Nifty Or Thrifty: Halloween Cup (Ultra League Edition)


Hello again, fellow PvPers!

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats — Halloween Cup: Ultra League Edition, in this case — particularly focused on Pokémon where you can save yourself some stardust. 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… or don’t need a second move at all! Because especially for one-week formats like this, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to compete without breaking our budget.

As one way to try and stay “thrifty”, I went a little more in depth for this article than I sometimes do into IVs… specifically, trying to mess with IVs for high XL Pokémon and see how they look with less (or even zero) XL Candy investment. Generally I’ll mention these specifically in my writeups throughout the article, but for ease of keying in on them, I’ll be marking all such Pokémon (where you can go with “worse” IV versions and still not miss out on performance, on in some cases even improve on the high XL performance!) with a simple 🤑 emoji for a quick visual aid. That make sense?

Hope so, because it’s time to do this thing! We’ll start as we usually do with the cheapest (10,000 dust second move unlock) options, and steam on ahead until we reach the most expensive (100,000 dust). Let’s do this! 💪

🎃 Halloween Cup Rules

The latest edition of (Ultra League) Halloween Cup will be available in the GO Battle League from October 27th at 1pm PDT to November 3rd at 1pm PDT. Here are the official rules:

  • Pokémon must be at or below 2,500 CP to enter.
  • Only Poison, Bug, Ghost, Dark, and Fairy type Pokémon are permitted.

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

Most unfortunately, this is not a format where there is a deep bench of options in this category. But there ARE some really impactful names that do show up here, starting with one of the most powerful Pokémon in the whole meta…. 🦇


Crobat PoisonFlying

Air Slash | Poison Fang & Shadow Ball

Great League (and GL Halloween Cup) budget hero Golbat just doesn’t get big enough for Ultra League, so it’s Crobat’s time to shine. Usually getting a bad rap because it lacks the higher energy gains of Golbat’s Wing Attack, Crobat actually might prefer the Air Slash it’s “stuck” with instead in this meta, as a theoretical WA Crobat would actually be a touch worse, outracing a couple things like Mandibuzz and Overqwil, but failing to overpower Shadow Nidoqueen, Drapion, Drifblim, or Crustle as Air Slash can. ALL that to say that Crobat’s “lesser” fast move doesn’t hold it back. (And check it out in 2v2 shielding! 👀 The power of Poison Fang, folks!) Oh, and as for Shadow Bat, it’s a more than viable sidegrade, dropping things like Crustle, Scizor, Drapion, and Trevenant to instead beat Dragalge, Overqwil, Tentacruel, and Quick Attack Sylveon. If you enjoy Golbat in Great League, I think you’ll love its four-winged big bro in Ultra.


Crustle BugRock

Smack Down | Rock Slide & X-Scissor

I give X-Scissor the slightest of edges over Rock Blast (alongside the required Rock Slide) because X-Scissor at least mains Darks, leading to wins like Obstagoon with shields down and Umbreon and sometimes Drapion in 2v2 shielding. That all said, Crustie’s overall record isn’t very inspiring (though it has a super solid role as a Flying, Fire, and Ice breaker that can also take down ALL the Dark/Poisons and Quick Attack Sylveon), but here’s a case where non-XL seems better, giving up a perhaps-surprising win over Jellicent that higher bulk Crustle enjoys, but gaining Charm Sylveon, the mirror (thanks mostly to winning CMP), and the only Flyer that evades lower Attack Crustle: Crobat. Higher Attack is also better in several other shielding scenarios, and I recommend strongly considering going that route… especially if you’re understandably hurting for Joltik XL Candy.


Incineroar FireDark

Snarl | Flame Charge & Fire Blast/Dark Pulse

Dark Pulse isn’t bad, it’s just that it’s not a weapon you want or particularly need in this meta. Instead, thanks in part to the speed at which Snarl can reach it, and in part due to how few things resist Fire damage (and comparatively how many things are highly flammable), my recommendation alongside Flame Charge is Fire Blast. At least it can roast Skuntank and even the scary Charm version of Alolan Ninetales. It reaches Blast in the same time it takes Toxapex to reach Sludge Wave (to use a recent, lower league Halloween Cup example), and the same time that Crobat reaches a Shadow Ball, so it’s certainly doable! Fire is at an extreme premium in the Ultra League version of Halloween… Incineroar will most certainly find a place to slot in on players’ teams.


Obstagoon DarkNormal

Counter | Night Slash & Gunk Shot/Hyper Beam/Cross Chop

So the only charge move I kinda-sorta rule out (other than Night Slash which you basically always want available) is Obstruct, which I think is just a little too “cute” hereCross Chop is PvPoke’s recommendation and it’s easy to imagine why, as it hits other Darks (and the various Rock and Steel and Ice types) pretty hard… basically, it’s pretty flexible. But I personally still lean towards a closer, either Hyper Beam to ALSO deal with enemy Darks (and beat Skuntank specifically) or Gunk Shot to have a legit shot at Fairies like (Quick Attack) Sylveon and Tapu Fini. Hyper Beam is also best by multiple wins with shields down, if that helps settle any tiebreakers.


Primarina WaterFairy

Charm | Psychic & Moonblast

Charm isn’t as scary here as it can be in Great League Halloween Cup, but it IS definitely still a factor, and these days I lean Prima over Clefable (and other Charmers, honestly), because its Water typing is more pro than con, giving it wins other Charmers cannot achieve like Jellicent and Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales (thanks to resisting Water and Ice damage). If I HAD to pick a Charmer in this meta, I think Prima is where I personally would turn first. Heck, it even comes with Psychic to give it a legit shot at shooing off most Poison types if it lands.


Clefable Fairy

Charm | Meteor Mash & Psychic

Here, again, we have Psychic to perhaps surprise the heck out of opposing Poison types, and now Meteor Mash as a largely neutral (at worst) bomb against a wide range of opponents. But of course, with Charm being the fast move, those charge moves won’t often have the impact you’d hope for, and while it remains viable, Clefable is a slightly worse overall Charmer than Primarina, in my opinion.


Venusaur GrassPoison

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

Just clinging to the edge of viability, as the role for Grasses is even more limited here than it is in the Great League version of Halloween Cup. Venu DOES still excel at cutting through the few Waters and Charmers around, at least. IF you run it, I might recommend Shadow Venu, which at least tacks on Shadow Nidoqueen, Crustle, and (Last Resort) Umbreon.

And that’s actually about it. I looked at others like SCOLIPEDEVIKAVOLT, and even GOLISOPOD, but none look very inspiring. So on to the next category, which by far makes up the greatest bulk of this article…

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

This does tend to be the biggest clump of Pokémon options in any given meta, but that’s especially true in this meta. More than half the total things covered in this analysis fall among the 50ks.


Nidoqueen PoisonGround

Poison Jab | Poison Fang & Earth Power/Earthquake/Stone Edge

All right, where to start with the Queen of Halloween? Yes, Earth Power is the standard closer to run alongside Poison Fang, and while I won’t argue against sticking with that here, I would recommend at least considering alternatives. And no, for once I don’t mean Stone Edge (which does beat Golbat but loses a lot of other key things), but rather Earthquake, which has the potential to add on wins versus Escavalier and Scizor (though it does sometimes give up Umbreon to do it), and is FAR better with shields down than Earth Power, piling on wins like PowderTales, Scizor, Tentacruel, Dragalge, and the mirror match. And Earthquake even keeps pace with Earth Power in 2v2 shielding (I checked).

There is also, of course, the popular Shadow Nidoqueen to consider. Here, due mainly to lesser bulk, Earth Power generally muscles aside Earthquake (in all scenarios except 0v0 shielding, at least), but Stone Edge actually comes a lot closer to replicating Earth Power’s success now, losing to things like Dragalge, Drapion, and of course the mirror, but gaining not just Crobat, but also Drifblim now. I still lean Earth Power, but Stone Edge is at least more interesting with Shadow Queen.

And finally, a moment on IVs. “Default” Nidoqueen in sims sits in the mid-to-upper 40s, which is a hefty XL Candy investment. #1 IV Queen has to be at Level 47. But did you know you can run a low (or even NO) XL Queen and still get basically the same solid performance? Consider the “hundo”, 15-15-15 Nidoqueen, which hits 2488 CP at Level 40 and beats literally everything that the mid-40s Queen can, PLUS the mirror match thanks to winning CMP. That’s also true of the hundo Shadow Queen too: beats everything high XL Queen can AND the mirror match.

Thus ends my dissertation on Nidoqueen. I wanted to hit many angles, because it’s ranked #1 (AND #2!) in this format. Love it or hate it, Queen is going to be all over the dang place in this format. And now hopefully you’re well informed on the ins and outs of what makes her tick. Good luck!


Skuntank PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Crunch & Flamethrower/Returnᴸ

Coming in at rank #3, just behind Nidoqueen and… uh, Nidoqueen… there are some move and Shadow choices to be made here as well. Flamethrower (with wins over Mandibuzz, A-Muk, and Scizor) or Return (with wins instead over Obstagoon, Scrafty, Crobat, and enemy Skuntanks)? Or Shadowstank (with Flamethrower), which gives up Giratina-A, Drapion, and Scizor but gains Scrafty? So many choices! One decision I can make a little easier: hundo Skuntank IS viable (best with Return), and drops the level from 49.5 down five levels to 44.5, a MASSIVE savings, but it also usually drops Crobat and A-Giratina from the win column.


Overqwil DarkPoison

Poison Jab | Aqua Tail & Ice Beam/Shadow Ball/Dark Pulse

Get raiding, because if you need to evolve up an Overqwil from scratch, that means 10 raids with a pre-evolved Hisuian Qwilfish to get that evolution done. Come back when that’s done.

…oh hey, you’re back! Alright, let’s talk Overqwil. Poison Jab and Aqua Tail are the starting foundation, beating down the format’s Fairies, Fires, and most Dark/Poisons, plus bulky Umbreon and Mandibuzz as bonuses. From there, it’s a matter of which closer you want, with three good options. Ice Beam can uniquely beat Snarl Mandibuzz, Dragalge, and Skuntank, which gives it a slight edge in my opinion over both Shadow Ball and Dark Pulse, which instead both beat Drifblim, Jellicent, and Trevenant, with Ball also overpowering PowderTales (the only Fairy that otherwise eludes Overqwil) and Pulse instead outracing (as the only 50-power move of the three) Tentacruel. Again, my endorsement if I had to pick one is probably Ice Beam for its all-around coverage, and its three wins seem the most unique and impactful to me. But there’s no “wrong” way to go. But one IMPORTANT tip: give the Hisuian Qwilfish you plan to evolve up a second move BEFORE evolving, as it costs only 50k dust instead of 75k that Overqwil itself requires. Why, you ask? Niantic gonna Niantic, I guess. 🤷‍♂️


Muk (Alola) PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Dark Pulse & Acid Spray

Snarl | Dark Pulse & Gunk Shot

And to put a bow on the Dark/Poisons (for this section, at least), we have Alolan Muk. In a meta like this, I kind of expected Snarl to be the way to go, but no… it seems the resurgent Poison Jab version may be the better way to go even in this Poison-heavy meta, with Acid Spray to soften up targets and Dark Pulse doing enough damage to seal the deal when needed. In this way, A-Muk becomes a good anti-Dark, with wins including Umbreon, Mandibuzz, and Scrafty, and interestingly, Tentacruel too. On the flipside, if you DO run with Snarl, it would seem Dark Pulse and now Gunk Shot may be better versus the more typical Sludge Wave, with S/DP/GS A-Muk picking off things like Altered Giratina, Crobat, Nihilego, and Scizor. What better fits YOUR team, trainer?


Muk Poison

Poison Jab | Dark Pulse & Thunder Punch

I’m still waiting on someone to explain to me how Muk punches anything with those stubby little melted arms, but Thunder Punch does provide some handy, barely-resisted-in-this-meta coverage that more than makes up for the lack of STAB that comes with Dark Pulse on OG Muk. Non-Shadow Muk can outbulk Crobat, Escavalier, and Trevenant, but overall better is Shadow Muk, which instead overpowers Skuntank, Tentacruel, Alolan Muk, Mandibuzz, and Obstagoon. In the end, it may actually be Shadow Kanto Muk that runs amuk the most. Ha ha ha… see, even my puns can be scary this time of year! 😜


Tentacruel WaterPoison

Poison Jab | Scald/Acid Spray & Hydro Pump/Blizzard

I swear that at some point, recommended movesets will again become more apparent, but not just yet, because Tentacthulhu is again rather murky. The very highest potential would appear to be running with Acid Spray and Hydro Pump, though of course that’s pretty bait-reliant. Thankfully, Scald/Pump is very close in overall performance, with the big differences being that Spray sets up Pump for victories against Escavalier, Drapion, and Alolan Muk that Scald cannot achieve, but Scald + Pump add on Umbreon and the mirror match instead. There’s also the option of (at least theoretical) coverage with something like Blizzard, but it doesn’t really do anything Pump doesn’t already do better in this meta (with some things like Scrafty and Crustle slipping away). For me, I think it’s Pump and then a choice between grinding down with Acid Spray or going with a one-two punch with Pump and Scald, but the choice is yours, my friend! Oh, and good news: I think you can level up a hundo and not miss much at all in terms of performance, so that’s nice!


Dragalge PoisonDragon

Dragon Tail | Aqua Tail & Gunk Shot

One of a VERY small number of Dragons in the meta, but also one of the more expensive, as you have to level this pretty far into XL territory to work. But once you do, it DOES do good work, and you can drop several levels with the right IVs and still get that same level of performance. Through steady, unresisted damage, it overcomes most of the meta Darks, Poisons, and bonuses like Incineroar, Crustle, Jellicent, and even most of the Charmers thanks to Gunk Shot (which specifically adds on Sylveon and other Charmers, as well as Mandibuzz).


Toxicroak PoisonFighting

Counter | Mud Bomb & Sludge Bomb

Yep, it’s here, and it’s good, with Counter for Darks and Steels, Mud Bomb also for Steels and of course all the Poisons, and Sludge Bomb to content with most everything else. Toxicroak’s unique skillset is always a threat, but Halloween Cup metas seem especially tailor-made for it to show all that it can beat up with its Fighting, Ground, and Poison damage. And you can run a hundo, save a ton of XLs, and barely miss a beat (with only a formerly 3 HP win over Tentacruel slipping away).


Sneasler FightingPoison

Shadow Claw | Close Combat & Aerial Ace

New hotness! If you never managed to sneak one under 1500 CP for Great League, here’s your chance to see what all the fuss is about with Sneasler. It starts with Shadow Claw, which is always a blessing, and then usually ends with Close Combat. In between, we have… ugh, Aerial Ace, one of the most boring charge moves in the game. But hey, it deals Flying damage, which can at least beat Trevenant and fellow Fighter Toxicroak, so it’s at least better than X-Scissor.


Scrafty DarkFighting

Counter | Power-Up Punch & Foul Play

Yep, probably not a surprise that Scrafty works well here (just as it does in Open Ultra), with its steadily increasing Fighting damage busting up Darks and Steels and Rocks, and its literal Dark side (and Foul Play) slams the door on most Ghosts (and bonuses like Tentacruel). You can’t save a TON of dust and candy by running with a hundo (it still needs to go up to Level 47), but yes, you CAN save a bit and not really miss much.


Weezing (Galarian) PoisonFairy

Fairy Wind | Overheat & Play Rough

The LAST thing Scrafty wants to see is a Fairy, and G-Weeze arrives as arguably the top Fairy in the entire format, currently ranked #6 in Ultra Halloween Cup just as it was ALSO ranked sixth in the Great League version. That Poison/Fairy combination is sweet, and allows it to beat not just the Darks and Fighters and Dragons you’d expect, but with Overheat also in the mix, you can also throw in stuff like Genesect, Escavalier, Trevenant, and most of its fellow Fairies. Like Scrafty, you CAN run the hundo and it’s fine, but doesn’t provide much savings (needing to hit Level 47… just like Scrafty).


Ninetales (Alola) IceFairy

Powder Snow/Charm | Weather Ball (Ice) & Psyshock/Blizzard

You can run it as a Charmer, but I think you’re probably better off running a Powder Snow version here. And not with Psyshock (though that does, at least, uniquely beat Toxicroak) or Dazzling Gleam, but with Blizzard. You miss out on Toxicroak and lose a little potential to pressure Poison types, yes, but you can beat everything Gleam does plus Drapion and Crustle. It consistently (though slightly) outperforms Shock and Gleam in 0v0 and 2v2 shielding scenarios as well. There’s hardly anything in this meta that resists Ice (among things A-Tails has any realistic shot to beat anyway, that is), so I say go for broke with the unexpected Blizzard if you run PowderTales at all.


Florges Fairy

Fairy Wind | Disarming Voice & Moonblast

Yes, I did look at Vine Whip and Psychic (the move) and even Petal Blizzard, but it really seems it’s best to keep it simple here and just go with all the Fairy moves. Only that moveset seems capable of outracing Drapion, Alolan Ninetales (with either fast move… and it actually beats ALL Fairies but Galarian Rapidash and Galarian Weezing), and even Escavalier, despite it obviously resisting Fairy damage. That one blew me away, but it’s totally legit… somehow. Just shows you the potential of a good Fairy Wind user versus Charmers in today’s PvP landscape. The legend of Florges just continues to grow.

As for other Charmers, I suppose you could say that GRANBULL and even TOGEKISS are viable, but neither are particularly exciting. You’ll still see them here and there, but unless they’re able to farm quite a bit, their intriguing charge moves shouldn’t be as disruptive as their owners will want them to be.


Escavalier BugSteel

Counter | Drill Run & Megahorn

As hinted by Florges, Escav is not 100% reliable versus Fairies (Counter being resisted is awkward), but it DOES beat all the Charmers, at least. This in addition to handling all the Dark/Poisons and most other big name Darks (though Flying Mandibuzz and fellow Counter user Scrafty fend it off, and Umbreon usually requires Megahorn to seal the deal), as well as Genesect, Scizor, Crustle, and a slew of the biggest names among Poisons (to include Nidoqueen, Dragalge, Tentacruel, Nihilego and more). Escavalier is not perfect in its coverage, but it DOES cover a lot of things like nothing else can and could be a very handy swap option in this meta.


Durant BugSteel

Bug Bite | X-Scissor & Stone Edge

Okay, yes, I admit that the overall numbers aren’t jaw dropping or anything, but that IS a viable performance, and one doesn’t often get to say that about little Durant. If you like it, this might be your best chance to throw it into battle. It doesn’t lock down Fairies as much as Escavalier does, and Durant struggles versus Nidoqueen and Dragalge, but it’s arguably even more solid against Darks, and Stone Edge smashes Ice and Flying types (like Crobat, most notably). There will be teams that find a way to make it work. Maybe yours?


Runerigus GroundGhost

Shadow Claw | Sand Tomb & Shadow Ball

Good news first: Rune is really good here, and only gets better if you build up a hundo, adding on Charm A-Tails (and the mirror, of course). The bad news? Even as a hundo, it has to be pushed WELL into XL territory, to at least Level 47.5 and often beyond. If you can manage that, you’ve a unique monster on your hands that terrorizes Poisons, Steels, Rocks, Fighters, Fires, and even most of the format’s major Bugs. But it doesn’t come cheap!

Cofagrigus Ghost

Honestly, COFAGRIGUS, which requires the same steep investment, just doesn’t seem worth it. Not for THAT exorbitant cost. Instead, just run the next entry on our list:


Gengar GhostPoison

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball

Yes, I looked into cases for other moves like Psychic, Focus Blast, Sludge Bomb and more, but there’s really just no beating good old Shadow Ball. Only with the widely neutral damage of Ball does Gengar overcome stuff like Escavalier and of course Ghosts like Jellicent and Altered Giratina, and it still beats out the Fairies just about as well as Sludge Bomb can. Despite the very real threat of all the Darks around, Gengar is a very handy generalist in this meta that should NOT be overlooked.


Jellicent WaterGhost

Hex/Bubble | Shadow Ball & Ice Beam/Bubble Beam

Two main ways you could go here. The tried and true Hex/Bubble Beam/Shadow Ball still does fine work here, outracing things like Giratina, Drifblim, and Quick Attack Sylveon. But Bubble is worth consideration too, looking surprisingly decent alongside Shadow Ball and Ice Beam with wins versus Crustle and Air Slash Mandibuzz.


Salazzle PoisonFire

Incinerate | Poison Fang & Dragon Pulse

As with Sneasler, if you’ve never been able to run Salazzle in Great League (like 99% of the rest of us), here’s your chance to see it in action firsthand. It’s not a meta breaker or anything, but it does a lot of nice things among several of the main types allowed in this format (Poisons, Darks, Fairies, and especially Bugs). You can run it with hatch level IVs and save some resources without missing a beat, too.


Honchkrow (Shadow) DarkFlying

Snarl | Sky Attack & Brave Bird

TOTAL spice pick here that could blow up in one’s face, but it’s rare for a spice pick to have such a high ceiling as this. As shown with Talonflame, Brave Bird is a fantastic equalizer even against hard counters, and such is the case here, with Honch able to overcome things like Tapu Fini, Sylveon, Escavalier, and Toxicroak that no Dark should be able to take down like that. This is NOT as meta as the record would imply, but as a high risk/high reward option? You can’t do much better.


Several things I wanted to cover that remain just outside the meta, but quick shoutouts to a few of them here. NIDOKING pulls some great numbers with a couple of very unusual movesets (including in Shadow form, but it’s a little hard to trust being so reliant on Sand Tomb baits always working. We’ll call it nice spice and move on…. PANGORO is sort of a much cheaper Scrafty, but you also get what you pay for, as it’s far less effective overall. At least Bullet Punch can main Fairies on its way out…. I love me some ROSERADE, and someone will likely make it work for them, but it’s an uphill battle in the best of circumstances…. GALARIAN SLOWBRO obviously makes Fairies cry, and Focus Blast can sneak away wins from several notable Darks and things like Escavalier and Nihilego too. But I feel like it SHOULD be able to do more, and is likely to end up doing even less against opponents that know Blast is in its arsenal.

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

Bah, running out of time (and room!), so going to shift into bulletized form for the rest of this article. That doesn’t mean some of these are any less important, but I just have to go rapid fire at this point. 🥵 Here we go!

Trevenant GhostGrass
  • Yep, TREVENANT 🤑 still does about what you’d expect, and non-XL Trevor is still just as much of a hit. Wins that may surprise include Genesect, Scizor, Dragalge, and the Charmers!
Drifblim GhostFlying
  • DRIFBLIM is obviously a popular option, but honestly, it’s just okay here as a specialist. Nidoqueen certainly hates to see it, as do several other notable Poisons, Fighters, and Bugs. It can be a decent team player, but is far from a piece to build around with its rather limited roles.
Drapion PoisonDark Bisharp DarkSteel Scizor BugSteel
  • Also a couple different movesets that work for BISHARP too. SCIZOR gets most of the good press, but I like the added flexibility of Sharpie more, personally.
Forretress BugSteel
  • We’re talking major investment here, but FORRETRESS is kinda terrifying in this meta, rolling over many Fairies, Darks, and Poisons alike. It’s also better than you think even in Open and I think worth building in general. Just sayin’!
Sylveon Fairy
  • It’s an okay-ish Charmer, but if you’re going to run SYLVEON here, I think you want to do so with Quick Attack for a more unique and versatile threat.
Krookodile GroundDark
  • Ever tried using KROOKODILE in PvP? If not, this is a great meta to try it out. Resisting Dark, Ghost, AND Poison damage (as well as Electric, Psychic, and Rock) in THIS meta? Very enticing!
Tyranitar RockDark
  • Yes, TYRANITAR does JUST enough to consider here, in both Shadow and non-Shadow form. I have a hard time really endorsing it, but double Smack Down (paired with Crustle) has been potent before and could be again here.

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

Genesect BugSteel
  • GENESECT looks like it might FINALLY enjoy a moment in the sun here, and all four main Drive versions work. SHOCK uniquely beats Tentacruel and Tapu Fini, but struggles badly versus Nidoqueen. DOUSE washes away Queen and is a nice all-arounder. CHILL is PvPoke’s recommendation (and perhaps mine as well) for how it uniquely freezes Dragons. And BURN roasts Trevenant and of course flammable Bugs and Steels. Only other debate then is X-Scissor (better versus Trevor, Umbreon, Obstagoon and others) or Magnet Bomb (nailing Fairies, especially Ninetales, and able to chew through Nidoqueen without requiring any of the Drives at all). Decisions, decisions!
Giratina (Altered) GhostDragon Giratina (Origin) GhostDragon
  • Surely no surprise that both GIRATINAS have use here, right? For ALTERED, I personally lean towards Dragon Breath, with Dragon Claw, and the second move of your choice… but it’s worth noting that Ancient Power adds on both versions of Mandibuzz without giving up anything of note. If you want to run the new Shadow Force, I think you want to do so with Shadow Claw for the extra energy to race to Force. ORIGIN is far less exciting but still viable.
Tapu Fini WaterFairy
  • TAPU FINI is the Azumarill of Ultra Halloween, though with more emphasis on just chewing through stuff with its fast move Water Gun. Heck, you can even run an Azu-esque moveset of Ice Beam/Moonblast and do alright with it, though Surf is typically better in the Ice Beam slot (adding on wins like Crustle and CharmTales in the process). As a Fairy that also shrugs off Steels and Fire that give other Fairies trouble, Fini is one of the more exciting options in this format and well deserving of its Top 15 ranking.
Nihilego RockPoison
  • I’m a little iffier on NIHILEGO, but there’s no arguing that it DOES have a role to play. Obviously deals fine with Fairies (even scary Fini), but the unique Rock typing gives it handy resistances that also bring in things like Incineroar, Mandibuzz, and Crobat, and it manages to overcome Umbreon, Tentacruel, Crustle and others too.
Tapu Koko ElectricFairy
  • And I’m REALLY iffy on TAPU KOKO, but something consistently beats Darks AND hammers Flyers and Waters could certainly have a place on teams in this meta.
Buzzwole BugFighting
  • BUZZWOLE still seems to me as something you more want in Great or Master League, but hey, if you have an Ultra-sized one, it does good work here, yeah. (As does Heracross that I neglected to mention earlier, for that matter, with Earthquake having surprising utility here.)
Moltres (Galarian) DarkFlying Yveltal DarkFlying
  • GALARIAN MOLTRESS does enough to worthy of consideration, coming in somewhere between Honchkrow’s potential explosiveness and YVELTAL who seems a bit too mild (and squishy).


And finally, let’s wrap it up with a couple things that require FULLY maxing out, and thus are good targets for Lucky trades.

Galvantula BugElectric
  • GALVANTULA is just as good here as it is in GL Halloween, and I DO fully endorse its use, but it has to be completely maxed out to hit 2494 CP. That’s just not possible for many players, but if you’ve pulled it off, let ‘er rip!
Wigglytuff NormalFairy
  • Undersized though it may be, WIGGLYTUFF still has that handy Ghost resistance going for it. Just saying!
Mandibuzz DarkFlying Umbreon Dark
  • And similarly, UMBREON is lurking out there too, with either Last Resort to handle opposing Darks (Mandi, Incineroar, Drapion specifically), or Psychic (the move!) for Poisons like Nidoqueen, Tentacruel, Toxicroak, and Nihilego.

Believe it or not, there are even MORE things I could cover, but I’m gonna end it here and let you get to prepping your team(s)! Good luck, trainer!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you master the Ultra League edition of Halloween Cup, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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