Psychic Cup Guide: Cup Meta and Best Stardust Investments (Nifty Or Thrifty)

A comprehensive guide to Psychic Cup meta and the best Pokémon to spend Stardust on, focused on getting most out of your hard earned Stardust.

The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: Psychic 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 and/or levelling up! 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.

So 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. 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, though, 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.)

Now let’s get to it!

10,000 Stardust / 25 Candy

So while I try and review the meta pretty comprehensively in these writeups, I cut my teeth way back when I started (nearly 400 articles and 4 years ago!) by keying in on budget-friendly options to help folks that don’t have every possible Pokémon already built and/or buckets of Stardust just sitting around waiting to be spent. All that to say… I usually focus on the 10k category as much as possible, as they’re typically the cheapest things to build from the ground up. Unfortunately, for this particular Cup that hardly has any starters or anything, there’s barely anything here. But there IS one very valuable diamond in the rough, so let’s take a look at this unfortunately small group.


Raichu (Alola) ElectricPsychic

Volt Switch | Wild Charge & Thunder Punch/Grass Knot

The only 10k option ranked in the Top 10 (and just barely!), AhChu’s big advantage in this format is being one of very few things with a full moveset that can hit (nearly) everything for neutral damage… only Claydol and a couple Grass types dull Electric damage. Generally that all-Electric set is what you’re going to want, but there IS a case for Grass Knotespecially with shields down, with which it can at least win the mirror (and threaten Claydol).


Delphox FirePsychic

Fire Spin | Flame Charge & Fire Blast

Plus side: as with AhChu, Delphox dishes out largely unresisted damage, and the Fire typing also resists Fairy damage. Downsides: needs to land a big expensive Fire Blast to beat things like Medicham, Wobbuffet, and Lugia, and usually just barely, and will fall victim to Water, Ground, and Rock damage that people bring to face down Victini. (Yes, that’s gonna be a BIG thing… more later.) In the end, it’s not an eye-popping track record, but Phoxy IS cheap and works well enough as a generalist that will obviously really burn through Steels.


Swoobat PsychicFlying

Air Slash | Psychic Fangs & Aerial Ace

Can you tell we’re already reaching a bit? I mean, you CAN do a lot worse… at least Swoobat deals neutral damage to most of the meta (Steels and Lunatone are laughing at it, though), and Psychic Fangs hits especially softly here, but does come with debuffing to the opponent, so… there’s that? But yeah, the 10ks are really thin when this is your third best option among them.

Grumpig Psychic Smoochum IcePsychic

And really all that’s even left beyond that is GRUMPIG, which comes with Shadow Ball but can barely make use of it. Oh, and there’s also XL SMOOCHUM, but that is decidedly NOT a cheap build (having to be fully maxed out), and really not worth considering at all unless you somehow already have one built. At least Claydol, Celebi, and Flyers detest it.

50,000 Stardust / 50 Candy

While the 50k category is typically the largest, with the dearth of 10k options this time around, it’s especially important this time as probably the best place to try and get “thrifty”. And there’s at least one prominent option that doesn’t even require a second charge move at all! Let’s dive in….


Bronzong SteelPsychic

Feint Attack | Payback & Heavy Slam

If you’ve ever run Bronzong before (and yes, it’s been quite good in certain past metas, and in Ultra League), surely it was with Confusion and Psyshock. Heck, you may not have even known it had Feint Attack, because who would ever run that? Well, players in Psychic Cup want exactly that, along with Payback, to deal super effective damage to darn near everything in the format. (Only a half dozen Pokémon — consisting of Fighters, Fairies, and one notable Dark type — manage to take only neutral damage from Dark moves.) Problem is that Feint Attack generates only the average 3.0 Energy Per Turn, and Payback is pretty costly at 60 energy, so despite being decently bulky and having a very favorable Steel subtyping that allows Bronzong to double resist Psychic damage and resist nine other relevant typings, Zong needs a good second move that does decent damage for an affordable cost. Psyshock makes no sense since it’s heavily resisted, and regular Zong move Bulldoze doesn’t make a lot of sense as it costs the same amount of energy as Payback but deals less damage and is not nearly as widely super effective. So we turn instead to so-so PvP move Heavy Slam, which at least costs only 50 energy, gets STAB, and is resisted only by the few Fires, Waters, and Steels in the format, plus Alolan Raichu; it picks up wins versus Claydol, Galarian Rapidash (super effective damage from Slam!), and Slowbro. You’ll never see this sort of moveset be recommended outside this format, but here in Psychic Cup, it’s the way to go.


Malamar DarkPsychic

Psycho Cut | Foul Play & Hyper Beam/Superpower

There are several things in this format that have solid Dark/Ghost moves to wail on most everything else for super effective damage, and several things that double resist Psychic damage (all the Steels in the format, for example), but there is nothing else in Psychic Cup that really does both… and Malamar actually triple resists Psychic! (Psychic resists Psychic, and Dark double resists Psychic, hence the Dark/Psychic Malamar triple resists. See, I can do maths!) Put it all together, and you can see why so many of us content creators were recommending getting a good Malamar during Inkay Research Day. It’s very dominant versus the entirely of the format too, and not just the core meta. Basically bring a Fairy or something with Charm (or a couple specific things like Metagross, Celebi, sometimes Galarian Slowking, and Medicham, who remains a part of this meta in very large part because of Malamar), or Malamar could shred your whole team. Thank goodness it doesn’t have a Dark fast move as well or it’s likely NOTHING would be able to beat it. And things don’t get much better in other shielding scenarios either. Too bad that it’s pretty limited outside of formats like this.

Last note: yes, you actually do want Hyper Beam as the second move alongside Foul Play. Fast move Psycho Cut can actually get to it in meaningful spots, and the other charge move options will never deal better than neutral (and usually resisted) damage anyway. Superpower at least deals neutral to enemy Malamar and Steel, Rock, and Ice types, but you really won’t find yourself wanting that nearly as often as you may want the pure KO power of Beam.


Rapidash (Galarian) PsychicFairy

Fairy Wind | Body Slam & Megahorn

And if you think Malamar looks scary, get a load of THIS. 👀 Running with brand new fast move Fairy Wind, G-Dash kind of has it all: Fairy damage for stuff like Malamar and Medicham and Latios, Megahorn to deal BIG damage to everything in the format (and super effective damage to the vast majority, as Psychic types are weak to Bug damage), and super spammy Body Slam to wear down most everything else. About the only things it doesn’t want to run into are Steels, as they resist all three of those moves, but most everything else is fair game. Note that in 1v1 shielding, its only losses that are NOT Steel types are Alolan Raichu, Victini, G-Bro, and Charm Gardevoir. That’s it… that’s the list. Ride like the wind, indeed.


Slowking (Galarian) PoisonPsychic

Hex | Shadow Ball (& Sludge Wave?)

Savings alert, as G-King really doesn’t need any charge move other than just Shadow Ball… it does all the damage it needs to with Ball and Hex, which isn’t surprising considering that the total number of things in this meta that Ghost does NOT hit super effectively can be counted on one hand, even if that hand had a terrible run-in with an ill-tempered paper shredder… twice! (Just three total things: Normals Oranguru and Girafathingy, who actually resist Ghost, and Dark type Malamar, who takes neutral.) G-King would be THE Pokémon to beat here except for one little problem: it is rather fragile. I mean, its bulk is fine enough, but being half-Poison means it takes neutral (rather than resisted) damage from Psychic damage and is vulnerable to Ground (hello there, Claydol), though on the plus side it at least resists Fairy damage. In other words, a big of an RPS nightmare may unfold, but at least G-King can dish it out to just about everything even in most bad matchups on the way out. If you have a good one and are still questioning what to plug in on the back end of your team, G-King is likely to offer a pretty good answer.


Claydol GroundPsychic

Mud Slap | Shadow Ball & Rock Tomb

Ah, Niantic’s long-time pet project. They have tweaked Claydol so obviously and so often that it almost became a joke, adding Earth Power in May 2019, Mud Slap in July 2019, Ice Beam and Shadow Ball in January 2021, and finally Rock Tomb when that move was revamped in November 2021. Clearly somebody over there REALLY wants to make it work. And in this format, even PvPoke really wanted to make it work too, listing it in the Top 5. On paper, this is finally a format where it SHOULD indeed be awesome, perfectly countering the potent Steels (Bronzong, Metagross, Jirachi), Poisonous Galarian Slows, and Alolan Raichu and Lunatone (with both Electric and Rock types also being weak to Ground and ineffective against it), right? Right? Problem is that despite all the move tweaking, it’s just remained mediocre at best, and that seemed to be the case in early looks here where PvPoke’s and my initial meta lists had it with the obvious Shadow Ball and slightly-less-obvious Earth Power to emphasize its niche role in hammering on the things I listed above that are all weak to Ground. Problem is that in that configuration, it STILL looked mediocre, unable to reliably overcome G-King or even Bronzong that a Ground type really should be beating, and it fell short against Hypno and Medicham (both running Ice Punch) as well. But it turns out that with that very last and latest update, maybe Niantic finally got it right, as it is humble Rock Tomb that seemingly pushes Claydol, finally, into a bona fide meta option. It’s not because of Rock Tomb offering special coverage either, as Claydol actually still loses to every Flying and Ice type in the format except Galarian Articuno. But what Tomb does bring is a guaranteed debuff to the opponent’s Attack, giving Claydol the extra time it needs to finish G-King, Zong, Medi, and Hypno off. The effect is very similar in 2v2 shielding as well, with Rock Tomb beating Hypno and winning the mirror match, neither of which Earth Power can reliably replicate. Perhaps even more amazingly, Rock Tomb by itself can beat everything it can with Shadow Ball/Rock Tomb in 2v2 shielding! Rock Tomb is NOT a great move (still dealing far less damage than you’d hope for 60 energy), and Claydol is NOT a great Pokémon, but somehow, for one brief shining moment, it somehow all just works. Claydol fans… this is your first, best, and likely also last chance to take Claydol out for… well, a spin. 😵😏

HYPNO ♻️♻️♻️

Hypno Psychic

Confusion | Shadow Ball & _____ Punch

And now we get into one Psychic type that most players have probably actually used at some point, old reliable Hypno. Yes, it has Shadow Ball, which is a great start. Yes, it’s quite bulky and can simply outlast a number of things. And yes, it has a variety of Punches that usually deal neutral damage and sometimes get in for super effective. But the problem Hypno has is being a little slow due to relying on basically-always-resisted Confusion. I usually try and keep ‘Nifty or Thrifty’ reviews relatively high level and stick mostly with the 1v1 shielding scenarios, but in this particular case, that scenario tells a sad story (including for Shadow Hypno as well). But that undersells Hypno, as it’s much better in 2v2 shielding or especially with shields down. I do recommend it as a space filler on teams, especially if you already have it on hand and (understandably) don’t feel inclined to invest too heavily into a one-week format like this with other stuff in this article. Hypno will rarely feel truly dominant, but it can certainly hold the line just fine. And as for which Punch to go with, they all have merit, so decide it you want to burn Steels (Fire), freeze Claydol (Ice), or just go for a decent all-arounder (Thunder). Good luck!

MEDICHAM ♻️♻️♻️♻️

Medicham FightingPsychic

Counter | Ice Punch & Power-Up Punch/Psychic/Dynamic Punch

Yes, Medicham is awesome in PvP, but can even it survive in a meta chock full of things that resist its main moves? Well, if you have a decent ranking one, it’s viable-ish despite everything working against it. What Medi DOES do well is win the few neutral-on-neutral battles — those versus Steels (Metagross, Bronzong), Rock type Lunatone, and Dark type Malamar — where both sides are dealing neutral damage to each other throughout (with one half of their typing being weak, the other half resisting, and thus = neutral!)… and then Slowbro for some reason (despite Slowbro resisting literally ALL of Medi’s moves). As crazy as it may sound, yes, I think you want to run Counter and Power-Up Punch here, because despite never dealing greater than neutral damage, Counter + PuP does still add up. PuP also pumps up Ice Punch, which is Medi’s one interesting weapon here for how it hits nearly everything for neutral and comes in with super effective damage in some key spots (Claydol, Xatu, Lugia), especially Latios, where a PuP’d Ice Punch becomes quite deadly. I don’t necessarily recommend Medicham here, but it’s not as insane an idea as you might think at first.


Alakazam Psychic

Psycho Cut | Fire Punch & Shadow Ball

Fastest Shadow Ball in Psychic Cup. Let me repeat that for those in the back: fastest Shadow Ball in Psychic Cup right here, on Alakazam with Psycho Cut. Look, even in a format where ‘Zam resists so much incoming damage, it’s still very flimsy and it WILL be betrayed by its lack of bulk, but it also hits hard and fast like a rocket sled from Mythbusters and takes a number of big things down with it, like Bronzong, Claydol, Metagross, G-King and Slowbro, and more. Shadow Zam is obviously even MORE of a glass cannon and can no longer overcome Bronzong or Slowbro, but does pick up Lugia and Hypno in their place. If you like fast battles and blazes of glory, Alakazam is worth a look.


Slowbro (Galarian) PoisonPsychic

Poison Jab | Sludge Bomb & Focus Blast

Admittedly you won’t often want Focus Blast, but it DOES help when shields are down by punching out Lunatone and Malamar, the latter especially being worth it. But those shieldless results are also about the best you’ll see out of G-Bro, as it just barely clings to relevance with shields in play. Like Galarian Slowking, it unfortunately takes neutral from Psychic, and its Poison moves are blunted by the key Steels and Rocks and Claydol here, making them far more cusrse than blessing. It’s an uphill battle for G-Bro.


Slowbro WaterPsychic

Water Gun | Ice Beam & Water Pulse

OG Slowbro doesn’t really have it much better, despite having some fantastic theoretical things going for it: dealing super effective damage to Claydol and Fires and Rocks (and Flyers thanks to Ice Beam), dealing widespread neutral damage to most everything else, and actually resisting Steel and Fire damage. SOME of that shines out, with wins versus Victini, Metagross, Claydol, and Lunatone, giving it some interesting potential niche use. But it just doesn’t really capitalize against anything else. Even pushing to 2v2 shielding only manages to add on Wobbuffet and Xatu (barely). I’ve seen a LOT of talk about Slowbro, and I sorta get it, but when you peel back the curtain and give it a long hard look, it just doesn’t do as much as it feels like it should. There will be teams that absolutely benefit from it, but just don’t ask it to do much beyond its very niche role.


Lunatone RockPsychic

Rock Throw | Rock Slide & Moonblast

Rinse and repeat here. Lunatone SHOULD have a nice little niche with its full Rock moveset dealing wide neutral damage — and super effective damage where it counts, such as versus Fires and Flyers — and Moonblast theoretically being a killer versus Malamar. But as with Slowbro, [it doesn’t quite work out that way. Victini and Flyers go down, yes, but basically nothing else, at least with any kind of consistency. I like Lunatone a lot more in concept than I think anyone will in reality. (But at it’s better than Solrock, since Moonblast is far better than Solar Beam for coverage.)


Xatu PsychicFlying

Feint Attack | Ominous Wind & Aerial Ace

Why oh why couldn’t Ominous Wind have gotten the same damage boost that Ancient Power and Silver Wind did in this season’s move shakeup? I mean, I KNOW why (hint: it rhymes a bit with “cheetah cheetah”), but dang, missed opportunity here. Instead, Wind is left dealing a mere 45 base damage, so even having that and Feint Attack — both super effective versus everything here that doesn’t rhyme with “Nala Bar”, “Gee, Raph, Uh… Big!”, or “You Rang, Guru?” — leaves Xatu pretty tame. Certainly viable, though, with nice wins versus Claydol (resisting Ground damage is big), Wobb, fellow Flyer Lugia, the Slows, and even the big Steels that normally feast on Flyers. It can even hang in there long enough to clip Latios’ wings, which is no small thing. It has been literally years since Xatu made a name for itself in very early Silph Arena metas, but like am aging, retired boxer, Xatu may have one more good fight left in it.


Meowstic Psychic

Sucker Punch (Male)/Charm (Female) | Energy Ball & Thunderbolt (Male)/Shadow Ball (Female)

Gonna give the slight edge to the male version here, seeing as how it comes with Dark fast move Sucker Punch and can beat out Bronzong, Claydol, Lugia, and Slowbro. But the female version clocks in as an odd Charmer that also has Shadow Ball (though it’s very unlikely to reach it multiple times, or perhaps even once!), and it beats Malamar, Medicham, Xatu, and Latios instead. (Both beat out Lunatone and Wobbuffet.) Yes, even I’ll admit these are both a reach, but hey, when else would you ever even consider using them? It’s now or never, Meowstic fans!


Girafarig PsychicNormal

Tackle | Psychic Fangs & Thunderbolt

OH MY. Do you know how excited I am to be closing out a section in a ‘Nifty Or Thrifty’ article with my homie Farigamariff and it NOT be a total joke? My boy is legit here, folks! Despite running with extremely average (even post-buff) Tackle, resisted Psychic Fangs, and slowish Thunderbolt, Girafathing manages to pick off Claydol (who resists all of that but Tackle!), Hypno, G-King, Lunatone (who resists everything but Bolt), and Bolt-weak Slowbro, Lugia, and Xatu. As a Psychic/Normal type, Figamiraff actually resists Ghost damage, which is handy in those Hypno, Xatu, and especially G-King wins. And while it’s NOT a pretty picture with shields down, it does manage to stay pretty consistent in 2v2 shielding, owing to the resisted but still impactful (thanks to opponent debuffs) Psychic Fangs. Shadow Ragafiraf is just a sidegrade here (losing Lunatone but gaining Celebi instead) but is the more promising of the two in other Great Legaue formats, so if you’re building a Farigirif from the ground up, I’d probably recommend Shadow. But either way… yes, this is a legit, valid pick in a meta for the first time in multiple years, and that’s awesome. If you feel like stretching your neck out for this format, this is a very fun and zany way to do so! 🦒


75,000 Stardust / 75 Candy

Well, there’s no sugar coating it… there are some very good picks in this and the 100k section, requiring heavier investments and pushing all “thriftiness” off the raft. The good news is that several of them do not strictly require a second charge move, and those that do benefit from them most are likely to have some playability beyond just Psychic Cup, so there’s still opportunity for some savings and investments that are truly worth it where you can’t be too thrifty. Let’s see what we’ve got….


Metagross SteelPsychic

Bullet Punch | Meteor Mash (& Earthquake?)

Metagross only very rarely has much impact outside of Master League, but it IS still a solid Steel for metas where you want actual Steel damage. This here is one of them, with Metagross dishing out big neutral-or-better (super effective versus Ice, Rock, and most importantly, Fairy types!) damage to mostly everything (AhChu, Waters, Fires, and other Steels do resist). Put it all together, and this is likely to be Metagross’ best Great League meta ever, particularly if you have one with good PvP IVs, which adds on wins versus Bronzong (one of very few spots where Earthquake actually matters) and Galarian Rapidash (who amazingly is otherwise able to at least force a tie — if not win outright — with neutral Megahorn and its other moves being resisted). You CAN pay for Earthquake if you want to, but it is literally only versus other Steels that it might maybe sometimes turn things in your favor… everything else can be had with just Meteor Mash. As scary as it looks, though, I generally don’t recommend Shadow Metagross, as it is… well, gross in comparison, walloping Fairies but falling short versus stuff like Bronzong, G-King, and Malamar that non-Shadow Gross can handle. If you insist on Shadow anyway, you’re best with one with a little extra Attack to at least win mirror matches… and you retain everything else of note still.

Metang SteelPsychic

Don’t have a sub-1500 CP Metagross? As crazy as it may sound, you’re really not much worse off with its pre-evolution METANG, who has much less inspriring Steel moves but still replicates most of what its big, four-legged bro can do anyway. And in this case, Shadow is on equal footing.


Gardevoir PsychicFairy

Charm | Shadow Ball

Yep, you really don’t need any second charge move here. Heck, 95% of the time, you won’t need ANY charge moves here, since we’re talking about Charm, but hey, it IS Shadow Ball, so that’s an easy call to TM to as necessary. But this is all about that tap tap tapping and Charming down a wide swath of the meta, particularly emo (aka Shadow) Gard, which is basically a straight upgrade with added wins versus Hypno, Claydol, and sometimes Wobbuffet too. Make no mistake, though: Gardevoir is very glassy (especially as a Shadow, of course) and basically HAS to have shields to hide behind, but if she does and you can avoid Steel, Poison, and Fire types (and super thicc Cresselia), Gardevoir can run roughshod over entire teams. Charm is always good, but especially in a meta where so little resists it.

And yes, this is also that rare meta with Charm GALLADE actually makes sense, and as with Gardevoir, you really don’t need a second move. (Just stick with widely neutral Leaf Blade.) Also like Gardevoir, Shadow is better (though only slightly, in this case, with a new win versus Alolan Raichu). If you intend to run Charm, you’re still much better off going with Gardevoir (Gallade taking neutral from Psychic damage while Gard resists it is just one of many reasons), but uh… perhaps double Charm could run both? (But please don’t, pleaseandthankyou. 😅)


Oranguru NormalPsychic

Confusion | Foul Play (& Psychic?)

Never imagined I’d ever be saying anything was “a worse Girafarig”, but here we are. The good is that Oranguru has widely super effective Foul Play and the same resistance to Ghost moves as its fellow long-necked Psychic/Normal buddy. The bad is that its locked behind widely resisted Confusion, and thus struggles to bring Foul Play to bear. You can run it, and it’s one of the safer investments for multiple formats (even Open, on the right team) moving forward, but it’s far less exciting than it should be in Psychic Cup. Even with shields down!

MR. RIME ♻️♻️

Mr. Rime IcePsychic

Ice Shard | Ice Punch & Icy Wind

Another good news/bad news story in the making here. The good is having a moveset resisted only by Steels (and the very few Waters) in the format, big debuffer Icy Wind as part of it, and results that get better and better the longer the battle goes. (Oh, and absolutely obliterating Latios, Claydol, Flyers, and Grasses.) The bad is losing to most everything else, to include Malamar, the Fairies, the Steels (of course), Fires and Rocks amd Waters (again: of course), and big names like Medicham, AhChu, Hypno, and Galarian Slowking. Way to cool off the hype there… sorry!


I DID look at other things in this group, but they just didn’t seem to cut it. SIGILYPH seemed potentially exciting with a varied and oft-unresisted moveset that includes Bug move Signal Beam that deals super effective to Psychic types, but as with so many other “Heroes On Paper” in this article, it doesn’t live up to hopeful expectations…. ORICORIO (PA’U) is disappointing even with all Flying moves…. JYNX is no Mr. Rime…. CHIMECHO is a one-trick pony with Shadow Ball, and that one trick isn’t nearly enough…. As for ESPEON… no. Just no.

100,000 Stardust / 100 Candy

We’re almost done! There ARE some impactful Legendaries and Mythicals to cover, so let’s blow through and bring this on home!

VICTINI ♻️♻️♻️

Victini PsychicFire

Quick Attack | V-Create (& Overheat?)

If you had asked me a week ago about Psychic Cup and Victini’s place in it, I would have said it was viable, but [held back by Confusion. But now, after the increased energy coming from the buffed Quick Attack, it looks freaking terrifyingNow it can beat Hypno, Cresselia, Lugia, and even Fire-resistant Latios in 1v1 shielding, and add on potentially Malamar, AhChu, and Claydol with shields down. I don’t know that a second move is strictly required if you’re strapped for candy and/or dust, as V-Create does nearly all the heavy lifting on its own, but it’s worth noting that Overheat helps significantly (particularly in 0v0 shielding) to outrace Bronzong, which is obviously a significant pickup. Also note that Quick Attack Victini is suddenly tearing it up in even Open Great League, much less Limited metas, so this is looking like a very safe investment for even when Psychic Cup has faded from the rear view mirror. It’s a great time to build yours up if you didn’t already push it past 1500 CP. But you wouldn’t have done that after being being advised to keep it at Great League level, now would you? 😉 There’s a reason Victini is currently ranked #1 in Psychic Cup Smoke ’em (literally) if you got ’em! 🔥


Latios (Shadow) DragonPsychic

Dragon Breath | Dragon Claw

I’m going to assume if you have a Latios under 1500, it’s likely Shadow, so that’s what I’ll be focused on here… but yes, non-Shadow is fine too if you’ve gotten REALLY lucky with research-level Latios trades. But Shadow Latios is thankfully not a downgrade, just a sidegrade, trading in Xatu and Victini that non-Shadow can get VERY close wins against (surviving with 3 or less HP) for relatively comfortable wins versus Alolan Raichu and Medicham instead. Steels and Fairies resist Dragon damage, but other than them, Latios is a great generalist that piles on damage very, very quickly regardless of the opponent’s supply of shields. You do need to have an escape plan if a Steel or especially Fairy shows up, though. 😬 And as with other glassy stuff like Gardevoir, Latios ideally needs at least one shield to hide behind.


Cresselia Psychic

Psycho Cut | Grass Knotᴸ & Moonblast

The name of Cress’ game is bulk and neutral damage charge moves, and that can carry it quite a ways. Yes, Grass Knot can ruin some poor Claydol or Slowbro’s day, and Moonblast makes Malamar and Latios and Medicham cry, but generally Cresselia is just outlasting stuff in neutral-on-mostly-neutral slugfests. It’s quite excellent with shields down, but loses effectiveness when pushed to two shields, so plan her spot in your lineup accordingly if you plan to deploy one.

LUGIA ♻️♻️♻️

Lugia PsychicFlying

Dragon Tail | Sky Attack (& Aeroblastᴸ or Hydro Pump?)

Yet again the non-Shadow and more easily acquired Shadow Lugia remain pretty close in performance, the main difference being that non-Shadow holds up long enough to take down Victini, while Shadow instead overpowers Malamar. It’s also well worth noting that in shieldless and 2v2 shielding, it is Shadow Lugia that pulls slightly ahead, trading in Hypno and Slowbro for wins versus Victini, Cresselia, and Gardevoir in 0v0 and picking up Victini and Alolan Raichu in 2v2 shield (no new losses in that case). ALSO note that a second move doesn’t do a lot of good for you in simulations, but if you WANT to shell out for a second move (Lugia IS okay in other GL metas and a relatively safe investment), Legacy Aeroblast is best, but Hydro Pump is an acceptable replacement that could surprise Victini or Claydol (and deals BIG neutral damage to Steels too).

JIRACHI ♻️♻️♻️

Jirachi SteelPsychic

Charge Beam | Doom Desire & Dazzling Gleam

If you ever needed a sign that this is a very strange meta that turns a lot of norms on their collective heads, it is this: Charge Beam is a recommended move. Even better: Charge Beam is a recommended move on something that doesn’t get STAB with it and DOES with significantly better PvP move Confusion. But of course, Confusion is widely resisted and Charge Beam is widely not, so that’s what we’re going with. And you know what? It actually works, with Charge Beam leading directly to wins over things you’d expect Electric damage to help with (Slowbro and Lugia), but also one you probably wouldn’t think of: Malamar. That last one is really won by way of super effective Dazzling Gleam, but it’s only because of the energy gains of Charge Beam that Jirachi gets there in time anyway. And this is no fluke: Jirachi remains quite consistent in shieldless and 2v2 shielding matchups as well. Just this once, it’s time to TM away from Confusion for a week. Just make sure to switch back when Psychic Cup is over and you wanna use Jirachi again. 😉


Celebi PsychicGrass

Magical Leafᴸ | Seed Bomb & Leaf Storm

Well, just like Jirachi, Celebi also comes with Charge Beam and Dazzling Gleam, though in this case I don’t think you want either. Because Celebi comes with a better alternative to both Charge Beam and Confusion with Magical Leaf, and can run a full (oft-unresisted) Grass moveset with Seed Bomb and Leaf Storm as well, making it a handy generalist that hates especially hard on Claydol and Alolan Raichu and somehow even beats Metagross, but otherwise wants to avoid Steels and Fires like the plague, among other things. Celebi isn’t anything super special, if I’m being honest, but if you have a good one, dealing as much neutral damage as it does is a valuable thing in Psychic Cup.


Articuno (Galarian) PsychicFlying

Psycho Cut | Ancient Power & Brave Bird

Sure, if you’ve been lucky enough to A.) encounter one under 1500 CP, B.) actually catch the blasted thing, and C.) had enough resources to get it double moved, then yeah, you can use it here as perhaps the most showoffingest of showoffs ever. And then go buy some lottery tickets.


Mewtwo (Shadow) Psychic

Psycho Cut | Shadow Ballᴸ & Psystrikeᴸ

So earlier when I said that Alakazam had the fastest Shadow Ball in the format? That was true… but it’s actually just tied for fastest, because Mewtwo can get to it just as quickly. And while it lacks the addition pressure of Fire Punch like Zam and is somehow even squishier than Zam too, Shadow Mewtwo still performs on a similar level, and what better time to use it, right?


In this extra section, I 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”! I already mentioned SMOOCHUM earlier, but there’s just a couple more….


Wobbuffet Psychic

Charm/Counter | Mirror Coat & Returnᴸ

Normally seen with Counter, and that actually does kinda work here, but if I were to use Wobb in this format, I’d probably do so with Charm. Admittedly neither are great, and I would NOT advise the heavy investment in the here and now. But if you have already built Wobb in the past, it has play here.

And uh… well, wow, I guess that really is it. I mean, there’s SLOWPOKE and Shadow Slowpoke) and even GALARIAN SLOWPOKE, but they’re really not anywhere near worth that kind of investment. And don’t try to get cute with stuff with favorable Hidden Power types either… it doesn’t actually work.

But I have worked, and can happily now declare that this article is a wrap! As always, I hope my ramblings help 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 or questions and I’ll try to get back to you!

Thank you for reading! I sincerely hope this helps you master Psychic 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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