Welcome to Season 4 of The Silph Arena, PvPers!

With the first meta of the new season (Season 4!) of The Silph Arena comes a new “Nifty Or Thrifty”, the long-running article series where we take a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats — The Silph Arena’s Lunar Cup, in this case — and cover not only the top meta picks, but also some ‘mons where you can save some dust!

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 of six, but where can we get the best bang for our buck and where should we perhaps get stingy?

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And yes, I said team of six. Because for those less familiar with The Arena, it’s a show six/play three format, unlike GBL where your team is just the three that you play.

You build and register six Pokémon to bring to tournaments (live tournaments in the days before COVID, which was awesome and I can’t wait to get back to that, but for now they’re remote tourneys), and you and your opponent can see which six Pokémon each other are using via The Arena’s site, along with their CP (but not movesets… those remain a guessing game for the opponent), but won’t know which three to expect from those six until the games begin!

Each tournament consists of a number of rounds determined by the number of players (typically 4+ rounds), with each round being a best-of-three brawl. For more info and specifics, I encourage visiting the Arena’s rules and/or Season 4 information page.

I can tell you from personal experience, though: it’s a LOT of fun, and I consider it a superior PvP experience to GO Battle League… the Arena was doing full-fledged PvP for close to a year before GBL was ever announced.

Anyway, back on point. As I try to usually do in this article, I will start with Pokémon with the cheapest second move unlock cost and steam ahead until we finally arrive at the expensive Legendaries, though after that I will have a couple more to talk about that ALSO have high level up costs. And for those who haven’t heard, I am fortunate enough to be a full-fledged member of Silph Arena’s Meta Team this year, so I’ll have some little “developer notes” throughout the writeup too!

For details on what makes up Lunar Cup, just check out the Arena homepage for Lunar Cup, but basically it’s Bugs, Darks, Electrics, Ghosts, and Grasses, with specific bans on Scrafty, Stunfisk, Alolan Marowak, Whimsicott (for competitiveness) and Pachirisu, Vullaby, and Shadows (for accessibility concerns).

But enough intro. Let’s dive in!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

– Legacy/Exclusive Move

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ALOLAN ROCKS

Graveler (Alola) RockElectric Golem (Alola) RockElectric

Volt Switch | Rock Blast & Stone Edge

New season, new NoT, must be starting with Venusaur as per usual, right? Right? Not this time, as I would be remiss to lead off with anything other than the Alolan Rocks. Regarding Graveler in particular, most Grasses and Fighters beat it, and random others like Lanturn, but uh… that’s about it. Alolan Graveler smash most of the main Bugs, even the ones with scary moves like Beedrill and Escavalier, as long as it has a shield to spare, plus opposing Electrics (even Magnezone), Dark/Poisons (including Drapion with its Aqua Tail), other Darks (outracing even Umbreon), Ices, and Poison Jab Roserade too… in fact, it beats every Poison type but Victreebel and the Venusaur and Vileplume families. A-Grav is a bit better overall than A-Golem, more consistently beating Umbreon and Escavalier and taking out Golem in the head to head, but Golem does have a niche in outracing Venusaur and, with Wild Charge, uniquely beating out Lanturn too. Generally though, it’s really Stone Edge that you want for both. I lobbied to have these in the meta after they were initially on the ban list, and after double and triple checking, the whole Meta Team agreed it was a more interesting meta with the Alolan Rocks than without them. I hope (and believe) that you’ll agree too… they really shake things up without being totally out of whack.

OBSTAGOON

Obstagoon DarkNormal

Counter | Night Slash & Gunk Shot/Cross Chop

One reason the A-Rocks are held in check is the belief that Goonie will be everywhere. Not only does it easily handle things weak to Counter (like most Rocks and Darks, and the smattering of Ice and most Steel types in the core meta), but conveniently also holds down nearly all the Ghosts (only Golurk and Drifblim are real issues) and even most of the Electrics and the majority of Grasses (including everything with Frenzy Plant). Most of that is with just Counter and Night Slash, but carrying a big stick with Gunk Shot is generally my recommendation over Cross Chop, as Gunk is needed to close out things like Lanturn and Mandibuzz and really keeps the pressure on Grasses especially. Goon’s biggest blind spots are Bugs, dedicated Poison types, and anything else with Fighting moves, but beyond those, it’s a tough, tough out and will surely occupy a central spot at the core of this meta.

CRUSTLE

Crustle BugRock

Fury Cutter/Smack Down | X-Scissor & Rock Slide

This may finally be it: that rare meta where Fury Cutter is actually better than Smack Down, and the reason is pretty simple: it’s a meta full of Darks and Grasses weak to Bug damage. Fury Cutter powers Crustie to wins over Roserade, Abomasnow, Ferrothorn, and even Umbreon that it wouldn’t get otherwise, and the energy gains of Cutter also allow Crustle to outrace things you wouldn’t expect like Lanturn, Escavalier, and Manectric and its scary new Overheat. Smack Down most definitely still has a place — its raw damage takes out Alolan Muk, Skuntank, and Sableye, while Cutter falls short — but generally Fury Cutter is just a much better fit for this meta, and Crustie is a great fit for the meta too!

BEEDRILL

Beedrill BugPoison

Poison Jab | Drill Runᴸ & X-Scissor/Fell Stinger

May as well stick with Bugs for a while, because there are quite a few here in the super thrifty category that stick out. Beedrill is nothing new to players at this point, especially here in The Arena, and it still hums along nicely in Lunar Cup. The Bee is still a top notch Grassassin (only Poison Jab Roserade, Air Slash Tropius, and Cradily can reliably fend it off), and Drill Run is a fantastic weapon on this meta with so many Poisons and Electrics to run over with it. Even X-Scissor puts in work by taking out Obstagoon and applying serious pressure to Darks in general (such as getting Umbreon one fast move from death 👀), but Fell Stinger is a very viable alternative that can still beat Goon and more easily wins the mirror match, without giving up much of particular note.

SCOLIPEDE remains an alternative to Beedrill as well, doing basically the same stuff aside from beating Escavalier, just a little less efficiently… Beedrill is a bit more reliable and effective overall, thanks in large part to the uniqueness of its Drill Run. The big thing Scoli does that Beedrill cannot is reliably beat Umbreon (and in multiple different ways), so that’s nice.

ARIADOS

Ariados BugPoison

Poison Sting | Megahorn & Lunge/Cross Poison

Recently buffed Megahorn is the closer here, just as it is with Scolipede, but in this case Ariados has two bait/stat-adjusting moves to go with it: Lunge is obviously better versus Darks (specifically beating Alolan Muk and Mandibuzz) and comes with a guaranteed debuff to the opponent’s Attack, which makes it my general recommendation, but Cross Poison is a fine move now too — a Poison-type Night Slash, basically — and the speed of it (35 energy as opposed to Lunge at 45 energy) is better for outracing Lanturn and Zebstrika, and if you like living on the edge, the impact of having the big Attack buff go off can be massive.

MEGANIUM

Meganium Grass

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Earthquake

Wait, we’re into Grasses now and STILL not doing Venusaur yet? Who are you and what have you done with JRE? 🤪 Even I, Venusaur lover that I am, cannot deny that this just has the looks of a meta better tackled by Meg. Venusaur’s typical advantages are versus Fairies and opposing Grasses, and in this meta, Fairies are non-existent and the role of Grasses looks rather limited. That, plus the super effectiveness of Meg’s Earthquake* against Electrics, Poisons, and Steels — specifically leading to more reliable wins over Alolan Golem and Magnezone than Venusaur — pulls Meganium slightly ahead. Grass types are more of an equalizing force in this meta without a set role anyway, but they’re most useful versus Electrics and Rocks that pop up, and Meganium handles all of those (with the exception of things with obvious advantages, namely Galvantula, Zapdos, Emolga, and Manectric) with relative ease, and even has the bulk to outlast (Bullet Seed) Roserade, Ferrothorn, and Umbreon too (and unlike Venusaur, doesn’t have to fear the potential threat of Umbreon with Psychic).

VENUSAUR

Venusaur GrassPoison

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

That all said, you know I still gotta stand up for my boy over here. Venusaur IS still much more effective than Meg at combating enemy Grasses (and thus beats Chesnaught, whereas Meg cannot), so if that type rises up as the meta unfolds, Venusaur is going to rise up with it. Plus its Sludge Bomb and Poison subtyping are more blessing than curse in this meta, with the subtype adding a resistance to Fighting and making Poison damage neutral, and with Sludge Bomb being a much-speedier-than-Earthquake equalizer. On the surface, neither of these come much into play, but this is a meta where Venusaur is really well off with a high stat product IV spread, giving it new wins then versus Obstagoon (thanks to resisting Counter) and Galvantula (thanks to getting to a killing Sludge Bomb in time), as well as outlasting the Alolan Golem that Meg held over Venusaur’s head before. Meg, by contrast, doesn’t really improve with good IVs. Make of all that what you will, but in short: Venusaur still gets a thumbs up from me, particularly if you have a really high rank IV one.

SERPERIOR

Serperior Grass

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Aerial Ace/Leaf Tornado

Out of the Grass starters, though, Serperior may trump Venusaur and Meganium thanks to its completely unremarkable (even boring) coverage move: Aerial Ace. It’s such a lackluster move that I always feel dirty encouraging its use, but darnit, Flying is good here with Grasses AND Bugs in the meta to deal super effective damage to. And while Flying is resisted by Steels, Rocks, and Electrics, Serperior, like most Grasses, has little trouble with the Rocks and Electrics with its Grass damage, and manages to overcome one of the most prominent Steels, Ferrothorn, anyway. And Aerial Ace also allows it to beat Chesnaught (just like Venu, but unlike Meg) and even Heracross (who Venu, Meg, and most Grasses struggle against). That all said, there is a fervent crowd out there that swears by Leaf Tornado and its high chance of enfeebling (there’s a writer nerd word for ya!) the opponent instead, and its relative speed DOES bring in a win against Manectric that otherwise torches the Grass starters, but it’s hard to NOT… ugh, gotta say it again… recommend Aerial Ace and what it offers in Lunar Cup.

CHESNAUGHT

Chesnaught GrassFighting

Smack Down/Vine Whip | Superpower & Energy Ball

Naught has its place here too, and while it does a fine job in classic Grass mode (with Vine Whip), it can instead abandon wins versus Zebstrika, Manectric, and Sableye and run with Smack Down instead. Remember that Rock is very potent in Lunar Cup, and gives Naught some nifty wins over stuff like Roserade, Galvantula, and Mandibuzz… things that Grasses simply shouldn’t stand any real chance against, yet here we are. Heck, it even has a real shot at beating Froslass, depending on IVs, all while still beating Umbreon, Rocks, and (most) Electrics, which is all you’re usually asking of your Grass type here. I really think that Smack Down is Chesnaught’s real niche and THE way I would use it here if it were me, but it’s your call, trainer!

Cases can also be made for TORTERRA which absolutely dominates the Electrics (TRIPLE resists Electric, remember) while also dominating Rocks (resists them too!) and still outlasting Umbreon and Sableye, and for CHERRIM (which is fine, just overshadowed by Roserade). But their roles are more specialized… they may be better bench pressure than actual plays.

LILLIGANT

Lilligant Grass

Charm | …yeah, doesn’t really matter

For what it’s worth, Lilligant is the best Charmer in this meta, thanks in large part to its extra resistances to Grass, Water, and Electric damage. Basically, this is Whimsicott Lite, and a good enough time to point out why Whimsie ended up banned.

RAICHU

Raichu Electric

Volt Switch | Brick Break & Wild Charge

Original Recipe Raichu is one that the Meta Team actually discussed quite a bit. As bans and all were changed around, it slid in and out of the Top Ten but was always highly ranked. At the time of this writing, it’s at #12, which it absolutely deserves. Not only is it a super solid Electric type, but its Brick Break has perhaps its best value here in Lunar Cup than it has perhaps had in any meta before as a key way to keep the many Darks, Rocks, and Steels honest. Even if Raichu doesn’t beat them outright — Obstagoon and the Alolan Rocks can escape — it forces them all to burn precious shields to get away. (Though notably, a high rank Raichu gets Goon, and also Zebstrika as a bonus.) It can already handle every Flyer here, every Dark but Ground type Krookodile, Grass type Shiftry, and Dragon type Zweilous, and every Steel but Ferrothorn… and even the vast majority of Bugs, to include Heracross, Beedrill, Crustle, and more. Oh, and also Froslass, Lanturn, and the aforementioned Zebstrika. Like most Electrics, it struggles versus Grass and the Alolan Rocks, but Raichu can tangle with just about everything else.

ALOLAN RAICHU

Raichu (Alola) ElectricPsychic

Volt Switch | Grass Knot & Wild Charge

In many regards, very similar to its Kanto cousin, but also quite different in key ways too. Gone are many of the wins KayChu enjoyed versus Steels and especially Darks, which makes sense with AhChu’s Psychic subtype making it weak to Dark moves. On the flip side, having Grass Knot gives it MUCH easier paths to victory over the Alolan Rocks and Lanturn, and allows it to win the head to head versus regular Raichu as well. And of course, it resists Fighting damage, but unfortunately still loses to Obstagoon due to its frailty to Night Slash, and it usually outraces Heracross but MUST avoid Megahorn (which its Psychic side is critically weak to). It looks pretty good in sims, better than I expected, but I do worry about the meta around it exposing its Psychic vulnerabilities a bit more than high level sims are showing. Tread lightly.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

– Legacy/Exclusive Move

MAGNEZONE

Magnezone ElectricSteel

Spark | Mirror Shot & Wild Charge

A lot of stars align in the lunar sky for Magnezone here. There is little in the way of Fighting, Ground, or Fire damage to prey on its Steel typing, and it resists common Bug and Grass and Poison damage. All this put together gives it an eye-catching record against the likely core meta. Early rankings have it all the way up at #2 (behind only Alolan Graveler), and that actually seems about right. It DOES lose to most things that put out Fighting or Fire damage, and oddly even the Alolan Rocks (where you would expect its Mirror Shot may turn things around, especially with their Rock damage being resisted, but no… dang the A-Rocks are good in this meta!) and a couple Grasses (Cradily, Ferrothorn), but heck, it even has ways to beat many of the major Grasses (to include Venusaur, Roserade, and Abomasnow. There’s not a whole lot outside of hard counters that really hold Magnezone down here. Time to get in the Zone!

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GALVANTULA

Galvantula BugElectric

Volt Switch | Lunge & Discharge/Bug Buzz

Everyone knows Galv wants Volt Switch and Lunge… that’s easy. But what of the second move? The default is usually Discharge, which comes for the same 45 energy as Lunge and keeps the opponent guessing, as Discharge obviously deals super effective damage to things Lunge does not — and vice versa — and has a little extra punch than Lunge against neutral targets, specifically leading to wins over Sableye, Skuntank, and Froslass by KOing them before they can launch their own KO charge moves that Lunge alone leaves them alive long enough to squeeze off. Alternatively, you have the slower (60 energy) but much harder hitting Bug Buzz, which instead knocks out Magnezone, Lanturn, and enemy Galvantulas through sheer force. (It also shows a unique win versus Air Slash Mandibuzz, but pro tip: Galv can actually do that with Lunge alone.) Heck, you can even run the very unconventional Cross Poison/Bug Buzz, giving up Lass, AS Mandi, Bullet Seed Roserade, and Forretress to instead potentially beat Cradily, Alolan Muk, Manectric, and the same Sableye and Skuntank that Discharge can, and Magnezone and Lanturn still with Bug Buzz. So much variety… you love to see it.

VENOMOTH

Venomoth BugPoison

Infestation | Poison Fang & Bug Buzz

Way back in Season 1 of The Silph Arena (and especially in the original Twilight Cup that inspired Lunar Cup), Venomoth was a mainstay. Its unique combination of Psychic damage from Confusion and Bug damage (and potential buffs) from the still-good-back-then Silver Wind (along with chip damage from the still-bad-back-then Poison Fang) tore through several early metas… but none as much as Twilight Cup, when everything just kind of came together for it. So how nice it is to see that Lunar Cup may offer it a nice chance to recapture its glory days! Sure, it looks quite different now — Confusion is out here, replaced by Infestation, and Silver Wind being basically unusable means that Bug Buzz has to step up — but it looks like it can really, truly work here. Even without Confusion, Moth still handles the Fighters just fine (most definitely including Obstagoon, who hates Bugs), it still preys on Grasses (only Tropius and Poison Jab Roserade really give it any trouble at all), and it conveniently handles nearly all the Darks too (excluding only Houndoom, Mandi, Honchkrow, TTar, Bisharp, and Fire Fang Mightyena… and obviously only some of those are impactful enough to matter). Venomoth can even take out Galvantula and Manectric too. Once again, everything just seems to come together nicely for our old Moth buddy.

HERACROSS

Heracross BugFighting

Counter | Rock Blast & Megahorn/Close Combat

Fresh off the double boost of a Megahorn buff and the addition of Rock Blast, this meta allows Heracross to make perhaps its biggest splash in any meta to date. The only Darks it cannot reliably overcome are Flying (or Sableye), the only Steel it can’t beat is Trashadam, and despite taking neutral damage from Rock instead of resisting it like most Fighters, it still manages to take down all Rock types in Lunar Cup too. In other words, Heracross does everything you’d want a Fighter to do for you, AND takes out stuff like Lanturn and many Grasses (Venusaur, Roserade, Chesnaught) too. You can also run Close Combat instead, which can pick up Alolan Muk and looks like a straight upgrade overall, but the downside is opening yourself up to counterattacks with CC’s severe nerfing. Play it safe or go for broke? That’s your call, my friend.

ESCAVALIER

Escavalier BugSteel

Counter | Drill Run & Megahorn/Aerial Ace

Not truly a Fighter, but did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so puts on a good show of being a Fighter. A lot like Heracross specifically, in fact, beating all the same things except for Roserade (being double weak to Fire Ball is just too much for it) and heartbreakingly close losses to A-Grav and Magnezone. Escavalier’s main advantage is being much tougher than Heracross versus Grass and Poison, beating things like Alolan Muk, Abomasnow, Skuntank, and Venusaur by much more comfortable margins. Still, this looks to be more Heracross’ moment to shine… but Escav is a more than capable fill-in if you don’t have the Heracross to use in Great League.

BRELOOM

Breloom GrassFighting

Counter | Seed Bomb & Grass Knotᴸ/Dynamic Punch

I’ve never been a huge fan of Loom myself — just too frail — but hey, it’s a true Fighter in a meta lacking many, and that alone gives it play. Conveniently being a Fighter that resists Electric and a Grass that resists Rock works out pretty well in this meta, giving Loom a clear role as an Electric, Rock, and Dark counter (with bonuses like Ferrothorn, Lanturn, and even Froslass). With shields up, it usually only wants Seed Bomb for its charge move, but Grass Knot is slightly better with shields down (beating Lanturn and Sableye) than Dynamic Punch (which instead has only a unique win versus Forretress), so Knot actually gets the slight nod from me, but pick your pleasure.

ROSERADE

Roserade GrassPoison

Poison Jab/Bullet Seedᴸ | Weather Ball (Fire)ᴸ & Leaf Storm

Speaking of frail, if Breloom is like wet tissue paper, then Roserade is like… uh… mildly damp tissue paper. But it has the right moves — and right type of moves — to matter anyway. Most people who have built one probably have the full Community Day version with Bullet Seed and Fire (Weather) Ball, and yes, that version is just fine, beating all the big Rocks and Waters with its Grass moves (to include Leaf Storm when necessary) and burning through most of its fellow Grasses and Froslass thanks to Fire Ball, while also outracing Obstagoon, Sableye, and even Umbreon. It’s a good performance that already makes Rose plenty viable. But allow me to present something you may NOT have built yet: Roserade with just one of its exclusive moves — Weather Ball — and Poison Jab rather than Bullet Seed, a favorite of the Arena Meta Team. Holy smokes… now THAT is scary. 😱 It can no longer deal enough damage to the Poison-resisting Alolan Rocks to win, and loses the race to KO charge move now to Aboma, Sable, and Froslass, but just look at the gains, all ten of them: Heracross, Forretress, Beedrill, Galvantula, Alolan Muk, Skuntank, Venusaur, and Bullet Seed Roserade, all noted Grassassins, as well as Manectric and Magnezone, two Electrics with the best chance to fend off other Grasses. And it doesn’t even need Leaf Storm to beat the Bugs, Electrics, and of course Grasses on that 70% win rate list. Hopefully you have more than one Weather Ball Roserade in Great League, because I think it’s time to flip one of them from Bullet Seed to Poison Jab, now more than ever!

CRADILY

Cradily GrassRock

Infestation/Bullet Seed | Stone Edge & Grass Knot

Well Roserade may not want Bullet Seed, but Cradily obviously always does, right? Right? C’mon, JRE, you’re not about to recommend Cradily run with any other fast move than the one that propelled it to PvP glory, are you? Yeah, yeah I am. Because in a meta filled up with Grasses and Darks all weak to Bug damage (and lacking many Waters and Grounds you would normally want Bullet Seed for), old-school Infestation looks really good. The only win it gives up that Bullet Seed can win is a surprising one: Magnezone. With Infestation it still beats all the same Rocks and Water it did before (to include still beating both Alolan Rocks, Lanturn, and Crustle), and picks up two nifty wins against Umbreon and that scary Poison Jab Roserade discussed last segment. Cradily is not new to most Arena players by now, but reaching back in time for Infestation can give it a new, interesting, and dangerous twist in Lunar Cup.

SHIFTRY

Shiftry GrassDark

Snarl/Bullet Seedᴸ | Leaf Blade & Foul Play/Hurricane

Yep, you know it will be around. And even though this isn’t its best meta, “Shifty” certainly does enough good things to deserve a spot on teams, really doing about everything you’d ask of your Grass type while also beating Grasses that themselves beat most Grasses (Roserade and Ferrothorn) and hating on Ghosts (including Sableye and even Froslass) too. Couple move thingys to consider, though: Hurricane instead of Foul Play might be the play here, still beating everything FP does plus Galvantula, which is a very nice pickup. Or you can consider Legacy Bullet Seed, which does unfortunately drop Ferro, Lass, and Galv, but gains Umbreon.

ABOMASNOW

Abomasnow GrassIce

Powder Snow | Weather Ball (Ice) & Blizzard/Energy Ball

Another one you know will be out there almost no matter what its actual record is… and yet another case where an unusual second move may be the way to make it worth it. Yes, the de facto pairing with the necessary Weather Ball (Ice) is Energy Ball, and that still has a niche here in answering back Rock types, specifically beating Crustle. But if you’re willing to just kinda write off Rock types, I urge you to consider Blizzard instead. Very few opponents will see it coming, and if they bite on Weather Ball with a shield and let through an expected second Weather Ball or Energy Ball… well, Blizzard knocks out Air Slash Mandibuzz, Sableye, and even Magnezone that Aboma usually cannot overcome, and rather easily wins the mirror match as well. It could be a huge difference maker, because who runs anything but Energy Ball on their Aboma, right?

FROSLASS

Froslass IceGhost

Powder Snow | Avalanche & Shadow Ball

Another über popular pick, but this time, no, I don’t have any funky moveset recommendations… not even the new and improved Crunch… it’s the old reliable set of Avalanche and Shadow Ball that you still want. With few Fighters in the mix, it doesn’t get to shine out as brightly as usual, but make no mistake: Lass still does many things well and applies fantastic in-game or bench pressure. And you know that whenever you shield (or not!), which ever move you expect, it will always be the other one. 🙃 That’s just how it goes with Froslass, amirite?

HAUNTER/GENGAR

Haunter GhostPoison Gengar GhostPoison

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball (or spice!)

Even in a meta chock full of Darks, Ghosts are still good generalists, and none do it better than the OG Pokémon Ghosts. There’s no Fairies to hate on, but also not much Confusion or Ground damage to make them sad either, and remember that their unique Ghost/Poison typing resists Grass, double resists Bug, Poison, and Normal, and triple resists Fighting. Put it all together, and I think they appreciate this meta and have room to roam. I mean, just look at this list of losses… other than high damage from Crustle and high spam from Abomasnow, the entire list of core meta losses is just Darks. That’s it… Haunter and Gengar can feast otherwise. 😈 And of course, there’s room to experiment with Sludge Bomb or, with Gengar, funky stuff like Psychic (the move) or Focus Blast if that for some reason fits your team needs better.

COFAGRIGUS

Cofagrigus Ghost

Shadow Claw | Shadow Ball & Dark Pulse

In a meta with more Ground and/or Psychic (the type) around to prey on Haunter/Gengar and their Poison subtyping, Cofagrigus now has a chance to pull ahead as a much bulkier version that is weak to only Dark and Ghost damage. But this isn’t really that kind of meta. Grigus is still good, and may even be a slightly safer switch simply because of that bulk, but it mostly plays second fiddle here with a number of Electrics and Grasses joining all the Darks in the loss column. But it outbulks Crustle and Aboma like the Poisonous Ghosts cannot, so there’s that!

Surprisingly NOT all that hot? JELLICENT. If you’re going to run it at all, you may actually want the rare Ice Beam-centric version, which can at least turn the tables on a few Grasses, Bugs, and even Darks. But this seems to be the first meta I can think of where JelliBelli is eligible and just… not good. Maybe YOU can make it work?

ALOLAN MUK

Muk (Alola) PoisonDark

Snarl/Poison Jab | Dark Pulse & Sludge Wave

Also a little tepid compared to its usual self? Alolan Muk. I mean, what in this meta are you expecting to beat with it, really? Grasses? Okay, sure, it does that, but what else? Ghosts? Sure, the very few that will realistically see play. But there’s not much beyond that: Galvantula, Manectric, and fellow Dark/Poison Skuntank, but that’s really about it. Even in a “safe” swap role, honestly, I’m not sure you want it here.

SKUNTANK

Skuntank PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Crunch & Flamethrower

Not all that much better than A-Muk, but is at least able to torch a few things with Flamethrower, bring down the mighty Mandibuzz, and outrace Obstagoon. Still not great, but perhaps a little better than its melting rainbow Alolan companion.

PANGORO

Pangoro FightingDark

Snarl | Close Combat & Night Slash

Scrafty is banned, and it’s probably not a big surprise why, but there’s another Dark Fighter you can call upon (at least, if you’ve got trade-level rather than hatch-level IVs): Pangoro. It lacks Counter, instead being more Dark-centric with Snarl powering out spammy Night Slashes, but the real trick is also toting Close Combat. The combination of all that means that the Kung Fu Panda can do what you’d want your Fighter to do (beating all Rocks, all meta Steels but Magnezone and Escavalier, Ice types, and most Darks to include Umbreon, Obstagoon, Sableye, and Snarl Mandibuzz), while also holding down things like Zebstrika, Lanturn, and Manectric. It’s not a domineering performance, but it’s certainly good enough to use if you have one ready to go.

But no, as fun as the idea is, I don’t think SCRAGGY is worth it. If you’re going to try to replace Scrafty with anything, I think it’s Pangoro or Obstagoon.

HONCHKROW

Honchkrow DarkFlying

Snarl | Sky Attack & Brave Bird

I know this is a high risk pick… but the rewards could be high too. Honch can be a premiere Grass and Bug slayer while also handling most Ghosts (even Froslass), Dark/Poisons, Umbreon, and Fighters too. The downside, of course, is Honch has all kinds of anti-air threats from Electrics, Rocks, and even a smattering of Ice types, AND loses to Obstagoon and Mandibuzz that are sure to be all over the place. But I had to at least stump for Honch a little bit!

MALAMAR

Malamar DarkPsychic

Psycho Cut | Foul Play & Superpower

So the Meta Team had a nice chat about Malamar, as we had much of the meta set before it arrived in GO. But in the end, we decided that while it could be fun to sneak a Psychic type into a Cup like this, that doesn’t mean as much as you might hope. The good? Beats Obstagoon, Alolan Rocks, several prominent Grasses, Manectric, Magnezone, and very nearly Froslass. (That last one is well within the margin of error of IVs or lag.) But the bad? Loses to basically everything else, even the Fighters and Poisons you might hope that Psycho Cut could flip in your favor. Still, enough good names in the win column that I think Malamar will be an interesting wild card in this, its first Arena meta. I suspect there will be more opportunities to come.

HOUNDOOM

Houndoom DarkFire

Fire Fang | Crunch & Flamethrower

What IS more impactful to sneak into this meta? Fire type. SO many Bugs, Grasses, Steels, and Ices to set ablaze… Doom beats every one that isn’t part Rock or Water. That is Houndoom’s niche and the reason to run it, thought it’s nice that it can also burn down Sableye and Zebstrika and, being a Dark type, most all Ghosts too. But it’s that heavy Fire Fang damage you’re bringing it for and anything else is just a nice bonus. Cue up that DOOM music and go rip and tear anything flammable.

ZEBSTRIKA

Zebstrika Electric

Spark | Flame Charge & Wild Charge

Speaking of Fire, there are a couple Electrics that can get toasty too. The best and bulkiest of them is Zebstrika, who comes with the great pairing of Wild Charge to blow up Flyers (like Mandibuzz with either of its fast move configurations) and the self-boosting Flame Charge that can roast the Steels and Ices in the format, most Bugs in the meta (to include Heracross and Crustle), and give Zeb a leg up on other Electrics, beating ones like Raichu and Manectric in addition to Steely Magnezone. The sheer power of its moves also beat the Dark/Poisons, Sableye, and with the proper IVs, Obstagoon too. I’ve been stumping for Zebstrika for a looooong time now, so it’s refreshing to see that it’s risen above spice level to be full-on meta at last in Lunar Cup.

MANECTRIC

Manectric Electric

Snarl | Wild Charge & Overheat

Here I’m just not feeling it as much. Part of it is the numbers. Yes, they DO show wins against Venusaur, Galvantula, and Roserade, none of which Zebstrika could beat, but at what cost? That’s the other ugly point with Manectric… BOTH of its charge moves nerf it by two levels to Attack or Defense per use, and it usually needs to fire them in multiples to burn things with Overheat, so it’s left a hobbled shell of itself even in pyrrhic victories like those, whereas Zeb can just keep firing off Flame Charges and get BETTER, not worse. Also worrying: even with all those massive charge moves flying, Manectric cannot usually take out Abomasnow, Alolan Muk, Magnezone, or even Mandibuzz like Zebstrika can, and Zeb also wins the head to head between the two, hence why Zebstrika’s core meta record is notably higher. You could say there’s more boom potential here, because Overheat certainly can blow a lot of things up out of nowhere. But there’s also more than enough bust potential to just like Zebstrika more, IMO.

LANTURN

Lanturn WaterElectric

Spark | Thunderbolt & Hydro Pump

And at the other end of the spectrum, a wet Electric. Water has fewer advantages in Lunar, but the advantages ARE there: outslugging the two Fire-wielding Electrics above; resisting Ice and therefore being able to beat Froslass; having a big stick with Hydro Pump to flip Galvantula and the Alolan Rocks that pose problems for nearly every other Electric type in the format. Oh, and Lanturn is THICC, able to outlast stuff like Obstagoon, Skuntank, and Crustle where it has no other real advantage than its bulk. That’s basically where its effectiveness ends, but it’s a nice enough niche that Lanturn will certainly be making its mark in October.

ELECTRODE

Electrode Electric

Volt Switch | Discharge & Hyper Beam

Popular since at least the first Kanto Cup in GBL, many players have an Electrode ready to… well, roll out (damn your puns, JRE!). And yes, it’s a little fringy, but you CAN use it here if you REALLY want to. But if you do, I recommend not the spicy Foul Play, but perhaps even spicier Hyper Beam with which it can sneak away with wins versus Obstagoon, Galvantula, Lanturn, Magnezone, and Raichu in addition to already handling things like Mandi, Lanturn, and Escavalier.

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

– Legacy/Exclusive Move

ZWEILOUS

Zweilous DarkDragon

Dragon Breath | Body Slam & Dragon Pulse/Dark Pulse

Always dangerous, but moreso here than in most metas. Note that I ran that sim with Dragon Pulse rather than the typical Dark Pulse. Both are pretty equally viable, with Dark being better versus Steels and Dragon being better versus opposing Darks. In practice, this equates to Dark Pulse beating Magneton in 1v1 and 0v0 shielding (and being fast enough to force a tie with Abomasnow in 0shield), while Dragon Pulse instead beats Mandibuzz (and interestingly, Cradily) in 0v0 shielding and Chesnaught in 1v1 shielding. Otherwise, they perform about the same… and perform VERY well.

MANDIBUZZ

Mandibuzz DarkFlying

Air Slash/Snarl | Aerial Ace & Shadow Ball/Foul Play

Probably not surprising in a meta full of Flying-weak Bugs and Grasses and Darks that resist Snarl, but my recommendation for Mandi in Lunar Cup is Air Slash, as only with Slash can it overcome Obstagoon, Snarl Mandi, and even Abomasnow. {Snarl IS okay too](https://pvpoke.com/battle/multi/1500/custom/mandibuzz/11/1-4-1/2-1/lunar), sharing all of Air Slash’s other wins and potentially Froslass if it has Shadow Ball. But it is not nearly as efficient versus all those Bugs and Grasses — Air Slash Mandi comes away with a lot more HP — so you’re somewhat fighting an uphill battle.

UMBREON

Umbreon Dark

Snarl | Foul Play & Last Resortᴸ/Psychicᴸ

So the obvious play with so many Darks around is to run Last Resort to even the odds, right? It does beat Mandibuzz (with either fast move) and Skuntank that way, and of course it needs Last Resort to have a shot in the mirror match. But believe it or not, there are some good cases for Psychic (the move) as well, namely beating Roserade with either of its fast moves and outpunching Alolan Graveler. (A-Grav can JUST survive a Foul Play barrage and of course resists Last Resort, but Psychic deals that little bit of extra chip damage to get the job done.) I do think Last Resort is still my recommendation, but I found it surprising to see Psychic stand tall, and would have been remiss to not at least point it out.

SABLEYE

Sableye DarkGhost

Shadow Claw | Foul Play & Power Gem/Returnᴸ

Here I go again with an off-the-way move recommendation, because for the first time in forever, there’s a strong case to be made for Power Gem rather than usual recommendation Return. Rock is good in a meta stuffed with Bugs and Flyers and even Ices weak to it, while Return is resisted by Ghosts and Steels that also populate parts of the meta. Both are very much viable (Return still gets unique wins in 1v1 shielding like Lanturn and Skuntank, and is still a bit better with shields down), but you have to like how Power Gem can bring down Crustle, Snarl Mandibuzz and Abomasnow pretty consistently in 1- and 0-shield situations. Don’t go TM away Return for it or anything, but if you HAVE a Power Gem Sable and have been lamenting that it didn’t have Return instead, this may be your month to look smarter than your fellow players.

DRAPION

Drapion PoisonDark

Poison Sting | Aqua Tail & Sludge Bomb

The last of the Dark/Poisons, but potentially first in impact. Somewhat surprising on the surface, in a meta with none of the main typings being weak to Water (and one actually resisting it), it is due in large part to Aqua Tail. Without it, Drapion loses to Crustle (where Tail is super effective), Mandibuzz, Alolan Muk, and — as a pure bait move with its cheap 35 energy cost — Ferrothorn. Sludge Bomb is the preferred closing move (though there’s a case for Return instead, beating Galvantula at the cost of losing to Cradily and Obstagoon), leaving no room for the normally exciting Crunch. It doesn’t help that the Darks and Fighters here resist Crunch, too… though it’s a move you DO want if you’re weak to Ghosts and looking to Drap to shore up that weakness on your team.

TYRANITAR

Tyranitar RockDark

Smack Downᴸ | Crunch & Stone Edge

Shadow T-Tar would be rather terrifying actually, but as Shadows are not allowed… well, regular T-Tar can apply some scary pressure too. It’s actually quite a good Dark slayer, getting all the major ones except Sableye and Drapion, as well as smashing most of the Bugs and Ices around, and even (Poison Jab) Roserade. You don’t even NEED a second charge move, but having Stone Edge (or even Fire Blast) helps ensure the win over Umbreon, and that’s kind of a big deal. Worth noting, then, that you can still beat Umbry without needing a second move (as well as everything else) with high enough Attack. Might all be academic, as this really is nothing more than a spice pick, but if you happen to have a decent Attack Tyranitar sitting around doing nothing, then uh… wynaut?

BISHARP

Bisharp DarkSteel

Snarl | Focus Blast & X-Scissor/Iron Head

Probably best to think of Sharpie as a spice pick more than anything, but it has a big plus in Focus Blast, which allows it to nuke Umbreon, Mandibuzz, Crustle, Skuntank, and Forretress. Otherwise, with Dark Pulse instead, it beats Beedrill and Zebstrika but loses all those special wins listed above and is very dull overall. Go big or go home when it comes to Bisharp.

SCIZOR

Scizor BugSteel

Fury Cutter | Night Slash & Iron Head

Rather lackluster here, but there is one move combination that kinda sorta works out: Fury Cutter/Night Slash/Iron Head, the only set with which Scizor can reliably outrace Heracross, Ferrothorn, Manectric, and Zebstrika before their scary finishing moves can tip the scales. The more commonly seen Bullet Punch does have advantages in beating Alolan Muk and sometimes Umbreon, but meh. Speedier seems to be overall better, and that’s Fury Cutter.

FORRETRESS

Forretress BugSteel

Bug Bite | Mirror Shot & Earthquake

Spinning away in another meta doling out death to Grasses and Darks, plus bonuses like Froslass, Lanturn, and Beedrill too, it’s just another day at the office for the Golf Ball Of Doom.

PINSIR

Pinsir Bug

Fury Cutter | X-Scissor & Close Combat

It’s been a little while since Pinsir has popped up in a meta in a meaningful way, but as in its limited opportunities in the past, it is Close Combat that really separates it from the pack, making it the Bug that can straight up beat Rocks (Alolan Rocks, Cradily) and take it to Steels as well, handily beating Ferrothorn and Magnezone. Close Combat is also necessary to overcome Raichu, Skuntank, Zebstrika, and Umbreon… though technically those last two can be beaten with just X-Scissor if Pinsir has a decent Attack IV. Something to keep in mind, since Bug damage alone also overcomes some big names in this meta, like Obstagoon, Escavalier, Manectric, Abomasnow and others. Come for the scissors… stay for the mortal combat.

FERROTHORN

Ferrothorn GrassSteel

Bullet Seed | Power Whip & User’s Choice

So not surprisingly, Bullet Seed and Power Whip are musts, but beyond that is kind of up to you. Here’s the basics: Mirror Shot and Flash Cannon both can beat Abomasnow, Sableye, Venusaur, and Froslass. Thunder instead beats Mandibuzz (with Snarl or even Air Slash) and Alolan Muk. Even Acid Spray is surprisingly viable with the ability to beat Abomasnow, Venusaur, and Sableye as the Steel moves can, but Zebstrika rather than Froslass. Now all of these can swing based on calling out the correct baits, IV variances, and so on, but like I said, just to give you a rough idea. Just remember that Power Whip is all you need to take out stuff like the Alolan Rocks, Lanturn, Raichu, Magnezone, Cradily, and Crustle… no need to get fancy with those.

TROPIUS

Tropius GrassFlying

Air Slash/Razor Leaf | Leaf Blade & Aerial Ace

It’s the Air Slash/Aerial Ace Cup, apparently. Just as with Mandibuzz, these two very mediocre Flying moves look like the best way to go, simply because they ARE Flying moves in a format full of tasty Grasses and Bugs to prey on. So good are those moves here that Tropius beats every Grass and Bug in the entire format with a number of exceptions you can count on just one hand: Abomasnow, Poison Jab Roserade, Crustle (and pre-evolution Dwebble), and mere spice pick Durant (because it has Stone Edge, basically). But other than wins versus Obstagoon (resisting Counter is HUGE there), Lanturn, and a super close win over Umbreon, Grasses and Bugs are Trop’s entire role. It’s not a bad niche to fill, but it IS just a niche. Razor Leaf is an even smaller niche, giving up most of the Bugs (Beedrill, Forretress, Escavalier, Galvantula) and Ferrothorn and Venusaur to instead beat Raichu, Zebstrika, Sableye, and perhaps its biggest gains: the Alolan Rocks. Flying being resisted by Electric types gives Razor Leaf a big leg up versus that group.

DRIFBLIM

Drifblim GhostFlying

Hex | Icy Wind & Shadow Ball

Sure, it’s here, and it’ll see use. But as with Jellicent, this meta makes Blim look surprisingly mortal. Sure, it has obvious advantages versus Grasses and even most Bugs thanks to being a Flyer that also deals Ice damage with Icy Wind, but aside from them and a unique-for-Ghosts win versus Obstagoon via relentless Wind spamming, there’s really not much for Drifblim to do here. If you want to kill Grasses and (most) Bugs deader than dead and don’t want (or don’t have) something like Tropius, here’s your guy, but aside from that, I think it’s going to be left out in the icy winds outside the window of the meta.

CHANDELURE

Chandelure GhostFire

Incinerate/Fire Spin | Flame Charge & Energy Ball/Shadow Ball/Overheat

What kind of crazy meta do we have here when normal Ghost mainstays Jellicent and Drifblim are so-so and Chandelure, of all things, is… well, so hot? 🔥 So I can tell you that, akin to Fire Fang Houndoom earlier, Chandelure most definitely has a place in this meta, and is one the Meta Team kept several close eyes on throughout development. What I cannot definitively tell you, even now, is what moves you want on it. About the only definites are that you do NOT want Hex, and absolutely have to have Flame Charge. But while Incinerate is, on the surface, the clear favorite, Fire Spin is better at outracing Beedrill and Magnezone (simply because the super long 2.5 second cooldown of Incinerate makes it easier for Bee to reach Drill Run and Zone to reach Wild Charge), so don’t count it out. (Incinerate compensates by outdamaging Alolan Muk and Skuntank and beating them where Spin falls a bit short.) Another debate: the second charge move. Shadow Ball is clearly huge, but has the problem of being resisted by the potent Dark types here, leaving Chandie without a true closing move in those spots. Energy Ball provides nice coverage versus Rock types that otherwise prey on Chandelure’s Fire subtyping, hit for neutral versus (most) Darks, and while resisted by Bugs, Grasses, AND Steels, this is more than compensated for by the big super effective Fire damage produced by Chandie’s other moves. It might seem sacrilegious, but I think between the two Balls, it’s actually Energy Ball I’d recommend here, personally. But if you don’t care about coverage and just want to punch the opponent in the jaw, you can just go with Overheat and gain an additional win over (Air Slash) Mandibuzz… the all-Fire set is what I simmed way up at the start of this section and has the highest win percentage. (Energy Ball and Shadow Ball, for the record, have the same wins and losses across the board… the coverage is more hypothetical and not really shown in most level playing field sims.) So again, I can’t tell you how to build your Chandie, but I CAN tell you this IS a great time to build one! Heck, even freaking LAMPENT is viable in a meta like this! 😱

GOLURK

Golurk GroundGhost

Mud Slap | Shadow Punch & Dynamic Punch

Ready for another shock? While perpetually-underrated Haunter and Gengar have the highest win/loss percentage versus the core meta, right behind them is not Chandelure, nor Sableye, nor Drifblim or Jellicent or Cofagrigus… it’s Golurk. A personal favorite of mine, I have extolled the virtues of this spooky golem in several past metas, but never has there been a meta where all of its facets can shine like Lunar Cup. Mud Slap is perfect for extinguishing Fires and Electrics, and buries Rocks and Poisons (and its Ground/Ghost typing means it also resists Electric, Rock, and Poison damage). Shadow Punch has the least direct impact on affairs, but is Golurk’s best answer to warding off fellow Ghosts (well, aside from Haunter/Gengar, which Mud Slap destroys) and provides chip damage (sufficient enough to take out Poison Jab Roserade, for example) and baiting opportunities. Baiting for what, you ask? Ideally, for the other thing that makes Golurk so uniquely potent: Dynamic Punch, with which it beats away Obstagoon and makes other Darks and Steels at least play honest with their shields. You’re unlikely to catch a Ferrothorn, for example, napping, but if you do… or if, say, you’re willing to commit shields and Umbreon is not… some very good things can happen. Golurk is not spice in this meta… it IS meta this time!

ELECTIVIRE

Electivire Electric

Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Wild Charge OR Thunder Punch & Flamethrowerᴸ

The standard ‘Vire runs Ice Punch/Wild Charge these days, a solid Electric that keeps Grasses on edge thanks to the risk of eating Ice damage… it may not actually BEAT most Grasses, but like Golurk’s Dynamic Punch versus Darks, it at least keeps them honest and has the potential to flip them if they get careless and/or fall behind, so that’s nice. But you know that Flamethrower ‘Vire you built last year after its Community Day and never knew what to do with but couldn’t bring yourself to purge from your Pokémon storage? Good news: it can play here too. Without the knockout blow of Wild Charge you do now lose many neutral-on-neutral matchups (to include Crustle, Beedrill, Lanturn, Sableye, Alolan Muk, Skuntank, and Umbreon), but what you gain are Zebstrika and flammable Venusaur, Magnezone, Galvantula, Ferrothorn, and Abomasnow, all while still beating most things you’d want an Electric for in the first place (like Mandibuzz) and still outslugging the likes of Froslass, Escavalier, Forretress, Heracross, Manectric and more. I don’t have a particular leaning… I’ll just say that BOTH versions work nicely here, and that’s nifty!

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

ᴸ – Legacy/Exclusive Move

Just a couple to discuss here, but then we’ll be on to some other picks that aren’t any cheaper….

ZAPDOS

Zapdos ElectricFlying

Thunder Shock | Drill Peck & Thunder

If there’s one Legendary or Mythical likely to make an impact in Lunar Cup, it’s gotta be Zappy as the Electric that can also take down (most) Bugs and Grasses thanks to Drill Peck, as well as things that rely on Fighting damage (Obstagoon, Heracross). Zapdos even manages to outrace Froslass, and can take out Sableye (though beware a rogue Power Gem!) and Skuntank too. It’s certainly not meta-breaking or anything, but it does occupy a rather unique place in this meta and looks to have room to stretch its wings a bit.

And before you ask, because I know many will, unfortunately the answer is no… EMOLGA just doesn’t compare. I love the little flying squirrel too, but Zapdos is THE way to go here.

RAIKOU

Raikou Electric

Volt Switch | Shadow Ball & Wild Charge

Well, Raikou sims very well, I’ll give it that. Volt Switch really gives it a nice edge, as well as the unique threat of Shadow Ball, of course. My concern is that it already comes in pretty glassy, and the self-nerfing Wild Charge that powers many of its wins (it can’t do all that much with Shadow Ball alone) hobbles it to the point that it basically HAS to swap out or just die. When it works, it can REALLY work… the sims are not entirely a mirage. But as someone who has personally tried running Raikou before, the sims inflate its actual performance more than a little bit. Try it out if you’re daring, especially if you have opportunity to practice with it before your tournament(s)… maybe this old dog just didn’t know the right tricks. If you can make it work for you, go for it! The potential is certainly there.

Speaking of potential, how long must we wait for Techno Blast Genesect in Great League?! Auuuugh, it would be SO good here! But alas, we’re still stuck with this, which I cannot in good conscience endorse. Not for that cost.

I suppose I should also at least mention CELEBI, but again, kind of hard to get behind with all those Darks and Bugs (DOUBLE weak to Bug damage! 😬) around.

FEELIN’ LUCKY?

ᴸ – Legacy/Exclusive Move

Back for this season, this bonus section covers a few ‘mons that are no less “nifty” than those in the main article above, but require maxing or at least almost maxing out (with or without XL candy), so they are FAR from “thrifty”!

WORMADAM (TRASH CLOAK)

Wormadam (Trash) BugSteel

Bug Bite/Confusion | Iron Head & Bug Buzz

Bug Bite is probably a better fit in a meta with Darks and Grasses to hit super effectively with it, and indeed it beats things like Umbreon, Obstagoon, and Alolan Muk (and tying Lanturn) only when utilizing the Bug fast move. But Confusion makes its mark as well by instead beating either variety of Roserade and overpowering Alolan Graveler (Trashy beats A-Golem with either fast move). This isn’t a meta where I think I’d build a Trashadam from the ground up, but if you already have one — and I know many do from multiple past Silph metas — it works here… and works fine as a non-XL too, with even a bonus win versus Sableye.

PAWNIARD

Pawniard DarkSteel

Fury Cutter | Night Slash & Iron Head

Without Focus Blast, it lacks the quick blowout potential of evolution Bisharp… but that’s okay, because Pawniard is lot more reliable. The only things Bisharp beats that Pawn cannot are Forretress and Skuntank (thanks to the aforementioned Focus Blast nuke), and Pawn adds on Sableye, Manectric, and both varieties of Roserade and far outpaces Sharpie in remaining HP (and remaining ability to keep fighting) in ALL of their shared wins. It’s just better, and well worth the investment for the here and now and for the future. Good news on that front too: hundo Pawniard is really just as good, and much, MUCH cheaper.

ALOLAN GEODUDE

Geodude (Alola) RockElectric

Volt Switch | Rock Slide & Thunderbolt

No, it’s not quite on the same level as the true Alolan Rocks, and has to be maxed all the way to Level 50, but there are some lunatics fervent players out there who already have The Dude built. It’s the only way to run the full Alolan Rock Trio team, so there’s that. A-Dude is viable-ish, just overshadowed… but fun!

DWEBBLE

Dwebble BugRock

Smack Down | X-Scissor & Rock Blast

Believe it or not, Dwebble is actually slightly better than Smack Down Crustle… though as discussed WAY earlier in the article, Crustie probably wants to run Fury Cutter anyway. Again, Dwebble has to be fully maxed, but also again, I know folks that have done it. And yes, those crazed maniacs forward thinkers can deploy it here, sure.

ALOLAN GRIMER

Grimer (Alola) PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Crunch & Sludge Bomb

I’m listing it because I know it’s crazy popular, and I do get the hype, especially with the recent boost to Crunch. But in this particular meta, just as most of the bigger Dark/Poisons struggle, A-Grime looks somewhat limited. I’m not really feeling it, but maybe you can make it work for you.

GOLETT

Golett GroundGhost

Mud Slap | Shadow Punch & Brick Break

Quite simply, Golurk Junior. Not quite as good, and one heck of an investment (especially the XL candy!), but if one Golurk isn’t enough, this allows you to sorta run two.

And that’s it… you made it! Nothing like a marathon article to kick off another marathon Silph Arena season! I hope you enjoy the meta, and enjoyed reading about my thoughts on it. More than any of that, though, I hope this helps you PLAY in this meta and inspires some teambuilding ideas. Good luck, and welcome (back) to The Silph Arena!

Until next time, you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily 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!

Before I go, continued thanks to my buddy over at PvPoke for making this all possible, to the rest of the welcoming Silph Arena Meta Team, and to my PvP friends, local and around the world, who have lent their own ideas and suggestions over the years and helped teach me to be a better player and student of the game. And my thanks to all of you, for your own encouragement, support, and patience throughout now FOUR Seasons of Silph Arena play. 😍

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

(Original Reddit article can be found here.)

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