Analysis by GO Stadium Meta Team


Graphic by Mikeiff


Article by Tangent444

— Introduction —


The team guide is back to hopefully help you identify important roles in the meta as you go about building your team. This guide is based on our understanding of the meta, iterations using PvPoke Team Builder and early usage data from Silph. Also if you love discussing Cup metas, come join in on the discussion or get team specific help at GO Stadium while forging new friendships with people as passionate about PvP as you. So let’s get to it!


— Team Guide —


Ember Cup is a largely condensed meta with a few big players that tend to show up almost every team. Namely, you can expect to see a heavy dosage of Hisuian Qwilfish, Poliwrath, Piloswine, and Charizard. This does make team building a bit more straightforward. However, we are here to help you put this together in a clear and concise way, and help you see potential alternative builds if you want to get a little bit spicy.


— Roles —


Slot 1: Dark/Poison


Suggested: Hisuian Qwilfish Alternative: Alolan Muk Dark/Poisons have a high amount of safety within the meta.

  • Hisuian Qwilfish is one of the main checks to Charizard in the meta thanks to its access to Aqua Tail.
  • Alolan Muk can alternatively pressure Charizard thanks to its heavy fast move damage and access to Acid Spray.


Slot 2: Dark/Poison Answer


Suggested: Piloswine or Poliwrath Alternative: Mud-Slap users (e.g. Kanto Marowak, Golruk, Donphan, Claydol) With the high level of safety for Dark/Poisons, you will need to have one decent response to them, otherwise you allow them too much safety to perform as safe switches. Most of these still have some lose conditions to the strongest Dark/Poison Hisuian Qwilfish, but an answer that has limits is still better than no answer at all. You can also bring two answers by later doubling up by picking a second. This is commonly seen in the meta as both Poliwrath and Piloswine are common selections.

  • Piloswine provides a nice, all even shields answer to Poison Jab Hisuian Qwilfish. However, watch out on switch as Qwilfish can start to flip matchups with an energy advantage and can win the 2v2 shield scenario with Poison Sting.
  • Poliwrath has lose conditions to Hisuian Qwilfish if it gets hit by a Sludge Bomb or Shadow Ball, but its resistance to Aqua Tail makes the matchup very uncomfortable for Qwilfish if it gets its big move shielded. Poliwrath also nicely provides an option for countering Piloswine.
  • Mud-Slap users, such as Kanto Marowak, could be a spicy way to deal with Dark/Poisons. They come with big risk due to the prevalence of Flying-types.


Slot 3: Flying Generalist


Suggested: Charizard Alternative: Gligar, Gliscor, Moltres, Talonflame, Honchkrow, Tropius, Jumpluff Flying-types provide a ton of neutral play in a meta where Flying-types provide huge value in resisting Ground, Grass, and Fighting-type damage, and where Electric-types are limited by the presence of Ground-types, namely Piloswine.

  • Charizard is arguably one of the biggest threats within the meta and is our suggested pick here. It lacks a true hard-counter, as even its strongest Electric-type answers don't want to take a Blast Burn.
  • Gligar and Gliscor are equally big threats within the meta, but could be picked later in Slot 5 or Slot 6. Pairing Charizard with one of these two is commonly seen in team building. Their biggest drawback is the presence of Piloswine.
  • The other Flying types could be chosen for bolder players who like spicy picks


Slot 4: Electric or Flex


Suggested Electrics: Zapdos, Ampharos, Electivire, Minun (Quick Attack)

Alternative Electrics: Hippowdon (Thunder Fang), Emolga, Galvantula, Charjabug, Raikou, Raichu, Alolan Raichu, Electrode, Luxray Suggested Flex: Sirfetch'd, Trevenant Electric-types covers both Charizard and Poliwrath at once. Considering the raw power of Charizard, having one strong answer to it is recommended in order to keep it a bit at bay.

  • Zapdos is a high-octane pick that provides one of the hardest Poliwrath answers in the meta
  • Ampharos has heavy fast attack pressure and the ability to threaten Ghost-types such as Runerigus and has some win conditions with Gligar/Gliscor if it can avoid getting hit by their powerful Charged Attack.
  • Electivire has Ice Punch coverage for Gligar/Gliscor, and the big hit potential of Wild Charge
  • Minun with Quick Attack has the ability to defeat Piloswine in the 1S scenario, which is a potentially crucial pickup in a meta where Piloswine is everywhere
  • Hippowdon has fast attack unpredictability and could be a nasty surprise. If used in this slot, you would want Thunder Fang
  • There are tons of other Electric options to consider as well, but the suggested ones are generally the top picks



Many player have opted not to run an Electric, so you could flex here instead. In this case, you will be relying on Hisuian Qwilfish to be your primary Charizard answer. If you chose to flex, we would suggest picking something that has play into Poliwrath, such as Sirfetchd or Trevenant


Slot 5: Anti-Electric


Suggested: Piloswine, Gligar, Gliscor, Runerigus

Alternatives: Hippowdon, Grass-types (Trevenant, Venusaur, Chesnaught, Shiftry)


Anti-Electric picks are crucial to bodyguard both Charizard (or your Flier) and Poliwrath

  • Piloswine was listed for Slot 2, and could be picked here as well. If you picked Piloswine in Slot 2, you could instead use a flex here if desired
  • Gligar and Gliscor make for excellent generalists, only truly fearing Piloswine
  • Runerigus is another excellent generalist with its powerful Sand Tomb + Shadow Ball combo
  • Ice Fang Hippowdon is a generally inferior Piloswine, but could be a fun surprise.
  • Grass-types also fit this role, but fall out of favor in this meta because of the prevelance of Hisuian Qwilfish and Charizard (Smack Down Chesnaught looms).



Slot 6: Flex



Suggested: Counter user (Sirfetch'd, Primeape) or pick one of the previously mentioned suggested picks (as they are top class in the meta) Alternatives: Counter-user (Machamp, Blaziken), Fire-type (Victini, Alolan Marowak, Sunny Castform, Litleo), Non-conformist (Malamar, Kanto Sandslash), or any previously listed alternative It can be easy to leave yourself vulnerable to Piloswine if you did not pick Poliwrath in Slot 2. If you went this route or just want to double up on answers, make sure Piloswine is covered here.

  • Sirfetch'd gives big Poliwrath pressure and can pressure Ghosts
  • Primeape gives coverage for Gligar and Gliscor with Ice Punch
  • Machamp can one shot Charizard, but it left walled by Runerigus (outside of running Payback)
  • Blaziken is a touch slower than other Counter users because of Blaze Kick being 40 energy
  • Other Fire-types such as Victini can counter Piloswine, but can leave you more open to Water-type damage
  • Picks like Malamar and Kanto Sandslash don't fit as well with any previously mentioned role, but could be worth consideration as a flex.


— Final Thoughts —


Ember Cup is a bit more straightforward for team building. If you are a newer player and looking to jump in and try a Silph tournament, Ember is a great chance to try it out. We hope this team building guide has helped you figure out what you might need. Best of luck in your tournaments!