The Kanto Cup is a specialized GO Battle League format that will run during the second week of Season 5. The exact dates are Monday, November 16th, 2020, at 1 p.m. PST to Monday, November 23rd, 2020, at 1 p.m. PST.
This will take place in Great League and as the name suggests, the only rule is trainers can only use Pokémon that have a Pokédex number between #001 and #151. Alolan forms, Galarian forms and Shadow Pokémon will be allowed.
In this article we will go over the strongest Pokémon in the Kanto Cup, what they are good against and how to counter them.
First things first, here’s a simple infographic you can save and reference later:
Breaking Down the Big 6:
Hypno is the strongest Pokémon in Kanto Cup. It’s powerful STAB Confusion combined with excellent bulk and coverage moves leaves only very few Pokémon able to beat it. It destroys Machamp and anything else weak to Psychic. Shadow Hypno is worse overall.
The choice of charge moves is very difficult, since almost every combination is viable and different sets dictate which matchups Hypno can win. Thunder Punch is very handy for Dewgong, which is a huge pain for Hypno to deal with otherwise. However, you’ll also want Fire Punch for Alolan Sandlash, which Hypno can’t beat without.
Running these 2 moves together though, leaves Hypno extremely prone to Dragonair, Mew and Alolan Marowak. Ice Punch gives Hypno the best shot at beating Dragonair, but it hits no other relevant threat super effectively, so it’s not worth using in most cases. Shadow Ball lets Hypno threaten Alolan Marowak and Mew and win the mirror. It also allows Hypno to beat Dragonair if it lands, but is double resisted by Snorlax and Wigglytuff.
Psychic, Future Sight and legacy Psyshock are strong STAB moves that inflict high damage on anything that doesn’t resist them, most importantly Snorlax and Wigglytuff. Last but not least, Focus Blast obliterates Snorlax and Alolan Sandslash if it lands and is Hypno’s strongest option against Alolan Muk. However, it is very slow and thus Hypno usually will only get to use it once in battle.
At the end of the day, it’s best to go with whatever moves help your team the most. If you’re curious, Fire Punch + Shadow Ball is the best general moveset, since it covers the mirror, gives Hypno the best shot at beating Alolan Marowak and Mew, maintains the ability to beat Alolan Sandslash and nothing in the meta resists both.
Regardless of what moveset you decide to go with, Snorlax, Wigglytuff and Alolan Muk can switch in and beat Hypno with relative ease. Dewgong usually wins against non-Thunder Punch variants.
Alolan Sandslash wins against non-Fire Punch variants. Alolan Marowak and Mew win pretty easily against non-Shadow Ball variants, but they still can win against Shadow Ball ones as long as Hypno doesn’t have too much of an energy advantage.
Alolan Sandslash is the both the premier Ice type and premier Steel type in Kanto Cup. It shuts down Wigglytuff and Dragonair and goes toe-to-toe with Hypno and Mew. It beats Alolan Muk in the 1 shield and 2 shield scenarios straight Bulldoze.
Alolan Marowak and Machamp are the banes of Alolan Sandslash’s existence. They can farm it completely from full health, usually without having to shield at all.
Hypno with Fire Punch beats it in every even shield scenario. Snorlax with Superpower wins every even shield scenario straight Superpower, but it needs to build up to 2 and use them back-to-back. Mew needs a Fire move to be able to check Alolan Sandslash. Lapras and Dewgong can usually beat it with their Water moves, but they don’t like taking more than 2 Bulldozes.
Alolan Marowak is back and better than ever. With its signature move Shadow Bone, it can beat Hypno much easier since it outpaces Shadow Ball variants to their Shadow Ball, assuming both start at zero energy. Shadow Bone also has a nifty 20% chance to lower opponents’ Defense, making it easier for it or its teammates to take them down. It is the hardest counter to Alolan Sandslash in this format and has good matchups against Wigglytuff and Dewgong since it resists Fairy and Ice.
The Lapras matchup is favored toward Lapras since it has access to the fast and strong Surf, while Dewgong got stuck with the terrible Water Pulse. The Mew matchup is fairly even since Mew has options that turn the tables against it.
Fire Spin is the better fast move in most cases, since it allows Alolan Marowak to counter Wigglytuff effectively, farm Alolan Sandslash and have the best chance against Snorlax and Alolan Muk. It still beats Hypno and Mew (without Surf or Dark Pulse) with Fire Spin, but Hex can be used instead if you really want to make sure that Alolan Marowak can beat them.
Hex also lets it win the mirror and have better matchups against Machamp, Lapras and Dragonair, but without Fire Spin it loses the ability to counter Wigglytuff effectively and forfeits basically any chance of beating Snorlax and Alolan Muk. If you wish to use Hex, Fire Blast is the best second charge move to go with Shadow Bone, since it hits Snorlax, Alolan Muk and Wigglytuff hard if it lands.
Bone Club is mainly used as a bait move since it is very weak and lacks STAB, but it chips away at Alolan Muk since it’s super effective. If you don’t like playing bait games, Fire Blast can be used to nuke usual counters such as Snorlax and Alolan Muk. This is much easier said than done though, since it’s usually blatantly obvious that you’re going for Fire Blast since it takes a long time to reach.
Alolan Muk and Snorlax beat Alolan Marowak fairly easily, regardless of the moveset it has. Hypno can win if it lands Shadow Ball, but it would need a pretty big energy advantage to do that consistently, especially if Alolan Marowak has Hex.
Mew with Surf or Dark Pulse wins the 2 shield matchup pretty convincingly, but it can’t afford to get hit by Shadow Bone. Dragonair (especially Shadow Dragonair) beats Alolan Marowak fairly easily since it resists Fire Spin and has powerful Dragon Breath combined with fast, super effective Aqua Tails. It can also tank a Shadow Bone without too much trouble. It should be noted however, that Shadow Dragonair loses the 2 shield against Hex Alolan Marowak if it gets hit by Shadow Bone.
Wigglytuff is the best Charm user in Kanto Cup. What separates it from Clefable is it’s sub-Normal typing, which gives it a double resistance to Snorlax’s Lick, Hypno’s Shadow Ball, Mew’s Shadow Claw and Alolan Marowak’s Shadow Bone.
This makes it a very strong Snorlax and Mew counter that also destroys Machamp and Dragonair. In fact, it can Charm down Snorlax and Mew from full health, only having to shield once in most cases. It beats Alolan Muk and Lapras with 2 shields and turns the tables on Hex Alolan Marowak without Fire Blast. It wins the 1 shield scenario vs. Hypno, but it is very close. However, it wins the no shield and 2 shield scenarios pretty convincingly.
Alolan Sandslash and Fire Spin Alolan Marowak wreck Wigglytuff. Dewgong beats it in every even shield scenario, but not by much. Alolan Muk can beat it in the 1 shield and no shield scenarios straight Sludge Wave. Lapras beats it in the no shield and 1 shield scenarios straight Surf.
Snorlax is a very good generalist that only hard loses to Machamp and Wigglytuff. It beats Hypno in every even shield scenario and thanks to its Normal typing can Lick down Alolan Marowak and Mew from full health, usually only having to shield once. It also has Superpower as a fantastic coverage move, which allows it to effectively counter Alolan Sandslash and put immense pressure on Dewgong and Lapras. It’s matchups against Dragonair, Alolan Muk, Dewgong and Lapras are fairly neutral. Shadow Snorlax is worse overall.
Dragonair is the best Dragon Breath user in this meta. What makes it better than its fully evolved counterpart is access to fast Aqua Tail and much better bulk, which gives it the ability to counter Alolan Marowak. Its matchups against Hypno, Snorlax and Alolan Muk are fairly neutral. It beats Mew pretty convincingly as long as it doesn’t have Dragon Claw.
Aqua Tail is the move that Dragonair will be using most of the time, since it’s very fast and has very good neutral coverage in the meta. Dragon Pulse is mainly there to help close out the no shield matchups against Hypno, Mew, Machamp, Alolan Muk and Snorlax, since it’s too slow to use consistently. In the 1 shield and 2 shield matchups vs. those same threats, it’s usually best to go straight Aqua Tail. Landing the Dragon Pulse can be a saving grace in the 1 shield vs. Hypno though.
Alolan Sandslash, Lapras, Dewgong and Wigglytuff are Dragonair’s biggest enemies. Machamp usually beats it in every even shield scenario because Cross Chop outpaces Aqua Tail, but Machamp needs to land the Rock Slide in the no shield since Cross Chop doesn’t KO. The 2 shield is VERY close though, meaning it could sway either way depending on IVs.
Shadow Dragonair is much better overall, since it flips the 2 shield vs. Machamp and flips the no shield matchups against Hypno and Snorlax if it lands Dragon Pulse. It also makes all the even shield matchups vs. Alolan Marowak more dominant.
Mew has always been the “Jack of all trades” in every meta it’s allowed in. It’s extreme versatility in its charge moves makes it unpredicatable, which usually exerts a lot of pressure on the opponent to shield in fear of a super effective move. This meta is no different, since Mew can hit every Pokémon in Kanto Cup super effectively with the right moves. However, as the saying goes, Mew can also be the “master of none,” since it can sometimes fall short on beating the threats that it’s supposed to beat with a certain moveset, due to it being relatively frail in Great League.
Furthermore, there’s always usually one other Pokémon that can utilize its desired moveset better. For example, Surf Mew in Kanto Cup faces major competition with Lapras, which has STAB on Surf and doesn’t lose heavily to Wigglytuff, Alolan Muk and Snorlax like Mew does.
Just like Hypno, the choice of charge moves for Mew is very difficult, since its matchups outside of Wigglytuff, Alolan Muk and Snorlax are mostly dependent on the moves it decides to go with.
Psyshock is almost always the best choice for one of the moves, since it has STAB, good neutral coverage in the meta and most importantly gives Mew the ability to consistently check Machamp in lower shield scenarios. Unfortunately, Psyshock Mew loses the 2 shield matchup if it gets hit by Rock Slide. Surf is the only charge move that allows Mew to beat Machamp consistently in the 2 shield matchup. It also lets Mew win the 1 shield and 2 shield matchups against Hypno (even if it has Shadow Ball), making it a very good move combo with Psyshock. In fact, Surf lets Mew win the 1 shield matchup against Alolan Marowak, even if gets baited with Bone Club.
Although all of this sounds amazing, using Surf alongside Psyshock leaves Mew unable to check a very strong threat: Alolan Sandslash. This is where Flame Charge comes into play, it lets Mew beat Alolan Sandslash in every even shield scenario straight Flame Charge and it raises Attack on every use, giving Mew a lot sweep potential. Flame Charge still allows Mew to beat Hypno in the 2 shield matchup straight Flame Charge.
If you want Mew to be a dedicated Hypno counter, then Dark Pulse lets it dominate the 1 shield and 2 shield matchups against any moveset variant. It even lets Mew beat Alolan Marowak in the 2 shield matchup straight Dark Pulse, although Psyshock already does this so it’s unnecessary. It definitely helps in the 1 shield matchup though, since Psyshock isn’t enough to KO. However, Psyshock and Dark Pulse together aren’t a very good combo, since it leaves Mew completely walled by Alolan Muk. It also leaves Mew unable to check Alolan Sandslash.
Wild Charge is only super effective against Dewgong and Lapras, but it is fast and hits anything that doesn’t resist it really hard, at the cost of harshly lowering Mew’s Defense. Because of this, Wild Charge Mew is best used as a lead so it can switch out to clear its debuffs efficiently. Psyshock again makes a really good combo with this move.
Wild Charge still lets Mew check Hypno in the 1 shield and 2 shield matchups straight Wild Charge, but it is best to build up to 2 then use them back-to-back like most self-debuffing moves. Although Wild Charge does insane damage to Lapras and Dewgong if it lands, those matchups are still fairly even since Mew is already sort of frail in Great League and they can capitalize on Wild Charge’s debuffs. Alolan Sandslash handles this variant of Mew pretty well, since it can tank a Wild Charge and proceed to spam Ice Punch to capitalize on Mew’s lowered Defense.
Last but not least, Focus Blast is a slow but very powerful option that covers Snorlax, Lapras, Dewgong and Alolan Sandslash. It destroys Alolan Sandslash if it lands and almost OHKOs Snorlax and Lapras from full health. Dewgong almost always can survive it due to Icy Wind debuffs, but it gives Mew a really good shot at beating it if it lands. Since Hypno resists both Psyshock and Focus Blast, Surf is the best charge move to pair with it.
This might all seem very confusing, but the most simple way to go about choosing Mew’s moveset for Kanto Cup is to go with whatever moves help your team the most. If you still can’t decide, Psyshock/Flame Charge is the best general moveset, since nothing resists both and it covers Hypno, Machamp and Alolan Sandslash while maintaining the ability to beat Alolan Marowak with 2 shields straight Psyshock. Besides the options listed here, Rock Slide and Dragon Claw are the only other good ones.
Rock Slide hits Alolan Marowak, Lapras and Dewgong super effectively, but Wild Charge already pressures Dewgong and Lapras enough and Surf deals with Alolan Marowak easier. Dragon Claw is Mew’s fastest charge move but it’s pretty much exclusively just for Dragonair, as it’s too weak against everything else.
Alolan Muk and Wigglytuff don’t care about the moves that Mew has. Both can switch into it and ruin its day. Snorlax only fears Focus Blast, but even then Mew can only beat it with a shield advantage. Alolan Muk resists Psyshock, can tank a Focus Blast and beat it even at a shield disadvantage, making it the hardest counter. Wigglytuff can tank 2 Psyshocks and Charm it down from full health. Dragonair beats Mew in every even shield scenario as long as it doesn’t have Dragon Claw.
Machamp hard counters Alolan Sandslash, Dewgong, Lapras, Snorlax and Alolan Muk all in one slot. So why isn’t it rated among the top Pokémon? The best answer is because it’s extremely frail, which means it usually needs both shields to do its job effectively. It also loses very hard to the #1 Pokémon in the entire Kanto Cup: Hypno. Wigglytuff also tears through it with super effective Charm.
Don’t let this discourage you from using Machamp though, because with 2 shields, it can beat almost anything that isn’t Wigglytuff or Hypno.
Machamp has the best shot at beating Alolan Marowak and Mew only in the 2 shield matchups. This is because Rock Slide falls just short of KO’ing both of them in the 1 shield and no shield. Dragonair loses the 1 shield since Cross Chop outpaces Aqua Tail and loses the no shield if Machamp lands Rock Slide. The 2 shield is very close, so IVs will likely dictate who wins that matchup.
One would think that Mew and Alolan Marowak make very strong counters to Machamp, but Machamp’s sheer power allows it to win the 2 shield against them if it lands Rock Slide. Other than that, most Pokémon can beat it with a shield advantage, even some of the ones that Machamp is supposed to counter.
Shadow Machamp is much better overall, since it flips the 1 shield vs. Alolan Marowak and Mew if Rock Slide lands. It even beats non-Surf Mew in the 2 shield straight Cross Chop. It also wins the 1 shield against Alolan Muk straight Cross Chop, even it it gets baited. The only downside to Shadow Machamp is it loses the 2 shield to Dragonair and the 1 shield to Shadow Dragonair (both are so frail they don’t make it 2 shields).
Alolan Muk is the strongest Hypno and Mew counter in Kanto Cup. It can beat any moveset variant of both, even at a shield disadvantage. It also beats Alolan Marowak in every even shield scenario. It usually can beat Wigglytuff in the 1 shield straight Sludge Wave, although barely. It wins the no shield pretty convincingly though.
It’s matchups against Dragonair and Snorlax are fairly even. Lapras, Dewgong, Alolan Sandslash and Machamp usually have no trouble bringing it down. Wigglytuff with 2 shields clowns on it.
Dewgong is the bulkiest Pokémon mentioned in this article and the king of winning switch advantage, making it one of the best leads. The only Pokémon that can truly counter it are Alolan Marowak, Machamp and Lapras. Even then, Dewgong can simply debuff them with Icy Wind if they switch in and switch out to something more favorable.
So why isn’t Dewgong #1 in Kanto Cup? While it is very good at winning head-to-head matchups, it doesn’t always do so very cleanly. The only Pokémon that it really counters is Dragonair. Relying on Icy Wind debuffs usually forces it to end up with a shield disadvantage, which could end up costing the match later on. Also, Dewgong has a very low offensive presence, which makes it usually not worth it for the opponent to shield any of its attacks. Even Machamp can afford to tank an Icy Wind in the 1 shield most of the time.
At the end of the day, I think everyone can agree that the biggest downside to Dewgong is that its best moves are legacy.
Lapras is very bulky and hard counters Dragonair, but is most importantly the strongest Dewgong counter in Kanto Cup. It resists everything Dewgong has to offer and can beat it straight Skull Bash, even if Dewgong has 2 shields and Lapras has none! Lapras also has good matchups vs. Alolan Muk, Alolan Marowak and Alolan Sandslash.
The Snorlax and Mew matchups are fairly neutral. It should be noted that Skull Bash is only really useful for Dewgong and the mirror. Against everything else, Surf is usually the way to go. Shadow Lapras is worse overall.
Hypno and Machamp beat Lapras pretty easily in every even shield scenario. Wigglytuff only wins with 2 shields. Mew needs a super effective move to seriously threaten Lapras.
Credit to PvPoke.com for all the simulation data.