What's new in LC?

By Moo and Elevator Music. Art by chocolate-kipp.
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Little Cup, circa June 2011. The metagame revolved almost entirely around Gligar, Misdreavus, Meditite, and Carvanha. These tyrants dominated, and if you didn't prepare for them properly, you would be crushed like the LC-playing noob you probably are. Even if you opted not to use these insanely powerful beasts, chances are you would still be seeing quite a bit of them, as they were seemingly on over two-thirds of teams. Their iron-clad grip on the metagame prevented other popular cutemons from being effective or usable, making the tier dull and almost lifeless. Having had enough, an elite team of Little Cup players got together, and after minor deliberation, the group voted to banish all 4 of the menacing Pokemon to the realm of Little Cup Ubers, a metagame so barren, desolate, and utterly gimmicky not even Theorymon would dare to touch it.

Were things really that bad? Probably not. Was it wise to ban 4 Pokemon at once? Definitely not, and there were members of the group that felt that way, but they were outvoted.

While it may seem crazy to see the top 4 Pokemon banned from any tier, the problem is magnified in LC, because the popular Pokemon get a lot more usage than top Pokemon in other tiers do (sometimes up to 60% or more!). While you may be thinking, "What's the point? All my favorite Pokemon have been purged...", don't despair, because we're here to show you what is still great in LC and what has risen from the ashes. New Pokemon that you perhaps would never have even thought of have come up from the depths of Little Cup, and now it is their turn to shine. While some of the changes might be fairly extravagant, I can't promise too much; no Magikarp sweeps are coming in the near future though!

What's new?


Scraggy (M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Shed Skin
EVs: 236 Atk / 36 Def / 212 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Dragon Dance
- Crunch
- Drain Punch / Zen Headbutt
- Hi Jump Kick

Scraggy? Nothing new here, right? Wrong. It's common knowledge that Scraggy is one of the most dangerous sweepers in LC, capable of tearing through unprepared teams after a single Dragon Dance. That was true during the period before the bans, and is still true now. However, the bans have been a great boon for Scraggy. With Meditite out of the way, you have one less counter to worry about when running the little lizard, and with Gligar gone, you're free to run whatever you want in the last moveslot instead of Ice Punch. But the icing on the cake is that Scraggy can now use Hi Jump Kick to OHKO Timburr and Mienfoo after a single Dragon Dance! This is great news for Scraggy, because most of its solid counters are now out of the picture. Scaggy can also run Zen Headbutt for pesky Croagunks, but having Hi Jump Kick as its only Fighting-type attack is unreliable, as its negative drawbacks can be easily exploited.


Croagunk (M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 52 HP / 188 Atk / 116 Def / 116 SpD / 36 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Fake Out
- Drain Punch
- Sucker Punch
- Payback / Toxic

Did I say all of Scraggy's counters were out of the picture? Well I meant all except for Croagunk. Croagunk really benefited from the bans, because it had trouble dealing with Meditite, Gligar, and Misdreavus (it was actually one of the few Pokemon that countered Carvanha, though). Croagunk is also one of the most solid Scraggy checks thanks to its unique typing and bulk with Eviolite. Versions running Zen Headbutt might be rare, but they will lead Croagunk to a bitter end. Its Dry Skin ability can really come in useful when dealing with things like Clamperl, and double priority is very useful for finishing off sweepers such as Drilbur, Taillow, and the aforementioned clam. Croagunk struggles against certain Pokemon like Hippopotas and Slowpoke (which can be crippled by Toxic), but if you have a check for those, then you should definitely give Croagunk a try!


Shelmet (M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Shell Armor
EVs: 116 HP / 236 Def / 156 SpD
Calm Nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Spikes
- Recover
- Acid Armor / Yawn
- Bug Buzz

Did I say all of Scraggy's counters were out of the pic—wait, I already used that. Well in any case, Shelmet is one of the more reliable Scraggy counters in the new metagame. In the previous metagame, Shelmet struggled, as it was setup bait for both Gligar and Misdreavus, and Carvanha was a huge threat to it as well. It was generally outclassed as a tank, and both Ferroseed and Dwebble were superior at setting up Spikes. However, now that 3 big threats to it are gone, it makes a fantastic choice in a metagame filled with Fighting-types. With Acid Armor, Recover, and Shell Armor, it is virtually impossible for Scraggy and other Fighting-types such as Timburr to break through, while Scraggy can set up Spikes or just wear them down with Bug Buzz. It's fairly important to keep Stealth Rock off the field, but with the help of a spinner, that's a fairly easy task. You also get extra cute points for using it, because.... well look at it!


Taillow (M) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Guts
EVs: 36 HP / 236 Atk / 236 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Brave Bird
- U-turn
- Pursuit
- Quick Attack

Taillow is as dangerous as it is adorable. Reaching a blazing 28 Speed with a Choice Scarf, there aren't many Pokemon that Taillow can't revenge kill. One merit that Taillow has is the ability to revenge kill Scraggy after a Dragon Dance, which can otherwise be a royal pain in the ass. Taillow's revenge killing capabilities aren't limited to Scraggy though. There aren't many Pokemon that can take a STAB Brave Bird, and for those that can, a simple U-turn is the solution. If the opposing team is loaded with Magnemite, Slowpoke, and Hippopotas, you'll find yourself U-turning more than using Brave Bird, so a solution to those Pokemon is advised. Taillow's last two moves really are filler moves, and probably won't see much use. That doesn't mean they are useless, though. Pursuit can be useful for catching a fleeing Gastly off-guard, aided by Taillow's Ghost-type immunity which allows it to switch in with ease. Quick Attack is weak priority, and isn't very useful, although I can't tell you how many times I've finished off a Drilbur at low health with Quick Attack and won the match in a hilarious manner!

Some people say that two heads are better than one, and might prefer to use Doduo. Can't argue with them, really; Doduo plays a very similar role to Taillow, but has a much higher Attack stat. Doduo doesn't have U-turn in its arsenal and is slightly slower at 18 Speed though, which gives Taillow an edge. However, if you're looking for a stronger revenge killer with a bit more peck, then Doduo is your bird(s).


Abra (M) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Magic Guard
EVs: 240 SpA / 200 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Psychic
- Hidden Power Fighting
- Shadow Ball / Taunt
- Encore

Um...... Abra? Seriously? What's it gonna do? Teleport at me? Abra has always been awful, its great Speed and Special Attack being held back by possibly the most awful defenses ever, which is worse in LC with the ubiquity of powerful priority. Of late, however, Abra has taken a turn for the better; Meditite and Carvanha are out of the picture, both of which can OHKO it with priority, and the latter having Speed Boost. It has also received probably one of the best abilities from the Dream World—Magic Guard. With Magic Guard, Abra is a force to be reckoned with! Now, you're looking at a Pokemon with 19 Speed and 20 Special Attack that takes no damage from entry hazards, Life Orb recoil, or weather. Pretty scary huh? Abra is still as weak as a bad pun, but if it gets a chance to safely switch in, you're in trouble, because you'll need something to outspeed it, or something that can take multiple hits from it. I bet you regret laughing at Teleport now.....


Larvesta (M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Flame Body
EVs: 236 HP / 156 Def / 116 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Morning Sun
- Flare Blitz
- Will-O-Wisp
- U-turn

In a metagame where Mienfoo is in almost every battle, Eviolite Larvesta might just be the ultimate troll. Not only does it completely wall almost every Mienfoo set (as well as every other common Fighting-type), but thanks to Flame Body, Mienfoo will even be paranoid about spamming Fake Out and U-turn, lest they risk being permanently crippled by a burn. In the meantime, Larvesta can fire off Flare Blitz or spam U-turn itself. Larvesta couldn't really operate well in the previous metagame, as Gligar would destroy it with Acrobatics or Stone Edge, and Carvanha could just OHKO it quickly with a powerful Hydro Pump, but it works well now as a great Fighting-type resist on more balanced and offensive teams... provided you can keep Stealth Rock off the field, that is. It also has Morning Sun, so its 4x Stealth Rock weakness isn't as crippling as it sounds.


Drilbur (M) @ Eviolite
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 236 Atk / 36 Def / 212 Spe
Adamant Nature (+Atk, -SpA)
- Swords Dance
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide / Shadow Claw
- Protect

Nothing new here, although Drilbur functions a lot more comfortably post-bannings. Meditite had a combination of Fake Out + Bullet Punch, Carvanha had Aqua Jet, and Gligar could take any of Drilbur's attacks (barring Hidden Power Ice). The only new thing for Drilbur is that it doesn't have to run Hidden Power Ice to beat pesky Gligars anymore, and thus has a free moveslot. If you want to know what Drilbur is like in LC, picture Excadrill in OU without Skarmory and Gliscor, with less weather wars! Ok, maybe it's not THAT bad... Drilbur doesn't have the great typing that Excadrill has, and is either too weak with an Eviolite or too fragile with a Life Orb. Pokemon like Slowpoke, Wooper, and Koffing can beat it one-on-one, while most Pokemon with priority can finish it off at low HP. While Drilbur is a great Pokemon, it isn't broken, and unlike its older brother, it (hopefully) won't be banned anytime soon.


Exeggcute (M) @ Oran Berry
Ability: Harvest
EVs: 36 HP / 36 Def / 196 SpA / 36 SpD / 196 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Sleep Powder
- Substitute
- Leaf Storm
- Psychic

Exeggcute was a powerful force during the Drought days, but after Vulpix said goodbye to LC, it became pretty much dormant. And then, as with most Pokemon in this article, Exeggcute suddenly became viable after the big 4 were banned, although it is possibly the only Pokemon that lost to all of them. It's a bit difficult to pinpoint what this set actually does, but I guess you could say that it makes use of Exeggcute's best traits. Sleep Powder can effectively put one Pokemon on the opposing team out of action, and when isn't that going to be useful? Substitute lets Exeggcute stay safe as it attacks, which is cool, when considering that Exeggcute is quite slow, and can be easily revenge killed. Substitute also lets Exeggcute take advantage of Harvest, which is another unique trait that it has. Exeggcute has quite good coverage with its dual STAB, and can pack a punch if it puts opposing Steel-types / Houndour to sleep with Sleep Powder. Exeggcute can also make a cool Sunny Day sweeper, but without Drought and with Hippopotas being so popular, that probably isn't the best idea.


Gastly (M) @ Oran Berry / Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 36 HP / 40 Def / 200 SpA / 200 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Substitute
- Hypnosis
- Sludge Bomb
- Shadow Ball

Gastly has been lurking in the shadows, reminiscing of the times that people actually used it in early BW LC thanks to the introduction of Eviolite. The big 4 weren't that kind to it either. It couldn't safely switch into Meditite, fearing Zen Headbutt, Gligar just narrowly outpaced it, Carvanha walked all over it with Speed Boost and Crunch, and let's face it, Misdreavus just plain outclassed it... But now that they've all been banned, Gastly must feel like it won the lottery! Gastly's strategy is to set up a Substitute when it can, and then fire off powerful attacks at whatever switches into it. Pokemon such as Munchlax give it a hard time, and Gastly's only hope of beating it is putting it to sleep with Hypnosis. Sludge Bomb is a great secondary STAB—something that Misdreavus never had—which allows Gastly to hit Pokemon that resist Shadow Ball hard, without having to resort to using weaker attacks. Gastly is once again the king of the LC Ghost-types, filling the shoes of Misdreavus. I mean, what else are you going to use? Drifloon?.....


Drifloon (M) @ Flying Gem
Ability: Aftermath
EVs: 196 Atk / 116 SpA / 196 Spe
Naughty Nature (+Atk, -SpD)
- Acrobatics
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power Fire
- Explosion

No, this isn't a joke. Drifloon sort of shot up out of nowhere, reaching a staggering #9 on the LC usage statistics! Before you laugh, just think: what would you send in against a Drifloon with 32 Speed and a 110 Base Power STAB attack, backed up by awesome coverage? Yeah, maybe Drifloon's not so funny anymore.... The only things that can safely switch into it are Steel-types that don't take too much damage from Hidden Power Fire, namely Aron in sandstorm. Sucker Punch from Croagunk or Houndour will pop Drifloon, although not much else will.... It's a bit strange that this set didn't see usage beforehand, though, as it fares well against the big 4. I guess it was just a hidden gem that hadn't yet been discovered.


So, as you can see, LC is far from a barren wasteland, and has actually increased in variety since those 4 great Pokemon were banished. Now's a better time than ever to build a team and play some LC! Who knows what the future might hold? Who knows what will be banned next, if anything? The only way to find out is to simply get out there and play! Still, no Magikarp sweeps any time soon...

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