Holiday Cup Meta Snapshot
Graphic By: u/Nesabethan
Written By: u/Tangent444
In the Holiday Cup Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Holiday 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.
The dynamic of the Holiday Cup Meta is fairly open, with a number of viable Pokemon.
ª = Exclusive move (might require an Elite TM to acquire outside of special events, or in the case of Return requires a Purified Shadow Pokemon)
— The Concentrated Meta —
Altaria Dragon Breath + Sky Attack + Dragon Pulse (or Dazzling Gleam)
Skarmory Air Slash + Sky Attack + Brave Bird (or Flash Cannon)
Froslass Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Vigoroth Counter + Body Slam + Bulldoze
Obstagoon Counter + Night Slash + Cross Chop (or Gunk Shot)
Alolan Marowak Fire Spin + Bone Club + Shadow Boneª or Shadow Ball, or alternatively Hex + Shadow Boneª + Fire Blast
Wigglytuff Charm + Ice Beam + Play Rough or Dazzling Gleam
Alolan Ninetales Charm + Psyshock + Ice Beam
Whimsicott Charm + Grass Knot + Moonblast (or Hurricane)
Togekiss Charm + Ancient Power or Aerial Ace + Flamethrower
Alolan Golem Volt Switch + any of Rock Blast, Stone Edge, Wild Charge
Alolan Graveler Volt Switch + Rock Blast + Stone Edge
Stunfisk (Unova) Thunder Shock or Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Discharge
Diggersby Mud Shot + Fire Punch + Earthquake (or Hyper Beam)
Dewgong Ice Shardª + Icy Windª + Water Pulse or Aqua Jetª
Lapras Ice Shardª + Surf + Skull Bash
The Holiday Cup Meta looks like it will focus on these central figures of the Meta. A summary of some of the matchup notes for these Pokemon:
From Diggersby through to Skarmory we have a transitive sequence of counter. Alolan Marowak counters Skarmory, Alolan Graveler/Golem counters both Alolan Marowak and Skarmory, and all the way to the end where Diggersby counters everything in the sequence. It is shown as a dotted arrow because some of these matchups can be flipped in some scenarios. For example, Skarmory can beat Alolan Marowak in the 0S scenario with a +1 Air Slash energy advantage, and Alolan Marowak's Bone Club can give it some wins against Alolan Graveler/Golem with a shield or energy advantage. There are some matchups in this sequence which are hard-counter scenarios, such as Diggersby and Stunfisk defeating Alolan Graveler/Golem, and Stunfisk and Alolan Graveler/Golem defeating Skarmory.
All of the wins with the two Counter users Vigoroth and Obstagoon are shown as dotted arrows because they do not resist the moves of any of their displayed matchup wins, which means each one is subject to being flipped with shield or energy advantage. For example, neither is a fan of taking a Stone Edge from an Alolan Graveler or a Wild Charge from an Alolan Golem who have a bit of energy to play with. Similarly, Obstagoon generally defeats Froslass but the matchup gets very close the moment Froslass is able to land an Avalanche, and Froslass with an energy or shield advantage is challenging for Obstagoon to deal with.
The arrows from Alolan Graveler/Golem to Froslass and Altaria are dotted due to them lacking a resistance to most of their moves. Dragon Breath does a lot of damage and can cause them to lose the 2S scenario without executing a double shield bait. A lack of resistance to Ice means that one landed Avalanche can cost them the matchup with Froslass, relevant in shield or energy advantage scenarios.
The arrow from Lapras to Froslass is shown as a dotted one because Froslass with energy has a few winning scenarios with an energy or shield advantage.
The shown matchups that are solid arrows include Froslass to Vigoroth (which is very hard for Vigoroth to flip without a very significant advantage), Altaria to Diggersby (Diggersby is walled unless it is running Hyper Beam), Vigoroth to Obstagoon (Obstagoon being double weak to fighting makes this matchup hard to win without a significant advantage), Lapras/Dewgong/Froslass to Altaria (the double Ice weakness hurts), Lapras to Dewgong (Lapras is a wall and Skull Bash wins the matchup hard), and Lapras/Dewgong to Diggersby (though Diggersby can keep the matchup somewhat close with shield baits, it is still a fairly safe win for the Water/Ice types).
— The Grass Types —
Abomasnow Powder Snow + Weather Ball Ice + Energy Ball
Shiftry Snarl + Leaf Blade + Foul Play
Venusaur Vine Whip + Frenzy Plantª + Sludge Bomb
Victreebel (Shadow) Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade + Acid Spray or Sludge Bomb
Chesnaught Vine Whip + Superpower + Energy Ball
Cradily Bullet Seed + Grass Knot + Stone Edge
Early usage data suggested the Grass types were not playing as large of a role as you might expect in the Holiday Cup. That being said, Grass plays a role is hard countering Stunfisk and Lanturn (along with a number of other positive matchups) while dancing around getting countered by the likes of Skarmory, Altaria, and Alolan Marowak. Grass types will likely see play from players who enjoy running lineups with two Grass types in the back. Abomasnow, Shiftry, and Cradily have the ability to fight back against some of these counters but bring a weakness to Counter from Obstagoon/Vigoroth, and Shiftry is weak to Charm. The Grass/Poison types bring a resistance Charm and Counter, at the expense of losing harder to Skarmory, Altaria, and Alolan Marowak. Chesnaught has a lot of losing matchups due to lakcing coverage for Alolan Marowak and Altaria, but does have Superpower to threaten the Normal types.
— Other Electric Types —
Lanturn Water Gun or Spark + Thunderbolt + Hydro Pump
Magnezone Spark + Wild Charge + Mirror Shot
Magneton Thunder Shock + Discharge + Magnet Bomb
Galvantula Volt Switch + Lunge + Discharge
Electivire Thunder Shock + Wild Charge + Ice Punch
Raichu (Kanto) Volt Switch + Brick Break + Wild Charge
A handful of additional Electric types could be worth of your attention. Lanturn lacks coverage for Grass types, but if Grass remains low in usage that could seldom be a problem. Magneton and Magnezone can put a significant threat into anything aside from Stunfisk and Diggersby and are one of the hardest Skarmory counters in the Meta. Galvantula can pose a threat with Lunge as it does in any Meta it is elegible. Electivire packs Ice Punch to pose a big threat to Altaria and do some chip damage to Ground types. Both Kanto Raichu and Alolan Raichu could see play as well, but Kanto Raichu can sport a variety of festive hats and in the end isn't that what the Holidays are truly about?
— Other Ice Types —
Alolan Sandslash Powder Snow + Ice Punch + Bulldoze or Gyro Ball
Regice Lock On + Earthquake + Blizzard
Sealeo Powder Snow or Water Gun + Body Slam + Water Pulse or Aurora Beam
Articuno Ice Shard + Icy Wind + Hurricaneª
A handful of addition Ice types could carve themselves a niche in the Meta. Alolan Sandslash can provide good value, so long as it stays away from any Fire or Fighting moves. Regice has powerful Charge moves and could position itself as a closer with a hard to wall combination of Ground and Ice coverage. Sealeo can rack up pressure with its Body Spam. Articuno has a lot of potential in a similar role to Froslass as an Ice type that can fight with Counter users, covering Grass types harder but struggling more with Rock and Ice type moves than Froslass does. Snowy Castform is not pictured but it can perform well as long as it can avoid facing off against any of the Water/Ice types that it lacks coverage for.
— Wildcards —
Drifblim Hex + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball
Sableye Shadow Claw + Foul Play + Returnª or Power Gem
Mandibuzz Snarl + Foul Play or Dark Pulse + Aerial Ace or Shadow Ball
Snorlax Lick + Body Slam + Superpower or Earthquake
These Wildcards didn't fit into any specific part of the graphic or any of the additional listed typings, but are all worth keeping an eye on. Drifblim is one of the hardest stops to the Vigoroth Safe Switch in the game, resisting every possible move, and can provide a lot of value outside of its weaknesses to Ice, Electric, Rock, and Ghost, all of which are highly present within the Meta. Dark types Sableye and Mandibuzz are two of the best options in an Anti-Ghost role, though Sableye has to watch out for its highly negative Obstagoon matchup and Mandibuzz has weaknesses to the common move types of Ice, Electric, and Rock. Both Sableye and Mandibuzz do not like the pressence of Charm in the Meta. Snorlax can also play a sort of Anti-Ghost role, though it struggles with Vigoroth and Obstagoon unless it can land a Superpower.