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The Silph League Arena

Nifty or Thrifty

Jun 2, 2020: Nifty Or Thrifty: Sorcerous 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!

To kick things off, let’s go with the Red Hot Chili Peppers this time, with a more obscure number that just seemed to fit: 2006’s “Torture Me”. (Go look it up on YT or something and listen along!) And a-one, and a-two….

“Rock Paper Scissors makes us sad
I want it gone, I want it bad
Oooooooh ooooh, It’s all I’ve knoooooown
A vintage year for PvP I hear
The end of RPS is here!
Let’s gooooo, oooooh!
It’s what I know!
Torture me with Charm Fairies
It’s forcin’ me to Poison thee!
Psychics, Ice, it’s sorcery
It’s finall-y time for Munchie!”

Hey,  believe it or not, there aren’t a ton of songs out there dealing with sorcery, unless I want to make up words to Howard Shore’s Lord Of The Rings soundtrack. Hmmmm… that’s actually not a terrible idea….

But anyway, let’s get to it. The “Nifty Or Thrifty” article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for the upcoming Sorcerer’s… er, Sorceress… wait, I mean Sorcerous 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, let’s quickly define what Sorcerous Cup is. As described on the main Sorcerous Cup page, Sorcerous Cup consists of Psychic, Fairy, Poison, Ice, and Normal types, including those with multiple typings as long as one typing matches up with those five. It is also similar to this season’s popular Fusion Cup in that no Pokémon with a second move cost over 50,000 dust are permitted. That includes those with a 75k+ cost that have a pre-evolution of 50k or below, such as those that could get the “Baby Discount”. (No Snorlax, for example, even though the baby pre-evolution of it–Munchlax–has only a 10,000 dust cost for the second move.) This is going to change the normal format of this article too, as EVERYTHING is pretty thrifty!

There are a few specific bans. First, no Shadow Pokémon. Those still pining for a second opportunity to TM away Frustration on their Victreebels and such, fear not, as you will not be penalized by not having access.

There are also two specific Pokémon bans, and I will link to their impact to show how potent they would be if allowed:

Dewgong

Alolan Raichu

And that’s it! So with 50,000 dust being the ceiling for second charge moves, I am going to place a little extra emphasis on the 10,000 dust category, since it’s the only chance we really have to be thrifty here. And fortunately, there are a lot very good ones to choose from. Let’s dive in!

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.  But I will try to focus on the Pokémon that seem the most viable in Sorcerous. This category is really where “nifty” and “thrifty” meet in the middle.

ᴸ – Legacy/Exclusive Move

Munchlax

Lick | Body Slam & Buldoze/Gunk Shot

It’s finally his time! This is the best meta for Munchie to break out in yet, with Fighting being very minimal, and the number of relevant things that resist Body Slam (Ghosts, Steels, Rocks) being small enough to count on one hand, even if you lost a finger in an unfortunate accident during your axe juggling days in high school. (Come on, we ALL tried it once, right?) That Body Spam alone messes a LOT of things up, taking out even things that DO resist it like A-Slash and Bronzong and Haunter (well, technically that last one only requires Lick for the easy peasy win), as well as fellow chonkers Hypno and both Muks, Golbat, Charmers, Razor Leafers, and much more. It basically just outbulks 3/4 of the meta. Adding on a cheapo second move takes it in a couple different directions: **Bulldoze** brings in the last Ghost holdout (Froslass) and makes the Poison wins easier, or Gunk Shot finshes the big Fairy holdouts (Azumarill and Wigglytuff). Neither is wrong, because using Munchie is just so RIGHT in this Cup! The only downside is that it has to be leveled up to 30 or so from hatch level.

Furret

Sucker Punch/Quick Attack | Brick Break & Hyper Beam

No, seriously, stop laughing! Furret might be really, truly legit. Unlike most of the other Normal types here, Furret doesn’t rely on Ghost damage with its viable fast move(s), giving it a BIG leg up against Munchlax, Linoone, the Lickiboys, A-Rat, and even Noctowl, beating them all head to head. Still laughing? Hypno, Sealeo, Tentacruel, A-Muk, Golbat… all can fall victim to unassuming little Furret. It even has options with its fast moves, with Sucker Punch beating Ghosts Froslass and Haunter, and Quick Attack instead being able to wear down Azumarill, regardless of which moves Azu is running. Now, yes, several wins come with Brick Break baiting away a shield and setting up a crushing Hyper Beam later on (because Furret has the bulk to do it!), but it still beats most of those important Normals and Ghosts with just BB, and can even get to TWO Hyper Beams against Munchie and the Lickiboys. And as those sims typically only bait with BB at the same time that you COULD fire off a Beam instead, imagine a confident opponent choosing not to shield, you throwing the Beam, and it getting through. Yes, they’re baits, but they’re baits that the opponent cannot afford to guess wrong. Furret may be merely meme-worthy in most formats, but it is NO joke in this particular meta. Seriously!

Alolan Raticate

Quick Attack | Crunch & Hyper Beam/Hyper Fang

A-Rat had some great moments in Season 1, rising up in Nightmare Cup and especially way back in Twilight Cup. There are some similar vibes here, and A-Rat looks like it’s bound for its best performance in over a year. Welcome back, plump little buddy. We budget players have missed you. As with Furret, A-Rat hits the right CP range right around Level 35, so you can find a weather-boosted one and evolve it up without needing any dust but the 10,000 for the cheapo second move. And what second move do you want? Crunch is a must, kicking in the teeth of the other Normals as Furret did, plus Haunter and all Confusioners and most Razor Leafers and A-Slash and even Beedrill (with or without the Drill Run it is destined for). Hyper Fang tacks on Venusaur and Skuntank and is a nice, consistent move to have, but even flashier and perhaps even better is Hyper Beam, which JUST misses out on Venusaur but adds Alolan Muk, Sealeo, and the mirror match vs Fang A-Rat. That’s right… there might be TWO legit Hyper Beamers in this format. What a time to be alive! The #getbeamed crowd is gonna go wild.

Bibarel

Water Gun | Surf & Hyper Fang/Hyper Beam

Could Bib make it a trifecta of relevant Cups this season? Mmmmm… maybe? I mean, as a rare Water type in this Cup that actually does Water damage, it beats all the various relevant Ices except for Sealeo, which is nifty, and of course the small contingent of Grounds. Also overcomes fellow Waters Azumarill and Qwilfish, as well as Golbat, the Lickiboys, and even Munchie, which ain’t nothing. But uh… that’s it. It can’t even reliably beat (Sludge Bomb) Haunter, which should be a shoe-in for most Normals here. And unfortunately, Normal makes it vulnerable to the small but potent group of Fighters, and Water leaves it to be picked on by Grasses. Bib can’t really overcome the big Poisons or Psychics or Charmers either. It HAS uses, and some really good ones, but it also has a lot of blind spots. Someone will make it work for them, but I suspect most teams won’t find a spot for it. Sorry, Lord Bidoof… maybe next time.

There are other landlocked Normals with the cheap 10k second move cost, but they’re either very underwhelming (Stoutland) or have to be nearly maxed (Linoone) and will therefore show up later, in a more appropriate section. For now, let’s take to the skies!

Noctowl

Wing Attack | Sky Attack & Psychic/Night Shade

The flying tank returns. SO tanky is Mr. Owl, that it can withstand Azumarill’s Ice Beam and Hypno’s Thunder Punch and even a Power-Up Punched Ice Punch and all the built up fast move damage and STILL come out on top. True Ices and Charmers are issues, and Owl CAN be outtanked by things like A-Rat and Zong and A-Muk, but really, there isn’t much else that scares Noctowl. It’s been a solid performer whenever given the chance, and is still a budget player’s dream, not even needing to be Level 30, much less anywhere near 40. Sky Attack is likely all you’ll ever really need, but since it’s only 10k to buy, Psychic has some direct applications (think: Poisons) and even Night Shade has niche uses like Bronzong (which resists Sky Attack and DOUBLE resists Psychic, but is weak to Shade), though generally I think Psychic is the better option. But again, SKY ATTACK. The second move choice is usually going to be a merely theoretical discussion!

Pidgeot

Wing Attackᴸ | Aerial Ace & Hurricane

At first glance, Pidgeot just looks like a slightly worse Noctowl, and overall that IS an accurate assessment. But there’s more to the story than just the numbers, because there are actually a lot of differences buried in there. Noctowl and Pidgeot both beat the Grasses and Haunter and Munchlax and the Lickiboys and Medicham and such. But while Noctowl goes from there and adds Golbat and close wins against Skuntank and Beedrill and the improbable Azu and Hypno wins I mentioned, Pidgeot trades those for wins against Clefable, Tentacruel (which never reaches a crushing Hydro Pump like it does against Owl) Linoone, Alolan Raticate, and potentially even Noctowl itself. In many of those wins, it is the closing power of Hurricane that pulls it out in the end, and/or the slightly higher Attack of Pidgeot leading to its Wing Attacks sometimes dealing 1 extra damage each than Noctowl’s. (See, for example, Clefable vs Pidgeot’s 5 damage per WA as opposed to Noctowl at only 4 damage per WA.) Is Noctowl still better overall? The numbers say yes. But Pidgeot is very viable as well, and those nuanced little differences are likely not at the forefront of the opponent’s mind. Plant them firmly in your own mind and consider using that to your advantage.

There are a whole bunch of other cheap Normal Birds that folks will surely look at, but I’ll save you the time: they just aren’t very good. Some had a little play in Toxic Cup, but that lacked Noctowl. Sorcerous doesn’t. There’s really no reason to use anything in that sort of role other than Owl or Pidgeot. I DID take a decent chunk of time to check, and they all lag way behind.

Golbat

*Wing Attack | Poison Fang & Shadow Ball/Return*

Another budget savior in Season 1 that has mostly struggled to regain its former glory this season, Golbat gets another shot here. Can it do it? Well, that’s a definite maybe. You like that it can take out the Charmers and Grasses and Dark/Poisons and Haunter and Beedrill and such, and even stand up to Thunder Punch Hypno and get away. You particularly like how it completely dismantles Toxicroak AND Medicham… precious few things can so easily dominate both. You DON’T like that its a Poison that cannot handle Azumarill, that it has no good answers to arguably the top Psychic in the Cup, and that the many Ices and Normals all beat it up and steal its lunch money. But those deficiencies can be mitigated with what team Bat has built around it, and it has a real chance to soar high yet again, and on the cheap.

Swoobat

Confusion | Aerial Ace & Psychic

Another case where the… well, case is more than just the numbers. Because just looking at the numbers, you’d probably move right along. But consider what’s on that list. Swoobat absolutely dominates the two big Fighters, for one; it wipes out Toxicroak before it can even reach a Mud Bomb, AND so thoroughly wrecks Medicham that it can get suckered into shielding a Power-Up Punch, letting the following PuP’d Ice Punch through, and STILL get the win (and you’re much more likely to see something like this in actual tournament play). Swoobat also dominates the Grasses and Haunter and, unlike other Flyers, things like Tentacruel too, as well as beating Golbat head to head. A Flyer than can beat the things you want your Flyer to beat AND handle your opponent’s anti-Fighter/Grass tech? That sounds like something that has a role here.

Wigglytuff

Charm | Ice Beam & Play Rough

Yes, I’m recommending Ice Beam and Play Rough both, but mostly because you HAVE to have one or the other, and the second only costs 10k. Because as always, the best way to play a Charmer like Wiggly is to Charm to death whatever it faces first and then throw a charge move on the next ‘mon up before Wiggly likely bites the dust. Obviously that means Fighters (yes, including Toxicroak and its scary Sludge Bomb… it can reach one charge move but not two) and Darks (read as: A-Rat), but Wiggly also has the often-helpful advantage of being half-Normal, meaning it resists all the Ghost damage out there and gives it wins over all the Normals that try to Lick or Claw their way to victory, as well as the more obvious Haunter (again, assuming no Sludge Bomb) and Froslass (who has to leave Shadow Ball on the shelf). Wiggly is also just bulky in general, and can outlast Hypno and Sealeo and Noctowl and other tanks by just outslugging them on the strength of Charm. THEN, as I said, you unleash either Beam or Rough on whatever follows, which ever move will deal more damage in that scenario.

Clefable

Charm | Meteor Mash & Psychic

Again, removing the charge moves for the moment and looking at just Charm, you can quickly see how Cleffy takes a back seat to Wiggly in general. Haunter) can now survive, for example. Hypno has the opportunity to finish it off with Shadow Ball, which wouldn’t work against Wiggly. That all being said, what Clefable continues to have going for it is better charge moves. Meteor Mash is the fastest move available to either of these two Charmers, and there are very, very few things that want to take a big Steel move like that to the face. Psychic provides a nice alternative for only 5 more energy, and even Moonblast is now reachable if you want to go for broke. There will be situations where it’s the right idea to spring a charge move on the first ‘mon Clefable faces, which is less likely to be a factor for Wiggly. Despite all their similarities, they can end up playing quite differently. Which one fits YOUR style and team better, dear reader?

Venusaur

Vine Whip | Frenzy Plantᴸ & Sludge Bomb

And here we have one of the very last things any Charmer wants to face. Because Venusaur is good with just Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant spamming big damage all over the place, but it’s great because of Sludge Bomb. Just one unshielded Bomb saps away over 3/4 of the two Charmers above, and is nearly a OHKO to others like Togekiss. And it famously allows Venusaur to beat other Grasses… the ONLY one it cannot overcome in Sorcerous is Confusioner Exeggutor. And despite the trickery many possess here, no viable Water or Ground beats Venusaur unless they burn both shields (and even then, only those with Confusion or Ice Shard have even a chance). Venusaur also outduels most of the pesky Normals (Munchie, Lickys, Looney, Furret), and somehow finds a way to outslug even pure Ice Glalie giving it all it’s got. However, its usual role as a Fighting counter is dashed here, as both Medicham AND Toxicroak have the right moves to maneuver around it and turn the tables, and it still wants nothing to do with most Poisons, Flyers, Psychics, or most of the Ices (Glalie is an outlier, not a rule of thumb). So while Venusaur is very potent and never to be underestimated, there ARE a worrisome number of threats it has to contend with here. Use it, by all means, just be more ready than usual to give it the quick hook.

Ivysaur

Razor Leaf | Power Whip & Sludge Bomb

Yes, I’m actually listing Venusaur’s little bro separately for the first time all season. Why? Because while I would never openly advocate running Venusaur with anything other than Vine Whip, Ivy has the added bulk to give consideration to Razor Leaf here. Ivy makes a pretty good little Leafer, ripping through every Water and Ground with ease, regardless of what Ice or Psychic or Poison damage they’re trying to do back. Ivy slashes through the Fairies, the Normals (including A-Rat), Haunter, better known Leafer Victreebel, and very nearly even takes out Froslass. Similar to the Charmers, the charge moves are probably best saved for springing on the ‘mon that follows something Ivy Razor Leafs to death, but between Power Whip and Sludge Bomb, the options are quite good. If you want a Razor Leafer that will throw the opponent off their game, give strong consideration to Ivy this month. It looks to be even better than Victreebel here, believe it or not!

Beedrill

Poison Jab | X-Scissor/Fell Stinger & Sludge Bomb/Drill Runᴸ

So, Beedrill is getting a June Community Day. That means that Bees during the first part of the month will look quite different from those on the back end. Until Drill Run formally arrives, you can expect old-fashioned Bee with Sludge Bomb and likely X-Scissor for its best current moveset, slaughtering Grasses, Fairies (Charmers AND Azumarill with ease), as well as most of the grounded Normals (Munchie, Loony, etc.), and interestingly, Poisons like Toxicroak and both Dark/Poisons. Once Drill Run finally arrives, expect it to replace Sludge Bomb and be paired with Scissor or, even more likely, Fell Stinger, after which the Poisons get MUCH easier (and the wet ones–Tentacruel and Qwilfish–will go down without much fuss then too). Assuming Stinger is the second move, Azu remains a solid win (it gets a little dicier with DR/XS) and somehow even Alolan Sandslash slides into the win column. Beware the Bee in June!

Scolipede

Poison Jab | X-Scissor & Megahorn

Scolipede is similar to Beedrill, better in some ways (beating Croak AND Medicham, taking down A-Rat and Sealeo), but also worse in some key areas too (cannot reliably beat Azumarill, loses to Bee, and cannot do Drill Run stuff like beating Tenta, Qwil, and A-Slash). Beedrill is likely to bee all the rage, and for good reason, but don’t ignore Scolipede. Those losses hurt, but the wins it gets that Bee does not are a very welcome–and for the opponent, possibly surprising–consolation prize.


50,000 Dust/50 Candy

Usually these are considered pretty “thrifty”, but as with Fusion Cup, it’s the expensive category this time around! I tried to present what I believe are all the very good 10k Pokémon, but chances are you’ll have to loosen the purse strings at least a little bit. So what have we got here…?

Alolan Muk

Poison Jab/Snarl | Dark Pulse & Sludge Wave/Gunk Shot

May as well start with the big boy, ranked #1 in the Cup on PvPoke at the time of this writing, and it’s not really hard to see why. But wait, that’s different… why is it running Poison Jab? Snarl has been a staple on A-Muk since it recieved it, churning out charge moves with lethal efficiency. And yes, Snarl is fine here, but it’s only with Poison Jab that A-Muk starts putting up Madden NFL type numbers. What’s the difference? Quite simply, it’s the fast move damage. With Poison Jab, A-Muk can outrace Golbat, both Lickiboys, and Medicham before they reach a final, match-flipping extra charge move that they all DO reach versus Snarl. Jab also unsurprisingly gives A-Muk a BIG win over Azumarill and makes Fairies a cake walk in general. Snarl DOES uniquely get Bronzong and Skuntank, though note that with Gunk Shot instead of the usually preferred Sludge Wave, PJ A-Muk picks Skuntank back up, as well as potentially Sealeo and the mirror match. Poison Jab AND Gunk Shot? That just may be the right answer here… what a weird Alolan Muk! And these little nuances are why this article takes so freaking long each month! 😅

Skuntank

Poison Jab | Flamethrower & Sludge Bomb/Crunch

The flimsier Dark/Poison, but that doesn’t mean Stank is not dangerous. Poison Jab is the clearcut favorite fast move here, combining with Flamethrower to make Skunky one of few things in the format that beats ALL Grass types one on one, as well as taking out bigger names Hypno, Alolan Muk, and Golbat and Medicham too. Flamethrower is a great “equalizer” in this format, with only the non-Ice Waters and Lunatone resisting it. Tacking on Crunch further solidifies the Hypno win and adds on Haunter and Wiggly/Cleffy (with a bait), while Sludge Bomb makes Medicham less of a nailbiter, keeps Haunter, and adds a big win over Azumarill. Whichever one fills more holes on your team is the one you want, but really, all of Skuntank’s various charge move combinations are viable.

Muk

Poison Jab | Thunder Punch & Dark Pulse/Sludge Wave

Here the move choices are a little more clear. There is no Snarl here as there is with Alolan Muk, so Poison Jab is a must, as is Thunder Punch, which still makes ZERO sense to me as a move on Muk, but does give it a nice weapon to make the Waters and Flyers play honest. Kanto Muk consistently tears down Fairies, Grasses, and interestingly, Alolan Raticate, and then after that it’s a question of whether you want to beat Ghosts with Dark Pulse (Froslass and Haunter/Gengar in particular) or better handle things like Azumarill and some of the Normals with Sludge Wave. You could conceivably run BOTH Muks if you really wanted to, especially if Alolan is running with Snarl. And you could even consider running Grimer–yes, Grimer–alongside them. But more on that at the end of the article….

Haunter

Shadow Claw | Shadow Punch & Shadow Ball/Sludge Bomb

Well, the vote is cast, and it’s official: Shadow Punch Gengar is coming to Pokémon GO. But not quite yet. Haunter gets one more month of being the sole viable Poisonous Ghost in PvP before Gengar looks to potentially shove it aside from July onward. So if you love your Haunter, you can show it some love in June and it will mostly reward your affection. It still does everything you’ve come to expect of it in the many other metas where it has excelled: crushes the Fighters and most everything else that doesn’t resist Ghost damage, which includes (but is certainly not limited to!) Azumarill, Froslass & Glalie, Sealeo, Tentacruel, Venusaur, Beedrill (even with Drill Run), Clefable, Golbat, and even Ghost-resistant Skuntank. There’s even a good case to be made for Sludge Bomb over the customary Shadow Ball, with Bomb actually performing better overall than does Ball, in no small part because of all the Normals running (or Flying!) around. Bomb doesn’t flip the Munchlaxes and Noctowls and such, but it does badly wound them on the way out, and manages to swing Wigglytuff into the win column and make things like Azu a little bit easier, though at the cost of Skuntank and Golbat and such.

Froslass

Powder Snow | Shadow Ball & Avalanche/Crunch

People always get excited when Froslass is meta relevant, so prepare yourselves… because Froslass is meta relevant in Sorcerous Cup. Yes, it’s still frailer than you’d like, but that doesn’t keep it from doing good things against the core meta, using its Ice side to abuse Flyers like Noctowl (Lass is actually the top Noctowl counter in the Cup) and Golbat, as well as most Grasses. With its Ghost side, it’s the one Ice that can outslug the Fighters, as well as every Psychic in the format aside from the funky Counter/Fire Punch Alakazam. (More on him later.) Lass also gets Sealeo (resisting its Ice moves AND Body Slam), Beedrill (with numerous move combos), Qwilfish, and somehow even Alolan Raticate (survivng an unblocked Crunch and wailing away with its Ice moves) as nice bonuses. There IS a viable alternative to the standard Avalanche and Shadow Ball this time… running Ball and Crunch takes Noctowl to a nailbiter and gives up Darks Skuntank and A-Rat, but gains Clefable. Not preferred for most teams, but this isn’t a cookie cutter game… Clefable may matter more to your specific team, so I’m just here to report the facts. 🧐

Glalie

Ice Shard | Shadow Ball & Avalanche

Sticking with the Ices for the moment, let’s take a look at the… uh, how to put this delicately… um, big-boned brother of Froslass. Still working off his quarantine hibernation bod. Yeah. Anyway, you would expect Glalie to trail behind Froslass a bit, as it lacks her handy Ghost-type resistances to Fighting and Normal (read as: Body Slam) damage, but that is not the case at all. Glalie uses its chonkiness to just outbulk a lot of things. That doesn’t help against the Fighters, but it actually does better versus most of the Normal types, taking out Linoone and even Brick Breaking Furret, as well as more easily handling A-Rat than Lass did and dealing a lot more damage to Munchie and the Lickyboys. Glalie obviously still abuses the Flyers too, and STILL takes out all the Psychics except the three that have Counter. He can also beat both Dark/Poisons, outbulk Clefable and at least tie Wigglytuff, and handles the Grasses more consistently than Froslass (aside from pesky Venusaur and Vileplume). Froslass tends to get more press, but both of Snorunt’s evolutions are excellent options in Sorcerous.

Sealeo

Powder Snow | Body Slam & Aurora Beam/Water Pulse

Sealeo remains the fastest Body Slam user in the game, and that has a lot of value whenever it makes it into a Cup format. In particular here in Sorcerous Cup… as mentioned above, the number of viable things that resist Slam in this format can be counted on one hand, even that one missing a finger you left in San Fransisco along with your heart. (Poor Sinatra just rolled over in his grave.) That means that Sealeo can achieve all of its core meta wins with Body ~~Spam~~ Slam alone. That means ALL other Waters except the Slowbro line (yes, including Azu and Tenta and all) as well as all the Ices but Slam-resistant Froslass and Abomasnow and Alolan Ninetales that just outdamage it with their big fast moves. It also means Hypno (even with Thunder Punch), Clefable, A-Rat, A-Slash, A-Muk, Golbat, Beedrill, Noctowl, and more. It IS worth adding Aurora Beam or Water Pulse… they are bad moves, but can bring closing power when you just need to hit something extra hard. Both are mostly interchangeable; Beam is a LITTLE better, uniquely wrapping up some fringe Grasses like Exeggutor, Weepinbell, and Amoonguss, but it’s really not worth fussing with if you’re low on TMs. Other than Fighters, Grass, and the very few things that resist Body Slam (Zong and Haunter, mostly), Sealeo hangs in there and beats up pretty much everything… even most of its losses are kept close in a war of attrition. Sealeo can find a spot on many teams, and will surely be one of the better “safe switch” options throughout June.

Cloyster

Ice Shard | Icy Wind & Hydro Pump/Avalanche

There was a time, not long ago, when I used to not even look at Cloyster. With the eventual return of–and buff to–Icy Wind, and the gentle prodding of some players I respect, I changed my ways and now consider it whenever it is eligible. And here in Sorcerous Cup, Cloyboy is the ONLY viable Icy Wind user, and that has rather obvious value. Icy Wind alone beats Noctowl and Golbat, as well as both Dark/Poisons, but adding on Hydro Pump or Avalanche is where the wins really start to rack up, with Munchie, Azu, Beedrill, A-Rat, and others. Pump gets the other Ices you care about (A-Slash, Froslass), while Avalanche nets the two big Charmers and Qwilfish with its greater-than-Wind-for-the-same-cost power. Don’t make my past mistake and ignore Cloyster… YOU may not want it, but it’s very likely to show up on an opposing team at some point. Don’t get caught unprepared!

Piloswine & Mamoswine

Powder Snow/Ice Shard/Mud Slap | Avalanche & Bulldoze

Confession time: I almost left these two out entirely. They’re really only in here because I’ve seen a lot of folks talking about them… and honestly, I just don’t see it. Yes, the overall numbers (for Piloswine) seem okay, but against the core meta, the stuff that the majority of players will be running and that you really care about beating the most… well, that’s another story. I mean, it’s not all bad, as you’ve got both Dark/Poisons, Haunter, A-Rat, A-Slash, Beedrill, and of course the Flyers in there. If you go with the unusual Ice Shard over the typical Powder Snow, you drop Slash and Bat but gain Tentacruel and Bronzong. Those are good wins, but there just aren’t enough of them for Piloswine to be anything but niche. That will work for some teams, but I have a hard time recommending it in general. Same with Mamoswine, which does much the same with Powder Snow (Flyers, A-Slash, D/Ps, Tenta, Bee, Zong), and at least it has the option of Mud Slap to become a very hard Poison counter. But really, neither Swine is likely to make a wide impact, in my opinion. Plug one if they fill an obvious hole, but otherwise, I’m staying away and think you can do better too.

Alolan Sandslash

Powder Snow | Ice Punch & Bulldoze/Gyro Ball/Blizzard

Alolan Sandslash has a great typing for this Cup, resisting all the Normal, Psychic, Fairy, Grass, and Flying moves and DOUBLE resisting Poison and Ice. A-Slash has a weakness to Ground that is not going to be an issue often and a double weakness to Fire, which is barely present in this format at all. The one hangup is a double weakness to Fighting, and there WILL be at least one of those on most teams. But if A-Slash can avoid those, it can shine, spamming Ice Punches to victory over the Dark/Poisons (as long as it can avoid taking a Flamethrower from Skuntank), Haunter, the Charmers, Linoone and Furret, and of course the Grasses and Flyers. You DO want a second move, but even after looking everything over, I’m still not sure what to specifically recommend. Bulldoze is overall probably the safest and most flexible, beating Ices like Froslass and Glalie and Qwilfish too (as Bulldoze hates on Poisons in particular). Gyro Ball, with the same 80 damage for 60 energy as Bulldoze, also hurts Ices and therefore also beats Lass and Glalie, as well as being the only solid path to victory over Sealeo. Blizzard is obviously a crushing move if you get to it, which A-Slash can and often does in long, protracted battles like Hypno, Alolan Raticate, and Lickitung, beating that beefy trio at the cost of sacrificing the flexable wins against Ices and such that Slash gets with BD or GB. What sounds best to YOUR team? Only you can answer that.

Alolan Ninetales

Charm | Psyshock & Ice Beam

Once again, the best way to run on a simulation with a Charmer is to first check out what is does with Charm alone, and that reveals that A-Tails is right up there with Wigglytuff and Clefable. Being half-Ice means she is more susceptible to Fighters, but Charm still shreds Toxicroak and Medicham before they can muster a proper response, and beats everything that Wigglytuff does except for Hypno, and not surprisingly handles the other Ices (Glalie and Froslass) better, though it is worth noting that Wiggly usually escapes the other shared wins with the higher remaining HP instead. Ninetales’ biggest advantage is having a faster charge move than Wigglytuff or Clefable with Psyshock, which Ninetales will often get to in time to close out whatever Pokémon it intially faces if it makes sense not to just Charm it to death (Toxicroak is a good example of this, since it has some dangerous moves and you want it dead ASAP). It’s also a good idea for Charm A-Tales to pack Ice Beam for closing power and to have options to throw at the next ‘mon up. And yes, I know people will wonder about Powder Snow Tales, and I would just say that, in general, it’s more of a gimmick play than a true threat. Yes, beating normal Ice things (Flyers and some of the Grasses) is nice when considering it can ALSO take down Toxicroak still, and come out on top over Wiggly and Cleffy, but most everything else overcomes her in that role. That might work for some teams, but in general, if you want Alolan Ninetales, it’s as a unique Charmer.

Abomasnow

Razor Leaf | Energy Ball & Outrage

Again, this is here mostly because people always ask about it, more than being a real endorsement. As a regular old Razor Leafer, Aboma does fine, I suppose. It’ll beat the Waters (though its Grass sub-typing makes Tentacruel awfully close for comfort), Haunter, most of your non-Flying Normals, and unlike many Razor Leafers, Froslass in a nice niche role. But it’s weird Grass/Ice typing is more blessing than curse, leaving it vulnerable to Poisons and Flyers and Fighting and many others while resisting mostly things that are uncommon in this meta. Its charge moves are also a bit slower than most other Razor Leafers, leaving it even more vulnerable as it has to get in extra Razor Leafs before it can threaten any shields. Snowbama continues to SEEM cooler in theory than it demonstrates in practice. And no, the Powder Snow version doesn’t really work at all here. I wouldn’t recommend forcing Abomasnow onto your team, but hey, you do you!

Azumarill

Bubble | Hydro Pump & Play Rough/Ice Beam

Wow, took us a while to finally get to the little blue murder bunny, didn’t it? Don’t mistake its placement in my cockamamie listing order implies anything at all about its importance in this meta. Azu is always counted out in metas where it doesn’t seem to have a blatantly obvious use (“No Fires to target and hardly any Flyers or Fighters or Grounds? TRASH!”), and by month’s end, it is always right there among the most used–and most successful–Pokémon in the format throughout that month. I expect no different in June. Unlike the soon to be left behind Forest Cup, Azu is back to wanting **Hydro Pump** for sure here… there is not much that is weak to Pump, but there is little that can take one to the face and live to tell about it either. Now which other move you set Pump up with is, as always, a matter of preference: Ice Beam brings more pressure to Flyers (though note that Noctowl can tank an Ice Beam and actually WIN… the way to beat it is to get a shield with Beam or Play Rough and then smack it down with a Pump), while Play Rough is famously better in the mirror. Overall, the speed of Ice Beam usually makes it a tiny bit better, but it really IS just a matter of preference. Whatever you’ve been using to this point, you’re probably fine to just keep on using here.

Tentacruel

Poison Jab | Acid Spray & Hydro Pump

Been a little while since Tentacthulhu was relevant in a Silph Cup, but here we are… and Tentacruel is arguably a Top Ten Pokémon in Sorcerous Cup. It helps that there is hardly any Electric or Ground moves to worry about, and that even the Grasses don’t appreciate a barrage of Poison damage coming back there way. (Venusaur vs Tenta, for example, is no easy win at all for Venusaur.) Tentacruel beats a few big things with just Poison Jab and Acid Spray (primarily the Fairies, Charmers and Azu alike), but of course, what Spray continues to be best at is baiting shields and setting up a big closing move, preferably Hydro Pump, which causes Tentacruel’s numbers to skyrocket. Now it can beat  the big Darks (D/Ps and A-Rat), the big Normals (Munchie, Licki, even Noctowl), all the major Ices, and even Golbat and Toxicroak for good measure. Yes, you have to land the Pump, but players experienced with Tentacthulhu by now know how to do that just fine, thankyouverymuch. Get ready for them to try to do it to YOU.

I know that Tenta’s fellow Poisonous Water Qwilfish keeps popping up, mostly because it’s listed as “core meta” and many players have one left over from past metas they’re likely to want to take out for another spin. But honestly, I don’t think that’s going to work very well. There are a few very good Waters here, but their success is usually tied to what NON-Water things they can do… Water isn’t really a great typing here, and Qwil relies heavily on spammy damage from Water Gun and Aqua Tail to work well. The closing blow it can land with a well-timed Sludge Wave knocks out the Fairies, just as with Tentacruel, but other than the odd win here and there against things like Skuntank and Lickitung, that’s really about ALL it does. Tentacruel is just better… much better.

Slowking & Slowbro

Confusion | Psychic & Fire Blast/Water Pulse/Ice Beam

Yes, they’re viable. Slowking is best with Fire Blast to threaten the Ices and steal a win versus Bronzong), while Slowbro looks like it is best with Water Pulse to handle Ices (A-Slash in particular)… even though Ice Beam is a much better move, the typing does it few favors, as it already beats the big Flyers (Noctowl and Golbat) without it, and its Psychic damage already handles the Grasses since all the ones you care about here are half-Poison and therefore critically weak to Confusion and Psychic… Ice Beam doesn’t really help that much. Whichever one you use, they operate exactly the same way other than King’s win against Zong and Bro’s win against A-Slash… both beat Toxicroak and Medicham, Golbat and Noctowl, Tentacruel and Qwilfish, Azumarill, Beedrill, Haunter, and Sealeo, and generally lose to Grasses but beat the heck out of them in the process, leaving Venusaur under 5 HP and even the hard-hitting Razor Leafers south of 30 HP (sometimes significantly under that). Their overall list of accomplishments may be somewhat modest, but they get key wins where it counts, busting up ‘mons likely to be at the nucleus of many teams.

Victreebel & (Legacy) Weepinbell

Razor Leaf | Leaf Blade/Power Whip & Sludge Bomb

The most famousest of Razor Leafers, Victreebel (and older cousin Weepinbell) should lead the Razor Leaf pack in Sorcerous too, right? Right? Well, ladies and gentlemen, we may be witnessing a changing of the guard, as Vic and Weepie are NOT the top Razor Leafers in this meta. Not even close, actually. Sure, they rip all the Waters and Fairies a new one, and even notable Ices like Froslass, Sealeo, and Aboma, but that’s it. No other real “huh, neat” type of notable wins. That’s fine and good, I guess, if that’s all you need. (And if you DO have and decide to run Razor Leaf Weepinbell, note that Power Whip is actually better than Seed Bomb, gaining it Medicham and a few others.) But remember that even Razor Leaf Ivysaur could do more than that, taking out most of the Normals and Haunter too. And there are a pair of Leafers that are even better….

Vileplume & Gloom

Razor Leaf | Sludge Bomb & Moonblast

As far as straight Razor Leafing goes, none do it better in Sorcerous than Vileplume. It beats all the same core meta Pokémon as Victreebel PLUS Glalie and Munchlax and the Lickiboys and A-Rat and Haunter. I know the phrase “strictly better” is overused to the point of being clichéd now, but for real in this case: Vileplume really IS strictly better than Victreebel, at least in this meta. And so is Gloom, getting all the same wins as Plume with the sole exceptions of Froslass and Glalie, and often with a bit more HP remaining too (as exemplified by the fact that it hangs in there and beats Victreebel, while Plume cannot… the one victory Gloom uniquely achieves all by itself). Also keep in mind that while Vic and Weepie and even Ivy all rely on at least one Grass charge move, which is pretty redundant with Razor Leaf and usually not very impactful except for nabbing shields, Vileplume and Gloom have two realistically reachable moves that are NOT Grass thanks to the recent cost reduction on Moonblast, putting it AND Sludge Bomb into the picture, even with slow-charging Leaf. And with a number of prominent Darks running around to target with Moonblast and several things weak to Sludge Bomb, both moves are pretty impactful.

Bronzong

Confusion | Psyshock & Bulldoze/Flash Cannon

Bronzong is top dog among Confusioners in Sorcerous Cup, and more than anything, it comes down to that awesome Steel subtyping. Bronzong resists Fairy, Flying, Grass, Ice, Normal, Steel, Rock, and Dragon moves, and DOUBLE resists Poison and Psychic, covering the vast majority of moves found in the format. It is weak to Ground, Fire, Ghost, and Dark, and while certainly present, really only Ghost has a decently wide presence, and mostly on fast moves used by various Normal types. Between its nice resistances and Confusion damage alone, Zong rings the bell of every Poison in the format except the two Dark/Poisons and oddball Amoonguss with a full Dark moveset. as well as Sealeo, Noctowl, all Charmers, and all Grasses except the aforementioned Guss. (It helps that nearly all Grasses are half Poison!) With Psyshock it adds Medicham as a safe win, and then with Bulldoze OR Flash Cannon it brings in Alolan Sandslash and Skuntank. While Zong falls a little short against the various Licking and Clawing Normals, Shadow Ballers, most Darks, and scrappy Azumarill, it still exceeds the performance of any other Confusioner against the core meta.

Hypno

Confusion | Thunder Punch & Shadow Ball/Psychic/Focus Blast

Zong may be the overall best Confusioner, but Hypno has just as much potential to keep the opponent on their toes and just roll over teams. Thunder Punch is a near must, giving Hypno reach against Flyers and Waters and widespread neutral coverage… just TP and Confusion gives Hypno beats the Fighters, every Water (Azu, Tenta, etc.) but Slowking and super close losses to Sealeo and Cloyster, every Grass but Exeggutor and Abomasnow, and every Poison but Golbat (JUST barely) and the Dark/Poisons. Oh yeah, and Clefable and Alolan Sandslash too. With just one charge move. But of course, we want a second move, so… which one? The other Punches only provide redundant coverage, so looking at the rest: Shadow Ball adds the last two Grass holdouts and, more importantly, Bronzong; Psychic loses Zong again but adds Golbat, Wigglytuff, Linoone, and Lickilicky; Focus Blast instead drops Psychic’s gains and adds Zong back along with Noctowl (at last!), Alolan Raticate, and Sealeo. Based on likelihood of what you’ll actually encounter, Shadow Ball or Focus Blast seem like the best two to me, with the latter seemingly the best of the three. But as always, it’s about YOUR team and what you need most, so look that list over and see what fits YOUR needs best. There are very, very few cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all movesets in restricted formats, and Sorcerous is no exception! Don’t let anybody tell you different. They aren’t using your team… YOU are!

Claydol

Confusion | Earth Power & Psychic

Unlike Bronzong’s sub-typing (Steel), Claydol’s Ground subtyping does it more harm than good, allowing the Grasses and Waters in the Cup to beat it up. Claydol still manages to at least partly overcome that and still beat many of the big Waters (Tenta, Qwil), and still beats the Fighters (being particularly cruel to Toxicroak, resisting all of its moves), and unlike the two big Confusioners above, consistently beating Clefable AND Wigglytuff, and Noctowl AND Golbat, and Bronzong for good measure. So that’s nice. Dol isn’t as flashy a Confusioner as Hypno or Zong, but it does still get it done where it really counts, and in several ways, better than those bigger names. I would NOT, however, generally recommend running Claydol with Mud Slap as I’ve seen people chatting about. Yes, it becomes an unanticipated check to the Dark/Poisons and Hypno while still holding the line against Fighters and Zong and Haunter, but it gives up basically everything else to get there. That will work for a few teams, but unless you need that kind of very niche performance, Mud Slapping Dol will likely let you down.

Lunatone

Confusion | Rock Slide & Moonblast

Again, the win spread is relatively small, but unique. With its combination of Psychic, Rock, and even Fairy damage, Lunatone can beat the core things you want your Confusioner to handle (Fighters, Haunter, Poisonous Waters/Bugs) and things other Confusioners are less consistent against (Sealeo, Noctowl, Alolan Raticate). I’ll call Lunatone more “spice” than “meta”, but it does perform solidly enough in the straight Confusioner role to consider reaching for the spicier wins it brings to the table.

Gothitelle

Confusion | Rock Slide & Psychic

Bet you didn’t even know it had Rock Slide, didya? Yep, and she’s decently bulky too, and those two things combined give it Noctowl and Sealeo, as well as the same chunk of the core meta that you expect your Confusioners to win. Of particular note: she beats all the Grasses aside from Aboma, so Gothie is even a hair better in that role than the bigger names. I’m not saying to build one just for Sorcerous or anything, but if you already HAVE one, she has play here.

Venomoth

Confusion | Poison Fang & Bug Buzz

Poor old Moth was already fading further and further into memory (albeit very good ones from Season 1!) BEFORE the big Silver Wind nerf. That had to be the death knell, right? Well, actually…. Moth doesn’t want Wind anymore, but that has just opened eyes to something else that’s been there all along: Bug Buzz. Paired with the standard Confusion and Poison Fang, and, like Alolan Raticate and Golbat and others looking to finally recapture their Season 1 glory days, Venomoth looks due for a resurgence. It’s still one of the absolute best ways to delete Toxicroak and any Grass that doesn’t resemble the fried eggs you had for breakfast. (Please tell me you HAD protein-filled eggs and not Fruit Loops… AGAIN. We’ve talked about this!) But the bigger thing going for Moth in this particular meta is that it is a Confusioner that is NOT part Psychic, so it laughs at the Normals with their little Ghost fast moves, beating Munchie and the Lickiboys, and it doesn’t care so much about the Dark/Poisons either, taking only neutral damage from their Dark moves, resisted damage from their Poison moves, and beating them and Golbat head to head. (Even Flamethrower Stank, which typically just runs out of time to spring its fiery trap. And it outraces Beedrill to Drill Run too, BTW.) On the downside, it loses badly to the other Confusioners and Ices and Azu and even Medicham (assuming Medi lands a Psychic), but Venomoth is right up there in the upper echelon again and can do good things that no other Confusioner in Sorcerous can replicate. Pluck it back off the shelf, shake off the dust–but not TOO much, as Moths need some of that dust!–and relive the good old days of Twilight Cup. It’ll be cathartic!

Alakazam

Counterᴸ | Fire Punch & Shadow Ball/Psychicᴸ

Here we go! For anyone that was excited to try out last month’s Community Day Pokémon, you’re not going to have to wait long now. Counter Alakazam is here, and while the high level numbers don’t look great, there’s much more to it than that. This is a Psychic type that straight up dunks on anything Dark, including A-Rat and the Dark/Poisons. C-Zam also brutalizes the Ices, beating all of the ones you care about aside from Alolan Nintales, and beats the snot out of Bronzong and non-Razor Leaf Grasses too. Obviously it is still, on paper, a Psychic type, but you can almost consider Alakazam a third Fighter behind the next two entries on our list….

Medicham

Counter | Psychic & Ice Punch/Power-Up Punch

Here’s a Psychic that literally IS a Fighter, and it’s best utiltizing both sides: Counter for Fighting and Psychic for… well, Psychic. (Seriously, TPC: laziest and most confounding move name in history. 😠) While the numbers show that two seconds moves–Ice Punch and Power-Up Punch–perform nearly identically (the ONE difference being a ridiculously close win that PuP is better able to bait and ensure than Ice Punch), I actually lean Ice Punch personally, as there are a decent number of Psychics and Poisons that resist Fighting damage and thus don’t mind PuP and Counter as much as they might dislike neutral Ice Punch. But whichever floats your boat, go for it. This is once again mostly just a matter of preference. Suffice to say, whichever second move you roll with, Medi handles the Normals, Ices, and majority of Poisons of all shapes and sizes with often unrelenting, ruthless efficiency.

Toxicroak

Counter | Mud Bomb & Sludge Bomb

Remember the days of Twilight Cup when I wrote that Croak likely wouldn’t hack it in a format filled with Fairies and Confusion, and then doubled down on that by saying the same thing in Nightmare Cup? Yeah… good times. That is likely the biggest of many blunders I’ve made in my writing “career” over the last year and a half (and I have had some whoppers!). I finally saw the error of my ways after that, and thankfully many players ignored me and have been racking up wins with Toxicroak for a good long while now. And I see no reason that that should not continue here in Sorcerous. Toxi is in some ways a textbook Fighter, swatting down all the Darks, all the Normals you care about except for Wiggly, and all Ices but Fighting-resistant A-Tales and Froslass. But UNlike most traditional Fighters, Croak’s charge moves allow it to take the fight to Grasses (beating ALL of them but Exeggutor) and very nearly besting Azumarill and Tentacruel. Mud Bomb rightly terrifies other Poisons, and a landed Sludge Bomb turns the tables on all the Fairies. A Toxicroak with any kind of energy lead can be extraordinarily hard to stop, and even when swapped in and behind on energy, Croak gets to its charge moves very quickly and can catch up against many things. It remains very dangerous and MUST be prepared for with at least one, and probably two, solid counters (Psychics and Ghosts probably being your best bets). Unchecked, a Toxicroak can sweep teams all on its own.

Zangoose

Shadow Claw | Night Slash & Close Combat

Sort of a psuedo-Fighter as well with Close Combat, Zangoose is a popular wild card when available, and certainly could make a splash here too. It’s pretty helpless against Fairies and true Fighters, and tends to wind up on the losing end versus most Grasses, Flyers, and the Dark/Poisons. I know… there better be a “but” in there, right? BUT Zangoose usually runs roughshod over the other grounded Normals, Psychics, Ghosts, and Ices, including Munchie, Lickis, A-Rat, Hypno, Bronzong, Haunter, Froslass, Sealeo, A-Slash, and many more. That probably speaks to more of a niche role, but it’s a decently wide niche. Goose will earn a spot on some teams in June, so be ready to face it down at some point and have a plan ahead of time, because it attacks with blinding speed.

Purugly

Shadow Claw | Aerial Ace & Thunder

Wait, who? Yes, Purugly, one of the more oddball Pokémon in the game, may be legit viable in this format. It starts with Shadow Claw, but really ends with its good coverage moves: Aerial Ace and Thunder. Don’t ask me why those make sense with this fat cat, just go with it and be happy that those moves give it the ability to smack around a diverse group of Pokémon, from Grasses like Venusaur, to Psychics like Hypno and Bronzong, to Ghosts like Haunter and Froslass, to Waters like Tentacruel and Sealeo, and oddballs like A-Slash, Golbat, Glalie, Beedrill, and Linoone. It may be ugly to look at, with a mishmash of moves and not even great PvP stats, but somehow, in Sorcerous Cup, it just works anyway. If you want to throw your opponent for a total loop, you may want to throw a Purugly at ’em.

The Lickiboys

Lick | Body Slamᴸ & Power Whip/Earthquake

I’ve mentioned them quite a bit throughout the article, but I think I’ve put off actually talking about these two long enough. Both Lickilicky and Lickitung play pretty similarly with Lick and Body Slam taking down Ghosts, the Dark/Poisons, Hypno and Bronzong, Golbat, A-Slash, Victreebel, and so on. Where they diverge is in what their second move brings to the fight, though neither move does anything you wouldn’t expect of it: Licky’s Earthquake picks up Poisons Tentacruel, Qwilfish, and Beedrill, while Tung’s Power Whip gets Waters Sealeo and even Azumarill (and also just beats out Lickilicky as well). Both are quite good, probably the best Normal generalists aside from only Munchlax. If you were on your game and got a good Legacy Body Slam one when they were available, they make sensible deployments in Sorcerous.

Kangaskhan

Mud Slap | Crunch & Power-Up Punch/Earthquake

A spicy pick to be sure, what makes Kanga work in this format that hasn’t worked so well before is having the right moves at the right time. Mud Slap (and, optionally, Earthquake) hurts Poisons without Kanga having the annoying weaknesses to Water or Grass, Crunch hurts most everything and really puts pressure on Ghosts and Psychics, and Power-Up Punch makes all those hit harder and also chips in handy, accumulating Fighting damage to Ices and Normals and such. How does that all shake out? Well, like this. It’s a good list: Alolan Muk (and Flamethrower Stank), Tentacruel, Haunter, Bronzong, Froslass, Alolan Sandslash, and the Lickiboys and Munchie (and with straight Crunch, Linoone too), plus beating the stuffing out of A-Rat and Hypno (both left with less than 10 HP) and even Toxicroak. The slighttest of energy leads or a misclick by the opponent and Kanga can easily have those too. Just imagine the opponent swapping in a Toxicroak to clean up your Normal type Kanga, only to have Kanga completely flip the script. It doesn’t take much!

Garbodor

Infestation | Body Slam & Gunk Shot

With a face only a mother could lo–er, tolerate, Garbo is like a much messier Swalot. (Which, sadly, didn’t get off the cutting room floor this time.) It lacks any STAB fast moves, and comes with Acid Spray and a big slow Poison move and then some oddballs. Thankfully, one of the oddballs in this case is Body Slam, which–as I’ve already mentioned a couple times now–is quite a good move to have in this meta. Combine that with Garbo’s mono-Poison tying and above average bulk, and you know what? It’s not half bad. Grasses don’t want to get anywhere near it (though in fairness, who would?). Nor do Fairies… Garbo can beat the Charmers AND Azumarill. It needs Gunk Shot for Azu, but it can beat the Charmers and Grasses with just Body Slam, along with Skuntank and A-Rat and even Alolan Muk. Throwing Gunk back into the mix also wraps up Sealeo and Linoone and shores up most of those BS-only wins. Garbodor might look bad, and probably smells AWFUL, but it can bring sweet, sweet victories if you’re brave enough to let it onto your team’s bench. Give it a look… from a safe social distance.


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!

Linoone

Shadow Claw | Thunder & Grass Knot/Dig

I’ve mentioned it enough that you’ve probably been wondering where its write-up was. Well, other than Lickitung, the other Normals mentioned are fine in the low to mid 30s, but Linoone has to be pretty much maxed out, so here we are. Believe it or not, Loony achieves its highest win total against the core meta with just one charge move… and it’s NOT Grass Knot, but it’s Thunder, of all things. That is a tad misleading though, because when you do add on Grass Knot, the sim shows new losses to Lickilicky and Alolan Sandslash, but we know that Thunder alone beats both Licky and A-Slash, so those are still wins as long as you keep that in mind. And it picks up two new wins, and pretty important ones too, with Noctowl falling if it gets baited just once by Knot, and Munchlax falling to straight Grass Knot spam. So really, it has a 13-13-1 record against the core meta (as identified at the time of this writing, at least), which looks a lot better than the 11-15-1 line it has otherwise. And that, my friends, is a viable Pokémon.

Wobbuffet

Counter | Mirror Coat & Return

That’s right… purified Wobb can get a second move, and it really wants it, too. And yes… Wobbuffet is actually viable! It beats the Fighters, beats Bronzong, beats A-Rat, beats Ices, beats most of the Normals, and gets blown out by practically nothing. It may be more gag than “meta”, but I know there are people out that have already maxed one and have just been waiting for their chance to use it. So to those folks: THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. Go have some fun!

Grimer

Mud Slap | Sludge Bomb & Mud Bomb

Chuckle if you want, but then sit back for a second and take a gander at that moveset. Then take a look at how it performs against the core meta. Look closer to see how it beats the Dark/Poisons and the Charmers and the Grasses and the Poisonous Waters and Haunter and Toxicroak (and gets OH so close against Azumarill too. I know, it absolutely has to be maxed, and it’s a Grimer. But you can’t hate on those kind of results. Grimer is more spice than meta, but it IS good spice in June.


THRIFTY

This section is devoted to stuff you can get by NOT buying the second move for, but uh… I don’t really have any for you this month. You can technically get by with one move on most of the Razor Leafers, but pretty much everything else here needs the benefits of both. Sorry! 😳 


DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT

Just gonna do this in quick hit fashion. Here are some of the many, MANY Pokémon I looked at that just didn’t hack it, ones that may show up here and there throughout June but really don’t perform well enough for me to give them more but a passing mention….

I did look at all the Nidos, and while there’s some decent spice with Nidorino if you have one from the past, there is just better spice here; Nidoking, legacy or not, is very underwhelming, and I expected more of Nidoqueen, who can’t even beat the big Flyers or Ices with Stone Edge… disappointing; Gengar WILL be getting Shadow Punch, but not in time for this Cup, so keep it benched one more month; I SO badly want to recommend Exeggutor, but I just can’t; Togekiss is probably a surprising omission, but Charmers have enough of a tough road with all the Poison and Grass around that having a Charmer that is ALSO weak to Ice and Rock is just a bridge too far; Sneasel and Weavile are always brought up, but they just don’t do enough for me; Ursaring too is often discussed in hushed tones, but it really doesn’t do anything special that other, better Fighters can’t, and it’s awfully frail; there was a lot of early discussion about Audino, which has even better bulk than Azumarill and good charge moves, but is completely undone by having putrid fast moves… don’t waste your dust until/unless Niantic gives it something decent; Delcatty and Beartic and other “alternative” Charmers continue to just be bad knock-offs of the real thing; it was already on a downward spiral since its glorious moment in the sun in Nightmare Cup, but Xatu is a sad shell of its former self with the nerf to Ominous Wind… sorry, my old friend; your friend and mine Farigaraf isn’t terrible, it just takes a back seat (maybe even in the trunk) with a myriad of better Confusioners around in this meta… its famous Ghost resistance doesn’t do enough to justify it here, I am sorry to say. Gafarafig forever!


Alright, that’s all I got! 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 Sorceror’s… uh, I mean Sorcer*ess*… uh, June’s Cup. Yeah. 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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