LC Spotlight: Diglett

By Fiend. Art by Sparkl3y.
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Diglett by Sparkl3y

Diglett's History

Diglett was one of the best Pokémon in the unofficial ADV Little Cup. Without Team Preview, Choice Scarf, or a plethora of priority moves in the metagame, Diglett was relatively unopposed thanks to its incredible Speed. Diglett was an incredible force in the meta; it was an extremely viable revenge killer, lead, and even support Pokémon. With the ability Arena Trap and a Choice Band attached, Diglett would be able to effectively trap and OHKO a large number of Pokémon, mostly without retaliation. A number of teams struggled to aptly deal with Diglett for a long duration of time, resulting in its suspect test. However, Diglett would ultimately remain in ADV LC, though the metagame largely shifted away from frail, hard-hitting teams and towards bulkier offense largely because of how menacing Diglett was.

With the establishment of Little Cup as an official Smogon metagame in Diamond and Pearl, Diglett was mostly overshadowed by Gligar as both a supportive and an offensive pokemon. Nevertheless, Diglett was able to carve itself a small niche in the metagame as both a potent revenge killer and a respectable lead due to its insane Speed and access to Arena Trap. However, a combination of Gligar's dominance, the commonness of Choice Scarf Pokémon, and Diglett's susceptibility to common priority attacks made it often forgone in favor of other Pokémon—often bulky Choice Scarfers or simply offensive Gligar.

In Black and White and later Black and White 2, the advent of Team Preview destroyed Diglett's use as a dedicated lead. Diglett also found itself in a metagame centered around weather; with Choice Scarf Snover and Sand Rush Drilbur now running rampant, Diglett suffered from a mixture of extremely common revenge killers and severe competition for a team slot. Moreover, the most prominent sweepers in BW LC did not struggle against the Pokémon that Diglett was capable of trapping and removing. Despite this, Diglett had a rather minimal niche on balance teams due to its ability to trap and KO key members of VoltTurn teams, notably Chinchou and Larvesta, as well as the occasional Abra. Diglett proved to also be marginally useful in cleaning up the 19 Speed tier and splashing Toxic on Porygon and Lileep, allowing for speedy attackers such as Nasty Plot Misdreavus and Life Orb Abra to have an easier time cleaning up teams. Yet ultimately Diglett had a minimal impact on the tier.

In ORAS LC, Diglett has completely changed its legacy. Instead of being an incredibly niche Pokémon hardly worth considering on a team, it has been the subject of two suspect tests. Now Diglett is one of the best Pokémon in the tier and often finds itself on many teams simply due to its effectiveness as a trapper and status as the premier revenge killer. With the release of X and Y, weather was no longer permanent, which subsequently lead to more Pokémon being viable as setup sweepers because they no longer needed to be fearful of being frequently outsped by powerful weather sweepers. Additionally, Knock Off was buffed in power and promptly became a staple for all team archetypes, allowing more sweepers to break past the bulkiest walls in Little Cup. Both of these changes lead to a rise in the viability of Diglett, which now had a larger pool of viable sweepers to support while simultaneously no longer having competition as a fast Ground-type. In this much more Diglett-friendly and sweeper-oriented metagame, Diglett is used to support and enable a large number of sweeps. Furthermore, Diglett can be somewhat tailored to trap and remove specific Pokémon, such as Cottonee with Sludge Bomb and Abra with Beat Up, potentially patching team weaknesses or being able to remove blanket checks to the sweeper of choice. Diglett's presence is deeply rooted in the metagame, and it will be for the remainder of this generation.

Diglett's Qualities

Diglett has incredible Speed, average Attack, and abysmal everything else. However, this is more beneficial than it would seem; Diglett is one of only three Pokémon in Little Cup to reach 20 Speed, the highest unboosted Speed tier in the metagame. Diglett's extreme speed coupled with its access to Arena Trap allows it to trap and KO some of the more irksome Pokémon of Little Cup. Due to the resilient and particularly troublesome nature of Chinchou, Ponyta, Larvesta, Croagunk, Skrelp, and many other common Diglett targets, balance and heavy offense teams alike often find room for Diglett. Once Diglett removes these vexatious Pokémon, it can use Memento to give a sweeper that it is supporting a setup opportunity. Diglett's capability of specifically removing counters to a great number of sweepers and then providing them chances to set up makes it the undisputed best support Pokémon, especially for Zigzagoon, Magby, and Fletchling.

Due to its stats, Diglett is forced to run an offensive set, typically with either Focus Sash or more commonly Life Orb, in order to trap and remove key Pokémon. Yet, irregularly, Diglett will don a Eviolite in order to survive specific attacks, such as Magnemite's Flash Cannon and Pawniard's Sucker Punch, from full health and then subsequently KO the attacker. Likewise, Choice Scarf Diglett sees a small amount of usage for revenge killing Choice Scarf Pokémon and +1 Speed Ponyta. However, both Eviolite and Choice Scarf Diglett are extremely specific sets and almost always less consistent when compared to either a Life Orb or a Focus Sash set.

Playing with Diglett

As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, Diglett has a number of permutations on its flagship set, though all sets focus on achieving the same goals; hence, all Diglett sets are largely the same, switching either its item or its coverage options in order to trap something new, though usually at the cost of trapping something else.


This is the most common set Diglett runs, and it is usually the best. The number and variety of Pokémon trappable by Diglett—and consequently Diglett's viability—is limited due to a combination of its very average Attack and its pitiful bulk; however, the high Base Power of Earthquake alongside great coverage in Rock Slide and Sucker Punch does help Diglett overcome its limiting factors, especially when they're powered up by a Life Orb. The coverage provided by this set's move choices provides the set with the ability to pick off frailer threats from a decent health; Sucker Punch's priority further extends Diglett's utility by allowing Diglett to pick off or heavily weaken Choice Scarf Pokémon, notably Magnemite, Chinchou, Gothita, and Drilbur. The fourth slot is usually dedicated to either Substitute or Memento; the former grants Diglett the ability to take maximum advantage of switching into Volt Switch from Choice Scarf Magnemite and Chinchou, the ability to potentially revenge kill Berry Juice Magnemite, and the ability to trap Sucker Punch users such as Pawniard and Houndour, while the latter option helps provide setup opportunities to the sweeper Diglett is supporting. Focus Sash Diglett is the slightly less common but also extremely viable option; the set used is fairly similar to its Life Orb counterpart, though it frequently has Stealth Rock slotted in place of either Rock Slide or Sucker Punch and Memento is the fourth move of choice.

However, Life Orb Diglett can chose to run a variety of moves to clear the way for many sweepers. Sludge Bomb, while uncommon, can be used to great effect for removing Cottonee and their irksome priority Encores and Stun Spores from that match. Additionally, teams particularly troubled by Abra can sometimes use Diglett armed with Beat Up to KO the nuisance through its Focus Sash. Pursuit can find limited usage on Life Orb Diglett as well, though only for potential chip damage on Archen and for trapping and KOing unsuspecting Gastly. Similarly, Focus Sash and Eviolite Diglett can cripple Porygon with Toxic before being KOed.

When it comes to actually using Diglett, first you need to identify what Diglett needs to trap and remove or cripple for your team to succeed. Next is the difficult portion of using Diglett: how do you get Diglett in versus these Pokémon?

The safest way to play with Diglett involves slow Volt Switches, U-turns, and Baton Passes. For example, to trap Ponyta, Diglett can often come in for free if Mienfoo uses U-turn as Ponyta is switched in to counter it. However, just as common as the last strategy, double switches and sacking Pokémon to hazards is often used to get Diglett in versus the correct Pokémon. The riskiest way to get Diglett in to trap a target is switching into an Electric-type move, which can either end horribly or result in a perfectly healthy Diglett with free turns to potentially set up Substitute.

Playing Against Diglett

In order to adequately play versus Diglett, it is important to identify its role; if Fletchling and Diglett, Shellder and Diglett, Vullaby and Diglett, or any number of other sweepers and Diglett are together on the same team, you will need to play conservatively with your checks to the opposing sweeper. This is especially true if your team relies on something such as Ponyta to several common Pokémon in the metagame. However, this is not always an option, nor does it prevent Diglett from revenge killing the crucial Pokémon. Instead, you can utilize move options akin to Flame Charge on Ponyta and Endure on Magnemite in order to safeguard against being trapped by Diglett.

Fitting Diglett onto a team

Diglett loves to be paired with a setup sweeper and can extremely easily fit onto teams revolving around Fletchling, Shellder, Zigzagoon, Magby, Snivy, or even Scraggy. However, Diglett also pairs well with a variety of fast wallbreakers, such as Abra, Aipom, Amaura, and Houndour, due to both the flexibility Diglett's traits provide and its ability to trap hard counters to these Pokémon. In truth, Diglett can fit onto and benefit most teams provided it is considered early enough that it does not stack weaknesses with the rest of the team. Regardless of the team style, some VoltTurn Pokémon such as Chinchou, Vullaby, and Mienfoo are greatly appreciated to get Diglett in safely, especially considering common counters to these Pokémon are prone to being trapped.

Teams with Diglett do have to beware Snivy and Scraggy, as these Pokémon are able to make the most of Diglett trapping its targets; they struggle against Choice Scarf Pawniard and Choice Scarf Mienfoo, respectively, and are both weak to Fletchling's priority Acrobatics and can therefore be easily accounted for. None of these Pokémon wish to switch into an attack, however, and thus it tends to be in the Diglett user's best interest to stay in and get off damage versus these threats, allowing for easier revenge killing of these Pokémon.

Get out there!

Diglett is better than ever and has a large assortment of Pokémon that it pairs exceedingly well with. And while Diglett is seen as a rather irksome Pokémon to some, it is nevertheless efficacious. Every Little Cup team should be prepared to play against Diglett, the premier trapper of LC. It's a solid addition to most offensively inclined teams thanks to its exceptional speed and moderate power, and you should consider using it for your next Little Cup team.

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