(Eric has asked me to dust off this guide from the Little Cup Forum. I'm a bit out of touch so I'll need the community's help bringing it up to code!) Introduction The legality of Pokémon is an occasional 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 illicit cries from any well-informed player. Understanding why such Pokémon are illegal and what other move combinations they ought not 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 Pokémon. The Big Three There are three sources of moveset illegality that occur with much greater frequency than the rest. These are the most useful factors to keep in mind when choosing moves for a Pokémon. Egg Move Combinations The original source of illegal movesets is also the most common. It is not always possible to obtain every egg move that a Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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. Third Gen Tutors and Fourth Gen Improvements The transition from the third generation to the fourth brought many improvements to Pokémon. As the example above suggests, it has also created conflicts between the old and the new. Moves that can be easily tutored onto Pokémon in a GBA game may not be available in a DS game by any means. Every feature that requires a Pokémon to be bred in Diamond, Pearl, or Platinum is illegal in combination with these third gen exclusives. The specific features to consider are: Ability: Pokémon Pal Parked from third gen keep whatever ability they have even if a new secondary ability is available. If a Pal Parked Pokémon evolves there is a chance that its ability will switch but Little Cup Pokémon are not allowed to evolve so their new abilities are always illegal with their old moves. Egg Moves: Breedable Pokémon received new egg moves in fourth gen. If they cannot learn these moves through another means they'll be forced to hatch in fourth gen to know them. This denies them the opportunity to learn anything from the third generation. Level Up Moves: In Little Cup it is necessary to breed level up moves onto eggs if the moves are normally learned at a level higher than five. As a result level up moves beyond level five that are new in DPPt have the same problem as new egg moves: if they can't be learned through a tutor or TM they're not legal in combination with third gen exclusives. Egg Combos: The legality of egg move combinations was discussed above but there is another aspect to the problem: some combinations of egg moves are only made possible by improvements made in the fourth generation. It may not be possible for third gen egg moves to appear together during the third generation. This means that while the egg combo is ultimately allowed in play it is illegal if it is combined with a move exclusive to the older games. The Platinum tutor greatly reduced the number of third gen conflicts by replicating many of its moves. However, there continue to be Pokémon that learn a move by third gen tutoring that cannot learn it in fourth gen even though other Pokémon learn the same move by fourth gen TMs or tutors. There are also a few rare cases in which a Pokémon has a level up move in third gen 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 gen tutor to learn Mimic so there's no way to learn it at the same time as fourth gen'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 third gen. 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. Special Moves Most Pokémon 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 an instance of a Pokémon with a special move that it could never normally obtain. Whether this is the fruit of a spin-off game like Pokémon XD or a simple distribution at local specialty stores it inevitably results in new legality issues: If the Pokémon with the special move is distributed at a level higher than five the special move is completely illegal in Little Cup. Any egg move or level up move obtained after level five is illegal with a special move. There are rare cases in which a special move is distributed with certain egg moves but all of these exceptions are too high level to be used in Little Cup. Special moves are illegal with other special moves except for the very few cases in which a Pokémon was distributed with more than one. If the special move is distributed in the third generation it is illegal with any new ability the Pokémon may receive in the fourth generation. If the special move is distributed in the fourth generation it is illegal with the Pokémon's third generation exclusives. 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 Pokémon are obtained and event Pokémon 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 Pokémon in the Gamecube's Pokémon 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, its three lowest level moves, and whatever it can learn from TMs and tutors. The rest of its options are illegal. Little Cup's Unique Complications Little Cup is spared some of the illegality issues that concern the standard metagame. Playing with unevolved species means never worrying that some move must be obtained from a prevo or that one member of an evolutionary line has different tutor availability than another. The headache of Azumarill's two almost unique egg move lists is reduced to Azurill's simple set. Little Cup does have a few problems of its own, though, and they have significant consequences for the movesets of the affected species. Genderless Species Breeding level up moves onto eggs by using parents that both know the moves is key to creating useful movesets at level five. Genderless Pokémon 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 Pokémon are: Baltoy Beldum Bronzor Magnemite Porygon Staryu Voltorb 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 Pokémon but it's also probably the easiest Little Cup-specific issue to remember when building a team. Single Gender Species Species with only one gender have difficulty breeding their level up moves onto eggs similar to that of genderless Pokémon. The important difference is that single gender Pokémon 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 Pokémon. The members of this category are easily listed: Happiny Nidoran-F Nidoran-M Smoochum Tyrogue 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. Previously Available New Level Up Moves Normally when discussing a Pokémon'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 Pokémon by some other limited means in the third generation (i.e. as a third gen 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 Pokémon this type of addition has the potential to generate many illegal combinations. The easier to solve version of this problem occurs when a third gen special move becomes a fourth gen level up move. As mentioned above, special moves are usually illegal with anything that needs to be bred onto a Pokémon. Level up moves, on the other hand, are easily bred onto Little Cup Pokémon for most species. The special third gen version of the move is legal with the third gen tutors while the regular fourth gen version of the move is legal with everything but third gen tutors. The net result is that the move is illegal only when it is combined with both a third gen tutor and something that would have to be bred onto the Pokémon. The more difficult to figure out variation occurs when a third gen egg move becomes a fourth gen level up move. As far as Little Cup is concerned the move will require breeding in either generation but fourth gen allows the move to occur with any combination of egg moves (they're bred onto the Pokémon, it's leveled up to get the move, and then additional breeding begins) while third gen 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 Pokémon in third gen remains illegal in fourth gen in combination with exclusive third gen moves. Example: Ralts has Memento as an egg move, Nightmare as an XD tutor move, and Charm as both a fourth gen level up move and a third gen 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 third gen makes it easy to acquire Memento and Nightmare together and it can then be Pal Parked and leveled up to learn Charm. This results in a level 39 Ralts and won't work for Little Cup. Breeding in fourth gen 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. Hypothetical Illegality 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. Evolve-By-Move Parents Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon that evolve by move are not yet vulnerable to this complication. Missing Level Up Moves It's not uncommon for different Pokémon 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 Pokémon will be missing a move in one game in exchange for a different move in another game. A fully leveled Pokémon could work around that scenario by trading between games and visiting the move relearner but Little Cup Pokémon 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.