Nifty Or Thrifty: Master League Premier Classic PvP

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At long last, the prodigal son returns… Master League Premier Classic is BACK! And so it’s time for another edition of “Nifty Or Thrifty”, the LONG-running article series that takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Limited formats with a particular focus 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.

So here we go. We’ll start as we usually do with the cheapest (10,000 dust second move unlock) options — really the only way to BE thrifty in a format where everything has to be maxed! — and steam on ahead until we reach the most expensive (75,000 dust). Let’s do this!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

SWAMPERT

Swampert WaterGround

Mud Shot | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Earthquake/Sludge Wave

Sick of Swampie yet? After dominating the last two weeks of Ultra League formats in GBL, it’s not going anywhere while we trek through Master League, especially in Premier Classic. Meta sims generally default to Sludge Wave at this level, but I think I still lean instead towards Earthquake, which is better at beating things like Walrein, Sneasler, Shadow Snorlax, and Milotic, or in the case of Shadow Swampquake, Haxorus and Conkeldurr instead (plus Togekiss and Florges, though those are won by Shadow Swampert with just Hydro Cannon alone). Sludge Wave instead is a serious threat to the format’s Fairies and any Grasses that pop up, and specifically can take down things like Gyarados (at least on Shadow Swampie). All that to say, though: I’m still more impressed overall with Quake than I am with Wave. The latter really only seems to be truly threatening you can get it through unshielded on super effective targets, while Earthquake threatens a wide swath of the meta. Unless Grass types make an unexpectedly big appearance, I think Quake is still the way to go for yet another week.

GYARADOS

Gyarados WaterFlying

Dragon Breath | Aqua Tailᴸ & Crunch

You may also be tired of Gyarados by now too, but as good as it is in Ultra League, it is Master League where it has the greatest impact, and that is most definitely true here in Premier Classic. And you have a few choices to make if you want to use it, such as Dragon Breath (as shown a second ago), Legacy Dragon Tail (which tracks very similarly, hitting some things like Machamp harder but losing to Shadow Snorlax), or even Waterfall, which works better with Shadow Gary. And on THAT topic: regular Gary or Shadow? Shadow with DB drops Mamoswine and Rhyperior to gain Shadow Dragonite, Milotic, and Conkeldurr instead, while Shadow with DT also drops Rhyperior and Mamoswine to also punch out Shadow Nite, Millie, and Conkeldurr and have a good shot to win the mirror match (versus Dragon Breath Gary). And THEN don’t even get me started on move to consider in place of Crunch, like OutrageReturn, and Hydro Pump! 👀 Got all that? Hope so, because we gotta keep moving! 🏃

PRIMARINA

Primarina WaterFairy

Charm | Moonblast & Psychic/Hydro Pump

Here’s your cheapest Charmer, and Prima performs quite well. It actually outshines other Charmers like Sylveon and the scary Shadow Gardevoir and even Togekiss by beating things that cannot like Walrein, Mamoswine, and Ice Fang Hippowdon (thanks to its Water side resisting Ice), and the only thing that another Charmer beats that Prima cannot is Swampert (who Togekiss can outlast the best). Overall though, you could make the case that Primarina might be THE best Charmer in this format, and I’d have a hard time arguing otherwise! Water is an attractive defensive typing in a format with precious few good Grasses and Electrics to pick on Waters.

GOLISOPOD

Golisopod BugWater

Shadow Claw | X-Scissor & Aerial Ace

I continue to say that Golisopod needs a further move shakeup (specifically to its charge moves) to be worth building, but if you ignored me and built one up anyway, it’s okay-ish here, beating some really good Pokémon like Gyrados, Metagross, Sneasler, Walrein, Swampert, Mamoswine, Primarina, Garchomp, Gengar and more thanks in very large part to Shadow Claw. It does enough to maybe work on the right team. Heck, it does more work than ever recent Ultra League hero SAMUROTT at this level.

CHESNAUGHT

Chesnaught GrassFighting

Vine Whip | Superpower & Energy Ball

In large part just because of how high its CP (and total stat product) gets, Chesnaught emerges as one of the best Grasses here, doing not only the standard Grass things (shredding most Waters, Grounds, and Rocks, though Gyarados, Golisopod, and of course Primarina remain notable exceptions) while also laying out stuff like Snorlax, Magnezone, and Scizor thanks to Superpower.

VENUSAUR

Venusaur GrassPoison

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

No normally Venusaur’s lowish CP keeps it from making any noise in Master League, but in this particular meta, its Poison side (and Sludge Bombkeep it relevant, with a great niche versus Fairies (beating all the major ones including Togekiss, and needing Sludge Bomb only for Kiss itself) and Fighters (such as by beating regular and Shadow Machamp). And while its low CP does hold it back from some wins you might be used to in lower leagues (such as Gyarados and Shadow Walrein), it does than enough good to seriously consider for MLPC. Take your hundo that you usually use as a Mega and get some bonus use out of it this week!

(SHADOW) CHARIZARD

Charizard (Shadow) FireFlying

Dragon Breathᴸ | Dragon Claw & Blast Burnᴸ

As with Ultra League Premier Classic, Charizard’s best fast move here is still Dragon Breath. There just aren’t a ton of things weak to Fire Spin or even Wing Attack in this more limited meta. Dragon Breath gives Zard teeth against the many Dragons here, and it still manages to overcome the Fairies and Metagross, and even Walrein at this level. At least, that’s all true of Shadow Zard… as non-Shadow lacks the punch to take out Kommo-O, Garchomp, or Florges. Honestly, Zard is a bit on the bubble, but it’s a great Dragonslayer, with upside. There will be teams that ride it to victory, for sure.

And the other Fire starters are just worse. TYPHLOSION is a worse Zard, and not even decently-ranked BLAZIKEN does much better. Without burnable things like Dialga, Melmetal, and Zarude around, Premier Classic ML is just not a great place for them to work their magic.

BEWEAR

Bewear FightingNormal

Shadow Claw | Superpower & Drain Punchᴸ/Stomp

Payback doesn’t really do much for you here, and Superpower is basically a must-have, so it’s down to a choice between Stomp (more consistent and can sometimes sneak a win from things like Gyarados) or the higher ceiling (but likely also less consistency) of Drain Punch, which comes with the potential to bait-and-switch your way to victory over Hippowdon, Hydreigon, and sometimes Garchomp. I don’t really trust it, but hey, I’m just here to tell you some options. It could be that your team has a Bewear-shaped hole on it.

Things are not nearly as rosy for our other thrifty Rocks, however. Despite coming with the enticing ThunderAGGRON lacks the fast moves to get to it effectively and it mostly stumbles. CRUSTLE also does some nice things, just not quite enough of them, and it completely lacks effective answers to Waters… at least Aggron has the potential of Thunder! Both have some niche use but they’re much more specialists than anything else.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

FLORGES

Florges Fairy

Fairy Wind/Vine Whip | Disarming Voice & Moonblast/Petal Blizzard

Would you believe that Florges is ranked #1 in MLPC? If that seems wrong somehow, perhaps showing you its record against the core meta will help explain. Yes, Florges does standard Fairy stuff (walloping Fighters, Dragons, and nearly all Darks), but it also does SO much more, with a winlist that includes stuff like Gyarados, Milotic, Walrein, Swampert, Snorlax, Mamoswine, and even ALL of its fellow Fairy types. In fact, if you zoom out a bit and look at it versus [the entirety of MLPC), the ONLY things it loses to are Poison, Fire, and Steel types, plus Electivire, Porygon-Z, Avalugg, Shadow Swampert (specifically with Sludge Wave), and Rhyperior. Though even there you have a couple outs, as Florges can run with Vine Whip rather than Fairy Wind if you wish, and then beats Rhyperior and all versions of Swampert (giving up only Sneasler and sometimes Shadow Snorlax to do so). But the takeaway is this: Florges is amazing here, and even one with less than perfect IVs sees practically no dropoff in performance. If you don’t have a ML Florges yet, NOW is the time to work on that.

TOGEKISS

Togekiss FairyFlying

Charm | Ancient Power & Flamethrower

Admittedly, ANY Fairy looks like a letdown after Florges, but make no mistake: Togekiss remains awesome in Master League, and if anything has only gotten better with this season’s big buff to Ancient Power. That said, the vast majority of its good work comes from Charm itself, and it can Charm down Swampert (even with Sludge Wave) and Milotic if it fully commits to Charm only. Obviously any Charmer is going to lack the flexibility of Florges, but Togekiss remains a shining example of the impact they can have on the Master League meta.

MAGNEZONE

Magnezone ElectricSteel

Spark | Mirror Shot & Wild Charge

Ideally you want ShadowZone, which can outrace Machamp and Shadow Dragonite in addition to everything else non-Shadow Magnezone can do, but either way, this remains a big threat that exceeds its modest winrate. Magnezone is a wall to the many Fairies here, as well as nearly all Waters and the vast majority of Dragons, with Metagross and Gengar as very nice bonuses. Yes, there are several things against which Zone flails helplessly, but in the right spot, it can blow up entire teams by itself.

EXCADRILL

Excadrill GroundSteel

Mud Shot | Rock Slide & Drill Run

Obviously some crossover with Magnezone in the anti-Fairy role, though the similarities mostly end there, as Excadrill wants nothing to do with Water types, chewing through Steels and other Ground types instead (as well as Poisons, as exemplified by the win over Gengar). It’s ranked a little higher than perhaps it should be, but that’s not to say it’s not worthy of strong consideration for the niche roles it solidly fills.

MAMOSWINE

Mamoswine IceGround

Powder Snow | Avalanche & Ancient Powerᴸ/Bulldoze/Returnᴸ

I’ve spoken a bit about other Ice types as they’ve risen up in Master League over the last year or so (Avalugg, Walrein, etc.), but the OG Master League Ice type remains great. And in fact, with the buff to Ancient PowerMamoswine has only gotten better of late, able to beat down Walrein specifically with Ancient Power whether Mamo gets the boost or not. (86 damage a pop to Walrein!) Bulldoze remains an option, but faces the same issue as other Ground and Fire moves in the Premier Classic meta: there are just less things for Bulldoze to shine against. Return is actually better, not quite able to finish off Walrein, but adding on Primarina and Swampert, which is a pretty huge pickup for the Water-weak Mamoswine. If you can swing it, I’d actually recommend Return the most for that alone. ShadowSwine is generally less recommended, though.

AVALUGG

Avalugg Ice

Ice Fang | Body Slam & Avalanche

Nothing fancy here, just steady Ice damage and Body Spam Slam for annoying neutral damage. Does it work? Why yes, yes it does. Lugg has admittedly had less impact in Master League than I hoped for when I first wrote about it, as Walrein came roaring in right behind it, but with Wally falling a little, I think Avalugg might be a bit more impactful moving forward. It’s solid in Master League and particularly so here in Premier Classic. If you worked on prepping one in the past, now might be the time to unleash it. It helps that it beats Walrein AND Mamoswine in addition to all the other good it can do.

WALREIN

Walrein IceWater

Powder Snowᴸ | Icicle Spearᴸ & Earthquake

Wally is still impactful at this level, though admittedly non-Shadow has fallen off a measureable amount. You’re much better off now with Shadow Wally, who adds on (Waterfall) Gyarados, Gengar, Hydreigon, and even Metagross. Don’t throw your non-Shadow Walrein away, but if you were forward-thinking enough to build up a Shadow one as well, that’s the way I would go in MLPC.

SIRFETCH’D

Sirfetch'd Fighting

Counter | Leaf Blade & Close Combat/Brave Bird

Even I’m a little surprised that Sirfetch’d is the first Fighter I’m really highlighting here, but the numbers demand itLeaf Blade is a REALLY good weapon in MLPC, so much so that just Counter and Leaf Blade account for most of its wins, to include nearly all Waters and Grounds, plus stuff like Hydreigon, Magnezone, and Shadow Snorlax (owing largely, though not entirely, to Counter damage). From there, while Brave Bird is tempting, it is Close Combat (as simmed above) that would seem to have the most potential, bringing Kommo-O and Metagross into the win column, among others.

MACHAMP

Machamp Fighting

Counter | Cross Chop & Close Combat

Nothing at all wrong with the OG Fighter, though I would recommend giving strong consideration to Close Combat at this level rather than the Cross Chop you may be used to. Cross Chop is better for outracing Mamoswine and sometimes Haxorus, but the closing power of Close Combat can instead knock out Swampert, Metagross, and fellow Fighters Kommo-O, Conkeldurr, and Cross Chop Machamp. That would be MY recommendation. That’s also true of Shadow Champ, though unlike Ultra and especially Great League, it is non-Shadow Champ that’s a bit better at this level anyway.

HERACROSS

Heracross BugFighting

Counter | Rock Blast & Close Combat/Megahorn

Still the Fighter than can beat other Fighters (besides Sneasler), even at this level, Heracross is also notable for its resistance to Ground damage, which translates to wins over (nearly) all Grounds in the meta, including most of the biggest names like Swampert, Excadrill, Rhyperior, and Hippowdon. It doesn’t do anything particularly special beyond those two things (Grounds and other Fighters), but that can be a really good niche in and of itself, and Heracross can operate just fine as your designated Fighter in MLPC.

ESCAVALIER

Escavalier BugSteel

Counter | Drill Run & Megahorn

Or go with the other Bug “Fighter”. Yes, Escav works even at this level, better than even I expected, honestly. It struggles versus actual Fighters (losing to Machamp, Kommo-O, Conk, etc.), and the fact that its Counter lacks STAB means that things like Magnezone and Shadow Snorlax can outlast it. BUT, unlike those Fighters, Escavalier can pull double duty as a Fairy counter, taking down Primarina and Sylveon (though Togekiss and Florges can fend it off), as well as resisting Dragon and Ice and getting wins then against Garchomp and Mamoswine. It’s a nice, flexible option if you have a hundo to max out.

ROSERADE

Roserade GrassPoison

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

Both fast moves are viable, though I tend to favor Poison Jab here over exclusive move Bullet Seed, because while Seed can take down Excadrill and Mamoswine, Jab is able to more effectively rip through Fairies (and is necessary to guarantee Togekiss specifically) and overcomes Haxorus and Gyarados as well. But whichever variety you prefer, Roserade is THE best Grass type in this meta, bar none.

TANGROWTH

Tangrowth Grass

Vine Whip | Power Whip & Ancient Power/Rock Slide/Returnᴸ

Roserade may be top dog among Grasses, but others like Venusaur and now Tangrowth have come to play too. Growth’s biggest niche is being able to chuck rocks (and both Ancient Power and Rock Slide perform very similarly) and therefore overcome things like Togekiss and Gyarados with more ease than Grasses typically can, while also outbulking the Charmers and taking down Magnezone despite all of Growth’s damage being resisted. If you want, you can get a bit cute by running a purified (thriftier!) one with Return for big neutral closing power and a win against Machamp specifically (though Togekiss slips away in that case).

HIPPOWDON

Hippowdon Ground

Ice Fang | Body Slam & Earth Power

Thunder Fang has a very niche role in surprising Waters, but it’s really Ice Fang you want here if you run Hungry Hungry Hippo at all. In that role, it’s a dedicated Dragon (and surprisingly, Charmer) slayer, though it admittedly does very little beyond that niche. I’m mostly including it because it continues to sit among the “core meta” Pokémon at the time of this writing. 🙃

RHYPERIOR

Rhyperior GroundRock

Smack Down/Mud Slap | Surf & Superpower/Rock Wreckerᴸ

Honestly, strictly by the numbers, I consider Rhyperior more fringe than meta as well, but it at least pulls more wins than Hippowdon, and has two viable variants. The [Smack Down] version runs with Surf and Superpower and brings in wins versus Shadow Dragonite, Walrein, and Shadow Snorlax. Mud Slap keeps Surf but is best replacing Superpower with the mighty Rock Wrecker and uniquely overcomes Hippow and Metagross. I guess I lean towards Smack Down and what it can do, but I’m kinda iffy on recommending Rhyp at all. At least it dominates stuff like Gengar and Magnezone and beats the major Fairies?

GENGAR

Gengar GhostPoison

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball

Still a great generalist, just not quite as potent in that role as you may be accustomed to. Fairies and Fighters still curl up and weep, and of course things weak to Ghost damage like Metagross too. Add in Gyarados, Mamoswine, Walrein, and Haxorus and it seems better than the simple win/loss numbers would indicate, but bewear the Normals, Dragons, and Grounds of the meta, as they can farm Gengar pretty good.

SHADOW ARCANINE

Arcanine (Shadow) Fire

Snarl | Psychic Fangs & Wild Charge

Spice to the extreme, and with these charge moves, your mileage may vary wildly in terms of consistency. But the numbers show there’s sneaky potential here for those that like to live dangerously… just as in ULPC, where several players sent me Arcanine success stories that warmed my heart. Long live the spice!

PORYGON-Z

Porygon-Z Normal

Lock-On | Tri-Attackᴸ & Blizzard

Speaking of spice, here’s your boom or bust type. Zee comes with plenty of big closers, but the best in THIS meta would appear to be Blizzard, which can freeze out Dragons (Hydreigon, Garchomp) and Flyers (Togekiss), while Tri-Attack softens plenty of other things up, and has the potential to dominate if its debuff triggers. Just don’t run Shadow Zee. 😬 Porygon needs all the bulk it can get, and slashing its Defense is particularly bad news for its prospects.

BEARTIC

Beartic Ice

Powder Snow | Surf & Ice Punch

Another one I don’t necessarily endorse, but I’m just here to report the numbers. And by that measure, Beartic has play. It at least solidly handles Dragons, Grounds, and Flyers (even scarier ones for Ice types like Kommo-O and Excadrill). If you have a good Beartic and like it, this might be your best chance ever to use it.

beartic kittypokemonsalot

GIGALITH…?

Gigalith Rock

Smack Down | Superpower & Meteor Beamᴸ

Hee hee hee… gotcha! No, you absolutely do NOT want to run Gigalith. Seriously, don’t do it. The only reason I have it here is just to reinforce how BAD it is in PvP ever after getting Meteor Beam during its Community Day. What was the point of that again?

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

DRAGONITE

Dragonite DragonFlying

Dragon Breath/Dragon Tail | Superpower & Dragon Claw

What else would I start with for this section? Dragonite has been a Master League staple as long as Master League has existed, and has always been particularly awesome in Premier Classic. If it’s had a flaw (other than its obvious weakness to Fairies), it’s that Dragonite has always been in search of a meaningful move to pair with Dragon Claw. Typically in the past it’s been Hurricane to have SOMETHING to throw at Fairies, but at best that’s been a last gasp, pure desperation move. And that remained largely useless versus powerful Steels (and Rocks) in the meta that maim ‘Nite. But finally, after teasing it with a (clearly rigged 😠) Community Day vote over two and a half years ago, Niantic finally gave Dragonite Superpower, and that changes everything. Now it can outright beat Steels like Excadrill and Magnezone, and Rocks like Rhyperior. And it gives it enough closing power to now overcome Dragon Tail Milotic too, the only non-Ice, non-Fairy Water that it couldn’t overcome in the past. (And even tacks on non-Shadow Lapras, for good measure!) It still has no answer for Fairies, but Superpower does much more good in taking care of its blind spots than any move it’s had access to before. I generally recommend non-Shadow, but it’s worth noting that Shadow ‘Nite can even beat Metagross, though it also gives up Rhyperior and Mamoswine to do so. Just don’t go too Superpower-crazy… remember that unlike Dragonite’s other moves, it comes with a self-debuffing drawback. If you can win with Dragon Claw alone, do so! But in the end, no matter what variety you run with, Dragonite is without a doubt one of the very best picks in this entire meta, and one that hopefully you have on your bench ready to go!

GARCHOMP

Garchomp GroundDragon

Dragon Tail/Mud Shot | Outrage & Sand Tomb/Earth Powerᴸ

Another ML staple, though Chompy has never been hurting for viable move options… its problem is figuring out which perfectly viable move combination to run, and that decision can be agonizing as there are several to choose from. There’s Dragon Tail, usually paired with Sand Tomb and either Earth Power or Outrage, with EP being slightly better by alone being able to take out Milotic. But there’s also Mud Shot (typically run with Outrage and Earth Power) which is worse overall, though much better against Steels (beating Metagross specifically). In THIS meta, I think Dragon Tail is the pretty clear frontrunner, but there’s really no “wrong” way to go. What fits YOUR team best, trainer?

KOMMO-O

Kommo-o DragonFighting

Dragon Tail | Dragon Claw & Close Combat

Though hitting back at Steels and Rocks and such is now in Dragonite’s wheelhouse, Kommo has been doing it since it hit the game… Snorlax, Rhyperior, Excadrill, Magnezone, even Walrein all scatter before it. And it has no major issues with Milotic as Dragonite long did. But Kommo’s blind spot is actually other Dragons. While it can handle most (Garchomp, Haxorus), the big catch, Dragonite, still eludes it. Not that it doesn’t have plenty of play otherwise! I still give it a ringing endorsement if you’ve somehow managed to build one.

HYDREIGON

Hydreigon DarkDragon

Dragon Breath | Brutal Swingᴸ (& Player Choice)

In truth, you don’t strictly need any charge move but the appropriately named Brutal Swing, as it does basically ALL the work in 1v1 and 2v2 shielding. If you HAVE to run that way, you’ll only miss having a second move if shields are already gone. In THAT case, while there’s really no wrong answer, Dragon Pulse seems to pull the best numbers, but I would also consider Flash Cannon for a potentially nasty surprise versus Fairies (if it lives long enough to even try!).

HAXORUS

Haxorus Dragon

Counter/Dragon Tail | Player Choice?

I could fill half an article with the various viable move combos of Hax. ALL of its moves are viable in a variety of combinations. So rather than throw out a dozen different simulations and multiple paragraphs comparing them side by side, I’ll just note that Dragon Tail may actually be better than Counter in this specific meta, and then remind you of its various charge moves: Dragon ClawNight SlashSurf, and Earthquake. If pinned to a wall I’d throw out Tail/Surf/Claw as its quote-unquote “best”, but this is a very customizable Pokémon that can fill multiple roles. If you have one you can use, I encourage you to brainstorm what coverage your particular team needs it to have the most, run a couple sims to see how it works out, and go wild. Good luck!

GOODRA

Goodra Dragon

Dragon Breath | Muddy Water & Power Whip

The numbers look good, but I don’t fully trust it, because there are Muddy Water baiting hijinks going on in there. But Goodra DOES do okay-ish with JUST Muddy (beating some big names like Swampert, Milotic, Sneasler, Machamp, Magnezone, Gengar, Hydreigon and more), and even does alright with Power Whip without baiting, so this isn’t a total mirage. Power Whip is a legit potent weapon in this meta.

MILOTIC

Milotic Water

Dragon Tail | Surf & Blizzard

An honorary Dragon, you could say, with the ability to smack several of them around with Dragon Tail and, if it gets that far, Blizzard. But of course, what Millie really is is a Water type that abuses Ground types with Surf, and manages to overcome Gyarados, Sneasler, Walrein, Gengar, and even Togekiss too. This is an underrated and flexible option that could fit many teams well.

METAGROSS

Metagross SteelPsychic

Bullet Punch | Meteor Mashᴸ & Returnᴸ/Earthquake/Psychic

That’s right… I said ReturnEarthquake is famously important to have a shot at victory in the mirror match, but Return beats Gyarados, which is also a pretty big deal. (And is much better versus Water types in general.) Psychic works pretty much the same way for Shadow Gross, specifically beating (Waterfall) Gary, Millie, and now (Sludge Wave) Swampert, but Shadow does fail to overcome Walrein, Kommo-O, or Dragonite as non-Shadow Gross does, so I don’t really recommend going down the Shadow road here. My recommendation is instead to purify a good Shadow Metagross and surprise the heck out of folks with Return! But however you slice it, there are few better straight Fairy counters than Metagross.

SYLVEON

Sylveon Fairy

Quick Attack | Psyshockᴸ & Moonblast

We’ve already covered Chamers and the spammy Florges. Now here comes something in-between. Sylveon works okay as a Charmer, but its real potential now is with the newly buffed Quick AttackPsyshock is handy coverage (especially versus any scary Poisons), and Moonblast supplies more than enough Fairy-type damage (and comes VERY quickly with Quick Attack’s high energy gains). In the end, Sylveon is still a top-notch counter to the format’s many Dragon, Fighting, and Dark types, but also Gyarados and Milotic, Walrein, Snorlax, Mamoswine, and Charmers Primarina and opposing Sylveon. (The Snorlax and Walrein wins specifically are completely unachievable with Charm Sylveon.) QA Sylvie is just finishing up taking Ultra League Premier Classic by storm… and that’s about to literally move up to the next level.

GARDEVOIR

Gardevoir (Shadow) PsychicFairy

Charm | Synchronoiseᴸ & Shadow Ball

There was a time, albeit a brief one, where Shadow Gardevoir was one of the most terrifying things to be found in Master League. Since then, however, more Fairies have risen up, and Gardevoir’s lack of bulk (especially as a Shadow) has become more and more of a problem as the meta has shifted and morphed. She’s still viable, but far less scary than she used to be.

CONKELDURR

Conkeldurr Fighting

Counter | Dynamic Punch & Stone Edge

Similar to Gardevoir as compared to other Fairies, it’s NOT that Conkeldurr is bad, because it most definitely isn’t. It’s just that it’s a (typically more expensive, but also) slightly worse (or at least, no better) version of other Fighting options. If you’ve built one already, sure, you can absolutely run it here and not miss a beat. But if not, personally, I’d say stick with cheaper alternatives.

SNEASLER

Sneasler FightingPoison

Poison Jab/Shadow Claw | X-Scissor & Close Combat

Speaking of other Fighters, Sneasler is actually kind of two different Pokémon in one. Shadow Claw is popular (and probably best) in the lower leagues, and the reasons are apparent here as well, with unique-for-Sneasler wins versus stuff like Magnezone, Metagross, Excadrill, Gengar, and Rhyperior. However, in Master League, it is Poison Jab that pulls the better overall numbers, particularly versus Fairies (flipping Florges, Togekiss, Sylveon, AND Primarina to wins), while also moving (Waterfall) Gyarados, Milotic, and Kommo-O to the win column. Both are good, but you can only use one! Which will it be, trainer?

ELECTIVIRE

Electivire Electric

Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Wild Charge

Shadow is a little better than non-Shadow, the former beating Machamp and Dragonite but Shadow instead beating Florges. However, I personally am far less impressed by ‘Vire in this meta than others are. The pressure it brings to Water types is immense, no doubt about that, and Ice Punch is scary for all the Dragons, of course. But it seems a bit too hit or miss for my comfort, and even its high ceiling isn’t as high as you’d like, with it basically having no path to victory over many big names. ‘Vire may be your personal cup of tea, and if so that’s great… go forth and beat face with it. But it’s an acquired taste, I suppose. For me? Too rich for my blood, but that’s just me!

SNORLAX

Snorlax Normal

Lick | Body Slam & Superpower/Earthquake

And finally, my spirit animal/mascot to bring it all home. Body Slam is obviously a must, and after that the top choice is probably Superpower, which for regular Snorlax uniquely takes down Hydreigon. However, Earthquake is also a potential option, particularly with Shadow Snorlax. However, the best of the best is probably Shadowlax with Superpower, which can beat things regular Snorlax cannot like (Charm) Sylveon, Rhyperior, Garchomp (sometimes, at least), and (Waterfall) Gyarados. As with many Pokémon above, though, there is no “wrong” way to go… it all comes down to your own team composition and what YOU are comfortable with, my friend!

And gonna end it right there! Hopefully this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!), and dive into perhaps your first Master League experience with confidence.

Until next time (I’m moving right along to analyzing next week’s Evolution Cup), 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 MLPC, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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