The Halloween Cup is a fan favourite in the Go Battle League of Pokémon Go. As part of a rotating bevy of 'limited cups' — leagues with restricted metas that run for a week alongside whatever happens to be going on in the world of Pokémon Go – it comes and goes with the seasons.
But this year, Halloween comes twice! Well, as far as Go Battle League is concerned anyway.
Following the success of Halloween Cups passed, Niantic has breathed new life into the event by resurrecting it as last week's one – the original based on Great League rules – followed by this week's Ultra League version.
As you might have guessed, both Halloween Cups run alongside the Halloween event and comes with several restrictions that help keep the spooky vibe alive, while also offering a fresh challenge for your Go Battle League skills.
Below you can find our Ultra League Halloween Cup recommendations.
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Ultra League Halloween Cup restrictions in Pokémon Go explained
There are two restrictions you need to keep in mind when choosing your team for the Ultra League Halloween Cup in Pokémon Go.
The first is that the CP limit is 2500, as the name suggests, so make sure your choices either meet this limit or are beneath it.
Secondly, the Pokémon you can enter must be a poison, bug, ghost, dark or fairy-type. They can have dual typing, but at least one of their types must be one of these. This is the same as the standard Halloween Cup event – the only difference is the CP cap.
Froslass, for example, is still eligible for the Halloween Cup as it's an ice and ghost-type, fulfilling the requirement, but thanks to the cap being lifted, the poison-type Legendary Pokémon Nihilego is also eligible to join the fray.
Our Pokémon Go Ultra League Halloween Cup recommendations from Nidoqueen to Overqwil
Just like with every league or special cup in the Go Battle League, there is no true 'best' team for the Halloween Cup, because you'll never know which Pokémon are in your opponent's team.
The restriction does mean, however, that there is a limited pool of Pokémon for you to choose from, which does help you choose your team — in this case, there are 180 Pokémon you could reasonably work with, though some are naturally going to be better than others.
Technically, you could carry over your team from last week's Halloween Cup, unchanged, but this would be like bringing your Great League team to an Ultra League battle. It's not unheard of, but it is embarrassing for both players involved. If you're curious as if you can bring last week's Pokémon but levelled up to just under the new CP cap, again the answer is yes, but we would strongly advise against this for two reasons.
First, you can't level down your Pokémon, so if you level them up beyond 1500 CP, you can't use them in next year's event. Second, with the higher CP cap comes a new bunch of eligible Pokémon, meaning that the match-ups and meta advantages you came across last week may not necessarily hold true here.
If you do ultimately decide to do this, however, make sure you check out our list below to see whether we recommend a move change to better suit your Pokémon to the meta they will be entering.
Either way, before making your selection, it's a good idea to review the restrictions for the Ultra League Halloween Cup, so you know exactly which Pokémon are available to you.
You should also ensure you have a selection of Pokémon types and have one Pokémon whose Charged attack can be built up quickly, so you force your opponent to use one of their shields early on.
Our Pokémon Go Ultra League Halloween Cup recommendations in National Pokédex order:
Nidoqueen types: Poison/Ground
Perfect IVs: 0/14/15
Nidoqueen weaknesses: Ground, Ice, Psychic, Water
Nidoqueen recommended moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Poison Fang (Charged), Earth Power (Charged)
Nidoqueen is top of the meta again? Well, there's a surprise, considering it's also top of the regular Halloween Cup and Ultra League proper, too. We've said it before and we'll say it again – if it's generally a good Pokémon in Go Battle League, there's a good chance it'll shine in limited metas too.
We're running the same build here as normal Ultra League, which is the great news, bringing all the benefits of this tanky, spammy poison-type to a fun new meta. All the usual bonuses apply here too, like the Jab/Fang combo that deals incredible damage over the course of a match.
Whether you choose to use the queen of GBL comes down to its match-ups in this meta. Expect to beat Muk, Skuntank, Toxicroak, Mandibuzz and even Alolan Ninetails, while you'll find yourself quickly losing to the likes of Crobat, Scizor, Trevenant and both all the Genesects.
Tentacruel types: Water/Poison
Perfect IVs: 0/13/15
Tentacruel weaknesses: Electric, Ground, Psychic
Tentacruel recommended moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Scald (Charged), Sludge Wave (Charged)
On the topic of bulk, Tentacruel is famous for it – something that fans of the original anime will no doubt remember from that episode where one attacked the city.
Tentacruel has the advantage of running Poison Jab, the best Fast move in this meta, along with Sludge Wave, which deals a good amount of damage should you need to just slam the nuclear button. Scald, meanwhile, is decent – the 30% chance to debuff the opponent’s attack by one stage is nice, and it comes with a relatively low energy cost – but it’s by no means the best attack in the game.
If you look towards the match-ups, you can expect to beat the dark-types at the top of the meta, although the poison-type match-ups are very split. You’ll likely beat Crobat and Skuntank, while losing to Nidoqueen, Muk, Drapion and Toxicroak.
Galarian Weezing types: Poison/Fairy
Perfect IVs: 8/15/15
Galarian Weezing weaknesses: Ground, Psychic, Steel
Galarian Weezing recommended moves: Fairy Wind (Fast), Play Rough (Charged), Overheat (Charged)
Fans of last week’s cup should note the move change from Sludge to Play Rough, dropping the poison-type Charged move for a slightly stronger, but more expensive fairy-type move. This will make you a little less spammy, but being able to hit harder with a high-energy nuke with STAB is going to be well worth it.
The downside to this is that while Galarian Weezing keeps the fast-charging Fast move, it applies low Fast move pressure because Fairy Wind hits about has hard as a warm breeze. Overheat is the cheaper of the two Charged moves with this build, but that comes with a huge self-debuff, dropping your attack by two stages, so should only be used as a last resort or when it will do huge damage to a fire, ice, grass, bug or steel-type Pokémon — it’s positively deadly against the likes of Genesect and Forretress, for example. Play Rough becomes your go-to Charged move, with high-energy, high-damage attacks forcing them to put shields up early.
The match-ups here are still fairly split, taking the win against Mandibuzz and Toxicroak, while losing to the likes of Skuntank, Crobat and Overqwil.
Forretress types: Bug/Steel
Perfect IVs: 9/15/15
Forretress weaknesses: Ground
Forretress recommended moves: Bug Bite (Fast), Mirror Shot (Charged), Earthquake (Charged)
Another Pokémon with access to strong ground attacks is Forretress, running the devastating Earthquake Charged attacks to take down the poison-types at the top of the meta.
Bug Bite is perfectly ok, and Mirror Shot is great at eking out shields from your opponent, especially if they’re weak against steel-type attacks. The 30% chance to drop your opponent’s attack by one stage is also a great bonus, but can make your battles a little inconsistent if it’s something that you try to rely on for the win.
Earthquake really is where the magic happens here though, beating pretty much all the non-flying poison-types apart from Skuntank, which runs Flamethrower. Any time you see something that has a fire-type attack, alarm bells should be ringing.
Skuntank types: Poison/Dark
Perfect IVs: 3/15/14
Skuntank weaknesses: Ground
Skuntank recommended moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Crunch (Charged), Flamethrower (Charged)
Talking of fire-type attacks, Flamethrower may not be the most obvious choice for this Pokémon, but with Poison Jab doing a lot of heavy lifting as a Fast move that applies a lot of pressure and charges your moves quickly, it’s an incredible addition in this meta.
There are three eligible Genesect builds, two of which are at the top of the meta, and with Forretress in the fray too, that’s a lot of Pokémon that are double-weak to the attack. Add in the ice-types that are drifting around – Alolan Ninetails and Froslass, being the top two – and you have a great back-up attack that’s almost always ready to go.
And when you’re not ready for the opponent to feel the burn, Crunch is an excellent option as a relatively low-energy Charged move that comes with a 30% chance to drop the opponent’s attack, which is a nice bonus. Just beware the tankier stuff that will outlast you, such as Crobat and Tentacruel, and you should be good.
The Season of Adventures Abound is here! The Party Up! event is currently running and players who didn't earn a Master Ball via Timed Investigation: Master Ball can purchase the Special Research: Master Ball quest. Party Play - Pokémon Go's multiplayer feature - is here, along with the Welcome Party quest. Be sure to fight in the Go Battle League, compete in Shadow Raids, complete Routes, use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres. This incense may also give you encounters with other rare Pokémon in Pokémon Go.
Giratina types: Ghost/Dragon
Perfect IVs: 1/12/15
Giratina weaknesses: Dark, Dragon, Fairy, Ghost, Ice
Giratina Altered recommended moves: Dragon Breath (Fast), Dragon Claw (Charged), Ancient Power (Charged)
Giratina Altered has long been a favourite in Ultra League, and with good reason. As with Nidoqueen, what works there tends to work well here.
Shadow Claw is a decent Fast move that works well with the low-energy Dragon Claw attack for mostly neutral damage – you just need to watch out of those incidental fairies, like Alolan Ninetails and Galarian Weezing that naturally resist dragons.
And that’s where Ancient Power comes in. Not only does it offer coverage against the flying-types and those resistant to dragon-type attacks, but it also comes with a 10% chance to boost your own attack and defence by one stage. It’s not a huge chance, but it’s all gravy at this point.
The real trick to using this extremely bulky, highly defensive but surprisingly agile Pokémon is knowing what gets through your defences – when you see something like a Chill Drive Genesect, know that the ice-type attacks will ruin your day. Similarly, the likes of Umbreon will also put you on the back foot.
Genesect types: Bug/Steel
Genesect perfect IVs: 10/12/12
Genesect weaknesses: Fire
Genesect recommended moves: Fury Cutter (Fast), Magnet Bomb (Charged), Techno Blast (Exclusive Charged)
Chill Drive Genesect is the way to go here, but if you didn’t get one (or you have a better Burn Drive or Shock Drive Genesect), Burn or Shock is the way to go. Be aware that you can’t TM these into each other, or change the drives like you can in the main game – you need to go out and catch the one with the drive you want.
With that said, we have a league where multiple Genesect are not only viable, but actually good! This is certainly the first time I’ve seen all three of these in the top-10 Pokémon for a single meta. Which one you choose is up to you – Chill beats dragon, flying and bugs, Burn beats bug, grass and steel, and Shock beats flying and water, so there’s options based on what you see in the meta. On paper, Chill is best, followed by Shock, then Burn.
So, how do you use Genesect? Spam the fast-charging Fury Cutter until you can fire off a Magnet Bomb, getting in some nice damage early on. If you see something weak to your Techno Blast, use that instead.
Your key wins are the same, almost always beating the likes of Alolan Ninetails and Mandibuzz, and you will always lose to Toxicroak and Umbreon, but whether you beat the likes of Crobat, for example, will depend on which Drive you choose.
Tapu Fini types: Water/Fairy
Perfect IVs: 1/13/15
Tapu Fini weaknesses: Electric, Grass, Poison
Tapu Fini recommended moves: Water Gun (Fast), Surf (Charged), Moonblast (Charged)
Tapu Fini is an interesting choice in this meta, being only really weak to the poison-type Pokémon and the incidental electric or grass-type attacks brought in as coverage options.
The main issue that opponents will have, aside from its impressive bulk, is that Tapu Fini runs one cheap attack (Surf) and one devastating attack (Moonblast). Water Gun charges pretty slowly, but if you wait until you have energy to fire off a Moonblast to use your Surf, you can strip shields fairly easily. Moonblast even has the bonus of a 10% debuff to your opponent’s attack, adding insult to injury.
This all means that, on paper, Tapu Fini is likely to beat Alolan Ninetails, Giratina (Altered) and Mandibuzz, among others, though it is pretty much dead in the water to a drop of poison. As always, knowing your match-ups is the key to success.
Nihilego types: Rock/Poison
Perfect IVs: 1/13/15
Nihilego weaknesses: Ground, Psychic, Steel, Water
Nihilego recommended moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Rock Slide (Charged), Sludge Bomb (Charged)
Nihilego is an interesting choice in this meta, mostly because of the amount of incidental flying-types that are floating around – Crobat and Mandibuzz, for example, lose pretty hard to Rock Slide with STAB.
The downside is that while it’s weak to anything that’s native to the meta, its vulnerabilities come in the form of form of the things sided in to beat the poison – it’s notably double-weak to ground-type attacks, making stuff like Nidoqueen and even Forretress a potential issue.
But with the combo of a very good, fast-charging Fast move and two cheap and cheerful Charged moves, you’re applying both Fast move pressure and shield pressure, which is exactly where you want to be.
So, what do you need to look out for? Things with cheap ground attacks (Toxicroak) are the worst, and things with water attacks – Overqwil, Tapu Fini and Tentacruel – will likely win out in the end.
Overqwil types: Dark/Poison
Perfect IVs: 0/14/15
Overqwil weaknesses: Ground
Overqwil recommended moves: Poison Jab (Fast), Aqua Tail (Charged), Shadow Ball (Charged)
Overqwil is one of those Pokémon where you will either see it or you won’t. There has only been one way of getting them to date, and they’re not available at the moment, so if you missed your chance to get one over the summer, unlucky. But the same logic applies to your opponents, so whether they run one of these is very much up to chance.
If you do have one, Overqwil offers your team the benefits of a spammy Pokémon that applies both Fast move pressure and shield pressure, thanks to how hard-hitting and fast-charging Poison Jab is, and how cheap Aqua Tail is. The Shadow Ball has to be respected, so if you hold off until you can fire off both, the opponent is more likely to put up shields, even if you ultimately choose the cheaper attack – they have no way of knowing which you’ve chosen, after all.
Overqwil has some interesting match-ups. Despite not actually being a water-type, Aqua Tail has you covered against the likes of Nihilego, while the rest of it will have you beating Alolan Ninetails, Mandibuzz and Crobat. Be aware, however, that the Shadow Ball, while powerful, isn’t enough to pull the win against Giratina (Altered), which will win in the end. Toxicroak, Skuntank and Tentacruel can also outlast you, so beware those match-ups too.
Halloween Cup dates and times in Pokémon Go explained
The Halloween Cup is running in two halves this year.
Currently, we have the Ultra League Halloween Cup, running from Thursday, October 27th at 9pm BST to Thursday, 3rd November at 8pm BST, with the following end times depending on your region:
- UK - 8pm (GMT)
- Europe - 9pm (CEST)
- East Coast USA - 3pm (EDT)
- West Coast USA - noon (PDT)
Fans of the Great League could take part in the Great League Halloween Cup from Thursday 20th October to Thursday, October 27th.
Good luck in the Ultra League Halloween Cup!