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The Silph League Arena

Nifty or Thrifty

Apr 29, 2020: Nifty Or Thrifty: Forest Cup

Author: JRE Seawolf

“Nifty or Thrifty” is a series which author JRE Seawolf started on the Arena subreddit to analyze the Cup meta – specifically through the lens of which Pokemon may be worth powering-up and purchasing 2nd charge moves for and which “budget picks” are available at less cost who can still perform well!

From Mr. Robert Frost:

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

People often ask me why these articles are so long. We’re an impatient species these days, wanting everything to come quickly and be right at our fingertips, and it often does. It’s the blessing and the curse of the information age. We like our infographics, our YouTube videos, our tweets. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. They do a good job of summing up the top dozen or so Pokémon, and I glean information from several of them each month myself.

But sometimes, we need more.

We can’t always afford the top meta picks. We sometimes just don’t WANT the top meta picks. And hopefully, as I’ve tried to do for the last year and a half now, that’s where I can come in.

Because the “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive (perhaps TOO comprehensive! 🤣) look at the meta for the upcoming Forest Cup, particularly from the perspective of which Pokémon are likely worth the cost of leveling up and adding a second charge move (nifty) and which ones would probably work out fine without heavy investment (thrifty), including some alternatives to the more expensive options. 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 of six, but where can we get the best bang for our buck and where should we perhaps instead channel our inner scrooge?

As the meta is still coming together, I have tried to whittle down without leaving too much out, but as per usual with these, it’s likely to be a loooooooong read, just to warn you up front! That’s what being comprehensive is all about! But as always, I’ll try to keep it entertaining, too. 😃

Before we dive in, make sure to familiarize yourself with what makes up Forest Cup. It’s Grass, Bug, Fire, Electric, and Water Pokémon from Generation 2 and onward, with the exceptions of Tropius, Raikou, Shadows, or Genesect, specifically removed because of imbalance they would have introduced or limited availability. The full list is over here, so check that out before reading on.

And that, I think, is all the intro we need. You’re here for the Pokémon, so let’s get to it!

NIFTY

10,000 Dust/25 Candy

Typically I am going to recommend anything here be double moved, because they all benefit and the cost is so (comparatively) cheap to do so. This category is really where “nifty” and “thrifty” meet in the middle.

ᴸ – Legacy/Exclusive Move

Meganium

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Earthquake

Finally, a Cup where Meg fully escapes from Venusaur’s long shadow and stands alone as the undisputed best Grass in the format, right? Well, aside from Ferrothorn, and perhaps Cradily, and of course everyone’s on the Jumpluff bandwagon and *oh damnit!* Okay, the undisputed best Vine Whipper in the format, how’s that? (Sit down, Tangrowth… we’ll get to you when it’s your turn! Oh, Serperior, didn’t see you there, sorry!) ANYway, Meg is the best true Grass, in my opinion; those others I mentioned relying on some trickery and/or typing hijinks to bust out, but Meganium just plugs away with Frenzy Plants and the occasional, situational Earthquake to smack aside things that shrug off Grass damage. And that’s good enough for a robust win spread in Forest Cup and a solid showing against the core meta. But there are cracks showing. One of Meg’s bigger issues, aside from the obvious threat of Fires and the more potent Bugs, is ironically other Grasses. Venusaur has a great answer with Sludge Bomb, and many of the other more “meta” Grasses here have similar answers with Flying, Fire, Steel, Rock, or other moves that give them an advantage, while Meg can only hit them with resisted Grass and typically-resisted Ground moves. While it is great at doing what you want a Grass to do–controlling Waters, Grounds, Rocks, and in metas like this, Electrics–it has a little more trouble digging out of bad spots than some of the more varied, perhaps worse-in-the-main-Grass-roles Grass types. That may be the only thing that holds it down, because beyond that, Meganium is as solid and reliable as they come.

Sceptile

Bullet Seed/Fury Cutter | Leaf Blade & Earthquake/Aerial Ace

Man, this is a tough one to sort out. Leaf Blade paired with either fast move and either Earthquake or Aerial Ace all sim very closely overall, at least at a high level. Sets with Fury Cutter and/or Ace answer opposing Grasses pretty well, including typically Cherrim, Jumpluff, Meganium, and others, and especially double-weak-to-Bug Shiftry. Sets with Bullet Seed obviously hate harder on Waters and Grounds, and tend to outrace things more effectively, like the speedy Electrics, and its speed also sets up Earthquake well, allowing Sceptile to beat many notable Fires with a killer Quake, like Typhlosion and Blaziken and Sunny Castform… at the cost of giving up most of those Grass wins. You can try and strike a balance with something like Cutter/Blade/Quake or Seed/Blade/Ace and get some Fires, some Grasses, and some others, and it sort of works out. (Remember how I said the results were all pretty close overall?) Sceptile can get it done several ways, and that makes it one to be wary of in May.

Torterra

Razor Leaf | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sand Tomb

It’s not that Torterra doesn’t have other viable charge move options… it most certainly does. But Frenzy Plant and Sand Tomb are the best to pair with slow-charging Razor Leaf. Despite taking neutral damage from Water (rather than resisted like other Grass types), the only Water that can emerge victorious over Torterror is Mantine, and only Galvantula and its Bug damage survives among Electrics… Tort TRIPLE resists Electric moves, which may finally get a chance to shine in this meta. Now granted, that is for the most part all that is does, but locking down about half of the meta ain’t a bad place to be. Torterra will carry teams to victory in May on its massive back.

Because I know someone will ask, yes, Tort’s pre-evolution Grotle is viable too, but even with Energy Ball being buffed, Grotle is still nothing terribly special. If it’s your favorite or something, sure, go for it. But it’s not a top option, to be honest.

Serperior

Vine Whip | Grass Knot & Aerial Ace

Sort of like Sceptile in that it has nice spammy Grass damage and trickery to give it an edge, in this case Aerial Ace. (which seems to be on approximately every third Pokémon ever in this game, no?) The gut reaction in a format like this with Meganium in and Venusaur out is to declare Meg the top Vine Whipper, which even I joked around with up above, but lookie here: even without having Frenzy Plant (yet), Serperior might be better, and it’s really not all that close either. Ace allows it to beat many other notable Grasses, including, yes, Meg herself. Some matchups get a little too close for comfort, but yes, Serperior DOES still do the Grass job and beat all Waters except Mantine and all Electrics but Galvantula, plus Meg and Cradily and Bellossom and Torterra and others. Without the power of Razor Leaf or Frenzy Plant, it may not shut down things as hard as other Grasses can do, but it’s a little more slippery and versatile.

Cherrim (Sunny)

Bullet Seed | Weather Ball (Fire) & Solar Beam

Humble little Cherrim was catapulted into stardom when it recently was gifted Weather Ball… the Fire version. 🔥 Not only did that give it the spammy move it desperately needed (being left with moves all costing 70 or more energy previously), but it also turned it overnight into a Grass that hard counters other Grasses… and conveniently allows it to overcome Trash Cloak Wormadam too. The only Grasses that Cherrim can’t beat are those that similarly counter Grass, like those with Aerial Ace or Poison Jab or the like. But the Vine Whippers, most Razor Leafers, Cradily, and even Ferrothorn (who loses ONLY to Cherrim and Counter Breloom among all Forest Grasses) all go down before Cherrim’s way too friendly face. (Seriously though, that kind of smile is only found on serial killers, amirite?) But that comes at a slight cost, as Cherrim is not as adept at doing true Grass things as the other Grasses above… things like Swampert and Whiscash can actually beat it head to head, since its only Grass charge move is Solar Beam, which is a bit slow even with Bullet Seed powering it out. You can correct that by going with Razor Leaf instead, but then you give up many of the Grasses, and that’s kind of Cherrim’s thing now. I say go for Bullet Seed, accept you may need a little shoring up elsewhere on your team to really smash Mud Boys, and let Cherrim do what it now does best.

Blaziken

Counter | Blaze Kick & Blast Burnᴸ/Stone Edgeᴸ

THE Fire type people are buzzing about, both because Charizard is out of the picture and because it’s near the top of most peoples’ lists of where to spend their shiny new Elite Charge TMs. Stone Edge was famously available for less than 48 hours on Blaziken just after it was released into the game, and has long been more myth than something players actually had ever seen. With Elite TMs, that’s all changed, and now anyone who wants one can get this rarest of rare Legacies. But should they? Well, Stone Edge is certainly viable, but Blast Burn is ever so slightly better, picking up wins over Quagsire and Stunfisk thanks to the slightly better speed of Blast Burn (and in Fisk’s case, the fact that it resists Rock damage but NOT Fire). You can see the case for Stone Edge in the full meta results (as compared to Blast Burn), with Stone Edge uniquely beating Mantyke. Stone Edge Blaze will be the best Blaze in some metas, but Forest isn’t one of them, as most Flyers are Bug or Grass and therefore susceptible to Fire damage anyway, and Counter is typically enough to overcome the other Fires without needing Stone Edge trickery. So yes, if you want to give Blaziken Stone Edge, go for it. It’s a good idea. But make sure you hold onto a good Blast Burn one too, because you’ll still want that more at times, including here in Forest Cup… barely.

Pre-evolution Combusken is viable as well, with the lackluster Ember but pretty good charge moves Flame Charge (50 energy for 70 damage), Flamethrower (55 energy for 90 damage), and Rock Slide (45 energy for 80 damage and good coverage). It isn’t the best at any particular thing (losing to Meganium and several prominent Fires, for example), but it does a number of things well enough (beating the vast majority of Grasses and Bugs, some Fires like Castform, and burning though things like Magnezone as well). It’s actually pretty solid if you happen to have a good one sitting around, and pre-evolutions always have some element of surprise going for them.

Typhlosion

Shadow Claw | Blast Burnᴸ & Solar Beam

With no Charizard in sight, perhaps this will finally be Typh’s time to shine. Lacking a good Fire fast move hurts a bit against Grasses and Bugs, as several escape (though most of the most prominent ones do indeed fall), but it carries the unique threat of Solar Beam that MUST be respected. Typhlosion, for example, is the only Fire type other than Rock Throw Magcargo that can take down Mantine with a landed Beam, and tales are still told of Ninetales with Solar Beam dropping nukes on Waters and Muds back in Rainbow Cup. Typh has that potential too. Oh, and even without beam, Shadow Claw does help make Typhlosion the only Fire type that can take down Stunfisk head to head. It might not have the numbers that wow, but it certainly does have a unique wow factor.

Magcargo

Ember/Rock Throw | Overheat & Stone Edge

People who have followed this article series for a while know that I always stump for Magcargo whenever I can. So I’ll try, but honestly, Mags usually needs for there to be a good chunk of relevant Flyers to gain its own relevance, and this just isn’t that meta. So the best I can say is this: while the numbers don’t look very good, at least it makes the most of those wins, taking out some very top meta picks like Ferrothorn, Galvantula, Trashadam, and Shiftry, plus Magnezone and Sunny Castform (that last one being a particularly good “get”, as few Fires can do that). But overall… yeah, I don’t think this is a meta for Mr. (or Mrs.!) Cargo to shine. Shame.

Mantine

Wing Attack/Bullet Seed | Aerial Ace & Bubble Beam/Ice Beam

On to the Waters, and skipping ahead a bit to the one everyone is (rightfully) abuzz about. Mantine makes this section since the recommended course of action to build one is to start with Mantyke, buy the second move for only 10,000 dust thanks to the Baby Discount™, and THEN evolve and power up. This method only costs about 40k dust instead of the 75k it would take just to grant Mantine a second move. 🤑 Anyway, with all THAT out of the way…. Mantine is extremely unique in this meta, able to beat the majority of four out of the five typings: Fires, as you would expect of a good Water, many Bugs and other Waters, which is good for a Water to do, but also turning the tables by being able to overcome nearly all the Grasses as well. That is a crazy amount of utility. And we’re just getting started, because while the decision to give it the then-awful Bullet Seed was laughable at the time, few are laughing now that BS is a legit good move. Yes, Mantine has been and probably still is at its best overall with Wing Attack, but Bullet Seed is no joke, giving up things like Ferrothorn and Trashadam but gaining Quagsire and Typhlosion and others. In fact, crazy as it may seem, Bullet Seed shows as Mantine’s winningest move (compare to Wing Attack and Bubble, the latter of which I am not emphasizing as much since Bubbletine struggles more against the core meta, mostly due to giving up key wins over Grasses). Now I am still going to go out on a limp and say that that I recommend Wing Attack, but man, Bullet Seed holds up a LOT better than I expected before diving into the numbers.

But there is yet one MORE debate to be had: what of the charge moves? While I can confidentially say you (probably) always want Aerial Ace (remember what I said about it appearing on so many Pokémon?) to give Dopefish that edge over Grasses, there’s some discussion to be had on the other move. Everything recommends Bubble Beam, and even though it has to be the lamest entry in the #GetBeamed phenomenon, it’s understandable… it consistently gives the best simming results. But things are not always that simple, of course, and such is the case here. Turn off baiting, and big oooooof. And that is where Ice Beam comes in, bringing back wins against things like Jumpluff, Kingdra, and Swampert and Whiscash that turn the tables on Mantine if they don’t take… well, the Bubble Beam bait. (Say THAT five times fast!) Bubble Beam gets the gaudier numbers, but especially as May rolls on and people get a better feel for fending off Dopefish, I do wonder if Ice Beam will win out in the end. (Heck, there’s even double Beam to consider!) We’ll find out, but one thing is for certain: Mantine is going to be a staple all month long.

Swampert

Mud Shot | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Earthquake/Sludge Wave

Yes, with Grass being such a big presence here, Sludge Wave is a legit alternative to the standard Earthquake, picking up wins against things like Cherrim and Ludicolo (and with decently high Attack, even potentially Meganium!), whereas Earthquake beats Lanturn and Minun (Electric) and Qwilfish (Poison) instead. But either way, Swampert beats all Fires, all Electrics (with the exception of Lant and Minun with SW Swampert), and nearly every Poison type, among many others. I think it has the edge over Whiscash this time around.

Whiscash

Mud Shot | Mud Bomb & Blizzard

Believe it or not, Wishcash looks just okay in Forest. I mean, it’s quite good against the entire meta, but against the core meta it trails Swampert and is really not much better than even Marshtomp. Yes, Blizzard still keeps Grasses honest, but everyone knows what’s coming with Cash by now, so it’s getting harder and harder to catch players napping. At least Swampert has a little more potential for mixing things up this month. Cash is fine, just don’t expect it to dominate like it has at times in the past.

Empoleon

Waterfall | Hydro Cannonᴸ & Flash Cannon/Blizzard

Empie is ALSO a little underwhelming in this meta, which is just hard on Waters in general with all the Grass and Electric around. Empoleon’s Steel subtyping is more curse than blessing here, with it doing nothing to slow down Electric damage, not enough to stop Grass, and making it more susceptible to the Mud Boys and even Fires (especially Blaziken). Yes, it still does the basic Water job of beating those Fires, and DOES scratch out wins against some of the best stuff, but it’s a shakier performance than you’d like in the big picture. Might be best to leave Empie on the bench this month.

Prinplup

Bubble | Icy Wind & Bubble Beam/Hydro Pump

This may be a rare case of the pre-evolution outshining its final evolution. The high level look does paint a rosy picture, especially with good IVs, but there are some bait-heavy wins in there, no doubt. Still, the fact that it can tangle with the likes of Mantine AND Jumpluff AND all three of the original Mud Boys AND even Galvantula AND Shiftry is nice. Prinplup takes some practice to get a feel for, but the potential is certainly there, much moreso than with Empoleon, at least. And don’t forget that even opponents that DO know what to expect from it have to respect the potential threat of Hydro Pump on top of everything else.

I did look at some other cheap Waters, like Samurott/Dewott and fan favorite Octillery, but they’re just too cute, I think. Samurott will be more interesting once it gets Hydro Cannon… maybe next season!

Crustle

Fury Cutter | X-Scissor & Rock Slide

With fewer Flyers around, Fury Cutter looks to be the fast move of choice, pairing with spammy X-Scissor and Rock Slide to cover the few Flyers that ARE around and provide some Fire control. And put all together, it works out pretty well, beating the majority of Grasses, Bugs (only Escav and Durant survive it… even Heracross loses, which surprised the heck out of me!), and even Fires (with only Fighters and Magcargo persevering). Crustle is a very solid and flexible Pokémon in this meta.

Scolipede

Poison Jab | X-Scissor & Megahorn

Let’s start with this: Scolipede is THE best Grassassin in Forest Cup, beating every single Grass, even the hard to crack Ferrothorn and Celebi. No other Bug can do that. That’s cause for serious consideration right there, but it also beats many of its fellow Bugs, including Galvantula and Heracross, and then even the likes of things like Swampert and Kingdra. You may be sitting there thinking ‘that’s it?’, but that’s still quite a bit in this meta.


50,000 Dust/50 Candy

Here is where the rubber meets the road, where the wheat is separated from the chaff, where boys become men, where… where I get on with it. 😅 Anyway, while the 10k moves are pretty easy to justify, 50,000 dust is not something so easily tossed away. But as is often the case, the majority of eligible ‘mons in the Cup fall in this category and make up the meat of many teams, so let’s break them down!

Jumpluff

Bullet Seed | Aerial Ace & Energy Ball/Solar Beam

No Tropius, no problem? For the first time, there is a viable fill-in, as Jumpluff got a major overhaul during the recent Grass rebalance. The buff to Bullet Seed drives it all, being so fast to charge that it makes even Solar Beam a viable option. I might still lean Energy Ball for consistency, but for the Beamers that like to land wild knockout blows, Solar Beam certainly works. Either way, Pluff beats the majority of Grasses thanks to Aerial Ace, and keeps Fighters honest that way too. (Though Blaziken can still bait its way to a win, sadly.) Oh yeah, and it does the primary Grass role of Water control just fine too, beating all that lack solid Ice moves (Azu goes down still, though) and/or are named Qwilfish. Pluff is legit now, folks. Hope you got a good one!

Tangrowth

Vine Whip | Rock Slide & Sludge Bomb/Power Whip

Growth is an odd one. As a Vine Whipper, you would think it would operate best as a Venusaur/Meganium type, throwing out Power Whips with Rock Slide or Sludge Bomb providing an accompanying coverage move. But actually, it may be best with JUST those two coverage moves and no Power Whip at all. Obviously it’s more of a pure anti-Water with Power Whip, beating Kingdra and obliterating Azumarill, but with RS/SB it DOES still beat Azu (though it’s close) and gains important Grasses like Cherrim, Ludicolo, Bellossom, and the mirror match. Vine Whip and those moves is still enough to take down Azu, the Mud Boys, Lanturn, Rainy Castform, and a bevy of other Waters. Kingdra, Empoleon, Suicune, and of course Mantine are actually the ONLY Waters that can escape VW/RS/SB, and even Mantine isn’t a fan of eating Rock Slides. Growth is a very solid contributor, one I might even consider in this meta over more “staple” Grasses like Meganium.

Ludicolo

Razor Leaf/Bubble | Energy Ball & Ice Beam

Somewhat surprisingly, both Razor Leaf and Bubble beat mostly the same things: the majority of Electrics and other Waters and a smattering of Grasses. Razor Leaf obviously makes it a VERY hard Water counter, brutalizing the Mud Boys especially and taking down every Water in the Cup but Mantine, while Bubble grants it wins over most Fires types (though pesky Blaziken can manage to JUST escape before the killing Bubble). Overall though, as much as I love watching that hairy pinapple dance, Ludi is more annoying curiosity here than true threat, with the initial mystery of its fast move probably being its best advantage.

Lombre is pretty similar, with either Bubble or Razor Leaf to choose from, but relying on some baiting with Bubble Beam either way to reach ultimate success. It can do some fun things, but considering the baits, is probably even more unreliable than Ludicolo. This isn’t the best mea for the unique Water/Grasses.

Shiftry

Snarl | Leaf Blade & Hurricane

This IS, however, another good meta for Shiftry to flourish. As has been the case since it was gifted Snarl, that looks to be its best option overall, beating every single Electric and nearly every Water while also being able to blow away nearly all prominent Grasses, and even some of the best of the best Bugs, not with Foul Play as you’re probably accustomed to by now, but instead with Hurricane, an incredibly potent weapon on this meta. It can even turn the table on some of its very toughest counters with just a single Snarl of energy (or even without an energy lead) if they get too cocky and opt to save their shields. It is also worth noting that Razor Leaf IS still viable (though better with Foul Play, as Hurricane is slow to come with RL), and Shiftry is a better RLer than most here, perhaps THE best. But aside from becoming an even more oppressive Mud Boy counter, that’s probably a waste of Shifty’s potential, as the results with Snarl, Leaf Blade, and Hurricane are just too crazy to ignore. Shiftry continues its impressive run in Forest Cup, and could put in its best showing to date, which is saying a lot!

Breloom

Counter/Bullet Seed | Seed Bomb & Sludge Bomb/Dynamic Punch/Grass Knotᴸ

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Breloom, who hasn’t been able to muster any kind of run to this point, impressive or not. But those days of playing on the fringle are behind it here, and the future is bright deep in the Forest. Breloom can beat down the mighty Ferrothorn and the Shiftry we just discussed (and bonuses like Ampharos) with Counter alone, and with nearly all of its life intact too. That’s good, because Breloom is a grass glass cannon, with sub-100 Defense and barely crossing into triple digits in HP. But it has some great tools to play with, and Counter is just the beginning. With Seed Bomb it rains spammy green death upon Waters and Muds,  with Sludge Bomb it can terrorize its fellow Grasses and even a couple Fires, and not many things want to take a Dynamic Punch to the face (though that’s probably best used if you want to forgo Counter and run with Bullet Seed and allow Loom to still take down Ferro). And there’s even a strong case for Grass Knot, as it has some trouble beating Azumarill without it. (Not even a Seed Bomb bait into Sludge Bomb can replicate that.) The best of all worlds may be the counterintuitive double Grass charge moves paired with Counter to give it Azu, Ferro, Shiftry, and most of the Waters and Grasses and Electrics it can beat down with other movesets, but there are several ways to get to victory with Loom…this month, at least.

Roserade

Razot Leaf/Poison Jab | Sludge Bomb & Grass Knot

Going into this, I figured Roserade would want Poison Jab to give her an advantage over other Grasses and deal at least neutral damage to basically everything in the Cup, plus reach a couple of pretty good charge moves in rapid fashion. And while that’s sort of true, in the end, Razor Leaf is still clearly better. In fact, strictly by the numbers, Roselia is actually the best Razor Leafer in the Cup. Roserade is glassy to a worrying degree (under 110 Defense and less than 100 HP), but man, she hits like a tank. The brute force of her Razor Leafs takes down things that baffle the mind, like Galvantula and Heracross, and combined with the charge moves, even things like Magnezone and Blaziken, and in runaway fashion at that. And it’s even a bit better than that core meta sim shows, as it can also take down other Grasses like Cradily and Tangrowth. Yes, they’re razor (oh, the puns!) thin, but those ARE wins. Roserade may not often have a lot left in the tank afterwards, but it DOES shred a lot of things in Forest Cup.

And yes, Roselia puts on a bit of a clinic as well, with a tough less Attack but slightly more bulk than Roserade. Its main issue is that, while it shares Sludge Bomb with its later evolution, it lacks the Grass Knot that allows Roserade to pull wins like Blaziken out of a hat, and is a LITTLE weaker which allows things like Galvantula to escape as well. Roselia is close, but it cannot quite match Roserade’s performance.

Cradily

Bullet Seed | Grass Knot & Stone Edge

Long stuck without a STAB fast move, Bullet Seed was a very welcome addition to Cradily’s arsenal, making it much more efficient in classic Grass roles, with the bonus of cranking out Stone Edges faster than ever before. That still doesn’t put Cradily at the tippy top of the meta, but it does make it a persistent and annoying threat to Pokémon from across all typings in Forest. Not only do Waters have reason to tremble, but even Bugs and Fires have to respect Stone Edge, which also allows Cradily to beat Jumpluff and be the biggest Grass threat to Mantine; not only is Cradily the only Grass that can reliably beat Mantine in all even shield matchups, but it can even take down Mantine with a two shield disadvantage. Cradily is still an oddball, but a viable one that can give teams fits. Dilly dily!

If you managed to get Bullet Seed on Lileep during the very brief window it was (accidentally) available, congratulations! But Ancient Power is no Stone Edge…not since it was nerfed. And Lileep is no Cradily.

Abomasnow

Powder Snow | Energy Ball & Outrage

Could it be? Could this actually, truly, finally be the meta where Powder Snow Obama breaks out?! Don’t laugh… I think it actually is. Most Electrics flail against it helplessly… even Ampharos with its Focus Blast nuke doesn’t usually get to it in time. Many Grasses fall before it. It beats ALL the Mud Boys (unless Swampert is packing Sludge Wave) and Stunfisk, and most other Waters too… who needs Razor Leaf? Yes yes, Leaf is okay, but for the first time, Powder Snow seems clearly better, and PS Aboma looks legit. No joke!

Amoonguss

Feint Attack | Grass Knot & Sludge Bomb/Foul Play

Amoonguss is one I’ve had an eye on for a while, as it’s a real oddball with some great charge moves to play with. Sadly, it’s held back by having only one usable fast move, and a lackluster, off-type one with Feint Attack (the move that wishes it could be Snarl). Still, Guss does enough to get noticed, beating a smattering of Waters, Grasses, Electrics, and even Bugs, and its mix of charge moves can keep the opponent guessing, which is always a plus. (As just one example, with Foul Play baiting, it can turn the tables on Cherrim.) It’s staggering 180ish HP can help frustrate already confused opponents too. “Why won’t this weird thing DIE already?!” The novelty and unpredictabililty may wear off as the month grinds on, but at least in early tournaments, Guss may be worth a shot if you’re feeling frisky.

Torkoal

Fire Spin | Overheat & Earthquake

Yeah, it works. (No, I STILL don’t have one. But I’m not bitter with an irrational hated of this smoking tortoise as a result, noooooo.) With Fire Spin and Overheat to handle Grasses and Bugs (Ferrothorn, Jumpluff, and Trashdam in particular hate it nearly as much as I do), and Earthquake to cover Electrics and even most other Fires, Torkoal really only has Waters and Muds to truly fear. Torkoal isn’t flashy, but slowly and steadily, it does get the job done.

Heatmor

Fire Spin | Power-Up Punch & Thunder Punch

So everybody is hyped for Typhlosion to potential receive Thunder Punch one day, as it can in the MLG. But here we have a Fire type that has the Fire Spin Typh famously lacks, and is ALREADY packing Thunder Punch. Why is no one talking about it?! Well, maybe part of it is the lack of Blast Burn, or the sub-100 Defense. Or the fact that Thunder Punch really doesn’t give Heatmor any notable wins over Waters, leaving it mostly as a run-of-the-mill Fire that does only what a run-of-the-mill Fire can usually do: burn Grasses and Bugs. It does at least do that VERY well with Power Up Punch boosting Fire Spin to dangerous levels… just look what it does to poor Ferrothorn. And it is worth noting that one with ideal IVs CAN take down Mantine. Heatmor is probaby more gimmick than true threat, but the potential is there to steal some awesome wins and get on highlight reels if you like that kind of spice potential. I know at least some of you that fit that description! You know who you are. 😎

Azumarill

Bubble | Ice Beam & Play Rough/Hydro Pump

Probably nobody is surprised to see Azu show up as a topic of discussion in a Cup that includes Water. However, what may be surprising is how tepid it looks. Now that’s not the whole story, as Azumarill is still very solid against the entirety of the meta, though it struggles against the majority of Waters (only those that are part Ground or Dragon typically end up on the losing end) and is fenced in by Grasses on one side and Electrics on the other. Azu can combat them with Ice Beam for the Grasses and, to a degree, Beam and Play Rough for the Electrics (it only beats Ampharos with Play Rough, for example), which is why they are both recommended first and foremost, with this being the rare meta where Azu needs them both more than Hydro Pump. (Azu handles the Fires–especially Blaziken, thanks to the Fairy subtyping–just fine with Bubble anyway.) Azu is better than its core meta record shows, but it’s ALSO true that this is not a friendly environment for it to operate in. Azumarill is more role player/flex option in Forest than a piece to build around, IMO.

Quagsire

Mud Shot | Earthquake & Sludge Bomb/Stone Edge

Might the EdgeQuake variant I always advocate be usurped by Sludge Bomb for once? It just might. While Stone Edge nets the big prize of Mantine–and that is NO small thing!–there are some key pickups Quagsire can only get with Sludge Bomb. For example, did you know that Quag does NOT beat all Fires with Stone Edge? One can escape, and it’s a pretty big one: Blaziken. The slightly faster speed of Bomb (50 energy rather than Edge’s 55) means that it is actually Bomb that has the edge 😏 over Blaze. That slightly faster speed is also the difference against Rainy Castform and the mirror, among others. I’m not saying you SHOULD necessarily run Bomb over Edge, but it’s at least worth considering. Also worth considering: Edge is brutal against most Bugs too, though Bomb is the only real answer Quag has to its mortal enemy Grasses (and a very good one if it ever lands). What fits YOUR team best?

I’ll briefly mention Seismitoad as another 50k Mud Boy, but only to say that the big three (Quag, Cash, and Swampy) are all better overall. There’s really nothing about Toad that stands out here, so I wouldn’t recommend using it. If you want a Mud Boy, the tried and true trio are the way to go in Forest Cup.

Well, except for….

Gastrodon

Mud Slap | Body Slam & Earth Power/Water Pulse

Yeah, Mud Slap is good now, and it actually makes Gastro the best Mud Boy against the core meta. It beats all the same core meta things as Swampert, Whiscash, and Quagsire (and is particularly punishing against Fires and Electrics, beating all of them but Grass Knot Minun with Mud Slap alone!), but adds on Azumarill and Rainy Castform that Swampy and Cash cannot match, GK Plusle and Trashadam that Quag cannot match, AND beats all three of those Mud Boys head to head as well. I may draw some flak for this one, but Gastrodon could very well be the best Mud Boy in this particular meta. Who would have expected that?!

Politoed

Bubble/Mud Shot | Surf & Earthquakeᴸ

The honorary Mud Boy is the only member of the Poli line that makes it into this meta. And there’s a good case to be made for it running more as a true Water than a Mudder, with Bubble actually making a slightly better showing against the core than Mud Shot. Both beat Fires, Trashadam, Swampert and Whiscash and Stunfisk, and a smattering of others like Magnezone and Qwilfish. And while only Mud Shot provides the speed Toed needs to reach Earthquake in some matchups like Spark Lanturn, the damage output of Bubble gives it others like Heracross and Scolipede. Politoed isn’t the greatest in this meta, if I’m being honest, mostly because of all the Electrics around (which true Mud Boys have far less problems with), but I know it’s a fan favorite (of mine too!), so it would have felt wrong NOT to show what it can and cannot do.

Kingdra

Dragon Breath | Octozooka & Outrage

Overall Kingdra looks quite good, as it usually does. But as always seems to happen, it finds a way to underwhelm as well… it struggles a bit when matched up against the core meta. It is encouraging that it takes down top meta picks Blaziken and Mantine and Ampharos, and while it does dominate Fires, it struggles pretty badly against Azumarill and all the Mud Boys, as well as big Electrics like Galvantula, Magnezone, and Plusle. And even taking neutral damage from Grass doesn’t prevent most of them from still shredding it. Kingdra works, sure, but it always seems a bit overvalued to me, and I worry that may be the case here in Forest too. Use it if you want, but don’t lean TOO much on it.

Lanturn

Spark | Thunderbolt & Hydro Pump

Honestly, I have a similar worry here. I know there are tons of players that swear by Lanturn, and I totally get it. I’ve used it myself to great success before. But in this meta… man, I dunno. Yes, it blows up Mantine and Azumarill, but it needs Water Gun to take on Blaziken (and beat Stunfisk), which is markedly worse overall than Spark. It can take on several Fires and Waters in ways no other Pokémon can really do, but in a meta full of Grasses and Electrics that come after it hard, Lanturn has a harder time than usual making a name for itself. Certainly feel free to use it if you have a good feel for it, but tread lightly… moreso than you’re probably used to.

Magnezone

Spark | Wild Charge & Mirror Shot/Zap Cannon/Flash Cannon

The one constant is Wild Charge. Zap Cannon has the best home run potential against the core meta, even moreso than Flash Cannon. (For the record, FC takes out Bellossom and Cradily, while ZC eliminates Jumpluff, Galvantula, Lanturn, Plusle, and the mirror.) Mirror Shot is frowned upon by some as merely a bait move, and while that’s partly true, it’s not THAT far off even without baiting at all, retaining Mantine and most others you care about and losing only Jumpluff, Rainy C, Qwilfish, and a super close win in the mirror match. I think I’d still rank Mirror Shot over Flash Cannon, and possibly over even Zap Cannon, for the potential baits and potential debuffs too. But that’s YOUR call, of course.

Minun & Plusle

Spark | Discharge & Grass Knot

I know Minun tends to get more press in PvP, and it’s understandable why: Minun has the bulk, and Plusle has the Attack, and bulk (almost) always wins out in Great League PvPing. But that’s not completely fair to Plusle, at least not in this meta. Yes, Minun has a slight lead in overall wins, but Plusle’s numbers hide some wins it gets that Minun cannot. Minun gets Heracross, Lanturn, Trashadam, and Swampert, unlike Plusle, but Plusle uniquely defeats Kingdra, Scolipede, and Typhlosion thanks to its greater damage output. And against the entirety of Forest Cup, they are neck and neck. If you have a better Plusle than Minun and have been bemoaning that fact, this may be your chance to take it for test drive. Both of them are quite good in the Electric role with the added wrinkle of smashing the Mud Boys if their Grass Knot connects.

Zebstrika

Spark | Discharge & Flame Charge

Zebstrika makes Manectric cry. Not only is it a little bulkier, and not only does it have a much better on-type fast move (Spark rather than Manectric’s Charge Beam), but it even has the audacity to have a better gimmicky Fire move than Manectric too! (Flame Charge deals the same 70 damage as Manectric’s Flame Burst, but Charge is 5 energy cheaper.) The gall! If you have tried to make Manectric work in the past, take a look at Zebstrika. The overall numbers are admittedly not all that hot, but consider that it’s one of only TWO viable Pokémon in the whole Cup that can reliably take out both Mantine and Ferrothorn. (Ampharos is the other.) Not even Stone Edge Blaziken can safely boast that. Add in that Zeb can also take out Galvantula and Cherrim and Trashadam and Rainy Castform and others, and it’s clear that the high level numbers don’t tell the whole story. Zebstrika is certainly not a build-around piece, but a surprisingly useful Pokémon in this particular meta? Don’t laugh… or the joke may end up being on you.

Galvantula

Volt Switch/Fury Cutter | Discharge & Bug Buzz/Energy Ball

Let’s start with the easy: Galvantula is good. VERY good. It’s a top meta option, uniquely capable of seriously threatening Waters and Grasses, and beating most of its fellow Electrics too. But there is some serious discussion to be had about what moves to run on it. The “standard” Volt Switch/Discharge/Bug Buzz set is needed to reliably take out Azumarill, Rainy Castform, and Kingdra. Bug Buzz is required (with either fast move) to defeat Grasses like Meganium, Cherrim, and Cradily. But Energy Ball (which needs to be combined with Fury Cutter and Discharge to be viable) snipes Mud Boys like Whiscash and Quagsire. Fury Cutter with really any charge moves gets you Shiftry, Tangrowth, Ferrothorn (really just needs FC and Discharge for that one), and the mirror over Volt Switch Galv. Got all that, right? Right? No? Good, because I’m still wrapping my head around it all too, to be honest. 🥴 Galv good. Let’s just leave it at that until I get to an “Under The Lights” feature on it or something, mkay?

Heracross

Counter | Close Combat & Megahorn

The only Fighter that can outslug Blaziken… and with Counter alone. Cross does many other good things too, beating Ferrothorn, Shiftry, and the other Fighters Breloom and Escavalier easily. It also beats down other things Blaziken struggles with, including Wishcash, Quagsire, Swampert, Stunfisk, and Lanturn, and overcomes big Grasses not already mentioned like Meganium and Tangrowth. It doesn’t have the gaudy numbers of Blaze (or even Breloom), but Heracross is a solid contributor in ways the other Fighters can only dream of, and may be a much better fit on some teams in May depending on the pieces around it.

Escavalier

Counter | Aerial Ace & Drill Run/Megahorn

This isn’t as friendly a meta as Toxic Cup was for Escav. Yes, it still does plenty of good, but its Steel subtying doesn’t help against Waters and Fires like it did against the Poisons of Toxic. It still crushes Grass, including Ferrothorn (though Cherrim and Breloom obviously turn the tables), and Trashadam is still here to abuse, but Electrics, most Waters, and of course all the Fires don’t mind it being around at all. Escavalier isn’t bad by any means, but it has to work harder for its success than it did last time Bug was featured in a Cup. All the Steely Bugs do, to the degree that I won’t even be breaking down most of them like Durant and Scizor any further.

Yanmega

Wing Attack | Aerial Ace & Bug Buzz

Yanmega can completely farm down Blaziken, Heracross, Breloom, and Meganium with Wing Attack alone. If that’s not enough, throw in Aerial Ace (gee, never seen THAT move before!) to tack on the majority of other Grasses and Bugs, and even things like Swampert and Kingdra and Typhlosion. Adding Bug Buzz may not seem like it does much, adding only one win… against something that happens to be named Ferrothorn, so… yeah, maybe worth it after all!

Vespiquen

Air Slash | X-Scissor & Power Gem

Kind of a bookend to Yanmega. Strictly by the numbers, Vespie looks a little worse, but of course that’s not the whole story. It can still farm down the Fighters and Meganium with just fast moves, PLUS Jumpluff, Cherrim, Bellossom, and Scolipede. X-Scissor adds on Swampert and Ferrothorn, as with Yanmega, plus Vespie lugs around the unique threat of Power Gem, capable of crushing Bugs and even Vespie’s biggest threats, Fires and Electrics. Probably the best way to play her is to farm something down as much as possible and pocket energy to throw into a flurry of X-Scissors or one big fat Power Gem, depending on remaining shields and all. I strongly suspect Vespiquen will make much more of an impact than a simple core meta sim shows there.


75,000 Dust/75 Candy

Start the breathing exercises, because now we’re getting into some expensive decisions. Pop some antacids as we push forward….

Ferrothorn

Bullet Seed | Power Whip & Flash Cannon/Thunder

Well where else would I start with the 75ks? If you’ve been following my articles for a while, then congratulations may be in order, as I’ve been advocating for building a Ferrothorn since the very beginning of the season, back in Sinister Cup, and multiple times since then. Hopefully you followed my advice and can now dunk on your friends as a forward thinker. 💪 But if not, this is probably the best place to start spending your dust this month, because Ferrothorn is all that AND a bag of chips. (Probably kale chips or something, but still!) It beats all the other Grasses but Fire-in-disguise Cherrim and Fightin’ Breloom, all Electrics but Ampharos and Zebstrika (as mentioned above!), big Bugs Galvantula and Scolipede and Crustle, and of course, all the Waters with the sole exception of Mantine (and even that comes right down to the wire. And while I generally recommend Flash Cannon as the second move to pair with the mandatory Power Whip, since FC is responsible for most of those Grass and Bug wins, Thunder is a viable option too, especially if you want to really hate on Mantine. Whichever second move appeals to you more, it is clear by any metric that Ferrothorn was just MADE for Forest Cup. It should thrive all month long. This is your final warning to go build one. NOW.

Forretress

Bug Bite | Earthquake & Mirror Shot/Sand Tomb/Heavy Slam

I see a lot of hate on Forret in this meta, and I kind of get it. Its eye-popping numbers with Mirror Shot and Sand Tomb are very clearly heavily bait-driven, and they come way back down to earth without successful baits, but I mean, Forret doesn’t completely fall off a cliff, and realistically, while it likely won’t reach the lofty heights of always getting the perfect bait, it’s not going to totally fail 100% of the time either, so the true numbers likely lie somewhere in the middle. And even at its worst there, you’re still ripping through Grasses, including Ferrothorn and Jumpluff and, yes, even Fiery Cherrim. Oh yeah, and Trashadam and Kingdra and other big deal stuff too. And you can always forget about trying to play bait games and just roll with good old Heavy Slam, bringing in most of those same wins and even some bonuses like Quagsire and Minun/Plusle. Forret won’t dominate Forest or anything, but if you’ve been waiting for it to recapture its Season 1 glory days, this isn’t a terrible place to try.

Castform (Sunny)

Ember | Fire Weather Ball & Solar Beam

Oh, how I wish Sunny C had a better fast move! But Fire Weather Ball certainly helps prop it up. The good? It beats every single Grass and Bug that isn’t part Rock or Water (so everything but Crustle, Cradily, and Ludicolo/Lombre), as well as most Electrics (out of the ones you care about, only Ampharos, Stunfisk, and Lanturn can stand the heat), and while it doesn’t directly lead to any wins over Waters, Solar Beam is a threat that MUST be properly respected by Waters and Muds alike. The bad is… well, everything else. Waters and Muds DO beat it down, and Sunny C has no advantages over Fires and loses to all the ones of consequence. It’s a very good Fire type, perhaps the best pure Fire in the whole format, but that only takes it so far. It’ll do well in its role, but there’s little flexibility outside of that set role.

Castform (Rainy)

Water Gun | Water Weather Ball & Thunder

A spammier, more Water-damage-centric Lanturn, without the annoying weakness to Ground damage. That’s really Rainy in a nutshell. But that’s not a bad place to be. Unlike Sunny Castform, the soggy Castform does well versus others of its type thanks to Thunder, handling Mantine and Azumarill easily and even beating all three of the original Mud Boys by just outspamming them with Water Weather Ball (and it not surprisingly knocks out Stunfisk the same way). It has no trouble with any of the Fires, and can even manage to take out any Bug not named “Galvantula” (or Plant Wormadam, but heck, nobody is or SHOULD be using that). While Sunny Castform is good in its role but limited to it, Rainy Castform is fantastic at its main role too, but can branch way out beyond and take the fight to basically anything not Grass. I’ve had a soft spot for it over Lanturn for a while, I’ll admit, and after this Cup, I suspect many others will too. The cost is prohibitive to some, but if you can afford it, I think Rainy Castform will leave Lanturn in the dust, at least in May.

Ampharos

Volt Switch | Thunder Punch & Focus Blast

For a long, long time, Ampharos was mired in obscurity. Yes, it always had the promise of Focus Blast, but just no way to hang in there and be enough of a threat for anyone to ever worry about it. It needed a move it could bait Focus Blast out with and keep the opponent on their toes, something to make it a legit Electric threat even without Blast; it received Thunder Punch. Okay, great, but it was still stuck with the two worst Electric moves in PvP… and then Volt Switch got a crazy buff. So no more excuses… it’s put up or shut up time for Amphy. And it rises to the occasion. This is a THREAT now, folks. Against the core meta, Ampharos shines against Waters, Fires, Bugs, and its fellow Electrics, and the still-looming Focus Blast gives it Cradily and Forretress and Magnezone and the big prize Ferrothorn too. It’s a little on the glassy side and isn’t able to safely switch in where you might want it to, but in a one on one brawl, it can take Ferro and Mantine and even Azumarill (lacking Play Rough). Not much else can put all that on its résumé. It has issues switching in, as I said, but Ampharos has a chip in the big game now. About darn time.

Stunfisk

Mud Shot/Thunder Shock | Mud Bomb & Discharge

Unlike Ampharos, Stunfisk didn’t wait around for ANY period of time… it has already made an impact in Voyager Cup and GO Battle League, from the moment it arrived in the game. And that continues here in the Forest. Fisky wants nothing to do with Grass or the Mud Boys, but it fears little else. It TRIPLE resists Electric damage, so all of its fellow Electrics are zero issue. All the Fires die under a barrage of Mud Bombs. Bugs resist Mud but not Electric, so other than Escavalier and Heracross, they all get zapped to death by Discharge. And while battles with Waters can be somewhat a war of attrition, with super effective damage being flung back and forth, Stunfisk usually wins in the end. If those matchups in particular worry you, you can run with Thunder Shock to shore them up, but generally Mud Shot looks a tad better in this meta to solidify the important Fire wins. Your call though!

Electivire

Thunder Shock | Ice Punch & Wild Charge

Ice Punch is more bark than actual bite, giving Electivire straight up wins over only the glassiest of Grasses, but it is a threat that will make Grasses shield or risk getting caught with their pants down. With a few notable exceptions where Ice Punch itself gets Vire the win, though, it ends up usually just baiting out a closing Wild Charge. That still makes Electivire one of the better Electrics in the Cup, and with the added bonus of maybe being able to sneak away some wins with Ice damage, but Vire is more spice than top meta option.

The same is true for closely related Magmortar. I mean, as a Fire type, it’s fine, but nothing remarkable. It has off-type moves Brick Break and Psychic, but neither are particularly good in this meta, mostly overlapping with what Magmortar can already do with Fire damage. Especially considering the steep second move cost, I think you can pass.

And yes, I did look at 75k Water Alomomola and Carracosta, but they just don’t do enough. Carracosta is particularly disappointing, as you have to love its move package; while it beats Mantine with Rock Throw, it cannot beat even Blaziken, with that Rock subtyping being more curse than help. Hard pass, much as I WANT to like it.


100,000 Dust/100 Candy

The ultimate splurges, throwing caution (and your budget!) to the wind, like I did with the character count on this article about 26 pages ago. 😂 There ARE a couple of things to consider here this month, but they are not for the feint of heart. Proceed at your own risk….

Suicune

Snarl | Bubble Beam & Ice Beam/Hydro Pump

Just like back in Ferocious Cup, Suicune is really the only one of the three Gen2 Beasts worth any consideration. And it does some weird things. With the old familiar Bubble Beam/Hydro Pump set, it blows up Fires and Mud as you would expect, along with a few notable Bugs and even Electrics. But where things get strange is if you replace Pump with Ice Beam… and suddenly it turns into a Grass counter, taking out Breloom and Shiftry and Jumpluff and Sceptile and Cradily and others, along with Mantine and Kingdra too. What the what? Yeah, with Snarl  powering it up, turns out Suicune is tied with Bullet Seed Mantine with the fastest Ice Beam in Great League, which allows it to outrace even Shiftry’s crazy fast Leaf Blades to victory… even without baiting with Bubble Beam! Just straight up outslugs Shifty, like a boss. I dunno about you, but those results surprised the heck out of me. If you already built up and double moved a Cune for Ferocious, then you may be a Charge TM away from shocking your opponent too!

Celebi

Confusion | Seed Bomb & Psychic

You could make a pretty easy argument for Celebi to be a “thrifty” option, as Psychic doesn’t add a ton to its success, picking up some oddballs like Cradily, Torkoal, Serperior, and Abomasnow. Seed Bomb does at least a 95% job, and for the steep cost, that is likely enough to not worry about the second move. But anyway, with no Exeggutor in the picture, Celebi stands alone as the only Confusioner Grass in the format. That makes it a great Fighting killer, with Cross and Loom and even Blaze all dying quietly. But Celebi does more than just that, doing Grass things like beating Quagsire and Lanturn and Rainy Castform and Stunfisk and Kingdra, as well as Ampharos and Minun/Plusle, but then it also takes out Meganium and Bellossom and Tangrowth. It may not be the first Grass that comes to mind in Forest, but it IS among the better ones overall. If you happen to have one with good PvP IVs, maybe take it for a spin around the block.

As for Ho-Oh, I think it’s more like Ho-No. Even with an on-type Hidden Power AND Earthquake which it will be able to get halfway through May, Ho-Oh is just too awkward and clumsy to do enough here. Don’t be the guinea pig.


Feelin’ Lucky?

Here I list stuff that may look affordable looking at just the cost for a second charge move, but due to stats, have to be at or very near Level 40 to really be viable. Obviously that’s a steep cost in candy AND dust, so if you want to use these and do not already have them built, give strong consideration to looking for them in a Lucky trade. Good luck!

Wormadam (Trash Cloak)

Confusion/Bug Bite | Iron Head & Bug Buzz

The consensus choice for fast move is Confusion, right? I mean, that’s kind of Trashadam’s thing. Well, not so fast. While Confusion deletes Fighters and Poisons like Qwilfish, there is a very strong case for considering Bug Bite here instead. You lose the three Fighters and Qwil, but consider the gains: Shiftry and Stunfisk and Magnezone and the mirror and, yes, Ferrothorn. Not so clear cut now, is it? As I’ve said in the past, that’s what these tests are for!

Bayleef

Razor Leaf | Grass Knot & Ancient Power

Ask most people who have maxed and used Bayleef and they’ll swear it’s the best Grass in the game. That’s a LITTLE bit of a stretch, but it’s not completely crazy. While Ancient Power was recently nerfed, it’s still a nice and pretty unique weapon for a Grass to wield, and Baybay’s good bulk allows it to reliably get to it and/or Grass Knot better than many other Razor Leafers can reach impactful charge moves. Its performance is comparable to Meg, shredding many of the same things, often more brutally with Razor Leaf slicing and dicing, but also like Meg, it has some trouble coming up with an answer to other Grasses. Still, if you’ve maxed one previously and have a good feel for it, there is lots to still like about little Bayleef.


THRIFTY

This section is devoted to stuff you can get by NOT buying the second move for, but it’s kind of light this month….

Other Razor Leafers

Razor Leaf | Leaf Blade/Sludge Bomb/etc.

Mostly looking at Leafeon, Bellossom and surprisingly plucky Sunflora. The main differences I see between them are that Sunflora alone beats Breloom, Razor Leafing it to death thanks to its higher Attack stat, while Leafeon alone beats Meganium and (barely) Tangrowth thanks to having high enough Attack to deal 1 extra damage per RL as compared to Bellossom, AND enough bulk to stick around long enough to grind it out (unike Sunflora). But beyond those niche wins, they all three operate the same, and none need a second move (though if you have a Last Resort Leafeon already handy, yeah, that’s a good second move to pair with Leaf Blade).

Also remember that Celebi can get by just fine with Seed Bomb as its sole charge move. 👍


And before I ramble on any further… that’s a wrap! As with all my articles, take all of this with a big grain of salt. I am not trying to persuade you on using any one ‘mon or any one team, and of course everybody’s dust situations are different. But if you don’t have a dust pool/vault resembling that of Scrooge McDuck, then perhaps this can help you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!).

Before I go, continued thanks to my PvP friends, local and around the world, who have lent their own ideas and suggestions over the last year and a half and helped teach me to be a better player and student of the game. And my thanks to all of you, for your own encouragement, support, and patience throughout now TWO Seasons of Silph Arena play. 😍

Thank you for reading! I very much appreciate you taking the time, and sincerely hope this helps you master Forest Cup. Best of luck, and catch you next time!


JRE has been playing Pokémon GO since the beginning, but never imagined he’d get so into PvP. In starting his own research, deep into the Silph Arena metas, he decided to share his findings so other players could benefit, which turned into full fledged articles, which multiplied like rabbits. He’s now been writing multiple regular article series since Tempest Cup, focused on advanced matchups and budget friendly but still viable alternatives for veteran and rookie players alike. He likes powering up oddball Pokémon, reading a good book, spending time with his kids, dad jokes, piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

You can follow him on Twitter: @JRESeawolf or reach out on Discord: JRESeawolf#8349


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