We won’t lie to you: it can cost a good bit of stardust to compete at a high level in PvP.
There are always new Pokémon to add to your team, new and exciting moves to TM, and new cups to prepare for. The good news is there are a lot of powerful Pokémon out there that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. How much use you’ll get out of them can vary from cup to cup depending on the meta, but many of these come up repeatedly in the Silph Arena Cups — and in open great league. The biggest cost for many trainers is unlocking a second move, which can cost as much as 100,000 stardust. Luckily, there are dozens out there that aren’t only strong in battle, but only cost 10,000 stardust to unlock!
The first group of these are the starting 3 Pokémon families of every generation. With their low energy/high damage special moves, Community Day Pokémon can be absolute powerhouses, and common enough that you shouldn’t have to give up a valuable shiny just to trade for one.
- Charizard – Fire Spin / Blast Burn / Dragon Claw
- Venusaur – Vine Whip / Frenzy Plant / Sludge Bomb
- Blastoise – Water Gun / Hydro Cannon / Ice Beam
- Meganium – Vine Whip / Frenzy Plant / Earthquake
- Typhlosion – Shadow Claw / Blast Burn / Solar Beam
- Feraligatr – Waterfall / Hydro Cannon / Ice Beam
- Sceptile – Fury Cutter / Leaf Blade / Aerial Ace
- Blaziken – Counter / Blaze Kick / Blast Burn
- Swampert – Mud Shot / Hydro Cannon / Earthquake
- Most future starters – Stock up on Community Days!
The Children Are Our Future
The next bargain group takes advantage of the baby discount. Any hatched baby Pokémon can purchase a second move for 10,000 stardust, rather than the higher price of the evolved versions. Many of the babies have evolved forms that can really make waves on the right PVP team, so be sure to add the second move before you evolve!
- Riolu → Lucario – Counter / Power Up Punch / Shadow Ball
- Cleffa → Clefable – Charm / Meteor Mash / Psychic
- Azurill → Azumarill – Bubble / Play Rough / Ice Beam
- Tyrogue → Hitmonchan – Counter / Power Up Punch / Any elemental punch
- Togepi → Togetic – Extrasensory / Ancient Power / Aerial Ace
- Mantyke → Mantine – Bubble / Ice Beam / Aerial Ace
Born This Way
The final group has no special trick, they’re just cheap while still being super effective! Many of these Pokémon have been the star of their particular meta, and they all have second charge moves available for the low price of 10,000 stardust at any evolution.
- Altaria – Dragon Breath / Sky Attack / Dragon Pulse
- Whiscash – Mud Shot / Mud Bomb / Blizzard
- Wigglytuff – Charm / Ice Beam / Play Rough
- Alolan Golem – Rock Throw / Rock Blast / Wild Charge
- Beedrill – Poison Jab / X-Scissor / Sludge Bomb
- Noctowl – Wing Attack / Sky Attack / Psychic
- Alolan Raticate – Quick Attack / Hyper Fang / Crunch
- Raichu – Spark / Wild Charge / Thunder Punch
- Alolan Raichu – Spark / Wild Charge / Grass Knot
- Golbat – Wing Attack / Poison Fang / Shadow Ball
And be creative! These may be the most commonly used 10,000 second move, but feel free to experiment, especially with cheaper Pokémon like the ones listed above.
Your Pokémon 401k
Once you get out of the 10,000 range, there are a lot more options. The last group we’d like to draw attention to aren’t cheap, but are good to think about all the same: long-term investments.
These Pokémon either have costly second moves, or will need to be leveled up close to 40 to be viable — or both. No one should rush out and spend their entire savings on them, but they are all worth keeping in the back of your mind as things you’ll want to Pinap or keep high level candidates around in storage until you’re ready to spend on them.
- Medicham – Counter / Power-Up Punch / Ice Punch. Medicham must be maxed to level 40, and should ideally be perfect IV or close to it.
- Azumarill – Bubble / Play Rough / Ice Beam. While the baby discount can save you on the cost of the second move, it can actually be cheaper to find a level 35 Marill and pay full price because Azumarill must be leveled close to 40 to reach 1500 CP.
- Skarmory – Air Slash / Flash Cannon / Sky Attack. You can catch one right at great league CP, but at 75,000, that second move will cost you!
- Forretress – Bug Bite / Heavy Slam / Earthquake. Like Skarmory, it’s the second move that will set you back.
- Bastiodon – Smack Down / Stone Edge / Flamethrower. Shieldon is relatively rare, will need to be leveled up to nearly 40, and carries a hefty 75,000 price tag on the second move. It’s one of the most expensive Pokémon available in Great League. While it is a very powerful tank, it’s up to you if you want to invest, or go with the cheaper-yet-comparable Probopass.
- Wormadam (Trash Cloak) – Bug Bite / Bug Buzz / Iron Head. Another in the “level nearly to 40” club, at least Wormy has a cheap 10,000 second move. The candy investment to get it leveled will be a challenge to a lot of people, however.
- Steelix – Dragon Tail / Earthquake / Crunch. 75,000 for the second move.
- Sableye – Shadow Claw / Foul Play / Power Gem. This monster maxes out just below 1500CP with perfect IVs and it costs 75,000 to give a second move. It has incredible typing and a great moveset.
- Gallade – Confusion / Leaf Blade / Close Combat. Gallade doesn’t cost a lot to power up to the 1500 CP limit, but it does come with the 75,000 second move cost.
- Deoxys Defense – Counter / Psycho Boost / Rock Slide. Deoxys Defense has one of the most versatile and strongest movesets in the game. You can also choose to use Thunderbolt instead of Rock Slide. Even though it costs 100,000 stardust and 100 candy for a second move, it’s easily worth it once you have the resources.
- Mew – Because Mew has access to tons of fast and charge moves, it’s difficult to simply choose one, and that’s the reason it can be so powerful. It can add a lot of flexibility to a team composition, making the legendary second move cost a reasonable investment.
- Cresselia – Psycho Cut / Future Sight / Aurora Beam. Cressalia is BULKY, and has a versatile moveset that can make it a nightmare for opponents. It is, however, difficult to attain. It will only reach 1500 CP when traded at a low IV, so in addition to the 100,000 second move stardust, you have to factor in the stardust for a special trade. The less friendship you’ve built with your trading partner, the better the chance it will be under 1500, but the more stardust it will cost. It’s a powerful Pokémon, but no one would blame you if you waited until it showed up in Special Research to invest.
And there you have it!
These are by no means the only options, but they are a good place to get started. If you’re a true bargain hunter at heart, make sure to keep an eye out for JRE Seawolf’s “Nifty or Thrifty” posts on Reddit whenever a new cup is released for some hot tips on cheap and powerful Pokémon to invest in on your path to becoming the best there ever was!
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