Graphic By: Mikeiff

Written By: Tangent444

Special thanks: Nesabethan, NHoff, PolymersUp, Twastell, and everyone else on the GO Stadium team


Lunar Cup


In the Lunar Cup Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Lunar 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 Concentrated Meta —

  • Bugs: Crustle, Escavalier, Heracross

  • Darks: Mandibuzz, Obstagoon, Umbreon, Zweilous

  • Electrics: Alolan Graveler, Galvantula

  • Ghosts: Froslass, Sableye

  • Grasses: Roserade


The Lunar Cup meta has a variety of viable options, but looks like it will focus on these central figures. While the meta is concentrated on these central figures, a high number of matchups are not hard counters and can be flipped with energy or shield advantages. A few important details to know about the concentrated meta and the matchup relationships shown:

  • Crustle is currently the highest used Pokémon according to SIlph’s data, and the meta snapshot helps to explain why. Crustle only has one arrow pointed towards it, from Alolan Graveler, and that matchup is not even a sure thing as Crustle has a small handful of ways it can win that matchup too. That high level of safety makes Crustle a popular choice. With Smack Down, Crustle puts big pressure on Mandibuzz and Froslass and delivers heavy Rock damage in a meta that is vulnerable to it. With Fury Cutter, Crustle plays as more of a generalist that does its damage by dropping Rock Slides on the opponent and bypassing potential losing matchups with Rock walls like Ferrothorn. 

  • Alolan Graveler (AGrav) is the other big Rock type in this meta, and provides an alternative to Crustle that is relatively safe within the meta. AGrav has Volt Switch to quick-charge up an array of powerful charge moves and unleash generally unresisted Stone Edges, with its high damage per energy. AGrav’s biggest role in the meta arguably is being the hardest Mandibuzz counter available. The main counters to AGrav are, well, the Counter users, and even those are not a sure thing. AGrav can win the 1S matchup with Escavalier with a shield bait, and can do the same thing to Heracross with a small energy advantage. Obstagoon can win all even shields with AGrav but still does not like taking unshielded Stone Edges. 

  • The Counter users play a big part of the meta, as they are the primary way to fight against Alolan Graveler and a number of the big Dark types. Obstagoon has the strongest Mandibuzz and Alolan Graveler matchups of the three, but loses to both of the others head-to-head thanks to its double weakness to fighting. Heracross generally wins the head-to-head with the other Counter users pictured (just don’t get hit by an odd Aerial Ace from Escavalier), but loses the hardest to Mandibuzz thanks to its double weakness to Flying. Escavalier is a bit of a middle ground between the two, holding up better with Mandibuzz than Heracross does but not defeating Obstagoon as hard. 

  • Mandibuzz is the Dark type that uses its unique properties as a Flying type to carve out a big niche within the meta. Being part Flying means Mandibuzz does better against Grass and Bug types than most Dark types do, but at the expense of adding weaknesses to Electric and Rock, both of which are abundant in the meta. Snarl Mandibuzz is more of a generalist that minimizes how hard it wins and loses, while Air Slash improves Mandibuzz’s Dark, Bug, and Grass matchups at the expense of being more toothless against Electric types and Froslass. 

  • Zweilous is a generalist Dark type that provides nice Electric and Grass resistances. It does not necessarily beat core Electrics Alolan Graveler and Galvantula, but the ability to slow down their Electric moves can be very helpful and allows Zweilous to often hold on for 2S wins. An important, but easily overlooked, aspect of the Alolan Graveler matchup is a bulkpoint that reduces Dragon Breath damage by a quarter. A bulky Graveler can win 1s against Zweilous straight Stone Edge. One issue Zweilous faces is a number of Rock and Steel types that resist its Body Slam spam, alongside the same Counter weakness that most other Dark types share, but generally Zweilous can put up a fight with just about anything. 

  • Umbreon is another big Dark generalist which is a tough out for just about anything. Umbreon is the hardest Froslass counter in the meta and provides bulk that is matched only by the likes of Mandibuzz. Umbreon struggles hard with Obstagoon, pretty much the one matchup holding Umbreon back from truly taking off. While Psychic might be tempting for the Poison and Fighting types, Umbreon really wants to have Last resort here in order to avoid being helpless against the likes of Zweilous, Mandibuzz, and Obstagoon. As a fun fact, Umbreon is the only Pokémon in the entire Lunar Cup that defeats Manectric when down 1 shield to 0. You can officially do what you want with that information.

  • Froslass and Sableye are the biggest Ghost contenders in a meta that is generally unfavourable to the type. Both have better ability to fight back against the big Dark types than most other Ghost type counterparts, and play as generally safe options within the meta. Froslass has to watch out for Rock type damage, but is a safe option against everything else. The Ghosts have a positive matchup with Roserade, but Roserade has a few ways it can fight back. Both Ghosts only have a single resistance to Fighting, which means they can’t be relied on as a hard answer to Counter like we might expect of a Ghost. For example, Heracross and Escavalier can both win the 0S with Sableye by landing a devastating Megahorn. 

  • Roserade wants to run Poison Jab here, which might surprise those who are more used to using Bullet Seed. Roserade provides a strong option for countering Bugs and Grasses, such as Heracross, Escavalier, and Galvantula, thanks to Weather Ball Fire. Leaf Storm provides a big hit on pretty much anything even when resisted, and needed coverage for trying to steal a win against Alolan Graveler. Alternatively, Dazzling Gleam is an option for the bold looking to surprise a Dark type. It is worth noting Rose's STAB Leaf Storm has higher damage per energy than Dazzling Gleam even when Gleam is super effective and Storm is not. However, the Mandibuzz and Zweilous matchups that resist Leaf Storm could see big gains from Dazzling Gleam—if you can land it.

  • Galvantula is perpetually a threat when available, and that is not different here. It needs to watch out for Rock damage from Crustle and Alolan Graveler, two of its biggest threats, but Galvantula surprisingly has potential win conditions against both of them too. One of Galvantula’s primary roles is having a solid matchup with the Counter users, thanks to resisting Fighting, and also having a generally positive matchup with Mandibuzz (although it loses 0S to Snarl Mandi). 

— Alternatives —

  • Bugs: Beedrill, Forretress, Ariados, Wormadam Trash, Scolipede

  • Darks: Skuntank, Alolan Muk, Alolan Grimer, Drapion, Houndoom, Tyranitar, Krookodile

  • Electrics: Magnezone, Magneton, Kanto Raichu, Alolan Golem, Alolan Geodude, Lanturn

  • Ghosts: Haunter, Gengar, Drifblim, Chandelure, Golurk

  • Grasses: Ferrothorn, Chesnaught, Cradily, Tropius, Abomasnow, Venusaur, Breloom

Alternatives 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 in terms of usage, but each has their own pros and cons. Other Pokemon not pictured could also have a place in the meta on the right team.


Trash Can


These Pokémon are best left in the trash can and out of your lineup. Jellicent is weak to four of the five types in the Cup, and has struggled to find any success as of yet so far. Alolan Raichu is an Electric that is weak to Dark, Bug, and Ghost, making it a poor fit for this meta. Liepard (and Lilligant) is tempting as a Charm user in a meta full of Dark types, but if you want to sneak a Charm user in you should try Kanto Raichu instead. Both Liepard and Lillagant lack a low energy Charge move and almost always need to run a shield deficit to operate, whereas Raichu has Thunder Punch, Brick Break, or Wild Charge to tack on extra damage.