The legality of Pokemon is occasionally a hot topic in a world where hacking and simulation make anything possible. Facing an Azumarill with Aqua Jet and Belly Drum or a Snorlax with Curse and Pursuit will elicit cries from any well-informed player. Understanding why such Pokemon are illegal and what other move combinations they ought not to possess can be more difficult. Creating a legal moveset in Little Cup suffers additional complications as a result of being played at level five. This guide will address all causes of illegality in the LC metagame, including those that overlap with other metagames, in order to help players construct valid Pokemon.
There are three sources of moveset illegality that occur with much greater frequency than the rest: Egg move combinations, third gen tutors, fourth gen improvements, and special moves. These are the most useful factors to keep in mind when choosing moves for a Pokemon.
Faulty egg move combinations are the original source of illegal movesets, and thus, the most common. It is not always possible to obtain every Egg move that a Pokemon desires on the same father. Sorting through Egg chains and determining how each species contributes to the final product is a chore that has become fundamental to the Pokemon series, and Little Cup is no exception.
Example: Gible wants to learn Metal Claw, Thrash, and Body Slam. Feraligatr can know all three of these egg moves and might seem like the ideal father for such a Gible. Unfortunately, Feraligatr needs to be bred in a fourth generation game to have Metal Claw and a third generation game to have Body Slam. He cannot know them at the same time. The next best parents, Charizard and Aggron, can learn Metal Claw and Body Slam, but not Thrash. A Gible with Metal Claw, Thrash, and Body Slam is therefore illegal.
The transition from the third generation to the fourth brought many improvements to Pokemon. As the example above suggests, it has also created conflicts between the old and the new. Moves that can be easily tutored onto Pokemon in a GBA game may not be available in a DS game by any means. Every feature that requires a Pokemon to be bred in Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum is illegal in combination with these third generation exclusives. The specific features to consider are:
The Platinum tutor greatly reduced the number of third generation conflicts by replicating many of its moves. However, there continues to be Pokemon that learn a move by third generation tutoring that cannot learn it in DPP, even though other Pokemon learn the same move by DPP TMs or tutors. There are also a few rare cases in which a Pokemon has a level up move in ADV which is not obtainable by any means in the fourth generation. These old level up moves are effectively the same as old tutor moves when considering their current legality.
Example: Swinub wants to use the Snow Cloak ability with Ice Shard, Curse, and Mimic. The first two moves are easily obtained, but Mimic causes some problems. Swinub needs a third generation tutor to learn Mimic, so there's no way to learn it at the same time as fourth generation's new Snow Cloak ability. Swinub would have to pair Mimic with Oblivious. What's worse, Swinub can't learn Ice Shard or Curse in ADV. To know those moves, it will need to be bred in the fourth generation, leveled up to 28, and then rebred to produce Little Cup-viable offspring. There's no opportunity to use the Mimic tutor, and it's therefore illegal with the ability, level up move, and Egg move that Swinub desires.
Most Pokemon learn their moves by leveling up, breeding, visiting a tutor, or using a TM. Once in a while, Nintendo and its associates decide to mix things up by creating a Pokemon with a special move that it could never normally obtain. Whether this is the fruit of a spin-off game such as Pokemon XD, or a simple distribution at local specialty stores, it inevitably results in new legality issues:
The first two items are the most relevant. Nearly all of the special moves from XD are illegal in Little Cup due to the levels at which the Pokemon are obtained, and event Pokemon that can see use in Little Cup were originally distributed as Eggs without any regular moves. The illegality of special moves from the third generation with new abilities is more disappointing on some species than others.
Example: Storing 100 Pokemon in the Gamecube's Pokemon Box rewards the player with an Egg containing a Zigzagoon that knows ExtremeSpeed. This is not a move that Zigzagoon can normally learn. It comes at a price, however. This Zigzagoon hatches without any of its other Egg or higher level moves. It will never learn Belly Drum, Pursuit, Charm, or Tickle. It can never use its new Gluttony ability. ExtremeSpeed means Zigzagoon uses the inferior Pickup ability, its three lowest level moves, and whatever it can learn from TMs and tutors. The rest of its options are illegal in LC.
There is hope, however, thanks to the discovery of the Pomeg Glitch. This example of illegality can actually become a legality with help from the following section.
Before the discovery of the Pomeg Glitch found within the Emerald game, it was impossible to obtain certain level up moves on genderless and single gender species. Examples of this were Porygon unable to use Tri Attack and Staryu unable to use Rapid Spin. However, thanks to this in-game glitch, it is possible to legitimately acquire these moves on the aforementioned Pokemon. The introduction of this glitch shaped the face of the fourth and fifth generation LC metagame. A more in-depth explanation of the Pomeg Glitch can be read here.
Below are the Pokemon who were associated with complications concerning level up moves before the introduction of the Pomeg Glitch. On simulators, acquiring certain level up moves that can only be obtained by the Pomeg Glitch is as simple as clicking the mouse. However, in-game the process can be tedious and actually kind of complicated. As a glitch, it could also be considered unethical.
In the off chance that you find yourself in a situation where the use of Pokemon with level up moves acquired using the Pomeg Glitch is forbidden, the following sections can help you be sure you aren't using anything illegal.
Breeding level up moves onto Eggs by using parents that both know the moves is key to creating useful movesets at level five. Genderless Pokemon cannot employ this technique. They can only produce Eggs by breeding with Ditto, and Ditto only has one move. All level up moves obtained after level five are therefore illegal in Little Cup for these species. For ease of reference, the genderless Little Cup Pokemon are:
There are a number of examples that one can consider from this list. Bronzor cannot learn Hypnosis and follow in Bronzong's footsteps. Staryu will not be removing any hazards with Rapid Spin. Porygon has to make the best of things without Tri Attack. It's a substantial limitation to place on these Pokemon.
Species with only one gender have difficulty breeding their level up moves onto Eggs similarly to that of genderless Pokemon. The important difference is that single gender Pokemon are not always required to breed with Ditto. They have opportunities to work something out with another partner. In theory, this increases the options available to single gender species, but in practice, it becomes more difficult to figure out what sets are actually legal on such Pokemon. The members of this category are easily listed:
Two of these do not have any unusual legality issues. Tyrogue has no level up moves beyond level one, and Nidoran-F can breed with Smeargle, who can know any of her level up moves in addition to any of her Egg moves. This leaves three less conventional species to examine.
The simplest of them is Nidoran-M. He can breed with Nidoran-F to apply most of his level up moves to an Egg. While this is a great improvement over breeding with Ditto, any level up move obtained after level five by Nidoran-M that Nidoran-F cannot also learn will remain illegal. For example, Nidoran-F cannot learn Horn Attack, so it is not allowed on Nidoran-M in Little Cup.
Happiny has slightly more trouble. She learns only two level up moves after level five: Refresh and Sweet Kiss. Given that it is relatively easy to produce a Blissey with both of these, it may be convenient to think of them as Egg moves. The challenge of finding a father that knows everything Happiny wants is no different from charting a typical Egg chain. Wigglytuff and Roselia are the best candidates for Sweet Kiss. Breloom is the only father that supplies Refresh in combination with anything else. It is not currently possible to have both Refresh and Sweet Kiss in Little Cup.
Smoochum is the worst of the three. She's in the same boat as Happiny but has more problematic level-up moves and fewer helpful fathers to obtain them from. Three of her moves (Powder Snow, Perish Song, and Lucky Chant) cannot be supplied by anyone. Mr. Mime can provide as many as four of Smoochum's level up and Egg moves simultaneously, while Hypno, Spinda, and Lopunny offer at most three at once. Smoochum has one of the largest lists of LC-specific illegal sets, and is worth looking up for anyone concerned about using one.
Normally when discussing a Pokemon's new fourth generation level up moves, the items in question are moves the species has never had before. It is fairly simple to determine the legality issues that accompany such an addition. What is more problematic is the implementation of a level up move which was previously available to the Pokemon by some other limited means in the third generation (i.e. as an ADV event or Egg move). In the standard metagame, the option of learning an old move by level-up removes almost all illegality associated with the move, but in Little Cup, where most level up moves have to be bred onto Pokemon, this type of addition has the potential to generate many illegal combinations.
The easier to solve version of this problem occurs when a third generation special move becomes a fourth generation level up move. As mentioned above, special moves are usually illegal with anything that needs to be bred onto a Pokemon. Level up moves, on the other hand, are easily bred onto Little Cup Pokemon for most species. The special ADV version of the move is legal with the third generation tutors, while the regular DPP version of the move is legal with everything but third generation tutors. The net result is that the move is illegal only when it is combined with both an ADV tutor and something that would have to be bred onto the Pokemon.
The more difficult to figure out variation occurs when a third generation Egg move becomes a fourth generation level up move. As far as Little Cup is concerned, the move will require breeding in either generation, but DPP allows the move to occur with any combination of Egg moves (they're bred onto the Pokemon, it's leveled up to get the move, then additional breeding begins) while ADV requires that the move be obtained from a parent that also learns other desired Egg moves but provides an opportunity to use the old tutors. Consequently every Egg combo containing the move which could not legally be bred onto a Pokemon in ADV remains illegal in DPP in combination with exclusive third generation moves.
Example: Ralts has Memento as an Egg move, Nightmare as an XD tutor move, and Charm as both a DPP level up move and an ADV event move. The event Ralts can easily obtain Nightmare from the tutor in addition to Charm, but cannot learn Memento because it doesn't hatch with it. Breeding Ralts in ADV makes it easy to acquire Memento and Nightmare together, and can then be Pal-Parked and leveled up to learn Charm. Unfortunately, this results in a level 39 Ralts, which won't work for Little Cup. Breeding in DPP allows Charm and Memento to be obtained at level one, but removes access to the Nightmare tutor. The combination of the three moves is therefore illegal in Little Cup.
There are sources of illegal movesets specific to Little Cup that are not currently evident. They are mentioned here in anticipation that they will surface in future products.
Pokemon that must evolve to breed but must know a particular move to evolve can only carry three moves of their choice to their next form. If such a Pokemon had at least four moves exclusive to its baby form that needed to be bred onto it for Little Cup, it would be impossible to have all of those moves together since one would always have to be overwritten to evolve and breed. Fortunately, the few Pokemon that evolve by move are not yet vulnerable to this complication.
It's not uncommon for different Pokemon games within a generation to have different level up sequences and sometimes extra level up moves. It's possible that at some point instead of simply having an extra move, a Pokemon will be missing a move in one game in exchange for a different move in another game. A fully leveled Pokemon could work around that scenario by trading between games and visiting the move relearner, but Little Cup Pokemon would not be able to breed both moves onto themselves at the same time. They'd be missing whichever level up move was not on their list in the current game. There's not much incentive for developers to introduce this complication, but it's worthwhile to be on the lookout when new games arrive.