Resource Little Cup Beginner's Guide

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The (Gen 7) Little Cup Beginner's Guide

(Disclaimer: Rowlett is of questionable viability in LC. Snivy is superb however.)


If you are reading this, you are probably checking out LC for the first time. Awesome! We have a unique and fun metagame, and we would love to see you get involved, whether by playing on ladder, joining tournaments, or just participating in discussion with us on Pokemon Showdown! or Discord. Before you hop right in, though, there are some things you should know about playing Little Cup. This guide aims to explain some of the unique aspects of Little Cup, so you can enjoy playing as much as possible. We hope you stick around in LC!

What You Can Use

  • In Little Cup, the only legal Pokemon are those which can evolve, and do not evolve from anything else. Phanpy, for example, is legal, as it doesn't evolve from anything but can evolve into Donphan. Ivysaur is not legal, because it evolves from Bulbasaur. Pokemon that don't evolve, such as Lapras, are not legal.
  • All Pokemon in Little Cup can be at most Level 5. Yes, you can use Pokemon at Level 2 or 3...but why would you?
  • Item Clause is not active in Little Cup. This means you can use the same item as many times as you like on your teams.
  • Baton Pass Clause is active in Little Cup. This means you cannot use Pokemon who know the move Baton Pass on your teams.
What You Can't Use

  • Like any other tier, some Pokemon are banned in LC. You can view the banned Pokemon here: This thread also discusses some other basics of LC.
  • A couple of clauses regulate what you can't use in LC. The gist of it is, you can't use: OHKO moves (including Fissure, Guillotine, and Sheer Cold), the ability Moody, or evasion moves such as Double Team and Minimize.
  • Species Clause is active, so you can only use the same Pokemon once per team (so a team can't have two Mienfoos, for example).
What You Should Use

  • Viable Pokemon: Yes, we all like to use our favorite Pokemon - and you can! But to ensure a competitively successful team, you should back that Pokemon up with some Pokemon that are good in the metagame. To find out what Pokemon are the cream of the crop, check out the Viability Rankings. And if your favorite Pokemon isn't on the list, well...consider reconsidering your team idea.
  • Smogon sets give a great idea of what moves, items, and EV spreads work on a Pokemon in the metagame. You don't need to follow the sets exactly, but, especially as a new user, use them to get an idea of what a Pokemon can do. You can find the Smogon Pokedex here.
  • Eviolite is the most generally useful item in the metagame, giving every LC Pokemon a 1.5x boost to both Defense and Special Defense. If you are ever unsure of what item to give a Pokemon, Eviolite is usually a good choice (or check the Smogon analysis!)
  • Other items: Life Orb is the best item for frail offensive Pokemon, which have poor enough bulk that Eviolite is not the preferred item. Berry Juice will restore 20 HP when the user's health drops below half, which will bring most LC Pokemon back to full health after taking a hit or two. Choice Scarf gives a 1.5x boost to the user's Speed, and because the fastest LC Pokemon have 20 Speed, any Pokemon that hits 14 Speed can outspeed any non-boosted Pokemon when equipped with a Choice Scarf.
  • Knock Off is one of the best moves in Little Cup, allowing a team to remove all the useful items mentioned above while dealing damage. Some Pokemon can use Knock Off offensively to deal damage, such as Pawniard and Mienfoo, while some just use it for its ability to remove items, such as Cottonee.
What You Shouldn't Use

  • Leftovers and Black Sludge are never good items to use in LC - because HP stats are so low at Level 5, they only restore 1 or 2 HP per turn.
  • Assault Vest is not a good item either, as it forces you into only using attacking moves, while Eviolite gives a Pokemon the same Special Defense boost as Assault Vest without the negative side effect, and gives a Defense boost.
  • Oran Berry and Sitrus Berry are completely outclassed by Berry Juice, which restores far more HP.
  • Choice Band and Choice Specs are, with a few exceptions, outclassed by Life Orb, which deals nearly the same damage due to how damage works at low levels. Choice Scarf is a great item, however.
  • Stall teams are extremely difficult to execute in Little Cup due to the offensive nature of the metagame. Until you get some experience with the meta, you should probably use offensively oriented teams.
  • 252/252/4 EV spreads are never the EV spread you should use in LC. More information on this can be found here. If you are ever unsure of what EV spread to use, you can check the Smogon analysis...but more on that below!
Teambuilding Tips

  • If you are brand new to LC, picking a Sample Team is a great way to explore the metagame. Once you've played a bit and decide to try making your own team, the tips below can help you along.
  • Knock Off, as mentioned above, is a move found all over LC. You should make sure your team isn't too weak to it, and you most likely want it on at least one of your Pokemon to soften up opposing teams.
  • Fighting-type Pokemon are extremely common in LC, so bring a check. Ghost-types do not make good Fighting-type checks since they almost all use Knock Off - instead, try a Fairy-type like Snubbull or Spritzee, or a Poison-type like Mareanie or Foongus.
  • Flying-type Pokemon are also extremely dominant. Stealth Rock will wear down these Pokemon, and is a good choice on any team. You should also have a check to these Pokemon, with Rock types such as Onix and Omanyte and Electric-types such as Magnemite and Chinchou making good choices.
  • Water-type Pokemon are the last major type to prepare for. Good Water-type answers include Chinchou, Croagunk, and Grass-type Pokemon.
  • Diglett is an extremely common Pokemon that is fast and can trap Fire-, Steel-, and Electric-type Pokemon. Make sure your team doesn't have too many Ground-weak Pokemon, and bring a Ground-type resist or immunity to revenge kill it.
  • Have a goal. This applies more to teambuilding in general, but building your own LC team is much easier if you know where you are going. Are you trying to set your team up for a Dragon Dance Scraggy sweep? A Calm Mind Spritzee clean at the end of the game? whatever you aim to do, focus your team around accomplishing it.
Get Out There!

You've done it! You've read through this guide! So now its time to get out there and play Little Cup! Everyone here was once a new user, and we are a close community, so we will help you get into the metagame if you need any more help. If you have questions, the Simple Questions thread is a good place to ask on the forums. You can also ask in the Pokemon Showdown! chatroom or join our Discord Server. Have fun, and stick around in LC!
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