GamePress

The Rainbow Cup Meta

Submit Feedback or Error

Introduction

It’s that time of the month again! A couple of weeks ago, the Silph Arena announced the format for June’s ranked tournaments, and it’s the polar opposite of last month’s Nightmare Cup, which only had 3 allowed typings and a heavily rock-paper scissors meta.

The brand new Rainbow Cup includes, for the first time, 5 typings — Grass, Fire, Water, Electric and Bug — and only pokemon from the Kanto and Johto region will be allowed, Alolan forms excluded. This seemed to spark a deep and varied metagame, featuring lots of different options with their own secondary typings and unique spreads of matchups: it’s a breath of fresh air compared to other recent examples. Here’s our analysis on everything you need to know to compete in your local tournament, brought to you by sims on Gamepress’ own GoBattleSim and newly updated Battle Matrix, as well as the help of PvPoke and extensive first-hand experience. Legacy moves will be marked with an asterisk (*).

Infographic

The Water-Type Core

Water is by far the group with the widest array of relevant options to pick from in the Rainbow Cup, and a lot of them fill unique roles thanks to their diverse secondary typings. Water-types in all their different declinations will be at the core of meta teams, with most of them including at least 2, likely 3 (and maybe even 4), and for good reason.

Mud Shot + Stone Edge + Earthquake or Sludge Bomb or Acid Spray

Don’t let the derpy face fool you — Quagsire is arguably the top threat of the month, the one pick you really want to have on your team and will see on everyone else’s. As a Water/Ground-type, a member of the infamous “mudboy” group, it boasts decent bulk and it’s only (doubly) weak to Grass. In the Rainbow Cup, actually, it doesn’t get hard countered by anything except Grass! The wide coverage surely helps with that, with Stone Edge going almost completely unresisted by the meta and solidifying its spot as the most useful charged move of the bunch.

As for the second one, things are more subjective. Earthquake is the best in a vacuum, with high STAB damage and OHKO potential on Electric-types; it’s required to not lose the mirror match since Quagsire resists both Rock and Poison. Speaking of Poison, Sludge Bomb’s main perk is hitting Azumarill and Grass-types for super effective damage, as well as being slightly faster than Stone Edge allowing for some clutch shield baiting. And speaking of shield baiting, running Acid Spray is definitely the riskier route: it can either turn games around if you can trick the opponent into wasting a shield on it or spread the debuffing effect on multiple pokemon, or just be very disappointing if correctly predicted and handled. Since Mud Shot does very little damage even against weakened opponents, Acid Spray works very well when Quagsire is paired with teammates that have high damage fast moves such as Confusion or Razor Leaf, and can make them even deadlier. In the end, which one of these three you decide to run is entirely up to your own playstyle and what your team needs.

Wing Attack + Aerial Ace + Ice Beam or Water Pulse

As a part Flying-type, Mantine fills a unique role as the only Water-type that beats Grass, hitting it with super effective Flying and being only neutral to it. It’s more of a check than a counter though, especially when shields are up: despite being quite bulky, it won’t enjoy (and often lose) prolonged battles with Razor Leaf users, and can’t afford to tank more than one Frenzy Plant from Vine Whip users. However, Mantine has a wide spread of positive neutral matchups in the meta, with its only real weaknesses being a double one to Electric and a single one to Rock — although with shields it still goes toe to toe with Quagsire, as it can survive a Stone Edge and takes almost zero from the fast move while dealing consistent neutral damage. It also has great synergy with Quagsire itself, as they nicely cover for each other’s hard counters. Both secondary charged moves are viable: Ice Beam has better stats, helps in neutral matchups (including the mirror) and offers a quick KO on unshielded Grass-types, while Water Pulse threatens Fire and avoids being completely walled by Magcargo. You can also run Bubble for that reason, but that would defeat Mantine’s main purpose of being a versatile Grass check.

Ice Shard* + Ice Beam* or Dragon Pulse* + Surf

With its super effective Ice moves, it can work as a check to Grass too, albeit a softer one than Mantine. It’s still weak to them and only convincingly wins with shield or energy advantage, with a notable exception being the 2 vs 2 shields matchup against the most common Grass-type, Venusaur. The main advantage of using Lapras is that almost nothing in the meta hard counters it, working as a great safe switch-in. Electric-types such as Raichu and Magneton can one-shot it but also take heavy damage from quick-fire Surf; fellow Water-types like Azumarill and Slowbro wall it and deal neutral damage back, but they’ll need time to take this bulky turtle down and often won’t make it out with lots of HP left. As a mix between the two above Lanturn is the big exception, but if you’re lucky enough to have a Lapras with Dragon Pulse you can actually deal solid damage to that too. Lapras also works very well against Quagsire-Mantine cores, since it narrowly beats both; Quagsire’s Stone Edge is a threat but it takes 2 to KO and Surf outspeeds it. The downside is that it doesn’t really have easy wins either: even in positive matchups, it must be often careful about shielding charged moves like Blast Burn, Stone Edge or Outrage.

Bubble + Ice Beam + Play Rough or Hydro Pump

You can always bet that Azumarill will have its role in the meta in any format it’s allowed in. The seemingly cute, actually absurdly bulky little blue egg is excellent but not broken in the Rainbow Cup, and won’t be nearly as much of a must-have as in last month’s Regionals. Ice Beam brings key Grass coverage, while thanks to Play Rough Azumarill can handle most other Water-types in mirror matches, except Quagsire which hits back hard with Sludge Bomb and can win even with the classic EdgeQuake set in the 0 and 1 shield scenario. Hydro Pump is a plus in that matchup, as landing such a big neutral hit will almost always secure the win, and it’s also important for Forretress which resists both Fairy and Ice. Any combination of the three charged moves can be considered viable.

Water Gun + Hydro Cannon* + Ice Beam

This is as straightforward as Water-types get. Without a fancy secondary typing or much in the way of coverage — Ice Beam only offers the option to overcome its Grass counters with shield or energy advantage, actually one-shotting the likes of Venusaur and Victreebel — the gun turtle relies on its decent bulk and most importantly on the sheer power of Hydro Cannon, the charged move with the highest DPE in the entire game. Blastoise deletes anything Fire quicker than all others, beats Forretress and has a slightly positive matchup with Quagsire and Mantine. Hydro Cannon is actually so good that it also lets it beat tankier Water-types even with only not very effective damage, such as Azumarill with 2 shields and Lapras with 1. Electric-types not named Lanturn also must either outspeed or shield Hydro Cannon to avoid being one-shot.

Dragon Breath + Outrage + Hydro Pump

The Dragon typing cancels Water’s weaknesses to Grass and Electric, while giving Kindra double resistances to Fire and Water and leaving it only weak to Fairy and other Dragons. That allows it to shine as one of the best generalists with Dragon Breath dealing disproportionate amounts of neutral damage and Outrage or Hydro Pump instantly deleting anything brave enough to not shield them, even heavy tanks like Lapras and Meganium. The few Dragon walls in the meta are Forretress and Azumarill (and Magneton, which however hasn’t got the bulk to back that up), with the latter being by far its hardest counter and the only thing that can actually beat it with 0 shields against 1! As a matter of fact, due to its powerful but incredibly slow charged moves, and the fact that it’s quite vulnerable to neutral hits from attacks such as Frenzy Plant or Wild Charge, Kingdra prefers very much to either face shieldless opponents or have both shields at its own disposal and have enough time to let Dragon Breath do all the work. For how powerful it can be in those situations, its effectiveness drops drastically in standard mid-game 1 vs 1 shield matchups.

Confusion + Ice Beam + Water Pulse or Psychic

Confusion + Psyshock + Water Pulse

These are the Water variants of an important group of wild cards spread across three different typings: the Confusion users. Their common arch enemy is Forretress, which eats them alive with its super effective Bug Bite, and to a lesser extent Magneton, especially in the case of these two thanks of course to the Electric typing. Those are the only relevant things that resist Psychic in the whole meta. Against everything else Confusion deals big chunks of neutral damage, and that makes the Slowdudes fantastic generalists that go toe to toe with the other Water-types, still have the upper hand against the squishy Charizard and put up a good fight even against their counters: with 2 shields they easily beat Lanturn and Raichu, and Slowbro also takes down Meganium to a sliver of HP. But the essential advantage comes with the fact that Venusaur is a staple of almost every team, and since it’s part Poison, they destroy Venusaur with Confusion as long as they shield one Frenzy Plant, functioning as perfect anti-meta picks. Slowbro’s main handicap are the quite slow charged moves, while Slowpoke can use Psyshock more frequently but has lesser base stats and needs a hefty investment to be maxed out.

Mud Shot* + Power-Up Punch + Ice Punch

As a Fighting-type, Poliwrath gets annihilated by Mantine and the Confusion users, as well as being walled by Azumarill. However, with the legacy Mud Shot rapidly charging its increasingly menacing punches, it actually boasts some interesting coverage. With Power-Up Punch it can usually beat or least go even with a Quagsire without Earthquake, destroy Lapras, beat Blastoise and Forretress, outspeed Magneton and even win against Lanturn by shielding one Thunderbolt. Ice Punch can be threatening to its Grass-type counters too, especially when Poliwrath already got its Attack buffed, although it’s still likely to lose in a 1v1 matchup.

Water Gun + Aqua Tail + Sludge Wave

Poison Jab + Hydro Pump + Acid Spray or Sludge Wave

Water/Poison-types are far less prominent than usual here, due to their main target Azumarill and their Psychic counters being respectively less and more common, but both are still by all means viable. As usual, Qwilfish works best in early game with spammy Aqua Tail (even beating Quagsire with 2 shields!), and can actually deal a big chunk of damage to pretty much anything if it manages to shield bait its way into landing a Sludge Wave. However, if that doesn’t happen it will take hard losses in a lot of matchups and probably burn shields in the process too because of its lackluster bulk. Tentacruel’s issue, on the other hand, has always been its slow charged moves, forcing its role as either a late game nuker (it can impressively beat the entire field with Hydro Pump and Sludge Wave in the 1 vs 0 shield scenario) or now a set-up trickster with Acid Spray, although Quagsire can already do that and do it better.

Mud Shot + Earthquake* + Surf

Mud Shot + Rock Slide* or Ancient Power + Hydro Pump

Closing out the long list of Water Pokemon, we have two Mud Shot users that offer two separate halves of Quagsire’s coverage, with the big difference that they have a weakness instead of resistance to Electric-types. Legacy Politoed has Earthquake to hit them back (although it’s not quite enough to OHKO Lanturn) and Surf for quick STAB damage and shield baiting (which lets it beat Quagsire), but as a result, it gets walled hard by Grass-types and even harder by Mantine. Omastar is double weak to Grass too, but reliably slaying Mantine is its main (and probably only) perk over the Quag. Its Rock typing, however, also gives weakness to Ground and cancels the resistance to Water, thus it usually has a hard time against other Water-types.

Countering Water: The Electric-Types

Electric-types do a good job at countering any Water-type not named Quagsire, and the options to choose from are a lot more limited here. A standard team will usually only need one of these guys, and can absolutely get away with none if you trust your Grass-type to do all the work.

Water Gun + Thunderbolt + Hydro Pump

Good old Lanturn is a mix between Water- and Electric-types in this meta, doing the job of both absolutely fine with the classic Water Gun set. It’s been a solid pick in two cups already, so many trainers will have one ready to go. It handily beats Fire-types, as well as Forretress if it can avoid the Earthquake; at the same time it has the upper hand against other Waters, and its resistances against them help offset the slow charging times of Thunderbolt. The downside is that it gets walled hard by Grass-types and soft countered by Quagsire — which outspeeds it in 1v1 but takes a huge chunk of damage from Hydro Pump and needs Earthquake to win convincingly — and Kingdra as it double resists Water Gun. The glaring weakness to Grass makes it especially risky to use it in a team alongside Quagsire. Charge Beam is viable too and has even stronger matchups with Water-types, but running it means struggling and relying a lot on shield baiting against Forretress and the likes of Ninetales and Magcargo.

Thunder Shock* or Spark + Discharge* + Magnet Bomb

For those fortunate enough to have a rare double legacy trio of magnets, know that it’s yet again a solid pick. Its mediocre defensive stats are offset by as many as 12 resistances, the most in the whole game, although at the same time the Steel typing makes it notably weak to Fire (it can only hope to win against Charizard by landing a Discharge right before fainting) and even more to Ground, so it also must avoid Quagsire at all costs. Against Grass, despite the resistance, it still takes a lot of damage by Frenzy Plant or Razor Leaf, but with Magnet Bomb, it can fight back more. One does more than half to Venusaur and Meganium, for instance, and together with Forretress, those are some of the few matchups where Thunder Shock can actually make the difference compared to the currently available Spark. Its resistances also include Psychic, Bug, Poison and Dragon: while it has a sizeable advantage against the Slowdudes, Forretress and Beedrill, it’s not bulky enough to reliably endure Kingdra’s Dragon Breath or neutral damage from Lanturn's Water Gun even if it bites back pretty hard with Discharge.

Thunder Shock* or Spark + Wild Charge + Brick Break or Thunder Punch

Thunder Shock + Wild Charge + Shadow Ball

Albeit quite squishy, the two Rai’s are the best pure Electric-types available in the Rainbow Cup, two cuts above the likes of Electrode and Electabuzz. Their main selling point is the ability to spam Wild Charge quite quickly thanks to Thunder Shock — or even the slightly worse Spark if you don’t have a legacy Raichu and don’t want to invest 100k stardust on Raikou. Said charged move is powerful enough to one-shot even the tankiest of Water-types, only slightly failing to do so against Azumarill, and does a huge chunk of neutral damage to Lanturn, Forretress and Kingdra, which they tie with depending on shields and energy. Like Lanturn, they both get walled by Grass (instantly killed by Frenzy Plant) and even harder by Quagsire too, with the Shadow Ball from Raikou being the only option to actually hurt them as well as having great neutral coverage against the whole meta. Raichu can either run Brick Break for super effective hits on Magneton and small neutral ones on Quagsire, or just go for Electric shield baiting with Thunder Punch. The second charged move and the relative cost are basically the only differences between them.

Countering Water and Electric: the Grass-Types

They’re most likely the best answers to Water-types: every team should have something Grass, if anything just to threaten best boy Quagsire. They also double up as Electric walls, which only makes their value rise even further, earning them a solid spot as an integral part of the core of the Rainbow Cup meta.  

Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant* + Sludge Bomb

Vine Whip + Power Whip + Sludge Bomb

Venusaur is a staple in the teams of many top trainers, as it has the handy perk of beating other Grass-types as it can hit them quite frequently with Sludge Bomb. Said charged move is also useful to hurt its Fire counters, doing 70% to Charizard and 50% to Ninetales, while Frenzy Plant does that job against Mantine. Bugs like Forretress and Beedrill resist everything it can throw at them and can farm the ‘saur even though the Poison subtyping makes them hit for only neutral damage. However, being Poison-type can also be a negative against Confusion users, which can make quick work of it, and could lead to a rise in the use of those. If you don’t have a Frenzy Plant Venusaur, you can see Ivysaur as a “budget” version that only does slightly slower and weaker Grass damage with Power Whip.

Vine Whip + Frenzy Plant* + Earthquake

Razor Leaf + Grass Knot + Ancient Power

The friendly blooming apatosaurus is considerably bulkier than Venusaur, thus less threatened by the odd Ice Beam and other coverage moves. It loses the matchups with other Grasses and is even more vulnerable to Bug and Poison; however, Earthquake is still a solid neutral hit on the very common ones among those with Poison or Steel secondary typings, as well as a clear OHKO against Fire-types not named Charizard. Its pre-evolution Bayleef has a very different playstyle with similar results: it relies a lot on unavoidable Razor Leaf damage instead of Frenzy Plant, which is even worse for Grass mirrors, and brings a different flavor of (slower) Fire coverage in Ancient Power. One thing that might discourage trainers from picking it is that it’s a really costly sidegrade since unlike Ivysaur it will need to be maxed out.

Razor Leaf + Leaf Blade + Sludge Bomb or Acid Spray

The non-starter Grass/Poison-type is arguably the best Razor Leaf user in the meta, as it combines the crazy fast move damage output with Leaf Blade, which still manages to fire reasonably often with its bare minimum energy cost. It still loses to Venusaur and completely dominates Water-types just like Meganium, and doesn’t like Confusion just like Venusaur itself, but Victreebel can’t always just be used to farm energy without the need to shield by Forretress, and it gains a positive shielded matchup with Mantine. You could either go with the coverage of Sludge Bomb or the trickery of Acid Spray when it comes to the second charged move, although both take a while to charge. Legacy Weepinbell performs almost identically, with Seed Bomb instead of Leaf Blade, while Gloom is a slower alternative with some extra bulk, and doesn’t really even need a second charged move to work.

Confusion* + Seed Bomb + Psychic

Confusion + Seed Bomb + Ancient Power

Grass-type of course have their own take on Confusion users, and it’s the Egg family. Yes, even the base form is a surprisingly great pick if you have resources and the guts to max it out at about 1200 CP! Exeggcute actually outperforms its big brother under many aspects, especially due to its superior tankiness and the coverage of Ancient Power, a nasty and deadly surprise to any unsuspecting Fire-type looking to counter it. They are the anti-meta Grass picks, struggling a little more against Water and Electric (notably losing to Azumarill and, if unshielded, Raikou) in exchange for a unique advantage against the most popular pick Venusaur, although they must be careful about shielding any Sludge Bomb coming from it.

Countering Grass: the Bug-Types

If there’s one thing that hurts plants, it’s fire bugs. They resist almost anything that Grass-types throw at them and have many other interesting features in this metagame.

Bug Bite + Earthquake + Rock Tomb or Heavy Slam

This bulky piece of metal is actually one of the biggest players in the meta and a top tier pick for its wide coverage and a solid spread of good neutral matchups thanks to many key resistances. It’s a total wall to Kingdra, Confusion users and Grass-types, and if switched in against them it can afford to take them down with just Bug Bite (and maybe the help of shields in Kingdra’s case) to have charged moves ready to go for the next pokemon. Earthquake seems like the most important of the three options: it allows it to have high late game nuke potential and to go generally even with Quagsire, which resists both Rock and Steel, only consistently losing if the opponent burns both shields. Heavy Slam is the fastest charged move, helping with shield baiting, but isn’t super effective against anything; Rock Tomb has terrible stats but great coverage against its Fire arch enemies (given that they'll leave you time to use it, since it’s double weak to Fire) and against Mantine which soft counters Forretress thanks to its resistance to Bug. Azumarill also does that job, especially if running Hydro Pump since both Fairy and Ice are resisted. So what about Scizor, the only other Bug/Steel-type? It’s not terrible for sure, but even its quick-fire moveset of Fury Cutter, X-Scissor and Iron Head can’t make up for the lack of bulk which makes it lose several important matchups.

Poison Jab + X-Scissor + Sludge Bomb

It’s the cheapest and best alternative to Forretress, as you only need a weather boosted Weedle and 10k stardust for the extra move to add it to your team. It’s not as tanky as the iron bug and gets walled by it, but it fills many of the same roles and offers way higher shield pressure, especially with X-Scissor but also Sludge Bomb, which comes almost as quickly as Blast Burn and actually one-shots the Fire starters. Its weaknesses to Rock and Psychic mean that it loses the matchups against Quagsire, Magcargo and Confusion users and should stay far away from them, but the Poison moves let it have the upper hand against Azumarill.

Confusion + Poison Fang* or Psychic + Silver Wind

The last spot for Confusion users in this article goes to old trusty Venomoth, which many will remember for its days of glory in the Twilight Cup. I won’t get repetitive on the qualities of the Psychic fast move in the meta, but just know that it’s probably the weakest entry in this niche since other Bugs already fill Confusion’s role of checking Venusaur anyway. Venomoth also gets checked by most Water-types (Poison Fang only gives it a chance against Azumarill, and isn’t a must have in other matchups) as well as the usual Fire, Forretress and other Confusion users as it’s weak to Psychic itself. Silver Wind buffs are still a thing at least, and when they happen they have the potential to quickly turn around a losing match.

Wing Attack + Silver Wind + Ancient Power

Air Slash or Fury Cutter + X-Scissor + Aerial Ace

The two best Bug/Flying-types don’t really manage to stand out among the insects, as they’re both relatively frail and won’t enjoy being hit by a neutral Sludge Bomb while they take care of a Grass-type. Similarly to Venomoth they usually get the short end of the stick against all things Water and get countered by Electric-types too, but thanks to their own resistance to Bug the matchup with Forretress gets much more favorable as long as they shield the pesky double super effective Rock Tomb. Yanma also brings interesting extra coverage in Ancient Power but needs a debatable and hefty investment to be maxed out, while Scyther with Fury Cutter can actually get a surprising narrow win on Lanturn in the 1 shield scenario.

Counter + Megahorn + Earthquake

The South American regional beetle is the weirdest Bug-type of the bunch, with its main claim being the fact that it’s the only Counter user in the Rainbow Cup. It obviously gets deleted by Mantine, Confusion users (as long as they shield Megahorn) and Fire-types (as long as they shield Earthquake, which kills even Charizard when coupled with Counter damage), as well as being walled by Azumarill (Earthquake being its only way to do any sort of sizeable damage to it). However, despite its relatively low tankiness, Heracross brings some interesting unexpected coverage and resistances: it wins against Quagsire and Forretress with only fast moves as long as it uses one shield and can one-shot them with Megahorn and Earthquake respectively; it walls and beats the pure Grass-types, while it gets slightly outpaced by Venusaur’s Sludge Bomb and out-spammed by Victreebel’s Razor Leaf; it has positive matchups with 0 and 1 shields against Lanturn and with 2 against Raichu; and when Counter is super effective, such as against Lapras, Magneton and Magcargo, there’s obviously not much stopping Heracross.

Countering Grass and Bug: the Fire-Types

Fire and Bug have a lot of overlapping coverage in this meta, with their common target being of course Grass, and you could either bring both or one instead of the other in your team of six. The main distinction is that Fire-types eat any kind of Bug for breakfast at the cost of being very vulnerable to the whole big Water-type core.

Fire Spin or Air Slash + Blast Burn* + Dragon Claw

It’s one of the most popular Pokemon ever and it seems like one of the most popular picks in early Rainbow Cup teams too. Blast Burn hits for tons of damage even when resisted, doing almost half to the likes of Quagsire and Mantine but usually not managing to subvert the very negative matchups against Water-types, and one-shots everything but the biggest tanks (Lapras barely comes out alive) when neutral. One issue with Charizard is its additional weakness to Electric, exposing it to Raichu and Raikou too as their Wild Charge outspeeds Blast Burn. Fire Spin allows it to win by just farming energy against Beedrill, Forretress, and all Grass-types, though because of its frailty it must always be careful about shielding any possible Sludge Bomb or Rock Tomb. Air Slash is an interesting alternative: it retains the easy victories over Grass-types and non-Steel Bugs, only making Rock Tomb Forretress less farmable and a bit more threatening with shield handicap and giving up the advantage over Magneton (which might be important or not, depending on how many have a legacy one in your area), in exchange for winning the mirror against other Fire-types and dealing more consistent damage to Waters. It’s key for example against Kingdra, which can’t take more than one Dragon Claw, Charizard’s trusty second charged move of choice.

Fire Spin + Flamethrower* or Solar Beam + Psyshock

For once, a Fire-type that is not a starter makes its way into the meta. This majestic fox boasts significantly more bulk than them (it can actually tank a Sludge Bomb, Surf or Stone Edge) and the added versatility of Psyshock, which still offers a quick super effective hit on common Bug- and Grass-types that are also part Poison and some neutral coverage against most other things, allowing for instance to go toe to toe with Raichu depending on shield usage. If you’ve got a legacy Flamethrower variant that’s great, as it helps securing some positive matchups against pure Grass-types and could possibly even be run with Feint Attack if you really hate on Confusion users, which still bite back hard. If you don’t have it, that’s totally fine too: Ninetales with Solar Beam is actually viable, and despite being obviously very slow to charge (although it still can get to it quite reliably against Water-types as long as it buys time with a shield) it adds another layer of coverage that opens up for some baiting mind games and might let it beat the odds against its main counters.

Shadow Claw + Blast Burn* + Solar Beam

The Johto starter offers the pure Fire typing and the nuke potential of Ninetales’ Solar Beam, although it will have a tougher time getting to it due to its low tankiness, and combines it with Charizard’s Blast Burn. The key difference is that it offers the neutral coverage of Shadow Claw, which is also useful for Confusion users although it can barely scrape a win against them given how heavy they hit. With a 1 vs 0 shield advantage, Typhlosion is among the deadliest pokemon in the meta, being able to one-shot pretty much anything it encounters. However, the Ghost fast move is also a huge downgrade in the matchups it’s supposed to dominate. Beating Venusaur comes down to priority as Sludge Bomb takes about 70% HP off by itself; Meganium can win too with some energy advantage and shield baiting; Victreebel, Beedrill and Magneton destroy it when they’ve got shields to hide behind.

Rock Throw + Stone Edge + Overheat

The last entry in this article is not last by relevance by any means. Similarly to the Exeggcute family among Grass-types, Magcargo is an unorthodox anti-meta Fire-type, acting as more of a hard counter to other Fire with its super effective Rock Throw making quick work of any of them. The crippling double weaknesses to Water and Ground make the matchups against the Water core even more hopeless than usual, with the lone exceptions of Mantine (which it completely walls), Lapras (which it can handily beat if both shields are up) and Kingdra (a battle between heavy fast moves that comes down to IVs). On the other hand, the matchups with Grass-types are completely flipped compared to using Charizard or Ninetales, as the Rock sub-typing makes it only neutral to them. Venusaur and Meganium almost always have the upper hand against it and can get to the third Frenzy Plant right after Magcargo Stone Edge, managing to win even at 2 vs 1 shield disadvantage. The same goes for Victreebel, which just needs to shield once and mow it down with Razor Leaf. Forretress also becomes way tougher, as Rock Throw needs a while to take it down and it can hit back with super effective charged moves in the meanwhile: Magcargo only wins clearly by using 2 shields against it.