Once in a while, the Go Battle League of Pokémon Go will run an interlude cup – Flying Cup is one of those that comes and goes, and if flying-types are your cup of tea, you’ll definitely want to build yourself a reliable team.
On this page:
Things to know about putting together a Flying Cup team in Pokémon Go
The upside to the 1500 CP limit is that, like the Great League, putting a team together is relatively cheap and easier in terms of Stardust.
The downside, of course, is that we’re picking from a very narrow pool of Pokémon, and because you’ll want to pick Pokémon that are good against other flying-types, the pool condenses further.
Flying-types are generally weak against rock, steel and electric. However, a secondary typing will help cover those weaknesses.
Avoid bringing any fighting, bug or grass, as flying-types are naturally strong against them.
Though there are fewer Legendaries and Mythicals to consider (though one or two are worth exploring) you’ll be leaning on more common catches which, given the restrictions, start to shine.
And, if you don’t have our recommended Great League choices, chances are you can find them pretty easily in the wild. It also makes Community Day, which offers an easy source of strong Pokémon that fare well at lower CP levels, a more attractive proposition.
No matter which League you participate in, remember you are after Pokémon with a decent amount of bulk (the ability to survive charged moves - type weakness depending - so you can fire off a few of your own) and those that best counter or expose weaknesses in the current meta (which is a term for what the community is using at present).
Though there are specific Pokémon and types that dominate the meta, remember with the Go Battle League (and player versus player battles in general) you’ll be going in blind; so even if you cover yourself with a wide range of offence and defence options, no team is invincible.
Still - even with a few of the below Pokémon in your team, you should be able to fare better than if you just selected those as close to the 1500 CP cap as possible.
Currently available is the Astral Eclipse event, which brings the A Cosmic Companion special research quest of the Season of Light to a close. You can also finally evolve Cosmoem into Solgaleo or Lunala! Elsewhere, be sure to use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres.
Our Pokémon Go Flying Cup recommendations
There is no one ‘best’ team you can choose - since, as mentioned previously, you don’t know what you are up against - and not everyone has access to every type of Pokémon.
Instead, here is a general list of recommended Flying Cup Pokémon to build a team from, with a wide range of sources that should suit all players, whether you’ve been collecting creatures since day one or just started playing.
Remember you are only allowed one of each in the Go Battle League, and ideally you’d want to build a team with different type strengths and defense. For example, if you build a team with Emolga, Zapdos and Altaria, you’ll be especially open to rock-types, like Aerodactyl.
It’s also worth noting that if you want to really compete, each of your Pokémon need two Charged moves. If you want to skimp on Stardust and only run the one move, do so at your own peril - you have been warned.
Our Pokémon Go Flying Cup team recommendations in order of their appearance in the National Pokédex — while there is some overlap with the Great League guide, make sure you read the full entry we will be recommending some move changes:
Type: Rock / Flying
Recommended moves: Rock Throw (Fast), Rock Slide (Charged), Ancient Power (Charged)
Aerodactyl Weaknesses: Electric, Ice, Rock, Steel, Water
Shadow Aerodactyl (and Aerodactyl to a lesser extent) are the very definition of a glass cannon in this meta. Along with Skarmory, it’s one of the top two meta-relevant Pokémon to be aware of.
Both the Shadow and normal version of this Pokémon are incredibly strong (ranked first and sixth respectively), and hit very quickly, they are inflexible and die very quickly to the likes of Skarmory and Mantine (incidentally, two of the best Pokémon to pair this with).
However, that huge rock-type damage will do wonders against any of the electric-types that are brought in as the obvious answer to flying-types (Zapdos and Emolga), along with Articuno and Altaria.
Aerodactyl (Shadow or otherwise) is a great pick for this cup, but make sure you have a good option to switch to should you find yourself facing a bad match-up.
Type: Ice / Flying
Recommended moves: Ice Shard (Fast), Icy Wind (Charged), Ancient Power (Charged)
Articuno Weaknesses: Rock (x2), Electric, Fire, Steel
Articuno, and its Shadow Version, are your go-to ice-types in this meta, but the huge exposure to rock-type attacks mean that if you come across an Aerodactyl, you’ve basically lost.
That said, Articuno is an excellent choice for its bulk and its ability to take down any Pokémon who are weak to ice - Altaria being the main example, along with Dragonite (though this is relatively rare in the meta).
Type: Electric / Flying
Recommended moves: Thunder Shock (Fast/Exclusive), Thunder (Charged), Drill Peck (Charged)
Zapdos Weaknesses: Ice, Rock
Another glass cannon, Zapdos’s spamminess with Thunder Shock makes it great against any fliers who still have an electric weakness, but its cost to level up and low bulk make it relatively tough to use when compared to the likes of Emolga.
Both Zapdos and Shadow Zapdos perform well , however, so if you have a decent one that is cheap to level up to 1500 CP, it's not one to overlook.
Type: Water / Flying
Recommended moves: Bubble (Fast), Bubble Beam (Charged), Ice Beam (Charged)
Mantine Weaknesses: Electric (2x), Rock
Given Aerodactyl’s strong showing in the meta, a spammy water-type move, like Bubble, is going to be an absolute boon. The ice-type attack will also stand you in good stead against dragon-types like Altaria.
Mantine’s huge bulk also makes it an attractive option against non-electric types. However, the double weakness to electric-types (Emolga and Zapdos) make it a bit of a liability at times, so be ready to switch out if you see anything yellow coming at you!
Type: Steel / Flying
Recommended moves in Great League: Air Slash (Fast), Sky Attack (Charged), Brave Bird (Charged)
Recommended changes in Flying Cup: Change the fast move Air Slash to Steel Wing
Skarmory Weaknesses: Electric, Fire
Skarmory is great in the Great League, and top three (Skarmory) and top 5 (Shadow Skarmory) in Flying Cup due to its resistance against Steel. Along with Aerodactyl, it’s one of the top two meta-relevant Pokémon to be aware of.
However, like most Pokémon in this cup, it’s weak against electric. The steel-typing also opens it up to fFire attacks.
Like in the Great League, its flying moves are still great, but swapping the Fast attack for a steel-type will stand you in good stead. This will really help against Aerodactyl, in particular.
Type: Dragon / Flying
Recommended moves: Dragon Breath (Fast), Sky Attack (Charged), Moonblast (Community Day)
Altaria Weaknesses: Ice (x2), Dragon, Rock, Fairy, Electric
Altaria is still an absolute bomb, and you don’t even have to worry about changing your move set. However, it does have some obvious weaknesses.
While this Pokémon will help you most against Zapdos and Emolga, it is going to fare poorly against Mantine, Skarmory and Aerodactyl, plus some of the rarer options like Togekiss and Articuno.
Since this is blind, there’s no guarantee of running into those, but their presence in the meta does make this a risky pick.
Type: Electric / Flying
Recommended moves: Thunder Shock (Fast), Discharge (Charged), Thunderbolt (Charged)
Emolga Weaknesses: Ice, Rock
After Aerodactyl, this is probably the best Pokémon in the league, thanks to its excellent, spammy electric Charged attacks that will help take down the opponent’s shields
While this Pokémon will help you most against Mantine and Skarmory, it will fare poorly against Aerodactyl. It’s also worth noting that Zapdos is a strange one – it often beats Shadow Zapdos, due to its massive glassiness, but will just as often lose to a regular Zapdos, so try to beat that in mind if you see the giant thunder chicken.
Type: Dark / Flying
Recommended moves: Snarl (Fast), Foul Play (Charged), Shadow Ball (Community Day)
Mandibuzz Weaknesses: Electric, Fairy, Ice, Rock
Fan favourite for its gym defence, Mandibuzz is an extremely bulky option for Flying Cup with a great spammy attack set. The dark-typing is also something that other Trainers likely won’t be counting on, as fighting (dark's enemy) is weak to flying-types.
This means that this spicy pick will perform well against the Shadows in the league, along with Aerodatyl and Skarmory – both of which are fairly well represented in the meta.