5th Generation Little Cup Metagame Analysis

By Destiny Warrior. Art by NastyJungle.
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Generation 5 has revolutionized the LC metagame with a vast number of new additions, each boasting great stat spreads and movepools. Weather control has become extremely important thanks to the additions of Pokemon like Moguryuu, and the dropping down of the Ubers.

But that doesn't tell you the whole tale. Standard teams do work well despite the additions, but they require small tweaks in order to work well in the weather-ruled metagame. Old standards return, and new threats rise in the new metagame. What will be the effect of hail and sandstorm wars? Will sun finally make a return? Will GameFreak ever stop trolling us each Generation (hint: Shibishirasu)? And what new threats can we expect to see in this metagame? These questions and more will be addressed in the sections below.

Returning Threats

Many LC Pokemon that were present in the fourth generation got major boosts in the fifth generation. Many Pokemon not only got movepool boosts, but they also may have gotten ability boosts via Dream World that may or may not be released yet.

One of the biggest buffs was to various Fire-types with the addition of Wild Bolt. A powerful physical Electric-type attack will give many of otherwise uncommon Fire-types the ability to essentially have no safe switch-ins. Growlithe and Ponyta are prime examples of this, especially since Growlithe has Close Combat and Ponyta has Low Kick for Pokemon like Munchlax.

Volt Change also helped out a number of relevant Pokemon. With STAB and 70 Base Power, Volt Change acts as a special U-turn, giving the user the ability to switch after an attack. Pokemon such as the already popular Choice Scarf Chinchou have become even better with this move in tow.

Exeggcute gains Harvest through the Dream World, meaning it can effectively gain infinite Oran Berries, making it easy for it to set up. Nidoran-m gains Hustle, and also has access to Claw Sharpen, meaning it can get to 33 Attack with a single Claw Sharpen before Life Orb. This is devastating, as Nidoran-m has access to Sucker Punch, Return, and Double Kick for perfect coverage. It can revenge kill a lot of Pokemon with its strong Sucker Punch, and can use Double Kick and Return to deal tremendous damage to slower threats. Lickitung, with Cloud Nine, becomes an excellent anti-weather Pokemon with a Choice Scarf. It doesn't hit the magic 14 Speed; however, it is bulky enough to take a hit from a 19 Speed Pokemon like Buizel and KO back, and it also outspeeds things like Moguryuu.

Shellder, Omanyte and Clamperl got an amazing new move called Shell Break, which gives a +2 boost to Attack, Special Attack and Speed, while giving a -1 drop to Defense and Special Defense. This makes them terrifying sweepers, and each has its own niche. Shellder has priority Ice Shard to beat faster Scarfers, Omanyte can abuse Shell Break with Swift Swim to give it effectively a +6 boost to its speed, making it 56. This means it can outpace everything, and only has to fear priority. Clamperl on the other hand can use DeepSeaTooth with Shell Smash to reach a mind-numbing 68 Special Attack along with 26 Speed, allowing it to run through almost anything.

Obviously, there are more buffs apart from these, but these are the biggest ones.

Rising Threats


This zebra doesn't mess around. It has good offenses, with good speed, combined with extreme frailty. Its special movepool is lacking, with only Thunderbolt and Hidden Power, while its physical movepool comprises of Wild Volt, Return, Nitro Charge, Pursuit and Quick Attack. Not too shabby, but it has serious problems with priority users. Once they're down though, he can sweep with Nitro Charge boosting his speed.


Alongside Moguryuu, Dangoro is a big boon to offensive Sandstorm in LC. With Sturdy and Rock Polish, a free turn for Dangoro means something is going to die, painfully. With a Jolly nature, it hits 17 Attack and 12 Speed before a boost. After a Rock Polish, Dangoro can proceed to sweep with Stone Edge and Earthquake, which is resisted only by Bronzor in Little Cup. However, Dangoro has pitiful Special Defense, despite that it is helped somewhat by sandstorm. Still, if you lose control of the weather, Dangoro isn't likely to live long.


Moguryuu is the face of sandstorm. Eliminate priority users, gain a free turn, Swords Dance up, and you will wreck an opponent's team horribly. Moguryuu tears through most of the metagame with Earthquake, Rock Slide, and X-Scissor, which goes completely unresisted in Little Cup. Choice Scarf Snover is one of Moguryuu's greatest foes, as it changes the weather and KOes with a 100% accurate Blizzard, though it can't safely switch in.


Mischievous Heart is the secret to Monmen's success. Priority on Taunt, Encore, Leech Seed, Memento, Stun Spore, and Switcheroo make it a dangerous support Pokemon. It is a vicious user of the SubSeed strategy and can also set up Sunny Day as a lead. Taunt can be used to stop opposing leads from setting up, making it a great weather lead; it can stop Voltorb from setting up Rain Dance completely, and can stop any attempts by Hippopotas to set up Stealth Rock. Snover is the only problematic lead it faces.


Meguroko is an excellent Choice Scarf Pokemon with Earthquake, Stone Edge, Crunch, and Return. Combined with the ability Overconfident, it can not only revenge kill, but also sweep in the lategame. Intimidate is another great ability for Meguroko should it choose to use a Choice Band, though that isn't what it does best. 17 Speed just ties with too much to be reliable.


Darumakka is one of the most threatening new Pokemon this generation. With Hustle and maximum Attack with Jolly, Darumakka hits a fearsome 24 Attack. That Attack stat alongside 15 Speed and a Choice Scarf means that Darumakka can punch holes in teams with Flare Blitz, break screens and murder Munchlax with Brick Break, scout with U-turn, and sweep with Fire Punch. Darumakka can also use Nitro Charge for a boosting set, which has the advantage of being able to switch moves.


Ishizumai is a great lead, with access to Sturdy, Stealth Rock, and Spikes. Rock Blast allows it to beat any Substitute Murkrow trying to set up a Substitute in its face. Ishizumai cannot stop other Pokemon from setting up though, which is a big problem.


Zuruggu is an example of how bulk matters on a sweeper. With a spread of 116 HP / 76 Atk / 36 Def / 36 SpD / 212 Spe, an Evolution Stone equipped, Overconfidence, and dual screens support, it is very easy for Zuruggu to set up a Dragon Dance or two and run through basically the entire tier. Zuruggu is very difficult to stop, and if it gets off 2 Dragon Dances, it becomes virtually impossible to beat without Croagunk, Meditite, or Dokkora scoring a critical hit with Vacuum Wave, Bullet Punch, or Mach Punch, respectively.


Purotooga is one of the less overwhelming threats this generation, but still one to be considered while building a team. With Sturdy, Purotooga sets up by using Shell Smash survives an attack, then sweeps with Waterfall, Stone Edge, and Aqua Jet. Purotooga can also be a good Rain Dance lead, with Sturdy and Damp Rock equipped, though it has very severe competition in that field from Voltorb.


Aaken is the epitome of"all or nothing". Aaken has an excellent Attack stat and a very usable Speed stat. He also has access to Rock Polish, which when combined with Berry Juice pretty much guarantees that he hits 34 Speed. However, there's a hitch: if your opponent packs strong enough priority to bring it below 50%, Aaken becomes death fodder due to its attack stat being halved by its ability. His movepool is good, and he can hit extremely hard unboosted. However, he fears priority a lot, as it will often destroy his chance at sweeping without even KOing him.


Pururiru is one of the new Ghost-types this generation. It boasts good bulk, enhanced even further by the Evolution Stone and access to Recover. It also has Boil Over and Will-O-Wisp, which can afflict burns, meaning a disarmed team whose physical sweepers are gone will have a tough time beating it, especially if Pururiru has Toxic Spikes support from the likes of Pineco or Tentacool. Toxic Spikes are not overly difficult to set up and maintain this generation either, as Pururiru can beat all Croagunk that lack Dark Pulse.


Tesshido is another fairly bulky Pokemon introduced this generation. Tesshido suffers from a 4x weakness to Fire-type attacks, but this makes it a great partner to Flash Fire Houndour, who can pick up a free boost. Tesshido can set up Spikes and/or Stealth Rock as a lead, and has access to Thunder Wave for the middle game. It can also use the SubSeed strategy, though it is outclassed in that regard by Monmen. Tesshido synergizes well with Pururiru, setting up entry hazards for Pururiru to spinblock. Even better if that Pururiru and Tesshido perfectly cover each other's weaknesses, as if they were indeed intended to be used together.


Moving away from the offensive/defensive mold, Riguree is a bulky supporter. It has a vast support movepool, along with an amazing Special Attack stat. Its usable support movepool is made up of Disable, Light Screen, Reflect, Thunder Wave, Trick Room, Rain Dance, and the somewhat-gimmicky-but-still-useful Embargo. It makes an excellent dual screen setup Pokemon and can provide crucial Thunder Wave support, which forces switches. It also has Nasty Plot, but it is too slow to sweep effectively with it, and setting up under Trick Room is out of the question. Riguree can, however, do quite a bit of damage on predicted switches, making it very dangerous.


Hitomoshi is an extremely difficult Pokemon to use, but when played right, it can be a pain in the neck to face. It makes a great teammate to Komatana; while Komatana lures in Choice Scarf Machop, Hitomoshi can come in and get a free Substitute. From behind a Substitute, with the combination of Fire Blast, Shadow Ball, and Energy Ball, it can gain a surefire KO against all but Rock Blast users, which should be eliminated even before revealing Komatana. Hitomoshi is too slow to use a Choice Scarf, so it is somewhat outclassed by Gastly. However, it can shine under Trick Room, which it can setup itself.


Kojofuu is an excellent attacking lead and mid-game scout. Fake Out, U-turn, and Regeneration make it very effective at what it does, and it packs a lot of power behind its Hi Jump Kick and Stone Edge. Kojofuu can also use Swords dance to boost Hi Jump Kick's damage even further, OHKOing even Bronzor. Swords Dance Kojofuu acts like a mini-Meditite, as it lacks priority, but can easily gain a turn to set up and sweep. However, its 17 Speed and lack of priority combined with mediocre defenses means that it is highly susceptible to being revenge killed.


You have got to be kidding me. Eliminate Substitute users, force a switch and gain a free turn, Swords Dance up, and sweep. This thing is ridiculously powerful after a Swords Dance, sitting at 38 Attack with an Adamant nature. Sucker Punch and Brick Break give it all the coverage it needs with Night Slash acting as reliable STAB. Choice Scarf Machop and Dokkora are the only Pokemon not OHKOed by a boosted Sucker Punch that can hit Komatana back effectively. It synergizes very well with Hitomoshi, who gains a free Substitute on Machop's DynamicPunch, and if Machop predicts and KOs with Payback, Swords Dance up again, sweep till Machop returns, and this time, use Sucker Punch. If you've set up entry hazards properly, Komatana stands a good chance of KOing him.


Meraruba is the last of the new threats this generation, but certainly not the least. It is the ultimate kamikaze Pokemon as it consistently requires Rapid Spin support. It has an excellent Attack stat, and makes great use of it with Flare Blitz, Wild Bolt, and Bug Bite. Beware, though, that Meraruba is likely to kill itself off from recoil and entry hazards, so it should only be used to clean up the late-game or revenge kill early game if entry hazards are not up.

Weather in the New Generation

Weather got a big boost this generation, with great additions to almost every weather variant. Here's a look at some of the big additions to weather in generation 5.


Sun was always the underdog in LC, but it gained some cool new additions this generation.

Darumakka under the sun is a fearsome sight with STAB Fire Punch and Flare Blitz destroying almost anything in its way. Choice Scarf Darumakka also fears absolutely nothing outside of faster Choice Scarf Pokemon and priority abusers. Shikijika is another physical threat. With Chlorophyll boosting its Speed to 34 and a healthy Attack stat, Shikijika makes a great sweeper. That's really all sun gets in terms of new things this generation, aside from maybe an even more suicidal Meraruba.


Rain is as powerful as ever, though it has been dethroned from its earlier status as the only usable offensive weather due to the new additions to sandstorm. We'll discuss sandstorm in more detail later, though; for now, let's focus on rain.

Shimama is one powerful zebra under the rain with a perfectly accurate STAB Thunder, which will tear through many Pokemon. Otamaru is a new specially based Swift Swim abuser, and it can sweep very effectively with Hydro Pump, Earth Power, and Hyper Voice.

Koaruhii is an excellent Choice Scarf user under rain conditions, since it has an extremely powerful 100% accurate STAB Gale that OHKOes a large portion of the metagame. Old Pokemon have also got new buffs, like Shell Smash Omanyte and Clamperl. Don't discount the old Pokemon that remained the same, though, as the likes of Kabuto and Horsea are still very powerful this time around.


Hail hasn't gotten much this generation in terms of direct sweepers, but indirectly, it has gained a big goost through Moguryuu. With sandstorm teams running everywhere, Choice Scarf Snover becomes a potent threat, and the additional passive damage it provides is really appreciated by offensive teams that hit hard and fast.

Banipucchi is the only new thing hail has gained this generation with Ice Body, though it fares much better as a Blizzard-spamming Choice Scarf Pokemon. Blizzard spamming is pretty much the only way to take advantage of hail in LC other than through residual damage, as sandstorm is better for stalling. Snover's use rises in the face of sandstorm, though, meaning that you should expect hail to be common despite that it gained so little.


The most hyped of all weather in generation 5 is sandstorm. Sandstorm picked up two major Pokemon in Moguryuu and Dangoro this generation, finally allowing it to move in an offensive direction.

Let's start with the most hyped evolution line after Ononokusu: Moguryuu. Sand Throw makes it a threatening sweeper, and if it sets up a Swords Dance boost, it OHKOes nearly everything in LC. It doesn't help that Moguryuu is extremely difficult to kill outside of Carvanha and Buizel's Aqua Jets. Dangoro is a physical beast, and it can set up Rock Polish and then tear through teams with its excellent Attack stat.

Though it does not benefit directly from sandstorm, Komatana is a great sandstorm sweeper. When sandstorm damage is added to Stealth Rock and potentially Spikes damage, it suddenly becomes a lot easier to gain several KOs, like against Machop with Sucker Punch.

Trick Room

While it technically isn't a weather effect, Trick Room gained some excellent options this generation and quite frankly deserves this section all to itself.

Trick Room has two great setup Pokemon added to the mix: Riguree and Munna. It also gained a lot of sweepers, like Yuniran, Dokkora—which is also one of only two checks to Komatana—, Purotooga, and Pururiru. Pururiru can set up Trick Room also, making it a great option on Trick Room teams.

Old heroes like Porygon are still around, and they're still playing critical roles on Trick Room teams. Trick Room is one of the rarer field effects, so it has the element of surprise added to it, making it potent when played against an unsuspecting opponent. However, Trick Room is very difficult to use correctly, since you need to manage your turns of Trick Room very carefully.

4th Generation Ubers Factor

Meditite, Murkrow, and Misdreavus shouldn't be overlooked in this new metagame. With intense increase in Hi Jump Kick use, Misdreavus is a major threat to watch out for, often making the opponent KO itself with recoil. If the opponent is Choice-locked, then Misdreavus can do its usual business of setting up a Substitute and picking the opponent's team apart. Murkrow and Meditite are basically impossible to switch into. Murkrow's Brave Bird OHKOes every Pokemon faster than it, meaning that all slower Pokemon simply need to be 2HKOed. Meditite is more prediction oriented, but it hits incredibly hard thanks to Pure Power. With Pursuit support, Meditite can spam Hi Jump Kick and essentially destroy the opponent's team alone.


In conclusion, there are many cool changes with the fifth generation Pokemon, but essentially the metagame is going to be familiar to what we're all used to. If most of the fourth generation Uber Pokemon get banned again, that's when there'll be a bigger change. Pokemon like Komatana will rise to the top of the metagame, and we will more accurately be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of these new Pokemon.

Generation 5 looks to be one of the most interesting and entertaining Little Cup metagames. The Little Cup community welcomes you to come try it out at any time, and we're confident that you won't be disappointed!

Footnote: This article was written before the release of Drought Vulpix.

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