Setup for Success: A Guide to Setup Sweepers in LC

By Holiday. Art by Tikitik.
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Guide to setup Sweepers in LC


Since Pokémon first originated, setup moves have played a pivotal role in the success of competitive players. While many a player would often forgo a setup move during their cartridge days, believing it to be a "waste of time" as opposed to directly attacking the target, it soon became apparent to most just how powerful Pokémon can be once they set up. Little Cup has a wide variety of Pokémon that have an equally wide setup movepool, which allows for a plethora of unique offensive sweepers and defensive tanks. While in OU, moves such as Dragon Dance, Nasty Plot, and Agility are much more common, the setup moves in Little Cup have a wide variety of effects and users, with oddities such as Belly Drum being a very likely move to see! This article will explore the various setup moves of LC, their users, and sets to use.

While it might seem that setting up is just a simple click of the button, great thought must be put into when you should do it. Frail setup sweepers sometimes need to rely on Memento support from Diglett, Cottonee, or Stunky, and which Memento user you pick often depends on the sweeper. Diglett is great for Fletchling, as it can trap Chinchou and Magnemite for a Swords Dance sweep, while Cottonee can take out Fighting- and Rock-types that give Zigzagoon trouble. Also, take into consideration potential teammates for a sweeper. Some sweepers, such as Timburr, appreciate powerful wallbreakers such as Skrelp in order to soften a team for a Bulk Up sweep. It might take some time and practice, but knowing the proper time to set up a Pokémon will often determine one's success.

For the record, this will only cover Little Cup Pokémon that actually see playtime in LC OU, so don't be surprised when a Bulk Up Tyrogue set isn't present. Common Pokémon that use a given setup move will be listen in order of how frequent/how effective the Pokémon is at using said move.

Swords Dance

Arguably the most notable setup move in Little Cup is Swords Dance, which boosts the user's Attack stat by two stages. With Knock Off being so prominent in Little Cup due to its ability to remove an Eviolite or Berry Juice from bulkier Pokémon, Swords Dance users often have very little difficulty in setting up and sweeping a weakened team. They also have the ability to punch holes in a team in the early- and mid-stages of a match.

Common Pokémon that use Swords Dance

The majority of the Pokémon listed here have a combination of a high Attack stat and either Speed, bulk, or priority. Having a combination of these traits leads these Pokémon to be some of the most threatening in the tier. An example of a common set with Swords Dance would look like this:


Pawniard's bread-and-butter set is its Swords Dance set. With the strongest Knock Off in the tier coupled with a powerful STAB Sucker Punch, Pawniard is often seen as a premier sweeper. For Pokémon that resist Dark-type moves, Pawniard also packs a STAB Iron Head that can decimate Pokémon that resist Dark at +2. Be wary of Fighting-type priority from Timburr and Croagunk, and Pawniard can very quickly close out a game once set up.

Shell Smash

One of the best setup moves in the game, Shell Smash boosts a Pokémon's Attack, Special Attack, and Speed by two stages while lowering its Defense and Special Defense by one stage. The boosts granted from Eviolite essentially balance out the defense drops, which means a Shell Smash user relies on its natural bulk and heightened attacking stats to plow through teams. Two Shell Smash users in particular, Dwebble and Tirtouga, can utilize Berry Juice combined with Sturdy to tank any one attack while setting up, allowing them to be at full health when beginning a sweep.

Common Pokémon that use Shell Smash

With the exception of Clamperl, which uses DeepSeaTooth to double its Special Attack to obscene levels, Little Cup's Shell Smash users all sport naturally solid bulk bolstered by Eviolite and decent attacking stats, and all bar Dwebble are Water-types. An example of a common set with Shell Smash would look like this:


Omanyte's solid bulk and insane power make it a potent offensive Pokémon in its own right, and backed by a Shell Smash, it manages to 2HKO all but the bulkiest of Pokémon in the tier. Water / Ice / Ground coverage gives Omanyte very limited switch-ins once set up, while a mixed set running Rock Blast allows it to bypass Focus Sash Abra if needed.

Bulk Up

Bulk Up forgoes the extra Attack stage Sword Dance provides for a one-stage boost in Defense. Bulk Up users are often tanks with sweeping potential and pack a form of recovery that is more often than not Drain Punch. Pokémon using Bulk Up often already have a high Attack stat, allowing them to invest EVs into defenses in order to shrug off attacks.

Common Pokémon that use Bulk Up

Although there are only two common users of Bulk Up, both make excellent use of the move and can sweep teams easily. Croagunk's Poison typing allows it to blow past Fairy-types that normally wall Fighting-types, and Sucker Punch lets it pick off attacking Pokémon, while Timburr's solid bulk, ability to reliably switch into Pawniard, and access to Mach Punch allow it to finish off faster Pokémon. An example of a common set with Bulk Up would look like this:


Timburr's bulk and great ability in Guts allowing it to absorb Will-O-Wisps from Pokémon such as Ponyta and Larvesta make it an excellent sweeper with Bulk Up. Due to Bulk Up raising Attack and Defense, most EVs are allotted to Special Defense in order to give Timburr solid all-round defenses while maintaining power. Mach Punch sets Timburr apart as a Fighting-type, as physical STAB priority is very effective in the current metagame.

Rock Polish and Agility

Rock Polish and Agility are grouped together because they do the same thing: increase the user's Speed by two stages. Pokémon using one of these moves often have excellent attacking stats but lack the Speed needed to effectively sweep a team. More often than not, these Pokémon aim for at least 13-15 Speed in order to outspeed the rest of the unboosted and most of the boosted tier.

Common Pokémon that use Rock Polish or Agility

The Pokémon listed have quite diverse traits that make them unique as Rock Polish or Agility sweepers. Archen, Bunnelby, and Cranidos all have a high Attack stat; Pawniard has a powerful Knock Off; Chinchou and Porygon sport natural bulk and exceptional Special Attack stats; and Aron has a recoiless STAB Head Smash. Examples of common sets with Rock Polish and Agility would look like these:


Aron's access to a recoiless STAB Head Smash makes it a terrifying Pokémon once it has set up with Rock Polish, being able to 2HKO Pokémon that resist Rock-type moves. Heavy Slam makes for an excellent backup STAB move and Superpower nabs the KO on Steel-types that have the capability to wall this set.


A Download boost in conjunction with Agility turns the typically defensive Porygon into an offensive powerhouse capable of tearing through weakened teams with its immense coverage. Porygon's excellent bulk also means that it can set up Agility on more passive foes multiple times in a match.

Belly Drum

One of the most extreme setup moves, Belly Drum sacrifices half the user's maximum HP to maximize the user's Attack stat, regardless of any dropped stages. Belly Drum users are required to use Berry Juice in order to regain their lost health, and priority moves are a must-have. Although they require immense support, Belly Drum users can easily sweep a team.

Common Pokémon that use Belly Drum

Zigzagoon is by far the most popular Belly Drum user, as a +6 STAB Extreme Speed easily demolishes teams once Zigzagoon has set up. Magby also gets a mention due to its high base Speed and access to Mach Punch. An example of a common set with Belly Drum would look like this:


The only justifiable reason to use Zigzagoon, Belly Drum + Extreme Speed is both unique and strong. After a boost, Zigzagoon's Attack stat reaches a frightening level of 52, allowing it to obliterate all Pokémon that don't resist Extreme Speed, while Thief and Seed Bomb provide excellent coverage for the Ghost- and Rock-type Pokémon attempting to wall Zigzagoon. With paltry bulk, however, Zigzagoon does need a fair amount of support to be effective.

Nasty Plot

Often the setup move least prepared for due to the overall surprise factor of it, Nasty Plot boosts the user's Special Attack by two stages, making it a counterpart to Swords Dance. Pokémon with access to Nasty Plot are rare, and there are even fewer that can make good use out of the move. These Pokémon typically have high-powered STAB attacks and either decent bulk or priority to make use of their boosted Special Attack.

Common Pokémon that use Nasty Plot

Three of the most efficient wallbreakers in Little Cup use Nasty Plot to punch holes through teams. Croagunk and Houndour both have access to two high-powered STAB moves (Sludge Wave and Focus Blast for the former, and Fire Blast and Dark Pulse for the latter) and priority (although Houndour's priority, being Sucker Punch, is physical and relies on the foe attacking), while Vullaby can use Nasty Plot in conjunction with Weak Armor to sweep a team with boosted Speed. An example of a common set with Nasty Plot would look like this:


Typically seen as a mixed utility check, Nasty Plot Croagunk has both a surprise factor and sheer wallbreaking power. Poison-type STAB is excellent in Little Cup, and STAB priority in Vacuum Wave only adds to Croagunk's sweeping potential. The last moveslot is largely dependent on your team's framework, with Shadow Ball, Focus Blast, and Icy Win all being acceptable choices on this set.

Dragon Dance

Dragon Dance is a physical sweeper's dream setup move, as it gives the user a one-stage boost in both Attack and Speed. More often than not, Pokémon will have enough power to break through teams but won't be fast enough to sweep them; likewise, a speedy Pokémon might not have the ability to immediately KO a foe. Dragon Dance remedies both these issues, giving Pokémon with solid Attack and Speed an easier opportunity to sweep a team.

Common Pokémon that use Dragon Dance

Unsurprisingly, Dragon-types make excellent use of Dragon Dance in order to sweep teams. Axew's coverage options, Dratini's Shed Skin ability and access to Extreme Speed, and Tyrunt's additional Rock typing allow Little Cup's Dragon-types to wreak havoc on an opposing team. On the other hand, Scraggy and Corphish use their remarkable bulk and powerful STAB moves to sweep. An example of a common set with Dragon Dance would look like this:


While commonly seen running Swords Dance, Corphish can also make great use of Dragon Dance to outspeed all of the unboosted Pokémon after one boost and demolish frail foes with an Adaptability-boosted Crabhammer, while Choice Scarf Pokémon get picked off by Aqua Jet.

Calm Mind

Calm Mind is the special equivalent to Bulk Up, raising the user's Special Attack and Special Defense by one stage. Like Bulk Up users, Calm Mind sweepers utilize some form of recovery that allow them to keep healthy while setting up. Calm Mind users also are often naturally strong, allowing EVs to be heavily invested in bulk, which gives them a better opportunity to set up.

Common Pokémon that use Calm Mind

Spritzee's mono-attacking set allows it to function as Wish support and a sweeper when backed with a Calm Mind boost. Gothita can Trick a wall a Choice item, set up Calm Mind as the opponent cannot switch, and proceed to sweep. An example of a common set with Calm Mind would look like this:


Spritzee plays as a great defensive pivot into the plethora of Fighting-type moves in Little Cup, but it can also be an excellent wincon with Calm Mind. A powerful Moonblast and recovery in Wish, which allows Spritzee to not only support itself but its teammates, make it a resilient sweeper that can defeat opposing teams at any stage of the match.

Concluding Remarks

Of course, there are other users of the moves above and other ways to set up, such as Contrary Snivy and Flame Charge Ponyta. The best way to find out just what setup Pokémon Little Cup has to offer is to go out and try it, so what are you waiting for?

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