Nifty Or Thrifty PvP: Element Cup Remix

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The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: Element Cup Remix, in this case. NoT covers not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs or less powering 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 it. We all want to field competitive teams, but where can we get the best bang for our buck?

Keep in mind that this format is our only alternative to Open Master League as we approach the end of the season, and 3x stardust is in effect throughout. Even if you’ve never played a Little League format before… there has never been a better time to start!

We’ve taken a tour through Element Cup a couple times in the past, but just a quick overview of the rules for this Remixed version:

  • Pokémon must be at or below 500 CP to enter.
  • Only Fire, Water and Grass type Pokémon will be eligible.
  • Only Pokémon that are able to evolve and have not evolved even once will be eligible. (This includes “baby” forms.)
  • Ducklett, Cottonee, Chinchou, and Salandit are banned.

The bans are the “Remix” part, and while taking only four things out of the meta might seem minor, the influence those first three especially had on the meta in the past was huge, and their removal leads to some exciting shakeups in the rankings. Let’s see what’s changed!

We’ll start with Pokémon with the cheapest second move unlock cost and steam ahead until we finally arrive at the most expensive (75,000 dust in this case, since no Legendaries or Mythicals are eligible) I am going to try to be comprehensive with this, but can’t go into detail on everything I want to… it’s a massive meta and Reddit only allows me 40,000 characters. 😬 To that end, I will also only be highlighting Shadow versions when they’re particularly relevant… many are worse, and that’s what you can infer if I don’t talk about them. I also want to highlight Pokémon that can be evolved after Element Cup is over and their evolution still fit in Great League, but with characters limited, I will use the ⏫ symbol by their name to indicate that. Cool? Cool.

Let’s go!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

BULBASAUR

Bulbasaur GrassPoison

Vine Whip | Seed Bomb & Sludge Bomb

No longer here to terrorize Cottonee and Chinchou and at least threaten Ducklett, but Bulba is still a Top 5 option here (twice, actually, with both regular and Shadow being inside the Top 5) thanks to its Poison side. The extra resistance it provides versus other Grasses, combined with the great equalizer of Sludge Bomb, allows Bulba to be the Grass that beats not only all Waters except Slowpoke, but also most all Grasses, with only a handful that deal super effective damage back (like Exeggcute, Fomantis, Paras, Treecko, Snover) or resist Grass and Poison damage themselves (Ferroseed) managing to limp away. And while it’s not going to be going out and beating a lot of Fire types in a straight up battle, Sludge Bomb DOES at least force them to shield when they really don’t have to versus many other Grasses, or risk major disaster. Shadow Bulba is a very viable alternative that actually shows this by beating Slugma straight up, though at the cost of losing now to Dewpider. (Shadow is better in 0v0 shielding and a bit worse in 2v2 shielding too.) Either way, Bulbasaur is a uniquely awesome threat in this meta even with the removals.

CHIKORITA ⏫

Chikorita Grass

Vine Whip | Body Slam & Grass Knot

Does most of what Bulbasaur does, and comes out with more left in the tank in the majority of their shared wins, and the reason is simple: just as things work with their later evolutions Meganium and Venusaur in PvP, Chikorita is notably bulkier, but Bulbasaur and its Poison side means that it wins the head to head (and beats several other Grasses that Chika cannot, such as Shroomish). Chika also benefits from NOT being part Poison, most notably by beating Slowpoke while Bulbasaur normally cannot (as Poison is weak to Psychic). Potentially even better is Shadow Chika, which adds on Shroomish and Dewpider! Body Slam is quite good in this format and Chika makes great use of it, and it will continue to be a popular Grass in Remix.

CHESPIN ⏫

Chespin Grass

Vine Whip | Body Slam & Gyro Ball/Seed Bomb

On the rise a little bit in Remix… at least with a funky moveset that includes no Grass charge moves, but instead Body Slam and Gyro Ball. This leaves it a worse Grass than others above (shown most clearly with losses to Ice Shard Seel and Tentacool), but it does well versus other Grasses (beating Chikorita, Oddish, and walloping Steel-weak Lileep thanks to Gyro). Still not sure I recommend it over Bulba (or even Chika), but it’s certainly a viable option.

ROWLET

Rowlet GrassFlying

Tackle/Razor Leaf | Seed Bomb & Energy Ball

Showed up here and there in Element Cup last time as an above average Razor Leafer, but now Rowlet is one of the many beneficiaries of this season’s buff to Tackle. Moving away from the heavy pressure of Leaf means things like Shadow Slowpoke and Clauncher slip away, but entering the win column are Shroomish, Fomantis, Shadow Bulbasaur, and of course RL Rowlet itself. It still hovers around a 50% winrate, but there’s some good things going for Rowlet now.

BUDEW

Budew GrassPoison

Razor Leaf | Grass Knot & Energy Ball

It’s not as heralded as others in this format, but Budew just might be the best Razor Leafer in Element Cup, even with hatch-level IVs. It can beat literally every Water type here (even Dewpider by commiting to straight Razor Leaf), and its Grass/Poison typing means that it double resists Grass and can beat all other Razor Leafers except sometimes non-Shadow Oddish, and it also beats other notable Grasses like Hisuian Voltorb, Tangela, and Lileept. Obviously keep it away from Fire, but beyond that… well, maybe this Bud’s for you! 🍻

SEWADDLE ⏫

Sewaddle BugGrass

Bug Bite | Seed Bomb & Silver Wind

Really a Bug that sneaks in as half-Grass, and those two facts alone really paint the picture of its role: beating most of its fellow Grasses (basically all the ones you can expect to see except Bulba and Lileep) while also still handling many Water types. But it’s not nearly as strong a Water slicer as most other Grasses, leaving it a much softer counter than you’d like. At least in Remix it no longer has to worry about its double weakness to Ducklett’s Flying moves, and Silver Wind saw a nice buff this season too, if you recall. Sewaddle’s stock should rise this time through Element Cup.

So moving on to Fire types. It is overall the weakest of the three in this Cup, as its only role is to handle Grass, and as we’ve seen above there are Grasses that can also handle the anti-Grass role pretty well, and as we’ll see shortly below, even many Waters can do the same. (And not just The Duck of Doom!) But there ARE some standouts you may want to consider, and while most will show up in the 50k section, there are a couple real gems here too….

TEPIG ⏫

Tepig Fire

Ember | Body Slam & Flame Charge

A fun fact I discovered while analyzing Element Cup… every single Fire starter in the game has Ember (and either Scratch or Tackle), Flame Charge, and Flamethrower, with the third charge move being the only real difference between them. And up until Gen5, those third moves are all pretty bad… until finally we arrive at Tepig and its Body Slam. As such, it is the ONLY Fire starter rated within the Top 50 on PvPoke, and handles itself alright, though even it is very far from impressive. Still, it’s the only Fire starter that can really beat all Grasses (the rest struggle with at least RL Lotad and Lileep) and Body Slam gives it a leg up versus other Fires (able to beat them all but Vulpix and Growlithe, who both also have Slam, and of course Slugma). Those Fire types I just mentioned are all better, but Tepig is cheap and still close to their overall performance, so if you’re just looking to get in and out of this format for minimum investment, then perhaps that’ll do, Tepig… that’ll do. Particularly if you run one out there with not high rank IVs, but instead higher Attack, which wins the important mirror match and hits an Ember breakpoint against Vulpix and flips that important matchup too. 🔥

I’ll make a brief mention of LITLEO and its Fire Fang and Crunch, but it’s no Body Slam… Tepig is just better. FENNEKIN has the best non-Slam third move (Psyshock) aside from Tepig, but is even a further step down from Litleo. And the other cheap Fires, even as Shadows… forget about it. One unique cheap Fire to still cover though….

SLUGMA ⏫

Slugma Fire

Ember/Rock Throw | Flame Charge & Rock Slide

Slugma actually represents two very different Pokémon depending on which fast move you run with. In past Element Cup play, it’s been a Fire that plays like a Rock, which has been handy versus Ducklett in particular. But in Remix, Rock Throw is less preferred overall as compared to Ember. Rock Throw is still nice with a unique set of wins versus other Fires (Vulpix, Tepig, Growlithe, etc.), Flyers (like Mantyke), and Bugs (crushing Dewpider). That’s a fun role that is probably the way Slugma should be run. But Ember gets the better overall numbers with its own set of wins versus a ton of Grasses that Rock Throw falls short against, including Shadow Bulbasaur, Chikorita, Shroomish, Pumpkaboo, Oddish, Exeggcute, Ferroseed, and Fomantis.

BARBOACH ⏫

Barboach WaterGround

Mud Shot | Ice Beam & Mud Bomb/Aqua Tail

I just get this feeling that even with Grass-fragile Chinchou out of the mix, the lack of Duckett is going to drive Grass usage up rather than down. If so, Barboach and its Ice Beam become very interesting, because even though it’s critically weak to Grass, it can sneak in some nice wins like Exeggcute and Lileep thanks to Beam, and will certainly keep other Grasses on their toes as well. The question then becomes Mud Bomb (to take out things like Slowpoke and Skrelp) or Aqua Tail to outrace things like Wooper instead?

WAILMER ⏫

Wailmer Water

Water Gun | Body Slam & Heavy Slam

Admittedly nothing particularly special, at least at first glance, but more than holds its own, does everything you’d expect of your Water type, and hangs in there a LONG time and soaks up a lot of damage, with nearly twice the HP of most things on this list. (Seriously, its 140 HP in this format makes it feel like a Chansey.) If you happen to have a candidate with particularly good PvP IVs, things start getting interesting, with things like Shadow Vulpix and Exeggcute now entering the win column. Hmmmmm. 🐳 A high rank Shadow Wailmer is an intriguing new sidegrade option too, dropping things like Exeggcute and Poliwag to gain Lileep and Ferroseed instead. Something to consider if you have a good one!

OSHAWOTT ⏫

Oshawott Water

Water Gun | Night Slash & Aqua Tail

Most of the actual Water starters are pretty tepid, but Oshkosh does well enough thanks in large part to Night Slash, which brings in wins like Skrelp, Poliwag, Clauncher, and Psychic-type Exeggcute. This is still not a strong endorsement, but if you feel compelled to use a Water-type starter, I think this is your best bet.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

DEWPIDER ⏫

Dewpider WaterBug

Bug Bite | Bubble Beam & Mirror Coat

There’s a lot to be said here, but the highlights: Dewpie is ranked #1 in Remix, and when you look at its potential success rate against the core meta and especially the entire meta, it’s easy to see why. Only sixteen Pokémon are listed as losses for Dewpider in 1v1 shielding, and that’s actually only 14 since two of them are listed twice (once for non-Shadow, and once for Shadow). And six of those 16 deal super effective Flying or Rock damage, leaving only 10 in all that deal neutral damage and emerge on top. Yes, the results drop off a bit in 2v2 shielding and especially with shields down, where Dewpider’s lack of a solid closing move really hurts it. And yes, it is at least somewhat bait dependant (though still very meta even if the bait game doesn’t go quite right). But still, it’s very hard to look at these numbers and the vast number of things Dewpie can beat and NOT feel it earns that #1 ranking. If you have one, use it, and if you don’t… build it!

FOMANTIS ⏫

Fomantis Grass

Fury Cutter | Leaf Blade & Grass Knot

Yeah, turns out Bug damage is very useful here, as Fomantis, despite NOT being a Bug, still does very good things with Fury Cutter. (FAR more than it would with even a great Grass fast move.) Fury Cutter turns Fomantis into a true Grassassin, beating all core meta Grass types except Ferroseed, including ones like Bulbasaur and Rowlet that typically find themselves on the winning side in Grass-on-Grass matchups. Fomantis does this while still successfully executing its anti-Water role, with only Dewpider and Shadow Slowpoke escaping among Waters you care about most. And it even manages to overcome (Rock Throw) Slugma despite all of Fomantis’ damage being resisted. This is an underrated choice in this meta.

Paras BugGrass

I don’t feel quite as good about it, but it IS worth mentioning PARAS here as a Grassy Bug. Sewaddle is better (and cheaper), and Paras is less interesting than even Fomantis (despite the latter being a mono-Grass). But it’s definitely viable, much moreso with Ducklett gone.

LILEEP ⏫

Lileep RockGrass

Infestation/Bullet Seedᴸ | Ancient Power & Grass Knot

Benefitting nicely from this season’s buff to Ancient Power, and you don’t even need legacy (and unobtainable now, even with TMs) Bullet Seed… as yet another Bug move, Infestation, has high value. Bullet Seed IS better versus Waters (beating Skrelp and Tentacool) and better at outracing things like Litwick and Shadow Growlithe, but Infestation instead fends off Grasses like Rowlet, Oddish, Shroomish, and Exeggcute while also still forcing a tie with Litwick. Worth noting is that this is a Grass that threatens a LOT of Fire types in general, outright beating Growlithe, Tepig, Slugma, and Shadow Vulpix (and very nearly non-Shadow Vulpix). Speaking of Shadows, Shadow Lileep is at worst a sidegrade, dropping Tepig, Growlithe, and Oddish, but gaining Vulpix, Ice Shard Seel, Lotad, Litwick, and Tentacool! Lileep is not the best in any given role, but being able to hit all three major typings in Element Cup hard makes Lileep very versatile… it can work on a LOT of teams.

SHROOMISH

Shroomish Grass

Tackle | Seed Bomb & Grass Knot

Another beneficiary of the Tackle buff, Shroomish has always had the bulk and charge moves to be good, but with Astonish being its only other fast move, Tackle was the last piece needed for it to break out. It beats most Waters (troublesome ones include Dewpider, Mareanie, Frillish, and Wingull) and while it has no inherant advantages versus opposing Grasses, through sheer bulk it manages to outlast ones like Oddish, Rowlet, Chikorita, and even Tackle-resistant Pumpkaboo. There’s nothing particularly exciting about Shroomish, but yes, you most certainly CAN use it now.

HOPPIP ⏫

Hoppip GrassFlying

Tackle/Bullet Seed | Seed Bomb & Grass Knot/Returnᴸ

Yep, Tackle again. Seed Bomb goes well with it, just as with Shroomish, and after that it’s either Grass Knot for closing power and a win over Exeggcute, or Return (obviously on a purified Hoppip) to take down Shroomish itself. Bullet Seed also works well with Return and can actually take down Vulpix and Lileep, but it gives up Exeggcute, Chikorita, Shroomish, and worst of all, Dewpider, so Tackle is my personal recommendation. Now for Shadow Hoppip I do still recommend Bullet Seed, as it’s needed to outrace Seel, Shadow Slowpoke, and Clauncher, but now you’re talking a heavy investment right up near Level 40 with a Shadow ‘mon. Just something to consider for this one-week format: is that worth it to you?

SEEDOT

Seedot Grass

Quick Attack | Grass Knot & Foul Play/Returnᴸ

And benefitting from the even more significant buff to Quick Attack is Seedot, particularly a purified one with Return which can roll over Shroomish and Mantyke. Failing that, Foul Play is just fine too, nailing Exeggcute and being a bit more consistent than Return in other matchups thanks to the much lower cost (and widespread neutral damage output). And don’t forget Shadow Seedot, which can do everything non-Shadow (with Foul Play) can PLUS beat Mantyke and Ice Shard Seel. As with Hoppip, though, this one can reach (or even cross) Level 40, so a Shadow investment on top of that is getting awfully pricey.

FOONGUS ⏫

Foongus GrassPoison

Feint Attack | Body Slam & Grass Knot

Nothing new here, but Foongus is at least fringe, or perhaps more than that as a Shadow, which is able to beat big names like Dewpider and Chikorita. The combination of Feint Attack and Body Slam at least make for some widepread neutral coverage.

EXEGGCUTE ⏫

Exeggcute GrassPsychic

Confusion/Bullet Seed | Ancient Power & Seed Bomb/Psychic

Ironically for something that does not benefit from STAB, Exeggcute may appreciate the buff to Ancient Power even more than Rock-type Lileep. It’s always been interesting in Little League formats with Ducklett as a way to play the Grass role while also heavily pressuring the Duck Of Doom, but even with no Ducklett, it’s still a great option in this meta. It sacrifices some effectiveness versus Water types (losing to things like Dewpider, Seel, and Oshawott) to instead be sneaky good versus other Grasses (beating ones like Chika and Rowlet and absolutely shredding Poisonous Grasses like Oddish and Bulbasaur) and even a threat that Fires must shield against. Shadow is, in my opinion, slightly worse (unable to beat Mantyke, but also coming out of most other battles worse for the wear than non-Shadow). However, if you want to run Shadow anyway, consider doing so with Bullet Seed and Psychic (the move), which gives up Bulbasaur but gains Lileep and Seel (with either Lick or Ice Shard) and could really surprise even experienced Little Leaguers. I have no idea why Exeggcute is ranked so low (#76 at the time of this writing).

SNOVER ⏫

Snover IceGrass

Powder Snow | Stomp & Energy Ball/Ice Beam

Sadly lacking the Weather Ball that makes big bro Abomasnow excel, Snover has Stomp for baiting/chip damage instead. Add on Energy Ball for big Grass damage (which Powder Snow can make feel a lot cheaper than it actually is), and there’s definitely a chill in the air. 🥶 Obviously there are few things Fire types want to see more, and Dewpider doesn’t mind Snover much at all, but most everything else runs for cover (particular if your Snover has top tier IVs). And Shadow Snover is super scary too, losing now to big Confusion damage from Slowpoke, but gaining two of the very few Grasses to evade non-Shadow Snover: Fomantis and Ferroseed. This is another case of being ranked WAY lower than I think it should be (all the way down at #96 at the time of this writing!), though that version lacks Stomp, so… make sure you run it with Stomp!

ODDISH ⏫

Oddish GrassPoison

Razor Leaf | Seed Bomb (& Sludge Bomb? Moonblast?)

Yeah, remember how I said Budew might be the best Razor Leafer here? That’s still debatable, but by default, that title should probably belong to regular and Shadow Oddish. Shadow in particular is ranked way up there at #2 in EC Remix. Both versions of Oddish are rather unique in that they can take out EVERY Water type in the format as long as Oddish has one shield available… and yes, that includes even scary Waters like Dewpider and Slowpoke. Shadow in particular can also chew through several Grass types (like Fomantis), though Oddish obviously has no real answers to Fires. It’s a role player, and perhaps ranked a little TOO highly, but no doubt deserving of your respect and attention in this meta.

LOTAD

Lotad WaterGrass

Water Gun/Razor Leaf | Bubble Beam & Energy Ball

Often thought of first and foremost as another Razor Leafer with handy resistances, and yes, it works in that role well enough. But don’t forget it can also operate as a very good Water type with Water Gun, still slowly grinding to wins over most other Waters and obviously handling Fires pretty capably too. With there being so many viable Grass types now with the removal of Ducklett and Cottonee from this meta, if I were to run Lotad, I think it would be with Water Gun for what that uniquely brings to the table. But that’s your call!

SLOWPOKE ⏫

Slowpoke WaterPsychic

Confusion | Psyshock & Psychic

The other side of the Exeggcute coin, this time with Water (and the resistances and weaknesses that come with it) rather than Grass, and less versatility with the charge moves. But that’s okay, but there is hardly anything in this meta that resists Psychic damage, and Slowpoke brings a ton of that to the battlefield. Not only does it still blow through basically every Fire type you’ll encounter aside from Shadow Vulpix, despite dealing any super effective damage with its recommended all-Psychic moveset, but it carries itself well versus a variety of Waters and even some Grasses (Bulbasaur in particular) too, particularly as a Shadow which adds Fomantis and Barboach to its list of wins. And if you commit to just Confusion you can add on Wooper and flip Vulpix from a tie to a straight-up win too. I’ve had several folks ask me about Slowpoke in particular in this meta, and yes… it’s still quite good.

SEEL ⏫

Seel Water

Lick/Ice Shard | Aqua Tail & Icy Wind

I’m leaning towards Lick this time around. Despite the gap between their success rates, there ARE good cases to still make for Ice Shard (which can beat some Grasses like Shroomish, Lileep, and Rowlet. But it’s hard to ignore how Lick can instead take down a ton of Waters (Slowpoke, Poliwag, Tentacool, and Ice Shard Seel) and better handles Fire types (beating Vulpix specifically). And the gap is even wider with shields down, with Ice Shard uniquely beating out Lileep, but Lick instead getting Vulpix, Seel, Skrelp, Clauncher, Tentacool, and Poliwag, a five-win difference overall. Neither is “wrong”, especially depending on team composition, but like I said, my first recommendation would be Lick.

SPHEAL ⏫

Spheal IceWater

Water Gun | Body Slam & Aurora Beam

Not quite on the same level as Seel, but still quite good in its own right, especially as a Shadow which ironically gives up a win non-Shadow Spheal gets versus Seel, but gains wins versus Wooper, Tentacool, Lileep, Exeggcute, and Ferroseed. It’s not nearly the threat its later evolutions are in Great and Ultra Leagues, but it’s absolutely viable.

Clamperl Water

One small step below that lies CLAMPERL, who loses Spheal’s Ice typing but swaps out the subpar Aurora Beam for better balanced Ice Beam. It works well enough if you wanna take it out for a spin.

WOOPER

Wooper WaterGround

Mud Shot | Mud Bomb/Body Slam & Returnᴸ

I am once again asking for you to consider running Wooper with Return, if at all possible. Only then can Wooper realistically expect to beat Exeggcute, Barboach, Poliwag, and… well, itself, in the mirror match. Body Slam (as simmed above) or Mud Bomb is more of a personal preference (Body Slam outracing Barboach and Poliwag, but Mud Bomb being able to beat Ferroseed), but if you can do purified, do it. (Shadow is a step down, IMO.) Return is what really sets Wooper apart from things like Barboach.

Poliwag Water

And the same story for POLIWAG… you want Body Slam and Return most ideally, though it’s still a slightly lesser Wooper even then. ShadoWag is just okay.

Tympole Water

And even another slight step down from THAT is TYMPOLE, who matches most of Poliwag’s wins and, while it generally fairs a little better in terms of remaining HP, Tympole lacks Body Slam (having a closing move, Sludge Wave, instead) and cannot overcome Wooper OR Barboach.

SHELLOS ⏫

Shellos Water

Hidden Power/Mud Slap | Body Slam & Mud Bomb

A super spiffy strat in past Element Cups has been running Shellos with Electric-type Hidden Power to shock the stuffing out of Ducklett. With the Duck Of Doom absent, that DOES still put in work, but it’s not as exciting as it used to be. If you built one then, you CAN still use it, but Mud Slap is now just as much of a consideration in Remix.

SKRELP ⏫

Skrelp PoisonWater

Water Gun | Aqua Tail & Sludge Bomb

Useful in past Element Cups for their ability to hammer Cottonee and even hang in there with Ducklett, the various Poisonous Water types are down a bit in Remix. They’re still hanging around in the meta, and Skrelp is still overall the best of them, but they have significantly less to do, as you can see.

TENTACOOL is down even more, and even the new MAREANIE arrives without the fanfare you might expect. There are teams that will still benefit from these wet Poisons, but I expect their presence to be down quite a bit as the week of Element Cup Remix grinds on. We shall see!

BINACLE ⏫

Binacle RockWater

Mud Slap | Cross Chop & Ancient Power

Notable in the past for its ability to beat down Ducklett with just Scratch (thanks to resisting Flying damage) while still tangling with Fires and Poisonous Waters, the ripples of Ducklett’s exclusion hit here too. If you want to run Binacle at all, I think it’s no longer with Scratch, but now with Mud Slap, with which it can at least add Slowpoke, Skrelp, and Ferroseed to its win column, though honestly Binacle remains just an anti-Fire (double resisting Fire damage) first and foremost.

Clauncher Water

While Binacle just manages to cling to viability, I think CLAUNCHER falls out completely. Gone is its dominance over Ducklett, which was really 90% of the reason to use it and its Smack Down anyway. Save it for next time Ducklett pops up.

FRILLISH ⏫

Lotad WaterGhost

Hex | Ominous Wind & Ice Beam

More fringe than meta, but figured it was at least worth mentioning. It IS a very cool Pokémon, and to many players, that and a halfway viable record are enough.

SHADOW CARVANHA ⏫

Carvanha (Shadow) WaterDark

Bite | Poison Fang

Few things appreciate the absence of Cottonee (and Chinchou, for that matter) than super spice pick Carvanha… it no longer has to worry about dying to literally TWO Charms anymore! It obviously remains hilariously frail, but man can it bring the pressure before it succumbs. Very few meta Waters or Fires can stand up to it, and even big name Grasses like Fomantis and Exeggcute fall. It’s a legit, scary option that’s only gotten better in Remix.

VULPIX ⏫

Vulpix Fire

Quick Attack | Weather Ball (Fire) & Body Slam

Don’t mistake the lateness of Vulpix’s appearance in this article to mean it’s a low rank option, because that’s not at all true. In fact, Shadow Vulpix is ranked #3 (!!), and you know what? I couldn’t argue with that if I tried. Nothing in this format appreciated the buff to Quick Attack more, which now clearly outmuscles Ember as THE preferred fast move. It’s a Fire type that not only handles the many, many Grasses in this format that you’d expect (basically everything but Lileep), but also nearly all Fires (Magby and Rock-chucking Slugma and Hisuian Growlithe being the only exceptions) and even a number of big name Water types (Slowpoke, Mantyke, Tentacool, etc.). Non-Shadow Vulpix is just as good, dropping Mantyke, Tentacool, and Litwick to instead outlast Lileep and Ice Shard Seel.

Growlithe Fire

Growlithe (Hisuian) FireRock

GROWLITHE (and Shadow Growlithe) continues to play second fiddle to Vulpix, and arguably even Tepig. It’s not as bulky and lacks a good second charge move to pair with Body Slam… Flamethrower is no Weather Ball (or even Flame Charge). Growlie is viable, just not as exciting. And HISUIAN GROWLITHE is better versus other Fires, but worse otherwise (as well as, through normal means, not being achievable yet, since it’s only ever been available in eggs and thus about five levels too high to squeeze under 500 CP).

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

FERROSEED ⏫

Ferroseed SteelGrass

Tackle | Iron Head & Gyro Ball/Flash Cannon

In past Element Cups, Ferroseed was okay but far from great, held back mostly by fast moves. (When 2.5 DPT/3.0 EPT Metal Claw is your best available, that’s a bad place to be.) So even the post-buff, now-very-average Tackle makes for significant improvement, with new wins over a quartet of Steel-resistant Water types: Poliwag, Clauncher, Mantyke, and Shadow Slowpoke. Add to this wins against nearly all Grass types, and Ferroseed’s stock has never been higher! Just keep it FAR away from Fire types, as Fire is double super effective. 🥵

PUMPKABOO ⏫

Pumpkaboo GhostGrass

Razor Leaf | Foul Play (& Shadow Sneak?)

I mean, sure, it’s a viable Razor Leafer with the advantage of resisting all the Tackles and Quick Attacks and Body Slams around. That WILL matter, perhaps in a big way, on the right team. This isn’t a strong endorsement, but I ran into a few in past Element Cups, and Pumpkaboo is more than serviceable. Just a bit expensive, that’s all.

LITWICK

Litwick GhostFire

Ember | Flame Charge (& Heat Wave?)

Sort of the same story here: doesn’t really need a second move, but otherwise just a more expensive and slightly less effective version of other Pokémon of its type, its one big advantage being a resistance to Normal (and in this case, Poison) damage. It’ll reliably burn through Grass types (and Dewpider) and its resistance to Normal gives it a leg up against Vulpix and Growlithe, just don’t ask it to do anything beyond that.

There’s a trio of Rock/Water types I’ve covered in the past, but without Ducklett, all of them — TIRTOUGAOMANYTE, and KABUTO — are pretty lackluster and I no longer recommend them.

And that just leaves one that requires some shenanigans to get under 500 CP, but hey, players have done that with things like Salandit in past Little Cups, so it WILL happen here.

MANTYKE ⏫

Mantyke WaterFlying

Bubble | Aerial Ace & Ice Beam

No, the numbers alone wouldn’t lead you to think it’s worth all the trouble. But this is the closest you can get to a Ducklett fill-in (Wingull isn’t getting anything done!), though Tyke does struggle pretty badly with Grasses. Is it worth trading with low level accounts to try and get into Little League somehow? Meh, probably not. But is it fun to think about using anyway? Yeah, and people will.

And that’s it for this last edition of ‘Nifty Or Thrifty’ for this GBL season! As always, I hope this was helpful to get your own creative juices flowing, especially those of us making a final push for Legend. Good luck!

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

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

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