Nifty Or Thrifty: Master League Premier PvP Analysis

Master League Premier 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 series, I’ll cover not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs. Because 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


Gyarados WaterFlying

Dragon Breath/Waterfall | Aqua Tailᴸ & Crunch/Outrage/Returnᴸ

Currently Ranked #3 in the format, and for good reason! Despite dealing relatively limited Water-type damage (when running generally preferred Dragon Breath, that is), Gary holds down the standard Water role well, washing away basically every Fire and Ground type you will realistically see. But of course, it does MUCH more than that, also outslugging nearly every Dragon you’ll see (with at least one shield, only Dragonite and Baxcalibur ever really escape, and not consistently), every Fighting type but Chesnaught (thanks in large part to its Flying side), and basically every other Water type you’ll see besides Primarina. Couple all that with bonuses like Snorlax and Metagross (thanks, Crunch!), and Gary is scary here. Alternatives to Crunch include Outrage (better for winning the mirror) and even Return (gives up the mirror and sometimes Dragonite, but gains Primarina and sometimes Chesnaught!). Either look interesting if you want to get that competitive edge and spice things up!

Addendum: I didn’t see any good case for Waterfall… until the format actually arrived and I found myself TMing back to it. Now, I run a team with two Fairies, as they happened to be two of very few things I have maxed out to Level 50. So I already had Dragons covered very well, and thus found myself wanting the coverage provided by Waterfall (especially versus Steels and/or Grounds) more than the extra versatility of Dragon Breath. There ARE some teams that will prefer it… like mine! It’s more worthy of consideration than even I intially thought.


Feraligatr Water

Shadow Claw | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Ice Beam/Returnᴸ

Only so-so in Open play, Feraligatr is ranked in the Top Ten in Premier. It’s SO good here that you have multiple options to choose from. No, not so much between Shadow and non-Shadow though; despite Shadow being ranked slightly higher, I think I recommend NON-Shadow here, which more consistently beats things like Dragonite, Ursaluna, Swampert, and Florges. (Shadow ONLY shines out with shields down, and even then is still a slight downgrade overall.) In fact, Feraligatr handles practically ALL Ground and Fairy types (only Torterra and Primarina give it problems, for very obvious reasons), and thanks to the Shadow Claw that has made it such an overnight star, all Ghosts but Annihilape too, plus bonuses like Metagross, Hisuian Avalugg, and the aforementioned Dragonite. While I’m not a big fan of ShadowGatr here, you may want to consider purified Feraligatr, with Return. It does abandon wins that come with Ice Beam like Dragonite and Garchomp, but it gains the mirror and things like Golisopod and sometimes Primarina too (and is obviously surprisingly more effective versus Waters in general). Not sure anyone will actually do that, but hey, I’d be a bad analyst to not at least point it out.


Swampert WaterGround

Mud Shot | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Earthquake

Yet again, I recommend non-Shadow instead of the Shadow version, as non-Shadow can hang in long enough to take down stuff like Togekiss, Primarina, and sometimes Machamp, Mamoswine, Garchomp and others that Shadow simply cannot. Overall, it’s better than the other thrifty Waters versus Electric types (for obvious reasons) and Earthquake is a great equalizer that can punch out things like Primarina that other Waters also struggle with. Overall, it’s not quite as dynamic as some others, but it’s one that many players likely already have on hand and will surely be using.


Primarina WaterFairy

Charm | Disarming Voice & Moonblast/Hydro Pump

Not a ton to say here… it’s a Charmer, and does mostly Charmer things. What sets Prima apart though is both its cost (it’s the only viable 10k Fairy) and especially its Water typing, which gives it inherant advantages versus Ice and other Water types, enabling it handle things like that outduel other Fairies like Feraligatr and Mamoswine, and with relative ease. Somewhat niche, I admit, but it’s a good niche.

Empoleon WaterSteel

Even more niche than that is EMPOLEON, who is fantastic at slaying Fairy and Ice types, with bonus wins against stuff like Rhyperior (Rock also being weak to Steel Wing), Golisopod, and even Chesnaught and Swampert. But there is still quite a bit else that shrugs it off. If you’re short on options and have Empie powered up, it’s not a bad filler, but it’s generally less preferred than other Waters above.


Golisopod WaterBug

Shadow Claw | Liquidation & Aerial Ace

Complete opposite end of the spectrum, we go from niche to flexible all-arounder with Golisopod. It handles Fairies and Fighters, Psychics and Ghosts, Grounds and Fires, Water and Ice… all with equal lethality. It must steer clear of Electric and Flying stuff, things that resist Shadow Claw, and most Dragons too. But beyond those, there are very few fights Golisopod can find itself in here that it can’t claw its way out of, or at least maul the opposition on the way out. Golisopod is a true star in Master League Premier.

Quaquaval WaterFighting

Last Water worth mentioning here is QUAQUAVAL. It’s surprisingly decent for something that hasn’t even had its starter Community Day yet (Hydro Cannon will one day make it much more interesting), but I think you can do a bit better… and the vast improvement it will get down the road makes me reluctant to recommend maxing one out at this point anyway.


Chesnaught GrassFighting

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Superpower

The best Grass in this format, bar none. It does everything you’d ask a Grass to do (even beating Primarina!) but also locks down Steels and Ices like Magnezone, Excadrill, and Mamoswine that can plague other Grasses thanks to Superpower, as well as stuff like Shadow Snorlax.


Venusaur GrassPoison

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

It does a bit better than you might think here. It’s helped by there just being SO many big Water snd Ground types in the meta, of course, but Venusaur’s vaunted anti-Fairy role matters quite a bit here too, beating all the big ones (even Togekiss) without much trouble, as well as most other Grasses (to include Chesnaught). Venusaur is worth a look.

Torterra GrassGround

Not really much else to speak of among Grass starters, though TORTERRA is just interesting enough to be worth a mention, in both regular and Shadow form. I can see it doing some good work on the right team, particular when it has shields to hide behind. 😱 But seriously, Niantic… just give this thing Magical Leaf already, eh?


Skeledirge FireGhost

Incinerate | Disarming Voice & Shadow Ball

Hands down, the best Fire type in the formatIncinerate is dang scary even at this level, and that plus Shadow Ball is more than enough to deal with a wide swath of the meta, from the obvious Grasses and Steels and Fairies to slightly less obvious Fighters to surprises like Haxorus. Disarming Voice remains the coverage/bait move of choice, able to add on bonuses like Mamoswine and Shadow Snorlax and seriously threaten the format’s many Dragons.

The other Fires just can’t do that. Not even the CHARIZARD I used to recommend for Master League Classic formats, who falls to things like Haxorus, Snorlax, and of course Magnezone that Skele can handle… and Zard loses to Skeledirge itself. And the other Fire starters are just worse. TYPHLOSION is a worse Zard, and not even decently-ranked INCINEROAR or BLAZIKEN (who I’ve actually seen in battle this rotation) do all that much deserving of their ranks. Without burnable things like Dialga, Solgaleo, Melmetal, and Zarude around, Premier is just not a great place for them to work their magic.


Gholdengo SteelGhost

Hex | Focus Blast & Shadow Ball

I had already written about this golden Slenderman, but I had to go back and mention that I actually ran into a couple of these already! Even having mentioned it, I was still kind of surprised… some of y’all must have done a serious coin AND candy grind! Anyway, Gholdilocks here is a little disappointing in Open, but quite a bit better here in Premier, taking full advantage of that Steel typing to handle many Dragons and especially Fairies, while also dealing with Fighters that aren’t enraged terror monkeys thanks to its Ghost side (making this a Steel that does NOT take super effective damage from Fighting damage). It conveniently can also handle Ice (Hisuian Avalugg), half-Psychic Metagross, Shadow Snorlax (Lick is scary, but resisting Body Slam is huge), and even Ursaluna, and force at least a tie with Dragon Breath Gyarados too. Not too shabby!

But that’s about it for truly viable 10k options, unless you want to count Snorlax making use of the Baby Discount™ via a hundo Munchlax or something. But nah… we’ll cover Snorlax later.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy


Togekiss FairyFlying

Charm | Ancient Power & Flamethrower/Aerial Ace/Aura Sphereᴸ

Speaking of the Baby Discount™, technically you can spring for it with Togepi, but not much point. However you get there, Togekiss remains one of the most solid options for Master League in general, and that rings true here in Premier too, where it rarely even needs anything other than Charm. That said, Anicent Power is THE charge move to have with its buff chance always being nice, but the move itself being a great finisher for things like Gyarados and opposing Togekiss, a potential mach flipper for stuff like Skeledirge and Golisopod, and the way to better guarantee a win over Snorlax too (a match in which you actually reach multiple Ancient Powers!). After that it’s player’s choice for the second move, with Flamethrower being probably the best Hail Mary for its ability to roast Metagross if it sneaks around shields, but Community Day move Aura Sphere or now-decent Aerial Ace are acceptable too, the former being a beefed up Flamethrower versus neutral targets (and able to shock and awe stuff like Snorlax and Rhyperior in the right situation) and the latter being Togekiss’ cheapest charge move and a way to potentially outrace other Charmers like Primarina.


Florges Fairy

Fairy Wind | Disarming Voice & Moonblast/Petal Blizzard

Would you believe that Florges is ranked #2 in ML Premier? If that seems wrong somehow, perhaps showing you its record against the core meta will help explain. Yes, Florges does standard Fairy stuff (walloping Dragons, Fighters and nearly all Darks), but it also does much more, with a winlist that includes stuff like Gyarados, Swampert, Shadow Snorlax, Mamoswine, and even ALL of its fellow Fairy types. You can even mix things up with the typically-useless-in-PvP Petal Blizzard and perform basically just as well, trading some things like Shadow Snorlax (and a tie in the mirror) for things like Rhyperior and Hippowdon instead. Florges is pretty amazing here.


Magnezone ElectricSteel

Volt Switch | Mirror Shot & Wild Charge

Of course, what better way to stop Fairies cold than with a Steel type? Magnezone ranks even ahead of Metagross as the top Steel…at least ShadowZone does, with wins that even regular Zone struggles to replicate like Dragonite and Metagross itself, as well as a couple surprises like Machamp and Skeledirge. 👀 Those aren’t necessarily matchups you WANT to find yourself in, but hey, a well-timed Wild Charge can do some crazy things, eh? It’s not cheap, but Shadow is better in almost every way in this meta if you can afford it.


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, particularly as a Shadow, which adds Rhyperior and Ursaluna (and Snorlax, as a bonus) to the winlist. (Though tread carefully… Shadow loses to Golisopod, Feraligatr, and Dragon Breath Gyarados with shields down, while non-Shadow handles those and gives up only Metagross and Skeledirge in return.) I’ve seen a LOT more than its low-ish rank would indicate, and let me tell you: it’s quite scary every time.


Mamoswine IceGround

Powder Snow | Avalanche & High Horsepower/Returnᴸ

Okay, look. I know that nearly all of you are going to run Mamoswine with High Horsepower no matter what I say, and that’s fine. It performs well that way, in either non-Shadow (better versus Snorlax and Metagross) or Shadow (better versus Gyarados, Swampert, and sometimes Florges) form. But if you happen to have a good purified Mamoswine that you haven’t TMed Return off of yet, it’s a surprisingly good alternative, much moreso than either of the Rock moves. Powder Snow can reliably charge it up for wins versus things like Primarina and Swampert (and Florges in 2shield, and the mirror in 0shield) that Mamo struggles with otherwise. Abandoning High Horsepower does come with drawbacks, of course, mostly versus Steels like Metagross and Excadrill, but hey, some teams will have those covered well elsewhere. Return Mamoswine is legit for anyone daring (and rich!) enough to try it out.


Avalugg Ice

Ice Fang | Body Slam & Avalanche

Nothing fancy here, just steady Ice damage and Body Slam for annoying neutral damage. Does it work? Why yes, yes it does. Coming with less troubling weaknesses than Mamoswine means easier wins versus things like Gyarados, Swampert, Chesnaught, and… well, Mamoswine, and its far better bulk means it can better outlast Florges, Haxorus, and Shadow Dragonite too. (And it is WORLDS better in 2v2 shielding than is Mamoswine.) However, Lugg also suffers losses to things Mamoswine can overcome thanks to High Horsepower like Excadrill, Magnezone, Metagross, and Rhyperior, so uh… as Vinny would say, win some, lose some.

Cetitan Ice

CETITAN actually plays very similarly with a very similar moveset, but less bulk means it lags behind the longer a battle goes (shown most clearly by trailing behind Avalugg in 2v2 shielding). If you’re flush with Cetoddle candy, sure, go for it. But not a strong recommendation.


Avalugg (Hisuian) IceRock

Powder Snow | Rock Slide & Icy Wind

All that said, a better use for your Bergmite candy these days is Hisuian Lugg, who has really surged since getting Icy Wind added to its arsenal this past December. It’s even quite a monster in Open play now! But I digress. Here in Premier, it can beat basically everything regular Avalugg can (minus Haxorus thanks to being double weak to Counter damage) and gains stuff like Primarina, Skeledirge, and Avalugg itself (as well as Florges in 0shield and 2shield) thanks to Powder Snow making its charge moves even spammier. As with regular Lugg, Steels resist all of its moves, but those are about the only thing that Mamoswine handles better. If you can swing it, gimme a Lugg any day in this meta over the frozen swine.

Walrein IceWater

I advocated for WALREIN in Classic Master League, but here? Not so much. That said, I would be remiss to not point out that Water Pulse is now quite interesting here if you’re looking to spice things up.


Annihilape FightingGhost

Counter | Shadow Ball & Ice Punch/Night Slash

Not an Ice type, but I think Anni is at its best here when slinging some with Ice Punch, with it being a threat to so much here (Dragons, Grounds, and even things like Togekiss)… it specifically can beat Dragonite in 1shield and ‘Nite, Garchomp, and Chesnaught with shields down… though it’s worth noting that it can instead take down Skeledirge and Feraligatr in 2v2 shielding with Night Slash instead. That all said, what Anni does best is pound Steel, Ice, Fighting, and Normal types thanks to a combination of Counter damage and its Ghost typing, with a bunch of bonuses like Haxorus, Feraligatr, Swampert, Hippowdon, Rhyperior, Garchomp, and thanks to that Ice Punch, Shadow Dragonite. There have long been a few viable Fighters in Master League, but as mentioned when I first analyzed it in PvP, I think Annihilape is now the best of the best overall, and that now rings true in Premier as well. If its Top 5 ranking didn’t tell you that already!


Sirfetch'd Fighting

Counter | Leaf Blade & Brave Bird/Close Combat

It’s ranked behind Machamp and a few other Fighters, but I think the numbers demand attentionLeaf Blade is a REALLY good weapon in MLP, so much so that just Counter and Leaf Blade account for most of its wins, to include nearly all Waters, Grounds, and Rocks, plus stuff like Magnezone and Snorlax (owing largely, though not entirely, to Counter damage). From there, there are some great closing options with Brave Bird (as simmed above) to beat Golisopod and Annihilape, or Close Combat for Chesnaught and Metagross. Perhaps its biggest failing is losing to the other big Fighters, but otherwise Sirfetch’d slaps, as the kids say these days.


Machamp Fighting

Counter | Close Combat & Cross Chop/Rock Slide

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. It does the Fighter job just as you’d expect, and more consistently than the others thanks to more consistent Fighting-type damage, but it doesn’t necessarily do anything particularly special.


Heracross BugFighting

Counter | Rock Blast & Close Combat

Its two main advantages: resistances to Fighting and Ground, which give it a leg up versus other Fighters and stuff like Garchomp and Swampert. It’s especially good if you can save it behind shields, unlike, say, Machamp… but honestly, both still pale in comparison to something like Annihilape even in that scenario.


Poliwrath WaterFighting

Counter | Icy Wind & Dynamic Punch/Hydro Pump/Scald

Yes, despite topping out below 3000 CP, Poliwrath actually works here, particular in Shadow form, with which it can overpower Dragons like Garchomp and Haxorus (and in 2shield, even Magnezone!). Its biggest advantage is obviously that Water typing, making beating Ice and most Water types a breeze, while Icy Wind also gives it an extra edge versus most Grounds and, as mentioned, the occasional Dragon. If you have one you already maxed (or are able to max out), go for it! Poliwrath is even viable-ish in Open.


Escavalier BugSteel

Counter | Drill Run & Megahorn

I’m a little less excited about this one, but yes, Escav can do some good work here, though its Steel typing goes somewhat to waste as it can’t hang with the big name Dragons or even Florges (despite resisting ALL of Florges’ moves).


Roserade GrassPoison

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

Okay, I stand by what I said about Chesnaught being the best overall Grass here. But that said… dayum. I think you’re overall best running Poison Jab just because so little resists it, and much of what does goes down hard to either Weather Ball (Fire) or Leaf Storm. Rose can chew through ALL the major Fairies (and stuff like Chesnaught) with ONLY Jab and pocket a ton of energy to throw at whatever follows. That all said, this is definitely a bit of a finesse ‘mon that has to bob and weave and save Leaf Storm for THE most opportune moment, but doggone, if the ceiling isn’t sky high.


Tangrowth Grass

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

I mean, I’ve seen one or two, and while it’s not overly impressive, it does a decent enough job. If this is where your XL Candy stock necessitates you go, it’s not a terrible place to be. But the Rock moves (either Rock Slide or Ancient Power, both being relatively equal here) don’t do nearly as much for it as you might hope, though it’ll scare a shield here and there where other Grasses don’t have much of a chance of doing so.


Hippowdon Ground

Ice Fang | Scorching Sands & Body Slam/Weather Ball (Rock)

It has Sand Attack now, but here in a format full of Dragons weak to Ice, it’s Ice Fang that the Hungry Hungry Hippo still wants to chow down with, beating ALL the major Dragons and Grounds that way, with Flying Togekiss and Ground-weak (thank you, Scorching Sands) Magnezone as very nice bonuses. It’s niche, but that’s a potent niche in Premier.


Rhyperior GroundRock

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

Eh, I’ve seen ’em, and I DO get it. Mud Slap variants are downright oppresive against Steel and Rock types, and Smack Down is downright oppresive versus Flyers (and stuff like Golisopod too). Rhyno tends to outdual Snorlax, Excadrill, Magnezone, and the big Fire and Fairies either way too. But it generally struggles with the many Dragons, Ices, and especially Water and Grass types around. It needs the right team around it to shine, but hey, maybe that’s YOUR team.


Ursaluna GroundNormal

Tackle | Ice Punch & High Horsepower

Now here we have a little bit of everything: Ice Punch for Flying and opposing Ground control (and several Dragons), High Horsepower for the Steels and Fires and most everything else not Flying. Put it all together, and aside from Garchomp, I think we’re looking at the best overall Ground type in ML Premier. Just imagine if they ever gave it Shadow Claw! 😱


Gengar GhostPoison

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball

Speaking of Shadow Claw, Gengar is 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 (even Annihilape with Night Slash and Shadow Ball), and of course things weak to Ghost damage like Metagross too. Add in Gyarados, Mamoswine, Magnezone, Chesnaught, and Haxorus and it seems better than the simple win/loss numbers would indicate, but beware the Normals, Grounds, Shadow Claw users, and most Dragons of the meta, as they can farm Gengar pretty good.


Arcanine 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. Long live the spice!

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

This article is already late and we’re now into the most expensive stuff in the meta, so I think it’s time to group most of these into categories and get ‘er done!


Master League, more than any other, has always been (and likely always will be) driven by the many high CP Dragons around. While several are left on the outside looking in when it comes to Premier, there are still several really good ones to choose from!

Dragonite DragonFlying Goodra Dragon
  • I was initially surprised to see GOODRA pop up comfortably in the Top 10, but it actually makes a lot of sense. While its lack of a cheap Dragon charge moves leaves it at a distinct disadvantage versus other Dragons (and it, of course, can’t really handles Fairies), its good bulk and spammy coverage moves allow it to outrace a number of things in neutral-on-neutral matchups (such as the format’s big Fighters and things like Swampert, Feraligatr, Golisopod, and Snorlax), and both charge moves I recommend most for it (Aqua Tail and Power Whip) crush thh format’s many Ground types. And coming with the standard Dragon resistances to Water, Electric, Fire, and Grass mean that Goodra overcomes things like Magnezone and (Waterfall) Gyarados too. There’s a lot to like about GooBoy (or GooGal) here.
Garchomp DragonGround
  • GARCHOMP works with a number of different move loadouts, the overall “best” being Mud Shot/Outrage/Stand Tomb, and the other shifting the Dragon damage to the fast move with Dragon Tail/Sand Tomb/Earth Power. The former is unsurprisingly better at handling Steels like Excadrill and Metagross, and outraces Feraligatr and Mamoswine, while Dragon Tail allows for wins over things like Waterfall Gyarados, Golisopod, Ursaluna, Chesnaught and a couple others.
Baxcalibur DragonIce
  • I don’t find it super likely that many people HAVE a good one to even level up, much less the candy to do so, but sure… if you happen to have a BAXCALIBUR ready to rock, then by all means: go for it!
  • And just to wrap up a few more viable options… HAXORUS is unpredictable, in a good way, as you’re never quite sure what charge moves you’re going to get, with the only constant being Counter. It can work in a number of different ways…. KOMMO-O is very interesting too. Not as flexible or unpredicable as Hax, but comes with the potent Dragon and Fighting damage combo that basically nothing but Fairies feels too good about. The issue is, as with Baxcalibur, do you have the resources necessary to build one?… HYDREIGON is surprisingly okay in this meta as long as it can avoid Fighting and especially Fairy damage. It’s also shaky (at best) versus many Ice and Dragon types, but handles a wide swath outside of that. It’s a Dragon that Magnezone, Feraligatr, and even Metagross want nothing to do with, and that certainly has value.


Several Eevolutions make a dent in this format….

Sylveon Fairy
  • Your humble writer doesn’t have much of anything leveled up to Level 50 and entered this format rather glum about that. But you know what XL Candy I DID have a ton of? Eevee! And thus, I built up a Level 50 SYLVEON. Not as a boring old Charmer, but instead with Quick Attack to stand apart and actually put up a better performance, at least in 1shield, where it can replicate Charm’s performance and add on stuff like Snorlax and the other Charmers. It’s not perfect, but it’s made a pretty good lead for me… with Charm Togekiss in the back to punish people that go all out to stop what it presumably my only Fairy. Psyshock and Moonblast make a pretty nasty and widely unresisted combo when you’re firing them off as quickly as Quick Attack allows.
Leafeon Grass
  • Grass type Eevolution LEAFEON hasn’t made a serious dent in PvP in, like, ever, but it’s got a decent shot at a blaze of glory in this meta, also at its best with Quick Attack, as well as spammy Leaf Blade and an actually viable Solar Beam. Yeah, seriously. Solar can nuke stuff like Gyarados and Golisopod from orbit, and even Magnezone with shields down!
Vaporeon Water
  • It’s like 2016-2017 all over again… VAPOREON is relevant?! I mean… sortaAqua Tail is a must, but after that you have options with Hydro Pump or Legacy moves Scald or Last Resort, both of which have good things going for them too. None are groundbreaking, and Vaporeon has plenty of limitations, but you know what? If you’re swimming in Eevee candies, it can hold the line.
Glaceon Ice
  • Unlike Vape, I HAVE actually seen GLACEON in battle this rotation. And I mean… it’s an Ice. Don’t expect a lot else from it (even with its own Legacy moves), but a poor man’s Ice type is better than NO Ice type if you’re in a pinch.


Several Fighters now among the 75ks, and while none of them are necessary, they each present their own unique flavor and are all just as viable as the Fighters listed earlier.

Conkeldurr Fighting
  • I finally saw my first CONKELDURR of this rotation today. I fortunately got it locked in against Togekiss, but even then, Stone Edge hurts. Pairing that with Brutal Swing gives Conker some nice coverage, though it still frustratingly falls JUST short of beating Metagross and Skeledirge (though it DOES beat Gyarados). Overall not quite as spectacular as one might hope, but solid, and one that folks may have the XL Candy for after its Community Day!
Sneasler FightingPoison
  • SNEASLER is a little underrated in Master League, and looks pretty good in Premier too, in regular or Shadow form, if you can afford it. Shadow has the extra punch it needs to handle Ursaluna and noted Fighting slayer Annihilape, while non-Shadow has the bulk to outlast Rhyperior, Golisopod, and even Charming Primarina.

Gallade PsychicFighting
  • Very far from the more traditional Fighters, GALLADE comes with some intrigue now. New Psycho Cut is fun for outracing stuff like Gyarados and Magnezone, but old school Confusion still packs a nice punch too and can take out Fighters like Chesnaught and Annihilape. When it comes to Shadow Gallade — for those of you with those kind of resources on hand! — I lean more towards Psycho Cut though, which can speed past Ursaluna, Mamoswine, Magnezone, and Snorlax (while Confusion only nabs Naught and Haxorus… hardly an even balance).


And finally, the one-offs that don’t really fit in a group, but all stand proudly on their own!

Metagross SteelPsychic
  • I have seen a TON of METAGROSS, and you likely have (or will!) too. Not only is Metagross (and ShadowGross) still basically THE best way to grind Fairies down to dust, but it comes with good utility against most Dragons and the Ice types brought to bear against them, while also fending off a number of Fighters and , at least in Shadow form, Ursaluna and Snorlax as bonuses. (The counterbalance with non-Shadow is being notably better versus Dragons.) Metagross continues to (Bullet) punch harder than its meager win/loss record would indicate. It is a huge part of this and basically every conceivable Master League meta.
Snorlax Normal
  • Ah, SNORLAX, my kindred spirit. Long have I tried to make you work in PvP, often have I failed… but you remain solid as always in Master League, including PremierSuperpower is pretty clearly the way to go with the second move on ShadowLax (getting big wins like Excadrill, Hisuian Avalugg, Metagross, and the mirror), but with non-Shadow, Superpower and Earthquake are on pretty equal footing overall, with the former still getting H-Lugg and enemy Laxes, but Quake rolling over Magnezone and sometimes even Annihilape! Shadow is ranked inside the Top 10, by the way. I’m a little surprised at how few I’ve seen so far.
Tyranitar RockDark
  • There’s nothing fancy with TYRANITAR. Everyone knows exactly what’s coming when it shows up… as much Rock chucking as possible, with the occasional Brutal Swing or Crunch to break the monotony (and steal a shield) along the way. Anything weak to Rock (typically even Togekiss and Gyarados) is in for a painful time, along with Magnezone for reasons I still cannot fully fathom. But uh… basically everything else licks its chops. I’ve been wrecked by one so far, and perhaps you will too. Or perhaps you will contruct the right team to allow your T-Tar to DO the wrecking. But it’s one of the more niche options that I give at least a tentative thumbs up. Maybe a crooked thumb.
Chandelure FireGhost
  • I would be remiss to not at least mention CHANDELURE. IF you want to run it, I slightly lean ShadowLure for its ability to roast things like Excadrill, Snorlax, and Annihilape across various shielding scenarios, though the drawback is its bulk getting low enough for things like Machamp’s Rock Slide and even Charm becoming worrying threats. But Chandie represents a threat to a good chunk of the meta, and gets a heartier thumbs up from me! 👍

 Alright, gonna end it right there! Hopefully this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!) in this expensive meta!

Until next time (I’m moving right along to analyzing Great League Remix!), you can always find me on Twitter for regular PoGO 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 ML Premier, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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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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