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The Silph League Arena

Arena Update


Author: MatthewBrewer

After such a long break, you forget how fast a month can go by! With the Ember Cup now behind us, players competing in our monthly cups get their first truly new ruleset of the Season, and the team wanted to do all it could to make it a classic!



We knew we wanted a cup that leaned towards the bulkier side of the spectrum for February given that Ember was full of fairly flimsy Pokemon. Hopefully the change in playstyle will give those who didn’t enjoy the pace of Ember a chance to take advantage of the new Wave system with a secondary cup that was of a different speed, while still having a simple enough ruleset to not put off potential new players

As always with bulky Pokemon, there is potential for Rock-Paper-Scissors style matchups here, though we have tried to mitigate that though within the individual type groups where possible. As far as RPS between type groups goes, we hope that what’s included in the meta (and more importantly, what isn’t!) is enough to make competitors really think about if they actually need or even want to use things on the losing end of some of these relationships.



In our off-season focus groups, many people pointed to the Glacial Cup as something they enjoyed about the previous season. With this in mind we revisited the formula that made Glacial successful, while keeping an eye on making it different enough to not feel like a re-run. We started off with the Dragon-Water relationship, knowing that this alone would bring enough Ice types into the fold to stop Dragons getting out of hand.

We then wanted other typings that were neutral against Dragons and Waters, eventually settling on Psychic and Bug, a pairing that often proves to be less one-way than a type chart would have you believe. In the Glacial Cup, BEEDRILL saw significantly more usage than any other Naiad-eligible Bug or Poison type, and having Confusion users here acts as a deterrent from this happening again. Both Psychic and Bug also introduce some of the more limited Steel types too, perhaps most notably BRONZONG, ESCAVALIER and WORMADAM-T, which can act as additional answers to the Dragon and Ice types that are present.

Finally we wanted to add some further neutral options, with one eye on also increasing the variety of reliable answers to JELLICENT. With this in mind we went for a trio of bulky Normal types which we felt offered enough of options for any one of them not to feel dominant or redundant, while all fulfilling their brief.



As usual, the banned Pokemon here tend to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Hard Counter Types: Being the premier counters to Dragon and Psychic types respectively, FAIRY and DARK types saw an outright ban to keep half of the meta immediately falling prey to RPS matchups.
  • Best-In-Class Bans: LANTURN, ARAQUANID and TOXAPEX all have the ability to comfortably beat out most other Waters while also having hard counters of their own, so we preferred other Waters to be the most used ones. FORRETRESS’ ability to hit everything well thanks to having Rock Tomb made it stand out above the other Bug/Steels. ROCK coverage in general here has the potential to be very polarising, so we opted to remove anything that had access to STAB rock moves – this particularly targeted things like CRUSTLE and BARBARACLE, which have performed well in similar setups in the past.
  • Teambuilding Bans: CRESSELIA and MEDICHAM felt significantly different from other available Pokemon that trying to include reliable answers to them in your team might open up too many weaknesses elsewhere, so hopefully these bans make for easier teambuilding with more freedom.
  • Accessibility Bans: Whilst there wasn’t much risk of G-ARTICUNO being meta-defining, how would you have felt if you’d lost to one! With Lugia and it’s shadow form being available, there’s still scope to use a legendary Flying/Psychic type if you want!



There’s a risk in revisiting a past favourite cup and hoping to make something new out of it, but I’m hopeful that the Naiad Cup will tread the fine line of being significantly different from the Glacial Cup without moving too far a way from the dynamic gameplay that made it popular in the first place.

I think there’s a lot of variety to choose from here though, and I’m hopeful that this is a cup where frailer, “spicier” picks might see more success over the mid-range bulk Pokemon that usually don’t hit hard enough to break through some of the behemoths that occupy the top spots in PvPoke’s rankings.

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