Pokemon Go: The Best Kanto Cup Team Compositions

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  • Pokemon Go Kanto Cup Restrictions
  • Best Kanto Cup Lead Pokemon
  • Best Kanto Cup Pokemon Switches
  • Best Kanto Cup Pokemon Closers
  • Kanto Cup Recommended Team Comps

Pokemon Go's themed PvP cups lead you on many a journey, whether for yearly events such as Halloween, or taking you back in time. The Kanto Cup is certainly an example of the latter, applying strict limits to what you can pick to lead your charge up the ranked ladder.

This time, we're going all the way back to the first generation of Pokemon games. From the three original starters of Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, to the Mythical Pokemon Mew, as long as they're Pokemon that debuted in Red and Blue you're good to go. Here are our recommendations for your team.

Pokemon Go Kanto Cup Restrictions

As mentioned above, the first limit when it comes to building out your team is the one that restricts you to Kanto-sourced Pokemon. All 151 creatures from the original titles are in Pokemon Go, so you do have a fair bit of variety to choose from. However, you will miss out on some strong meta choices, thanks to the Dark, Steel, and Fairy types being off limits.

The second limit is typical to Pokemon Go's themed cups. Your Pokemon must have a CP of under 1,500. This shouldn't be too much of an issue, but could still rule out some of the more beefy Pokemon caught in the wild, such as Snorlax. Also, in a strange quirk, you'll still be able to use the Alolan versions of first-generation Pokemon, such as Sandslash and Grimer.

Evolving a Pokemon — especially to Stage 2 — could naturally push it past the 1,500 CP limit. Be mindful to check the post-evolution result before you confirm the change.

Best Kanto Cup Lead Pokemon

Thankfully, you're not short of options when it comes to choosing a Pokemon to lead you into battle against other trainers. Plenty of opportunities open up that wouldn't normally get thanks to being countered by the many Dark/Steel/Fairy meta types.

As such, you'll likely see Poison, Ice, and Bug types dominate the opening rounds in the Kanto Cup. However, you'll still need to watch out for the moves of those later-generation types, but they'll never benefit from Same Type Attack Bonus (STAB). Here are four leads we think would be sensible options.

Fast Moves are in normal text, Charge Moves in italic.

Resistant means that the Pokemon takes less damage from moves of that type.

Weak means that the Pokemon takes more damage from moves of that type.

PokemonBest MovesResistantWeak
Lapras (Water/Ice)Ice Shard


Surf


Skull Bash

Ice


Water

Electric


Fighting


Grass


Rock

Beedrill (Bug/Poison)Poison Jab


Drill Run


X-Scissor

Grass


Fighting


Poison


Bug


Fairy

Fire


Flying


Psychic


Rock

Hypno (Psychic)Confusion


Fire Punch


Shadow Ball

Psychic


Fighting

Bug


Dark


Ghost

Nidoqueen (Poison/Ground)Poison Jab


Poison Fang


Earth Power

Poison


Electric


Rock


Fighting


Fairy


Bug

Ground


Ice


Psychic


Water

Lapras' Ice Shard is an event-exclusive move, meaning you'll need to use an Elite TM to obtain it after the fact. Beedrill's Drill Run is the same.

Best Kanto Cup Pokemon Switches

The great thing about being limited to a single generation is that there's a lot of overlap between roles in a Pokemon Go PvP team. While other cups, in particular the Ultra League, have almost specific choices for leads and switches, here a single Pokemon can feasibly occupy either role.

Here, we've opted for Pokemon that can pile on the shield pressure, while spamming their moves to best effect. There's a good range of types and moves, which should help you cover a lot of bases and get ahead of your opponent.

PokemonBest MovesResistantWeak
Ninetales (Fire)Fire Spin


Weather Ball (Fire)


Overheat

Steel


Ice


Grass


Fire


Fairy


Bug

Ground


Rock


Water

Gengar (Ghost/Poison)Shadow Claw


Shadow Punch


Sludge Bomb

Fighting


Poison


Normal


Bug


Grass


Fairy

Dark


Ghost


Ground


Psychic

Poliwhirl (Water)Mud Shot


Scald


Mud Bomb

Water


Steel


Ice


Fire

Electric


Grass

Mew (Psychic)Shadow Claw


Wild Charge


Surf

Psychic


Fighting

Bug


Dark


Ghost

You'll need to use an Elite TM to get hold of Gengar's Shadow Punch, and Poliwhirl's Scald.

Best Kanto Cup Pokemon Closers

To round out your team you'll need a Pokemon that can mop up any remaining opponents, or survive a late onslaught. By this point you'll want to have baited your opponent's shields, so that when your charged move comes online, it'll do the business.

These four options offer different strategies for rounding off your battles, whether that's more pressure, extreme tankiness, or something in-between. The great thing is that none of these choices have moves that require the hard-to-get Elite TMs to learn, so they should be easier to build.

PokemonBest MovesResistantWeak
Snorlax (Normal)Lick


Body Slam


Superpower

GhostFighting
Machamp (Fighting)Counter


Cross Chop


Rock Slide

Rock


Dark


Bug

Fairy


Flying


Psychic

Alolan Muk (Poison/Dark)Snarl


Dark Pulse


Sludge Wave

Psychic


Poison


Grass


Ghost


Dark

Ground
Chansey (Normal)Zen Headbutt


Psychic


Hyper Beam

GhostFighting

Kanto Cup Recommended Team Comps

Now that we have a bunch of Pokemon to do battle with, it's time to come up with some great team compositions.

Lapras – Gengar – Alolan Muk

This team starts with some fantastic bulk in Lapras, who can often survive many lead Pokemon. It doesn't have too much shield pressure, but it is spammy enough to punish any mistakes.

Follow this up with the double Poison combo of Gengar and Alolan Muk, which both offer tons of shield pressure. Gengar is also rapid, so you should be able to clean up your opponent's lead and wreck their switch. Muk has some devastating moves, too.

Beedrill – Ninetales – Machamp

This team is very, very high risk, as it offers no bulk at all. You aim here is to use Beedrill's devastating speed to decimate your opponent's lead, and even take their switch low depending on the type matchup.

Then, have Ninetales come in to keep the pressure on, spamming moves and ensuring their shields are used up. You might even get lucky with the matchup too, facing a Pokemon weak to fire. Finally, Machamp is a strong closer, devastating to the common Normal, Rock, and Ice types you'll find as your opponent's closer.

Nidoqueen – Mew – Chansey

This team is a bit of a triple threat — Nidoqueen is a classic great lead, across many cup types, and should give you a strong foundation for victory. Having Chansey as an extremely bulky closer is fantastic, especially as it comes with some very heavy hitting moves.

However, the real bread and butter of this comp is Mew. Able to learn moves of almost limitless types, it can fill any matchup gaps you may have while keeping your opponent guessing as to what type moves they'll face. It's a lottery, but if you have plenty of TMs to change Mew's setup, it can be so, so much fun to play.

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