Nightfall Cup Meta Snapshot
Graphic By: Pa1amon
Written By: Tangent444
In the Nightfall Cup Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Nightfall 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 —
Galarian Stunfisk Mud Shot + Rock Slide + Earthquake
Lapras Ice Shardª + Surf + Skull Bash or Ice Beam (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Froslass Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Medicham Counter + Ice Punch or Power-Up Punch + Psychic or Dynamic Punch
Toxicroak Counter + Mud Bomb + Sludge Bomb
Gallade Confusion + Leaf Blade + Close Combat (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Swampert Mud Shot + Hydro Cannonª + Sludge Wave or Earthquake (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Venusaur Vine Whip+ Frenzy Plantª + Sludge Bomb (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Shadow Victreebel Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade + Acid Spray or Sludge Bomb
Shadow Gloom/Vileplume Razor Leaf + Sludge Bomb + Moonblast
Alolan Ninetales Charm + Psyshock + Ice Beam
Wigglytuff Charm + Ice Beam + Play Rough
Golbat Wing Attack + Poison Fang + Shadow Ball (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Noctowl Wing Attack + Sky Attack + Psychic
Articuno Ice Shard + Icy Wind + Hurricaneª (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Abomasnow Powder Snow + Weather Ball (Ice) + Energy Ball (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
The Nightfall 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:
Alolan Ninetales is specified as Charm, as Powder Snow Alolan Ninetales can flip a number of the matchups shown from wins to losses, or from losses to wins. For example, Powder Snow gives Alolan Ninetales win conditions against the Poison types but no longer plays as a true Fighting and Ice type counter.
Toxicroak --> Galarian Stunfisk and Lapras is shown as a dotted arrow because Galarian Stunfisk can win the 0S scenario by landing an Earthquake, and Lapras can win the 1S scenario with one Ice Shard of energy advantage.
Alolan Ninetales/Wigglytuff --> Medicham/Toxicroak/Gallade is shown as a dotted arrow because each of the Charm users need to be careful about getting hit by hard hitting Charge moves, as Gallade's Close Combat or Toxicroak's Sludge Bomb can cause them to lose the matchup if unshielded. Note that the matchup with Medicham is a clean win because each of the Charmers can take either Psychic or Dynamic Punch.
Alolan Ninetales/Wigglytuff --> Froslass is shown as a dotted arrow as Froslass wins the 0S scenario against Wigglytuff at even energy, forcing a shield disadvantage, and Froslass picks up a 0S win against Alolan Ninetales with two Powder Snow of energy advantage.
Froslass --> Golbat is shown as a dotted arrow as Golbat has win conditions in 1S and 2S with two Wing Attack of energy advantage, rendering the matchup to a guessing game as to when Golbat will fire a Shadow Ball or shield bait with a Poison Fang.
Gallade --> Venusaur is shown as a dotted arrow as Venusaur wins the 0S scenario. The matchup is a one shield farm down for Gallade, which is advantageous for Gallade typically finishing with 72 energy, likely to give you back the shield invested.
Abomasnow --> Golbat is shown as a dotted arrow because Golbat can start flipping some scenarios with an energy advantage. The scenarios flipped are complicated and depend on which has higher Attack for CMP, and whether it is Shadow or Non-Shadow Golbat, which means Abomasnow is favourable against Golbat only at even energy and might not be reliable as a counter-switch to a Golbat switch-in.
Noctowl --> Articuno is shown as a dotted arrow as Noctowl has an IV and opposing move choice dependent win condition in 0S. If Articuno uses Icy Wind instead of Hurricane, as you would typically expect an Articuno user would do, Noctowl can sometimes hang on to either win 0S or force a shield disadvantage on the Articuno user.
— Wildcards —
Gengar Shadow Claw + Shadow Punchª + Shadow Ball or Sludge Bomb or Focus Blast
Haunter Shadow Claw + Shadow Punch + Shadow Ball or Sludge Bomb
Bibarel Water Gun + Surf + Hyper Fang
Gligar Wing Attack + Night Slash + Returnª or Aerial Ace or Dig (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Gliscor Wing Attack + Night Slash + Earthquake (Shadow or Non-Shadow)
Blaziken Counter + Blaze Kick + Blast Burnª or Stone Edgeª or Brave Bird
Shadow Machamp Counter + Cross Chop + Rock Slide
Primeape Counter + Night Slash + Close Combat or Cross Chopª
Sirfetch'd Counter + Leaf Blade + Close Combat or Night Slash or Brave Bird
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.
Haunter and Gengar have some serious potential in a Meta filled with Froslass and Fighting types. In a lot of ways their coverage is similar to that of Alolan Ninetales and Wigglytuff, only they don't necessarily lose to the Grass/Poison types while also struggle more with Gallade.
Bibarel is an answer to two of the most popular options in the Cup in Galarian Stunfisk and Froslass, which means it could have a significant role to play. However, its weaknesses to Fighting and Grass could hurt it outside of the two Pokemon it is targeting. It was not included to help keep the graphic clean.
Gligar and Gliscor serve as Grass and Fighting type checks, which serve as generalists that only truly fear the Ice types. Gligar is bulkier and holds up better in its job of holding some matchup wins with the Grass and Fighting types, while Gliscor packs Earthquake to help it do a better job of winning against Galarian Stunfisk. They were not included on the graphic because their role didn't fit as easily in keeping the graphic clean and legible.
Blaziken is a Fighting type that can win against Froslass in certain shield scenarios, which means it was tougher to place on the graphic. Blaziken also has the option of running Fire Spin, which further makes it hard to accurately represent its relationships.
Shadow Machamp, Primeape, and Sirfetch'd can all play the Fighting type role depicted in the graphic, but struggle in the head-to-head with the pictured Fighting types which all resist Fighting damage. They were omitted because the Fighting type box already had a number of Pokemon listed and including one to three more would make it harder to read.
— Honourable Mentions —
Alolan Sandslash Powder Snow + Ice Punch + Gyro Ball or Bulldoze
Dewgong Ice Shardª + Icy Windª + Water Pulse
Whiscash Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Blizzard
Quagsire Mud Shot + Stone Edge + Earthquake
Pidgeot Gustª + Aerial Ace + Brave Bird
Obstagoon Counter + Night Slash + Gunk Shot or Cross Chop
Scrafty Counter + Power-Up Punch + Foul Play
Infernape Fire Spin + Blast Burnª + Close Combat
Lickitung Lick + Body Slamª + Power Whip
Lickilicky Lick + Body Slamª + Shadow Ball
Stunfisk (Unova) Mud Shot or Thunder Shock + Mud Bomb + Discharge
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.
Steelix has maintained its status as a trash monster for the second time in three Metas, both of which have featured Galarian Stunfisk as a central figure. Steelix is patiently waiting for a better day of a Meta where it is eligible and Galarian Stunfisk is not.
Regice has yet to make a breakthrough in a Silph Meta, and this does not appear to be any chance for it to shine. It has a moveset that makes Registeel slightly envious, but an Ice typing that makes Registeel roll on the floor with laughter.
Diggersby looks to have a bright future ahead of it in Great League. However, it is weak to Fighting, Ice, Water, and Grass, leaving it with little of a role to play within the Meta. If you like a Pokemon that is weak to pretty much every Pokemon in the concentrated Meta, Diggersby is the Pokemon for you.
Keep an eye out for Pa1amon's Easter Egg hidden in the Graphic!