Sunrise Cup Meta Snapshot
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Graphic By: u/Pa1amon
Written By: u/Tangent444
In the Sunrise Meta Snapshot graphic, we attempt to distill the Sunrise 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 Sunrise Cup is a Meta with a number of distinctive roles, which are depicted on the graphic:
Galarian Stunfisk Role
Galarian Stunfisk Mud Shot + Rock Slide + Earthquake
Galarian Stunfisk fills its own unique role in the Meta, which is the reason it is shown on its own. It hard counters some of the main Flying type Pokemon and keeps them at bay from running over the rest of the Meta. However, its position near the top of the Meta means that players will come prepared with a number of counters from the other core Meta roles. A few other Pokemon, such as Quagsire, could fill a similar role but will not play as a hard-counter to Flying types.
Altaria Dragon Breath + Sky Attack + Dragon Pulse (or Dazzling Gleam)
Skarmory Air Slash + Sky Attack + Brave Bird
Zapdos Thunder Shockª + Drill Peck + Thunderbolt or Thunder
The Flying type role is pictured with Altaria, Skarmory, and Zapdos. This role is the one which is hard countered by Galarian Stunfisk, but otherwise tends to have strong matchups against the rest of the Meta. The Pokemon covered by the Flying role can vary depending on which one you pick.
Altaria picks up wins against Fire Types, Pseudo-Fighters (Vigoroth/Obstagoon), Grass Types (Ferrothorn), and Swampert, but is challenged more by Fairy types (Wigglytuff), Ice types and Pokemon with Ice type coverage (Whiscash, Mantine).
Skarmory is much stronger against Ice and Fairy type Pokemon, but is challenged more by Fire Types, Pseudo-Fighters, Ferrothorn (with Thunder), and Swampert. Skarmory also tends to have more of a fighting chance against Galarian Stunfisk thanks to only taking neutral damage from Rock Slide and having the hard-hitting Brave Bird.
Zapdos is more of a boom-or-bust glass cannon pick. It is one of the few strong counters to Water/Flying Pokemon in the Meta (though it still has to be careful to not get hit by an Ice Beam from Mantine), and it also picks up a win against Skarmory. However, it gets counter harder by Galarian Stunfisk than the other Flying types, and loses the head-to-head with Altaria. Zapdos is depicted on the graphic as either the shadow or non-shadow form, and which one you use comes down to personal preference.
Pseudo-Fighting or Fire Role
Vigoroth Counter + Body Slam + Bulldoze
Obstagoon Counter + Night Slash + Cross Chop (or Gunk Shot / Hyper Beam)
Alolan Marowak Fire Spin + Bone Club + Shadow Ball
Victini Confusion + V-Create + Psychic
The roles of Pseudo-Fighter and Fire are shown together in the graphic because they have a similar purpose within the Meta: To counter Abomasnow and Ferrothorn harder than anything else can.
Vigoroth is a strong generalist in the Meta due to its strong combination of Counter and Body Slam. The advantage it has over fellow Pseudo-Fighter Obstagoon is winning the head-to-head in decisive fashion. However, its drawbacks include getting walled by Drifblim, struggling with Alolan Marowak, and typically losing the zero shield scenario with Ferrothorn and Abomasnow (meaning it will often need shield deficit to accomplish one of the main jobs of the role). To ensure the win against Galarian Stunfisk in all even shield scenarios, it should use Bulldoze first, and if shielded then use Body Slam to finish it off later.
Obstagoon as a Pseudo-Fighter drops the head-to-head with Vigoroth, but provides more coverage for its counters. Obstagoon wins against Victini and Alolan Marowak, and wins all even shield scenarios with Abomasnow and Ferrothorn just using Night Slash. It does not possess the power of Vigoroth’s Body Slam in neutral matchups, like Swampert, which makes them tougher but the potential for an attack boost can change that. Cross Chop is the second move depicted on the graphic, as that ensures the zero-shield win against Galarian Stunfisk. However, Gunk Shot or Hyper Beam are options for a second move to give it more closing power.
Alolan Marowak provides likely the hardest possible counter in the Meta to Ferrothorn and Abomasnow, taking both down with the fast move alone. It also provides important resistance to Counter and wins all even shield scenarios with Vigoroth, even when shield baited. The main drawback of Alolan Marowak compared to using a Pseudo-Fighter is that it loses hard to all the Water types, and does not provide you with a sure counter to Galarian Stunfisk.
Victini provides an alternative to Alolan Marowak that plays in a very different way. The power and speed of V-Create can put immense pressure on an opponent, but the debuffs to defense means that it needs to be handled with care. For example, it wins all even shield scenarios with Ferrothorn but it needs to make sure not to block the first charge move (as it can comfortably take one Thunder). It does more damage to the Water type Pokemon thanks to Confusion than Alolan Marowak tends to do (unless AWak can land a Shadow Ball), but it needs to use its charge moves to provide Fire type damage, which can be problematic against Pokemon that resist Confusion. In the hands of a skilled trainer, Victini could be a Pokemon that completely breaks the Meta open.
Ice or Grass Role
Abomasnow Powder Snow + Weather Ball Ice + Energy Ball
Ferrothorn Bullet Seed + Power Whip + Thunder (or Flash Cannon)
The roles of Ice and Grass are shown together because the two biggest players, Abomasnow and Ferrothorn, share similar weaknesses to Fighting and Fire type damage.
Abomasnow is a merging of both the Grass and Ice roles, but plays more like an Ice type due to its Fast and Charge moves providing big Ice type damage. As a result, Abomasnow counters Altaria in a way that no other Grass type can. On the flip-side, it is a Grass type that is not a sure thing to defeat Swampert, as that matchup is like a high-stakes game of Poker where each side is threatening a one-hit KO with their big charge moves. Abomasnow can play as a shadow or non shadow with a few matchup differences. The most notable is picking up more shield scenarios with Galarian Stunfisk as a shadow, but dropping the win against Vigoroth in zero shields.
Ferrothorn provides a hard counter to the Water/Ground types, which is something Abomasnow can struggle with more, but drops the matchup with Altaria that Abomasnow gives you. As a second charge move, Thunder looks to be preferred to hit back against (non Altaria) Flying types harder and to threaten Water/Flying types with a one-hit KO. Flash Cannon is a viable option for Ferrothorn to pick up potential winning scenarios against Abomasnow and other Grass type Pokemon that would otherwise wall it, but loses Ferrothorn’s biggest threat to the powerful Flying type Pokemon (aside from Altaria).
Swampert Mud Shot + Hydro Cannonª + Sludge Wave
Whiscash Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Blizzard
Mantine Bubble + Bubble Beam + Ice Beam
Pelipper Wing Attack + Weather Ball Water + Hurricane
The role of Water is to counter Galarian Stunfisk and Fire types. The Water/Ground types are harder counters to Galarian Stunfisk than the Water/Flying types, while the Water/Flying types tend to be more solid generalists who hold up better against the Pseudo-Fighters and most of the Grass types.
Swampert provides a Galarian Stunfisk and Fire counter that has a strong fight back against Flying types like Skarmory, Zapdos, and Drifblim. Sludge Wave is the second move you want here in order to have a chance to win against Abomasnow, one of the biggest positives for running Swampert. Swampert struggles with Altaria, Ferrothorn, and Water/Flying types, and has to be more careful not to get hit by a Galarian Stunfisk Earthquake if facing a Stunfisk with energy farmed up than Whiscash or Quagsire would.
Whiscash has more bulk than Swampert while maintaining the role of hard-countering Galarian Stunfisk and Fire types. Whiscash can even beat Galarian Stunfisk in the 0-1 shield disadvantage scenario, something Swampert cannot do. As well, Whiscash has winning scenarios with Altaria and can threaten a potential one-hit KO against other Flying types. However, it doesn’t hit as hard in neutral matchups such as Vigoroth (unless it lands a Blizzard), does not have winning scenarios with Abomansow, and tends to be more boom-or-bust with the Flying types where it either gets the KO or does very little Ground damage if Blizzards get shielded.
Mantine plays a role in the Meta as a soft counter to almost everything in the Meta. It counters Galarian Stunfisk and Fire types, though both matchups are closer than it is for other Water types. It also resists Counter which allows it to limit the effectiveness of the Pseudo-Fighters, and packs Ice Beam to give it winning conditions against the Flying types. As a Water/Flying type, its biggest fear is Electric type attacks. Zapdos, Emolga, and Ferrothorn present some of the toughest matchups for it, though with some energy advantage it can win against the frail Electric/Flying types if it lands Ice Beam. Bubble is the Meta Fast move, as without Bubble it does not play as a Galaran Stunfisk counter and loses all even shield scenarios. The biggest drawback to Mantine is that Bubblebeam hits like a pillow and can cause Mantine to play at a shield disadvantage if it over-relies on the move in neutral matchups and it is not shielded.
Pelipper plays a similar role to Mantine, with one of the main differences being it hits like a truck with Weather Ball and Hurricane, putting larger pressure on shields. However, Pelipper’s matchup with Galarian Stunfisk is shown as a dotted line because it is only a sure win at even energy and shields. One Mud Shot of energy or one extra shield is enough to flip the matchup in GFisk’s favour. As well, Pelipper struggles more with Skarmory and Altaria, losing in all even shield scenarios.
Drifblim Hex + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball
Drifblim plays its own unique role in the Meta, one that is a consideration for what people would typically use as a flex pick as it is not a mandatory Meta role. As a Ghost/Flying type, it double resists every single move that Vigoroth can throw at it, and hits back with neutral Icy Wind. And outside of Abomasnow, Drifblim tends to go even with just about everything else shown in the concentrated Meta. The relationship with Altaria is not shown in the graphic, as Drifblim can lose the 1 or 2 shield scenarios depending on IVs, but the matchup is generally positive and a sure win in the 0 shield scenario.
Articuno Ice Shard + Icy Wind + Hurricaneª (or Ancient Power or Ice Beam)
Wigglytuff Charm + Ice Beam + Play Rough
Quagsire Mud Shot + Stone Edge + Earthquake
Shiftry Snarl + Leaf Blade + Foul Play
Ludicolo Bubble + Ice Beam + Energy Ball (or Hydro Pump)
Lugia Extrasensory or Dragon Tail + Sky Attack + Hydro Pump
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.
Articuno provides an alternative Ice type to Abomasnow that is not weak to fighting type damage and isn’t threatened by a one-hit OK from Swampert’s Sludge Wave. Icy Wind debuff mechanics can also help set-up teammates for success. On the flip side, it is more threatened by Rock Slides from Galarian Stunfisk and does not pressure shields as much as Abomasnow can. Articuno likely wants legacy Hurricane to provide it with a big hit and a coverage move for Fire types, which requires an Elite Charge TM on a sub-1500 CP Articuno. Ancient Power, Ice Beam, or no second Charge move at all are options for those looking to be more thrifty. Both shadow and non-shadow Articuno work as options.
Wigglytuff looks to be the top Charm user in the Meta, adding an Altaria hard counter that has strong generalist matchups against anything that is not a Steel or Fire type. Its Normal typing also means it holds up stronger to Alolan Marowak than you might expect, taking aways its biggest weapon in Shadow Ball. Its biggest drawback is that Galarian Stunfisk, Ferrothorn, and Skarmory hard-counter it and all look to be common Meta choices, but outside of those Wigglytuff is a force to be reckoned with. It is not included in the graphic mainly because it didn’t fit into any of the pictures roles.
Quagsire plays as a sort of hybrid of Swampert/Whiscash with Galarian Stunfisk, playing the Water role of being a GFisk and Fire counter but having the ability to fight back against Flying and Ice types with Stone Edge. Of the Water/Ground types, it has the most fight against the Water/Flying types, able to win in some even shield scenarios. It also has more variability to run other Charge moves in Sludge Bomb or Acid Spray (though neither seems recommended in this Meta). One of its biggest drawbacks is that it needs to land an Earthquake to defeat Galarian Stunfisk, which can be done in all even shield scenarios but gives Galarian Stunfisk enough time to potentially run out the switch clock and escape if locked in. It is also slower to reach charge moves than the other Water/Ground types in neutral matchups with Pseudo-Fighters and against fellow Water/Ground types.
Shiftry provides a Grass and Dark hybrid that hits hard and fast, able to outpace and one-hit KO the Water/Ground types. Unlike other Grass types, Shiftry can turn the tables on the two most popular Fire types in Alolan Marowak and Victini and win in some scenarios. It also has the ability to put up a fight with other Flying type Pokemon, and is a strong counter to Drifblim. The drawbacks to Shiftry is that it lacks bulk, which can leave it less desirable in some cases than the much bulkier Ferrothorn. This means Shiftry presents itself as an alternative choice to Ferrothorn that can flip the script on the Fire types, which could be very valuable for certain team compositions.
Ludicolo is one of the hardest counters to Galarian Stunfisk in the Meta, able to win even at a 0-1 shield disadvantage. It has Ice Beam to threaten Flying types with, making it a generalist that can put up a fight against anything in the Meta. Energy Ball looks like the preferred second move for the ability to hit Water types very hard, but Hydro Pump can make Ludicolo a mini-Azumarill that can threaten a big hit on Fire types that would otherwise not shield. Ludicolo’s biggest drawback is that it is somewhat slow to reach charge moves, causing it to lose more matchups than you might expect. As a Water type, it is unexpectedly not a sure thing to defeat Fire types Alolan Marowak or Victini like other Water types do handily.
Lugia is a challenging Pokemon to get at the Great League level, needing to be traded to reach under 1500CP from a Lugia received from a weekly research box (Shadow Lugia when?). However, if you have one with good IVs, it can provide a Flying type Pokemon that has winning scenarios against both Galarian Stunfisk and Altaria. To have the best chance to beat Galarian Stunfisk, you would want Extrasensory as the fast move, as it does one more damage per use. However, the Altaria matchup is secured using Dragon Tail, so ultimately both Fast moves have merit. Lugia has a number of weaknesses and struggles with Dark, Electric, Ghost, Ice, and Rock type damage. It also relies on landing Hydro Pumps in situations where Sky Attack is resisted (Skarmory, Galarian Stunfisk, and Zapdos namely), which could leave you in a bad spot if you cannot land the move.
Venusaur Vine Whip + Frenzy Plantª + Sludge Bomb
Tropius Air Slash + Leaf Blade + Aerial Ace
Noctowl Wing Attack + Sky Attack + Psychic
Snorlax Lick + Body Slam + Superpower (or Earthquake/ Heavy Slam / Outrage / Skull Bash)
Emolga Thunder Shock + Discharge + Aerial Ace
Blaziken Counter + Blaze Kick + Stone Edgeª (or Blast Burnª or Brave Bird)
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, such as Unova Stunfisk, Kanto Ninetales, Piloswine, Hoenn Linoone, and Galarian Linoone, could also have a place in the Meta on the right team.
Steelix Dragon Tail + Crunch + Earthquake
Meganium Vine Whip + Frenzy Plantª + Earthquake
Shadow Victreebel Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade + Acid Spray
These Pokemon are best left in the trash can.
Steelix used to be a star of a few Silph Metas in the past with its unique Ground/Steel typing, but that is no longer unique with Galarian Stunfisk on the scene. Not only does Steelix barely win matchups like Skarmory and Altaria, but it badly loses the head-to-head with Galarian Stunfisk, unable to keep up.
Meganium has been a hero in a number of past Silph Metas and in Go Battle League, but its complete lack of coverage for anything that flies means that the cons outweigh the pros compared to other Grass types which Meganium often loses the head-to-head with. This is not a good Meta for Meganium.
Speaking of Grass type damage that can’t fight back against Flying types, we have Go Battle League villain Shadow Victreebel. Razor Leaf users in this Meta are not in a strong position, as Pokemon like Ferrothorn, Venusaur, and Shiftry can mostly do their job with more ability to fight back against Flying types. There is no Bastiodon in this Meta, which means it is best to keep this nefarious strategy on the sidelines this month, especially in a format where the opponent can see them on your team of 6.
Keep an eye out for Pa1amon’s Easter Egg hidden in the graphic!