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Old May 23rd, 2011 (03:51 PM). Edited June 5th, 2011 by .Aero.
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.Aero
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Age: 21
Gender: Male
Nature: Bold
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Introduction: What is Little Cup?


Little Cup (abbreviated "LC") is a play style introduced by Pokémon Stadium 2 and involves battling base stage pokemon at level 5 with each other. It has, inherently, been adopted by the competitive community and was formed into its own metagame. The same rule set applies, meaning that the pokemon must be in its base form (un-evolved formed) and must be able to evolve. The level 5 cap is also maintained and raises some limitations that exist within LC. The Pokémons’ movesets and EVs are heavily restricted in this metagame due to the level cap. Certain moves that are normally viable on Pokémon through level up sometimes aren't available to Pokémon in the LC tier.

This guide will outline specifics of Little Cup, explain the mechanics that make it different from its big brothers, and include a threat list providing sets of the most common and threatening pokemon that require preparing for while making teams. The threat list will also offer common strategies for beating each of the pokemon listed.

Note that the guide is still undergoing changes constantly and will be updated periodically with new sections, better formatting, etc. Until then, bear with me. :3

Why Play Little Cup


You probably don’t want to play because you’re wondering how a metagame where the Pokémon are so limited and have such low levels could possibly be any fun. But on the contrary it's a very entertaining metagame. It’s fast-paced in older generations and, due to Generation 5 and the introduction of the Eviolilte and some great wall Pokémon, has become more balanced since the release of Black and White. Maybe some of your favorite Pokémon are base stage Pokémon, making them competitively useless and you want to play a metagame where they’re actually decent. It’s also a change of pace from the traditional metagame and can help those who get bored with OU or UU or whatever a fresh feeling and keep them in the competitive loop without taking a complete hiatus from battling. On top of everything else, very few people play it, and thus can lead you to great success due to the small player base (if this guide becomes successful however, I certainly hope that the user base expands).

Playing Little Cup: Limitations & Mechanics


Here I will flesh out the limitations that exist within LC, as well as describe some of the mechanics that are very important for deciding spreads and movesets on pokemon.

As previously stated, the level 5 cap creates some limits on what the pokemon can, and cannot do. Certain moves cannot be learned prior to reaching level 5. However, level up moves can be passed on through breeding in all pokemon except genderless pokemon. So if you're deciding on moves for an LC pokemon, and it's genderless, all level up moves that do not appear on the egg move or TM/HM list are unavailable to them. Tutor moves also pose a problem in conjunction with egg moves. Some egg moves are learned in only in later generations, and previous generation move tutor moves aren't legal with these new egg moves. In other words, if a pokemon can learn Superpower through a Gen 4 move tutor, but can only learn Brave Bird through an egg move in Gen 5, the two moves cannot be used together.

EVs are also a hassle, but have been simplified because of PO. I'll explain the simplified version later, as I wish to explain how I, as well as other LC players used to decide upon EV spreads. First thing to know about the EV spread is that the standard 252 / 252 / 4 spreads are generally extremely wasteful on all LC pokemon. This is because the EVs are distributed throughout all levels until reaching 100. But since you're capped at level 5, the EVs don't always show up. To determine how many EVs should be invested in a stat, this table, thanks to Smogon, shows how much to invest in a stat for each new stat point.
  • 3 - 12/92/172/252 EVs
  • 4 - 4/84/164/244 EVs
  • 5 - 76/156/236 EVs
  • 6 - 68/148/228 EVs
  • 7 - 60/140/220 EVs
  • 8 - 52/132/212 EVs
  • 9 - 44/124/204 EVs
  • 0 - 36/116/196 EVs
  • 1 - 28/108/188 EVs
  • 2 - 20/100/180 EVs

The first number (i.e. 3) is the ones digit of the Pokémon's base stat. If the Pokémon's base stat is 53 for example, to raise the stat by one point, you invest 12 EVs. To raise the stat two points, it's 92 EVs, and so on. Now this isn't very effective because you always have to know the Pokémon's base stat, which is hard to get the hang of in some cases. Then you have to be able to match up the number of EVs to invest with that specific base stat. You can download a lovely program for simplifying this process here, but I'm going to explain the easier method of investing EVs.

Pokémon Online's EV investment setup creates the easiest way of investing EVs without having to rely on premade sets found on Smogon or in the threat list below (which actually takes the Smogon sets). PO has a slider bar for EVs, and if you set the Pokémon's level to 5, and slide the bar, you can determine what the maximum stat possible is and make the EV investment at the point at which the stat changes. This saves a lot of time and makes devising your own sets much easier (and devising your own LC sets is half the fun of the metagame).

Ban List


Just like any other metagame, LC also contains a ban list that even includes items and abilities that are too powerful and game breaking. This list constantly changes and more may be added after suspect voting is finished at smogon (the current suspect list includes Drought Vulpix, Meditite, and Misdreavus). Complex bans may eventually arise with the Vulpix suspect.

Murkrow
Scyther
Sneasel
Tangela
Vulpix
Yanma
Berry Juice - Item
Moody - Ability
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