Nifty Or Thrifty: Psychic Cup 3.0 (for two straight weeks!)

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: our third iteration of Psychic Cup, in this case. As is typical for the NoT series, I’ll cover not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs and/or leveling up! 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.

So as I try to usually do, I will start with those with the cheapest second move unlock cost and steam ahead until we finally arrive at the expensive Legendaries. I do try and put extra emphasis on the thriftier stuff, especially for formats like this where you may not use some of these things much in the future. (For a rough guide to reusability, though, I will rank things with ♻️s, with three being solid in even Open Great League play, two being okay in at least certain Cup formats, and only one being something that, honestly, you’re unlikely to use again.)

Very briefly, here’s what Psychic Cup is:

  • Pokémon must be at or below 1,500 CP to enter.
  • Only Psychic-type Pokémon are eligible.
  • Mew is not allowed.

This time around, we get this meta for two straight weeks, the first of which is a week with 4x stardust rewards… and with Open Master League as your only alternative. For many, this will be THE format to try and advance ELO and our stardust reserves with for a while, so hopefully this overview helps you do that!

Much of this guide is lifted from our last time through Psychic Cup, but there are some notable shakeups this time which I will highlight… right now!



Xatu PsychicFlying

Feint Attack | Ominous Wind & Aerial Ace

Last time in this meta, I was lamenting about how Ominous Wind didn’t get the same damage boost that Ancient Power and Silver Wind did, and how it was all the fault of a prominent pair of Legendary Ghost/Dragons that rhyme a bit with “cheetah cheetah”. Something having that and Feint Attack — both super effective versus everything here that doesn’t rhyme with “Nala Bar”, “Gee, Raph, Uh… Big!”, or “You Rang, Guru?” — should have a big impact but Xatu just remained mediocre. But now it does finally get its long-overdue buff, applied not through those moves but instead through Aerial Ace with its new cost reduction. Suddenly Xatu is looking interesting, and potentially even more than that as a Shadow, with Ace’s new 40-energy cost allowing Shadow Xatu to now outrace Hypno, Medicham, and Bronzong, among others. Even including past Psychic Cups, it has been literally years since Xatu made a name for itself in any meta (and those were early Cups in The Silph Arena), but like am aging, retired boxer, Xatu may have one more good fight left in it. THIS is the meta to bring it out to play.


Gardevoir PsychicFairy

Charm/Magical Leaf | Triple Axel & Shadow Ball

Last time I said you didn’t need any charge move other than Shadow Ball (and that one for very obvious reasons). I mean, Charm should be doing the bulk of the work anyway, right? But we’re talking about Triple Axel now, which not only gives Gard newfound shield pressure as its cheapest charge move (5 less energy than its former best, the useless-in-this-meta Legacy move Synchronoise) and is widely unresisted, but boosts the power of Charm even further. To get specific, that brings in new win potential over Wobbuffet and Girafarig for regular Gardevoir, and things like Galarian Slowking (at least in 2v2 shielding) for emo (aka Shadow) Gard, which is basically a straight uprade with added wins versus Alolan Raichu, Galarian Rapidash and others. Make no mistake, though: Gardevoir is very glassy (especially as a Shadow, of course) and basically HAS to have shields to hide behind, but if she does and you can avoid Steel, Poison, and Fire types (and super thicc Cresselia), Gardevoir can run roughshod over entire teams. Charm is always good, but especially in a meta where so little resists it… and where Triple Axel now buffs it.

There is ALSO now the possibility of Magical Leaf, which looks very interesting too! Personally I like the heavy pressure of Charm a bit more, but players WILL have success with this version as well, for sure!


Delphox FirePsychic

Fire Spin | Mystical Fire & Blast Burnᴸ

Plus side: as with Gardevoir (and other stars of the meta like Alolan Raichu), Delphox dishes out largely unresisted damage, and the Fire typing also resists Fairy damage (like Gard’s Charms!). The big downside used to be that it needed to land a big expensive Fire Blast to beat things like Medicham, Cresselia, Hypno, and Lugia, and usually just barely, and it of course still falls victim to Water, Ground, and Rock damage that people bring to face down Victini. But that’s all then, and this is now. With the double buff of now having Blast Burn and Mystical Fire that it lacked last time through Psychic Cup, you beat all the same stuff you used to plus Galarian Rapidash, Farigamaraf, and the other two on-the-rise Pokémon above: Xatu and Shadow Gardevoir. Phoxy is looking VERY foxy this time around, folks.

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

So while I try and review the meta pretty comprehensively in these writeups, I cut my teeth way back when I started (nearly 500 articles and 5 years ago!) by keying in on budget-friendly options to help folks that don’t have every possible Pokémon already built and/or buckets of stardust just sitting around waiting to be spent. All that to say… I usually focus on the 10k category as much as possible, as they’re typically the cheapest things to build from the ground up. Unfortunately, for this particular Cup that hardly has any starters (beyond Phoxy up above) or anything, there’s barely anything here. But there IS at least one very valuable diamond in the rough, so let’s take a look at this unfortuntely small group.


Raichu (Alola) ElectricPsychic

Volt Switch | Wild Charge & Thunder Punch/Grass Knot

The only 10k option ranked inside the Top 20 (it makes it all the way into the Top 10), AhChu’s big advantage in this format is being one of very few things with a full moveset that can hit (nearly) everything for neutral damage… only Claydol and a couple Grass types dull Electric damage. Generally that all-Electric set is what you’re going to want, but there IS a case for Grass Knotespecially with shields down, with which it can at least win the mirror (and threaten Claydol). Either way, AhChu is very good at chunking things down, and obviously is a nice threat to the popular Water types in the meta especially.


Swoobat PsychicFlying

Air Slash | Psychic Fangs & Aerial Ace

Yeah, we’re already reaching a bit with this one. I mean, you CAN do a lot worse… at least Swoobat deals neutral damage to most of the meta (Steels and Lunatone are laughing at it, though), and Psychic Fangs hits especially softly here, but does come with debuffing to the opponent, so… there’s that? But yeah, the 10ks are really thin when this is your third best option among them. Air Slash is no substitute for Xatu’s Feint Attack in this meta, folks.

And really all that’s even left beyond that is GRUMPIG, which comes with Shadow Ball but can barely make use of it. Oh, and there’s also XL SMOOCHUM, but that is deciedly NOT a cheap build (having to be fully maxed out), and really not worth considering at all unless you somehow already have one built. At least Claydol, Celebi, and Flyers detest it?

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

While the 50k category is typically the largest, with the derth of 10k options this time around, it’s especially important this time as probably the best place to try and get “thrifty”. Let’s dive in!


Bruxish WaterPsychic

Bite | Psychic Fangs & Crunch/Aqua Tail

Last time out, Brux showed up as the terror of Psychic Cup. It’s one of only two Pokémon in the entire format (Bronzong is the other) that has a full Dark moveset with Bite and Crunch. Not that it NEEDS charge moves… it beats 84% of the entire format with JUST Bite! That said, I DO still encourage running Crunch, along with Psychic Fangs, even though it is almost always resisted, because it makes each subsequent Bite hurt much worse. (Though oft-neutral Aqua Tail coverage is fine too, if you prefer that.) About the only things that really give Brux trouble are Fairies and Fighters (and Malamar) that take only neutral damage from Dark, Grasses which can exploit Bruxish’s Water typing (as long as Brux has a shield, it even Bites through Alolan Raichu!), and Cresselia with its Grass Knots. Brux can chew though just about everything else, and usually doesn’t have to worry about how many shields the opponent has left… though it DOES need a shield of its own, lest it drop off rather significantly. But make no mistake: Bruxish is absolutely terrifying in this meta.


Slowking (Galarian) PoisonPsychic

Hex | Shadow Ball & Surfᴸ/Sludge Wave

Last year (and this year up until Slowpoke Community Day), G-King was fine in this meta, with a rare full-Ghost moveset of Hex and Shadow Ball. The problem is that it didn’t have a great second move, with oft-resisted Psychic (the move) or Sludge Wave being its only options, with both costing at least as much energy as Shadow Ball anyway. But since Community Day, it now has a widely unresisted bait move in Surf that sets it up to be one of the most dangerous Pokémon in Psychic Cup. Like Bruxish, it dominates nearly everything in the entire format, with only things that resist Ghost damage (Malamar, Oranguru, and Girafamathingy) or deal a steady dose of super effective damage back (Claydol, Bruxish) to worry about, the only other outliers being super speedy Shadow Mewtwo, high damage Latios, and tanky Brave Bird Galarian Articuno. Unlike Bruxish, of course, G-King racks up damage through its charge moves, so it falls rather hard if at a shield disadvantage (unlike Bruxish, who just needs one shield to maintain its high level of performance no matter how many the opponent has left). But as I predicted, after its Community Day, this guy crashed through the wall of Psychic Cup like the Kool-Aid Man last time around. OH YEAH!


Slowbro (Galarian) PoisonPsychic

Poison Jab | Surfᴸ & Sludge Bomb

Last year, G-Bro was rather mutedPoison Jab and Sludge Bomb were widely unresisted, but it was held back by having no charge moves cheaper than that and infamously taking neutral (rather than resisted) damage from Psychic moves. It also had an awkward second move problem, with Psychic (the move) nearly always resisted, and Focus Blast helping a little when shields are down by punching out Lunatone and Malamar, but still far from ideal. After Community Day earlier this year, now it comes packing Surf and looks much improved, tacking on wins over both Malamar and Lunatone even in 1v1 shielding, as well as Xatu (legit a big deal this time!) and Geeriffarag.

SLOWBRO ♻️♻️♻️

Slowbro WaterPsychic

Water Gun | Ice Beam & Surfᴸ

OG Slowbro is still more tepid than I’d like, despite having some fantastic theoetical things going for it: dealing super effective damage to Claydol and Fires and Rocks (and Flyers thanks to Ice Beam), dealing widespread neutral damage to most everything else, and actually resisting Steel and Fire damage. SOME of that shines out, with wins versus Victini, Metagross, Claydol, Lunatone, and Xatu, giving it some interesting potential niche use. But it just doesn’t really capitalize against much else. Even pushing to 2v2 shielding really only manages to add on Wobbuffet. When you peel back the curtain and give it a long hard look, it just doesn’t do as much as it feels like it should. There will be teams that absolutely benefit from it, but just don’t ask it to do much beyond its very niche role.


Bronzong SteelPsychic

Feint Attack | Payback & Heavy Slam

If you’ve ever run Bronzong before (and yes, it’s been quite good in certain past metas, and in Ultra League), surely it was with Confusion and Psyshock. Heck, you may not have even known it had Feint Attack, because who would ever run that? Well, players in Psychic Cup want exactly that, along with Payback, to deal super effective damage to darn near everything in the format. (Only a half dozen Pokémon — consisting of Fighters, Fairies, and one notable Dark type — manage to take only neutral damage from Dark moves.) Problem is that Feint Attack generates only the average 3.0 Energy Per Turn, and Payback is pretty costly at 60 energy, so despite being decently bulky and having a very favorable Steel subtyping that allows Bronzong to double resist Psychic damage and resist nine other relevant typings, Zong needs a good second move that does decent damage for an affordable cost. Psyshock makes no sense since it’s heavily resisted, and regular Zong move Bulldoze doesn’t make a lot of sense as it costs the same amount of energy as Payback but deals less damage and is not nearly as widely super effective. So we turn instead to so-so PvP move Heavy Slam, which at least costs only 50 energy, gets STAB, and is resisted only by the few Fires, Waters, and Steels in the format, plus Alolan Raichu; it picks up wins versus Claydol, Galarian Rapidash (super effective damage from Slam!), and both Slowbros (even with them having Surf). You’ll never see this sort of moveset be recommended outside this format, but here in Psychic Cup, it’s the way to go.


Malamar DarkPsychic

Psycho Cut | Foul Play & Hyper Beam/Superpower

There are several things in this format that have solid Dark/Ghost moves to wail on most everything else for super effective damage, and several things that double resist Psychic damage (all the Steels in the format, for example), but there is nothing else in Psychic Cup that really does both… and Malamar actually triple resists Psychic! (Psychic resists Psychic, and Dark double resists Psychic, hence the Dark/Psychic Malamar triple resists. See, I can do maths!) Put it all together, and you can see why so many of us content creators feature Malamar in their Psychic Cup reviews, no matter how small. It’s very dominant versus the entirely of the format too, and not just the core meta. Basically bring a Fairy or something with Charm (or a couple specific things like Metagross, Celebi, sometimes Galarian Slowking, and Medicham, who remains a part of this meta in very large part because of Malamar), or Malamar could shred your whole team. Thank goodness it doesn’t have a Dark fast move as well or it’s likely NOTHING would be able to beat it. And things don’t get much better in other shielding scenarios either. Too bad that it’s pretty limited outside of formats like this.

Last note: yes, I think you actually do want Hyper Beam as the second move alongside Foul Play. Fast move Psycho Cut can actually get to it in meaningful spots, and the other charge move optiosn will never deal better than neutral (and usually resisted) damage anyway. Superpower at least deals neutral to enemy Malamar and Steel, Rock, and Ice types, but you really won’t find yourself wanting that nearly as often as you may want the pure KO power of Beam.


Rapidash (Galarian) FairyPsychic

Fairy Wind | Body Slam & Megahorn/High Horsepower

And if you think Malamar looks scary, get a load of THIS. 👀 Running with brand new fast move Fairy Wind, G-Dash kind of has it all: Fairy damage for stuff like Malamar and Medicham and Latios, Megahorn to deal BIG damage to everything in the format (and super effective damage to the vast majority, as Psychic types are weak to Bug damage), and super spammy Body Slam to wear down most everything else. About the only things it doesn’t want to run into are Steels, as they resist all three of those moves, but most everything else is fair game. Note that in 1v1 shielding, its only losses that are NOT Steel types are Alolan Raichu, Victini, G-Bro, the new and improved G-King, and Charm Gardevoir. That’s it… that’s the list. Ride like the wind, indeed.


Claydol GroundPsychic

Mud Slap | Shadow Ball & Rock Tomb/Scorching Sands

Ah, Niantic’s long-time pet project. They have tweaked Claydol so obviously and so often that it almost became a joke, adding Earth Power in May 2019, Mud Slap in July 2019, Ice Beam and Shadow Ball in January 2021, Rock Tomb when that move was revamped in November 2021, and now Scorching Sands just days ago as this season kicked off. Clearly somebody over there REALLY wants to make it work. On paper, this is finally a format where it SHOULD indeed be awesome, perfectly countering the potent Steels (Bronzong, Metagross, Jirachi), Poisonous Galarian Slows, and Alolan Raichu and Lunatone (with both Electric and Rock types also being weak to Ground and ineffective against it), right? Right? Problem is that despite all the move tweaking, it’s just remained mediocre at best, and that seemed to be the case in early looks here where PvPoke’s and my initial meta lists had it with the obvious Shadow Ball and slightly-less-obvious Earth Power or new Scorching Sands to emphasize its niche role in hammering on the things I listed above that are all weak to Ground. Problem is that in that configuration, it STILL looked mediocre, unable to reliably overcome G-King or even Bronzong that a Ground type really should be beating, and it fell short against Hypno and Medicham (both running Ice Punch) as well. But it turns out that humble Rock Tomb is the way to go, pushing Claydol, finally, into a bona fide meta option. It’s not because of Rock Tomb offering special coverage either, as Claydol actually still loses to every Flying and Ice type in the format except Galarian Articuno. But what Tomb does bring is a guaranteed debuff to the opponent’s Attack, giving Claydol the extra time it needs to finish off both Galarian Slows (despite the addition of scary Surf), Zong, Medi, and Hypno. The effect is very similar in 2v2 shielding as well, with Rock Tomb beating Hypno and winning the mirror match, neither of which Scorching Sands or Earth Power can reliably replicate. Perhaps even more amazingly, Rock Tomb by itself can beat everything Claydol can with Shadow Ball/Rock Tomb in 2v2 shielding! Rock Tomb is NOT a great move (still dealing far less damage than you’d hope for 60 energy), and Claydol is NOT a great Pokémon, but somehow, for one brief shining moment, it somehow all just works. Claydol fans… this meta remains your best chance to take Claydol out for… well, a spin. 😵😏

HYPNO ♻️♻️♻️

Hypno Psychic

Confusion | Shadow Ball & _____ Punch

And now we get into one Psychic type that most players have probably actually used at some point, old reliable Hypno. Yes, it has Shadow Ball, which is a great start. Yes, it’s quite bulky and can simply outlast a number of things. And yes, it has a variety of Punches that usually deal neutral damage and sometimes get in for super effective. But the problem Hypno has is being a little slow due to relying on basically-always-resisted Confusion. I usually try and keep ‘Nifty or Thrifty’ reviews relatively high level and stick mostly with the 1v1 shielding scenarios, but in this particular case, that scenario tells a sad story (including for Shadow Hypno as well). But that undersells Hypno, as it’s notably better in 2v2 shielding or especially with shields down. I do recommend it as a space filler on teams, especially if you already have it on hand and (understandably) don’t feel inclined to invest too heavily into a two-week format like this with other stuff in this article. Hypno will rarely feel truly dominant, but it can certainly hold the line just fine. And as for which Punch to go with, they all have merit, so decide it you want to burn Steels (Fire), freeze Claydol (Ice), or just go for a decent all-arounder with a special ability to maim Waters (Thunder). Good luck!

MEDICHAM ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Medicham FightingPsychic

Counter | Ice Punch & Power-Up Punch/Dynamic Punch

Yes, Medicham is awesome in PvP, but can even it survive in a meta chock full of things that resist its main moves? Well, if you have a decent ranking one, it’s viable-ish despite everything working against it. What Medi DOES do well is win the few neutral-on-neutral battles — those versus Steels (Metagross, Bronzong), Rock type Lunatone, and Dark type Malamar — where both sides are dealing neutral damage to each other throughout (with one half of their typing being weak, the other half resisting, and thus = neutral!). As crazy as it may sound, yes, I think you want to run Counter and Power-Up Punch here, because despite never dealing greater than neutral damage, Counter + PuP does still add up. PuP also pumps up Ice Punch, which is Medi’s one interesting weapon here for how it hits nearly everything for neutral and comes in with super effective damage in some key spots (Claydol, Xatu, Lugia), especially Latios, where a PuP’d Ice Punch becomes quite deadly. I don’t necessarily recommend Medicham here, but it’s not as insane an idea as you might think at first.


Girafarig NormalPsychic

Tackle | Psychic Fangs & Trailblaze/Thunderbolt

OH MY. Do you know how excited I am to be closing out a section in a ‘Nifty Or Thrifty’ article with my homie Farigamariff and it NOT be a total joke? My boy is legit here, folks! Despite running with extremely average (even post-buff) Tackle, resisted Psychic Fangs, and slowish Trailblaze or Thunderbolt, Girafathing manages to pick off Claydol (even without Trailblaze, though that obviously hastens things), Hypno, Lugia, Xatu and others. But the best part about is that, as a Psychic/Normal type, Figamiraff actually resists Ghost damage, which is handy in those Hypno and Xatu wins, but most impressively, it dominates Galarian Slowking. And while it’s NOT a pretty picture with shields down, it does manage to improve in 2v2 shielding, owing to the resisted but still impactful (thanks to opponent debuffs) Psychic Fangs. Shadow Ragafiraf is just a sidegrade here but is still viable too. Either way… yes, this is a legit, valid pick in Psychic Cup. If you feel like stretching your neck out for this format, this is a very fun and zany way to do so! 🦒

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

Well, there’s no sugar coating it… there are some very good picks in this and the 100k section, requiring heavier investments and pushing all “thriftiness” off the raft. The good news is that several of them do not strictly require a second charge move, and those that do benefit from them most are likely to have some playability beyond just Psychic Cup, so there’s still opportunity for some savings and investments that are truly worth it where you can’t be too thrifty. Let’s see what we’ve got….


Metagross SteelPsychic

Bullet Punch | Meteor Mashᴸ & Earthquake

Metagross only very rarely has much impact outside of Master League, but it IS still a solid Steel for metas where you want actual Steel damage. This here is one of them, with Metagross dishing out big neutral-or-better (super effective versus Ice, Rock, and most importantly, Fairy types!) damage to mostly everything (AhChu, Waters, Fires, and other Steels do resist). Put it all together, and this is likely to be Metagross’ best Great League meta ever, particularly if you have one with good PvP IVs, which adds on wins versus Bronzong (one of very few spots where Earthquake actually matters) and Galarian Rapidash (who amazingly is otherwise able to at least force a tie — if not win outright — with neutral Megahorn and its other moves being resisted). You CAN pay for Earthquake if you want to, but it is literally only versus other Steels and MAYBE the Galarian Slows that it might maybe sometimes turn things in your favor… everything else can be had with just Meteor Mash. As scary as it looks, though, I generally don’t recommend Shadow Metagross, as it is… well, gross in comparison, walloping Fairies but falling short versus stuff like Bronzong and Malamar that non-Shadow Gross can handle. If you insist on Shadow anyway, you’re best with one with a little extra Attack to at least win mirror matches… and you retain everything else of note still.

Don’t have a sub-1500 CP Metagross? As crazy as it may sound, you’re really not much worse off with its pre-evolution METANG, who has much less inspriring Steel moves but still replicates most of what its big, four-legged bro can do anyway. And in this case, Shadow is on pretty equal footing.


Gallade PsychicFighting

Charm | Leaf Blade

And yes, this is also that rare meta where Charm Gallade actually makes sense, and you really don’t need a second move. (Just stick with widely neutral Leaf Blade.) Shadow Gallade is better (though only slightly, in this case, with new wins versus Bruxish, Slowbro, Geeriffarag, and Celebi, at the cost of losing now to Claydol and Lugia). If you intend to run Charm, you’re still much better off going with Gardevoir (Gallade taking neutral from Psychic damage while Gard resists it is just one of many reasons), but uh… perhaps double Charm could run both? (But please don’t, pleaseandthankyou. 😅)

MR. RIME ♻️♻️

Mr. Rime IcePsychic

Ice Shard | Ice Punch & Icy Wind

Another good news/bad news story in the making here. The good is having a moveset resisted only by Steels (and the very few Waters) in the format, big debuffer Icy Wind as part of it, and results that get better and better the longer the battle goes. (Oh, and absolutely obliterating Latios, Claydol, Flyers, and Grasses.) The bad is losing to most everything else, to include Malamar, the Fairies, the Steels (of course), Fires and Rocks and Waters (again: of course), and big names like Medicham, AhChu, Hypno, and Galarian Slowking. Way to cool off the hype there… sorry!

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

We’re almost done! There ARE some impactful Legendaries and Mythicals to cover, so let’s blow through and bring this on home!

VICTINI ♻️♻️♻️

Victini PsychicFire

Quick Attack | V-Create & Overheat

The better Delphox (who cannot beat things Victini can like Malamar and Shadow Latios). Yes, even with the rise of all the Surfer Slows, Quick Attack Victini still looks freaking terrifying. It can beat Hypno, Cresselia, Lugia, and even Fire-resistant Latios in 1v1 shielding, and add on potentially Malamar, AhChu, and Claydol with shields down. I don’t know that a second move is strictly required if you’re strapped for candy and/or dust, as V-Create does nearly all the heavy lifting on its own, but it’s worth noting that Overheat helps significantly to beat the Galarian Slows (eyes, even G-King with Surf!) and (particularly in 0v0 shielding) to outrace Bronzong, obviously all significant pickups. And Quick Attack Victini can tear it up in even Open Great League, much less Limited metas, so this is looking like a very safe investment for even when Psychic Cup has faded from the rear view mirror. It’s a great time to build yours up if you didn’t already push it past 1500 CP. But you wouldn’t have done that after being being advised to keep it at Great League level, now would you? 😉 Don’t let those Slowdudes and Bruxish scare you… keep smoking ’em (literally) if you got ’em! 🔥


Latios DragonPsychic

Dragon Breath | Dragon Claw (& Solar Beam?)

If you have managed to get one under 1501 CP, congrats! It’s pretty good hereShadow Latios is thankfully not a downgrade, just a sidegrade, trading in Xatu and Victini that non-Shadow can get VERY close wins against (surviving with 3 or less HP) for relatively comfortable wins versus Alolan Raichu and Medicham instead. Steels and Fairies resist Dragon damage, but other than them, Latios is a great generalist that piles on damage very, very quickly regardless of the opponent’s supply of shields. You do need to have an escape plan if a Steel or especially Fairy shows up, though. 😬 And as with other glassy stuff like Gardevoir, Latios ideally needs at least one shield to hide behind.


Cresselia Psychic

Psycho Cut | Grass Knotᴸ & Moonblast

The name of Cresselia’s game is bulk and neutral damage charge moves, and that can carry it quite a ways. Yes, Grass Knot can ruin some poor Claydol or Slowbro’s day, and Moonblast makes Malamar and Latios and Medicham cry, but generally Cresselia is just outlasting stuff in neutral-on-mostly-neutral slugfests. It’s quite excellent with shields down, but loses effectiveness when pushed to two shields, so plan her spot in your lineup accordingly if you plan to deploy one. Also note that the Galarian Slows resist Grass Knot AND Moonblast thanks to their Poison subtyping, so don’t be afraid to quickly pull Cress out of those particular battles.

LUGIA ♻️♻️

Lugia PsychicFlying

Dragon Tail | Sky Attack (& Aeroblastᴸ or Hydro Pump?)

Yet again the non-Shadow and more easily acquired Shadow Lugia remain pretty close in performance… but honestly, poor Lugia was gutted with the recent cost increase of Sky Attack and it’s just left kind of sad now, trailing Xatu in a similar role. (You KNOW you’re bad off when Xatu does something better than you!) If you want to run Lugie anyway, do note that a second move doesn’t do a lot of good for you in simulations, but if you WANT to shell out for a second move (Lugia IS okay in other GL metas and a relatively safe investment), Legacy Aeroblast is best, but Hydro Pump is an acceptable replacement that could surprise Victini or Claydol (and deals BIG neutral damage to Steels too).

JIRACHI ♻️♻️♻️

Jirachi PsychicSteel

Charge Beam | Doom Desire & Dazzling Gleam

If you ever needed a sign that this is a very strange meta that turns a lot of norms on their collective heads, it is this: Charge Beam is a recommended move. Even better: Charge Beam is a recommended move on something that doesn’t get STAB with it and DOES with significantly better PvP move Confusion. But of course, Confusion is widely resisted and Charge Beam is widely not, so that’s what we’re going with. And you know what? It actually works, with Charge Beam leading directly to wins over things you’d expect Electric damage to help with (like Xatu and Lugia), but also one you probably wouldn’t think of: Malamar. That last one is really won by way of super effective Dazzling Gleam, but it’s only because of the energy gains of Charge Beam that Jirachi gets there in time anyway. And this is no fluke: JIrachi remains quite consistent in shieldless and 2v2 shielding matchups as well. Just this once, it’s time to TM away from Confusion for a couple weeks. Just make sure to switch back when Psychic Cup is over and you wanna use Jirachi again. 😉


Celebi PsychicGrass

Magical Leafᴸ | Seed Bomb & Leaf Storm/Dazzling Gleam

Well, just like Jirachi, Celebi also comes with Charge Beam and Dazzling Gleam, though in this case I don’t think you want either. Because Celebi comes with a better alternative to both Charge Beam and Confusion with Magical Leaf, and can run a full (oft-unresisted) Grass moveset with Seed Bomb and Leaf Storm as well, making it a handy generalist that hates especially hard on Claydol and Alolan Raichu and Slowbro and beats other notables like Malamar and Medicham, but otherwise wants to avoid Steels and Fires like the plague, among other things. Celebi isn’t anything super special, if I’m being honest, but if you have a good one, dealing as much neutral damage as it does is a valuable thing in Psychic Cup.


Articuno (Galarian) PsychicFlying

Psycho Cut | Ancient Power & Brave Bird

Sure, if you’ve been lucky enough to A.) encounter one under 1500 CP, B.) actually catch the blasted thing, and C.) had enough resources to get it double moved, then yeah, you can use it here as a showoff flex. And then go buy some lottery tickets.


Mewtwo (Shadow) Psychic

Psycho Cut | Shadow Ballᴸ & Psystrikeᴸ

Mewtwo ties with Alakazam for fastest Shadow Ball in the format. And while regular Mewtwo under 1500 CP is still a pipe dream, by now many players have Shadow Mewtwo which is a spicy little speedster here. If you like fast battles (win or lose) and blazes of glory, look no further.


In this extra section, I cover a few mons that are no less “nifty” than those in the main article above, but require maxing or at least almost maxing out, so they are FAR from “thrifty”! I already mentioned SMOOCHUM earlier, but there’s just a couple more….


Wobbuffet Psychic

Counter/Charm | Mirror Coat & Returnᴸ

Charm or Counter both work alright. Charm is better for things like Latios and fellow Charmer Gardevoir, but it is with Counter that you better outrace Bruxish and Victini (and things like Lunatone too).

And uh… well, wow, I guess that really is it. I mean, there’s SLOWPOKE and Shadow Slowpoke) and even GALARIAN SLOWPOKE, but they’re really not anywhere near worth that kind of investment. And don’t try to get cute with stuff with favorable Hidden Power types either… it doesn’t actually work.

But I have worked, and can happily now declare that this article is a wrap! As always, I hope my ramblings help you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!) and put together a competitive and FUN team. If I was successful in that, then it was all worth it.

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

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

Author & tags

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

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