Prismatic Cup Team Guide
Graphic by Mikeiff
Article by PolymersUp
— Introduction —
The team guide is back to help you find the right combination of colors to make a splash this month in the Prismatic Cup (download image here). This guide is based on our understanding of the meta, iterations using PvPoke Team Builder and factoring in tournament usage and performance data compiled by Ytxpikachu (find his usage data here). If you’re interested in better understanding the meta and learning the matchups for Pokémon you should be prepared to face, look out for our Meta Snapshot article and graphic coming soon as well. Lastly if you love discussing Cup metas, come join in on the discussion or get team specific help at GO Stadium and forge new friendships with people as passionate about PvP as you. So let’s get to it!
— Team Guide —
Although it’s a little different this month due to the unique color slots, this guide is essentially a team building template, also referred to as a roster archetype. The graphic is a matrix of the six color slots required in the Prismatic Cup and the meta roles that we expect the majority of well-balanced teams to fill. Pokémon with a gold border saw high usage within their color slot in early practice tournament data compiled by Ytxpikachu, and Pokémon with a green border outcompeted others in their color slot by an even wider margin. Note that some Pokémon may only partially fulfill their role description (e.g. Cradily can flip some Anti-Grass matchups).
The Anti-Electric role is necessary to cover Lanturn among other Electrics that are otherwise strong options in the Prismatic Cup. Grass and Ground usually don’t occupy a similar niche in most metas, but the central role of Lanturn and other Electrics has made this an integral component of early teams. Ferrothorn and Quagsire are early trends for this role. Flygon and Cradily are two interesting picks as well, and Jumpluff, Gliscor and Gligar notably can cover Fighters. Serperior, which will be featured in the April Community Day, and Meganium also wall Electrics, but have less dual role potential.
The Anti-Hypno role has several meta pivot (i.e. safe switch) options. Alolan Muk, Snorlax, and Munchlax all look well-positioned in the meta to not only cover Psychics but also bail you out of a bad matchup and deal consistent damage. Shiftry is another high usage option, along with the three previously mentioned, that gives you Anti-Electric threat as well. And it’s unclear what moveset early teams are running, but Fury Cutter Crustle might be a diamond in the rough for the Prismatic Cup. In high contrast to other options with this role, Probopass is more subject to Rock-Paper-Scissors—we know, revelatory—but still has a strong position in the meta.
The Anti-Talonflame role includes Waters, Rocks, and Electrics. As Talonflame is one of the three highest usage along with Lanturn and Hypno, this role shouldn’t come as a surprise. Lanturn is the top option here due to its bulk and ability to resist all of Talonflame’s moves. Crustle and Probopass are dual role Pokémon we see cropping up here as well, alongside Empoleon which has a similar niche. Alolan Raichu is able to break some stronger cores (duos of two complementary Pokémon) in this meta and could fit in well to your team. Ampharos and Brick Break Raichu have some of the better matchups among the Electrics against the top Grass Ferrothorn, but must be wary of teams that go Flygon or Quagsire for the Anti-Electric role instead. Kingdra looks poised to be another underestimated threat in this meta, depending on which way the meta shifts. Sudowoodo and Cradily are less conventional as a pseudo-Fighter and Grass type, respectively, that can flip the script on Talonflame. Dewgong does not dominate the Talonflame matchup as others but wins the one-shield when not shielding the first move, which other Ice types cannot tout. We would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge Bibarel’s inclusion in the whitelist meta and its ability to counter the phoenix.
The Anti-Grass role is common due to the threat of Lanturn (and other Electrics) which necessitates Grass (or Ground) in the aforementioned Anti-Electric role. Talonflame dominates this slot, while other Fire options also appear viable along with Fliers such as Dragonite and Drifblim. Haunter partially fills this role although it struggles more so with Shiftry than any other Anti-Grass, but is also interesting as a potential check to the Talonflame+Lanturn+Ferrothorn elemental trio (Fire+Water+Grass core). Alolan Muk is a notable option that can threaten Grass in addition to countering Hypno.
The Anti-Fighting role is the most diverse role with an amalgamation of Fliers, Ghosts, Psychics and Fairies. Hypno and Talonflame top the charts in this role, while Gallade and Ghosts such as Froslass, Haunter and Drifblim are also trending early on. As Fighters aren’t central to this meta at first glance, the Anti-Fighting coverage is important but Pokémon likely need to also serve as Generalists such as Hypno or have a dual role such as Drifblim or Talonflame. Jumpluff, Gliscor and Gligar are interesting options to also cover Electrics, and Galarian Rapidash could be the most versatile Fairy in a meta that looks to have a sufficient presence of Fire and Steel.
The Fighter or Flex role is where teams can tilt their coverage to fill any remaining gaps or possibly even bait their opponent into bringing or benching certain Pokémon. Although Fighters don’t appear to be essential early on, they are absolutely a threat if you can work one into your team. There are, however, strong well-balanced teams that choose instead to double up on a previous role perhaps adding another Generalist like Hypno. If you’re looking to build around a Fighter, there are plenty of unique options. Chesnaught and Breloom give some added coverage for Water types and potentially valuable resistance to Electric moves. Lucario is a unique threat to the Hypno+Snorlax duo, which should be common on many teams. Sudowoodo, and to a lesser extent Hitmontop, can find win conditions against the top bird Talonflame. And we cannot forget to mention the ineffable final form of Torchic’s evolution.
— Final Thoughts —
Prismatic Cup brings back a unique team building style with whitelisted slots reminiscent of Season 2 Continentals, although in this case with particular emphasis on spanning the color spectrum. As is the case with these formats, some Pokémon outcompete the rest of their slot by a wide margin. Keep in mind, however, it’s still very early on, and we could see more than one shift as the meta settles. Best of luck in your tournaments!