The Silph Arena decided to do something different for August’s themed cup, the last of this exciting Season 1 which brought many communities together to try to find the very best and saw the rise who we now know as best players in the world among the thousands climbing the world leaderboards. Enter the Mirror Cup: this time it’s not a meta with a few select types, but instead, the possibility of playing the past themed cups as ranked tournaments again!
We already covered all of those in dedicated articles through 2019, but time has passed by, and new important additions have been made to Pokemon GO PvP since January, when this competitive season first started. As such, most of the past metagames are slightly to completely different from what we knew about them back when they were around. It’s worth taking a second, thorough look at each and every one of them. As always, through the lens of fantastic resources like PvPoke and GoBattleSim, as well as irreplaceable first-hand experience.
Feel free to skip through the sections to the ones that you’re most interested in, whether because you liked that one particular cup or most likely because your local community has chosen it for their August tournament.
The Boulder Cup
The first-ever, Brock-themed Silph cup already had a pretty defined and restricted metagame back in January: Medicham, Skarmory and the Mudboys used to run the show by themselves, with a few of their counters making an appearance from time to time — and even after eight months, not much has changed here.
Medicham now benefits from the formidable Power-Up Punch along with the usual Counter and Ice Punch, making it even more of a general threat and allowing it to beat Skarmory when shielding twice. Skarmory, for its part, is as solid as ever, even with only Air Slash and Sky Attack if you’re on a budget.
The biggest change is the arrival of the new king of Mudboys, Hydro Cannon Swampert. It has slightly positive matchups against its brothers Whiscash and Marshtomp (which still remain really valid choices), and just like them it generally can’t keep up with Medicham, but the key advantage is that it beats Skarmory quite reliably with its heavy-hitting water lasers charged rapidly by Mud Shot. Earthquake should be the second move of choice, though Muddy Water is also worth considering for the occasional shield bait.
The trifecta of Skarmory, Medicham, and Swampert (which we can call the SMS core) has such wide coverage and incredible performance against the meta, that it defines it completely. Almost every team will feature 2 or 3 of those. Thus, either you can beat at least part of them, or you don’t have a place in competitive Boulder line-ups. So, what does actually threaten them?
Well, nothing can even go near beating the entire SMS core, and that’s part of why it’s so powerful. Torterra is one of the top contenders: as Stone Edge and Earthquake are extremely slow to charge, it relies mainly on Razor Leaf damage to instantly delete Swampert and deal massive damage to Medicham, which it even beats in the lead position — although by investing 2 shields against 0, as it really fears its Ice Punch, and that’s a harsh way to win.
On the other hand, Torterra can’t touch Skarmory, and neither can Gallade, though at least it can make it waste a shield or severely hurt it if it gets to Close Combat in time. Gallade’s main role is as a rare true Medicham counter (with only the 2-2 shield matchup possibly coming down to IVs), which on the side threatens Swampert with Leaf Blade while hitting it very hard with Confusion. However, with shields up, it needs a bit of energy advantage to not get outsped and destroyed by Hydro Cannon. A very strong case can be made for Charm, which makes Gallade a specialized and extremely reliable Medicham wrecking ball, although by charging so slowly it’s also quite a bit less versatile in other matchups.
As for Skarmory counters, all the hardest ones (Probopass, Bastiodon, Steelix, Magneton) share the issue of being dead weight when facing both Medicham and Swampert, and that means they’re quite the risky choices. If you’re lucky enough to have one, Relicanth is a tanky hard counter that, in shielded scenarios, can actually give a tough time to Swampert, which always needs to bait with Hydro Cannon and then land the Earthquake to beat it reliably before the Water Gun and Aqua Tail spam gets to it. Among softer counters with better coverage, we have Lucario, especially potent in the early game as it takes down Skarmory as long as it shields Sky Attack, while handily winning the 2-2 shield matchup against Swampert and even the 1-1 with just one Counter worth of energy advantage. Lucario still loses to Medicham but can threaten it with Shadow Ball, making it possibly one of the most versatile options in the cup. The two Confusion users, Bronzong (with the recently added Psyshock and Bulldoze) and Jirachi (with Doom Desire and, if you really have spare resources, Dazzling Gleam), aren’t as vulnerable to Medicham as the previous two entries, only really losing in the lead position, but they suffer more against Swampert and only usually settle for ties or slight losses against Skarmory anyway.
Making a case for other fringe picks is quite hard in the Boulder Cup. Hitmonchan does well against both Swampert and Skarmory with shields up, but so does Medicham, which is superior at almost anything else. Empoleon only beats Skarmory out of the main three, despite dealing decent damage to the others with its Waterfall. Donphan with Charm remarkably beats both Medicham and Swampert as a lead, but by giving the opponent a 2-shield advantage in the meanwhile. Things like Blaziken and Poliwrath have a great performance against the field but ultimately fail when it comes to facing the SMS core.
To recap, the typical Boulder line-up, aside from said core, will most likely feature Gallade, Torterra and something that gives Skarmory trouble, or possibly a second Mudboy to exploit opponents without Torterra. Yes, they will all be that similar. Expect many mirror matches.
The Twilight Cup
If the Boulder Cup has such limited choices, Twilight is quite the opposite. The main framework of the meta has seen little changes since our last article about it: it’s still one of the most balanced themed cups so far, with most matchups swinging one way or the other depending on the situation, and there are many possibilities to build very different line-ups.
The most dominant pick is arguably still Toxicroak, whose key role is to counter the powerful Dark/Poison-types such as Skuntank and Alolan Muk (which now welcomes the addition of the tricky Acid Spray in place of the slower Sludge Wave). Those two have otherwise very wide coverage, beating the hardest counters to Toxicroak, namely Golbat and Venomoth, and keeping Azumarill in check even with only Poison Jab damage. The bulky bunny, however, can still hit them back hard with any of its neutral charged moves, as well as beating Toxicroak counters just as well and having a solid neutral matchup against Toxicroak itself, which will often come down to shield baiting. That solidifies Azumarill’s role as one of the best generalists in the meta, and the last of these four core picks, albeit arguably the least necessary.
Now that we’ve outlined the core meta, let’s look at the many alternative picks, starting from the brand new ones: Charm users. Overall they don’t look as potent here as they do in other metas due to the abundance of Poison-types, but still, few things can actually shut them down completely. Togekiss is regarded as the best of the bunch thanks to its lower cost charged moves with vast coverage, Ancient Power and Aerial Ace, but finding one under 1500 CP requires evolving a rare Togetic found in the wild. In the lead position it notably only takes a hard loss to Golbat and Acid Spray Alolan Muk out of the core picks, as well as some less meta Poison-types like Venusaur, Tentacruel and Nidoqueen, with the matchups against Qwilfish and legacy Venomoth coming down to IVs. The more common Clefable and Wigglytuff can’t touch those last two, but Clefable’s Meteor Mash can be generally punishing when shields are down, while Wigglytuff sports a niche double resistance to Ghosts, should you encounter any.
Returning to the old faces, we have a few counters to Golbat and Venomoth which bring different advantages to the table. Froslass fills this role while also being a very deadly generalist: its heavy hitting Avalanche and Shadow Ball, along with some key resistances, allow it to beat the likes of Toxicroak and Skuntank (with shields up) and almost everything in the meta if it manages to get a shield advantage. Sableye, Smack Down Tyranitar, Bite Drapion and Last Resort Umbreon can be the exceptions thanks to their super effective fast moves. The last three all wreck Golbat and Venomoth, and have little to say to Toxicroak, Azumarill and the occasional Charm user, but they generally have the upper hand against Alolan Muk and Skuntank — though the latter can give Drapion trouble with Flamethrower and the former can trick Umbreon into a loss with Acid Spray. Sableye has shakier matchups against Golbat and Dark/Poison-types, but it can uniquely beat Toxicroak thanks to the Ghost sub-typing.
The last entries in the Golbat and Venomoth counters, since they’re both weak to Psychic, are Confusion users: Gardevoir and Mr.Mime, both equipped with Shadow Ball, can be dangerous against Poison-heavy line-ups, as they annihilate both Toxicroak and its counters as well as all alternative Poison-types. However, they get completely walled by those with a Dark sub-typing and don’t have the bulk to give trouble to Azumarill.
Speaking of alternative Poison-types that fear Confusion, there are many flavors to choose from. Muk’s role is more similar to its Alolan counterpart, but its resistances coupled with the quick Thunder Punch give it more “punch” against Toxicroak and easy wins against anything Fairy; Dark Pulse and Acid Spray are both viable second charged move options. Grimer is a totally different beast if you’re willing to max it out, as it’s used for the peculiar full Ground moveset which lets it beat both Toxicroak and Dark/Poison-types.
Haunter (which flew under many radars in February) and Qwilfish are very powerful leads: while extremely frail and shield-dependent, they outspeed and threaten most things with Shadow Punch and Aqua Tail respectively. In that role, they should both only really avoid the Dark-types listed in the section above (apart from Tyranitar which gets destroyed by Qwilfish), while the pufferfish also gets countered by Grass-types but beats Haunter. They both can’t handle Charm, but gain a shield advantage while going down, and their matchups against Azumarill are iffy as they rely on baiting to get to their Poison coverage moves. Qwilfish can also now run Acid Spray, just like its fellow Water-type Tentacruel, which gains more versatility thanks to that but is still at its best when shields are down, and it’s still the best wall to Azumarill.
Venusaur is used to counter anything Water, and Frenzy Plant hits hard even when resisted, making the matchup with Toxicroak quite a close one. It also shares the same counters with Toxicroak, so be careful about running both together. If you don’t have one and you want the Grass coverage, look at Ivysaur or Razor Leaf users like Gloom and Victreebel.
The typical Twilight line-up is probably the hardest to nail down. Apart from the three-way core (Toxicroak, either Skuntank or Alolan Muk, and either Golbat or Venomoth), with Azumarill joining in more often than not, the choice among any of the many options above is all yours, as long as they keep your team well balanced.
The Tempest Cup
Yet again, the core meta hasn’t shifted much, if at all, from what it was in March. Tempest is a cup of hard wins and hard losses, with really definite groups hard countering each other and switch advantage having vital importance, but it’s still quite well balanced overall. The main groups are still Grass-types, Flying-types, and a few different flavors of Water-types.
As for Grass and Flying, everything works as usual. Tropius still reigns supreme with its almighty combination of Razor Leaf, Leaf Blade and Aerial Ace; Abomasnow is still an absolutely valid poor man’s version and doesn’t need anything more than Outrage to function; and they both still get farmed to death by the likes of Skarmory, Altaria, and Charizard, which still check each other in a rock-paper-scissors scheme. The former two in particular previously became a meta staple, with many top trainers bringing both in their team.
The one important addition to the Flying family is the really hard to obtain Togekiss. Combining Charm’s high neutral damage with the wide coverage of Ancient Power (and either Aerial Ace or Flamethrower), the happy dove shows incredible performance as a lead against the core meta. With 2 shields up, it only loses to Skarmory — yes, you heard that right — while, despite its weaknesses, the matchups against Lapras, Sealeo and the less common Glalie and Alolan Golem/Graveler can all swing one way or the other depending on IV spreads. The rest are all solid wins. If you have one, strongly consider it.
The Water side of things saw a few changes too. Among Tropius’ favorite meals, the Mudboys, the previously dominating Quagsire and Whiscash now welcome Swampert as a fantastic alternative, this time not above but on par with them. Stone Edge still makes Quagsire a serious threat for Ice-types and Altaria, which is even more scared of Whiscash’s Blizzard, and both moves can seriously hurt or takedown Tropius if timed correctly. Swampert would need Sludge Wave to do that, but usually goes for Earthquake’s coverage instead, and it can’t go near Altaria in any way. In turn, as highlighted in Boulder, it has a more positive matchup against Skarmory.
When it comes to Ice-types, the news is that after the dedicated raid day everyone has a Lapras with Ice Shard and Ice Beam just under 1500 CP, one of the best generalists in the meta, which was previously locked behind double legacy bars. So we should expect a lot more of that and, accordingly, a bit less Sealeo, which used to be a Lapras substitute with the extra spice of the Body Slam spam but without the firepower to actually go toe to toe with Tropius. Glalie, Froslass and Alolan Sandslash are still less bulky and somewhat off-meta options that do the Ice role without the Water weaknesses.
Among Electric-types, Lanturn still looks like the pick of the bunch, able to wall Lapras and counter Flying-types (apart from Altaria, which is more of a job for Lapras) while also being another moving target for Tropius’ Razor Leaf. A case could be made for either Water Gun or Charge Beam, with the former offering wider general coverage and the latter specializing at winning the mirror and giving more trouble to Altaria. Legacy Magneton with Discharge is still a great alternative, now together with the more easily available Magnezone; unlike Lanturn, they fear Charizard and can’t do anything to Mudboys, but are a lot more sturdy against Grass-types.
Lastly, we have more alternative counters to Flying-types joining the Tempest meta. Steelix has a lot of solid matchups against the meta, only losing hard to Mudboys (apart from Quagsire without Earthquake) and Tropius, more narrowly to Charizard and Lapras (assuming it runs Ice Shard and not Water Gun), while the matchup against Water Gun Lanturn depends on whether or not it can land the Earthquake. Alolan Golem and Graveler fill that role too, beating all Flying-types better than anything else, but they can be quite risky as they get deleted by Mudboys, Tropius and Water Gun Lanturn.
When it comes to the typical Tempest line-up, nothing has really changed. You surely have to bring one or most likely two Flying-types (usually Skarmory and Altaria, or now possibly Togekiss), a Grass-type (Tropius if available), an Ice-type (probably Lapras), a Mudboy (either Quagsire, Whiscash or Swampert) and an Electric-type (probably Lanturn). If you like ridiculous names you could call that the GIF-ME core, or GIFF-ME for the double Flying variant. It is as large as cores gets, and it could only leave space for one flex spot, possibly filled by an extra Flying counter or used to double down on one of the core groups.
The Kingdom Cup
Kingdom was a cup of heavy spending — it’s probably what made the Silph Arena team start considering bans — and, just like Tempest, pretty standard and similar line-ups as well as heavy dependence on the lead to determine the outcome of a match.
Back in April, the metagame was dominated by four exceptional pokemon that every line-up needed to really be competitive, although there obviously were suboptimal substitutes: Bastiodon, Altaria, Lucario and Lapras, also known as the BALL core, as it was quickly named by the good people back at GO:Stadium. If you had them at the time and will attend a Kingdom tournament this month they’ll be your best friends once again, and all the considerations about them made in the original Kingdom Cup article still hold true.
If you instead were one of the trainers that couldn’t afford a Bastiodon and probably tried to replace with the also solid Steelix (which loses harder to Lapras but walls Bastiodon itself), the good news is that now Probopass exists too, and it’s quite cheap to make. Rock Slide is its most important charged move and Thunderbolt is only useful to deal neutral damage to Lucario and Bastiodon, while Magnet Bomb is only good against the latter. However, the choice between Spark and Rock Throw as a fast move requires extensive consideration.
With Spark, usually preferred in open play for its faster energy generation, Probopass gains convincing wins in the mirror and in the matchup against Bastiodon, but unlike with Rock Throw, it can’t farm Altaria and even shockingly loses to it at a 1-2 shield disadvantage. Probopass is also generally less reliable than Bastiodon against Lapras. Against an Ice Shard variant, with Spark it only wins the 0-0 shield scenario and needs a bit of energy lead to win the 1-1; the latter comes down to priority if running Rock Throw, which also seals the deal in the 2-2. When facing the more common Water Gun things get even more complicated, since a Probopass with a Defense stat under 206 can let Lapras hit a deadly breakpoint which brings the damage from each Water Gun from 2 to 3. If the opposing Lapras does hit it, a Spark Probopass will handily lose to it in all even shield scenarios, while one with Rock Throw only gives way in the 1-1. If Lapras falls short of said breakpoint, Rock Throw will always win and Spark still struggles when both shields are up. This last sentence can also be applied when it comes to the matchup against Alolan Marowak, so take your pick carefully. Overall, Bastiodon does look like the slightly superior option once again.
There’s more to this renewed Kingdom than Probopass though. The epitome of anti-meta, Blaziken, gained two new charged moves with earlier activation time in Blaze Kick and Blast Burn that help it counter both Lucario and Bastiodon even better than it did before. Water Gun Lapras still has slightly positive matchups against it in a straight 1v1, but won’t work anymore as a switch in if both parties have one shield, since with a little energy advantage Blaziken can now hit a second Blaze Kick before going down. Running Brave Bird is not really justified anymore, since even when resisted Blast Burn is more energy efficient.
The other anti-meta pick also saw very interesting additions as of late: along with its trademark Confusion, Bronzong can now make use of Psyshock and Bulldoze. The former charges up one fast move earlier than Heavy Slam, does just as well against Altaria and Lapras and better against Lucario, Blaziken, Charizard and Alolan Marowak. The Ground coverage is even more important, since now Bronzong can actually beat Bastiodon (without needing to bait in the 0-0 and 2-2 shield scenarios) and Probopass with even shields. That makes it an incredibly versatile check to the entirety of the BALL core and really solidifies its place in the meta.
Bronzong and Blaziken’s rise will probably lead to a consequential increase in relevance for Alolan Marowak, which was already a very popular pick before as a Lucario and Blaziken counter that hits Bastiodon hard with quick-fire Bone Club. And — but we’re more into speculation territory here — that might bring Waterfall Kingdra back into the meta, since despite its extremely slow charged moves it wrecks anything Fire, beats Water Gun Lapras and Probopass, and gives Bronzong, Bastiodon and Lucario a rough time when shields are up, only losing very hard to Altaria as a lead.
Overall, the typical Kingdom line-up will still absolutely revolve around the BALL (or now PALL if you’re on a budget) core, with Bronzong, Blaziken and Alolan Marowak looking like really strong additions, possibly narrowing down this already restricted meta even more.
The Nightmare Cup
Remember the Nightmare Cup you may or may not have attended in May, with its rock-paper-scissors meta? Well, forget about it. Let’s cut straight to the point this time.
Charm Gardevoir has entered the game and not much is still standing. All the previous top tier picks, such as Toxicroak, Infestation Drapion, Umbreon, Alolan Raticate, Hypno, Claydol, Xatu — they all bow down to the strength of either neutral or super effective Fairy hits from a Gardevoir that hides behind shields. And when that’s not enough, Shadow Ball and the brand new Synchronoise bring even more dangerous coverage. The whole challenge of the Nightmare Cup is now beating Gardevoir, and the meta morphed completely to adapt to that.
So, what beats Gardevoir? The hardest counter is definitely Metagross, which takes it down using only Bullet Punch, coming out with 40% HP left and its charged moves ready to force a shield or destroy the next pokemon coming in, since legacy Meteor Mash and Earthquake offer very deadly coverage in this meta. If used as a counter switch, Metagross only needs to waste a shield if Gardevoir got as many as five Charms worth of energy advantage in order to get to the Shadow Ball before going down. Its little brother Metang also does this job quite well, although it really lacks in other matchups due to an underwhelming movepool.
The other main Steel-type Bronzong, preferably with Heavy Slam and Bulldoze this time, is a much softer counter. It needs specific IV spreads to beat or tie with Gardevoir when both shields are up: a Defense stat above 152 to hopefully receive only 7 damage per Charm instead of 8, as long as the opposing Gardevoir isn’t for some reason Attack oriented, as well as an Attack above 108 to deal 8 damage per Confusion. It also doesn’t win at a shield disadvantage, unlike Metagross, failing to get to the second Heavy Slam before it’s Shadow Ball time.
Other counters that won’t need you to worry about breakpoints are the good old Dark/Poison-types, namely Alolan Muk and Drapion, which both beat Gardevoir with a sliver of HP if played correctly. The former needs Acid Spray to finish Gardevoir off with a couple of boosted Poison Jab hits, whether it used a shield or not; on the contrary, the latter wins by opting to not use any charged moves and instead Bite the opponent to death. They both need to expend a shield if used as switch-ins since Gardevoir will almost always get to a charged move if it used Charm once or twice prior to the matchup. Drapion looks especially good in this meta, and probably the real must-have of this group, since it has a quite positive matchup against Muk as long as it doesn’t shield the charged moves before an Acid Spray, and more importantly it tears through the Steel/Psychic-types above with Bite, farming them and not even needing to use a shield against Bronzong’s Bulldoze to come out on top.
Now that we have our Gardevoir counters, we should look at the counters to those counters, keeping in mind that they’ll be obviously be countered by Gardevoir herself since the four mentioned above are literally the only things that beat it. The first of this group that stands out is Lucario. Thanks to its typing it handily beats Steel/Psychic-types and Dark/Poison-types with Counter and Power-Up Punch always backed up by Shadow Ball’s threat. Only the 0-0 shield scenario against Metagross comes down to priority and the 2-2 against Bronzong depends on IVs. Toxicroak, Blaziken, and Mud Shot Poliwrath all beat Lucario and are arguably even stronger against Metagross, although they still should avoid getting hit by its heavy charged moves, they also all melt in the presence of the mighty bell. If you’re thinking about running Poison Jab on Toxicroak, just know that it loses to Gardevoir with shields anyway, although quite narrowly. It can still be a viable surprise pick.
A lone wild card to round things up: Hypno with Shadow Ball and the newly added Fire Punch can land an extra hit on Gardevoir before fainting in the 1-1 shield scenario, bringing it to very low health, and it can take down the Steel-types more often than not, though it will need Shadow Ball’s brute force to beat Bronzong. Confusion and high bulk are more than enough to secure instant wins against the Fighting-types, leaving Drapion and Alolan Muk as its true enemies.
In the end, the Nightmare Cup basically switched from a rock-paper-scissors meta with Toxicroak, Dark-types, and Psychic-types to another rock-paper-scissors meta with Gardevoir, Steel/Psychic-types or Dark/Poison-types, and Fighting-types. Apart from the one obvious choice, in a typical Nightmare line-up, Drapion will probably almost always make an appearance, along with Bronzong for the extra threat on Fighting-types, Hypno as a powerful generalist for those that have it, and one or two Fighting-types, possibly Lucario and Toxicroak. If possible, Nightmare became even more narrow (or boring if you will) of a meta, but the fact that it changed so radically might still make it intriguing for some.
Season 1 Regionals
With the Mirror Cup, the Regionals meta will now be available in open tournaments, and that makes it a popular pick in many communities since most people couldn’t attend it before. It’s still a very vast metagame which closely resembles the freestyle one, most notably excluding the powerful Psychic-types like Deoxys, Hypno, and Cresselia.
Just like depicted in our previous post and infographic, Azumarill, Skarmory, and Medicham are yet again the most important players and the most reliable picks, and you probably know their roles already. Medicham steamrolls unprepared teams with increasing Counter and Power-Up Punch damage, with Ice Punch punishing Altaria and Grass-types when it lands. Azumarill walls Medicham and prefers to run Play Rough also for the common mirror match, while Ice Beam and Hydro Pump serve as deadly coverage moves against its Grass and Steel counters respectively. Skarmory has solid matchups with both, farms Grass and gets hard countered by the anti-Flyers. Those last two are also the other main pieces of a meta line-up, needed to counter the main three. Altaria can act as a Skarmory substitute which gets walled harder by Azumarill, but even if you don’t pick it you should absolutely take it into account — without one or two true counters, it can really wreak havoc on a team.
As for anti-Flyers, the most prominent ones are known as the Steel tanks and must avoid Medicham at all costs: Bastiodon and Probopass, with Melmetal now relegated to the role of a lesser and more expensive version of the latter. Bastiodon’s moveset is straightforward as usual, while the big-nosed boulder can pair Spark with either Thunderbolt (for the extra damage against Skarmory and Azumarill, which it also beats if it doesn’t have Hydro Pump), Rock Slide or Magnet Bomb (both strong STAB options). With that set, it also beats Bastiodon in the mirror, but both are beaten by Water Gun Lanturn, which in turn does a lot worse against Grass-types.
Speaking of Grass, the best contenders for this slot are Venusaur and Tropius, with Victreebel trailing just behind, all primarily useful to counter Azumarill. Thanks to Vine Whip and Frenzy Plant, Venusaur can beat the Steel tanks in the lead position and counters Razor Leaf Tropius with Sludge Bomb, although the latter can choose to flip the script by running Air Slash, giving up the chunky spam damage to spam its low cost charged moves instead, still retaining most of its positive matchups and doing better against Medicham. During the previous Regionals Gallade quickly emerged as an alternative pseudo-Grass-type with Leaf Blade, still great with shields up against Azumarill and Lanturn, arguably better against Medicham, and with the added versatility of Confusion to wreck Poison-types and Close Combat to nuke the Steel tanks.
The last of the six picks is the one that leaves the most space for creativity and the one that actually sees some new faces. Clefable and Wigglytuff are notable ones: their Charm is especially potent in the lead role, and they can do Azumarill’s job against Medicham while having extra positive matchups against Gallade, but they also do way worse when put against Skarmory and other Steel-types.
Wigglytuff also walls the Ghost-types that many trainers bring as secondary hard Medicham counters, mainly Haunter (an incredible spammy lead, which also does well against Azumarill and Venusaur but suffers Gallade’s Confusion, with either Sludge Bomb as a secondary charged move or the rare legacy Shadow Ball to get a deadly surprise hit on Skarmory and Probopass), Sableye (with solid matchups against most of the meta apart from Azumarill), Alolan Marowak and Froslass.
The other important options for the flex spot are the Mudboys: Whiscash was already very solid, but Swampert takes this role to a whole new level with its Hydro Cannon spam and Earthquake’s coverage. It still struggles against Medicham, only beating it by landing two charged moves in a row, and can only sometimes snatch a slight win against Azumarill. Apart obviously from Grass-types and Altaria, however, there isn’t much it can’t beat.
To go through every time one last time, the typical Regionals line-up has a SAM-GS core: Skarmory, Azumarill, Medicham, Grass and Steel (or Lanturn). However, the wild cards to choose from are many, even beyond the ones mentioned here, and you can give up one or even more of the core members of the team to make space for them as long as you keep everything well balanced in terms of coverage.
The Rainbow Cup & Jungle Cup
Not much time has passed since June and July, and nothing has had time to change in the metagames of those months’ themed cups either. In the Rainbow Cup, Raichu has gained Charm but still looks better with legacy Thunder Shock, and, well, Electrode now has Foul Play, and Vileplume has Sludge Bomb. That’s really it. Jungle looks completely identical.