The Psychic Cup Meta

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The Psychic Cup is a Great League limited-type format in GO Battle League that will run alongside the Open Great League from 9/8-9/15. In this Cup, only Psychic-type Pokemon will be allowed, with the exception of Mew (as it’d be overpowered). Like the Flying and Fighting Cups, the Psychic Cup will be a relatively tight meta revolving around a handful of top picks. Unlike the previous limited type Cups, the Psychic Cup looks relatively interesting. The guide below covers the best Pokemon to bring to the Psychic Cup, their movesets, and team recommendations. When preparing for the Psychic Cup, keep in mind that this Cup won’t behave like typical formats. Your ability to properly manage shields, energy, and not get farmed down will do more to potentiate victory than most of the picks themselves.

The Meta Picks

In a Cup that is exclusive to Psychic-type Pokemon there is but one Dark-type- Malamar. Malamar is able to command the Psychic Cup with its massive triple Psychic-type resistance and rapid fire Foul Plays. Malamar’s main weakness is its lack of aggressive Fast Move damage with Psycho Cut. Its main threats are Pokemon neutral to Dark-type attacks, such as Gardevoir, Galarian Rapidash, and Medicham, and Pokemon with fast Charge Moves and aggressive neutral Fast Moves, such as Victini, Metagross, Alolan Raichu, and Celebi. This sounds like a long list of threats, but keep in mind that most will lose about 60-80% HP from a single Foul Play. Their only hope for victory is that Malamar struggles to close with Fast Move damage. 

Hyper Beam seems like an odd choice, but when Malamar is moments away from getting KO’d, it will do more damage than Foul Play will. To add, it does over 100% damage to Shadow Gardevoir.

If you haven’t powered up and two moved a Malamar yet, it’s strongly recommended to check out our Malamar PvP IV Deep Dive first. Its most ideal IVs are easily obtained through the Research IV floor, and help not only in the Open Great League, but also confer specific advantages against the 2nd most powerful Pokemon in the Psychic Cup (Victini). Even if you’ve already powered up a Malamar, it’s worth the read.

Malamar is a top threat based on its resistance and coverage, Victini is a top threat because it’s fast as all get out and nukes the meta with V-Create. Hopefully you didn’t already power yours up past 1500 CP.  “Quick Attack?” Yes. With the Season 12 update for GO Battle League, Quick Attack is actually a respectable move now and enables Victini to spam V-Create like never before. Overheat is an option for a slower, but even heavier nuke. Psychic is to close on things without debuffing yourself.

Victini’s main threats are Pokemon with super effective Fast Move damage, such as Slowbro, Shadow Slowbro, and Claydol. Alolan Raichu is also just fast enough to catch Victini before the next V-Create. While V-Create is strong, it often isn’t enough to OHKO an opponent, causing Victini to suffer in the 0 shield scenario. Also, given the self-debuffing, Victini can quickly lose steam when swap locked or forced into the 2 shield scenario.

While Bronzong isn’t a Dark-type, it does have access to Dark-type attacks. The Feint Attack spam alone is enough to allow Bronzong to cut through the Psychic Cup meta, with Payback as a powerful closer. Psyshock is useful for shield baiting and KOing weakened opponents before they reach a Charge Move. Heavy Slam is for earlier neutral damage and stronger closing power against Gardevoir. 

As strong as Bronzong is, it may struggle to keep up with faster Pokemon in the meta, making it easy to play around when shields are still up. To work around this, it may be useful to look at Feint Attack Breakpoints on to give it even more Fast Move pressure.

The comparison between Bronzong and Metagross stops at their Steel-typing. Metagross’s faster, neutral damage can give it advantages against Malamar and an improved Fairy-type matchup. However, Metagross’ lack of bulk can cause it to break down against Fast Move pressure, even when resisted. For example, it’s one of the few Pokemon in the Psychic Cup that gets OHKO’d from V-Create. Despite its bulk issues, Metagross is powerful enough to hammer through the Psychic Cup meta. 

Shadow Metagross doubles down on its glass cannon elements, but isn’t exactly an upgrade. In most neutral scenarios, non-Shadow Metagross is just bulky enough to survive some Charge Moves and is hitting just hard enough to knock common threats out. The risk/reward factor isn’t exactly clear on paper, but it may be safer to go with the non-Shadow version. 

Limited type Cup? Charm is allowed in? Yep, you’ll see it. Victini and Bronzong may sound like strong deterrents, but Bronzong’s neutral Feint Attack spam and Victini’s self debuffing put them both into positions where they can get charmed down. This leaves Metagross as the most consistent answer to Shadow Gardevoir. As overpowered as this might sound, Gardevoir is still slow on the draw for Charge Moves and is quite fragile. Given how neutral Psychic Cup matchups are overall, there are few cases where you’d want to drop your shield advantage to maintain swap advantage.

Shadow Gardevoir is preferred over the non-Shadow as both are equally fragile and the bonus to the Charm damage is relevant. Normal Gardevoir isn’t bad, it’s just less threatening. 

Synchronoise’s benefit is that it comes a turn earlier than Shadow Ball, and therefore could be used for baiting and closing. Dazzling Gleam provides Gardevoir with a heavier nuke against Malamar, Girafarig, and Oranguru in the end game.

Body Slam spam in the Psychic Cup, with Megahorn to pressure shields. Galarian Rapidash scales quickly from being a nuisance to an absolute terror with an energy lead and/or when the bait game falls in its favor. Its main drawbacks are its fragility and low Fast Move pressure. Overall, it’s hard to say what Galarian Rapidash consistently beats and loses to. 

What separates Mud Slap and Charm as Fast Moves is that one hits Victini and Steel-types for super effective damage and the other is resisted. Save a few rogue Grass and Flying-types, Mud Slap is almost entirely unresisted in the Psychic Cup, making Claydol a consistent threat. Despite this advantage, Claydol may fail the neutral damage race in many circumstances and is vulnerable to Malamar’s Foul Play. 

When it comes to Charge Moves, Rock Tomb looks bad, but by the time you reach it, it’ll either get shielded or KO the opponent all the same. With the Atk debuff, it may enable Claydol to live longer to spam more Mud Slap, which may be essential in some matchups. In short, it puts your opponent between a rock and a hard place. Good luck on TMing the right Charge Moves as Claydol has 7 of them, for now.

Core Beakers

Slowbro fits well in the Psychic Cup meta, Water Gunning down Victini and Claydol while resisting Metagross. Outside of that, Slowbro has a purely neutral role. The main drawback to Slowbro is the poor Charge Move pressure and getting hung up on Grass, Electric, and Dragon-type Pokemon that may pop up. 

When it comes to Charge Move spam, Alolan Raichu is peerless in the Psychic Cup. What holds it back is how fragile it is and its damage only being neutral, never super effective. That, and big old Claydol paying it a visit is nightmarish. That said, Alolan Raichu packs plenty of punishment for Malamar, Victini, and the majority of the meta to make it worth considering.

Medicham might look terrible in the face of the meta, and you’re not exactly wrong. However, Medicham is able to subdue Malamar and the Steel-types with Dynamic Punch, and also manages neutral threats decently with Ice Punch. Medicham probably won’t be your first pick for the Psychic Cup, but don’t underestimate its power. 

Hex + Shadow Ball in the Psychic Cup is all you should need to know. The main drawback is how slow Hex can be at times, giving Galarian Slowking awkward Fast Move pressure, reducing its overall effectiveness. For example, despite its resistance and super effective damage, Shadow Gardevoir can still Charm this king into submission. That said, if put into a position where it can farm down a weakened opponent, Galarian Slowking’s Shadow Balls may see no end. 

Cresselia is the bulkiest Pokemon in the entire Psychic Cup. While its relatively slow and soft hitting Charge Moves make it feel less threatening, its sheer bulk may erode threats relying on neutral damage to overcome it. For example, it is able to withstand a Shadow Gardevoir that’s behind 2 shields. That said, Victini, Steel-types, and Galarian Slowking walk all over it. 

If you think Celebi is a risky pick in a Cup that is arguably dominated by Victini and Steel-type Pokemon, you are not wrong. However, the Grass-type resistances can be helpful against Claydol, Slowbro, and Alolan Raichu, and Leaf Storm hits ridiculously hard. Its usage may be limited to true Celebi enthusiasts, but its tech is worth highlighting.

Team Recommendations

The Merciless Meta

  • Victini (lead) + Malamar + Galarian Rapidash

This team is 100% shield pressure. If you can Fast Move something down after your first Pokemon is KO’d, try to do it with Malamar to increase your potential to B E A M Gardevoir in the end game (should you lose alignment/Victini). 

Malamar ABB

  • Malamar (lead) + Victini + Bronzong

The goal with this team is to ensure Malamar avoids Fairy-type Pokemon. Bronzong is the preferred safe swap here, as it stands to bait in and grab a shield or two from Claydol and is weaker than Victini in the Shadow Gardevoir end game. 

Either Victini or Bronzong may be substituted for Metagross. Metagross offers more anti-Malamar and anti-Fairy consistency. 


  • Shadow Gardevoir (lead) + Metagross + Claydol

Victini and Malamar leads may be common. Victini is a bad matchup for Gardevoir, but it will have to swap out eventually to avoid the Charm farm. Will they swap into a Steel-type? Or will they swap into a Fairy-type? Either way, you have Claydol and Metagross waiting. 


Overall, the Psychic Cup looks like an interesting, lite vacation from the Open Great League. The Psychic Cup stands out from other mono-type Cups in that there isn’t a single Pokemon that just smashes the entire meta or any major picks that are wildly unobtainable (aside from potentially Victini). If you’re not interested in a Malamar centric format, the Open Great League is still available.

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