Berry Juice in Little Cup

By blizzardy. Art by Bummer.
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Kudos to the innovator who had an Oran berry and a Shuckle and saw something great. Something healthy. Something delicious. Despite its piquant taste, the Berry Juice has hardly seen any use in competitive play: it only heals 20 HP, so it has minimal effect in the level 100 tiers. And just to add salt to the wound, the item was banned in Little Cup, causing the poor drink to go without a home. Fortunately, however, the item has been unbanned in XY, allowing for more item diversity and adding strategies that were once impossible in the Eviolite-infested metagame of BW2. This article’s goal is to go over the effects of Berry Juice on the Little Cup metagame as well as knowing when to use Berry Juice over its tyrannical counterpart, the Eviolite.

DPP set the standard for LC by introducing it as a fast and offensive metagame. This continued into BW , however, it did experience some slowing down due to the introduction of a special item: the Eviolite. While the Eviolite is still a legal item in the game, the unbanning of Berry Juice has encouraged sweepers and hyper-offensive play. The amount of Pokémon and strategies that are affected by this humble beverage is quite amazing. Such strategies are as follows:

Sturdy and Shell Smash

"SturdyJuicing" refers to the strategy involving the use of Berry Juice in tandem with the ability Sturdy. These Pokémon can survive a potentially fatal attack and return to full HP, thus activating Sturdy again, essentially giving them a second life. Tirtouga and Dwebble are two common users of this strategy, for both offensive and defensive reasons. Both Pokémon have access to Shell Smash, one of the most dangerous setup moves in the game, and with the SturdyJuice tactic, they are guaranteed to set it up, with the potential to remain at full health afterward, giving them an edge over priority users by regaining Sturdy! Tirtouga makes for an especially fearsome sweeper thanks to its wide coverage and access to priority of its own in Aqua Jet, letting it decimate the opponent, especially late-game. However, its Rock-typing gives it a nasty Fighting weakness, so it needs to watch out for those pesky priority moves.

Sweeping isn't the only thing benefited from Berry Juice; Dwebble can take advantage of its inability to be OHKOed to reliably throw down Stealth Rock and Spikes. With Sturdy and Berry Juice in tow, Dwebble guarantees at least 2 layers of hazards on the enemy's team. Its Bug-typing gives it neutrality to Fighting and Grass, two typings that normally put Rock-types on edge. Dwebble has an advantage over other hazard setters in that it is rather quick, hitting a solid 16 Speed, capable of outspeeding other Pokémon who would threaten it's job, such as Mienfoo and Pawniard. Delving deeper into Dwebble's arsenal of support is the almighty Knock Off, which lets Dwebble continue helping it's team even when hazards are not needed. For these reasons, Dwebble has became one of the premier hazard setters, due to it being reliable and rather easy to use.

However there is one problem with this strategy: Berry Juice only works once. There is, however, a rather tasty solution to this problem...


Magnemite is another Pokémon who can employ the SturdyJuice technique fantastically thanks to a special move called Recycle. Recycle, when combined with Berry Juice, Sturdy, and a fantastic Defense stat, ensures that Magnemite will nearly always be unable to get OHKOed, while still providing a decent source of healing to keep it healthy throughout the match. This is important as it allows Magnemite to reliably counter various Pokémon such as Fletchling that lack Overheat, and Fairy-types like Spritzee. Magnemite is not the only Pokémon capable of this tactic, although it is the only one who has access to Sturdy to complement it. Trubbish surprised the metagame by showing that it's not as trashy as it appears, with its neat typing, good bulk and coverage, and hitting a delicious 17 Speed. Trubbish's Poison-typing grants it some great resistances to Fighting and Fairy, which allows it to wall threats such as Mienfoo, Timburr, Spritzee, and Cottonee. Its ability, Sticky Hold, is the icing on the cake, (umbrella in the drink?), allowing it to counter Knock Off, the premier counter to Berry Juice users. Trubbish also has access to Drain Punch, allowing to maim any Pawniard who thinks they're tough enough to knock away Trubbish's Berry Juice. Munchlax is another Pokémon who loves using Recycle, as it drastically increases its reliability as a special wall, giving it more survivability to wall most special attacks with its enormous HP and Special Defense stats. Normal-typing is good for its immunity to Ghost, though a weakness to Fighting is not appreciated. Unfortunately, all of these Pokémon are rather slow, so fast and powerful Pokémon can potentially pick them off before they have a chance to salvage their juice. However, this shouldn't deter you from using this strategy; with a little prediction and careful playing, it can turn these babies into unstoppable stalwarts.

Boosting Stats

Berry juice is a great item for Pokémon who need to set up through moves like Swords Dance and Nasty Plot. Unfortunately, most setup sweepers are generally frail, and may take a lot of damage when setting up so they are easily picked off by priority moves. However, Berry Juice is a way around this. A setup sweeper, such as Misdreavus or Fletchling, can boost their stats then heal up any damage taken. While some of these Pokémon have their own way of healing, Berry Juice is great in that it doesn't cut any momentum, allowing a Pokémon to sweep without being easily picked off by priority. Some Pokémon get additional benefits from this potent potable: Fletchling and other Flying-types get a great buff to Acrobatics. Fletchling in particular, like its daddy in OU, has priority on all of its Flying-type moves, letting it rampage through teams even after just a single Swords Dance. It also gets Overheat for roasting Steel-types, and U-turn for escaping tough situations. Even without stat boosts, Fletchling is still valued for being the ultimate revenge killer, preying on virtually all of the Fighting-type Pokémon that run amok. Pokémon with Unburden such as Drifloon and Treecko can grab a scary Speed boost, allowing them to grab a great amount of boosts to terrorize the enemy with. Drifloon, while not the greatest of sweepers, can pull of a plethora of fun tricks with its Speed boost, such as surprising the enemy with a fast Destiny Bond or ensuring that it passes its boosts with Baton Pass. Substitute is another great asset that's affected by Berry Juice. Potential sweepers can throw up Substitutes without fear of losing too much health since Berry Juice will restore it back.

Diminishing Recoil

Pokémon like Taillow and Archen boast some of the highest powered moves in Brave Bird and Head Smash respectively. However, some players may be deterred from using these destructive moves due to the high recoil that follows, especially with Archen, who also has defeatist to worry about. With Berry Juice, these Pokémon can smash their opponent sideways, only to have the recoil negated, allowing them to continue their rampage. In the case of flying types, using up the Berry Juice also powers up its other STAB move, Acrobatics, while also keeping it out of Defeatist area. A powerful Acrobatics is important as it allows Archen to punish the Fighting-types who try to switch into its Head Smash. Ponyta and Larvesta may also use this item due to their reliance on recoil moves such as Flare Blitz. Usually these moves compromise their survivability, however, with Berry Juice, they can continue to use these powerful moves throughout the match. All of these Pokémon are relatively fast, and can run Berry Juice without compromising other stats, unlike threats such as Cranidos who rather use a Choice Scarf.


While Berry Juice is seen as a particularly offensive item, it does have some defensive merit. Plenty of walls and sponges will appreciate the extra health it provides. Pokémon who otherwise have no method of reliable healing, such as Misdreavus, Chinchou, and Snubbull, can greatly improve their survivability on more offensive teams. Chinchou, however, may opt to run an Eviolite RestTalk set instead, due to Gen VI's new sleep mechanics meaning that the sleep counter does not reset on switches. Chinchou also gets Heal Bell to use while in slumber with Sleep Talk. Chinchou appreciates Berry Juice when its needed to counter Fletchling, who, even with resisted attacks, can deal a lot of damage to the poor angler fish. Both Chinchou and Snubbull have access to Heal Bell, and may decide to run Eviolite to reduce damage dealt so to continue healing the team. Snubbull makes an exceptionally good cleric and wall in general due to its great typing and ability. Its Fairy-typing lets it take on most Fighting-, Bug-, and Dark-types (other than Pawniard). To reinforce Snubbull's ability to wall, it has Intimidate to cripple any physical attackers (again, excluding Pawniard). Other Pokémon who appreciate the extra health are Tentacool, Grimer, and Corphish, all of which are naturally bulky and can aid the team through their supportive, defensive, and offensive capabilities, respectively.

Deciding between Berry Juice and Eviolite

This can be a particularly tough decision to make as both items are exceptional in the metagame. Generally, Berry Juice should be used in the situations mentioned above: Sturdy users, Acrobatics users, setup sweepers, and Pokémon that have unreliable means of healing should opt for the juice. Note that Berry Juice does not actually provide any defensive boosts, which can result in some nasty OHKOs or 2HKOs that wouldn't occur had that Pokémon been running Eviolite. Nevertheless, Berry Juice is an item that is as usable as it is tasty.

Countering Berry Juice

Berry Juice can be a pesky item to face, so its important to know how to stop it. Knock Off, of course, is one of the best ways, and is astoundingly common in Little Cup with to users such as Pawniard, Scraggy, and Mienfoo. Those three Pokémon have ample defenses to allow them to make great use of the move, and the former two have STAB on it, bringing the already powerful move to fearsome levels. However, even after a Knock Off, the Berry Juice will still activate if the holder was knocked to below 50% health. A nifty way around this is through Switcheroo or Trick. Not only will this remove the enemy's juice, it'll allow your Pokémon to heal itself as well! Misdreavus can abuse Trick to scary success; when holding a Choice Scarf it reaches a formidable Speed stat of 28, letting it revenge kill sweepers or provide a quick Destiny Bond. This Speed allows it to always use Trick, and neither offensive nor defensive Pokémon will appreciate the move-restricting effects of the Choice Scarf. When it comes to Recycle users, Taunt is a very effective way of dealing with them. Mienfoo can use its great Speed to be a great Taunter, which also comes in handy when dealing with hazard setters and Baton Passers, like Dwebble and Torchic.

In Conclusion...

Berry Juice has tremendously changed the Little Cup metagame. Not only has it allowed for faster offensive play, it also provides a healing source for defensive Pokémon. Pokémon with the ability Sturdy are essentially given another life, which has paved the way for Pokémon, such as Dwebble and Tirtouga, to set up Shell Smash with ease. Berry Juice also revived a rather forgotten move, Recycle, allowing Pokémon such as Magnemite and Trubbish to consistently heal themselves throughout the battle. Offensively, Berry Juice allows frailer Pokémon to set up without having to be wary of priority, and provides Flying-types with a nasty Acrobatics buff to heal the wounds that the loss of the Flying Gem left. All in all, the Berry Juice is a seriously amazing item in Little Cup. However, use it with care, as wielding this juice will cost your Pokémon the bulk that the Eviolite would have otherwise provided. Don't let that deter you from using this item though, as with careful play, your taste buds will be reaping the tasty benefits of this delicious drink.

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