickitung normally cannot, but it also loses to things Lickitung can beat like Druddigon, Electrode, Seaking, Wigglytuff, Shadow Charizard, and Alomomomomomola.
WORMADAM (Trash Cloak) ♻️♻️♻️Wormadam (Trash) BugSteel
Confusion | Bug Buzz & Iron Head
Convenient that the only Wormadam allowed in this format is the best by far. “Trashadam” is a very curious little guy. There are many Steely Bugs in PvP now, but Trashy still remains truly unique with Confusion powering out more standard Steel and Bug moves. Between these moves and its typing, Trashadam is a particularly good Fairy counter that also beats Vileplume and Galarian Slowbro (and HARD, too), plus Druddigon, Seaking, Ariados, and the Kanto Slows, and puts up an intense battle against Lickitung and Aloyourmama too. With excellent PvP IVs it can add Crustle and Milotic to the winlist too.
And that’s it, we’re finally done, BARELY in time. Whew! Thanks for sticking with me to the end! Hopefully this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!) and still have a good time in the 2023 edition of Love Cup.
Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you master Love Cup, and in the most affordable (and enjoyable) way possible. Best of luck, Pokéfriends, and catch you next time!