The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP limited metas: Ultra League Remix (1.0?), 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:
- I made the decision while working on this article to stick to things that can be used without XL candy investment… my “thrifty” nature shining out, I guess. 🤑 My reasoning is that most infographics and guides that have come out (or are still in progress) are primarily focused on the big XL Pokémon that occupy much of the top portion of Ultra League Remix rankings. Things like Galarian Stunfisk, Jellicent, Abomasnow, Scrafty, Mandibuzz, Alolan Ninetales, Meganium, Skarmory, and the biggest terror of them all: the Level 50 Defense Deoxys that hardcore grinders just recently finished building and are just itching to use. 😬 Yes, the XLs are all ranked there for a reason, and the meta will in many ways revolve around them. You don’t need me to tell you they’re 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 within Remix without having to pay an arm and a leg. But even if you DO plan to roll with multiple XLs, I still recommend continuing on in this article, as it will show a number of things that beat those big bad XL Pokémon and help not only your opponents prepare to face you, but for you to better adjust to your opponents!
- 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 levelling 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 fewer 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?
- To some degree, those assigned values are all somewhat subjective, but I TRY to base them on reality and numbers. As I simulated all these Pokémon, I looked at them not just in Remix, but also matched up against Open/Premier UL metas to inform my reusability score, for example.
That all make sense? Great, then let’s do this thing!
Oh, one more quick thing – here’s the ban list for the meta:
Non-Legendary & Non-XL
Typhlosion 💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Incinerate/Shadow Claw | Blast Burnᴸ & Solar Beam
Your best straight-up Charizard replacement, though with some key differences, of course: Zard is better versus Fighters, and its Dragon Claw baits allow it to better outrace Snorlax and Gengar and a couple of others, while Typhlosion can better handle Jellicent (nuking it with a late Solar Beam) and eke out a win over Regirock (tanking a Stone Edge along the way). You can look over the rest of that win list yourself and see that it capably handles the Fire role with some bonuses along the way. The only other thing I’ll point out is Shadow Claw as an alternative, giving up Nidoqueen, Toxicroak, Sirfetch’d, and Regirock to beat Drifblim and Lugia instead, and win the mirror match. A slight downgrade, granted, but that may fit certain teams better.
There’s also BLAZIKEN, which is a Fire that handles Galarian Stunfisk and Regirock well (and conveniently, Snorlax and Scrafty too) due to Counter. But that’s a dual-edged sword… Counter also means it flails helplessly against Poisons and Psychics and Ghosts, and thus Blaze cannot handle them nearly as well as other Fire types. But it will absolutely have a niche role on some teams and is similarly cheap as Typhlosion.
Crobat 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Air Slash | Poison Fang & Shadow Ball
Golbat’s big bro finally gets to play with the addition of Poison Fang and a meta that lets it stretch its leathery wings. The 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) and Abomasnow and maxed Bronzong. 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
If you absolutely must kill Flyers, Fires, Ices, and (most) Waters dead, look no further. If you need to do anything else… look elsewhere. At least A-Golem is viable outside of Remix too, and super cheap to build.
Aggron 💰 | ♻️♻️
Smack Down | Heavy Slam & Stone Edge/Thunder
I know, I know… it’s Aggron and all the stigmas that go along with it. But it is also perhaps even a slightly better A-Golem, so don’t laugh TOO much. Even Aggron has a potential role to play in this kind of meta and can be built dirt cheap.
Chesnaught 💰 | ♻️♻️
Vine Whip | Superpower & Energy Ball
Grasses are at a premium here, especially ones that don’t require XL investment. Chesnaught has flaws, but it’s serviceable, and conveniently beats other Fighters and Snorlax, filling in that role of Venusaur nicely. And between the Grass moves and Superpower there are multiple ways to slam the door on things like G-Fisk and the Regis, and it also handily beats Ferrothorn, something the vast majority of Grasses cannot do. Just remember to change its fast move to Smack Down after Remix is over, which gives it a potent niche in Open UL, but is even more niche in Remix and probably not the way to go unless you just love springing spicy surprises.
Nidoqueen 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Poison Jab | Poison Fang & Earthquake/Stone Edge/Earth Power
Quite a bit to discuss with the Queen, but I’ll try to keep it succinct. First off, I’m going to 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 Power, non-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 it’s more a matter of preference for normal Queen. 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
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 Mandibuzz, 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.
Sirfetch’d 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️
Counter | Leaf Blade/Night Slash & Close Combat/Brave Bird
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.
Lucario 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Counter | Power-Up Punch & Shadow Ball/Close Combat
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 think that no Fighter has any right to be beating outright like that.
Honchcrow 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Snarl | Sky Attack & Brave Bird/Dark Pulse
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 factors 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 its high risk… but the BOOM factor is equally sky-high.
Gengar 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Shadow Ball
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 formats bigger Grasses (Ferro, Meg), but there’s a lot of room for Gengar to roam here.
Muk 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Poison Jab | Thunder Punch & Dark Pulse/Sludge Wave
Its Alolan cousin is banned, but that shouldn’t stop the OG Muk (unless Niantic is again unable to distinguish between Kanto and Alolan Pokémon… but that would never happen, right? 😏). 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 Blastoise, Snorlax, PowderTales, Dragonite, and even 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.
Roserade 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Bullet Seedᴸ/Poison Jab | Weather Ball (Fire)ᴸ & Leaf Storm
If you’re gonna go with a Grass, at least pick one that can do neat stuff like beat Fighters and the other Grasses. Rose is far from perfect–it does beat Regirock and Gengar and Snorlax and such, but crumples to G-Fisk and DD and Queen and some big names–but it’s an intriguing option in this meta. You can even run it with Poison Jab here if that suits your fancy (beating Toxicroak that way!).
Rapidash 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Incinerate | Drill Run & Flame Charge
Okay, I’m cheating a little bit, as Rapidash technically only gets up in the 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! 🐎
Mamoswine 💰💰 | ♻️♻️
Powder Snow | Avalanche & Stone Edge
I’m not saying I would use Mamo in Ultra, but people will in Remix, I’m almost sure of it. And sure, it’s alright, handling G-Fisk and Queen nicely in addition to the Flyers and Dragons and even Fires you expect it to beat. But it’s just that… “all right”, and doesn’t have a ton of use in more open Ultra play. But sure, go for it… you could do worse.
Magnezone 💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Spark | Mirror Shot & Wild Charge
Speaking of handling Flyers…. ‘Zone also conveniently tackles Waters, Ices, and simply outraces things like 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 and somehow beat even Typhlosion (yes, with Incinerate!). That IS nuts. ‘Zone holds serious value in open Ultra too.
Milotec 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Dragon Tail | Surf & Blizzard/Hyper Beam
Milly is perpetually underrated. But especially with the recent-ish buff to Dragon Tail, her stock has soared. 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. Tail not surprisingly handles other Dragons (the ONLY ones Milly 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, Toxicroak, Skarmory, Snorlax, Blastoise and more. Put all together with Milotic’s impressive bulk, and it just works. Do note that she’s best with a shield, though.
Snorlax 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Lick | Body Slam & Superpower
Am I the only one surprised that Snorlax did NOT get the ban hammer? I don’t know about you, but Snorlax seemed to me like an Ultra League staple… I’ve faced a ton of them down. But here we are, with Snorlax allowed in Remix. Regular Lax is okay enough, but it’s really hangry Lax that should garner your attention here. While it cannot normally beat Ferrothorn or A-Mewtwo, 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 Typhlosion. Shadow Lax is a good option in all Ultra formats… Remix is no exception.
Shadow Flygon 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Dragon Tail | Earth Powerᴸ & Dragon Claw
Also suddenly surprisingly good in all Ultra formats: Shadow Flygon. 👀 And it’s particularly eye-popping here in Remix, with the potential to overcome the likes of G-Fisk, DD, Regirock, Giratina, and a slew of others. It’s a truly impressive performance that I honestly didn’t expect when I started poking around at it. 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.
Gliscor 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Wing Attack | Night Slash & Earthquake
Another oddball Ground with a 75k move unlock that has to be pushed to about Level 40, only in this instance, I think the better case may be for non-Shadow, which defeats Fighters (and DD), Poisons, Dragons, Bronzong, G-Fisk and others, and at least with the right IVs, can overcome Armored Mewtwo and Regirock as well. Shadow Gliscor is much more reliable versus Regirock and G-Fisk but shakier elsewhere.
Dragonite 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Dragon Breath | Dragon Claw & Hurricane/Draco Meteorᴸ
Dragonite is good in Ultra… who knew? Oh, only like everyone. 😜 And yes, it’s solid in Remix too. Draco Meteor is slightly better if you have it, more easily overcoming Mandibuzz and DDeoxys, but Hurricane is fine too (and uniquely beats Ferrothorn). ‘Nite’s biggest problem is losing rather handily to G-Fisk and Regirock 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 one ready to go off the shelf. That has value too.
Goodra 💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️♻️
Dragon Breath | Muddy Water & Draco Meteor
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!
Shadow Gardevoir 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️
Charm | Shadow Ball (& Synchronoiseᴸ, if you have it)
I haven’t really mentioned Charmers at all, have I? Yes, Clefable and Togekiss are both banned, but that isn’t a death knell to Charm. What IS is the fact that this just isn’t a great meta for Charm. No Umbreon or Gyarados or Poliwrath or Swampert or Obstagoon or Altered Giratina means there just aren’t the same number of juicy targets to Charm into oblivion. But if you’re insistent on trying anyway, Shadow Gard is probably your best bet. No, NOT the suddenly popular Granbull… S-Gard can beat DDeoxys, A-Mewtwo, and Gliscor while Granbull usually cannot. Gardevoir’s Psychic sub-typing is its greatest strength here (with the Psychic and extra Fighting resistance that come with it) and makes the ONLY Charmer I would give any serious consideration to relying on.
Gallade 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Confusion | Leaf Blade & Close Combat
The other side of the Ralts coin. Both regular and Shadow will surely make appearances in this meta, as Gallade has a devoted following already. Non-Shadow gets my vote for its ability to beat out 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
Amphy would be an unremarkable (though solid enough) Electric except for one exceptional factor: Focus Blast. With that, not only does Ampharos beat Flyers and Waters, but also stuff like Ferrothorn, Scrafty, Bronzong, and Regirock. What’s even better is 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 MUST shield or risk utter disaster.
Electivire 💰💰💰💰 | ♻️♻️♻️
Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Wild Charge
As with Amphy, both regular and Shadow are good here. Also like Amphy, while the Electric damage is solid, it’s the non-Electric move that makes Electivire interesting. No, not Community Day move Flamethrower, but Ice Punch, which is handy for slaying Dragons and Gliscor and outracing stuff like Gengar, but yes, and also baiting out Wild Charge to finish off stuff like Regirock, Bronzong, Toxicroak, and Ho-Oh. Shadow Vire gives up Regirock and Gengar to outrace Machamp and Typhlosion, so pick your pleasure.
Golurk 💰💰💰 | ♻️
Mud Slap | Shadow Punch & Dynamic Punch
Gonna end the non-XLs with a spicy deep sleeper pick. As a rare Ground/Ghost-type, Golurk is left with some worrying vulnerabilities (Dark, Ghost, Grass, Ice, AND Water), but also some intriguing resistances: Bug and Rock, and double resistances to Normal, Poison, Electric, and Fighting damage. You can probably already guess what some of those mean: reliable wins over G-Fisk and Regirock, Machamp and Sirfetch’d, Nidoqueen and Toxicroak, and more. And while Golurk is stuck with the lacklustre Mud Slap, that actually makes several of those wins particularly easy, as well as handling Bronzong and beating Regirock, Champ, Queen, Croak, and fiery Typhlosion with just fast moves and pocketing a ton of energy along the way. But the charge moves do work too, particularly the surprising Dynamic Punch, with which Lurk can amazingly even overcome noted Ghostbuster Snorlax (non-Shadow, at least). It’s not a huge win list, but all that means is that its role as slayer of some of the very best of the best names in Remix will be overlooked by many. It is legit worthy of your consideration as a Remix giant slayer, though even I will admit this IS more of a Remix-only play and not all that great in Open Ultra. Hence: spice!
Legendaries & Mythicals
So excluding Defense Deoxys (which would have 5 ♻️s but also probably six 💰s if it was part of this analysis), these can all be brought to bear 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 four due to that move cost.
Giratina (Origin Forme) ♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️
Shadow Claw/Dragon Tail | Shadow Ball & Ominous Wind/Dragon Pulse
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 Giratina. 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
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
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.
It’s less heralded, but REGICE is absolutely viable too. Unlike Regirock, it has little trouble with Grounds and of course has obvious applications against things like Abomasnow and Dragons with its Blizzard, and Earthquake is a nice coverage move that also comes faster than Registeel’s Flash Cannon. Don’t overlook the red-headed stepchild of the Regis.
Dragon Tail | Sky Attack & Aeroblastᴸ/Hydro Pump
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.
Dragon Breath | Dragon Claw & Psychic
Maybe one you forgot about, but Latios is a solid Dragonite variant that has a couple good things going for it: its Psychic subtyping means that it beats Armored Mewtwo, which Dragonite cannot, and its lack of Flying (as with Dragonite) means it has less to fear from Regirock and beats it outright in a neutral-on-neutral slugfest. Latios also usually beats Dragonite head to head thanks to a superior Attack stat (dealing more damage with fast moves and winning CMP). But there is a downside: being weak to Ghost and Dark means that Latios, unlike Dragonite, usually loses out to Mandibuzz, Scrafty, and Snorlax. But still, it’s a very underrated alternative to everyone’s favorite Dragon.
Gust | Dark Pulse & Focus Blast/Hurricane
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.
Incinerate | Brave Bird & Earthquakeᴸ
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.
There’s also MOLTRES in the same basic role, though in that case you really want Shadow Moltres, but that’s obviously a more expensive route, and Moltres cannot beat G-Fisk. Probably not worth the trouble.
Thunder Shockᴸ | Drill Peck & Thunderbolt/Thunder
Not a ton to say here, really. You already know what 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.
Volt Switch | Shadow Ball & Wild Charge
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.
Confusion | Seed Bomb & Leaf Storm
No, don’t laugh, I’m actually serious. If you were considering using Exeggutor (I’ve gotten a few questions about that one), Celebi is just better now since it gained Leaf Storm, adding on things like A-Mewtwo, Gliscor, Snorlax, and even Dragonite that Eggy cannot match, in addition to their shared domination of Fighters, Waters, Gengar, and even Regirock. (And with a single Confusion‘s worth of energy lead, Celebi can outrace G-Fisk too, another clear advantage it has over Exeggutor.) It’s probably best to label Celebi as spice, but it feels like it has more potential than that on the right team. 🤔
Shadow Claw or User Choice | Dragon Claw & User Choice
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 Charge? Overheat? Focus 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.
Light XL Investment
I’m almost done, I promise. Just wanted to quickly throw out a few more options to consider that you may have the XL candy for already, things that can be levelled 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, 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.
- A hundo Level 42.5 ZANGOOSE can do literally everything a high XL Goose (or even #1 IV XL Zangoose) can. Just sayin’.
- 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.
Moderate XL Investment
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 trying. 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 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 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, and as always, in the most affordable way possible. Go get ’em, Pokéfriends!