Little Cup: the Mystery Explained

By Aerrow. Art by bojangles.
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Little Cup has always been in the background of the Pokémon scene ever since Pokémon Stadium 2 was released, and for the past few years it's been in the background of the competitive battling scene as well. Despite the common belief that the LC tier is only for competitive battlers who cannot make it in other, more recognized tiers such as OU, LC can actually be an immensely fun and enjoyable tier to play in, no matter what your experience or success in other Smogon tiers; but don't take my word for it—below are some quotes from several well-known Smogonites, all of which are known to be exceptional in other facets of Smogon, yet view LC as an extremely diverse and enjoyable tier to play in and a great way to get away from other metagames.



Though I've never personally played the metagame myself, the possibility of me trying it out in the future has never left my mind. I've spectated a couple of LC matches before—mostly those of my VGC friends who wanted to give the metagame a shot. And it was quite a fresh experience, indeed. Unfortunately, Little Cup's wonders are held back by the aura of hatred from the outside community. Not so much of a surprise, I guess, considering that it has a very different feel from what they're used to. These negative perceptions also linger around in #pokemon, and we're working hard to remove them and encourage a healthy environment for the discussion of multiple metagames, LC included. Speaking of which, active battlers from the LC community should speak up in #pokemon and spread the love. We'll be there, step by step, along the way.



I think it's a legitimate tier, and that while I don't play it, I think it handles itself well and offers something unique to anyone looking for a change.



Cutemons :D



I feel that Little Cup is a viable tier. It seems fun and diverse!!!!! AND LC offers a different atmosphere than boring old BW OU 9.9.



I haven't played Little Cup since the middle of the 4th gen, but I definitely respect the metagame. As a mainstay of the Ubers tier, I know what its like to have people pick on your metagame, and to be honest, I'm really sick of Little Cup being denigrated. LC is just as much a metagame as OU, UU, RU, Ubers, or NU; just because it's using baby Pokémon and doesn't get as many battles doesn't mean it's not legit. I respect Little Cup and expect that everybody should do the same.



LC is a really quirky little (no pun intended) metagame. It's really quite interesting to see how these little baby mons can have so much competitive use, in ways that you normally would not expect.


Great Sage

People will always find something to complain about, something to contrast themselves with to say "well, at least I'm not that"; those who can withstand this and continue working are the ones who are truly remarkable.



LC is far simpler than standard metagames, but contrary to popular belief, that actually makes it more indicative of skill. You won't win games by knowing more than your opponent because there is less to know, you're going to win because of your team building, prediction, and intuition. This makes it easy to pick up, but much harder to master, and much more intense to play.



The main attraction of Little Cup is that it's a tier where Drifloon is actually viable. However, the main downside of Little Cup is that it's a tier where Mareep isn't viable. Since that applies to every tier, you can forgive it this grave flaw and enjoy using all the baby mons you'd otherwise only be using ingame.



Well, some users might not know this, but I was one of the original founders of Smogon's LC tier, working with eric the espeon and co. So deep down, it does have a special place in my heart because it was one of my first full-time projects. That being said, I feel LC needs to do a better job of advertising itself and I do have some problems with things like Eviolite. However, I am not a LC hater and I would suggest giving it a try, it actually is a fun tier.



Little Cup's a tier for people with big penises.

"Problems" with the Tier

Probably the most historic problem people have had with Little Cup is the fact that it's, well, Little Cup. The whole idea of using 'Stage 1' Pokémon in competitive play has always been considered as a 'problem' with LC; I mean, why would you use a Pokémon such as Dratini when you could use its fully evolved form, Dragonite, which has a larger movepool and larger base stats? Because of this, it's always been said that the only people who play in LC are the ones who cannot make it elsewhere—but really, if you're one of the people who think this way, you should really play a few Little Cup matches, as only then will you know that LC is every bit as fun and challenging as other tiers such as OU and UU!

Another one of the major reasons why many competitive battlers playing in other tiers find it "difficult" or "problematic" to assimilate in the LC metagame is because of the differences it has with the other tiers. These differences include the fact that more often than not, the outcome of battles are determined by the team match-up; although some people dislike this factor due to the fact that it unbalances the metagame, it can also be easily said that this could also be a way to test the skill factor—if you're going up against a team with a considerable advantage over your own, you'll need to be able to outplay your opponent to win, which involves retaining a high level of skill, a trait that defines an exceptional battler no matter the tier they play in. And anyways, as this differentiates LC from other tiers. I personally view it as a positive point, as players need to employ different strategies to win, compared with what they need to do to win in other tiers.

How You Can Help Expand the LC Community

You don't need to write a Smog article about LC to help expand the Little Cup community (although if you feel like doing this, please do so!)—there are several little ways you can help, which don't take much effort but go miles in helping to expand LC. One of the best things you can do is simply play LC! This is one of the tier's more prominent needs: a larger, active userbase which enjoys playing LC! Secondly, if you already play LC somewhat actively, you might want to spread a bit of LC discussion between you and your friends—this will help the LC community to expand and gain more users, and it might even trigger a domino effect which will lead to even more people starting to play Little Cup! However, if you feel as if you want to do a bit more for LC, feel free to visit the LC DST or LC C&C forums; you'll be able to start discussion threads in the former while helping write analyses, updates, and set articles in the latter. Heck, if you feel committed enough to write an entire article about a specific facet of LC, check out the articles forum and have a quick chat with macle or Nexus to get your article idea approved.

Useful Links/References


Although LC has it flaws like most tiers, it remains immensely enjoyable to play (contrary to the opinions of some people, who believe it's a lousy tier!). Having read this article, I hope that you'll disregard the unreasonable hate towards LC and try out the tier for yourself! I assure you that you won't be disappointed—heck, you might even find it so fun that you'll leave other tiers behind and become a permanent LCer!

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