Marsh Cup Meta Snapshot
Updated: Nov 13
Graphic By: u/Pa1amon
Written By: u/Tangent444
In the Marsh Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Marsh 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 purification in the case of Return or an Elite TM to acquire outside of special events)
The Marsh Cup is a Meta with a number of distinctive roles, which are depicted on the graphic:
Galvantula Volt Switch + Lunge + Discharge (or Energy Ball)
Galvantula fills its own unique role in the Meta, which is the reason it is listed on its own. While not a mandatory Pokemon to bring on your team of six, Galvantula provides a significant threat to most of the Waters types within the Meta, with the exception of the Water/Ground types that put up more of an even fight with it, and holds a number of the Grass type Pokemon in check.
Alolan Marowak Fire Spin + Bone Club + Shadow Boneª or Shadow Ball
Crustle Smack Down (or Fury Cutter) + X-Scissor + Rock Slide
Whimsicott Charm + Grass Knot + Moonblast or Hurricane
As Galvantula is a unique Pokemon within the Meta, you will want to come ready with at least one dedicated counter to it.
Alolan Marowak is one of the central Pokemon within the Marsh Cup Meta, due to its ability to cover a lot of the Grass and Bug type Pokemon within the Meta. Alolan Marowak is arguably the hardest Ferrothorn counter available in the Concentrated Meta. The choice between Shadow Bone and Shadow Ball comes down to personal preference, with Shadow Bone providing a faster hit with a defense drop chance, and Shadow Ball providing more power per hit. Which move is preferable will depend on the matchups you face and what fits your playstyle. For example, in the mirror Shadow Ball typically provides a 0S win (IV dependent), but becomes more bait-dependent with shields in play as the Fire Spin damage adds up and Shadow Bone's speed increasingly becomes a factor.
Crustle hits Galvantula and Alolan Marowak hard with Smack Down, and provides a way of countering both Pokemon at once. The arrow from Crustle to Alolan Marowak is shown as dotted because Crustle needs enough Attack to achieve a Smack Down breakpoint (123.6 Attack to guarantee) to ensure that it will not lose the 0S matchup with Shadow Ball AWak and also because Fury Cutter Crustle typically loses the matchup. Speaking of Fury Cutter, that is an option on Crustle in order to have winning scenarios against Ferrothorn in 1S (IV dependent) and 2S (seemingly IV independent), as well as against Cradily in 2S, which is why both of those arrows are shown as dotted.
Whimsicott puts pressure on Galvantula with heavy Fast move damage, alongside being a significant threat to some of the Dark types such as Sableye and Shiftry. The arrows with both Galvantula and Sableye are shown as dotted because Whimsiscott loses the 0S scenario to both of those when they are up one fast move. This means Whimsicott being used as a counter-switch to Galvantula or Sableye will need to invest one shield in order to secure switch advantage, which leaves it farmable for energy by the likes of Alolan Marowak and creates a shield disadvantage. This is likely a reason why Whimsicott has not seen significant usage so far, appearing in the 17th position on Silph's Live Cup Data of Most Commonly Used Species. We decided to include it on the graphic, even with low usage, because it is a Pokemon you want to account coverage for when team building.
Swampert Mud Shot + Hydro Cannonª + Sludge Wave or Earthquake
Whiscash Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Blizzard
The Mudboi role has the ability to cover Alolan Marowak, Crustle, Alolan Muk, and Toxicroak all at once, which makes them very prominent within the Meta, even with their double weakness to Grass types.
Swampert hits hard and fast with Hydro Cannon, countering Crustle harder than Whiscash can. It has a tough choice for the second move. Earthquake provides more closing power against the likes of Alolan Muk, Alolan Marowak, Toxicroak, and opposing Mudbois, all of which could be relevant late game. Earthquake is also Swampert's only path to victory against Sableye in the 1S or 2S scenarios, and is the only move it can use against Ferrothorn that is not resisted. Sludge Wave provides more coverage for Azumarill, and is the only path to victory against Whimsicott (0S and bait-dependent 1S) .
Whiscash lacks a lot of the power that Swampert has, often needing to land a Blizzard to provide power, but aims to make up for that with its significant bulk. Unlike Swampert, it does not need to bait to defeat Whimsicott in the 1S scenario due to its ability to take more neutral Charm damage. Whiscash is also stronger against the Ghost/Poison types Haunter and Gengar, winning all even shield scenarios.
Cradily Bullet Seed + Grass Knot + Stone Edge
Ferrothorn Bullet Seed + Power Whip + Thunder or Flash Cannon
Shiftry Snarl + Leaf Blade + Foul Play
Grass types are the natural answer to the Mudbois, and there are a variety of choices you could use to fulfill this role.
Cradily is a Grass type with significant bulk and Stone Edge for coverage, giving it the ability to have potential win scenarios with Alolan Marowak and Galvantula that most other Grass types cannot replicate. The main drawback is that it lacks a resistance to Grass, which causes it to lose to a number of Grass types, and it gets walled by Ferrothorn and Toxicroak.
Ferrothorn is a hard counter option that serves as a dual counter to most of the Water types and Grass types at the same time. On the flip-side, it is hard countered by Alolan Marowak so hard that even if Ferrothorn traps and eliminates a Swampert, it could get farmed in return by Alolan Marowak and lose all of the advantage it just gained. For a second move, Thunder provides Ferrothorn the ability to at least threaten some damage to Alolan Marowak, while Flash Cannon is needed to have better win scenarios against opposing Grass types like Whimsicott, Venusaur, and Shiftry. The reason Ferrothorn to Whimsicott is shown as a dotted arrow is because it can actually lose some shield scenarios to Whimsicott without it, and it requires Flash Cannon to play as a Whimsicott counter.
Shiftry plays similar to Cradily in the sense that it is a Grass type with win scenarios against Alolan Marowak (except for the 2S scenario which Marowak wins big). Unlike Cradily, however, it has the ability to fight back against Ferrothorn and disposes of Mudbois faster than anything else can. As a drawback, it drops hard to Whimsicott's Charm. Shadow Shiftry is highly worth considering due to its ability to pull off an IV-dependent 2S win against Alolan Muk, winning 0S against Alolan Marowak, and does not need to shield-bait to defeat Galvantula in 1S and 2S.
Alolan Muk Snarl + Dark Pulse+ Sludge Wave
Toxicroak Counter + Mud Bomb + Sludge Bomb
The Poison types listed are those that play a role in countering Grass type Pokemon, along with a few other various coverage roles.
Alolan Muk is a soft counter to the Meta Grass types, winning in most even shield scenarios with a few exceptions: It can lose 0S to high stat product Ferrothorn, it can drop some even shield scenarios with Cradily when Cradily has one Bullet Seed of energy advantage, and typically loses 2S to Shadow Shiftry. However, Alolan Muk provides a check for Grass type Pokemon while simultaneously playing as an Alolan Marowak counter.
Toxciroak brings a hard counter to all three of Cradily, Ferrothorn, and Shiftry, as well as walling Crustle and Alolan Muk. Toxicroak is a strong option to fill a similar role to Alolan Muk and Ferrothorn as an Anti-Grass, but with a better ability to counter-switch Grass types than Alolan Muk and with more fight than Ferrothorn has against Alolan Marowak, but with the the drawback of typically worse matchups with Sableye and the Mudbois.
Sableye Shadow Claw + Foul Play + Returnª (or Power Gem)
Sableye is a generalist within the Marsh Cup meta, and plays at its best with an energy advantage. It fills a similar niche as an Alolan Marowak counter with Alolan Muk, though it needs to watch out for a potential bait-dependent 1S loss to Shadow Bone AWak or Shadow Ball AWak with an energy advantage. Unlike Alolan Muk, however, it has stronger matchups with the Mudbois and weaker matchups with the Grass types. Sableye is at its best when used as a switch, as it can be hard to stop with an energy advantage. Even Whimsicott needs to shield a Return in order to secure the win with Sableye up one Shadow Claw of energy. Return looks to be the strongest option for a second move to use, as it gives it potential win scenarios with Alolan Muk, Azumarill, Shiftry, and a 0S Whimsicott win with a small energy advantage.
Venusaur Vine Whip + Frenzy Plantª + Sludge Bomb
Azumarill Bubble + Ice Beam + Hydro Pump (or Play Rough)
Froslass Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Lapras Ice Shardª + Surf + Skull Bash
Dewgong Ice Shardª + Icy Windª + Water Pulse
Haunter Shadow Claw + Shadow Punch + Shadow Ball (or Sludge Bomb)
Gengar Shadow Claw + Shadow Punchª + Shadow Ball (or Sludge Bomb)
Rainy Castform Water Gun + Weather Ball (Water) + Thunder
Quagsire Mud Shot + Stone Edge + Earthquake
Carracosta Rock Throw + Body Slam + Surf
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.
Venusaur looks just as relevant as the other Grass types pictured, but would have made the graphic more complicated as it doesn't follow the same relationships. Unlike any other Grass type, it has a win scenario with Toxicroak in 2S. It shares Ferrothorn's fear of Alolan Marowak, but outside of that it has play against just about everything else.
Azumarill is a Pokemon you can never count out in a Meta. It faces significant threats in the form of Grass types (Ferrothorn being its hardest counter) and Galvantula (though it can defeat Galvantula in the 0S scenario), but outside of those it can provide a lot of value.
Froslass doesn't appear to be in a significantly strong position in the Meta, as it lacks targets that it has sure-fire wins against, but it can put up a fight with just about everything pictured on the graphic. It could see strong play in a traditional safe switch role, or finishing off a weakened opponent with Powder Snow in order to give itself an energy advantage. Don't count Froslass out in this Meta.
Lapras and Dewgong are not pictured on the graphic mainly because they would have overcomplicated the picture, especially Dewgong with its ability to debuff opposing Attack. That being said, the big bulky Ice/Water types are potent threats in the Meta and could serve as a counter or check to Swampert and Whiscash. Dewgong also is one of the better answers to Sableye in the meta, one of the few Pokemon that can safely respond to a Sableye safe switch using straight Icy Wind.
Haunter and Gengar can pose a threat to Alolan Marowak, and as Glass Cannons they can pose a threat to a number of Meta threats. Keep them in mind when team building.
Rainy Castform might seem like an odd choice, but it is a solid counter to Mudbois and Alolan Marowak, and poses a threat to Sableye with safe wins in the 1S and 2S scenarios (it needs Thunder to win 0S so it might need a shield disadvantage to block the Sableye safe switch). Rainy Castform is threated hard by Grass types that wall its moves, and the Electric power of Galvantula.
Quagsire is potentially just as potent as the other two Mudbois pictured, but the matchups are different enough that it was tough to include on the picture. It is not a sure fire counter to Toxicroak, dropping 2S and sometimes 1S, and plays slower than the other Mudbois which have a lower energy charge move option. However, it poses a bigger threat to Lapras and Dewgong, and can knock Galvantula and Crustle out hard with the power of Stone Edge.
Carracosta is a very interesting Pokemon, as it is a Water type Pokemon that cleanly wins the matchup with Galvantula as long as it has one shield to protect itself (it needs a high enough attack stat if Galvantula has one Volt Switch of energy advantage, but that is not hard to reach with egg hatch level IVs). Carracosta also counters Alolan Marowak and Crustle, but loses to Mudbois, Grass types, and Toxicroak.
Wormadam Trash Confusion + Iron Head + Bug Buzz
Escavalier Counter + Drill Run + Megahorn
Forretress Bug Bite + Mirror Shot + Earthquake
Beedrill Poison Jab + Drill Runª + X-Scissor or Fell Stinger
Empoleon Waterfall + Hydro Cannonª + Drill Peck
Pelipper Wing Attack + Weather Ball (Water) + Hurricane
Mantine Bubble + Bubble Beam + Ice Beam
Skuntank Poison Jab + Crunch + Sludge Bomb or Flamethrower or Return
Tangrowth Vine Whip + Rock Slide + Grass Knot
Lanturn Spark or Water Gun + Thunderbolt + Hydro Pump
Politoed Mud Shot + Surf + Earthquakeª
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 could also have a place in the Meta on the right team.
These Pokemon are best left in the trash can.
Maractus showed up randomly on an early overperformer during practice Marsh Cups before the month again, but be rest assured that Maractus is not actually worth looking into. Whoever won with it, likely won in-spite of using it, not because it provided great value.
Swalot does not provide much in a Meta filled with Alolan Marowak and Mudbois at the centre. Whatever winning matchups it could give you tend to be close and can be achieved by something else. Look elsewhere.
Palpitoad is not a good Pokemon, no matter what NHoff tries to convince you otherwise. It can beat Alolan Marowak, but.... that is actually pretty much all it beats. Edit: NHoff described it as libel, noting that Palpitoad also defeats Alolan Muk and an IV-dependent, Best Buddy dependent Crustle win. We apologize for the confusion we caused in this incredibly Meta-relevant analysis on Palpitoad.
Keep an eye out for Pa1amon’s Easter Egg hidden in the graphic!