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[Analysis] Nifty Or Thrifty: Little Cup

Hello again, fellow travelers!
The "Nifty Or Thrifty" article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for the upcoming Cup format... this time, it's Little Cup. As is typical for the 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 not needing to unlock a second move at all! I usually dive right in on Pokémon with the cheapest second move unlock cost (10,000 dust) and work my way through from there until finally concluding with the most expensive unlocks, but this time I'm going to start with a pair of meta-defining 'mons, the ones that most people are chatting about and that the meta really revolves around, before I dive into the standard run from the thriftiest on up.
One quick caveat: I had to create my own projected "core meta" list before PvPoke was able to do so. You will likely see me mentioning a few 'mons in my analysis that do NOT make the final, official meta list put together by PvPoke, so I apologize for any differences that may result. But the wins and losses I describe are all still accurate at the end of the day!
We've got a lot to cover, so let's not waste any more time. Here we go!


Confusion | Psyshock & Heavy Slam
If you have spent even a minute looking into any discussion on Little Cup, you have surely seen people chatting excitedly (or perhaps despondantly) about Bronzong's pre-evolution, because Bronzor has the same strong defensive typing, great stats, and good moveset. Put it all together and Zoro (as I've taken to calling it) is easily the most dominant figure in this meta, with only a handful of Darks, Fires, and select Grounds that give it any cause for concern, and regardless of shielding scenarios. Much of the rest of this article is going to be spent reviewing what can and cannot overcome Zoro, because it will potentially be even MORE centralizing than Aerodactyl was in Flying Cup. Yes, you absolutely CAN win without it, but you better be prepared to BEAT it, because it will be all over the place.
One potential answer I've seen mentioned here and there is... well, Bronzor. With Tackle, Bronzor can beat Confusion Bronzor consistently, but Tackle is a terrible move that Pokémon who have it generally want no parts of, and torpedoes Zoro's overall performance. I do NOT recommend using Tackle Bronzor, personally. Stick with the (soon-to-be) tried and true.
Dragon Breath | Body Slam & Crunch
So first off, yes, despite the fact that its Dragon Breath and Body Slam are both resisted by Bronzor, Deino wins thanks to resisting Zoro's Psychic damage in return and eventually getting there thanks to Crunch, but MAN, is it a long slog of a battle. That's not all that makes Deino great, though, as it overcomes a sizeable chunk of the meta, including many of the things that most threaten Zoro. In fact, Deino is a nearly perfect bodyguard for Bronzor, beating everything that vanquishes Zoro in all even shield scenarios except Alolan Sandshrew and Shadow Cubone in 2v2 shielding. (Trust me, I checked some LONG lists to come to that conclusion.) Deino will surely be a common sight on Bronzor teams. It's not a cheap investment, with a 75,000 dust second move unlock cost, but for people wanting to protect their Zoro--or just have a solid slayer on their own team--building a good one is easily worth the investment. After all, worst case, you can evolve it to a Zweilous down the line that will still be well under 1500 CP for Great League.
There are others with high overall win percentages (two of them will lead off the next section), but Bronzor and Deino are the pair you are most likely to see on any given team, and most of the remaining writeup will consist of stuff that's gunning for them.

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

Charm/Razor Leaf | Seed Bomb & Energy Ball
So Charm seems like the obvious choice as a way to absolutely obliterate Darks and Fighters (and many others). There is literally no harder counter to Deino, for example, which goes down to just three Charms. But don't completely discount Razor Leaf. Cottonee's Fairy typing means that it resists and still beats those same Darks and Fighters and Dragons and such, just not quite as oppressively, and it then easily picks off new stuff like Seel and Swinub and obviously becomes oppressive now against anything part Water, Ground, and/or Rock (for the price of losing to things like Drifloom, Shelmet, and Chikorita, which Charm beat instead).
If you don't have a good Cottonee, perhaps you have a good PETILIL, which puts on a decent imitation and gets many of the most important Charmer wins. But Cottonee is just plain better and more consistent, so consider this Plan... uh... D, we'll say.
Counter | Mirror Coat
As a baby, technically Wynaut would benefit from the Baby Discount™ and get a second move for only 10,000 dust, but uh... the only charge move it gets is Mirror Coat, which is a very mediocre move, dealing 30 less damage than Psychic (the move) for the same 55 energy cost, but it at least deals Psychic (the type) damage, handy for picking off Fighters and such. But the main thing to Wynaut is Counter, which combined with its insane bulk, allows Wynaut to just wear a ton of things down. Think of it like a mini Defense Deoxys. It's handy that it can beat several key things with just Counter, including Darks (like Deino), Ices (like Snorunt and Swinub), Steels and Rocks like Alolan Diglett and Onix, and even some bonuses like Shadowy Razor Leafers (take that, Grassholes!), Dratini, Vulpix, and Barboach... and again, even a lousy move like Mirror Coat adds on Seel and Lotad and Cubone and Igglybuff and Wooper and such. Other than hating on things weak to Counter (Wynaut may be the best Figher in the format, ironically), Wynaut's claim to fame here is just hanging around and grinding a lot of varied things into dust. It is perhaps the safest swap in the meta.
Mud Shot | Ice Beam & Aqua Tail/Mud Bomb
In a theme seen a lot in this meta, Barboach imitates its later evolution (Whiscash) with "baby" versions of its moves, in this case Ice Beam as a substitute for Cash's famous Blizzard. That makes Boach a sneaky potential counter to things "Mud Boys" shouldn't be able to beat, like Deino, Drifloon, and even Cottonee, while still doing traditional Mud things like beating Steels, Rocks, Poisons, and Fires. Barboach also conveniently can win against things like Nincada, Riolu, and Dratini, while Ice Beam is nasty against Grounds like Cubone and the other WateGrounds (Wooper and opposing Boaches). Aqua Tail seems like generally the best second move option, alone able to secure big wins like Shadow Stunky, Wooper, and Cottonee thanks to its speed (just 35 energy means it is tied for fastest charge move in the game), but it's worth noting that Mud Bomb beats Chinchou and gives Bronzor a much nastier fight (though Zoro typically still wins unless shields are down). Either way, this little sand worm does an admirable job of making Whiscash proud.
Sucker Punch | Night Slash & Dark Pulse/Play Rough
While Purrloin is not too exciting overall, it IS one of the most consistent (and cheap!) counters to Bronzor (especially if you just go straight Night Slash) while also sucker punching things like Barboach, Wooper, Cubone, Shadow Stunky, Dratini, Seel, and of course Drifloon. It's really not a bad list of names, just shorter than one might like. Play Rough seems like a great coverage move on paper, but generally, after looking over a number of simulations, it seems you're more likely to want the knockout power of Dark Pulse instead.
Feint Attack | Body Slamᴸ & Shadow Ball/Wild Charge
Warning up front: the success of Wigglytuff's ancestor revolves in large part around a Legacy move, Body Slam. But especially with a decent Attack stat, that success can be sweet. (Higher Attack leads to wins most notably against Wooper, Vulpix, and Alolan Diglett, BTW.) In addition to getting wins like Drifloon, Barboach, S-Stunky, Nincada, and others, what is most impressive is that Igglybuff beats Wynaut, Deino, AND potentially Bronzor as well, depending on IVs. That is a rare and valuable trifecta. I will confess I already burned an Elite TM to get my Iggly that Legacy Slam, and while that is certainly not for everyone, I have no real regrets. (Ask me again in a week. 😂) Oh, and there is Wild Charge to consider too, which gets the mirror match and things like Ducklett... but at the expense of Wynaut and Alolan Diglett, among others. I recommend Shadow Ball myself. 👍
Smack Down | X-Scissor & Rock Blast
Ironically, if this were Crustle, you'd probably want Fury Cutter in this meta for extra Psychic and Dark hate, but you can make do with Smack Down, though you do want good PvP IVs here to guarantee stuff like Nincada, Dratini, Purrloin, and Lickitung. Beyond that, it is nice that you get Deino, Fires, and bring particular hate to any Flyers that are around. But that is admittedly more fringe type stuff, which is probably where Dwebble sits as well. Like the potential, but the overall results don't lie.
Feint Attack | Sky Attack & Night Shade
The best bird in Little Cup, for what that's worth. Like Noctowl, Hoothoot is an airborne tank that can take a lot of punishment and just wear stuff down, with a list of wins that includes names like Cottonee, Drifloon, Wynaut, and every Bug and Grass and Ground that doesn't chuck rocks or throw snowballs, and a few other wins here and there on top of all that. The downside is that it doesn't get either Deino or Bronzong, but with Night Shade it at least has something to maim Zoro if it gets lazy with shielding (despite Shade itself being a very mediocre move).
Metal Claw | Body Slam & Iron Head/Rock Tomb
Not a ton to say here, but little Aron is at least a solid Fairy and Deino counter that also handles some anti-Ice, Rock, and Bug roles. It may be worth it for some teams just based on how well it handles Cottonee and Deino, with the rest just being a bonus. And while it does not typically beat Bronzor, it does tie it up in a battle of all-resisted moves, so it's not the worst thing in the world to soak up some damage for a while even in a bad swap situation. Aron is a decent little core breaker candidate in this meta, and a common spawn that is dirt cheap to build from the ground up.
Counter | Cross Chop
When it comes to Counter users in this format, it's Wynaut and Riolu, and that's IT. (Bonsly too, but to get one that fits under 500 CP requires some low level account trading hijinks, so....) Counter alone makes Riolu interesting, which is a good thing because the only charge move it has worth anything is Cross Chop. Riolu also lacks the Steel subtyping so helpful to its evolution Lucario. Even still, it is definitely a contender, able to beat Deino and many other things that give Bronzor (and Deino) trouble. Do note that getting Riolu under 500 CP at hatch level requires a trade (it's just too big even with worst possible 10-10-10 hatch IVs), but it's a far easier trade than, say, getting a Level 15 Lugia or Cresselia into Great League. Good luck!
Razor Leaf | Various
So from what I see, there are three main options here. You have SHADOW TURTWIG, currently the highest rated on PvPoke, which does the best against Lickitung and is the only one that consistently beats Drifloon. Then there's little BUDEW, which can beat S-Wig head to head thanks to a Poison subtyping (extra Grass resistance), as well as Croagunk and, uniquely, Dratini. And finally we have Kanto staple ODDISH. (Yes, I know this is breaking the 10k section a little, as Oddish's second move costs 50k dust, but just go with me here, just this once.) You can go with the original variety, which also beats S-Wig and Croagunk, and cannot beat Dratini but picks up wins against Ducklett and Nincada instead, as well as gaining back a win against Lickitung that S-Wig achieved. Or you can roll with Shadow Oddish and get all of those PLUS potentially Chikorita. Whichever one you perhaps go with, there are few better answers to the many Waters, Grounds, and Rocks here (the Razor Leafers beat ALL of them, at least as long as they have a shield to throw up), and they capably handle things like Riolu, Igglybuff, Purrloin, and even Snorunt as well. If you like Grassholing in Great League, there are ways to continue to be evil in Little League too.
There are other Grass options among those with Vine Whip, AKA the Grass starters. BULBASAUR's niche is similar to big bro Venusaur: Sludge Bomb giving it an edge against other Grass, particularly Charm Cottonee which it beats head to head, as well as a win over Chikorita. CHIKORITA, for its part, takes out Alolan Diglett, Nincada, Purrloin, and uniquely is able to best Dratini and Riolu. And finally, SNIVY is basically just a worse 'Rita, losing to Dratini and Riolu but getting the other same wins, and often with a little more HP left over (its one saving grace). However, other than the nice win against Cottonee with Bulba, none of these are really standouts compared to the Razor Leafers. You'll see them here or there, but these are not likely to be a big part of the meta.
Bubble | Aerial Ace & Ice Beam
Obviously a close approximation of Mantine, though lacking the crazy potential that comes with Bubble Beam baiting. Still, Tyke is able to take out Fighters, Grounds, Fires, and most Bugs with ease, and can also beat stuff like Hoothoot, Alolan Sandshrew, Wynaut, and even Cottonee. And while it doesn't beat beat Deino in a drop down, drag out fight, it CAN one shot it even from full health with a single Ice Beam if it can get on through. You're going to at least force a shield in that matchup, which ain't a bad consolation prize, all things considered.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

Razor Leaf | Bubble Beam & Energy Ball
Just to bring the Razor Leaf discussion to a close, here's an intriguing alternative. I actually don't have much more to say--you can scan that list of wins yourself--but I know Lotad has been popular in unofficial "Sippy Cup" formats like this in the past, and it likely will be here as well, so study that list to know what to expect. One fun note: Lotad, like a handful of 'mons in this meta, only HAS two charge moves, so at least that decision is easy!
Powder Snow | Energy Ball & Stomp/Ice Beam
Say hello to Little League's Abomasnow. As you'd probably expect, yes, Snover tends to beat the Dragons (Deino included) and most Grasses and Flyers, as well as most Grounds and Waters thanks to Energy Ball. The best second move actually seems to be Stomp, not so much for pure damage (though it does okay, but more for the bait potential to set up a bigger closing move. As with Aboma, Shadow Snover is a sidegrade alternative, losing Shadow Stunky and unfortunately Deino (usually), but gaining wins against Ducklett, Snorunt, and Swinub, and with really good IVs, Nincada and Cottonee as well! This is an underrated pick, folks... don't overlook it.
I'll mention HOPPIP here as our last real Grass option worth discussing, but since it lacks a Flying move--even a mediocre one like Jumpluff has--it's actually relatively boring. The best thing you might be able to do with it is sneak in a Dazzling Gleam on Deino that hits it so hard it would die twice. 🤩
Fury Cutter | Leaf Blade & Brave Bird
A Fighter that is best running with any Fighting moves, and with a very unique body of work as a result. Again, I'll let you look over the list yourself. It's rather... eclectic. Frustratingly, it fails to beat Deino, but it's a decent little list otherwise.
Wing Attack | Bubble Beam & Brave Bird/Aerial Ace
Gonna keep this one pretty simple. Yes, the results are somewhat skewed by good Bubble Beam baits, and the win column lacks Bronzor and Deino, but you have to like the overall potential. And it's still a perfectly viable overall performance even without any baits at all. Hopefully you held onto a right-sized Duck or two after the event where they were everywhere, as it just may be the best Flyer this side of Hoothoot... and perhaps even better.
Bubble/Spark | Bubble Beam & Thunderbolt
I know, I know... more Bubble Beam baits. But Chinchou is, in my estimation, the only truly viable Electric type here, and that counts for something, no? I do think that it's Bubble you want for the fast move; Spark beats Drifloon but is worse overall with the Grounds you'll see around. This is not quite Lanturn, but if you like using that, Chinchou has a similar feel and may be for you.
Water Gun/Mud Shot | Body Slam & Mud Bomb
The primary Mud Boy alternative to Barboach, though lacking the Ice coverage of Boach with its Ice Beam means that Wooper cannot beat Deino, Cottonee, Drifloon, Hoothoot, or... well, Wooper like Barboach can. What it DOES do is beat Igglybuff and present a much harder challenge for Bronzor, potentially winning the 2v2 shield with Water Gun and the 0v0 shield with either fast move. Water Gun does actually seem slightly bettemore versatile overall, with Mud Shot better handling Chinchou, Riolu, an Dratini, but Water Gun instead beating Snorunt and most Grounds, including Swinub, Nincada, Cubone, and... oh hey, back at ya, Barboach! 💪
Mud Slap | Mud Bomb & Rock Tomb
First up on Alolan Diglett's impressive résumé: it is one of very few things that can beat Bronzor--even a #1 IV Zoro--in ALL even shield scenarios. And this showcases its inherit strengths: solid Ground moves that wear down a lot of things, but especially those weak to such damage (Ground is one of Zoro's very few Achilles' heels), and a Steel subtyping that resists a TON of things... A-Dig has ten resistances in all, including ALL of Bronzor's moves, and Deino's Dragon Breath and Body Slams. And so yes, depending on IVs, A-Dig can beat Deino across all even shield scenarios as well, though it is a little close for comfort at times. A-Dig also tends to beat Stunky, Croagunk, Onix, and Chinchou, none of which appreciate a steady dose of Ground damage, and Igglybuff, Alolan Sandshrew, Dratini, and often the Fires as well. This is a sneaky good pick in this meta if you have a good one.
As a rather direct comparison to what A-Dig can do, consider SHELLOS, with the same Mud Slap/Mud Bomb moveset and a nice spammy Body Slam on top of it. It loses to Bronzor AND Deino despite being significantly bulkier than A-Diglett, simply because it lacks that Steel subtyping. Shellos isn't bad by any means, but given the choice between getting Zoro/Deino or not, I think it's an easy decision. Give me A-Dig.
Mud Slap | Bone Club & Bulldoze
It's a solid enough Ground type, sure. Handles Zoro fine, though can lose (closely) in 0 and 2 shield, and very nearly gets Deino in 1v1 shielding (and usually wins in 2v2 shield). Does most standard Ground things otherwise. You'll see them because Cubone is popular and easy to acquire and build, but you can do a bit better... though you can also do a LOT worse. Cubone is fine... just wish it had a better second charge move than Bulldoze. Don't use the Shadow version.
Rock Throw | Rock Blast & Thunderbolt/Rock Slide
Lacking the Steel subtyping of its marvelously mustachioed evolution, Nosepass still does plenty of good in this meta. Of particular note: it pushes Deino to a stalemate in 1v1 shielding and typically emerges victorious in other shielding scenarios, which is quite nice on top of all the other good it does (crushing Bugs, smashing Ices, knocking out Flyers, putting out Fires, and also beating Stunky and Iggly and Purrloin and such). If you have some left over from your days of Probopass evolving, maybe dust one off and give it a look.
Powder Snow | Icy Wind & Rock Slide/Body Slam
Here we have a very rare case of something having Body Slam in its arsenal and not wanting it. Instead, I recommend Icy Wind and Rock Slide. Yes, you lose Deino (more on that in a second, though), but you gain wins against Shelmet, Ducklett, Snorunt, Lickitung, and Vulpix that you don't get otherwise. And as for Deino, with halfway decent IVs, Nub beats Deino with just Icy Wind anyway across all even shield scenarios, and Wind is also sufficient to beat Cottonee, Wooper, and Barboach with even very average IVs. There is something to be said for Slam, sure--it DOES make Deino easier, as Nub can just spam Body Slams for a comfortable win--but overall I like the closing power and potential surprise that comes with Rock Slide. It makes Swinub a more unique and versatile threat, one that I think could be a true MVP on the right teams.
Powder Snow | Night Slash & Blizzard/Gyro Ball
Another Ice, and one that has a much easier time with Deino, even with a resisted charge move. But that, of course, is not all A-Shrew does. Anything Dragon, Flying, or Grass it put... well, on ice, as well as bonuses like Nincada, Shelmet, Onix, and even Seel. I generally recommend Blizzard as the second move, because even in Little League, Powder Snow CAN get there, but Gyro Ball is a viable alternative that punishes opposing Ices (and Lickitung and Igglybuff) at the cost of Seel, Lotad, Shelmet, and Ducklett. Some teams will want one move, others will want the other. Do YOU want A-Shrew?
Powder Snow | Icy Wind & Shadow Ball/Avalanche
Yep, ANOTHER viable Ice type. So let's go through the list and check them off. Beats the Dragons... check. Beats Flyers... check. Beats Grasses... well, it gets Cottonee, at least, so check enough. Beats the Mud Boys too, and A-Dig, and Cubone, and Shelmet & Nincada, and Seel, and even A-Shrew. Yep, seems solid to me. Snorunt's niche is in having Shadow Ball, obviously a potent weapon that even Bronzor has to be wary of. If you want a good Ice, you're certainly not short on options in this meta!
Ice Shard | Aqua Tail & Icy Wind
Dewgong in Little League, without needing Elite TMs! But it does lack the Ice subtyping, for what that's worth. (Honestly, that might be a PLUS in this meta. Anyway....) Seel gets Ice Shard AND Icy Wind AND a really solid Water move on top of it, something not even Gong can say. As you might expect, that all leads to a very solid performance, easily beating all the standard Ice targets while also extinguishing things like Vulpix, Onix, Croakgunk and Stunky with Aqua Tail (which also lets it beat Alolan Diglett easily, unlike the other true Ices). Seel may just be the best Ice here overall... and it's not even really an Ice!
Bite | Crunch, Sludge Bomb, or Flamethrower
Unfortunately, Stunky does not get Poison Jab like Skuntank, leaving it with slow-to-generate-energy Bite. That leaves Stunky as a very mediocre pick. However, Shadow Stunky is another story. With JUST fast moves, it can chomp through Bronzor (without even needing to shield!), Wynaut, Dratini, and most Flyers, Ices, Grasses, and many more. Yes, you will SOMETIMES want a charge move, and it's probably actually the more expensive Sludge Bomb or Flamethrower, for coverage, rather than Crunch, which offers no real advantages (and the sims agree). But if you're stuck with Frustration, you don't HAVE to add a true charge move at all if you don't want to, which is nice. Shadow Stunky is like a Grasshole here... maybe call it a Gashole? 😏 Get it? 🦨
Bite/Snarl | Poison Fang & Crunch
Want to double down on that kind of performance? Well here ya go. The difference with Carvanha is in the resistances... with it being half Water, it has an easier time chomping through Fires, Ices, and other Waters, leading to a slightly different but no less impressive performance as compared to Stunky. Not bad at all for something with only 25 Defense. 😱 Of course, its 120-plus Attack is just as notable here... insane for Little League. Here is your ultimate glass cannon.
Ember | Body Slam & FlamethroweFlame Charge
The best Fire here? Likely true. Vulpix is in a rather unique position of being a Fire that can beat Deino AND Alolan Diglett, as well as doing all the stuff you'd expect a good Fire to do (burning Grasses, Fairies, Ices, Bugs), though it falls frustratingly short of beating Bronzor in 1v1 shielding without decently high Attack... though then you drop Deino in the process. That's also true with Shadow Vulpix, which now easily beats Zoro and picks up wins versus Drifloon and Swinub too, but again loses Deino. That loss is unfortunate, but the overall body of work still makes me recommend a good Shadow Vulpix over a regular one. You gotta like all else it can do.
Fire Spin | Fire Punch & Flame Charge
Considering this performance is about as good as it gets for Fires outside of Vulpix, you can see why Fires in general are surprisingly tame in this meta. No Deino wins in sight, and even the Bronzor win is just BARELY there. (And Zoro usually beats Daru in shieldless and 2v2 shielding.) Darumaka is viable-ish, but the dropoff is pretty clear.
Infestation | Body Slam & Bug Buzz
You've probably seen me mention Shelmet a few times so far and wondered why. Well, this is why. Turns out a good Bug has some real play here, beating Deino (and Dratini) and Wynaut with ease, chewing through Grasses, outlasting the Fighters and Grounds (even A-Diglett) they resist, and even taking it to Seel, Stunky, Igglybuff and others. Accelgor has never made any headway in PvP, but if you have a good Shelmet, it could do the whole evolutionary line proud, just this once.
Fury Cutter | X-Scissor & Drill Run
Doing Beedrill and its own evolution Escavalier proud with its own Drill Run, little Karrablast is another Bug that does a lot of good things in Little Cup. In this case Deino is sadly out of reach (though Karra does outrace it with shield down), but Drill Run is obviously a nice weapon to have to get Bronzor to play honest and clobber a lot of other things in the meta (read as: on the win list I just linked to). Shelmet is a little more reliable, but for those that like big play potential, you can do a lot worse than Karrablast's Drill Run.
Lick | Body Slamᴸ & Grass Knot
Seen a lot of chatter on this one, and sure, if you were smart enough to keep one with Legacy Body Slam around with under 500 CP, hats off to you... you've now got one of the bulkiest beasts in this format. But honestly, it's just okay here. You'd hope for it to tangle with Zoro thanks to Lick, but it really doesn't, and having a Ghost fast move is a liability with Deino and even Igglybuff, who also win. Wynaut turns the tables on it thanks to Counter. I mean, sure, its list of wins IS enough to make it viable, but it Licki doesn't seem to bring it when and where you want it most. Trot it off if you like it, but just for mop up duty. The biggest and baddest stuff here fends it off.
Before I leave this section behind, quick shout outs to regular and Alolan Grimer and Junichi Masuda's favorite Psyduck (that he actually took to PoGO PvP "Worlds" last year). Like Lickitung, they actually do some fun things, but sadly don't get the wins that matter the most.

75,000 Dust/75 Candy

I am going to try to cover these a bit more succinctly, as I have a Reddit character limit to account for AND these are obviously not thrifty picks anymore. So strap in for the final push!
Bug Bite | Night Slash & Bug Buzz
I mentioned how a good Bug can do good things. Well, while Nincada is rather expensive to second move and doesn't have an initially impressive list of wins, it gets GOOD wins, like Deino and Shelmet and Riolu, and comes VERY close to beating Zoro in 1v1 AND 2v2 shielding, with Cada's Ground typing nerfing Heavy Slam right out of Bronzor's arsenal, which is more than many other 'mons can say. I like it as a handy spice pick that can panic the opponent once it sees what its capable of.
Dragon Breath | Aqua Tail (& Wrap?)
Savings alert: you can run Dratini with Aqua Tail as its only charge move, save some serious dust, and really not even notice. The sims only ever want to use it anyway, as its other charge moves are pretty poor. Regular and Shadow perform pretty similarly overall, with regular and its bulk standing up to big fast moves like Mud Slap and Razor Leaf better, but Shadow having enough firepower to beat things like Purrloin and Drifloon. One big plus to Dratini is that practically nothing behind Charmers truly blows it out, taking the fight hard to even things with clear advantages over it, like Bronzor and Ices. If you're unsure how to fill your third team slot, Dratini isn't a terrible choice for practically any team.
Hex | Icy Wind & Shadow Ball
Quite literally just a baby Drifblim, right down to the same bulky body and moveset. That means that Loon terrorizes Grounds, Fighters, Bugs, Grasses, and Psychics in equal parts. It needs high IVs to do it in 1v1 shielding, but yes, Loon also consistently beats Bronzor (it's even easier in other shielding scenarios). That and the other good it can do means that Loon should be a very popular pick in this meta... don't let its late arrival in this article lead you to think it's NOT a big part of Little Cup!
Rock Throw | Sand Tomb & Stone Edge/Rock Slideᴸ
There's good news and bad news here. The good: beats Dragons, Bugs, Flyers, Fires. Bad news: this ain't no Steelix, and you've got no shot against Zoro, Grounds, Waters, Fighters, or even most Ices. Maybe that still fits your team, and I DO like Onix overall, but there are big downsides it has to overcome to work. Good luck if you want to try... I hope it DOES work!
And that's it! I bumped right up against Reddit's silly character limit with this one, so I had to actually cut some "bonus" coverage and push it to a comment, so check that out too. But otherwise, that's all I got for this one. Hopefully it helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!), especially in a Little League we may not see again for a while. One final tip, though: keep in mind that many of these investments (Deino, Cottonee, Dratini, Snover, Drifloon and others) can be evolved afterwards if you wish and those evolutions will still be below the cap for Great League. So it may not be a one-time investment after all! 👍
So very soon I will cover the new GBL season move rebalance, and then it's on to the next Nifty Or Thrifty for KANTO CUP. Until then, you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon with an exclusive tie-in Discord server you can access to get straight through to me. 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 very much appreciate you taking the time, and sincerely hope this helps you master Premier Cup, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time!
submitted by JRE47 to TheSilphRoad


Nifty Or Thrifty: Nightfall Cup (Part I)

The "Nifty Or Thrifty" article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for PvP Cup formats: Nightfall 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 don't need a second move at all! 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?
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, though after that I will have a couple more to talk about that ALSO have high level up costs.
But enough intro. Let's dive in!

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb
In this game nothing can be said for certain, except death and taxes... and JRE leading off a Nifty Or Thrifty with Venusaur. And yes, as per usual when it's eligible, Venusaur is certainly viable, able to typically beat all Waters, both Charmers, and all Grasses but Abomasnow. Conveniently, Venu also beats the majority of Fighters, including Medicham as long as it doesn't have Psychic (the move), and comes within one fast move of beating Medicham and Froslass too (in the latter case, needing one Vine Whip of energy to reach a winning charge move before Lass reaches its second Avalanche, or winning by way of CMP if it has higher Attack then Lass, such as when both have current #1 IVs). Another one Venusaur can potentially win in a battle of top IVs? Galarian Stunfisk. Venusaur is looking really good, especially if you have a really good one.
Poison Jab | X-ScissoFell Stinger & Drill Runᴸ/Sludge Bomb
So while the intial win/loss total doesn't look great, there are layers here. At the least, those results show that Bee remains a great Grassassin and slayer of Fairies, as well as being able to torment many Fighters (including Toxicroak). But there's more to it than that when you consider Shadow Beedrill, which also picks up Medicham and even Blaziken, giving up only Scrafty in exchange. Drill Run can also get Froslass, while Sludge Bomb instead nails Articuno and Noctowl, though it will usually need a shield for several of those wins. Non-Shadow is a bit better with shields removed, in general, still getting Blaziken for one example (shrugging off a Blaze Kick in the process).
Gustᴸ/Wing Attackᴸ | Aerial Ace & Brave Bird
Might we be seeing a passing of the torch from Noctowl to Pidgeot as the best Normal Bird? Well, that might be a bit much, but there is no doubt that Gust gives it nice options, including beating Shadow Machamp, Blaziken, and Toxicroak in 1v1 shielding, something that neither Noctowl nor Wing Attack Pidgeot can reliably replicate. And with Gust OR Wing Attack, Pidgeot beats Mr. Owl head to head, as well as outracing Quagsire and Vigoroth which Noctowl cannot often do. Wing Attack also has unique (for Pidgeot) wins versus Medicham, Charm A-Tails, and Golbat going for it. With shields down, Gust gets nice wins against Vigoroth and Quagsire again and is the only way Pidgeot now beats Noctowl, but Wing Attack may be even a touch better with big wins over Swampert, Gallade, and Blaziken.
Wing Attack | Sky Attack & Psychic
Mr. Owl also beats Medicham and Golbat in 1v1 shielding, as well as Swampert, Abomasnow, and (usually) Bibarel, wins that it can boast over Pidgeot. Its tankiness also makes itself known against Whiscash, as it can tank a Blizzard and hang around just long enough to finish Cash off... at least, with shields down, a scenario in which is performs similarly to WA Pidgeot with those same wins against Swampert, Gallade, and Blaziken that Gust 'Geot cannot usually replicate. Whichever Bird you choose, Owl and 'Geot are both pretty potent here!
Charm | Ice Beam & Play Rough
Man, everything has caveats in this meta, even simple Charmers. The default sim shows Wiggly doing what you'd mostly expect: obliterating Fighters and Darks, plus bonuses like Froslass, Abomasnow, Noctowl, and two of the three main Mud Boys. Simming with just Charm, typically the preferred method when you can pull it off, shows new wins against Articuno, Lapras, and of course the mirror, but curiously drops Abomasnow and Vigoroth. It would seem that there's a weird timing issue at play here. To make things simpler, a decent Attack Wiggly seems like the safest bet, getting Vigoroth without timing hijinks, plus Lapras and Artie and the mirror again too. (Though Aboma remains an odd duck.) The main point is this: Charm remains perhaps THE best way to reliably combat Fighters here, and Wiggly is likely the safest and most reliable bet. And cheap, too!
Wing Attack | Poison Fang & Shadow Ball
Well, Charm isn't the ONLY way to keep Fighters down, of course. Golbat does that and more, being a particularly good way to also hold down Grasses (even the scary Grassholes) while also beating the Charmers themselves, plus things like Beedrill and Swampert. Shadow Golbat for once looks like almost a straight upgrade, picking up wins against Quagsire and Vigoroth in 1v1 shielding (with no new losses!) and with shields down, new wins over Shadow Champ, Blaze, and Swampy at the low cost of losing to Gallade and Gliscor. I will tentatively say that Shadow Bat looks to be the better play in this meta, but whatever Bat you prefer, the unique ability to handle Fighting, Grass, AND Fairy gives Bat very nice coverage in Nightfall.
Mud Shot | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Sludge Wave/Earthquake
Remember when Sludge Wave was more spice/curiosity on Swampy and Earthquake was generally preferred? Seems to be getting further away in the rear view mirror with each passing meta now. Yes, Earthquake is still just fine, and wins the mirror over SW Swampy and can make the G-Fisk matchup a breeze, but Sludge Wave also still ekes out a win over G-Fisk (by just going triple Hydro Cannon) and can pick up big wins against Abomasnow and Wigglytuff, both big gains in this meta that no other Mud Boy can duplicate. I do think Sludge Wave gets the deserved nod in Nightfall Cup, giving Swampert a leg up among the Mud Boys.
Mud Shot | Mud Bomb & Blizzard
If I'm being honest, as hinted above, Cash just isn't as good here as Swampert. Though it DOES have good things going for it, beating G-Fisk even more easily than Swampert, as well as Noctowl, Golbat, Quagsire, and perhaps most importantly, Froslass, all of which best Swampy. But Whiscash struggles against Fighters (often losing to Shadow Machamp, Gallade, Scrafty) and Charmers that Swampert can beat, has no good answer to Abomasnow, and often loses (albeit closely) to Swampert itself.
Counter | Blaze Kick & Blast Burnᴸ
Overall, Blaze doesn't look great, but there are good things tucked in there. Blaziken is one of few Fighters that can overcome Froslass, while still getting the other Ices and G-Fisk, and being particularly brutal against many Grasses too. It's a pretty good niche.
Infestation | Ice Beam & Sludge Bomb/Acid Spray
Another niche pick, but again, a good niche, with Swalot consistently handling Charmers, Flyers, Grasses (including those scary Razor Leafers), and some of the top Fighters, including Medicham. A caveat: with a good Acid Spray bait, Shadow Champ and Golbat are softened up enough for Swalot to add to its win column, though it will typically lose to Abomasnow and even Alolan Ninetales without the killing power of Sludge Bomb. Tradeoffs... there are always tradeoffs.
Razor Leaf | Sand Tomb & Stone Edge/Frenzy Plantᴸ
The key with this unique Grass is Sand Tomb, which can bait the occasional shield from an unprepared or panicked opponent, but primarily is useful for slashing the opponent's Defense and making Razor Leaf even MORE lethal. Tomb alone makes "Torterror" an intriguing Leafer that distinguishes itself from the Poisonous Grass RLers in two ways: beating things like Gallade that rely on Confusion damage, and perhaps more importantly, consistently beating Galarian Stunfisk thanks to resisting all of its Ground and Rock moves. Despite not resisting Fairy or Fighting damage, it does still squeak by with wins over the Charmers and most of the Fighters, and even beats dangerous WateIces Lapras and even Dewgong despite being double weak to Ice damage. It's a legit consideration as a Razor Leafer here. You do NOT want Shadow in this case, though... Tort wants that bulk!
Poison Jab | X-Scissor & Megahorn
A slightly worse Beedrill overall, but with one big plus: more easily beating Medicham, with regular Bee actually having a hard time with Psychic (the move) Medi, but Scolipede consistently finishing it first with Megahorn. Scolipede also is able to overcome Swampert, dealing more than enough neutral damage with Megahorn to finish it off, whereas Beedrill again can fall short with non-STAB Drill Run allowing Swampy to hang around and get an extra Hydro Cannon blast in. Shadow Bee gets things like Noctowl, Articuno, and Blaziken that really set it apart, but if that's not an option, may Scolipede bear legit consideration over regular Bee.
So we have a brand new trio of Pokémon coming with the first wave of Generation 6 in December that are eligible for this Cup, and all come with a cheap second move unlock! But are they any good?
  • CHESNAUGHT seems to run best here with Razor Leaf despite having the option of Vine Whip with some pretty good charge moves (Superpower and Energy Ball, both with STAB)... Razor Leaf more easily beats Machamp. Naught doesn't do anything to particularly set itself apart from other Leafers... well, except for the fact that it handles G-Fisk much better than most.
  • DIGGERSBY's future in Great League looks bright, but its typing is more liability than strength in Nightfall Cup, where being weak to so many Fighters and Grasses and Ices hold it back. Do build a good one, just don't bust a hump to do it in time for Nightfall.
  • PYROAR and even pre-evolution LITLEO do some nice things, but again, the Normal subtyping is more hindrance than help in this meta, and the Dark coverage move each has mostly go to waste here. Keep an eye on them for potential future use, but these are also ones you can take some time to build up and not have to rush for use in December.
LINOONE and OBSTAGOON have the same basic problem: while they handle most Ices (including Froslass), Mud Boys, and even most Flyers well--and Obstagoon also tackles G-Fisk--they both get shredded by most Grasses, Charmers, and especially the myriad of Fighters in the meta. Only decent rewards matched against quite high risk.... BIBAREL has a nice niche in easily beating G-Fisk and Froslass, as well as Golbat, Gliscor, and Icy Winders Articuno and Dewgong. But there's a also a big red flag with all the Fighters around that can prey on its Normal subtyping, plus all the Grasses that lick their lips looking at its Water side.... MUNCHLAX does show some promise, but not enough. It suffers the same problems it has in past Cups like Jungle, where its failure to overcome Fighters and many Grasses and fellow tanky 'mons just leaves it frustratingly on the outside of the meta looking in.

50,000 Dust/50 Candy

Powder Snow | Ice Punch & Gyro Ball/Bulldoze/Blizzard
It's probably no secret at this point that A-Slash is worth a hard look in nearly every meta where it is eligible, and despite the worrying presence of all the Fighters here, Nightfall is no exception. Ice Punch is what makes it really tick, but there are cases for all three of its other moves in the second move slot. Blizzard obviously has the best closing potential, but offers no true advantages otherwise. (Though being able to potentially get Whiscash is always nice.) Bulldoze has the best counter coverage (particularly against Steel and Poison in this particular meta). But the best might be the one that's usually considered last: Gyro Ball. In 1v1 shielding, it does not typically lead to any new wins, but it beats the various Ices (Froslass, Abomasnow, and especially Articuno) and Fairies (Wiggly, A-Tails) the most effectively and speedily. And with shields down, it is the only way A-Slash beats Froslass. It sounds crazy, as Gyro Ball is NOT a good move (60 energy for only 80 damage), but I think it's the best A-Slash has got in Nightfall.
Charm | Psyshock & Ice Beam
Potentially an even better Charmer than Wiggly? That is a bold statement, but there's at least a discussion to be had. The Nightfall meta has some potent Ice types, and A-Tails handles them much better than Wiggles, beating Abomasnow and Dewgong, which Wiggly cannot do, and beating Articuno much more efficiently too. But on the flipside, Wiggly is much tankier and locks down many matchups more easily, especially Fighters. (Wiggly beats Toxicroak with about 30 more HP, Medi and Champ and Blaze with about 50 more HP, and Scrafty and Gallade with about 60 more HP left over). But A-Tails DOES still beat them all comfortably enough, and you have to like the other niches it has in its favor. Wiggly is probably still more reliable overall, but there is perhaps a higher ceiling for A-Tails here....
Razor Leaf | Sludge Bomb & Moonblast/Leaf Blade
Here we go again, with me recommending Shadow VILEPLUME over the more infamous Shadow VICTREEBEL. (Hence why Plume made it into the header image! 📸) The big reason why is a BIG reason: Plume can more easily beat Medicham (and Toxicroak, for that matter), whereas Medi can sneak away with a win over Vic...if Vic tries to throw the Leaf Blade. Straight Razor Leafing is the best way to handle the Medi/Toxi matchups, and yes, Vic will usually comfortably win that way too, but it's nice that Plume can get a shield AND still win if it wants to. Plume can win everything else Vic does across the board (though G-Fisk can get dicey), and almost always with more HP left in the tank. But there's a third option as well: Shadow WEEPINBELL with Legacy Razor Leaf, which can beat everything the other two do PLUS Gallade and Gliscor. The ultimate Grasshole? Might be, but man, is it glassy, with Defense far below Haunter and down on the same level as Gastly. 😱
Confusion | Poison Fang & Bug Buzz
So the main reason to consider Venomoth is for its Fighting/Fairy/Grass slaying prowess, along with bonuses like Lapras, Beedrill, and Golbat. But there's a catch, as Psychic Medicham actually wins. (At the time of this writing, PvPoke has Dynamic Punch on Medi instead, which I think is generally not preferred in this meta.)
Counter | Rock Slide & Cross Chop
Rock Slide is always a great weapon, but even with that, Machamp looks just okay overall in this meta. I mean, yes, it beats everything you'd want your Fighter to (Ices, Normals, G-Fisk) and bonuses like Swampert, Blaziken, and even Venusaur, but it's not the awe inspiring performance people probably hope for. Even Shadow Champ only goes so far, dropping Abomasnow and Swampert to pick up the other two Mud Boys instead. I am guessing at this point that Aboma and Swampy may be more relevant in this meta overall, so this may also be that rare meta where you want regular Champ rather than the currently more popular Shadow version. Or perhaps (gasp! 😲) go with another Fighter entirely? Perhaps even....
Counter | Night Slash & Close Combat
Medicham and Machamp and Toxicroak get all the press, but I'm just gonna leave this right here. Yep, it can beat Champ and Croak. And all three Mud Boys. And Froslass, and Noctowl, and all the stuff you'd expect from a Fighter (G-Fisk, Ices, Normals, etc). All those choices you had to make between regular and Shadow Machamp? Primeape beats ALL of those (Aboma, Quag, Swampert, Whiscash). King Kong ain't got nothin' on Primeape... and in this meta, perhaps Machamp doesn't either?
Mud Shot | Ice Punch & Dynamic Punch
You would think that with its Ice Punch, Poli would have an easier time than most Fighters against things like Flyers and Grasses. But for the most part, you would be wrong. While it is true that Poliwrath is able to handle Gliscor while the other Fighters mentioned thus far cannot, Poli actually loses to Noctowl, WA Pidgeot, Articuno, and Venusaur, things that other Fighters can beat, as well as losing to Toxicroak, Machamp, and Quagsire. Poli is still dangerous in the right hands, but it's a bit of an uphill battle in Nightfall Cup.
Counter | Mud Bomb & Sludge Bomb
Yet another solid Fighter option, what Toxicroak has going for it here is mostly tied to its Poison side. That gives it a resistance to Fighting damage which allows it to beat Medicham, Machamp, Poliwrath, and most others (though not Primeape, typically), as well as a handy resistance to Grass damage, allowing it to best Venusaur and Shadow Vic and Weep. (Shadow Plume manages a victory, though.) But there's a cost, as Croak also usually loses out to Froslass and the Mud Boys (where the Poison typing is a liability, with its weakness to Ground damage). And those are the unique particulars of THIS Fighter.
Counter | Power-Up Punch & Foul Play
Good AND bad here. The good is that it beats Froslass and, uniquely, Gallade thanks to its literal Dark side, and has at least the potential to overcome Shadow Beedrill with a perfect Power-Up Punch bait, Gallade and Beedrill being things the other Fighters above can only dream of beating. But the trade-off is big, AND bad: it loses to all the other Fighters of note, which prey on Dark's weakness to Fighting damage. That is a major downside that will probably keep Scrafty on the bench this month, and rightly so.
Counter | Close Combat & Megahorn
Very solid overall for those able to get one, doing most of the good the other Fighters can, though it does tend to lose to Noctowl and Froslass. On paper it also loses to Venusaur and Grassholes and Psychic Medicham, but Megahorn turns all of those around in a hurry if it lands and is a threat that MUST be properly respected with shields.
Counter | Leaf Blade & Close Combat
Last Fighter for now, I promise! Sirfetch'd actually performs nearly identically to Shadow Machamp, sharing all the same meta wins and losses. The one thing it really has going for it is Leaf Blade, which makes it especially dangerous to anything part Water and especially to the Mud Boys; it shreds Quagsire and rips through Whiscash more effectively than any other Fighter. But that's also a liability against Abomasnow, who it loses to thanks to that and its general frailty, the latter of which also means it loses many Fighter-on-Fighter battles (Medi, Champ, Croak, etc.).
Ice Shardᴸ | Icy Windᴸ & Blizzard
Okay, getting back to rough Pokédex order after all those Fighters. Dewgong loses to most of them and the Grasses, but can beat most of the rest of the meta. Like, literally... note that the entire list of losses is comprised of Fighters, Grass, and two fellow Ices that resist Dewgong's moves (Lapras and A-Tails). Dewgong wears everything else down, most of it with just Icy Wind. Blizzard's killing power is needed to finish off Abomasnow and Quagsire, and more comfortably defeat Froslass, Bibarel, and G-Fisk, but Icy Wind can defeat those all too in a pinch. Dewgong remains a steady performer even in a meta chock-full of Fighters and Grasses itching to rip into it.
Shadow Claw | Shadow Punchᴸ & Sludge Bomb
So I'm going to say something controversial here. While Sludge Bomb is sometimes a quirky alternative to Shadow Ball, here I think Bomb is hands down THE second move you want in this meta. Why? Because there are enough meta Normals (Wigglytuff, Bibarel) and even Darks around that resist Shadow Ball that it could be a liability uncomfortably often. Sludge Bomb doesn't have that problem, leading directly to wins over Wiggly, Bibarel, Scrafty and others that Shadow Ball cannot achieve. The only "core meta" thing you miss out on by NOT having Shadow Ball is Quagsire, which is very likely not going to be a prevalent as things like Wigglytuff anyway. I really do think it's Bomb or bust... and I also think Haunter has the slight edge over Gengar here too, with Haunter's extra Attack making some fringe stuff like Scrafty and Bib more winnable.
Mud Shot | Stone Edge & Earthquake/Sludge Bomb
As I just hinted above, I don't expect Lord Quag to lord over this particular meta. It does some good things but doesn't really set itself apart from (or above) the other Mud Boys. You can mix things up a bit by including Sludge Bomb, but Sludge Wave Swampert this ain't. (Quag still loses to Wigglytuff even then, for example.) I am always a big Quag proponent, but here? Losing to the Fighters (including Medicham) and Wigglytuff and only JUST barely overcoming Froslass? Yeah, not even I can really recommend it, sadly.
Confusion | Earth Power & Psychic
Not many Confusion users in this meta to handle Fighters and Poisons, but Claydol is one of those select few. The problem is that the one major Fighter that escapes its nubby arm grasp is the one you probably care about the most: Medicham and its dang super effective Ice Punches. Grrrrr. And unfortunately, the many Poisonous Grasses that typically hate facing Confusion are... well, Grasses, and thus also unfavorable matchups for Claydol. On the flipside, Claydol is the very rare Confusioner that CAN beat Galarian Stunfisk (Rock resistance FTW!), and it is bulky enough to hold up against the Charmers too. It can also be a budget pick if you need one, as the only charge move it really ever needs is Earth Power, with Psychic (the move) just being for shields-down situations against things it hits particularly hard.
Powder Snow | Avalanche & Shadow Ball
As always with Froslass, it's not JUST about the raw numbers. The combination of wins Lass can achieve is truly unique... what else beats Medicham AND Dewgong AND Grasses (Venu and Aboma) AND Flyers (Noctowl, Pidgeot, Golbat) AND Grounds like Swampert and Gliscor? I can't think of anything. Froslass is an extremely popular Pokémon (a lot of people salivate over the hard-to-engineer 1 shield advantage numbers, for one thing) that you can expect to see a lot of in December, so whether you plan to utilize it or not, get to know what it can do so you at least know how to handle it. And yes, save a shield for it too. 😅
Powder Snow | Body Slam & Water Pulse
Not as heralded as Froslass, but still does a lot of good things... including beating Lass head to head. Sealeo doesn't have any real shot against Fighters or Aboma/Venu, though it nicely replicates the rest of what Lass can do, and adds on Mud Boys, Lapras, Articuno and others. It's more of a classical Ice type in performance, but it's a good performance that comes without Legacy moves, unlike Lapras and Dewgong. Consider it a budget version of that pair.
Powder Snow | Weather Ball (Ice) & Energy Ball
At this point, Aboma needs little introduction, so let's get to the question you want answered most: regular or Shadow? The extra bulk of non-Shadow allows it to hang around and overcome Dewgong, Articuno, and surprisingly, potentially even Shadow Machamp! But the extra punching power of Shadowbama gives it greater overall upside, with unique wins against G-Fisk, Noctowl, Beedrill, Lapras, and potentially Toxicroak. (Do note the Champ and Croak wins rely on the opponent trying to throw a charge move... if they go straight Counter, Aboma will surely falter.) So which flavor sounds better for YOUR team?
Infestation | Gunk Shot & Seed Bomb/Body Slam
Raging over all the Trubbish you've hatched from those Red GO Rocket eggs? Take your revenge by evolving one and putting it to good use. Yes, I'm actually serious. That sim has hatch level IVs, and beats Medicham and all Charmers and Grasses in the entire format except for Aboma, PLUS Swampert, Lapras, Vigoroth, Scrafty and more. Yes, REALLY. I know this is just niche spice, but dang, that's a pretty sweet niche, isn't it? Take THAT, Team Rocket!
The lack of the infamous Dark/Poisons in this article may be shocking, but both ALOLAN MUK and SKUNTANK sadly do very little aside from Grass control, blunting the little bit of Confusion in the meta, and sorta-countering the Charmers, and even that last use case can get uncomfortably close. Neither look incredibly reliable in Nightfall.... TENTACRUEL was actually my final cut, because it's not that it's bad at all--it provides top notch Charmer control and handles many Fighters and Ices well--but it just doesn't look as good as I feel like it should be. I'm sure the Grasses and Mud Boys around are what's really holding it back, but it doesn't help at all that Froslass, G-Fisk, and even Medicham beat it without too much trouble either.... There really isn't anything wrong with HARIYAMA, it's just that there's really no good reason to use it over the myriad of more flexible Fighters.... Oh, I badly wanted to recommend FARFETCH'D, but even if you're a madlad that takes it up to Level 50 when able, you'd have to be a little crazy to actually DO that. And while it does sport some nice wins (Grasses, all three Mud Boys, Bee, several Fighters), you're once again left with something that can't handle the biggest names (Medi, G-Fisk, Lass, Charmers, etc.). I appreciate anyone who's willing to try, but I cannot in good conscience tell you to blow your dust that way.... I also badly want to be able to encourage using FARIGAMARIF... uh, I mean Garifamafig... uh, Geeraffohmarig?...whatever it is for the first time since Season 1. But the main reason to use it, for Confusion, is blunted by the fact that it takes neutral damage from the Fighters you'd want to deploy it against, so many (including Medi) fend it off. So sad. At least it beats the Poisonous Grasses and... uh... most other Poisonsous things too?
Aaaaaaaand as per usual with Silph Arena NoTs, there is no way I am going to be able to keep this below Reddit's character limit. 😅 So let's take a break here and continue in Part II!
submitted by JRE47 to TheSilphArena