Aipom is a Pokemon whom Meowth often overshadows, as they function similarly as leads. Both are Normal-types, reach 19 Speed, and rely heavily on Fake Out for success. It is true that Meowth has a superior movepool for a lead and access to Technician, but Aipom can utilize his higher Attack stat to function well both as a lead and as a revenge killer. Additionally, Aipom can use Baton Pass effectively, and he is one of only three Pokemon in Little Cup who can Baton Pass Nasty Plot boosts.
Even without Technician to boost his attacks, Aipom is a very functional Fake Out lead. Aipom has a higher Attack stat than Meowth, who can run a similar set, which allows for a stronger Return and Brick Break. Shadow Claw hits Ghost-types expecting a Fake Out, though U-turn can also be used to scout potential counters.
Fake Out is a useful priority move that Aipom can use to set the pace early in the match and revenge kill later. Return is a strong STAB attack that, when combined with Fake Out, can decimate your opponent's lead. Brick Break OHKOes Houndour and has a slim chance to OHKO Snover, while also 2HKOing Kabuto and Omanyte, which often forces them into deciding whether to attack you or to set up Stealth Rock. Seed Bomb can beat them outright, however. Shadow Claw OHKOes Gastly and Shuppet, who are both slower than Aipom. Shadow Claw can also KO Drifloon, and it 2HKOes Duskull through Oran Berry.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Aipom is rather unique in that it is the only Pokemon in Little Cup to learn both Nasty Plot and Baton Pass, other than Mime Jr. and Togepi. Aipom, unlike the others, has enough Speed and bulk to actually pull off a Baton Pass. Several Pokemon enjoy the boost that a Baton-Passed Nasty Plot gives. With the boost, Chinchou 2HKOes Munchlax, who is often a team's main check to Chinchou. Mantyke makes good use of the boost as well; he no longer needs to use Hydro Pump to 2HKO Munchlax.
With 19 Speed, Aipom outpaces the majority of Little Cup, which gives him the option of going on the offensive or using Baton Pass after boosting up. The combination of Hidden Power Fighting and Shadow Ball allows Aipom to hit everyone for at least neutral damage.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While U-turn is ordinarily a good option on virtually any Pokemon, Aipom doesn't like giving up coverage and the ability to beat several common leads. Additionally, Aipom does not force switches like Meowth can with Hypnosis, which makes U-turn an inferior option. Double Hit can be used over Return to help defeat Substitute users, but Aipom lacks Technician to really make good use of it. Aipom can also serve as a fairly good surprise Rain Dance lead thanks to Fake Out and high Speed.
Aipom has access to all of the elemental Punches, so he can easily fill out a Choice set. Unfortunately, Aipom doesn't have enough power to utilize the Choice items effectively. Last Resort pairs up nicely with Fake Out to give Aipom a powerful attacking option, but the abundance of Ghost-types in Little Cup makes it an inferior option. Aipom can use Agility (possibly with Baton Pass) effectively, but he is outclassed as a Speed boosting sweeper by Krabby and Ponyta and outclassed as a Speed Passer by Gligar and Venonat. Aipom has a wide variety of moves that can be used on the NastyPass set, such as Swift, Thunderbolt, and Water Pulse, but Aipom generally prefers the coverage that Hidden Power Fighting and Shadow Ball give.
Checks and Counters
Bulky Choice Scarf users give Aipom a lot of trouble, since they outpace Aipom and threaten him with powerful moves. Ghost-types can switch in on Aipom with impunity, though only Duskull can last long enough to cripple him if Aipom has Shadow Claw. Mankey and Machop, two Pokemon commonly holding Choice Scarf, can beat Aipom soundly. Both can switch in on Fake Out comfortably and threaten Aipom with powerful super effective moves. Bronzor is bulky enough to handle Aipom and set up on him. Gligar is also effective at stopping Aipom, unless Aipom is running Ice Punch.