Why LC Will Get You Laid

By Dcae. Art by Magistrum.
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People new to competitive Pokémon are generally drawn towards OU, the most popular tier on account of it having all the powerful Pokémon. Many of these players might then move down to UU, RU, or NU, but rarely do they come play Little Cup. Little Cup is not a very popular tier and is thus frequented much less by players. Many players don't even understand the concept and basics of LC and are confused by the tiering; due to some Pokémon being both LC and NU, people do not understand what role it plays where. However, LC is the most unique metagame by far, sporting battles between cute Pokémon you and I have played with on cartridges at only level 5. This is drastically different from the standard level 100 battles in every other tier; Little Cup consequently uses tough EV spreads that need some getting used to. Once you get past the outside hide of the tier, you can plunge into a fast-paced, cute tier that lacks the legendaries that plague other tiers. Another bonus the tier presents is the lack of rain and sun, which have divided the OU community between them, as well as the prevalence of unique and creative sets.

One might ask themselves what would interest them to play with these small creatures when one can abuse the strongest of the strong up in OU. There isn't a simple answer to this question, but several, all of which propagandize the advantages of LC. Putting it flat out, LC mons are cute. Take a look at Joltik, the smallest Pokémon ever. Even people normally queasy about bugs cannot resist the little bundle of joy that attaches itself to our hearts. Contrary to the big brutes in OU such as Heatran or Garchomp, LC 'mons combine cuteness and elegance in a way nothing else can, making the battling experience a joy to participate in. Even the guy from the ghetto, Scraggy, will melt your heart as it pulls up those sagging pants on its lizard self. It is an enjoyable experience to watch these balls of fun duke it out in a Pokémon battle, putting your brains to optimal use while still having something cute to look at. No other tier offers the same pleasure, making battling in Little Cup a truly unique experience.

Many people dislike Gen V OU due to perma-rain and perma-sun. Even though the great Swift Swim abusers of yore have been reduced to their old selves following the Drizzle + Swift Swim ban, high-powered rain spam still exists. Sun, on the other hand, kept its Chlorophyll abusers, and Venusaur still annoys people with its incredibly high Speed. However, Little Cup doesn't have Drizzle, and Drought has been banned, making Little Cup free of these arguably broken threats. Thanks to this, it makes it more inviting to play with weatherless teams and not be forced to run a certain Pokémon to counteract the prevailing weather wars. Other people also hate legendaries, also prevalent in OU and all the standard tiers. Little Cup is the only tier that has absolutely no legendaries, so people who were wrecked by Articuno back in RBY can play in peace without being intimidated by the sight of a legendary.

Another cool thing about LC is the friendly community. Not many people play Little Cup (yet!), so it's easy to get into the small community and make friends. You quickly become familiar with everyone, and since the playerbase is so small, you're more than likely to encounter a friend multiple times through the "Find a Battle" button. The community is competitive, but also really friendly, as almost everybody knows everybody else. Plus, the more experienced people who play (even blarajan) are cool and helpful people, and they are more than willing to help out newcomers with any problems or issues they have.

Common Problems and Potential Solutions

One of the biggest obstacles that come in a person's way when they try to learn Little Cup are the mechanics. All of the Pokémon in the LC metagame are level 5, which has a big effect on things such as stats, damage rolls, and even EV spreads and movepools. Damage rolls don't work the same way as they do in tiers with level 100 Pokémon, as the HP stats of Little Cup Pokémon are much, much lower and therefore make reaching a precise damage roll nearly impossible. Most of the time, especially when regarding indirect damage such as hail or Life Orb recoil, damage rolls are rounded, and this augments damage calculations. Certain Pokémon may only lose 5% from Life Orb, while others lose 13%—it all depends on the situation. Movepools are also no longer as simple, as not all Little Cup Pokémon can learn the moves that their parents do. A lot of research is needed to confirm which Pokémon are able to learn which moves. Stats also become a bit more complicated, as maxing out stats is no longer as simple as just dumping 252 EVs into two stats and then being done with it—Little Cup EVs work differently. Not every single EV will be worth a stat point because of the low levels of the Pokémon, so calculations are needed to find the most efficient spreads for every single Pokémon. This is a big boon if you know how to take advantage of it, as this means that you can max out more than two stats without surpassing your EV limit, but it does take a lot of calculation. While this may be hard to get used to at first, it doesn't directly affect your competitive play—after all, you can just copy and paste spreads from analyses on-site. Or, you can play around with damage calculators and find the best spread for yourself. Luckily, many of these calculation problems are already solved for you by Smogon spreads, and you can refer to the Smogon Strategy Pokedex for movepool information, so memorization of damage formulas and rounding mechanics is not needed.

Another thing some players may be intimidated by is the vast new metagame that they have to get used to when they start playing Little Cup. This fear is quite justified, as unlike jumping from OU to Ubers, you cannot rely on your knowledge and experience playing with and against Pokémon that are common for both tiers. Very few Little Cup Pokémon are used elsewhere, other than the small amount that are used in lower tiers such as NU or RU. An OU or UU player might not have ever seen any LC Pokémon in action yet, and therefore might have a hard time adjusting to the new metagame and the new group of Pokémon they have to get used to facing. However, the thought that LC is a massive, near impossible jump is quite false, as there are only a handful of major threats and some minor Pokémon that one needs to get used to; a good portion of the Pokémon legal in LC are simply unviable in competitive play. Also, many LC Pokémon are Pokémon you commonly encounter in the cartridges, so it shouldn't be a totally new language.


In conclusion, LC is an interesting and easy to learn tier that anyone can get into. It's a whole new metagame of unique Pokémon for new players to explore, making it a worthwhile investment of anyone's time. It may seem hard to learn at first because of the changes in mechanics and rules, but there are many tools and nice people you can use or ask to help you. LC is an awesome yet often overlooked metagame for new players to play. For more information, check out the LC forums or the LC hub page. Or, since experience is a great teacher, you can go out there yourself and try it yourself!

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