When Babies Escape Daycare: LC Pokémon That Wreck Outside of LC

By Goddess Briyella and Diatom. Art by Rocket Grunt.
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As the Little Cup metagame of Generation V comes to a close, I think a tribute is in order for a few of the notable LC Pokémon that have proven themselves useful (and in some cases, actually quite dangerous) in the mainstay tiers from NU all the way to OU and even Ubers. It takes worthiness to be able to step outside of a metagame you call home and show that you can shake things up in higher levels of play, and there are many amazing Little Cup Pokémon that do just that. Without any further ado, let's have a closer look at these little tykes that sometimes leave the playpen to kick things up a notch. Let's look at what happens when these babies escape daycare.


Missy is one of the most feared Pokémon in LC, and is certainly the best Ghost-type in the entire metagame therein. Not only is she in the coveted 19 Speed tier, but she can also serve as a deadly offensive sweeper and even a bulky supporter, with disruptive moves such as Will-O-Wisp to cripple physical attackers, Taunt to stop entry hazard layers and status abusers cold, and Trick to completely screw opposing supporters by forcing them to lose their Eviolite and use a Choice item instead. With the abundance of Fighting-types in Little Cup, she can definitely find ample switch-in opportunities and times to shine in battle. Misdreavus is without a doubt one of the biggest bullies behind the fence of the daycare that is the LC metagame.

However, that's not to say she can't also wreak havoc outside that fence. Missy also makes her presence known in the NU tier, where she takes on the role of being the best defensive Ghost-type in the tier. With Eviolite's boost to her defenses combined with her typing, she is able to take on some of biggest offensive threats in NU, such as Scolipede, Sawk, and Primeape, while also serving as one of the best stallbreakers in the tier with a combination of Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, and Pain Split. Misdreavus also can boost her stats with Nasty Plot or Calm Mind, either of which can let her sweep unprepared teams and get around her usual counters. Misdreavus is also able to beat every Rapid Spinner in NU, with only SMASHKoal posing a realistic threat to her. Overall, Misdreavus is one of the best utility Pokémon in NU, and is worth using on archetypes ranging from stall to offense.


Another big bully in LC with many amazing attributes, its STAB Dark / Fighting coverage is totally unresisted (bar Croagunk) and its incredible bulk and access to Dragon Dance make it a very frightening sweeper that can outspeed every non-Choice Scarf user in the meta after just one boost, while slamming the entire opposition with Drain Punch and restoring its lost health in the process. It has a painful super effective STAB Crunch to nail the Ghosts that have nothing to fear from Fighting attacks, as well as the Psychics who resist them. As if that weren't enough, it also has access to an insanely powerful STAB Hi Jump Kick that obliterates just about everything, as well as Zen Headbutt to punish the Pokémon that can stand up to Scraggy's STABs, such as Koffing and the aforementioned Croagunk. Almost nothing likes switching in as Scraggy uses Dragon Dance; any player who doesn't have a decently bulky Fighting-type in good health or a Choice Scarf Flying-type will be trampled by this thing most of the time in Little Cup. Very few babies in the daycare can mess with Scraggy without requiring immediate attention from a Pokémon Center attendant soon afterward. There are also times when our feisty little friend will venture outside of its usual stomping grounds to get into a little mischief in the NU tier.

Scraggy is not one of the most-used Pokémon in NU for good reason. Its stats are quite low for the tier. However, with the proper team support, it can make for a hard-to-stop sweeper, thanks to a few unique traits. Scraggy has access to Eviolite, which boosts its defenses to acceptable levels, and allows it to set up Dragon Dances against many defensive Pokémon in the tier. Additionally, Shed Skin makes the omnipresent Toxic and Thunder Wave nearly useless as a means to stop Scraggy's sweep. Scraggy can also forgo Shed Skin to use Moxie, which makes it harder to set up but turns Scraggy into an unstoppable monster should it manage to get up two or more Dragon Dances. However, Scraggy does have its faults which prevent it from dominating the tier. Scraggy is outsped by the two premier Choice Scarf users in the tier, Primeape and Jynx, even after two Dragon Dances, which makes it very important to eliminate Choice Scarf users to sweep. This is just one of the problems that prevent it from being among the best in NU, but it can still hold its ground and can be effective with support. Its ability to dish out damage while healing itself with STAB Drain Punch, when combined with its aforementioned qualities, can make Scraggy very hard to bring down. It doesn't pose an immediate threat right off the bat, but being complacent while facing one can cost you dearly.


One of the most maliciously annoying babies in the daycare, period. Ferroseed has a huge array of support options at its disposal and the bulk and resistances to pull them off. With access to Spikes, Stealth Rock, Leech Seed, and Thunder Wave, as well as 10 resistances and an immunity to Poison, it can be a serious annoyance to opponents, despite its weakness to Fire- and Fighting-type attacks. In addition to its massive bulk and its support capabilities, it also punishes physical attackers and Rapid Spinners with its Iron Barbs ability. All of these qualities wrapped up into one Pokémon ensure that Ferroseed is most definitely a true menace behind the fence of the daycare. In fact, it's so much of a menace, it isn't even allowed in the NU playground should it stray away from LC in search of tougher competition. Its second home is in a higher tier.

Ferroseed is used in RU for one reason: it has access to Spikes. This, combined with its typing and bulk when factoring in Eviolite, has made it one of the premier bulky Spikes layers of the tier, alongside Qwilfish. Ferroseed's typing also allows it to completely wall many common threats such as Sceptile and Cinccino, and its access to Leech Seed provides it with recovery despite the lack of Leftovers. The biggest problem with Ferroseed is its Speed; in fact, Ferroseed is the slowest Pokémon in the RU tier. However, this can be used to its advantage with Gyro Ball, which turns Ferroseed's low Speed into a powerful attack. Ferroseed also struggles with every Fire-type in a tier riddled with them; Moltres and Magmortar, among others, will easily OHKO the durian even with Eviolite. However, if you need a bulky Spikes stacker that doesn't have some of Qwilfish's weaknesses, Ferroseed is what you're looking for.


Gligar was deemed so overpoweringly badass that it was banned permanently from LC by the Smogon community in April of 2012. Its obscenely powerful Acrobatics set pummeled through the entire metagame, and its Toxic stalling antics were a bit over the top thanks to Roost giving it instant recovery, Earthquake hitting most of the Pokémon that were immune to Toxic for super effective damage, U-turn to keep the momentum in its team's favor, and to top it all off, an ability that prevented it from being poisoned itself. Everyone decided that Gligar was playing too rough, and so it was kicked out of the daycare forever, never again to be seen in Generation V Little Cup. So where could Gligar go? The NU playground couldn't handle it... not even the contenders of RU were willing to accept it among their ranks... it had its sights set on climbing further to the UU tier, which would become its permanent home.

While Gligar may not be the best Pokémon in UU, there are a few reasons why it sees usage even among good players. Simply put, its Eviolite-boosted Defense is one of the highest in all of Pokémon, even allowing it to nearly always tank 4x super effective hits such as Weavile's Ice Punch. This, along with its access to Roost as a recovery move and immunity to Spikes, has cemented its place in UU as a physical wall. U-turn even lets Gligar maintain momentum for its team, resulting in its use on balanced as well as stall teams. Unfortunately, Gligar is not without its downsides. Its Special Defense is subpar, and it is 2HKOed by even most non-super effective special attacks in the tier, such as Shaymin's Seed Flare and Nidoqueen's Fire Blast. Gligar also suffers from the lack of Leftovers; even with Roost, it loses out on valuable healing. However, don't let these negatives dissuade you; Gligar is certainly effective in UU when given the right support. It's the entire reason Mienshao started carrying Hidden Power Ice, and it also serves as a decent check to Heracross, one of UU's most powerful and popular Pokémon.


Aron is a Pokémon that likes to leave the daycare for other reasons: its access to Rock Polish to bolster its Speed to levels that exceed even those of Choice Scarf users, as well as its access to the ability Rock Head to use with the deadly Head Smash to deal tons of damage without recoil, would make it appear to be an incredible contender in the LC metagame. Its immunity to Poison and nine resistances appear to give it plenty of time to set up and wreak havoc. However, the sheer abundance of Fighting- and Ground-types throughout the LC meta keeps Aron on the edge. It's 4x weak to both of these common attacking types, and they also resist Head Smash. This has proven to be such a problem that Aron sometimes decides to leave and take out its anger in places where it can troll Pokémon many times its size.

While Aron may be completely outclassed even in NU by other Pokémon such as its evolution Lairon, it has the potential to wreck unprepared teams in the OU tier if used correctly. The sole reason Aron is ever used is due to its F.E.A.R. set in combination with its ability Sturdy and immunity to sand. The strategy is rather simple on paper; set up sand, get Aron in for free with no entry hazards, and proceed to spam Endeavor against the opponent. Since Aron should always be used at level 1, this will nearly always bring the opposing Pokémon into sandstorm KO range, with the held Shell Bell healing off any damage taken and restoring Sturdy. Although this gimmicky strategy can work if executed properly, the sheer number of counters (really anything immune to sand is a counter) makes this much harder to pull off in practice than on paper, and thus Aron does not see much use in high-level play. For this reason, it's often not prepared for when players make teams; but a team that isn't prepared for Aron, even in the OU tier, will learn a very hard lesson.


Finally, this thing. If there's any Pokémon that can be considered a huge troll in the daycare, it's Riolu. As a Fighting-type with the Prankster ability, it makes for a very interesting Pokémon that indeed has pranks up its tiny sleeves. There are other Prankster users in LC, such as Cottonee and the ever-present Murkrow, but what sets Riolu apart is its access to one nasty little move that just so happens to work with Prankster: Copycat. If there's one thing that's annoying when dealing with many Fighting-types in the LC metagame, it's STAB Drain Punch doing decent chunks of damage while healing the user in the process. Not only does Riolu have this at its disposal, but the combination of Prankster and Copycat allows it to go for a second Drain Punch before its target can even move, while also giving it another dose of healing in the process. It can scout for enemy moves with Protect and then use Copycat to hit Foongus back with its own Spore or nail Misdreavus with its own Shadow Ball. Almost nothing can switch into it without having to take two Drain Punches to the face before being able to move at all, and any Ghost that switches in to avoid this beatdown risks taking two super effective Crunches in the same fashion. It doesn't have the best stats, and it's not unbeatable, but in the hands of a master, Riolu can be quite devastating to say the least.

As if it's not a big enough troll in LC, the combination of Prankster, Roar, and Copycat makes facing Riolu the nightmare of any team lacking priority moves or Protect in the mainstay tiers from NU all the way to OU, and even Ubers. What Riolu does is simple: it uses its bulk with Eviolite or Focus Sash to get off a Roar, and then uses priority Copycat to in turn create a +1 priority Roar, wearing down the opposing player's entire team with forced switches and hazards continuously while they can't do a thing about it. What an asshole. Now, you may ask yourself: "Why isn't this monster banned yet?" Well, all it takes to be able to put an end to its priority Roar antics is a priority move from any Pokémon that has higher Speed. However, perhaps more pressing is the support that Riolu requires. Riolu needs Pokémon to set up Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Stealth Rock for the best effect; it needs a spinner if using Focus Sash, and it needs a spinblocker to make sure its team's entry hazards are not spun away. However, underestimate this thing at your own peril, and it will annoy you to no end and assure a slow and painful loss of a match.


Just as the OU tier is not solely limited to OU Pokémon, and many Pokémon from lower tiers may be used in higher ones to great effect, the same applies for a handful of LC Pokémon, as they can see usage in higher places and perform surprisingly well when the conditions are right, quite possibly catching a good many unprepared players off-guard. Even though LC has a rather small playerbase and is considered only a metagame rather than one of the actual tiers, it is most certainly home to some tiny creatures that can really put in work under spotlights both inside and outside their territory. Finally, this goes to show how sometimes big things really do come in small packages!

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