Nifty Or Thrifty: Weather Cup (Ultra League)

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Hello again, fellow PvPers!

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats — Weather Cup, in this case — particularly focused on Pokémon where you can save yourself some stardust. As is typical for the NoT series, I’ll cover not only the top meta picks but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs… but with this being our first true Cup in Ultra League, I’ll also try to really highlight areas where you can spend less (or even zero) XL candy and still squeeze out a good performance. Because especially for one-week formats like this, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to compete without breaking our budget.

So here we go. We’ll start as we usually do with the cheapest (10,000 dust second move unlock) options, and steam on ahead until we reach the most expensive (100,000 dust). But I will ALSO be spending some time talking about XL candy investment. And to make that easier to figure out, in addition to discussion on XL, I will also use a quick visual chart with money bags (💰): one for things that require no XL candy or very, very little, two 💰s for things that need to be levelled into the mid-40s, and three 💰s for Pokémon that really need to be pushed right up near (or at) Level 50.

Let’s get to it!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

SWAMPERT 💰

Swampert WaterGround

Mud Shot | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Earthquake

Starting with what many people consider the scourge of PvP, Swampert is just as meta in Ultra League formats as it is in Great League… if not more so. And while it’s not quite that dominant in Weather Cup, there is no doubt it is smack dab in the middle of the meta, beating not only the vast majority of Rocks and Fires and Ices as you’d expect, but also most of its fellow Waters, to include things like Jellicent, Poliwrath, and Lapras, and Swampert’s Ground damage is especially deadly to the subtypings of things like Tentacruel (Poison), Empoleon (Steel), and Lanturn (Electric). Swampert is a very reliable check to many of the bigger names in the Weather Cup meta. And unlike in Open Ultra League, where Shadow Swampert is slightly worse, here it looks like Shadow Swampie may be a tad better, losing now to Poliwrath but adding on Kingdra, Samurott, and Tapu Fini.

SAMUROTT 💰

Samurott Water

Fury Cutter | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Megahorn

Swampert’s specialty is being a Ground that masquerades as mere Water. Now Samurott’s schtick is being a Water that masquerades as a Bug, running best with Fury Cutter and big bad Megahorn, alongside potent Hydro Cannon which provides plenty of Water damage all on its own. This allows Sammie to still do most Water things (beating up on Rocks and Fires) while also handling things like Abomasnow AND dealing steady neutral damage to fellow Waters, allowing it to — unlike Swampert — beat Walrein, Politoed, and Swampert itself in the head to head. (Conversely, it fails to overcome Lanturn, Jellicent, or Tapu Fini as Swampert does, those last two actually resisting Bug damage.) But there’s more. I do not typically go into a lot of detailed IV discussion in these particular writeups, mostly just because I have so many Pokémon to go through that I just don’t have the time to dive too deep into what I write. But I DO typically check a few different IV spreads, and in this case, I feel compelled to point out how much better a high Attack Samurott is than a more standard higher bulk version. Not only does higher Attack win the mirror match (thanks to winning CMP), but it adds on Alolan Ninetales and, even more surprisingly, Bug-resistant Alolan Sandslash… all while still overcoming everything that higher bulk Sammies can. Something to think about as you scroll through your Community Day Samurott options!

BLASTOISE 💰

Blastoise Water

Water Gun | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Skull Bash/Ice Beam

Listen, I LOVE Blastoise as a design, and this would be a great opportunity to show off my big boy shiny with shades. 😎 But I just can’t do it. Even as a Shadow, it’s quite lackluster unless you basically have the best of the best in IVs, and then we’re talking a ridiculous investment for something that’s ultimately still worse than the other Water starters listed above. (At least non-Shadow also catches up when you have the top IV option, but still.) If you have already built a really good one, yes, you can use it. But I don’t recommend building one NOW just for this format. You can do better. Sorry, Blastie.

EMPOLEON 💰

Empoleon WaterSteel

Waterfall | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Drill Peck

Unfortunately, Empoleon fans, the story seems similarly grim here. Drill Peck just doesn’t have nearly as many big targets as it does in Open UL. Basically Empie is, at best, an anti-Poison/Fairy specialist. It even struggles against many of the big name Fire types here, with its Steel subtyping being more curse than a blessing in this meta. Quite frankly, Waterfall is just too slow to keep up with most things it doesn’t hard counter, including the majority of the other meta Waters. Someone will find a team that makes Empoleon work, but it has the looks of an uphill battle that won’t be worth it for most players.

PRIMARINA 💰

Primarina WaterFairy

Charm | Psychic & Moonblast

While we await its eventual 2024 Community Day where it finally gets Hydro Cannon too, Prima remains a perfectly serviceable Charmer in the here and now, and conveniently in this meta, one that resists all the Water damage around it. It isn’t as impressive and versatile as another certain Charmer we’ll look at later, and is WAY under-ranked, sitting outside the Top 100, but don’t let that deceive you: Prima does its job just fine for those looking for that sort of thing.

GOLISOPOD 💰

Golisopod BugWater

Shadow Claw | X-Scissor & Aerial Ace

Listen, Shadow Claw or no Shadow Claw, Golisopod still remains a subpar PvP Pokemon. It still needs charge move help to break out in basically any other meta. But here in Weather Cup, a Water with Shadow Claw has value with all the other Waters around it, and so yes, just this once, you may be able to get away with using it. I don’t know that I recommend it — in fact, I’m pretty sure I do not — but there are worse ideas.

GYARADOS 💰

Gyarados WaterFlying

Dragon Breath | Aqua Tailᴸ & Crunch

Well, at least Gary occupies a nice niche as a Water than can blow through most other Waters thanks to Dragon Breath, and is especially hard on things like Swampert, Samurott, and Blaziken thanks to Gary’s Flying side and the extra resistances (including Ground, Bug, and Fighting) that come with it. Gyarados can even overpower (non-Shadow) Abomasnow, which somehow even I was today years old when I learned. Should you happen to have a particularly high bulk specimen, you can add Terrakion to the list as well, which is quite nice! IMO, Shadow Gary isn’t worth it in this meta though, losing Aboma and Jellicent without any notable wins really taking their place.

BLAZIKEN 💰

Blaziken FireFighting

Counter | Blaze Kick & Blast Burnᴸ/Brave Bird

With so many Water and Rock types around and even many of the better Ice types being part Water as well, Fire is definitely the odd man out in this meta. Blaziken is actually the only one that shows up inside the Top 50, and it’s largely because it doesn’t play as your standard Fire, but instead as a versatile Fighter. That means that it can tangle with many of the Rocks (beating Cradily and Regirock outright) and better deal with Water/Ice types (overcoming Walrein and Lapras, for example) than most Fires can, and beat things most Fires struggle with like Poliwrath and Kingdra, all while also still doing most of what you’d expect of a true Fire type. Blaziken works where most other Fires falter because of its truly unique nature. Oh, and as for which closing move to go with… Blast Burn can beat Poliwrath (just by nature of its relative speed), and Stone Edge can outrace Kingdra (and impressively, sometimes tie Lanturn), but you may be pleased to hear that it is the NON-Legacy move, Brave Bird, that can beat them both. If you want to build a new Blaze for this format, you can do so without needing Elite TMs, which is its own definition of “thrifty”!

You can see the uphill battle Fires have to face most clearly by looking at TALONFLAME, who normally torches much of Ultra League, but struggles to keep up in Weather Cup. You certainly CAN still use it, as it still torments Grasses and Ices (even Walrein) and manages to also overcome Empoleon and Samurott (preying on Empie’s neutrality to Fire and resisting Sammie’s Bug damage). But that’s really it… no really special wins where its big Brave Bird steals wins away.

But its fellow fiery flying cousin does have a few other things going for it…

CHARIZARD 💰

Charizard FireFlying

Dragon Breathᴸ | Dragon Claw & Blast Burnᴸ

Nope, not Fire Spin. Not even Wing Attack. (Though that’s MUCH better than Spin and has its uses.) What you want in this meta — what really makes Zard special here — is Dragon Breath, because Dragon wannabe Zard can beat everything Wing Attack can PLUS Walrein and often even Swampert, the latter pickup being HUGE. It beats everything Talonflame can except Empoleon (and as I explained above, Empie isn’t all that big of a concern in this meta anyway), and can take down Blaziken and Kingdra too. If you’re looking for a Flying Fire to run in this meta, I think your choice is clear.

Similarly, TYPHLOSION has at least a puncher’s chance in this meta thanks to widely unresisted Shadow ClawSolar Beam is probably the best move to run alongside Blast Burn as a nuke versus a very wide swath of this Water-heavy meta (and specifically can beat Poliwrath and Jellicent), but a purified Typhlosion is a cheaper build and Return has plenty of merit too (and actually has its own unique win to brag on, versus Samurott). But I wouldn’t recommend Shadow Typh — or Shadow Zard, for that matter — as they need all the bulk they can get in this meta and perform notably worse in their Defensively handicapped Shadow forms.

Believe it or not, there are NO Ice types in the 10k category, so on to Rocks!

ALOLAN GOLEM 💰

Golem (Alola) RockElectric

Volt Switch | Wild Charge & Rock Blast/Stone Edge

Uniquely positioned to be a threat to all three other typings in this meta — Fire, Ice, AND Water types — Alolan Golem has a lot going for it here. Usually I advise running even A-Golem with both Rock charge moves, but not in this meta. In THIS meta, Wild Charge is critical for all the Waters, and specifically is needed to take down Politoed, Empoleon, and Tentacruel. If you really want to you can run both bombs with Charge and Stone Edge, but I like the consistency and flexibility of Rock Blast more, and it specifically adds on a win versus Water Gun Lapras (and yes, Water Gun is likely preferred on Lappie in this meta… more on that later). Add to that tons of normally-dangerous-for-Rocks Water types like Jellicent, Tapu Fini, Gyarados, and Kingdra, and it’s clear that while it’s obviously not perfect coverage by any means, A-Golem can scrap with many more things than other Rock types can. This is a pretty favorable meta for it to show off its stuff, and being a budget option while doing it is a very nice bonus.

Things are not nearly as rosy for our other thrifty Rocks, however. Despite coming with the enticing ThunderAGGRON lacks the fast moves to get to it effectively and it mostly stumbles. CRUSTLE also does some nice things, just not quite enough of them, and it completely lacks effective answers to Waters… at least Aggron has the potential of Thunder! Both have some niche use but they’re much more specialists than anything else.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

CRADILY 💰💰💰

Cradily RockGrass

Bullet Seed | Stone Edge & Grass Knot

Well well well! We just got finished scraping the bottom of the barrel for Rock types in the last category, and now here we are leading off the 50ks with a Rock that’s currently ranked #1 in the whole format! (AND #2, for that matter!) Thing is, just as happened back in Fossil Cup, Cradily cheats by getting into a format that is very vulnerable to Grass… as a full-on Grass type, with a complete (and spammy!) Grass move package. Not even looking at anything beyond Bullet Seed and Grass Knotthat alone would be enough to be good here. But of course, Cradily also comes with Stone Edge which gives it an additional win versus Gyarados and even most Fire types (to include all the ones in this article except Blaziken). Just have a look at Cradily’s effectiveness versus the entire meta and its ranking makes more sense. Much of the core meta (where it has a much more pedestrian win/loss record) is formed around Cradily. And as for Shadowdilly, it’s a very viable (though much more expensive) sidegrade, dropping things like Regirock, Samurott, and Empoleon to instead outrace CharmTales, Poliwrath, Walrein, and Tentacruel instead, though it’s very slightly worse overall against the format’s full list of opponents… hence its drop from #1 all the way down…to #2. 🙃 Dilly dilly, folks… in this format, Cradily is just silly. But also silly expensive, needing to be maxed to hit 2499 for a hundo.

LUDICOLO 💰💰

Ludicolo WaterGrass

Razor Leaf/Bubble | Ice Beam & Leaf Storm

And here we have the opposite, as Ludi looks good but not blow-your-socks-off great versus the entirety of the format, but DOES put up eye-popping numbers against the core meta. I mean, a meta stuffed full of Waters and Rocks will do that when we’re talking about Razor Leaf. The only things that Razor Leaf Ludicolo doesn’t take down among core meta picks are Abomasnow, Blaziken, and Alolan Sandslash (all of which resist it) and Alolan Ninetales, Cradily, and Tentacruel (who all take neutral and hit back hard). And that’s it. Now, if you’re worried more about Fire and Ice types, you can run Bubble instead, which is actually better versus all of Weather Cup and brings Ludi’s really good charge moves more into focus, but it’s a bit worse against the core meta, as that has less Fire and (non-Water) Ice types to worry about, losing Samurott, Kingdra, and Terrakion specifically. And unlike Cradily, which HAS to be maxed, you can underlevel Ludicolo a bit and still get similar results, able to go down as low as Level 44 without seeing any major dropoff (at least with a hundo). Might be an easier build than the Level 50 Cradily, at least!

ABOMASNOW 💰💰

Abomasnow IceGrass

Razor Leaf/Powder Snow | Weather Ball (Ice) & Energy Ball

And if you can’t build either of the above, maybe you can build up an Abomasnow. At least with Razor Leaf, a hundo Aboma around Level 41.5 can get the same wins as more average Aboma (lower Attack, higher bulk) except for Regirock, but with its higher Attack, it manages to outrace CharmTales instead. (And in 2v2 shielding, the lower leveled hundo gets all the same wins as higher bulk Aboma except for… well, Shadow Aboma.) And while it’s kind of wild to even type, yes, I DO think you want Razor Leaf instead of Powder Snow in this meta, as it’s how Aboma beats Regirock, Samurott, and Poliwrath. Powder is okay too, though, losing that trio but gaining Gyarados and more easily beating enemy Abomas, It would perhaps be a good idea to run Powder Aboma alongside one of the other Grasses if you can afford to do so.

Oh, and yes, Shadowbama is a fine (if expensive) alternative, basically giving up Regirock to gain Gyarados (and sometimes a tie versus CharmTales) as compared to non-Shadow. A hundo version takes a nosedive in this case, though… Shadowbama is a true budget buster.

TENTACRUEL 💰💰

Tentacruel WaterPoison

Poison Jab | Acid Spray & Sludge Wave/Scald

And now, a Water type that can beat all three of those big Grasses. Acid Spray isn’t a move I generally like relying on, but with Tentacruel, Spray combined with Poison Jab end up doing most of the work. And while either Scald or my recommend closing move in this meta, Sludge Wave, make some wins easier (Scald vs Terrakion, for example, which CAN be won with just Spray but gets a lot easier with Scald), the only meta wins they are truly necessary for are few. (Regirock with Scald, Kingdra with Wave.) Both have merit, and encouragingly, both work quite well with hundo Tentacthulhu, who hits 2499 at only Level 42.5, which is nice. In very short summary, you typically now win the mirror (and sometimes Politoed and/or Lanturn) thanks to higher Attack, but you also now typically lose to Cradily. Bummer. If you can shake off that loss, though, you’re saving a TON of XLs and dust for 95% of high XL Tenta’s performance.

Along a similar vein, you can consider QWILFISH, who can top Ludicolo and Aboma and a wide variety of other things from all the major typings in this meta, but it loses out to Tentacruel and, perhaps most critically, Cradily. Oh, and Qwil also has to be fully maxed. Doh!

POLIWRATH 💰

Poliwrath WaterFighting

Mud Shot | Scald & Dynamic Punch

No second typing that blunts Grass damage like Tentacruel, but Poliwrath packs the right moves to outpunch Cradily and Abomasnow anyway, and much more besides. Even better… you can capture the same performance (minus only the mirror match) without having to invest any XL candy (or very, very little XL candy to keep the mirror match tie too). This is one of the thriftier investments I can wholeheartedly recommend, as Poli really beats up on the Rocks, Ices, Fires, and many of its fellow Waters in this meta as well. It may be the saviour some of you are looking for to level the playing field with big spenders.

POLITOED 💰💰

Politoed Water

Mud Shot | Weather Ball (Water) & Earthquakeᴸ

Politoed is a steeper investment, and lacks the tools Poliwrath has to take on the Grasses. But where it lacks, it makes up for it by being lethally effective in taking off much of the rest of the meta, shutting down just about everything that ISN’T a Grass or a handful of Water types. (Notably, it beats Swampert in the head to head, which is nice!) Toed needs protection from Grass, but otherwise could be a great team player on many team compositions.

JELLICENT 💰💰

Jellicent WaterGhost

Hex | Shadow Ball & Ice Beam/Bubble Beam

This MIGHT be one of those metas where it makes more sense to run with dual bombs (Shadow Ball and Ice Beam) rather than trying to sneak in Bubble Beam baits. I mean, what are you hoping to wear down and/or hit with Water damage anyway? At least with Ice Beam you have more of a (fool’s) hope and a prayer against the Grasses. On paper, JelliBelli gets the same wins either way in 0v0 and 1v1 shielding, but if you anticipate going to two shields often with Jelli, that’s where Bubble Beam starts to pull ahead… for rather obvious reasons, no? Probably comes down to playstyle more than anything. But Jellicent is already a popular play in Ultra League — many folks already have one built — so be ready to face a few down in Weather Cup.

KINGDRA 💰
Kingdra WaterDragon

Dragon Breath | Octazooka & Outrage

This will probably upset a few of you readers (and if so, apologies ahead of time!), but in my years of analyzing PvP, I have never understood the hype that always surrounds Kingdra. Yes, it’s unique, and yes, it usually deals big, widespread neutral (or better!) damage with its Dragon moves, and I SWEAR Octazooka is above a 50% chance of going off, because it does so seemingly EVERY time I face one in PvP. But, even with all that goes for it on paper, it’s awfully flimsy and usually fails to capture the performance I think many expect from it. Like, it’s fine, just not spectacular enough to appear in as many meta lists as it seems to. All that said… even I will readily admit that THIS meta does suit it nicely. Double resisting Water and Fire AND taking neutral from Grass are all pretty big deals, and thus Kingdra manages to beat the vast majority of Water, Fire, and Rock types (though Terrakion and Waters that deal Dragon damage like Gyarados and Milotic escape), and usually runs over Cradily as well, which is a REALLY big deal. Just don’t waste this rare golden opportunity on Shadow Kingdra.

WALREIN 💰

Walrein IceWater

Powder Snowᴸ | Icicle Spearᴸ & Earthquake

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Walrein’s fall from the highest of heights after this season’s nerf to Icicle Spear has been well documented, so I won’t belabour that point. I’ll just say not to count Wally out yet, especially with a decent Attack IV which not only drives down cost (though even a Rank 1 version doesn’t dip into XLs), but more importantly, allows it to win the mirror and overcome Abomasnow (with Powder Snow, anyway). And hey, it does manage to beat down Cradily, which is no small thing. Shadow Wally picks up Aboma but drops Cradily, and that alone makes it overall the lesser of the two in my eyes. But both are very viable… even after the big nerf.

SEISMITOAD 💰

Seismitoad WaterGround

Mud Shot | Earth Power & Sludge Bomb

If you don’t have (or just don’t want to run) Swampert, give neglected Seismitoad a looksie. It’s actually right on par with Swampie, trading Lapras and Poliwrath to beat Walrein and Politoed instead. And you can potentially go the non-XL route and not miss out on much either. (Only Politoed slips into the loss column.) It’s exceedingly rare that Seismi gets any attention at all, so I figured it’d be nice to give it a moment in the sun.

ALOLAN SANDSLASH 💰💰

Sandslash (Alola) IceSteel

Shadow Clawᴸ | Ice Punch & Bulldoze/Returnᴸ

Honestly I was hoping it would be a little better here, but yes, A-Slash works well enough thanks to having Shadow Claw these days, and still performs just as well without heavy XL investment. (And yes, Shadow A-Slash is similarly fine.} There are precious few better ways to consistently beat all three members of the dreaded Axis Of Grassy Evil, so A-Slash certainly occupies a very nice niche.

SHADOW ARCANINE 💰

Arcanine (Shadow) Fire

Snarl | Psychic Fangs & Wild Charge

Yes, the Shadow version. Because while non-Shadow barely clings to viability, Shadow Nine can do some truly crazy stuff, like beating Politoed, Lapras (even with the Water Gun it prefers in this meta), Lanturn, Tentacruel, Samurott, and Blaziken as well. This in addition to already beating the likes of Jellicent, Kingdra, Walrein, Empoleon, Ludicolo, and Abomasnow, among others. Arcanine has a horrendous “consistency” score on PvPoke, which basically means it likely looks better in sims (where everything usually breaks its way) than it will in actual practice. But if you’re looking for non-XL (Arcanine comes in just over Level 30 in Ultra) spice that has the potential to truly bust things wide open, look no further. (And uh… don’t look at its Hisuian cousin either. Yeeeeesh. 😬)

BEST OF THE REST

LYCANROC stays under Level 40 and does some nice things, just not enough of them… it can’t even beat Cradily, which is a bad omen… Similar story for SLOWBRO, who’s not great, but not terrible. You’ll probably see it pop up here and there.

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

Honestly, most of these are probably not worth building with a second move. While I may even note what second move to use if you DO add one, generally I’m going to note just the one charge move to run with and save you 75,000 dust. But still, protocol is protocol, so we’re still gonna call it the 75k section, alright? Let’s get into it…

LAPRAS 💰

Lapras WaterIce

Water Gun | Surf & Return/Skull Bash

Forget everything you think you know about Lapras, because here, Water Gun may very well be top dog, running alongside the customary Surf and then either Return (most preferably, as it more consistently outraces Swampert) or Skull Bash. The usual Ice Shard just doesn’t really hack it in this meta, losing to critical Rock types and things like CharmTales and Tentacruel. (Though it’s worth noting that Ice Shard better outraces Swampert and Tapu Fini.) Nor does Shadow Lapras, though thankfully, non-XL Lapras DOES do just fine if you can’t or don’t want to push into XLs.

MILOTIC 💰

Milotic Water

Dragon Tail | Surf & Hyper Beam

Okay, I admit, the numbers are rather meh. But Millie does take down some big names, including potentially Cradily, and doesn’t get anywhere close to needing XL candy, so I thought it deserved at least a mention.

MR. RIME 💰

Mr. Rime IcePsychic

Confusion | Icy Wind & Psychic

Not much with Confusion in this meta, and others that have it (like Slowbro) don’t even use it well. But Mr. Rime does. It dances right on the graves of all three Grasses, outslugs CharmTales and Kingdra, outraces Lanturn, Walrein, and both Polis, and somehow even beats down Terrakion AND Swampert. This is one of those happy accidents where I don’t expect much from a particular Pokémon and end up very pleasantly surprised!

ROTOM (WASH) 💰

Rotom (Wash) ElectricWater

Thunder Shock | Thunderbolt & Hydro Pump/Thunder

And here’s another case of vastly exceeding expectations, though honestly, I shouldn’t have been quite so surprised. This is a meta stuffed with things for Electric damage to tear through, and that’s exactly what Rotom does (though some Waters fend it off, like Ludicolo, Politoed, Kingdra, and of course Swampert). With Hydro Pump it can still sneak away with wins over things like Regirock too. (Though ironically it beats Blaziken with Thunder rather than Pump, trading Regirock for Blaze instead.) And yes, it still works fine without XL investment.

BEST OF THE REST

I can see someone trying to outsmart everyone with SHADOW MAGMORTAR, what with its Karate Chop and Thunderbolt having great surprise potential. But I don’t know that it will actually pan outCRYOGONAL also looks fun, but I can’t see it as more than spice. At least it stays under Level 40?… I REALLY want to be able to recommend AURORUS, as I’ve fallen in love with the thing recently. And while it does good things versus Cradily and Abomasnow and some others, I cannot in good conscience fully endorse it. Stupid Rock typing being weak to Water!

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

REGIROCK 💰

Regirock Rock

Lock-On | Stone Edge & Earthquake/Zap Cannon

Well hopefully you have a decent Regirock with Legacy Earthquake, because it would appear to be the second move of choice in Weather Cup… you need it to beat Blaziken and win the mirror. If you don’t have that you’re left with the same Zap Cannon that has breathed new life into Registeel again (perhaps TOO MUCH life), which isn’t a terrible place to be, just not as good as you might think in Weather Cup.

REGICE 💰

Regice Ice

Lock-On | Focus Blast & Thunder/Earthquake

Ready for a surprise? It hasn’t even been mentioned in this article yet as it’s not (currently?) considered part of the core meta, but uh… Regice has the looks of the better Regi here, particularly if you have Legacy Thunder which beats everything that Earthquake/Focus Blast can PLUS Gyarados and Jellicent. Usually when you DO want Regice in a meta, it wants Blizzard, but here that’s the one move that does NOT help it out. This odd moveset version of Regice might be the ultimate dark horse in this format, as NOBODY seems to be talking about it. Strike while the iron is… uh, cold! 🥶

TERRAKION 💰

Terrakion RockFighting

Double Kick | Sacred Sword & Close Combat/Rock Slide

So like two weeks ago I started an analysis on the Swords Of Justice trio with the new Double Kick, and promptly got buried in other analyses (and life!). 😅 I WILL finish that… eventually… but for now we get to at least look at Terrakion. And it looks pretty darn good running with all Fighting moves, with Close Combat specifically being needed to beat WG Lapras, Regirock, and Cradily. Terra is kind of an anti-Ice/Rock specialist, but it does also manage to beat stuff like Kingdra, Lanturn, and Blaziken too. It will for sure be a part of this meta!

TAPU FINI 💰

Tapu Fini WaterFairy

Water Gun | Surf & Moonblast

Fini’s Fairy typing doesn’t do all that much for it, but spamming Water damage carries it a long way and then Moonblast does the rest by beating a bunch of Waters (including Kingdra, Swampert, Samurott, Poliwrath, and Lapras), plus CharmTales. It’s not exceptional, per se, but a good Tapu Fini is very solid here.

BEST OF THE REST

KYUREM brings the potent Dragon Breath/Dragon Claw combo into the format, and does decent work with it. But it is disappointing that it cannot overcome things like Cradily and Swampert and just barely manages to overcome Kingdra. It just isn’t bulky enough to take full advantage of what should be some clearcut advantages… NIHILEGO sneaks in a full Poison package now thanks to getting Poison Jab, and makes pretty good use of it. But it too is on the flimsier side of things, and it just doesn’t do quite enough for me to fully endorse, though someone will try and the potential is there to really contribute on the right team…. VICTINI isn’t bad here by any means, but it is far from good either. Just too much Water around for it to thrive like it is in Great League right now.

BREAKING THE BANK 🐖

Running out of space and time before Weather Cup arrives, so this section with stuff that basically HAS to be maxed is gonna be a bit truncated. Make no mistake, though: just because the writeups may be short doesn’t mean these are not important. Some of these are BIG parts of the meta, but again, they’re extremely expensive and out of reach for many players.

Here we go!

Ninetales (Alola) IceFairy Lanturn WaterElectric
  • LANTURN has come up a few times too. And even though it doesn’t even reach 2400 CP, Lant is quite excellent here, a better Rotom that adds on Blaziken, A-Slash, CharmTales, and a tie with Politoed. But the record stops dropping very quickly as you dip below Level 50, and only accelerates from there. Lanturn should be maxed out or else it’s probably Rotom time.
Seaking Water
  • Long-time readers will know that I LOVE me some triple Legacy SEAKING… down in Great League. But it works pretty well up at this level too, and interestingly, is actually better in this meta as only double Legacy, with Megahorn replacing Icy Wind, with which Seaking adds on Samurott and Kingdra (for the low price of giving up Gyarados). So in this case, not only is the dust and candy cost up there, but we’re talking possibly some Elite TMs too! But this would be a very fun and flexible option if you can pull it off.
Pelipper WaterFlying
  • PELIPPER barely crests 2400 CP, and doesn’t put up the gaudy numbers of many other things in this article, but it beats some big names like Swampert, Samurott, Poliwrath, Politoed, and Abomasnow and Ludicolo thanks to a steady dose of Flying damage and spammy Water damage from Weather Ball.

And gonna end it right here, as we are mere hours away from Weather Cup’s arrival now! Hopefully this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!).

So until next time (likely Meteor Beam/Community Day analysis) you can always find me on Twitter for regular PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you master our first true Ultra League Cup, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

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