Pokemon Sword and Shield Champion Cup Tips Guide

Pokemon Sword and Shield's Elite Four got a bit of a makeover, with 7 fights in a row. We break them all down for you in our Champion Cup guide.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield trade the traditional Elite Four and Champion challenge for the Champion Cup, a series of matches against other Champion challengers, Gym Leaders, and finally the Champion himself for a chance to claim the top Pokemon title in Galar.

These are the best of the best in Galar, and unless you've carefully assembled a diverse team or overleveled your Pokemon, these won't be simple fights.

That's why we put together this Champion Cup tips guide to give you a fighting chance and help prepare before you take the challenge. Please note that the guide below contains spoilers for who you face, as well as some story points that take place during your challenge.

Pokemon Sword and Shield Champion Cup Tips Guide

The Champion Cup Setup

The Champion Cup is divided into two semifinal fights, three finals matches, something else spoilery, and your fight against the Champion. That's actually more battles than you usually get in the traditional Elite Four + Champion setup, so you're in for a long haul once you start.

Each trainer specializes in a Pokemon type, with a couple of notable exceptions like the Champion. They'll often shake things up with a dual-type Pokemon as well or a Pokemon that knows a move effective against other types.

Champion Cup Recommended Pokemon Types

However, there are a few core Pokemon and move types you can consider in your planning if you want to focus on type advantages.

  • Steel
  • Fairy
  • Dark
  • Fighting
  • Grass
  • Flying
  • Ice
  • Electric

Obviously, you can't have a Pokemon representing all those types since your party cap is six, but you can make sure your move pools are diverse. For example, teach your Water-type an Ice move or stick a Fight move on your Attack-oriented Dark-type.

Champion Cup Semifinal 1: Marnie Battle

Marnie's team primarily relies on Dark types, with a few variations and subtypes thrown in to keep her from being a pushover. You'll want to consider Pokemon with Fighting, Fairy, Bug, or Steel types or moves. Corvinkight, in particular, would be a useful Pokemon for this battle.

Pokemon Move Pool
Liepard (Dark) — lvl. 47 Fake Out, Torment, Snarl, Nasty Plot
  Toxicroak (Poison/Fight) — lvl. 47 Venoshock, Sucker Punch, Swagger, Toxic
Scrafty (Dark/Fight) — lvl. 47 Swagger, Scary Face, Brick Break, Crunch
  Morpeko (Electric/Dark) — lvl. 48  Bullet Seed, Torment, Bite, Spark
  Grimmsnarl (Dark/Fairy) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 49  Spirit Break, Darkest Lariat, Bulk Up, Torment

 

Liepard isn't that big of a deal, as long as it doesn't get a chance to use Nasty Plot to power up Snarl. It's pure Dark and has middling defense stats, so Fairy, Fighting, or even Bug moves would be fine here. Fairy will completely demolish Scrafty. Toxicroak is her wild card, though a Flying-type could easily dispatch it.

Morpeko is a bit like Ash's Pikachu — a good mascot, but not a tough opponent. If your Fairy or Fighting-type is in good order still, use it to take care of Morpeko.

Grimmsnarl's Fairy dual typing means Fighting is no good here. A Bug could still take advantage of its Dark side, or you could use a good Steel-type (like Corviknight) or a 'mon with a strong Steel-type move. Intimidating as it looks, its Defense and Special Defense stats aren't high, so it shouldn't be too challenging.

Champion Cup Semifinals 2: Hop Battle

Hop is your second opponent in the Champion Cup. There's not really a pattern to his team.

Pokemon Move Pool
Dubwool (Normal) — lvl. 48  Cotton Guard, Reversal, Body Slam, Zen Headbutt
  Corviknight (Steel/Flying) — lvl. 48 Steel Wing, Drill Peck, Scary Face, Swagger
  Pincurchin (Electric)— lvl. 47 Thunderbolt, Poison Jab, Curse
Snorlax (Normal) — lvl. 47  Heavy Slam, High Horsepower, Hammer Arm
 Inteleon (if you choose Grookey) (Dynamax) — lvl. 49  Snipe Shot, Mud Shot, Icy Wind, Dark Pulse
 Cinderace (if you chose Sobble) (Dynamax) — lvl. 49 Pyro Ball, Gunk Shot, Counter, Bounce
 Rillaboom (if you chose Scorbunny) (Dynamax) — lvl. 49  Drum Beating, High Horsepower, Snarl, Uproar

 

Dubwool might be a bit tricky, thanks to its tanky Defense and Cotton Guard. If you don't have a Fighting Pokemon or move to use, focus on one with high Special Attack to take advantage of its relatively lower SD stat. The opposite is true for Snorlax, where you'll want to focus on Physical moves.

Corviknight doesn't have any glaring weaknesses other than Electric, so consider bringing in a Boltund, while any of your sturdier, non-Water or Flying Pokemon could go up against Pincurchin.

Hop's starter shouldn't pose much of a threat since you should have a strategy for defeating it by now.

Champion Cup: Interrupting Opponent Bede

After you move on to the Finals, some story things happen that interrupt the Champion Cup. Then Bede makes another appearance and, in not very venerable fashion, interrupts things even further, forcing you to challenge him to continue.

Pokemon Move Pool
  Mawile (Steel/Fairy) — lvl. 51  Play Rough, Iron Head, Crunch
  Gardevoir (Psychic/Fairy) — lvl. 51  Dazzling Gleam, Psychic, Calm Ming, Wish
  Rapidash (Psychic/Fairy) — lvl. 52 Psycho Cut, Take Down, Dazzling Gleam, Quick Attack
  Hatterene (Psychic/Fairy) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 53 Dazzling Gleam, Calm Mind, Mystical Fire, Psychic

 

Bede's main weaknesses are Poison and Steel, though of course, his part-Psychic 'mon would demolish any of yours that is Poison type. If you have a Poison move on a different Pokemon, preferably one with high Special Defense, that's an option.

Alternatively, you could bring out the Steel-type you used against Marnie's Grimmsnarl since like most Fairy and Psychic types, these aren't gifted in the Defense department.

Mawile's a bit different, but a Fire or Ground-type would do well here. Resist the urge to use a Fighting-type, because Play Rough would destroy it.

Champion Cup Finals 1: Nessa Battle

With that out of the way, it's time to move onto the Finals for real. Nessa will be your first opponent, and though her team is obviously much stronger than when you faced off in Hulbury, it shouldn't pose much of a problem for a team with Grass or Electric moves.

Pokemon Move Pool
  Golisopod (Bug/Water) — lvl. 51  First Impression, Shadow Claw, Liquidation, Swords Dance
  Pelipper (Water/Flying) — lvl. 51 Roost, Air Slash, Water Pulse, Tailwind
  Barraskewda (Water) — lvl. 52 Throat Chop, Ice Fang, Drill Run, Liquidation
Seaking (Water) — lvl. 52  Smart Strike, Mega Horn, Aqua Ring, Waterfall
  Drednaw (Gigantamax) — lvl. 53 Liquidation, Jaw Lock, Crunch, Rock Tomb

 

Golisopod is the only one that should pose much problem here. A Flying-type — like Corviknight, again — would exploit the Bug-type weakness without facing much danger from First Impression, though Liquidation could be an issue. As you battle, try defeating it before its ability activates (when it's at half HP or less). If not, when Nessa switches it back in, then it can use the powerful First Impression again. Going on the defensive with stat-raising moves would be one option here.

A strong Grass or Electric-type or move would handle Barraskewda and Seaking with no issues, and Drednaw is highly vulnerable to Grass types, particularly Special attacks. Pelipper should probably be handled with an Electric-type, or at least not a Grass-type. If type advantage isn't an issue for you, though, then anything not Grass, Rock, Ground, and Fire would be fine.

Champion Cup Finals 2: Bea Battle (Sword)

If you're playing Pokemon Sword, Bea is your next opponent in the Champion Cup Finals. And if you've ever played any of the Gen I and II remakes, then you'll quickly realize she's basically Bruno, only even easier — especially if you brought a Fairy type.

Pokemon Move Pool
Hawlucha (Fight/Flying) — lvl. 52  Flying Press, High Jump Kick, Bounce
  Grapploct (Fight) — lvl. 52  Octolock, Submission, Bind, Mega Punch
  Sirfetch'd (Fight) — lvl. 53 Leaf Blade, Slam, Brutal Swing, Brick Break
Falinks (Fight) — lvl. 53  No Retreat, Bulk Up, Close Combat, Rock Tomb
  Machamp (Fight) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 54  Cross Chop, Revenge, Fire Punch, Strength

 

Note that only one of Bea's Pokemon has a move effective against Flying types, and there's difficult no dual-type variation to throw a wrench into things here either.

A strong Flying-type would be one option, though if you brought Corviknight as your main flyer, it might not be the best. Instead, a Fairy or Psychic-type would work wonders here, quickly clearing out Bea's team with basically no opposition. If you've traded for a Galarian Rapidash, then that's a double bonus.

Champion Cup Finals 2: Allister Battle (Shield)

Shield players will go up against Allister again for their second Finals match. He's not quite as simple to deal with as Bea, though not much more difficult either. Dark types would be the ideal option for this match, or you could bring your own Ghost if you're wanting to take a risk.

Pokemon Move Pool
  Dusknoir (Ghost) — lvl. 52  Shadow Punch, Thunder Punch, Rock Tomb, Disable
  Chandelure (Ghost/Fire) — lvl. 52  Shadow Ball, Mystical Fire, Will-o-Wisp
  Cursola (Ghost) — lvl. 53  Hex, Strength Sap, Ancient Power, Amnesia
  Polteageist (Ghost) — lvl. 53  Shadow Ball, Protect, Giga Drain, Nasty Plot
  Gengar (Ghost/Poison) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 54 Shadow Ball, Sludge Bomb, Dark Pulse, Hypnosis

 

Normal types might be immune to Ghost moves, but Allister's team packs at least one powerful, non-Ghost move. Dubwool would be viable because it can basically withstand anything, but taking the offensive here would be better to end it quickly.

If you brought a Grimmsnarl along for the part-Fairy-type benefits earlier, that would serve you well against all Allister's Pokemon except Gengar. If not, Galar has no shortage of Dark types to choose from, and Allister's team doesn't really have any moves that would harm a Dark type.

Gengar's Hypnosis is just a pain since it doesn't have Nightmare or Dream Eater to go with it. The only potentially tricky situation here is if Polteageist gets its Special Attack up with Nasty Plot and lands some hits before you can defeat it.

Champion Cup Finals 3: Raihan Battle

Raihan, the strongest Gym Leader who focuses (mostly) on Dragon types, is your final opponent in the Finals. Since Dragon is weak to Fairy types now, as well as Ice types, he's not quite so intimidating as he might be, except for his Duraludon.

Pokemon Move Pool
  Torkoal (Fire) — lvl. 53  Lava Plume, Solar Beam, Body Press, Yawn
  Goodra (Dragon) — lvl. 54  Rain Dance, Surf, Muddy Water, Thunder
Turtonator (Fire/Dragon) — lvl. 54  Sunny Day, Shell Trap, Fire Blast, Dragon Pulse
  Flygon (Ground/Dragon) — lvl. 54  Sandstorm, Dragon Claw, Earthquake, Crunch
  Duraludon (Steel/Dragon) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 55  Dragon Claw, Body Press, Stone Edge, Iron Head

 

Torkoal is the odd 'mon out here as the only Pokemon on Raihan's team with no Dragon element. Fortunately, Fire has several common weaknesses, including Water, Ground, and Rock. Torkoal is very slow, so it shouldn't give you much trouble.

Goodra and Flygon would easily fall to Ice-type moves, though if you're seeking type advantages, Fairy would be the better option to take on Turtonator.

Duraludon is probably the toughest opponent so far in the Champion Cup because its typing negates any type advantage except for Fighting. If you've got any strong Fighting moves on a durable Pokemon, that's going to be your best choice here. Otherwise, make sure you've got some durable 'mon and plenty of healing items.

Champion Cup Champion Match: Leon Battle

As you've known from the very beginning, Leon is your ultimate opponent. You won't be able to challenge him until you finish up some story elements, but once that's done, it's finally time to test your mettle against the Galar Champion.

His team is significantly stronger than the previous challengers you faced, and he has the starter strong against whichever one you chose, and but he'll have one Pokemon your starter is strong against as well.

Pokemon Move Pool
  Aegislash (Ghost/Steel) — lvl. 62  King's Shield, Shadow Ball, Sacred Sword, Flash Cannon
Dragapult (Dragon/Ghost) — lvl. 62  Shadow Ball, Flamethrower, Thunderbolt, Dragon Breath
  Haxorus (Dragon) — lvl. 63 Poison Jab, Iron Tail, Outrage, Earthquake
 Charizard (Fire/Flying) (Gigantamax) — lvl. 65 Fire Blast, Solar Beam, Air Slash, Ancient Power

 

Leon's base team covers its weaknesses pretty well. Dark or Ghost would help against Aegislash and Dragapult, though Ice is going to be your best chance against Haxorus thanks to Poison Jab.

Charizard might be huge and have a new look, but it's still as weak to Rock, Electric, and Water as it ever was. There's no Sunny Day in effect, so your Water type could probably get at least one hit in before Charizard fires off its Solar Beam as well.

Leon's Team if You Chose Grookey

Pokemon Move Pool
Seismitoad (Water/Ground) — lv. 64 Toxic, Drain Punch, Liquidation, Earthquake
  Cinderace (Fire) — lv. 64  Pyro Ball, Feint, Acrobatics, Quick Attack

 

Your best bet for Seismitoad is using your Grookey (which should be Rillaboom by now), thanks to Seismitoad's 4x weakness against Grass. Depending on how you've balanced your team up to now, Fire hasn't been an issue in the Champion Cup. Water and Rock would be good against Cinderace, but if you didn't plan on either of those, anything with high Attack or Special Attack would serve you well.

Leon's Team if You Chose Scorbunny

Pokemon Move Pool
Mr Rime (Ice/Psychic) — lv. 64 Teeter Dance, Psychic, Freeze-Dry, Thunderbolt
  Inteleon (Water) — lv. 64  Snipe Shot, Dark Pulse, Mud Shot, Tearful Look

 

Cinderace with its high Attack stat should make quick work of Mr. Rime, though whatever Dark-type you brought with you is equally effective here should Cinderace's low Special Defense prove troublesome for you.

Whatever you used against Nessa's Pelipper should work against Inteleon, especially because the latter is definitely a glass cannon with low Defense and Special Defense stats.

Leon's Team if You Chose Sobble

Pokemon Move Pool
Rhyperior (Rock/Ground) — lv. 64 Earthquake, Mega Horn, Heat Crash, Stone Edge
Rillaboom (Grass) — lv. 64 Drum Beating, High Horsepower, Endeavor, Knock Off

 

Rhyperior is no match for Inteleon, assuming you kept your starter. Rillaboom hits hard but has fairly low defense. If you did bring Corviknight along, that'd be one way to face this fight. If not, whatever Ice-type you use against Haxorus would be highly effective here.

Champion Cup Rematches

With that, you're finally the new Galar Champion! But you can't rest on your laurels. Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield's post-game gives you the chance to challenge the Champion Cup again, with a twist.

It borrows from Black 2 and White 2's World Tournament and lets you build a set of challenges by choosing from the Gym Leaders, Marnie, Bede, Hop, and any of 15 weaker Challengers to go up against.

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That's it for our Pokemon Sword and Shield Champion Cup guide, but be sure to check out our other Pokemon Sword and Shield guides, including:

Contributor

Josh Broadwell's gaming career began early--1993, to be exact--when he was introduced to the Super Nintendo and Super Mario World. Despite all the magnificent games the SNES and, later, the original PlayStation had to offer, it wasn't until the GameBoy Advance era that he finally discovered RPGs, which quickly became a favorite genre. He holds a BA in history, an MA in history, and is currently pursuing an MA in strategic communication.

Published Nov. 21st 2019

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