Safe Switching in Sorcerous Cup | GO Stadium
Special Thanks: u/PolymersUp
This month has been a very busy month for me with work obligations, which is why the Safe Switch article is only coming out now (I have a lot of free time coming up in July, which means you can expect something for Catacomb Cup to come out much sooner this time). For this month, I’m doing a quick abridged version for Safe Switching, as there isn’t as much time left to write a more detailed breakdown. This serves as a bit of a retrospective for the Meta; a nice test to see how many of these Safe Switching tips you were aware of and if there is something new you just learned that you were not aware of. Let’s get to it!
— Safe and Sacrificial Switch Candidates —
This Safe and Sacrificial Switch analysis focuses on Pokemon in the following concentrated Sorcerous Cup Meta.
Fairy: Alolan Ninetales, Azumarill, Clefable, Granbull, Wigglytuff
Ice: Alolan Sandslash, Froslass, Glalie, Sealeo,
Normal: Alolan Raticate, Lickilicky, Lickitung, Linoone, Munchlax, Noctowl
Poison: Alolan Muk, Beedrill, Golbat, Haunter, Skuntank, Tentacruel, Toxicroak, Venusaur, Victreebel
Psychic: Bronzong, Claydol, Hypno, Medicham
Azumarill: Bubble + Play Rough (or Ice Beam) + Hydro Pump
Sorcerous Cup was one of Azumarill’s best chances to shine as a Safe Switch, as some of its biggest predators were not present in the Meta (Meganium, Ferrothorn). Azumarill has amazing bulk and coverage move options that make it work as a Safe Switch. Play Rough was generally the preferred charge move to pair with Hydro Pump, as Play Rough wins the mirror, but Ice Beam is also a strong option that improves Azumarill’s matchups with Beedrill, Toxicroak, and Noctowl. This could be increasingly more important with the introduction of Drill Run Beedrill. Hydro Pump was necessary for Azumarill to beat Bronzong, Alolan Muk, and provide closing power shields down. Azumarill does have counter switch threats in the Meta. A number of Poison types, such as Skuntank and Beedrill, are used in the anti-Azumarill role (Skuntank requires Sludge Bomb to effectively play this role). Hypno with Thunder Punch also plays a prominent role in the Meta as an Azumarill counter. However, all of these are softer answers to Azumarill. This is where the likes of Tentacruel, Venusaur, and Razor Leaf users can be used as a hard answer to Azumarill.
Alolan Muk: Snarl + Dark Pulse + Sludge Wave (or Gunk Shot)
Whenever Alolan Muk is eligible in a Meta, it is a candidate for Safe Switching. Its fast energy generation and Dark/Poison coverage makes it ideal for the role. Even Pokemon that counter it, such as Beedrill and its Drill Run, can often take a lot of damage from it and be left with little health. It’s biggest threat in the Meta, as you may have already guessed, is Toxicroak. Toxicroak resists both Dark and Poison type damage, fights back with the Counter (arguably the strongest Fast move in the game) and super effective Mud Bombs. Aside from Toxicroak, some players can also counter Alolan Muk by committee by using Pokemon like Munchlax, Beedrill, and Medicham to defeat it and block the Safe Switch. All these Pokemon will take a lot of damage in return blocking the switch, but will effectively get the job done.
Munchlax: Lick + Body Slam + Bulldoze
Munchlax is another Pokemon that is always in the conversation for Safe Switch. It plays a similar role in the Meta as Alolan Muk, with less energy generation but having a much closer Toxicroak matchup (it can even win the 1S matchup for some IV combinations). Munchlax has very few bad matchups, but it does struggle hard with Noctowl and Alolan Raticate due to their resistance to Lick. Munchlax might be the absolute safest options to use as a Safe Switch, assuming your opponent is not using Noctowl or Alolan Raticate.
Froslass: Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball
Froslass is another Pokemon that will generate hype as a Safe Switch, as its performance tends to improve with an energy lead. And one of Froslass’ biggest secrets in the Meta is that it flips the tables on one of its would be counters, Alolan Muk, by winning the two shield scenario. This is a really important piece of information, as a lot of players will use Alolan Muk to counter a Froslass switch and end up surprised. Similar to Azumarill and Alolan Muk, however, much of the Meta is built around having an answer to Froslass as a Safe Switch, and most of those come in the form of the Fairy types. Azumarill and Charm users are both strong responses to Froslass, but be warned that Froslass can potentially force a shield from these counters while using no shields itself. Froslass can tank one Play Rough from Azumarill and hit two Shadow Balls, one of which Azumarill might need to block unless it has strong IVs. Even so, these are not matchups a Froslass Safe Switch wants to see.
— Alternative Switch Options —
Sorcerous Cup is one of the more open Metas we have had, which means a number of other Meta threats could serve you as a safe switch depending on team composition. Is your opponent lacking a Steel type wall to Charm? Try Alolan Ninetales or Wigglytuff as your Safe Switch. Is your opponent using Skuntank but no Alolan Muk? Try out a Bronzong Safe Switch. The key thing is to know your six Pokemon and what matchups they fear the most. If that threat is not present on the opposing team, it could be an opportunity to use that Pokemon as your Safe Swap.
— Takeaways —
Sorcerous Cup has been an excellent Meta for Safe Switching, as it is full of big, bulky generalists. The likes of Azumarill, Alolan Muk, Munchlax, and Froslass have played an important role in shaping the Safe Switch Meta.
— Terms and Abbreviations —
A Safe Switch is a Pokémon that is well-suited to switch in against your opponent should you find yourself immediately in a bad position from the lead. While the opponent reacts and switches to an appropriate counter (called a Counter Switch), the Safe Switch often gains a slight energy advantage on the incoming Pokémon. Safe Switches often have solid matchups across the core Meta, have excellent coverage move options to threaten their top counters, and ideally can flip some losses to wins with a modest energy lead. When executed well, this usually nets the trainer a win along with switch advantage or possibly a loss with a shield advantage, a much better situation than they were in initially. Hex Dusclops in Sinister Cup was an example of this strategy in action. For Safe Switching scenarios, we will focus on 1S matchups, since you often will need to invest one shield to flip the initial matchup. Situationally, we will look at 2S matchups since we are discussing how to recover from a bad lead, and using both shields is an option if winning switch advantage is paramount.
A Sacrificial Swap is a Pokémon that is used as bait to draw out the opposing hard counter, which often is then subsequently farmed by the next Pokémon. An excellent example of this was Quagsire or Whiscash in Tempest Cup. They could be switched in to draw out the opposing Tropius or Abomasnow, get defeated quickly, and allow Skarmory or Altaria to farm energy against the now trapped Grass type.
Wins and Energy Leads: The featured Pokémon gets these meta wins and can even pick up others with energy advantage.
Lead Options for Safe Switch: These are suitable teammates for the lead, based on what Pokémon your Safe Switch can and cannot comfortably cover.
Counter Switch Threats: If your opponent brings one of these Pokémon, you should be cautious of overusing the Safe Switch.
Teammate Options for Sacrificial Swap: These Pokémon can pair with your Safe Switch and transform it into a Sacrificial Swap should you be immediately met with its hard counter.
Verdict: A brief conclusion of the effectiveness of this Pokémon as a Switch.
Here, we use 0S, 1S, and 2S to refer to various even-shield scenarios. Shield baiting is when you use a lower energy charge move to draw a shield from your opponent prior to landing the higher DPE move. Occasionally, we will use a Move Sequence Summary to illustrate a bait-dependent matchup, such as (BC)-SB-BC—this means the first Bone Club was shielded and A-Marowak needs to land both a Shadow Ball and a Bone Club to win.
High Stat Product (SP) is generally preferred when optimizing IVs for PvP in Great or Ultra League due to the CP caps; however, breakpoint and bulkpoint considerations can provide a pivotal edge against your competition in key matchups. A breakpoint (BrP) is an Attack value threshold at which your fast (or charge) move now does more damage per move in a specific matchup. These are not generalizable as they are dependent on multiple factors: base move damage, your Attack value, and your opponent’s Defense value. Conversely, a bulkpoint (BuP) is the Defense value threshold at which you prevent a specific opposing Pokémon from reaching a BrP.
L denotes a Legacy move
CMP – Charge Move Priority
DPT – Damage per Turn
EPT – Energy per Turn
DPE – Damage per Energy
STAB – Same-Type Attack Bonus