Nifty Or Thrifty: Willpower Cup

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The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: Willpower Cup (arriving 11/3!), in this case. As is typical for the NoT series, I’ll cover not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs and/or levelling up!

A quick reminder of what Willpower Cup is:

  • Great League, 1500 CP Limit.
  • Only Pokémon with a Psychic, Dark, or Fighting typing will be allowed.

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

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

ALOLAN RAICHU ♻️♻️♻️

Raichu (Alola) ElectricPsychic

Volt Switch | Thunder Punch & Wild Charge

So if you played Psychic Cup, you surely ran across (and perhaps even used) this scrappy little surfer dude. AhChu was notable in that format for hitting darn near everything in that format for big neutral (at worst) damage, giving it a major advantage in a format where many typically staple moves dealt resisted damage. And it seeks to do the same here, with only a smattering of Ground, Grass, and Dragon types that resist Electric damage. As such, while tricky with Psychic (the move) or especially Grass Knot are tempting, I think you’re best going in guns blazing with an all-Electric moveset, and that means Thunder Punch and Wild Charge, with which AhChu can take down the majority of Fighting and Psychic types. The more interesting discussion is in terms of IVs, as #1 IV AhChu sees a particularly significant jump in performance, pulling Wobbuffet, Obstagoon, and Sableye into the win column. Also interesting is that raid-level AhChu (specifically 10-15-15 IVs, which hits a neat 1499 CP) performs just as well as the #1, trading Obstagoon for Overqwil instead, and now winning the mirror thanks to also winning CMP thanks to its higher Attack. And there are MANY various IV spreads that perform similarly, so run your specimen through some sims and see how it shakes out!

ALOLAN RATICATE ♻️♻️

Raticate (Alola) DarkNormal

Quick Attack | Crunch & Returnᴸ/Hyper Fang

Another breakout Alolan star of a Cup earlier this season (Halloween Cup, in that case), A-Rat languished on the fringe of several Cups in past seasons before the buff this season to Quick Attack. Combined with the rare opportunity to get STAB on Returnit looks good here too, particularly with high rank IVs which can add on Mandibuzz and Skuntank to a win column already stuffed with Psychic and fellow Dark types. The BIG downside is being double weak to Fighting damage… basically every viable Fighter will beat A-Rat down, so be ready with a quick hook!

SHADOW LIEPARD ♻️

Liepard (Shadow) Dark

Charm | Dark Pulse? Play Rough? Does it matter?

This is what you call a One Week WonderCharm Liepard (and specifically just the Shadow version) is one of the bigger stars in Willpower Cup (ranking inside the Top 20, but probably only in Willpower Cup, because it has a lot going for it here that it won’t in basically any other meta… namely resisting all the Dark and Psychic damage around, and fending off most Fighters that prey on Darks thanks to Charm. But its very flimsy Defense still holds it back even with those positives going for it, so even here it can still only hit about a 50% winrate against the core meta. Good news: charge moves are almost completely irrelevant here, but bad news: you really DO want Shadow, as non-Shadow lacks the power to overcome Drapion, Skuntank, Pawniard, or A-Raichu as Shadow Liepard does.

OBSTAGOON ♻️♻️♻️

Obstagoon DarkNormal

Counter | Night Slash & Cross Chop/Obstructᴸ/Hyper Beam

There are a few options here, but honestly, none of them are as great as you might hope. All movesets center on Counter and Night Slash, but after that? The “best” is Obstruct, which can uniquely overcome Mandibuzz, Skuntank, Wobbuffet, and Cresselia… though that, of course, relies on the opponent throwing their shields at Obstruct and not Night Slash. More realistic, perhaps, is Cross Chop, which sheds Mandi, Stank, Wobb, and Cress to instead beat Hisuian Qwilfish and its big bro Overqwil. Bringing up the rear is something like Hyper Beam, which fails against everything specifically mentioned above besides Mandibuzz, and tacks on Victini as its lone standout win. Goonie doesn’t look fantastic here, but it also never says die. It’ll be on teams for sure.

LUCARIO (Baby Discount™) ♻️♻️

Lucario SteelFighting

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

Unlike Obstagoon, Lucario does not outright resist Psychic damage, but it DOES make it only neutral, and it comes with handy resistances to Poison, Dragon, Rock (x2 instead of the single resistance of most Fighters), Normal (for those annoying Body Slammers), and neutrality to even Flying and Fairy damage. ALL of those are relevant in this meta, and make Lucario one of the best Fighters here. I will go ahead and say this is a meta where you definitely want Shadow Ball to deal with all the Psychics, but the choice of second move is yours. Does Power-Up Punch better fit your style to make Counter a terrifying weapon on its own (and give Ball the power it needs to blow away Cresselia, G-Rapidash, and even Lugia), or does your playstyle more match up with Close Combat for instant gratification (and instant big damage) and potential wins over Wobbuffelt, Mandibuzz, and the mirror match instead? And to reiterate: without Shadow Ball you don’t beat ANY of those names I mentioned above.

Hitmonchan Fighting

HITMONCHAN also benefits from the Baby Discount™, but only kinda. Because while it’s okay in regular form, what you probably really want is Shadow ‘Chan, and there are NO discounts to be found going down that road, Baby or otherwise. Hitmonchan is awesome in several limited metas, but not sure it’s worth building a new one just for this.

BEWEAR ♻️♻️

Bewear FightingNormal

Shadow Claw | Superpower & Drain Punchᴸ/Stomp

Another one that, like Obstagoon with Obstruct and even (to a lesser degree) Lucario with Power-Up Punch is a little hard to fully trust in the numbers. Because going just by those, Drain Punch looks like the clear winner, but of course, that’s not the whole story with such a baity move. If the baits don’t go well, things go poorly for Bewear too. I would feel a little more confident in Stomp, despite having a lower ceiling (and missing out on wins Drain Punch can at least theoretically get against Overqwil, H-Qwil, and Sableye), because I just think it should be a lot more consistent. (And it can legit beat Lugia, too!) But that’s your call, my friend!

BLAZIKEN ♻️♻️

Blaziken FireFighting

Counter | Blaze Kick & Blast Burnᴸ/Stone Edgeᴸ/Brave Bird

Yet again, a few different ways to go here, though the variance is relatively minor. Blast Burn is Blaze’s cheapest closing move, allowing it to uniquely outrace Galarian Rapidash (and giving Blaze its best odds against Fairies and Psychics in general). Stone Edge has some niche use versus Flyers, specifically beating Lugia. And Brave Bird is a decent all-around that requires no Legacy moves, but normally fails to overcome Lugia or G-Dash.

INCINEROAR is basically a lesser knock-off of Blaziken. It handles a wide swath of Psychic types, but struggles against Fighters and even most opposing Darks, despite running with heavy Fire-type damage (Flame Charge and Fire Blast) powered out quickly by Snarl. Incineroar will find room on some teams, but it’s really just a spice pick in this particular meta.

CHESNAUGHT ♻️♻️

Chesnaught GrassFighting

Vine Whip | Superpower & Energy Ball

This isn’t a great meta for Grasses, and perhaps the best way to show that is to point out that Chesnaught is the best Grass in this meta. Yes, as a Fighter it tangles up Dark types — though even there is struggles with Poison, Flying, and Dragon ones — and it uniquely demolishes what Grounds, Rocks, and Waters sneak into the meta, as well as nicely fending off Raichu thanks to resisting Electric damage. But Naught is a mere role player, not something to build your team around.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

HISUIAN QWILFISH ♻️♻️♻️

Qwilfish (Hisuian) DarkPoison

Poison Jab | Aqua Tail & Shadow Ball

Ranked inside the Top 5, so I hope you managed to land a good one when they were available. It’s got a little bit of everything: resists common Dark, Psychic, and Poison moves, takes only neutral damage from Fighting, and can hit back at darn near everything with neutral damage somewhere in its move package. Usually that package revolves around Poison Jab and Aqua Tail, and after that it’s a matter of whether you want Shadow Ball (beating Psychics like Medicham, DDeoxys, and Victini, as well as Ghosts like Sableye) or widely unresisted Ice Beam to instead overcome Darks like Mandibuzz, Obstagoon, Overqwil, and H-Qwilfish itself. Either way, there aren’t all that many things in this meta that want to face H-Qwil down. It has “outs” in a variety of matchups like very few other things do.

Overqwil DarkPoison

The story is very similar for OVERQWIL. With Shadow Ball it’s a hair worse (loses to Medicham that H-Qwil can beat) and with Ice Beam is arguably a hair better, able to beat everything Ice Beam H-Qwil can except Mandibuzz, and adding on Umbreon and Victini (although that last one is really just Aqua Tail doing the work) on top of it. In other words… it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative. Or heck, you could be evil and run them both…. 😈

SKUNTANK ♻️♻️

Skuntank PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Crunch & Flamethrower

With the same Poison/Dark combo and all the advantages that come with it, Skuntank comes in several notches below the Qwils (in a theme I think may continue in Great League on the whole from here forward), but is still very much viable in its own right. Flamethrower is a handy equalizer that allows Stank to roast stuff like Scrafty and Pawniard that the Qwils cannot usually beat, as well as things that at least occasionally give the Qwils trouble like Mandibuzz, Obstagoon, and… well, the Qwils! But it also has struggles of its own, losing things like Medicham, Primeape, Tyranitar, Buzzwole, and Charmers Liepard and Gallade (yes, those are both actually a big deal in this funky meta… more later) that the Qwil can take out.

ALOLAN MUK ♻️♻️

Muk (Alola) PoisonDark

Poison Jab | Sludge Wave & Acid Spray

Poison/Dark again and all that goes with it, blah blah blah. The more interesting thing is the moveset. A-Muk basically always runs with a Snarl variant that races to Sludge Wave and uses Dark Pulse for baiting and effective coverage, or a Poison Jab variant that keeps Pulse, but this time as its closing move after softening the opponent up (and ideally baiting a shield) with Acid Spray. Now here comes crazy JRE, recommending not running with Dark Pulse at all in a meta chock full of Psychic types, and running instead with an all-Poison set of Poison Jab/Acid Spray/Sludge Wave. It looks like it should work unusually well, hitting the vast majority of the meta with increasingly deadly neutral damage, and still beating down the same important Psychic types it would with Dark Pulse (DDeoxys, Gallade, G-Dash, Cress, Lugia, Wobb, Mew, etc.), and importantly gains a large number of Dark wins, to include Mandibuzz, Scrafty, Obstagoon, and most all Dark/Poisons. Other, more standard movesets just look very unexciting in comparison.

SCRAFTY ♻️♻️♻️

Scrafty DarkFighting

Counter | Power-Up Punch & Foul Play

Obviously, Scrafty’s biggest schtick is beating down opposing Darks, which it does capably with only a few exceptions (Flying Mandi, Charming Liepard, Ghostly Sable, and Poisonous Stank). But Power-Up Punch-buffed Foul Play is also a clear and present danger to Psychics, so things like Claydol, Mew, and Victini slip into the win column as well and make Scrafty a bit more than a one-trick pony. This isn’t its greatest meta to show off, but it definitely still has a part to play.

MACHAMP ♻️♻️♻️

Machamp Fighting

Counter | Cross Chop & Paybackᴸ/Rock Slide

Alright, here it is… that rare meta where Payback may be the better way to go than Rock Slide. Payback can at least fell things like Claydol, Lugia, and Sableye, while Rock Slide’s coverage is less impressive. (Though its relative speed does allow it to better outrace Alolan Muk, so there is that, I suppose.) Things are much closer for Shadow Machamp, however, with Rock Slide having a very slight edge (wins versus Sableye, Mandibuzz, and Buzzwole) as compared to Shadow with Payback, which instead takes down Claydol and Lugia. But yeah, a good Fighter with a Dark coverage move has real value in this meta. Speaking of which….

PRIMEAPE ♻️♻️

Primeape Fighting

Counter | Night Slash & Cross Chopᴸ/Close Combat/Ice Punch

Unlike Machamp’s slow Payback, Primeape can spam that Dark damage thanks to Night Slash, and is on the cusp of viability even without needing another charge move, beating up many Darks AND things like Alolan Raichu, Victini, Claydol, and even big beefy Lugia with Night Slash spam. But of course, you WILL want to bring a second move. Something like Ice Punch is better, with wins now versus Dark-resistant Drapion and Skuntank, but you really need a Fighting move to get to a record that’s more comfortable. Close Combat further tacks on Toxicroak and Alolan Muk, and then Legacy Cross Chop also adds on both Qwils (though Toxicroak can slip away without Close Combat’s sheer power). Cross Chop is still my personal recommendation (or Close Combat if you can’t run Chop), and it’s a top tier Fighting option in this meta, perhaps even above Machamp.

SIRFETCH’D ♻️♻️♻️

Sirfetch'd Fighting

Counter | Night Slash & Leaf Blade

Hey, we also have Night Slash here, along with a great, spammy equalizer in Leaf Blade. The result is essentially a handy sidegrade to Primeape that is generally better (winning the head to head, for example), but does struggle more versus the Dark/Poisons specifically, with both Slash and Blade being resisted (showing most clearly by losing to Drapion). Still a solid performance, but do watch out for that Poison blind spot.

GALARIAN FARFETCH’D ♻️♻️

Farfetch'd (Galarian) Fighting

Fury Cutter | Brave Bird & Leaf Blade/Brick Break

Yes, really. Believe it or not, in this meta, G-Fetch’d has just as much of a chance to make an impact as many of the bigger name Fighters here, to include its later evolution. Fury Cutter obviously is no Counter, but what it IS is super effective versus Darks AND Psychics, and combined with the effectiveness of Leaf Blade (or Brick Break if you really just need to have some Fighting damage) and the massive closing power of Brave Bird, G-Fetch’d can rack up some truly impressive wins that elude most other Fighters, like DDeoxys, Lugia, Alolan Raichu, Toxicroak, Medicham, Buzzwole, and Sableye! But there is a price, as Fury Cutter is resisted by Fighting and Steel, so things most Fighters beat like Pawniard, Lucario, Primeape, and the Qwils slip away.

TOXICROAK ♻️♻️♻️

Toxicroak PoisonFighting

Counter | Mud Bomb & Sludge Bomb

Yep, still good despite being double weak to Psychic damage. Still wants Mud Bomb and Sludge Bomb, the latter important for Fairies like Rapidash. I… uh… really don’t think I need to go too much more into the weeds on Toxicroak than that, do I? You know it and either love or hate it by now, yeah?

HISUIAN SNEASEL ♻️♻️

Sneasel (Hisuian) FightingPoison

Poison Jab | Close Combat & X-Scissor/Aerial Ace

Critically weak to Psychic damage, just like Toxicroak, but that’s okay… Hisuian Sneasel shrugs that off and looks likely to excel in this format anyway. A nice blend of widely unresisted Poison Jab, super effective against Psychics and Darks X-Scissor, and big closing power with Close Combat, there is a LOT to like about H-Snease here.

HERACROSS ♻️♻️

Heracross BugFighting

Counter | Rock Blast & Megahorn/Close Combat

Not the greatest, but yes, Cross is viable. Close Combat pulls slightly better numbers (with unique knockouts of A-Muk and Skuntank), but I still lean towards Megahorn in this meta. A good Bug move is hard to ignore in a meta where 2/3 of the Pokemon in the format are weak to Bug. With Horn, Heracross can beat Medicham and really lay the hurt on Psychics that don’t shield.

MEDICHAM ♻️♻️♻️

Medicham FightingPsychic

Counter | Psychic & Ice Punch/Power-Up Punch

Oh yes, of course it’s good here. When it Medi NOT good? I won’t waste time trying to convince you of the merits of a Psychic that takes only neutral from Dark, and a Fighter that takes only neutral from Psychic and resists Fighting, but instead I’ll do what I’ve tried to do throughout this article: highlight what different movesets can do. I think you DO basically always want Psychic, as it offers Medi’s best closing power and a handy way to slam the door on Fighters and/or Poisons, but beyond that, both Ice Punch (shown above) and Power-Up Punch bring something to the table: Ice beating Overqwil and winning the mirror, and PuP instead overwhelming Alolan Muk and Shadow Liepard. (Ice Punch merely ties that pair.) Heck, you can even go unconventional with BOTH Punches and potentially beat A-Muk, Overqwil, AND Shadow Liepard (though not Medi mirrors) that way, as well as sneaking away with a win versus Shadow Gallade. Personally though, I’d say Psychic/Ice Punch for maximum versatility, but there’s no true “right” or “wrong” here. Do what makes you happy!

CLAYDOL ♻️♻️

Claydol GroundPsychic

Mud Slap/Confusion | Rock Tomb & Earth Power

Speaking of doing what makes you happy, there’s just something that makes you smile watching Claydol spin all over the place in PvP battles. I don’t know that this is one I’d build JUST for this meta, but if you already prepped one for Psychic Cup earlier this season, it can be deployed here (particularly one with good PvP IVs), with the same breakout combo of Earth Power and Rock Tomb as last time. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but here we are! MUST avoid Dark types… well, at least those that aren’t Poisonous as well. Because while Claydol takes care of most Fighters without much issue, it is particularly and rather uniquely proficient at burying Poison types here, regardless of their subtype. In fact, it might be best to forget everything you know about Confusion Claydol entirely and just commit to Mud Slap, which drops a few Fighters (Primeape and Buzzwole most notably) to instead become something uniquely powerful in this meta, with new wins versus Shadow Drapion (Poison), Lucario and Pawniard (Steel), and Victini (Fire), all typings that Ground damage dominates. And again, high rank IVs matter, now winning the mirror and beating non-Shadow Drapion too. If I were to run Claydol, it would be as the truly unique Ground damage monster it can be with Mud Slap.

Because yeah, if you want a Confusion user, just run an OG like HYPNO or something instead. However, as you can somewhat see by even Hypno’s so-so winrate, Confusion is not a move most things here want to use. In fact, the next few Pokemon are things that have Confusion and use different fast moves entirely in this meta….

GOTHITELLE ♻️

Gothitelle Psychic

Charm | Rock Slide & Psychic

Not very exciting, but far better with Charm than it is with Confusion. Charm picks up a boatload of wins, including Liepard, Obstagoon, Pawniard, Scrafty, Zweilous, Tyranitar, Sableye, and Buzzwole, with only double-weak-to-Psychic-damage Sneasler flipping to a loss. Honestly, giving GothGirl even two ♻️s seemed a bridge too far, as this is not one you’re going to see even in many Limited metas, but here? She has a solid role as a legit, budget Charmer.

Meowstic (Female) Psychic

MEOWSTIC (Female) operates very similiarly, the biggest difference being that Goth can beat Pawniard, while Meowstic instead overcomes Wobbuffet. Pick your favorite, I guess!

GALARIAN SLOWBRO ♻️♻️

Slowbro (Galarian) PoisonPsychic

Poison Jab | Sludge Bomb & Focus Blast

Again, not Confusion, but Poison Jab you want here. Overall the performance is not terribly impressive, but G-Bro does a great job of locking down Fighters (double resists Fighting damage) and Charmers while also taking the fight hard to most opposing Psychics. It could and should find its way onto teams.

GIRAFARIG ♻️♻️

Girafarig (Shadow) NormalPsychic

Double Kick | Psychic Fangs & Thunderbolt

You knew I’d find SOME way to squeeze everyone’s favorite Girafamifreak into this. In Shadow form and with new fast move Double Kick (again, NOT Confusion), Farigamiraff does just enough to squeeze into this article, knocking around a mix of Fighters and Darks and keeping the opponent on their toes.

GALARIAN RAPIDASH ♻️♻️♻️

Rapidash (Galarian) PsychicFairy

Fairy Wind | Body Slam & Play Rough

Charm isn’t the only way to throw out a lot of Fairy damage in this meta, as G-Dash does plenty of that too, along with a lot of neutral damage spamming with Body Slam. And the results look very impressive, with either Megahorn to combat enemy Psychics (beating Cresselia and Mew specifically) while Play Rough is obviously better versus Fighters (taking out Lucario and Toxicroak) and certain Darks (like Flying Mandibuzz). The moves are you call, trainer, but if you have a good G-Dash, you’d be advised to find some way to use it!

HONCHKROW ♻️

Honchkrow DarkFlying

Snarl | Sky Attack & Brave Bird

And ending the 50ks with some spice. Honch isn’t for everyone, but it does have good blitzkrieg potential with widely unresisted Flying damage bombs. It’s worth a look if you just want to watch the world burn.

BEST OF THE REST

There are even more things from earlier metas this season that I could mention that may make some noise in this format, like MALAMAR and BRONZONG from Psychic Cup, and POLIWRATH and MACHOKE from Fighting Cup. But I had to draw the line somewhere and move on, so just note that they’re a possible thing and let’s press onward!

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

MANDIBUZZ ♻️♻️♻️

Mandibuzz DarkFlying

Air Slash | Foul Play & Aerial Ace

Flying damage for Fighters and Darks, Foul Play for the Psychics. What’s not to like? It really is about that simple to explain in this meta. Mandi is ranked #1 and it’s very easy to see why, no?

UMBREON ♻️♻️♻️

Umbreon Dark

Snarl | Foul Play & Last Resortᴸ/Psychicᴸ

Again, probably no introduction or detailed analysis needed here, right? Put simply: Psychic (the move) gives Umbry a chance versus Fighters (beating Sneasler, Toxicroak, and sometimes Primeape), but Last Resort instead provides an answer to enemy Darks, beating Drapion (normal and Shadow) and both Qwils.

SABLEYE ♻️♻️♻️

Sableye DarkGhost

Shadow Claw | Foul Play & Returnᴸ

It keeps performing on the world stage in various Regionals, so why not here too? Sable does not disappoint, taking down every Psychic type that doesn’t spam Fairy damage except good old Garifamafig, and every meta Fighter except Shadow Champ and the Dragons. It MUST avoid Fairy damage and struggles versus most of the Darks, but this is still an above average meta for Sable to strut its stuff.

DRAPION ♻️♻️♻️

Drapion PoisonDark

Poison Sting | Aqua Tail & Crunch/Sludge Bomb

You have likely encountered this unholy terror in past Limited formats, but if not, what separates Drap from the other Dark/Poisons is super spam thanks to Poison Sting. There are various combinations of Aqua TailCrunchSludge Bomb, and even Fell Stinger (usually with Bite) that work, but the overall “best” would appear to be Shadow Drap with Aqua/Bomb. Far from the only way to go, though… find what works best for YOU.

GALLADE ♻️♻️

Gallade PsychicFighting

Charm | Leaf Blade & Close Combat

And speaking of Fairy damage, It’s finally here, folks: the meta that makes Charm Gallade an actual thing. It beats the same core meta Pokemon that Confusion Gallade can with the sole exception of Drapion (due to the higher energy of Confusion as compared to Charm), while Charm adds on wins versus Alolan Raichu, Zweilous, Sableye, Skuntank, and Scrafty, as well as at least forcing ties versus Mandibuzz, Shadow Liepard, and the mirror. Charm is most definitely THE way to go with Gallade, and Shadow likely is as well, as non-Shadow can sneak away with close wins over Mandi, Claydol, and DDeoxys, but loses to A-Raichu, Skuntank, Sneasler, and Toxicroak to do it.

ZWEILOUS ♻️♻️♻️

Zweilous DarkDragon

Dragon Breath | Body Slam & Dark Pulse

Dragons are nice here because one can count on one hand (even if a digit or two got bitten off while ravenously eating your Halloween candy haul) the number of meta things that resist Dragon damage (basically only G-Dash, Lucario, and Pawniard). Zweil remains vulnerable to Fighting and Bug damage, which slows it down just a bit, but make no mistake: it’s still extremely solid here and is sure to be a popular pick. Its Top 10 ranking is well deserved.

HAKAMO-O and KOMMO-O ♻️♻️♻️

Hakamo-o DragonFighting

Kommo-o DragonFighting

Dragon Tail | Dragon Claw & Brick Break/Close Combat

Kommo-O is nice, but Hakamo-O is just better, besting everything Kommo can PLUS Toxicroak, Zweilous, and Lucario, largely thanks to having the spammy Brick Break (whereas Kommo has to rely on self-nerfing Close Combat for Fighting damage). Both are very nice generalists and safe swaps in Willpower.

SNEASLER ♻️♻️♻️

Sneasler FightingPoison

Shadow Claw | Close Combat & X-Scissor

Better than Hisuian Sneasel if you can sneak one under 1500 CP, and the reason is plain: Shadow Claw is just a better weapon here than H-Sneasel’s Poison Jab, so new wins show up here like Toxicroak, Lugia, and Alolan Raichu, despite Sneasler having worse PvP stats overall. Do keep in mind that Sneasler’s second move costs 75k dust, while Sneasel’s costs only 50k, so make sure to second move BEFORE evolving!

BEST OF THE REST

And again, while I had to cut off somewhere, there are a handful of other 75k options to at least take a peek at if you have the time. FALINKS comes with Megahorn for Psychics, and while it’s fine, it just can’t do as much as other Fighters that similarly hit back at Psychic types like Primeape and even Machamp…. Those that have managed to construct a GL KROOKODILE can certainly use it, but the Mud Slap role is better filled by Claydol, honestly. And my goodness, that was a weird sentence to type now that I think about it 😅…. TYRANITAR is ranked competatively, but I’m just not seeing it myself. Being double weak to Fighting is a real killer, and honestly, there’s very little that truly fears TTar here.

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

Well here we go again… short on time and short on space! 🥵 So we’re going bullet style for the rest. Strap in!

Victini PsychicFire
  • Yes, VICTINI is still the little monster you remember from Psychic Cup thanks to the buff to Quick Attack. It still burns through most Psychics but now also Charmers and most Fighters too. Light ’em up! 🔥
Cresselia Psychic
  • As with other Psychics earlier, CRESSELIA doesn’t want Confusion in this meta. Instead, it’s best to race to those charge moves, doing so with Psycho Cut. Cress is a pretty good anti-Fighter and anti-Psychic thanks to its charge move damage, and even slaps aside from big name Darks thanks to Moonblast in particular. Very solid all-arounder in this meta and pretty safe swap or closer.
Latias (Shadow) DragonPsychic
  • There may be no clearer sign this meta is wonky than to point out how viable SHADOW LATIAS (with Charm!) is. Just take that in for a minute. Spice lovers rejoice!
Lugia PsychicFlying
  • Applying the same basic concept as Honchkrow without being pushed over by a stiff breeze, LUGIA is decent enough here, in regular or Shadow form.

Buzzwole BugFighting
  • BUZZWOLE is better Heracross. Lunge is a fantastic equalizer with all the Psychics around.
Deoxys (Defense) Psychic
  • DEFENSE DEOXYS is fine here. That’s really about it… just “fine”. Good versus Fighters and Darks that aren’t part Poison, and ironically struggles badly against most Psychics.
  • All three Galarian Birds can be used, and are all viable. G-ZAPDOS doesn’t do much particularly special (though beating Claydol is a highlight), but it’s a solid enough Fighter. G-MOLTRES is pretty handy for taking down most Psychics AND Fighters, which is some nice, relatively rare utility. G-ARTICUNO is much less exciting but trust me: anyone that has it will be wanting to throw it out there anyway.
Mew Psychic
  • And finally, the super versatile MEW. There are far too many viable movesets to cover them all, but if you still have one under 1500, Shadow Claw is a great place to start, however you choose to go from there!

FEELIN’ LUCKY?

Let’s quickly cover a few mons that are no less “nifty” than those in the main article above, but require maxing or at least almost maxing out, so they are FAR from “thrifty”….

Pawniard DarkSteel
  • PAWNIARD is a scrappy little guy even in Open formats, and certainly in Limited metas. Here in Willpower, it has handy resistances to Poison, Dragon, and Rock damage, double resists Psychic damage, and takes “only” neutral damage from Fairy. And while it has a fatal flaw of being doubly weak to Fighting, it still beats down more than enough things for this to be a great time to take the plunge and build one up if you wish. PvPoke has it ranked #6, and that’s fully justifiable!
Vullaby DarkFlying
  • VULLABY is, if I’m being honest, just less potent and much more expensive Mandibuzz… in THIS meta. It’s much better in some others, and some folks have this build and will likely unleash it here too. Be ready!
Grimer (Alola) PoisonDark
  • ALOLAN GRIMER is a fun alternative to Alolan Muk and a very popular XL build. It’ll be out and about.
Wobbuffet Psychic
  • And finally, WOBBUFFET, which continues to greatly benefit from being purified so it can utilize ReturnWithout Return, Wobb loses out on (in order) Claydol, Shadow Gallade, Medicham, Overqwil, Alolan Raichu, Victini, Zweilous, and of course the mirror match. If you don’t have a Return Wobb you can (or have already!) maxed, honestly I think it should be left on the sidelines rather than run out there anyway.

And we’re done! As always, I hope this helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!) and put together a competitive and FUN team. If I was successful in that, then it was all worth it!

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

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

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