Vortex Cup Team Guide
Graphic and Article by PolymersUp
— Introduction —
The team guide is back to help you weather the Vortex and come out victorious. 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. 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 —
This guide is essentially a team building template, also referred to as a roster archetype. The graphic is broken down into the 6 team slots and the respective roles that the vast majority of well-balanced and tournament-winning teams appear to fill. Faded Pokémon represent alternatives that are in some aspect lower tier options compared to others featured within the same role or don’t completely fulfill the role description in some aspect.
The “Mandi/Zwei Check” role is necessary to cover Mandibuzz, Zweilous and other Dragon types as well. Froslass has excellent matchups against nearly the entire core meta and is dangerous with energy as Tangent’s upcoming Safe Swap article will cover in great detail. Lapras has Water coverage to hit back against Ninetales and does better in the Ice head-to-heads, whereas Dewgong has the best Pelipper matchup of the group. Melmetal has coverage against nearly everything save Fighters, Ground and Ninetales. Shadow Sealeo is an alternative here but will have a tougher time threatening the Rock/Steel types and Froslass with Body Slam.
Fighters are necessary to avoid struggling against Rock types. While Ground can also serve this purpose, first-place zero Fighter teams are notably less common than zero Ground teams according to early practice tournament data from Ytxpikachu. This is Primeape’s moment and it’s ready to rampage. Primeape pulls no punches and even pressures would-be counters such as Froslass and the standard Snarl Mandibuzz (note Air Slash Mandibuzz, however, is a true counter). Toxicroak has the best matchups against other Fighters and Mud Bomb to better threaten Ninetales, whereas Blaziken’s Ice and Fire resistances can also prove useful. Chesnaught has unique coverage and could fit in well with some teams. Hitmonchan has an arsenal of elemental punches but often gets outpaced or comes up a little short of the KO. Poliwrath has solid defensive typing here but its move coverage isn’t quite as versatile as other options.
The Generalists consistently pump out damage. Mandibuzz is easily the bulkiest Pokémon in the core meta and could help your team be less reliant on shields; both Snarl and Air Slash variants are viable. Zweilous and other Dragons spout unrelenting Dragon Breath damage in a meta with few Steels and void of Fairies, and the Dark typing can be helpful to cover Confusion users for Fighters. Similar to the two top Dark threats, Froslass and Galvantula are major threats with few hard counters in the meta. Ground types also look fairly safe with Grass likely struggling to find a niche here amid the Dragons, Fire types, Ice types, Mandibuzz, Hypno and Galvantula roaming about. Look to bolster your Rock coverage by revisiting the Ground types in your Flex slot.
The Anti-Froslass/Galvantula role is necessary to counter one of the best safe switches in the meta and an eight-legged nuisance, Spooder. Bringing a hard counter would be wise to keep your opponents honest. Rock (with a Quagsire cameo) and Ninetales are the best to cover both. Notably, Quagsire does lose the two-shield scenario against Froslass. Melmetal isn’t a bad option here either, but does lose to Galvantula in the one-shield scenario if Spooder goes straight Lunge. Carracosta only loses the zero-shield scenario against Galvantula; in the one-shield scenario, you should just shield and farm down with Rock Throw. Diggersby and Unovian Stunfisk wall Galv but lose to Froslass, whereas Lanturn covers Froslass but loses to Galvantula.
The Anti-Fighter role is the most diverse role in the meta due to Primeape’s unique coverage. Air Slash Mandibuzz can turn the tables on an unsuspecting Primeape. Pelipper and Mantine are also highly flexible picks that are less likely to get walled unlike Confusion users, such as Wormadam Trash and Hypno. Unlike those two, Gallade keeps the opponent guessing at the fast move. Mew can check Primeape while tilting your coverage with its wide charge move pool. Alternative Fliers, such as Return Gligar, Gyarados, Shadow Dragonite and Emolga, can give your team a different look as well.
The Flex role is where teams tilt their coverage to fill any remaining gaps or possibly even bait their opponent into bringing or benching certain Pokémon. Another Generalist is a popular choice here, especially Ground types for better coverage against Rock types. Although it has respectable usage, Venusaur (and other Grass types excluding Chesnaught) didn’t fit well into any roles and could be tough to bring as previously mentioned in the Generalist section.
— Final Thoughts —
Despite some comparisons by some to other open metas, the Fairy ban in Vortex removed same type attack bonus (STAB) Charmers and opened up some unique cores and team builds that otherwise might not be viable, giving this meta a subtle but distinct feel. As always with team building, the high versatility of several unique picks here, such as Froslass, Primeape, Mandibuzz and Galvantula, puts an emphasis on ensuring you’re not overly weak to any one of these if at an energy deficit. This meta looks fun and balanced with plenty of room to diverge from the above Team Guide, so we look forward to seeing what battlers come up with this month. Best of luck in your tournaments!