Halloween Cup Meta Snapshot
Graphic By: u/Pa1amon
Written By: u/Tangent444
In the Halloween Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Halloween Cup down to the central Pokémon you should be prepared to face and the matchup dynamics within this concentrated Meta. The relationships displayed here are counters (single arrow) and generally positive matchups with a few losing conditions (dotted arrow). Checks and IV-dependent matchups are often excluded (no arrow). Thanks as always to PvPoke for supporting simulations. Also if you love discussing Cup Metas, come join in on the daily discussion at GO Stadium and forge new friendships with people as passionate about Meta discussion as you.
ª = Exclusive move (might require an Elite TM to acquire outside of special events)
The dynamic of the Halloween Meta is a central Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship between Azumarill, Gavlantula, and Crustle/Alolan Marowak/Mawile, along with a number of other Pokemon that can counter one or several members of that central core.
— Azumarill —
Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam/Play Rough/Hydro Pump (Pick two)
Azumarill. It’s always Azumarill. The big blue bunny is once again a central figure in Go Battle League’s first type-restricted Meta, much like it is in open Great League. Azumarill covers all of the Fire and Rock types that lurking to counter Galvantula, along with being a strong counter to all of the (non-poison) Dark types. The only things Azumarill fears are Electric types (Galvantula) and Grass types. Ice Beam gives Azumarill needed speed and Grass coverage. Play Rough gives Azumarill the strongest play in the mirror match and against most Dark types. Hydro Pump gives Azumarill a shields-down weapon to gain more win scenarios with the likes of Wormadam Trash, Skuntank, and Alolan Muk.
— Galvantula —
Galvantula Volt Switch + Lunge + Discharge
Galvantula provides a strong counter to Azumarill and Flying types, though it loses the zero shield scenario if Azumarill has Hydro Pump. As well, Galvantula’s access to the powerful Lunge allows it to perform well against a number of neutral matchups with shields in play. Where Galvantula falls short is against Fire and Rock types (its only two weaknesses). It also has a lack of bulk, contributing to it requiring shields to operate and struggling with high damage fast move damage that it does not resist. Nevertheless, Fear the Spooder!
— Galvantula Counters —
Crustle Smack Down + X-Scissor + Rock Slide
Alolan Marowak Fire Spin + Bone Club + Shadow Ball
Mawile Fire Fang + Power-Up Punch + Iron Head or Play Rough
These three Pokemon represent the main Galvantula counters within the Meta, all of which also counter Beedrill while collectively losing to Azumarill. Within the group, there is a Rock-Paper-Scissors dynamic with Crustle countering Alolan Marowak (though it needs a high enough attack to secure the win), Alolan Marowak countering Mawile, and Mawile walling Crustle. Outside of these inner matchups, Alolan Marowak struggles with Dark types Umbreon and Mandibuzz that wall it, but is stronger against Fighting types like Toxicroak than the other two. Mawile has nice matchups against the Dark types due to resisting most of their Fast and Charge moves, while Crustle has strong matchups against anything with a Flying type, such as Mandibuzz and Golbat.
— Poison Types —
Toxicroak Counter + Mud Bomb + Sludge Bomb
Skuntank Poison Jab + Crunch + Sludge Bomb or Flamethrower or Return
Beedrill Poison Jab + Drill Run + X-Scissor or Fell Stinger
These three Poison types represent a part of the Meta focused on soft-countering Azumarill, while mostly holding their own against Galvantula. Both Toxicroak and Beedrill have to be careful to avoid Psychic damage from the likes of Wormadam Trash, along with Ghost types like Haunter which resist their fast moves. Skuntank strengthens those weaknesses to Psychic and Ghost, but gives up the head-to-head matchup by losing to Toxicroak and Beedrill. For Skuntank’s second move, Sludge Bomb secures a strong matchup with Azumarill, winning the one shield and two shield scenarios and only losing the zero shield scenario to Hydro Pump Azumarill. With Flamethrower, Skuntank can only win the 2S scenario with Azumarill but picks up stronger matchups with Wormadam Trash and other Dark/Poison types. If you can get a Skuntank with Return under 1500CP, it provides a more neutral coverage set that is harder to wall, though it loses Skuntank’s upwards potential as a counter for either the Azumarill or Wormadam Trash that the other two sets provide.
— Wormadam Trash —
Wormadam Trash Confusion + Iron Head + Bug Buzz
Wormadam Trash plays a similar role to the group of Crustle, Alolan Marowak, and Mawile, with a few differences. It is a harder answer to Beedrill and especially Toxicroak, but does not play as a Galvantula counter and is instead more of a Galvantula check. As well, it performs significantly better against Azumarill than those other three Pokemon. However, its double weakness to Fire leaves it incredibly vulnerable to Alolan Marowak and Mawile taking it down with just the fast move.
— Dark Types —
Mandibuzz Snarl or Air Slash + Foul Play/Aerial Ace/Dark Pulse/Shadow Ball (Pick two)
Umbreon Snarl + Last Resort + Foul Play or Dark Pulse
Alolan Muk Snarl + Dark Pulse + Sludge Wave or Gunk Shot
Zweilous Dragon Breath + Body Slam + Dark Pulse
Dark type Pokemon exist within the Meta to target Alolan Marowak, Wormadam Trash, and Ghost types. Mandibuzz is incredibly bulky and has a number of viable moveset options, and is the strongest Dark type against Toxicroak. It is surprisingly bulky enough to defeat Galvantula in the zero shield scenario with Snarl + Foul Play, though loses any scenario with shields in play. However, it is weak to Crustle’s Smack Down, and is the weakest of the bunch against Azumarill (though Air Slash can help keep it closer). Umbreon shares similar bulk to Mandibuzz and tends to have more fight against Azumarill, but drops Toxicroak in any shielded scenario. Zweilous picks up key resistances to Grass and Electric, which gives it potential as a strong core partner to Azumarill. Its double weakness to Fairy means it struggles hard with any Charm user and will get taken out in one hit by an Azumarill Play Rough, and it struggles more with Mawile than the other Dark types do. Alolan Muk has the strongest Azumarill matchup of the Dark types, with the main drawback being that it isn’t a sure counter to some of the Ghost types such as Haunter and Froslass, who can win using shields and/or shield baiting.
— Wildcards —
Tyranitar Smack Downª + Crunch + Stone Edge
Shiftry Snarl + Leaf Blade + Foul Play
Obstagoon Counter + Night Slash + Gunk Shot
Scrafty Counter + Power-Up Punch + Foul Play
Qwilfish Water Gun + Aqua Tail + Sludge Wave
Sableye Shadow Claw + Foul Play + Return
Haunter Shadow Claw + Shadow Punch + Shadow Ball or Sludge Bomb
Gengar Shadow Claw + Shadow Punchª + Shadow Ball or Sludge Bomb
Golurk Mud-Slap + Shadow Punch + Earth Power
Froslass Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Wildcards are Pokemon that perform at a similar Meta level as those pictured, but were harder to include in the picture. This could include having a lot of bait or buff/debuff related matchups, variable movesets, or having too many inconsistent matchup relationships compared to other Pokemon that share the same role. Here is a breakdown of their role within the Meta and why they were excluded from the main graphic.
Tyranitar offers an alternative to Crustle that wins the head-to-head. The Shadow version is particularly punishing and likely to see some play, which could include something similar to the Bastiodon with double Grass lines which have been popular in Open Great League. It did not make the main graphic because it did not share some of Crustle’s matchups (dropping a few zero shield scenarios such as Beedrill) and is also an expensive build, requiring an Elite Fast TM, which should limit its play relative to the easier to obtain and less expensive Crustle.
Shiftry plays as a core breaker to Azumarill, Wormadam Trash, and Ghost types, and its lightning fast charge speed means it could see play at the same level as other Pokemon depicted. It was not clear where to place Shiftry on the graphic without over-complicating it. Shiftry does not like seeing Mawile and Toxicroak in any capacity.
Obstagoon and Scrafty are omitted from the graphic because their matchups can more easily be affected by attack buffs. Both lose hard to Toxicroak and Azumarill, though Obstagoon has a chance if it can land a Gunk Shot, whereas Scrafty is completely walled by Azumarill.
Qwilfish is one of the few Pokemon that can substitute for Azumarill, picking up stronger matchups with more of the Poison types and having the ability to defeat Azumarill head-to-head it it can land a Sludge Wave. However it is much weaker to Psychic and Ground type damage, gets farmed down by Galvantula harder, and is a glass cannon that requires shields to operate compared to Azumarill being a bulk machine. It is omitted from the graphic because it shares a similar role to Azumarill but has a few too many matchup differences that would complicate the graphic.
Sableye is one of the strongest pivots in the Great League, and is typically used as a safe switch. It performs at its best when given a small energy advantage on the switch, and will need to run Return to give it the strongest fight against Azumarill. It only really fears Wigglytuff, as other Charm users need to shield Return when Sableye has one Shadow Claw of energy. It is omitted from the graphic due to having no clearly defined role in the Meta (more of a generalist) and because its matchups tend to change more easily with energy advantages.
Haunter and Gengar both play a significant role in the Meta as glass cannons that put pressure on some of the central Meta figures such as Azumarill, Galvantula, and Alolan Marowak. The only Pokemon they truly fear are the Dark type Pokemon (with the exception of Skuntank which is more of a toss up due to their resistance to Poison Jab), though they also go down fast to Wormadam Trash’s Confusion. Shadow Ball and Sludge Bomb both work as a second charge move, with Shadow Ball providing more power for matchups like Wormadam Trash and Sludge Bomb providing coverage against Normal types Obstagoon and Wigglytuff. They are omitted from the graphic because they do not have as clearly defined a role, acting more as generalists with a number of targets and threats spread out across the Meta.
Golurk has serious potential in the Meta as a specialised counter to Galvantula, Crustle, Alolan Marowak, and Mawile. Aside from Azumarill, that is the entirety of the central Halloween Meta. Golurk requires running Mud-Slap and Shadow Punch to achieve this role, and needs Earth Power as a second move in order to provide a more significant threat to Azumarill (without Earth Power, Azumarill can farm Golurk down with just Bubble and finish with 100 energy). Golurk also threatens Poison types that are weak to Ground, but loses very hard to most of the Dark type Pokemon. Golurk is omitted from the graphic largely because it is a bit of unknown, and wasn’t considered much until recently when the team was analyzing core breakers. Keep an eye on Golurk.
Froslass plays a generalist role within the Halloween Cup Meta, able to fight with just about anything in the Meta but not really carving out any specific niche role. The only thing holding Froslass back in the Meta is that it gets caught by all the Rock and Fire moves that are meant to counter Galvantula.
— Honourable Mentions —
Wigglytuff Charm + Ice Beam + Play Rough
Whimsicott Charm + Grass Knot + Moonblast or Hurricane
Tentacruel Poison Jab + Acid Spray + Hydro Pump
Drifblim Hex + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball
Golbat Wing Attack + Poison Fang + Shadow Ball
Forretress Bug Bite + Mirror Shot + Earthquake
Escavalier Counter + Drill Run + Megahorn
Venusaur Vine Whip + Frenzy Plantª + Sludge Bomb
Muk Poison Jab + Thunder Punch + Dark Pulse
Drapion Ice Fang or Bite + Aqua Tail + Crunch or Sludge Bomb
Honourable mentions all have merit within the Meta, and could be good choices for coverage on a team composition where they fit. They appear to fall a bit short compared to the big Meta players, but each has their own pros and cons. Other Pokemon not pictured, such as Alolan Raticate or Swalot, could also have a place in the Meta on the right team.
— Trash Can —
Garbodor Infestation + Body Slam + Seed Bomb or Gunk Shot
Mr. Mime Confusion + Shadow Ball + Psychic
Spiritomb Sucker Punch + Ominous Wind + Shadow Ball
These Pokemon are best left in the trash can. Do you rage when hatching Trubbish in 12km eggs? I’m sure you are excited to know that Trubbish can evolve into a Pokemon that is not only garbage in stature, but also garbage within this Meta. Oh joy! People have always tried to make spicy Pokemon like Mr. Mime and Spiritomb work. Don’t be one of those people, there are better Pokemon to choose from.
Keep an eye out for Pa1amon’s Easter Egg hidden in the graphic!