From February 8th to February 15th of 2021, Season 6 of Pokémon GO Battle League will feature the new, Valentine’s Day-themed Love Cup alongside the usual (and far less affordable) Master League formats. In the Love Cup we’ll only be able to use pokémon that are pink or red according to the official Pokédex, with a maximum CP of 1500.
Here’s a string to paste in your game’s search bar, to look for all the eligible pokémon in your inventory:
In this article we’re going to take a look at all the best picks for the Love Cup, recommend their optimal movesets and analyze their different roles to help you put a balanced team together.
Note to readers: throughout the article, legacy and exclusive moves will be marked with an asterisk (*).
It’s quite fitting for the Love Cup to revolve around the move Charm. Only two eligible pokémon have it, but those will be enough to give you nightmares if you’re not prepared to deal with them. Almost nothing in this meta can handle neutral Charm damage, so as long as the Fairies have shields to hide behind, only a handful of dedicated counters can stop them. Expect to encounter a few annoying double Charm teams too, with a variety of pokémon as the third member of the team (our recommendation would be Magcargo as a lead with the other two).
Charm + Ice Beam & Play Rough
There isn’t much to say about this pink marshmellow. If you played the Kanto Cup or the Holiday Cup, you should already know how powerful it can be in restricted Great League formats. The strategy is simple: tap the screen, shield once or twice, watch the fast move damage accumulate until the opposing pokémon goes down.
Charm + Meteor Mash & Psychic
Compared to Wiggly, the lack of Normal subtyping only really hurts Clefable in the matchups against Lickitung and Lickilicky, as it doesn’t resist their Lick. It’s just as good at pretty much everything else, and it gets to Meteor Mash a little bit quicker. That allows it to get shield advantage in the Fairy mirror, which however ultimately ends in a narrow, IV-dependent loss for Clefable.
Arguably every balanced team is going to need at least one of these. They are the only things capable of shutting down Charm users, which will be absolutely crucial in many Love Cup matches.
Fire Spin or Wing Attack* + Blast Burn* & Dragon Claw
The softest Fairy counter in this list: Charizard always goes down if the Charm user shields twice, even with perfect baiting. However, it’s also one of the most versatile pokémon in this meta, thanks to the general power of Blast Burn and the handy resistance to Medicham's Counter. This matchup becomes especially positive if you’re willing to spend an Elite TM to obtain legacy Wing Attack.
Fire Spin + Flame Charge & Brave Bird
With the same typing as Charizard, more bulk but slower charged moves, Talonflame mainly stands out because (with good IVs) it can beat Fairies even in the 2-shield scenario, going straight for Flame Charge’s guaranteed Attack boosts. It can also be very deadly as a closer thanks to the sheer neutral damage of Brave Bird, which even Water-types have to respect. The Medicham matchup is a little tougher than Charizard’s, but as long as you shield a Psychic, it should still be fine.
Rock Throw or Ember + Stone Edge & Overheat
Historically hindered by its atrocious typing, here Magcargo is finally looking viable as, without any Ground-types, it only has to fear a little Water and Fighting. Most importantly, it's a Fairy counter that can handle all other Fairy counters, regardless of which fast move you run on it — though Rock Throw only ekes out a tie against Vileplume, and Ember can struggle to charge Stone Edge in time against a shielded Charizard. Rock Throw Magcargo can overcome Slowbro, while Ember can deal better neutral damage to Medicham.
Razor Leaf + Sludge Bomb & Moonblast
The best Razor Leaf user in this meta (sorry, Cherrim) has very polarized matchups, either farming down Fairies or getting farmed down by Fire-types. Compared to the latters, Vileplume has key advantages in other matchups, destroying Water-types and, with shields, a Medicham too. You can play either the Shadow variant or the regular one, as the extra damage or the extra bulk can both be useful in different situations. If you’re on a budget, consider also running without a second charged move; you will rarely get to Moonblast anyway.
Poison Jab + X-Scissor & Sludge Bomb
It hard counters fellow Poison-type Vileplume and it can spam charged moves a lot faster, but it doesn’t have the same edge over Water-types. In most other regards, the two function very similarly. You could also run Megahorn instead of Sludge Bomb, but then you’d be completely walled by Charizard and Talonflame.
Confusion + Iron Head & Bug Buzz
If Fire didn’t steal the spotlight in the same role, this Bug/Steel-type (double weak to Fire) would be a lot more relevant. It holds its own quite well against almost everything else, including Water-types and Medicham if it manages to land the Bug Buzz. The same can’t be said about Scizor, which has the same typing as Wormadam but it’s much more fragile and quite the downgrade overall.
Poison Jab* + Icy Wind* & Drill Run*
Being a rare triple legacy, you’ll have to burn up to three Elite TMs to build it! If you’re willing to do that, Seaking can reward you with neutral to positive matchups against a lot of the top meta: Charm users (which have to go down 2 shields to take it down), Alomomola (if you use Icy Wind first, and then go straight for Drill Run), Magcargo (outside of the 2-shield scenario) and Charizard among others. Even in its bad matchups such as Medicham and Electrode, Seaking can force shields or leave the opponent’s Attack debuffed to allow your next pokémon to farm it down, which can still be extremely valuable.
These pokémon generally struggle against Fairy-types, but partnered with some Fairy counters from the section above, they can still be extremely useful to round out a team.
Counter + Power-Up Punch or Ice Punch & Psychic
As long as you can keep it away from Fairies, Medicham can be a real powerhouse. It doesn’t really need to reach level 50 with optimal IVs either; bringing your old hundo to the 1500 CP cap will grant almost identical results. Even though they resist Counter, Medicham can still threaten Charizard, Talonflame and Vileplume, especially if you’re running both Ice Punch and Psychic. Power-Up Punch is useful to set up boosts on its positive matchups instead, and to overcome some neutral ones like Alomomola with sheer fast move pressure. The other eligible Counter user, Scrafty, fills a very similar role but suffers from an extra weakness to Medicham itself. It only outclasses Medicham in some more niche matchups, like Wormadam, Slowbro and Lickitung.
Waterfall + Psychic & Hydro Pump
This weird looking fish is surprisingly bulky — almost as much as Azumarill! Beyond countering Fire-types, it can function as a very solid generalist in this meta. Outside of the odd Vileplume, Electrode or Slowbro, nothing can really hard punish an Alomomola lead or switch-in. It can even handle Charm users, beating them in the 1-shield scenario and still leaving them in the red if they decide to shield twice. Medicham also has to invest two shields to win if its Psychic gets shielded. Alomomola’s main drawback is that its charged moves are extremely slow, so much that you can run it without Hydro Pump and not really miss out on much.
Waterfall + Surf & Hyper Beam
It’s not as tanky as Alomomola, but the quicker Surf still allows it to beat Fairies in the 1-shield scenario as long as it has decent Defense IVs. Medicham can beat it going straight Psychic, but Milotic still puts up a decent fight, and thanks to Hyper Beam it doesn’t get totally walled by Slowbro. In most other situations, it performs just as well as Alomomola.
Confusion + Psychic & Water Pulse
The Water/Psychic typing gives Slowbro a very flexible anti-meta role in this Cup, as a complete wall to Medicham and Alomomola that can also counter Fire-types, though not quite as comfortably as the Waterfall users above. It doesn’t lose as hard as them to Vileplume, which gets hit hard by Confusion, but it can’t really handle Charm users either. Without at least one fast move of energy advantage and a solid IV spread, it can’t reach a second charged move against them. Speaking of charged moves, we recommend running Water Pulse alongside Psychic, as the coverage of Ice Beam is basically never needed here. You can also run Slowking, which has identical stats, if you prefer having a nuke like Fire Blast instead.
Lick + Body Slam* & Power Whip
This licky boy would be at the top of the Love Cup meta, if only Lickitung XL candy was a real thing. With optimal IVs it needs to be powered up all the way to level 50, so unless it’s made really common during the Valentine event, gathering 296 XL candies just won’t be feasible. Even if you’re okay with building a hundo to save resources, that’s still 103 XL candies. If you somehow still made it that far, know that Lickitung is one of the most versatile pokémon in the Cup, with neutral matchups across the board and only really negative ones against Wigglytuff and Scrafty. Even Medicham can struggle due to the super effective damage from Lick, and Water-types have to watch out for Power Whip.
Lick + Body Slam* & Shadow Ball
Without the Grass coverage, Lickilicky has more issues in the Alomomola matchup than its little brother Lickitung, and it’s overall a slight downgrade in terms of stats. However, it’s so much more affordable and accessible that the difference between the two can be considered negligible. The bigger nuke potential from Shadow Ball can sometimes even give it an edge in late game scenarios!
Volt Switch + Foul Play & Thunderbolt or Discharge
With Vileplume being the only thing in the meta that resists Electric damage, Electrode can really put in work as a generalist. It’s not bulky enough to handle Charm or Counter damage, but it can punish Charizard, Talonflame and Water-types. It can also go toe to toe with Magcargo, especially if it runs the harder hitting Thunderbolt, which also helps in the Medicham matchup. Electrode isn’t the only Electric-type in the Love Cup, as Rotom-Wash also exists, at least for those who got it during the GO Fest event. It has an extra Water subtyping which helps it against Fire and fellow Water-types, but with Thunder Shock it’s got a lot less farm down potential and less fast move pressure when shields are still in play.
Bullet Seed + Weather Ball (Fire) & Solar Beam
Cherrim can't compete with the other Grass-type Vileplume in raw power, and it doesn't have the same edge against Fairy-types. On the other hand it does beat Vileplume itself, and it can still take down a Wigglytuff, a Medicham or even a Magcargo if it manages to land the Solar Beam. With Bullet Seed, it charges quickly enough that Cherrim doesn't need to bait to counter the Water-types.
Lock On + Tri Attack & Zap Cannon or Return*
It's a real wild card, only really hard countered by Fighting-types, with extremely high risks and similarly high rewards. If you're lucky Tri Attack can debuff the opponent's Attack and Defense stats, and if you're really lucky, the opponent might also feel threatened enough to shield it. That can allow you to land a Zap Cannon or (if you have a Purified variant) a Return — both of which are a OHKO on most of the meta. Of course, if you're unlucky and none of those scenarios come true, Porygon2 will most likely disappoint. One thing is for sure though, it will be an annoying spicy pick to face.