Featured LC Pokémon: Tirtouga

By Superpowerdude. Art by elcheeso.
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For a lot of BW1, Tirtouga had very little usage. This is not due to Tirtouga being a bad Pokémon, because Tirtouga is quite the opposite. It was mainly because Tirtouga just wasn't discovered by competitive players who would commonly use either Clamperl or Shellder as the Shell Smasher of their choice. While the unbanning of Murkrow did boost Tirtouga's usage a little bit, Tirtouga is still lower than it should be in the usage statistics despite its sweeping potential and cuteness.

This all changed when BW2 came along, as people started discovering the power that Shell Smash Tirtouga brings to the table. With sand teams becoming increasingly popular due to Sandshrew getting released with Sand Rush, Tirtouga has become a lot of players' favorite Shell Smasher for its ability to do well against these sand teams with its Aqua Tail and priority Aqua Jet. BW2 not only gave the Shell Smash set some fame, but with the BW2 move tutors introducing Stealth Rock, Tirtouga is known to run support sets which are quite effective, seeing as players often expect a Shell Smash set.

Tirtouga's Qualities

Tirtouga is blessed with a great base 78 Attack, Shell Smash, and Sturdy, giving it all the tools necessary to pull off a sweep on a weakened team. Shell Smash's doubling of Tirtouga's Attack, Special Attack, and Speed, combined with Tirtouga's powerful STAB moves, Aqua Tail and Stone Edge, are what make it an extreme offensive threat to the opposition. Although the Defense and Special Defense drops that Shell Smash has can turn some players away from using the move, Tirtouga's ability Sturdy can help ensure Tirtouga gets a Shell Smash up if it is at full health, a perk shared only by Dwebble. With sand being so common, Shell Smash Tirtouga is great because at +2 it can use Aqua Jet to bypass Drilbur's and Sandshrew's great Speed and destroy them.

The support options that Tirtouga has in its arsenal are also very handy. Stealth Rock is an incredibly important move, breaking Sturdy, doing damage to switch-ins, taking of 25% of Murkrow's HP, etc. Knock Off seems like a weird move at first, but in Little Cup, it is great to Knock Off the Eviolites that many Pokémon rely on to boost their defenses. Also, the potential to knock a Choice Scarf or Life Orb off a switch in can be very useful to help your team in the long run. Its great base 103 Defense lets it utilize its supporting moves easily and its typing makes it one of the only Pokémon capable of walling Murkrow without Hidden Power Grass. However, its typing is a double-edged sword, because Tirtouga is weak to the ever present Fighting-type moves found on common Pokémon like Mienfoo, Croagunk, Scraggy, and Timburr. Although Solid Rock does soften super effective blows, these Fighting-types can make Tirtouga look less bulky than it is.

Playing with Tirtouga

Fortunately, Tirtouga is best used on balanced or offensive teams, which are by far the most common playstyles in Little Cup. It is very easy to fit on a team because it can be a good utility Pokémon or sweeper. The Shell Smash set is best used around mid- to late-game, when all of its checks are weakened or KOed, to give it a much easier time attempting a sweep. You can use it earlier to revenge kill Pokémon with Aqua Jet; however, you should only do that if you absolutely have to. You should be trying to preserve Tirtouga's Sturdy, and chances are you have fast Pokémon or other priority users for revenge killing. If possible, try to avoid switching Tirtouga in when hazards are on the field, because losing Sturdy makes Tirtouga much harder to use as it minimizes the amount of setup opportunities it has.

The support set can be used with less caution as you don't have to worry about switching into attacks as much due to Solid Rock being used instead of Sturdy. In fact, it is better to use this set earlier in the game so you can get up Stealth Rock, remove Eviolites, and hopefully burn the opponent's Pokémon with Scald. All three of these tasks help a team gain a mid- to late-game sweep much more easily.

Playing against Tirtouga

Tirtouga can prove to be quite hard to take down. After Sturdy is broken, strong priority attacks like Mach Punch can take out Tirtouga, although the Pokémon has to be able to survive a +2 Aqua Jet; otherwise, Tirtouga will still beat it. Timburr is a good choice as it can boost its Defense and Attack with Bulk Up and can use Mach Punch to dispose of Tirtouga. Croagunk has Dry Skin, making it immune to Aqua Jet, and can use Vacuum Wave, making it another good choice as a Tirtouga counter. Physically bulky Pokémon like Slowpoke, Ferroseed, Lileep, and Porygon are capable of taking a hit from Tirtouga and crippling it with status, or, if it has Sturdy broken, KOing it. Ferroseed is probably the best out of these checks as it can KO through Sturdy with Bullet Seed and it resists both of Tirtouga's STABs. However, Tirtouga can break through these walls late-game if they have been weakened. Placing down hazards and keeping offensive pressure will limit the amount of times Tirtouga can switch into the battlefield, let alone set up on your Pokémon.

Fitting Tirtouga onto your Team

With the main playstyles in Little Cup being bulky offense and balanced, Tirtouga can find its home on numerous teams. With that being said, Tirtouga still needs the correct support to work. Rapid Spin support is welcome to help keep Tirtouga's Sturdy intact. However, the most common spinners in the tier, Drilbur and Staryu, share a Grass-type weakness with Tirtouga, and Staryu also shares an Electric-type weakness, so finding teammates that resist these types are essential. As mentioned above, there are a few Pokémon that can wall Tirtouga, with Croagunk, Ferroseed, Porygon, Lileep, and Slowpoke being some of the main ones. Offensive teammates really help take out these walls; the most notable one is Nasty Plot Misdreavus. With Nasty Plot, Shadow Ball, Thunderbolt, and Hidden Power Fighting, Misdreavus can KO or weaken these Pokémon to the extent where Tirtouga can often pull off a sweep. Strong attackers like Drilbur and Mienfoo also make good teammates to weaken these Pokémon.


Tirtouga is a huge threat in Little Cup due to its great sweeping potential and supporting capabilities. I urge you all to try it! Let's give this little turtle some love because its usage still isn't that high! Also it has to be one of the cutest Pokémon ever created.

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