Nifty Or Thrifty: Ultra League Remix 2.0 (Season 9)

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP limited metas: Ultra League Remix (2.0!), in this case. The NoT series typically 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.

I usually start with those with the cheapest second move unlock cost work my through from least to most expensive that way, but that doesn’t really work for this analysis. So here’s the plan:

  • Last time I reviewed the UL Remix meta, back in Season 8, I made the decision to stick to things that can be used with minimal (or zero!) XL candy investment… my “thrifty” nature shining out, I guess. 🤑 Because you don’t need me to tell you the many high-ranked XL Pokémon are good… you know that, we ALL already know that. So THIS guide will attempt to show you what else is good that doesn’t require that kind of steep investment. Things that you can hang in there and compete and CLIMB with in Remix without having to pay an arm and a leg!
  • All Pokémon I break down will have two icons next to their names: 💰s to represent overall cost in terms of dust/candy (combined between second move cost and leveling cost), and then ♻️s to represent how reusable they are outside of just Ultra League Remix (AKA in Open and/or Premier Cup UL play). Both values will be on a scale of 1 to 5, from cheapest to most expensive for 💰s (so less icons, the cheaper) and from least to most reusable for ♻️s (so the more icons, the better!). I want to highlight not just the actual cost, but how worthy that investment is… are these just rentals to get through Remix, or something that will pay itself off over time in future Ultra League play?
  • And one new icon this time: while I updated the writeups for everything in this article that appeared last time, a 💥 will denote things that are entirely new since the UL Remix article last season. Mostly, these will be things that were banned then but are eligible now, but also include some recent risers like Heracross.

Banned Pokémon

Oh, one more quick thing – here’s the ban list for the meta:

That all make sense? Great, then let’s do this thing!


💥 CHARIZARD 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Fire Spin | Dragon Claw & Blast Burnᴸ

Charizard FireFlying

Charizard can go one of two ways here. There’s “classic” with Fire Spin roasting stuff like Gengar and of course Steels (all the major ones, even G-Fisk) and really torching Grasses and Ices (aside from pesky Lapras), and of course separating itself from Typhlosion and other Fires by also handling Fighters… only Machamp and its Rock Slide poses a real threat. There’s also Dragon wannabe Zard with Dragon Breath which trades in FB wins over Gengar, Nidoqueen, A-Ninetales, Toxicroak, and G-Fisk to instead pick off Giratina-O, Dragonite, and Lugia. Either way, Zard does quite a bit, including beating Gengar, Gliscor, Scrafty, and Snorlax that Typhlosion cannot… and thanks largely to Dragon Claw, Zard beats Typh one-on-one too.

TYPHLOSION 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Incinerate/Shadow Claw | Blast Burnᴸ & Solar Beam

Typhlosion Fire

The other side of the Fire starter coin, Typhlosion’s advantages are not being weak to things that hurt Flying, and having Solar Beam that can flip things no Fire should beat, like Jellicent and a potential win over Regirock (tanking a Stone Edge along the way). You can look over the rest of that winlist yourself and see that it capably handles the Fire role with some bonuses along the way. Only other thing I’ll point out is Shadow Claw as an alternative, giving up Umbreon, Escavalier, Nidoqueen, Toxicroak, Sirfetch’d, and Regirock to beat Drifblim, Cofagrigus, and Lugia instead, and turn the tables on opposing Typhs and even Zards. A slight downgrade, granted, but that may fit certain teams better.

BLAZIKEN 💰 | ♻️♻️

Counter | Blaze Kick & Blast Burnᴸ/Stone Edgeᴸ

Blaziken FireFighting

Gaining a little more usefulness this time around with Registeel and Umbreon back in the meta, Blaze is a Fire that handles them and Regirock well (and conveniently, Snorlax and Scrafty too) due to Counter. But that’s a dual-edged sword… it flails helplessly against Poisons and Psychics and Ghosts, and thus Blaze cannot handle them nearly as well as other Fire types. Still, whether with Blast Burn or Stone Edge (which gives up Skarmory and Meganium, but manages to beat Mandibuzz and Blastoise instead), Blaze will absolutely have a role on some teams.

CROBAT 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Air Slash | Poison Fang & Shadow Ball

Crobat PoisonFlying

Golbat’s big bro is legit good in Ultra now. Big Bat easily handles Fighters and Grasses, beats the big Ghosts (including Giratina-O), and resists all of Nidoqueen’s moves and fends her off nicely. Shadow Bat is in many ways a different Pokémon, now outracing big Psychics (DDeoxys, Lugia, and A-Mewtwo) plus Mandibuzz, Typhlosion, and Blastoise, but losing to Dragons it could beat as a non-Shadow (Giratina, Dragonite), Abomasnow, Bronzong, Gyarados, and Politoed. Both versions of Crobat are quite good here, with a super cheap second move and no XL required, so you can build one even from scratch if need be.

ALOLAN GOLEM 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Volt Switch | Rock Blast & Stone Edge

Golem (Alola) RockElectric

If you absolutely must kill Flyers, Fires, Ices, and (most) Waters dead, look no further, with some bonuses like Umbreon and surprisingly even Escavalier thrown in. But if you need to do anything else… look elsewhere. At least A-Golem is viable outside of Remix too, and very inexpensive to build.

💥 VENUSAUR 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

Venusaur GrassPoison

It’s back! Left on the outside looking in last season, this time around Venusaur gets to play. Don’t let the lackluster win/loss numbers get you down: Venusaur absolutely has a place here in handling Fighters and (most) other Grasses in addition to its normal Grass roles, and capably handles any would-be Charmers that may try to skirt around bans. And I don’t normally advocate for Shadow Venusaur, but it DOES mostly keep pace here and has an easier time beating Umbreon in particular.


Smack Down/Vine Whip | Superpower & Energy Ball

Chesnaught GrassFighting

So last time I touted Naught as a spicy Venusaur replacement. With Venusaur now back in the meta, Chesnaught can fill another role: spicy Smack Down ninja. You give up some normal Grass slam dunks like Machamp, Sirfetch’d, Scrafty, and even Blastoise, but you gain stuff no Grass should beat like Charizard, Escavalier, Articuno, Ho-Oh, Dragonite, and Abomasnow, and take out Meganium too. Unprepared opponents won’t even realize what’s happening until it’s too late!

💥 GYARADOS 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Waterfall/Dragon Breath | Aqua Tailᴸ & Crunch

Gyarados WaterFlying

Gary’s unbanned this time around, and while it’s not overpowering, it definitely has a place here. Dragon Breath is obviously better at handling Dragons like Gira and ‘Nite and Waters like JelliBelli and Blastoise, while Waterfall is superior versus Steels (specifically in beating Regi, Escav, and Bronzong) and obviously has a much easier time with Grounds like G-Fisk and Nidoqueen, and is better versus Sirfetch’d too. In both cases, as you can tell by the sims I ran, Shadow is better for locking up wins over A-Mewtwo and also (for Waterfall specifically) DDeoxys, Scrafty, and Gengar.

NIDOQUEEN 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Poison Jab | Poison Fang & Stone Edge/Earth Power/Earthquake

Nidoqueen PoisonGround

As I did last time, I actually argue that non-XL may actually be better than XL. Crazy, right? But hear me out. Level 40 Nidoqueen wins all the same core meta matchups as XL Nidoqueen PLUS Ho-Oh, or if run with Earth Powernon-XL beats XL Queen due to consistently winning CMP. But that’s just the start of it. Earth Power vs Earthquake is one debate, but there’s also Stone Edge, which is more reliable against Ho-Oh and can also bring down the mighty Lugia (and Jellicent too!). There’s also the very potent Shadow Queen, which looks rather similar to normal Queen with Earth Power or Stone Edge, but absolutely surges with Earthquake, now having the killing power to beat out Jellicent (Shadow w/ EP or SE cannot), Bronzong, Typhlosion, Armored Mewtwo, and even Ferrothorn, which is pretty crazy. For Shadow I think it’s clearly Quake that you want, but for normal Queen it’s more a matter of preference. Either way, it’s nice that you don’t HAVE to dip into XLs if you don’t want to!

MACHAMP 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️

Counter | Cross Chop & Paybackᴸ/Rock Slide

Machamp Fighting

Again, I could ramble on a long time here, so let’s keep it simple: regular Champ wants Payback, I think, for the ability to swat down Giratina. Shadow Champ can go with Rock Slide for good all-around coverage, but arguably may prefer Payback as well, gaining PowderTales, Jellicent, Ho-Oh, Gliscor, and Blastoise as compared to non-Shadow Payback Champ, and giving up only super close former wins versus Meganium and Politoed to do it. In whatever flavor, expect Champ to be very popular here, and it’s easily one of the safest long term investments around.

💥 HERACROSS 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️

Counter | Rock Blast & Megahorn

Heracross BugFighting

Just not quite consistent enough to make the list last season, with the double boost of Rock Blast and a buffed MegahornHerarcoss is ready to make a dent this time around. now able to overcome Armored Mewtwo, Blastoise, and even Ho-Oh in addition to the other good it does (handling much of the normal Fighter role while also beating other Fighters, Grasses, and even Psychics like DDeoxys and, as mentioned, A-Mewtwo). Recently raided Heracross around the world are too big for Great League, but here you can unleash them. Expect a good number of opponents to try out their new toy.

SIRFETCH’D 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Counter | Leaf Blade/Night Slash & Close Combat/Brave Bird

Sirfetch'd Fighting

Seemingly the most consistent moveset is Leaf Blade/Close Combat, but there is certainly no lack of alternative move combos, with Night Slash and even Brave Bird perhaps fitting some teams better. Your call, but note that Leaf Blade makes beating Machamp and other Fighters easiest (not to mention stuff like Regirock, without having to self-debuff with CC). Like Machamp, Sirfetch’d has a particularly high reusability factor after Remix is over.

💥 POLIWRATH 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Mud Shot | Ice Punch & Dynamic Punch

Poliwrath WaterFighting

I am sure Scald will be a popular alternative now, but IMO it shouldn’t be. I plan to stick with tried and true Ice Punch/Dynamic Punch for its ability to beat Dragons (‘Nite and even Giratina!), Flyers like Gliscor, and bonuses like Abomasnow too. (Scald’s only signature win is versus Typhlosion, and a savvy double Punch Wrath usually wins that anyway.) It’s not that Poliwrath is the most overpowering Fighter out there, because it certainly isn’t. But its breadth of good work that most other Fighters cannot achieve is truly unique and an experienced Wrath user is used to cleaning house with it in Ultra League. It’s good to see it back in the Remix meta this season.

LUCARIO 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Counter | Power-Up Punch & Shadow Ball/Close Combat

Lucario FightingSteel

There are a few different ways to build your Lucario, and a Close Combat, Fighting-centric version is a good way to go, punching your way to victory over stuff like Skarmory, Typhlosion, Meganium, and Politoed. But if you’re going to choose Luc over other Fighters, I think you’re doing so for Shadow Ball and its ability to take out Giratina and Mewtwo and Lugia and Jellicent and things that no Fighter has any right to handle.

💥 ESCAVALIER 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Counter | Megahorn & Drill Run

Escavalier BugSteel

Freed from the penalty (ban) box this time around, the jack-of-all-trades is loose to make a mark on Remix this season. While not the best output of Fighting, Ground, or Bug damage, Escav’s ability to dabble in all three while having a handy defensive typing makes it a tough out for basically anything but Fire, picking off a number of the format’s top Steel, Psychic, Grass, Ice, Water, Rock, Normal, and Dark types. Most (but not all!) Ghosts, Fighters, and Flyers handle it well enough — along with, of course, the Fires — but Escav is always one to be wary of.

HONCHKROW 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Snarl | Sky Attack & Brave Bird/Dark Pulse

Honchkrow DarkFlying

Honch takes some skill to pilot correctly, as it’s usually a delicate dance about when to pull the suicidal trigger on Brave Bird or just stick with Sky Attack, and it can’t take even steady neutral damage for long, much less anything super effective. But man, it is lightning quick and stressful to face down. You can’t really argue with the potential, especially doubling down on the glass cannon factor by going Shadow 👀 , picking up notable new wins like Lugia, DDeoxys, Politoed, and Drifblim. Or you can remove some of the risk factor by forgoing Brave for Dark Pulse instead, giving up some things like Ho-Oh, Dragonite, Jellicent, and Typhlosion to instead beat Drifblim and Snorlax, or again, go hardcore with Shadow with DP and gain back all four of those I mentioned, as well as DD, Lugia, and amazingly, potentially even Galarian Stunfisk! Honchkrow has bust potential for sure, and I don’t want to deemphasize that it’s high risk… but the BOOM factor is equally sky high. I am once again advocating giving it a second look here.

GENGAR 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball

Gengar GhostPoison

Well, let’s just throw the numbers out there and let you take that in for a moment. You already know about its effectiveness against (non-Confusion) Psychics and probably already knew it outraces fellow Ghosts Drifblim and Giratina and Jellicent. And you already know it dominates Fighters, thanks in large part to triple resisting Fighting damage. Perhaps lesser known is its double resistance to Poison, so Nidoqueen and even Crobat are not so much of an issue (though watch out for Bat’s Shadow Ball!). You also may just now be learning that its relentless, unresisted power can overwhelm and outrace Regirock, Abomasnow, Dragonite, Typhlosion (even if it has Claw), Ho-Oh, Skarmory, Blastoise, Alolan Ninetales, and more. Obviously Darks must be avoided, as well as Confusioners, Ground damage, and even the format’s bigger Grasses (Venu and Aboma especially), but as with last season, there is a lot of room for Gengar to roam here. Note that a (should-be-hypothetical but you know SOMEONE will have one anyway) XL Cofagrigus is potentially even better, but that really should be extremely rare at this point, even moreso than a similarly-leveled Defense Deoxys. But uh… someone will find a waycough Gengar should still get to be top Ghost for one more cycle here.

MUK 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Poison Jab | Thunder Punch & Dark Pulse/Sludge Wave

Muk Poison

Its Alolan cousin is banned, but that shouldn’t stop the OG Muk. And while not quite as potent as A-Muk, K-Muk is certainly viable, capably handling (most all) Fighters and Grasses and even most Ghosts, plus tasty targets like Gyarados, Snorlax, PowderTales, Dragonite, and Skarmory. Alternatively, you can run Shadow Muk with Sludge Wave rather than Dark Pulse, dropping stuff like Lugia, Giratina, Skarmory, and Meganium, but instead beating Mandibuzz, Toxicroak, Ferrothorn, Drifblim, and Jellicent. You have options here, which is always nice since the opponent likely won’t know quite what to expect.

RAPIDASH 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Incinerate | Drill Run & Flame Charge

Rapidash Fire

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit, as Rapidash technically only gets up in range of 2500 CP at Level 41, but Level 40 Dash does all the same things, so it counts! And what it does is of course torch Grasses and Ices and Steels, but Drill Run allows it to also trample Nidoqueen and Toxicroak and Snorlax and Sirfetch’d and, yes, Galarian Stunfisk. And you might be surprised to hear that it’s not just a one-time rental investment, either… Rapidash is a, well, dark horse in Open UL too, particularly if you DO decide to make an XL investment. 🐎

MAGNEZONE 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Spark | Mirror Shot & Wild Charge

Magnezone ElectricSteel

‘Zone conveniently tackles Flyers, Waters, and Ices and simply outraces things like Umbreon, Escavalier, and Gengar too. Heck, it can even almost overcome Machamp if all goes well, which is pretty nuts. Shadow ‘Zone is obviously a bit shakier, but manages to hold all the same wins besides Aboma and Zard and somehow picks up Typhlosion (yes, with Incinerate!).

SNORLAX 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Lick | Body Slam & Superpower

Snorlax Normal

Regular Lax is okay enough, but it’s really hangry Lax that should garner your attention here. It cannot normally beat Ferrothorn or A-Mewtwo like NormaLax can, but look at the pickups: Regirock, Aboma, Dragonite, Gliscor, Politoed, Blastoise, and more. And that’s on top of already squashing G-Fisk and Ghosts and big Psychics and Skarm and more. ShadowLax is a good option in all Ultra formats… Remix is no exception.

SHADOW FLYGON 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Dragon Tail | Earth Powerᴸ & Dragon Claw

Flygon (Shadow) GroundDragon

It’s really Shadow Flygon that you want here, with the potential to overcome the likes of G-Fisk, Umbreon, DD, Giratina, the Regis, the Fires, and a slew of others. It’s a truly impressive performance. Dragon Tail Flygon is legit now, and this is a great time to build one up for Ultra if you haven’t already. (Just look out for Ice! 🥶) Shadow Flygon should have persistent, lasting value from here forward.

DRAGONITE 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Dragon Breath | Dragon Claw & Hurricane/Draco Meteorᴸ

Dragonite DragonFlying

A few tweaks since last season. Shadow ‘Nite is arguably the better option now with more consistent wins over Umbreon and Cofagrigus, who weren’t in Season 8’s Remix meta, as well as Mandibuzz and Gliscor. If you want to run regular ‘Nite, it’s a little better with Draco Meteor (rather than Hurricane) because that alone can potentially beat DD, and regular Dragonite’s bulk allows it to overcome Snorlax as well (Shadow ‘Nite cannot). ‘Nite’s biggest problem is losing rather handily to G-Fisk and the Regis, and having no advantages over things like Nidoqueen or Skarmory or many other big names either. But it’s a decent enough filler that can dominate a good swath of the overall meta with its raw, spammy power, and you very likely already have at least one ready to go off the shelf. That has value too.

GOODRA 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Dragon Breath | Muddy Water & Draco Meteor

Goodra Dragon

Slightly more interesting is Goodra, mostly on the virtue of not being a dead draw to Regirock (which it actually usually beats) or Galarian Stunfisk (which still wins, but Goodra at least keeps it honest with Muddy Water spam). Despite the numbers, Dragonite still does a bit more overall, especially versus Fighters, as Goodra’s wins are a bit inflated by Muddy baits. But it undoubtedly has real value here and lasting value in open UL formats, and could fit like a glove on some players’ teams. Perhaps yours!

MILOTIC 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Dragon Tail | Surf & Blizzard/Hyper Beam

Milotic Water

Not a Dragon, but does a good imitation thanks to Dragon Tail. Combined with the nice spam of Surf and big closing power with Blizzard (Ice is ALWAYS nice in Ultra!), everything just adds up for a fantastic performance for Milotic. Tail not surprisingly handles other Dragons (the ONLY ones Millie cannot consistently beat are Dialga, Dragalge, and maxed out XL Altaria), Surf is sufficient to take out G-Fisk (and other Grounds like Nidoqueen and Gliscor) and douses the major Fires, and Blizzard brings down the big Flyers (Lugia, Mandibuzz, Drifblim), and the combination of them all nixes many of the biggest names here: DDeoxys, Machamp/Sirfetch’d, Cofagrigus, Toxicroak, Skarmory, Snorlax, Articuno, Umbreon and more. Put all together with Milotic’s impressive bulk, and it just works. Do note that she’s best with a shield, though.

💥 LAPRAS 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Ice Shardᴸ | Surf & Blizzard/Ice Beamᴸ

Lapras WaterIce

No longer banned this time, Lapras is free and very good in Remix. So good is Ice here that Blizzard actually checks in as the best overall second move (alongside the Surf that beats stuff like G-Fisk, Zard, Queen, and PowderTales), though the Ice Beam one you’re more likely have built already is fine too. (Blizzard beats Blatoise and Aboma in 1v1 shielding, Beam instead outraces Meganium.) With shields down, though, Blizzard is very clearly better than Beam or anything else… it’s worth building for post-Remix Ultra use, IMO.

CHARMERS 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️

SHADOW GARDEVOIR: Charm | Shadow Ball & Synchronoise

SYLVEON: Charm | Psyshockᴸ & Moonblast

Gardevoir (Shadow) PsychicFairy Sylveon Fairy

Last time, it was a pretty so-so meta for Charmers, with Umbreon, Gyarados, and Poliwrath all banned. With them all back in, Charm might get to go out there and make more of a dent this time. While super expensive (and therefore not in this article) Alolan Ninetales is easily Queen of the Charmers here (with Clefable and Togekiss both being out), there are other, non-XL alternatives. The overall best ones look to be Shadow Gardevoir (with its typing allowing it to handle Armored Mewtwo and its raw power overwhelming Toxicroak, Gliscor, and A-Ninetales) and the newly improved Sylveon (which instead outbulks Jellicent, Lapras, and Snorlax). Neither are A-Tales, but both are plenty serviceable.

GALLADE 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Confusion | Leaf Blade & Close Combat

Gallade PsychicFighting

Both regular and Shadow Gallade will surely make appearances in this meta, as it has a very devoted following in Ultra League already. Non-Shadow gets my vote for its ability to beat out Escavalier, Nidoqueen, Abomasnow, Snorlax, and especially G-Fisk, but there’s a case for Shadow and its wins against Jellicent, Dragonite, PowderTales, and Gengar instead.

AMPHAROS 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Volt Switch | Thunder Punch & Focus Blast

Ampharos Electric

Amphy would be an unremarkable (though solid enough) Electric except for one exceptional factor: Focus Blast. With that, not only does Ampharos Flyers and Waters, but also stuff like Umbreon, Ferrothorn, Scrafty, Bronzong, and the Regis. Or even better, Shadow Amphy, which does lose to Scrafty but gains Dragonite, Politoed, and Gengar and has a pretty respectable overall record all of a sudden. And while G-Fisk is usually still going to win, it too MUST shield or risk utter disaster.

ELECTIVIRE 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️

Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Wild Charge

Electivire Electric

As with Amphy, both regular and Shadow are good here, with regular beating the Regis and Gengar, and Shadow overpowering Umbreon, Escavalier, Typhlosion, and Machamp. Also like Amphy, while the Electric damage is solid, it’s the non-Electric move that makes Electivire interesting. Ice Punch is handy for slaying Dragons and Gliscor, but also baits out Wild Charge to finish off stuff like the Regis, Bronzong, Toxicroak, and Ho-Oh.


So excluding Defense Deoxys (which would have 5 ♻️s but also probably six 💰s if it was part of this analysis) and now-unbanned Registeel, these can all be built under Level 40 (usually under Level 30, even), but of course all cost 100,000 dust and 100 candy to add a second move. Therefore I won’t be ranking 💰s here… just assume they’re all at 💰💰💰💰 due to that second move cost.


Shadow Claw/Dragon Tail | Shadow Ball & Ominous Wind/Dragon Pulse

Giratina (Origin) GhostDragon

How’s that for noncommittal with the recommended moves, huh? 😅 There really is a case for basically any move combination you can come up with. The highest ceiling is with the all-Ghost set (Shadow Claw/Shadow Ball/Ominous Wind), and while it IS of course the most heavily reliant on baits, that’s not entirely so… it’s still really good even when the baits don’t all work. (That sim turns off “bait shields with low-energy moves”.) Many of those wins come with just Shadow Ball… the only wins that really require baiting with Wind to win are Politoed and outracing the KO Shadow Balls of Drifblim and opposing Giratinas. There’s also a case to be made for the buffed Dragon Tail, which does struggle more versus Jellicent, Lugia, and Steels like Ferrothorn and Bronzong, but more easily beats Politoed, and uniquely turns the tables on Dragonite and Goodra, as well as Nidoqueen. Whichever moves you prefer, as you survey the Pokémon you have left in this meta, don’t forget about the Origin Giratina you’ve likely used before. It’s still very, very good in this format.


Confusion | Psystrikeᴸ & Dynamic Punch/Earthquake

Mewtwo (Armored) Psychic

Regular Mewtwo is a little too squishy, but we’re talking about the bulked up Armored version, which is a much better fit here. There is some debate to be had over Dynamic Punch (simmed above), which beats Scrafty, Skarmory, and Ferrothorn, or Earthquake, which instead handles PowderTales and wins the mirror (and is actually a better weapon versus Galarian Stunfisk, nearly tipping the scales). Either one beats Regirock, and the unfortunately-necessary Legacy move Psystrike handles the rest, including Fighters, Dragons (not named Giratina), Waters, Fires, Nidoqueen, Gliscor, Abomasnow, and even Gengar! Here’s another case of not forgetting about something really good in Remix that you may already have on hand.


Lock-On | Stone Edge & Focus Blast

Regirock Rock

So it’s not that Regirock has an overwhelming projected win/loss record, because it really doesn’t. It’s that most people have one ready to bring to bear, and the core meta has in many ways formed around it and G-Fisk. Yes, there are plenty of Fighters and Grounds and Waters around to cause Regirock headaches, but if you’re not bringing a hard counter like that, it’s going to put you… well, between a you-know-what and a hard place. Its Stone Edge is the fastest charge move any of the Regis can bring to bear, coming a second and a half faster than Registeel’s Flash Cannon, and you KNOW how quickly ‘Steel races to that in battle. Again, Stone Edge comes nearly two seconds earlier. Think about that, and the kind of pressure it brings. Regirock can absolutely dominate.

LUGIA ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Dragon Tail | Sky Attack & Aeroblastᴸ/Hydro Pump

Lugia PsychicFlying

I’m sure telling you that Lugia is good here is equivalent to telling you the sky is blue. Like, duh. Notable wins include not just the obvious Fighters and Psychics and Grass, but also Fires, Waters (Blastie and Poli), Gliscor, and of course Dragons thanks to Dragon Tail. The less obvious but potentially big brain play would be NOT running with Aeroblast, but instead with Hydro Pump. While Lugia struggles to finish off Ferrothorn, Blastoise, and Jellicent that way, it does give it a tremendous weapon to wield against Regirock and Galarian Stunfisk, and of course Steels in general that resist Dragon and Flying damage. It doesn’t sim great with shields and all, but catching one of them napping with a Pump could be backbreaking.

YVELTAL ♻️♻️♻️

Gust | Dark Pulse & Focus Blast/Hurricane

Yveltal DarkFlying

The key is to forgo the more popular Snarl and go with Gust. I’ve written about Yvette’s potential in Ultra League before, and most of what makes Snarl special isn’t in the Remix meta. Gust bullies the Fighters and Grasses here, Dark Pulse handles the Ghosts and Psychics (even Lugia), and either Focus Blast or Hurricane delivers the killing blow to Mandibuzz… which second move you go with is sort of a matter of preference and which coverage you want. Personally I’d go with Blast, but that’s YOUR call, dear reader.

💥 ARTICUNO ♻️♻️♻️

Ice Shard | Icy Wind & Hurricaneᴸ/Ice Beam

Articuno IceFlying

Of the ten Pokemon off the Remix ban list since last season, Artie is probably not who you’d think of first in terms of impact, but as mentioned above with Lapras, Ice is very nice in this meta! Articuno picks up the obvious (wins versus Grasses, Bugs, Grounds, Flyers, Dragons, most Fighters), but also overwhelms other big name staples like Umbreon, Gengar, Snorlax, A-Mewtwo, even Jellicent thanks in large part to grinding them down with Icy Wind debuffs. Going in for the kill with Legacy Hurricane is best, but if you can’t get that, Ice Beam works fine too, doing the same job except for Jelli. Articuno could have a HUGE impact on the meta this time around!

HO-OH ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Incinerate | Brave Bird & Earthquakeᴸ

Ho-Oh FireFlying

No Charizard or Talonflame? Enter the Fire Turkey! 🔥 Like those other flaming birds, Ho-Oh can beat G-Fisk, which is quite nice. Unlike them, it has a tougher time overcoming Gengar, Drifblim, Mandibuzz, and even Skarmory (it needs to shield Skarm’s own Brave Bird to pull that one out), but it still manages to roast a good chunk of the meta.

💥 VICTINI ♻️♻️♻️

Confusion | V-Create & Overheat/Focus Blast

Victini PsychicFire

While I do think Victini is best left in Great League, if you’re a rebel that built yours up to Ultra League size anyway, then sure, it does good stuff here as a solid Fire that also tangles with Fighters, Poisons, and opposing Fires thanks to that heavy Confusion damage. Smoke ’em if you got ’em!

ZAPDOS ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Thunder Shockᴸ | Drill Peck & Thunderbolt/Thunder

Zapdos ElectricFlying

Not a ton to say here, really. You already know regular and especially Shadow Zappy can do when utilized properly. G-Fisk and Regirock are always going to be problems, as well as Ice and Giratina and stuff like Nidoqueen and Snorlax and DDeoxys. There’s no getting around that. But Zapdos can handle a LOT of the riffraff around those core pieces, and again, may be all ready to go already.

RAIKOU ♻️♻️♻️

Volt Switch | Shadow Ball & Wild Charge

Raikou Electric

Another under the radar potential standout, Raikou, like the other Electrics listed earlier, is here more for what it does beyond just the standard Electric role (which, yes, it handles fine). The twist in this case is Shadow Ball, which gives it extra punch against Lugia, Bronzong, Jellicent, Drifblim and others without having to self-debuff with Wild Charge, which is a big plus. But it also allows Raikou to specifically handle Dragonite and Gengar, and come this close 🤏 to even taking out Giratina. (Literally one extra Volt Switch sneaking in would do the trick.) Raikou admittedly still has a limited role, but it’s a decent little niche to occupy.

MEW ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Shadow Claw or User Choice | Dragon Claw & User Choice

Mew Psychic

Yes, obviously Mew is good and can do some serious damage, and makes shielding decisions a nightmare. But pinpointing the “best” moves is almost impossible. Shadow Claw is usually the fast move you want to roll with, but even that’s not the only way to go. Dragon Claw is a really good move to have in Open Ultra and sims well in general in Remix, but it’s not strictly required. And the second move is even more up in the air. Wild ChargeOverheatFocus Blast ? There are a bunch of ways you can go, and certainly multiple combinations without Dragon Claw that could work out nicely too. Trick out Mew however it best fits YOUR team… if you have one at the right size for Ultra, of course.


I’m almost done, I promise. Just wanted to quick throw out a few more options to consider that you may have the XL candy for already, things that can be leveled into the low 40s and work out.

  • MEGANIUM defaults to the upper 40s in sims, but fun fact: leveling a near-hundo to around Level 43 is great too. It loses to Giratina and Gengar which XL Meg can (barely) overcome, but having a higher Attack means it wins the mirror (much like XL vs non-XL Nidoqueen) and also allows it to beat Scrafty and even DDeoxys, while still easily handling G-Fisk and Regirock and Jellicent and Snorlax and a lot more. Neat!
  • DRAPION is pretty good in this meta at Level 47 or so. Nice to know then that a hundo Level 41.5 Drap is right there too. It gives up wins high XL Drap enjoys over Meganium, Dragonite, and PowderTales… though even then it has only 10 HP left against Meg and less than 5 HP against the other two, so they’re hardly safe. That much lower level hundo Drap I mentioned keeps everything else and actually gains BIG wins (50 HP or more remaining) versus Abomasnow and Ho-Oh. It’s a sneaky and very viable play. Shadow is a bit worse, though, no matter how high or low level.
  • SLOWBRO with Water Gun (and only at like Level 41.5) is a handy counter to G-Fisk and Regirock that also blunts DDeoxys, Skarmory, A-Mewtwo, PowderTales, Toxicroak, Charizard, and other top tier Pokémon. Yes, Confusion is more standard, but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting, as everyone will expect Confusion and those few seconds while they figure out something is wrong can make all the difference.
  • It’s a little bit of a stretch, but if you can get TENTACRUEL to Level 44 or so, it can beat everything the underrated XL Tentachthulhu can except Dragonite and Ferrothorn. That list includes Fighters, Grasses, Ices, Fires, Mandibuzz, Snorlax, Nidoqueen, and Regirock, so it’s a good list.


I’ll go through these even more briefly and then we’re done!

ABOMASNOW is a top tier option, usually right near Level 50. But even a Level 44.5 Aboma does all the same things except beat Regirock. (That requires Level 46ish.)…. ALOLAN RAICHU is good as an XL, but you can underlevel it and capture nearly the same performance (just losing Politoed–sometimes–depending on how you shield)…. Speaking of POLITOED, it also usually wants to be deep into XL investment, but you can keep it MUCH lower level and not miss out on much, giving up Mandibuzz and Gengar but winning the mirror (CMP ties) and potentially outracing Ferrothorn…. What is it with Politoed being the lone holdout when comparing mid-40s hundos and high-40s XL? DRAGALGE is another one, with Toed being the one thing that high XL can (barely) beat and Level 44 cannot…. And finally, DRIFBLIM is one of the very best Pokemon in this format, and while the assumption is you can achieve its high marks at very high levels, that’s simply not true: Level 44 Blim has all the same wins–and all still comfortable wins–with the only difference being it now loses the mirror instead of tying. That’s a place where you can save yourself a cargo ship’s worth of resources.

And beyond that we’re into the huge investments of DD and Registeel and Cofagrigus and Jellicent and Scrafty and G-Fisk and Mandibuzz and Skarmory and Ferrothorn and all the rest you’ll see emblazoned on graphics and splattered across YouTube and Twitch and elsewhere in the coming days, as well as some under the radar splurges like Bronzong, Serperior, Whiscash, Galvantula, Forretress, and Mantine which get very interesting at or around Level 50; if you’re somehow rich in XL candy for any of those, look them up and go nuts, but that’s not really the point of this write-up….

And finally, we are done! Hopefully this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust and candy, and more than that, encourages you to give Ultra League Remix a try. You don’t have to forgo it thinking “I just don’t have any XLs to compete!” After reading this, I hope you feel better about forging in even without XLs and giving it a go. I do really, truly, firmly believe it can be done, and done WELL. Best of luck, my friends!

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 sincerely hope this helps you master Ultra League Remix (again), and as always, in the most affordable way possible. Go get ’em, 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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