Pokémon GO Electric Cup Guide: Nifty or Thrifty PvP Analysis

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: Electric Cup, 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 or using as little XL Candy as possible. Because for those on a stardust budget — and/or folks trying to save up some dust for the future — it can be daunting trying to figure out where to spend or not spend it. We all want to field competitive teams, but where can we get the best bang for our buck and where should we perhaps channel our inner scrooge?

Pokémon GO Electric Cup rules

A quick reminder of what Electric Cup is (and isn’t!). Format available Thursday, January 26th, at 1:00pm PST to Thursday, February 2nd, at 1:00pm PST.


  • Great League, 1500 CP Limit.
  • Only Electric type Pokémon are allowed.
  • Vikavolt, Heliolisk, Charjabug, and Stunfisk are all banned.

A quick word on the bans. VIKAVOLT and HELIOLISK were set to be uncomfortably dominant thanks to having Mud Slap, a very so-so move in PvP in general, but ridiculous here in a meta where it deals big super effective damage to everything; there are only a couple Flyers that resist Ground, and the number of other things (Bugs and Grasses) that take merely neutral damage from Ground can be counted on one hand, even one that’s lost a couple fingers to a hungry anglerfish. Heck, Heliolisk would even have options to apply more charge move pressure with Ground and Grass charge moves and still perform quite well. Neither would have been completely dominant, as they’re rather flimsy (even for Electric types), but both would have likely been… unfun.

Stunfisk’s ban is rather obvious, no? If not, well… this should make it more apparent.

The only mystery to me is Charjabug. In the weeks leading up to Vikavolt’s eventual ban, I figured Charj was a mistake… that Niantic had intended to ban Vika instead and screwed up somehow. Perhaps that was still initially the case and they decided to just keep it that way when Vika got the ban hammer too, but it’s not too crazy even at its absolute best. No moreso than another prominent Bug that was left in the meta….

But I digress. Enough about the bans… let’s take a closer look at what IS in this meta!

As I try to usually do, I will start with those with the cheapest second move unlock cost and steam ahead until we finally arrive at the expensive Legendaries.

Okay, enough intro. Let’s dive in!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy


Graveler (Alola) RockElectric

Golem (Alola) RockElectric

Volt Switch/Rock Throw | Rock Blast & Stone Edge

There’s actually very little in the 10k category for this format (owing in large part to the lack of Electric starters beyond the Raichus), but the Alolan Rocks, GRAVELER and GOLEM, definitely stand out. It’s rare to find something with TWO non-Electric (AKA hardly resisted by anything in the format) charge moves, but the pair have just that with Rock Blast and Stone Edge, resisted only by Steels in this format (and you can count the number of those on one hand, even if that hand had an unfortunate run-in with a possessed toaster). As you might guess, that all amounts to good things. The only losses come from things able to exploit the Rock typing: Water (Lanturn), Grass (Hisuian Electrode, Minun), or throw out rare, double super effective Ground damage (Luxray with the appropriate Hidden Power). And that trend mostly continues even against everything in the Cup, with only Shadow Manectric (by way of raw power) and Togedemaru (bulky and resisting Rock damage) breaking the mold. Yes, that IS an over 80% winrate! Note how it drops when you go with Rock Throw instead. Running the all-Rock, resisted-by-little moveset might make sense in concept, but in reality, Volt Switch is just WAY too good a move to leave on the sidelines, even in a format where basically everything resists it. (Rock Throw deals 4.0 Damage Per Turn, but generates only 2.5 Energy Per Turn, whereas Volt Switch has 3.0 DPT/4.0 EPT.) The one big case for Rock Throw is dominating Galvantula, which some teams may really need, but the A-Rocks DO still beat even Galv with Volt Switch. Anyway, it’s always nice when “nifty” and “thrifty” mash together so well as these two in Electric Cup. Both are very top of the meta options… so much so that even ALOLAN GEODUDE is viable!


Raichu Electric

Volt Switch | Brick Break & Skull Bash

Well we FINALLY found it: the format where Raichu actually wants Skull Bash; without it, Raichu fails to overcome Dedenne, Ampharos, or either of the Electrodes. Brick Break, meanwhile, is important not just for unresisted spam/baiting, but as a way to legit break through the Alolan Rocks (and hammer on Steels as a bonus, beating them all straight up except Togedemaru). Raichu fails to overcome some of the very biggest names (Lanturn and Galvantula among them), but it can do a LOT of good. And of course, don’t forget the funky possibilities of Charm Raichu. Forgot that was a thing? Likely several opponents have too, so consider reminding them! (Only {viable} Charmer in the format, folks!)


Raichu (Alola) ElectricPsychic

Volt Switch | Thunder Punch & Grass Knot

The bad news: AhChu has no neutral bait move like KayChu’s Brick Break… it’s stuck with Thunder Punch instead. But the good news is that it can arguably more easily overcome the Alolan Rocks thanks to Grass Knot… and if it suckers Lanturn into shielding Punch, Grass Knot can beat Lanturn too! Alolan Raichu is an overall solid enough option, but those wins I just mentioned are really the main reason to consider it.


Eelektross Electric

Acid | Dragon Claw & Crunch

I wouldn’t call this one a strong endorsement — we’re clearly getting into “spice” territory with this pick — but there IS good that Eelektross can do here with its Electric-free moveset. Dragon Claw and Crunch apply some nice pressure, even with rather lousy Acid (3.0 DPT, but only 2.5 EPT) powering them out slowly. As a Poison move, it conveniently melts down Fairy-type Dedenne and Grass-type Hisuian Electrode, two ‘mons that are not directly threatened like that much otherwise in Electric Cup. (Since Niantic hasn’t given us Toxtricity yet… not that I’m bitter or anything! 😝) The downside is that Poison is actually resisted by the Alolan Rocks, and overall ‘Tross is just TOO much of a hodgepodge to really threaten stuff like Minun, Luxray, Galvantula, or Lanturn. But as a gimmick with some serious, niche upside, Eelektross could certainly work!

That said, stay FAR away from EELEKTRIK. It’s a trap trick!

Emolga ElectricFlying

Last one to mention is EMOLGA, who shows up on PvPoke as part of the “core meta”, though I wonder if that’s a hangover from when the Mud Slapping Heliolisk and Vikavolt were in the mix; with Emolga being a Flying type, it conveniently resists the same Ground damage that deals super effective damage to nearly everything else, giving Emolga a nice niche. But with them gone, there’s just not much left for it to do, and its Flying side becomes a rather huge liability (taking neutral rather than resisted damage from Electric moves). It still handles Ground-weilding Luxray, but that’s really about it. Hard pass, my friends, especially for something that has to be pushed right up to the doorstep of XL territory (or even beyond!).

And yeah, that’s it for 10ks… undoubtedly my smallest such section ever. The good news is that that really expensive stuff is also about that small. The vast majority of this Cup is found among the 50ks. Let’s get to it!

50,000 Dust/50 Candy


Lanturn WaterElectric

Water Gun/Spark | Surf & Thunderbolt/Hydro Pump

Just as with Emolga, Lanturn is seemingly at a major disadvantage in this meta, taking neutral damage from Electric unlike the vast majority of things here that instead resist Electric damage. And perhaps worse, Grass coverage moves are relatively common in the top of the meta, which of course hits Lanturn super effectively. So it may come a shock that despite all of that, Lanturn is ranked #1 in the format.

How? Part of it is having a lot of neutral damage of its own to dish out, with Water Gun being the preferred fast move (resisted in this meta only by Grasses and other Waters, which you can count yet again on one hand that’s even missing a digit from an overcharged hand buzzer) and Surf. But another huge part of it is that Lanturn has the best overall stat product (2131) in this meta, leading even Pachirisu by nearly 100 and everything else by at least 200 (and most everything by 300 or more).

Only Pachirisu has higher bulk. In the end, there is a very little Lanturn can’t deal with… in the core meta, the only listed losses are Galvantula, Minun, and the Electrodes (and two of those deal Grass damage). Even pulling back the curtain on the entire format only adds on Togedemaru, Shadow Luxray, and Zebstrika. And that’s it… and 84% winrate in 1v1 shielding, the highest in the format. Lanturn is slightly less successful in other shielding scenarios, but in 0v0 and 2v2 shielding, that win percentage never drops below 70%. You can even consider Hydro Pump if you switch out Water Gun for higher energy gains from Spark, dropping Luxray to win the important mirror match instead (having enough time to get to a Surf and two Pumps!).


Galvantula BugElectric

Fury Cutter | Lunge & Energy Ball/Cross Poison/Bug Buzz

If there’s one thing that explains how funky this meta is in one neat little package, it’s Fury Cutter Galvantula. Ideally, you don’t want to run it with either of its customary Electric moves, and instead with mostly-neutral Cutter and then some combination of its wide array of non-Electric charge moves. Lunge is the odds-on favorite, but after that, Energy BallBug Buzz, and even Cross Poison all look viable. Energy Ball is obviously best to threaten the Alolan Rocks and to beat Lanturn.

Cross Poison is helpful to tear into Dedenne and outrace things in general (such as getting the better of Manectric) and is slightly best in 2v2 shielding (beating Manectic, Electivire, and the mirror, though giving up Emolga and Minun to do it). Bug Buzz is a big fat closer that can most easily win the mirror match, and is easily the best with shields down (adding on stuff like Electrode, Ampharos, and again the mirror).

Heck, even stuff like Cross Poison/Energy Ball works (keeping Lanturn and Electivire, giving up Emolga and Manectric). Just don’t use the Electric moves… just about everything else goes!


Electrode (Hisuian) ElectricGrass

Thunder Shock | Energy Ball & Wild Charge

One of only two Grasses in the format, handy for getting a double resistance to Electric damage and conveniently resisting Water (AKA Lanturn) and opposing Grass damage, and taking only neutral from Ground.

Those gains are more significant than the downsides: weaknesses to Poison, Fire, and Ice; all combined, the number of relevant Pokémon in this meta with a move of those typings can be counted on one hand, even if that hand lost a digit to an overzealous staple gun while putting up Christmas lights last month. (Whereas you need at least one full hand of fingers to count relevant things with a Grass or Ground move.)

Anyway, there is nothing in this meta that Lanturn wants to see less than H-Trode, not necessarily because nothing else can kill Lanturn faster (there are things that can), but just because it resists literally everything Lanturn can throw at it, and it’s just a ticking clock as to when Lanturn will die, not if, and how much it can get farmed in the process. H-Trode can even win with a 1v2 shield disadvantage, the ONLY thing in the entire format that can say that.

Its dominance over Lanturn would almost singlehandedly be reason enough to run it, but thankfully its usefulness doesn’t end there, as H-Trode can also topple the Alolan Rocks and Luxray and Minun and Emolga and such for good measure. Even better, one with decently high Attack not only wins the mirror match, but can also outrace Dedenne.


Electrode Electric

Volt Switch | Foul Play & Hyper Beam/Returnᴸ

No typing advantages here, but what K-Trode does have is a lot of neutral damage with Foul Play and either Hyper Beam or, if purified, Return. Foul Play picks off a few things on its own, like Minun, but you really do want to utilize the big Normal bombs to get stuff like Lanturn, Hisuian Electrode, Dedenne, and Ampharos. Something like Hyper Beam may seem prohibitively costly, but just ask anyone who’s used (or faced!) Electrode in formats like Love Cup, and they’ll tell you that even Beam comes in a reasonable timeframe — sometimes even multiple times! — thanks to the high energy of Volt SwitchShadow Trode is just too flimsy to make use of big expensive Hyper Beam, though… stick with the non-Shadow.


Minun Electric

Quick Attack | Grass Knot & Thunderbolt/Discharge

It’s long forgotten now, but Minun used to be quite good in PvP and was very popular in early Silph Arena Cups (mostly pre-GBL), because as far Electric types go, its actually pretty bulky, and this shows best by looking at the ranking of total stat products among Electric Cup Pokémon: Minun is third, behind only bulkmeisters Lanturn and Pachirisu.

Ironically, as time has marched on and Minun (and Electrics in general) have been left further and further in the rear view mirror, Minun has only gotten better and better, with first the addition of Grass Knot for coverage, and then the recent-ish buff to Quick Attack to further distinguish it from its fellow Electrics. Those two mostly-neutral-in-this-meta moves combined with Minun’s great bulk make it a a very solid and safe option, beating some of the biggest names of all like Lanturn, the Alolan Rocks, Luxray and several more. I also want to take a moment to highlight something interesting with the IVs that I came across.

Ironically, #1 rank IVs is actually a hair worse, losing to Ampharos that “average” IVs can beat. And counterintuitively, high Attack IVs may be best, as they maintain all the “average” IV wins and potentially add on both Electrode and Dedenne. Conveniently, that also saves you 3-4 levels and a good amount of dust and candy too, which is always nice for the thrifty at heart like me. 🤑

Plusle Electric

There’s also PLUSLE, the more Attack-heavy of the pair, and it performs pretty closely and doesn’t slide up or down in performance with changing IVs like Minun does. It also more reliably beats out Electrode. But the bad news is that it doesn’t ever really have the bulk required to stand up to Lanturn, so while Minun usually pulls that win out, Plusle just can’t without some kind of advantage. Minun reaches three Grass Knots, and Plulse just can’t ever squeeze in more than two before falling… simple as that. You can, of course, run BOTH though… just a thought.


Manectric Electric

Snarl | Psychic Fangs & Overheat

So first I’m going to show you this, and then start walking it back. 😅 Because Manectric is NOT likely to actually achieve that level of success. First off, that record has absolutely perfect baiting, and if things do NOT go perfectly, the record can nearly flip entirely the other direction, and in a hurry. And even in those pie in the sky scenarios, it’s left basically dead in nearly all of them, severely nerfed after using Overheat.

It’s also much more pedestrian if it lacks a shield to hide behind, with things like the Alolan Rocks, Galvantula, Minun and Dedenne catching up to it and taking advantage of its fragility (which is shaky even compared to the many other less-than-bulky Electrics). I’m not saying NOT to use Manectric, as the potential is indeed huge. Just treat it as a high reward but also very high risk option. The opponent won’t always cooperate and play right into your hands, and when they don’t, this is a ‘mon that can blow up in your face spectacularly.

I want to also give a shout-out to ZEBSTRIKA, as it can also throw out Fire (and buff itself) with Flame Charge, overpowering Luxray and Lanturn (and with high rank IVs, Electivire as well). Granted, its role kind of ends there, but it’s a fun, spicy option.


Togedemaru ElectricSteel

Thunder Shock/Spark | Fell Stinger & Wild Charge

Normally Gyro Ball provides some nice coverage, but it’s resisted by Electric types (and double resisted by Lanturn), so rather useless here. Instead, the best way to go is pumping up Toge’s power a bit with Fell Stinger (and maybe nab a shield in the process) and hope to finish them with Wild Charge, which is also, of course, resisted by most of the meta, but at least hits like a truck. It can be a successful formula, buoyed by Toge’s natural resistances to Rock, Grass, Poison, Steel, Normal, and seven other typings.

Now yes, relying on Fell Stinger means that, like Manectric, there’s plenty of potential for baiting to go haywire, but unlike Manectric, Togedemaru has the bulk and typing to shrug off some bad plays, and it maintains a solid record even if things don’t go to plan (though it does lose Lanturn then, which is unfortunate). As with some other things in this meta, it benefits from higher Attack to pick up a bonus win over Electrode without dropping anything of note.


Magnezone ElectricSteel

Spark | Mirror Shot & Zap Cannon/Wild Charge

Honestly, even though the record is quite similar to Togedemaru, I like ‘Zone much less here. Unlike Toge, Zone’s bait/coverage move, Mirror Shot, is resisted by Electric types, and even its special effect (reducing the opponent’s Attack) is only a 30% chance as opposed to Fell Stinger’s 100% chance to buff Togedemaru. So while it has listed wins against more than half of the “core meta”, it can all come apart at the seams if baiting doesn’t go just right. (And yes, that goes for ShadowZone too, though it’s slightly worse anyway and not generally recommended.) Magnezone is arguably a better PvP Pokémon than Togedemaru in general and has the unique — and recommended — option of Zap Cannon here to distinguish itself a but, but Limited metas like this can and do shuffle around what’s better or not. Such is the case here… this meta is just better suited to Togedemaru.


Dedenne ElectricFairy

Tackle | Discharge & Play Rough

The good? Deedee is reasonably bulky (for an Electric type), comes with a very unique subtyping that resists Galvantula’s scary Bug damage (and Togedemaru’s Fell Stinger, for what that’s worth), and it fields a fast move and charge move that are widely unresisted in this meta. The bad news? Those unresisted moves are so-so Tackle and rather expensive Play Rough, its high cost being compounded by Tackle generating only a very average 3.0 EPT. So it’s viable, but not as special as you might hopeCharm Deedee when?

75,000 Dust/75 Candy


Luxray Electric

Hidden Power (Ground)/Snarl | Psychic Fangsᴸ & Crunch/Wild Charge

So Niantic thought to cut out the Mud Slappers, but they may have just overlooked Luxray with Hidden Power (Ground). Hidden Power is still a bad, bad move (both it and Mud Slap generate only 2.67 EPT, but Slap deals 3.67 DPT and Hidden Power only 3.0 DPT), but Ground is obviously fantastic here… just with Hidden Power alone, Luxray does good work, taking down Manectric, Electrode, Ampharos, Electivire, and the double-weak-to-Ground Alolan Rocks, along with all of the similarly critically weak Steels. Heck, versus the entirety of the format, it exceeds a 60% winrate with JUST fast moves!

That rises with Psychic Fangs, its neutral damage and compounding nerfs to the opponent’s Defense playing right into the hands of the heavy fast move damage, with Crunch as probably the most ideal second move for its additional chance to debuff but mostly just for dealing neutral damage. (Though Wild Charge is acceptable too.) That said, if you’re going to go for this kind of high damage option, you may as well go for broke with Shadow Luxray, who can add Lanturn to the win column (though it does need Psychic Fangs to do so).

But Luxray is no one-trick pony. To stop with just Hidden Power is to miss perhaps even higher potential with a move everyone can get on Luxray without having to get lucky with Hidden Power’s typing: Snarl, which combines with Psychic Fangs and Hyper Beam (shades of Electrode!) for big, mostly-unresisted closing damage sufficient to take out Lanturn and a slew of others (mostly familiar names like the Alolan Rocks, Ampharos, Electrode, Dedenne, etc).

You can even swap out Beam for Wild Charge on Shadow Snarl Luxray and still beat Lanturn, dropping the Alolan Rocks to gain Galvantula instead, which is pretty big! Lots of ways to go with Luxray here… this is its best chance yet to shine out brightly. What moveset fits YOUR team best, trainer?


Ampharos Electric

Volt Switch | Brutal Swing & Focus Blast

Brutal Swing never looked so good, giving Ampharos a big neutral beatstick to smack around much of the meta. But Ampharos still owes much of its success to Focus Blast, which which it can blow away the Alolan Rocks. difficult things like Minun and the Electrodes, and much more besides. Granted, you really need to land a big Blast to achieve decent success, but it’s often a quick KO when you do. Shadow Amphy is probably too flimsy to pull it off, however.


Electivire Electric

Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Flamethrowerᴸ

Well over two years later, we finally found it: a meta where Electivire actually wants Community Day move Flamethrower! It has a very niche role, burning through flammable Galvantula and Hisuian Electrode, and it also beats Flyers (read as: Emolga, I guess) with Ice Punch (which H-Trode hates also!) and somehow overpowers (Hidden Power) Luxray as well. Its usefulness mostly ends there (aside from Shadow Vire which swaps Lux for Dedenne), but at least its a pretty handy niche!

Pre-evolution ELECTABUZZ lacks Ice OR Fire moves, but what it does have going for it is the potential of Return. It doesn’t manage to overcome the best of the best names in this meta, but it’s a decent way to clean up the riffraff.


Rotom (Wash) ElectricWater

Thunder Shock | Hydro Pump & Thunderbolt

“Budget” Lanturn, though Lanturn is probably cheaper and easier to build. I mention it mostly because if you to EVER get PvP use out of it (at least until Niantic finally buffs fast move Astonish!), this is probably your one and only chance. But uh… yeah, just go with Lanturn, honestly.


Rotom (Mow) ElectricGrass

Thunder Shock | Ominous Wind & Thunder

Not even budget Hisuian Electrode… more like absolutely destitute H-Trode. Despite being a Grass… yeah, I pass.

100,000 Dust/100 Candy

Honestly, nothing doing here. ZAPDOS is no better than Emolga… Flying is just too much of a liability here. Even Shadow Zappy just isn’t worth it. RAIKOU is alright with Shadow Ball, but honestly isn’t anything special. You can run it if you already have it prepped, sure, but I wouldn’t invest in one now just for Electric Cup.

That just leaves us a couple of high XL investments, if you’re feeling frisky. Or should I say… feeling lucky.


Pachirisu Electric
  • The big one that’s impossible to ignore is PACHIRISU, one of the most exlusive and elusive regionals in the game… and on top of that, it has to be fully maxed to Level 50 and still doesn’t even crest 1400 CP! If you have it, yes, this is another excuse to show it off, but its lack of coverage moves finally catches up to it and it’s left merely okay, even with its insane bulk. It does outbulk Lanturn, at least.
Flaaffy Electric
  • If you love you some floof, there’s FLAAFFY. But here again we’re left relying on Tackle, which is not a great place to be. There’s nothing particularly special about it, in regular or Shadow form, but if you just REALLY want to use it, hey, I won’t stop you.
Chinchou WaterElectric Luxio Electric Magnemite ElectricSteel
  • Now, MAGNEMITE can also utilize Return, and does much more with it, aided by the fact that Magnet Bomb can take down the Alolan Rocks too. Not a strong recommendation, but if there was one thing I’d consider XLing in this meta, this would be it. At least being purified makes it a bit cheaper?

And that’s it… we’re done! And before the format arrives this time. gimme five! (Or uh… however many fingers you have on that anglerfish-mangled hand of yours. ✋) Hope this is a help, and best of luck in this electrifying format, folks.

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 Electric Cup, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!

Author & tags

PoGO/PvP Investigative Journalist, GO Hub and Silph Arena/Road Contributor, amateur cook, author of 'Nifty Or Thrifty' and 'Under The Lights' article series and #PvPfacts!

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