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[Analysis] Nifty Or Thrifty: Little Cup
The "Nifty Or Thrifty" article series takes a comprehensive look at the meta for the upcoming Cup format... this time, it's Little Cup. As is typical for the series, I'll cover not only the top meta picks, but also some mons where you can save some dust with cheaper second move unlock costs... or not needing to unlock a second move at all! I usually dive right in on Pokémon with the cheapest second move unlock cost (10,000 dust) and work my way through from there until finally concluding with the most expensive unlocks, but this time I'm going to start with a pair of meta-defining 'mons, the ones that most people are chatting about and that the meta really revolves around, before I dive into the standard run from the thriftiest on up.
One quick caveat: I had to create my own projected "core meta" list before PvPoke was able to do so. You will likely see me mentioning a few 'mons in my analysis that do NOT make the final, official meta list put together by PvPoke, so I apologize for any differences that may result. But the wins and losses I describe are all still accurate at the end of the day!
We've got a lot to cover, so let's not waste any more time. Here we go!
Confusion | Psyshock & Heavy Slam
If you have spent even a minute looking into any discussion on Little Cup, you have surely seen people chatting excitedly (or perhaps despondantly) about Bronzong's pre-evolution, because Bronzor has the same strong defensive typing, great stats, and good moveset. Put it all together and Zoro (as I've taken to calling it) is easily the most dominant figure in this meta, with only a handful of Darks, Fires, and select Grounds that give it any cause for concern, and regardless of shielding scenarios. Much of the rest of this article is going to be spent reviewing what can and cannot overcome Zoro, because it will potentially be even MORE centralizing than Aerodactyl was in Flying Cup. Yes, you absolutely CAN win without it, but you better be prepared to BEAT it, because it will be all over the place.
One potential answer I've seen mentioned here and there is... well, Bronzor. With Tackle, Bronzor can beat Confusion Bronzor consistently, but Tackle is a terrible move that Pokémon who have it generally want no parts of, and torpedoes Zoro's overall performance. I do NOT recommend using Tackle Bronzor, personally. Stick with the (soon-to-be) tried and true.
Dragon Breath | Body Slam & Crunch
So first off, yes, despite the fact that its Dragon Breath and Body Slam are both resisted by Bronzor, Deino wins thanks to resisting Zoro's Psychic damage in return and eventually getting there thanks to Crunch, but MAN, is it a long slog of a battle. That's not all that makes Deino great, though, as it overcomes a sizeable chunk of the meta, including many of the things that most threaten Zoro. In fact, Deino is a nearly perfect bodyguard for Bronzor, beating everything that vanquishes Zoro in all even shield scenarios except Alolan Sandshrew and Shadow Cubone in 2v2 shielding. (Trust me, I checked some LONG lists to come to that conclusion.) Deino will surely be a common sight on Bronzor teams. It's not a cheap investment, with a 75,000 dust second move unlock cost, but for people wanting to protect their Zoro--or just have a solid slayer on their own team--building a good one is easily worth the investment. After all, worst case, you can evolve it to a Zweilous down the line that will still be well under 1500 CP for Great League.
There are others with high overall win percentages (two of them will lead off the next section), but Bronzor and Deino are the pair you are most likely to see on any given team, and most of the remaining writeup will consist of stuff that's gunning for them.
10,000 Dust/25 CandyCOTTONEE
Charm/Razor Leaf | Seed Bomb & Energy Ball
So Charm seems like the obvious choice as a way to absolutely obliterate Darks and Fighters (and many others). There is literally no harder counter to Deino, for example, which goes down to just three Charms. But don't completely discount Razor Leaf. Cottonee's Fairy typing means that it resists and still beats those same Darks and Fighters and Dragons and such, just not quite as oppressively, and it then easily picks off new stuff like Seel and Swinub and obviously becomes oppressive now against anything part Water, Ground, and/or Rock (for the price of losing to things like Drifloom, Shelmet, and Chikorita, which Charm beat instead).
If you don't have a good Cottonee, perhaps you have a good PETILIL, which puts on a decent imitation and gets many of the most important Charmer wins. But Cottonee is just plain better and more consistent, so consider this Plan... uh... D, we'll say.
Counter | Mirror Coat
As a baby, technically Wynaut would benefit from the Baby Discount™ and get a second move for only 10,000 dust, but uh... the only charge move it gets is Mirror Coat, which is a very mediocre move, dealing 30 less damage than Psychic (the move) for the same 55 energy cost, but it at least deals Psychic (the type) damage, handy for picking off Fighters and such. But the main thing to Wynaut is Counter, which combined with its insane bulk, allows Wynaut to just wear a ton of things down. Think of it like a mini Defense Deoxys. It's handy that it can beat several key things with just Counter, including Darks (like Deino), Ices (like Snorunt and Swinub), Steels and Rocks like Alolan Diglett and Onix, and even some bonuses like Shadowy Razor Leafers (take that, Grassholes!), Dratini, Vulpix, and Barboach... and again, even a lousy move like Mirror Coat adds on Seel and Lotad and Cubone and Igglybuff and Wooper and such. Other than hating on things weak to Counter (Wynaut may be the best Figher in the format, ironically), Wynaut's claim to fame here is just hanging around and grinding a lot of varied things into dust. It is perhaps the safest swap in the meta.
Mud Shot | Ice Beam & Aqua Tail/Mud Bomb
In a theme seen a lot in this meta, Barboach imitates its later evolution (Whiscash) with "baby" versions of its moves, in this case Ice Beam as a substitute for Cash's famous Blizzard. That makes Boach a sneaky potential counter to things "Mud Boys" shouldn't be able to beat, like Deino, Drifloon, and even Cottonee, while still doing traditional Mud things like beating Steels, Rocks, Poisons, and Fires. Barboach also conveniently can win against things like Nincada, Riolu, and Dratini, while Ice Beam is nasty against Grounds like Cubone and the other WateGrounds (Wooper and opposing Boaches). Aqua Tail seems like generally the best second move option, alone able to secure big wins like Shadow Stunky, Wooper, and Cottonee thanks to its speed (just 35 energy means it is tied for fastest charge move in the game), but it's worth noting that Mud Bomb beats Chinchou and gives Bronzor a much nastier fight (though Zoro typically still wins unless shields are down). Either way, this little sand worm does an admirable job of making Whiscash proud.
Sucker Punch | Night Slash & Dark Pulse/Play Rough
While Purrloin is not too exciting overall, it IS one of the most consistent (and cheap!) counters to Bronzor (especially if you just go straight Night Slash) while also sucker punching things like Barboach, Wooper, Cubone, Shadow Stunky, Dratini, Seel, and of course Drifloon. It's really not a bad list of names, just shorter than one might like. Play Rough seems like a great coverage move on paper, but generally, after looking over a number of simulations, it seems you're more likely to want the knockout power of Dark Pulse instead.
Feint Attack | Body Slamᴸ & Shadow Ball/Wild Charge
Warning up front: the success of Wigglytuff's ancestor revolves in large part around a Legacy move, Body Slam. But especially with a decent Attack stat, that success can be sweet. (Higher Attack leads to wins most notably against Wooper, Vulpix, and Alolan Diglett, BTW.) In addition to getting wins like Drifloon, Barboach, S-Stunky, Nincada, and others, what is most impressive is that Igglybuff beats Wynaut, Deino, AND potentially Bronzor as well, depending on IVs. That is a rare and valuable trifecta. I will confess I already burned an Elite TM to get my Iggly that Legacy Slam, and while that is certainly not for everyone, I have no real regrets. (Ask me again in a week. 😂) Oh, and there is Wild Charge to consider too, which gets the mirror match and things like Ducklett... but at the expense of Wynaut and Alolan Diglett, among others. I recommend Shadow Ball myself. 👍
Smack Down | X-Scissor & Rock Blast
Ironically, if this were Crustle, you'd probably want Fury Cutter in this meta for extra Psychic and Dark hate, but you can make do with Smack Down, though you do want good PvP IVs here to guarantee stuff like Nincada, Dratini, Purrloin, and Lickitung. Beyond that, it is nice that you get Deino, Fires, and bring particular hate to any Flyers that are around. But that is admittedly more fringe type stuff, which is probably where Dwebble sits as well. Like the potential, but the overall results don't lie.
Feint Attack | Sky Attack & Night Shade
The best bird in Little Cup, for what that's worth. Like Noctowl, Hoothoot is an airborne tank that can take a lot of punishment and just wear stuff down, with a list of wins that includes names like Cottonee, Drifloon, Wynaut, and every Bug and Grass and Ground that doesn't chuck rocks or throw snowballs, and a few other wins here and there on top of all that. The downside is that it doesn't get either Deino or Bronzong, but with Night Shade it at least has something to maim Zoro if it gets lazy with shielding (despite Shade itself being a very mediocre move).
Metal Claw | Body Slam & Iron Head/Rock Tomb
Not a ton to say here, but little Aron is at least a solid Fairy and Deino counter that also handles some anti-Ice, Rock, and Bug roles. It may be worth it for some teams just based on how well it handles Cottonee and Deino, with the rest just being a bonus. And while it does not typically beat Bronzor, it does tie it up in a battle of all-resisted moves, so it's not the worst thing in the world to soak up some damage for a while even in a bad swap situation. Aron is a decent little core breaker candidate in this meta, and a common spawn that is dirt cheap to build from the ground up.
Counter | Cross Chop
When it comes to Counter users in this format, it's Wynaut and Riolu, and that's IT. (Bonsly too, but to get one that fits under 500 CP requires some low level account trading hijinks, so....) Counter alone makes Riolu interesting, which is a good thing because the only charge move it has worth anything is Cross Chop. Riolu also lacks the Steel subtyping so helpful to its evolution Lucario. Even still, it is definitely a contender, able to beat Deino and many other things that give Bronzor (and Deino) trouble. Do note that getting Riolu under 500 CP at hatch level requires a trade (it's just too big even with worst possible 10-10-10 hatch IVs), but it's a far easier trade than, say, getting a Level 15 Lugia or Cresselia into Great League. Good luck!
Razor Leaf | Various
So from what I see, there are three main options here. You have SHADOW TURTWIG, currently the highest rated on PvPoke, which does the best against Lickitung and is the only one that consistently beats Drifloon. Then there's little BUDEW, which can beat S-Wig head to head thanks to a Poison subtyping (extra Grass resistance), as well as Croagunk and, uniquely, Dratini. And finally we have Kanto staple ODDISH. (Yes, I know this is breaking the 10k section a little, as Oddish's second move costs 50k dust, but just go with me here, just this once.) You can go with the original variety, which also beats S-Wig and Croagunk, and cannot beat Dratini but picks up wins against Ducklett and Nincada instead, as well as gaining back a win against Lickitung that S-Wig achieved. Or you can roll with Shadow Oddish and get all of those PLUS potentially Chikorita. Whichever one you perhaps go with, there are few better answers to the many Waters, Grounds, and Rocks here (the Razor Leafers beat ALL of them, at least as long as they have a shield to throw up), and they capably handle things like Riolu, Igglybuff, Purrloin, and even Snorunt as well. If you like Grassholing in Great League, there are ways to continue to be evil in Little League too.
There are other Grass options among those with Vine Whip, AKA the Grass starters. BULBASAUR's niche is similar to big bro Venusaur: Sludge Bomb giving it an edge against other Grass, particularly Charm Cottonee which it beats head to head, as well as a win over Chikorita. CHIKORITA, for its part, takes out Alolan Diglett, Nincada, Purrloin, and uniquely is able to best Dratini and Riolu. And finally, SNIVY is basically just a worse 'Rita, losing to Dratini and Riolu but getting the other same wins, and often with a little more HP left over (its one saving grace). However, other than the nice win against Cottonee with Bulba, none of these are really standouts compared to the Razor Leafers. You'll see them here or there, but these are not likely to be a big part of the meta.
Bubble | Aerial Ace & Ice Beam
Obviously a close approximation of Mantine, though lacking the crazy potential that comes with Bubble Beam baiting. Still, Tyke is able to take out Fighters, Grounds, Fires, and most Bugs with ease, and can also beat stuff like Hoothoot, Alolan Sandshrew, Wynaut, and even Cottonee. And while it doesn't beat beat Deino in a drop down, drag out fight, it CAN one shot it even from full health with a single Ice Beam if it can get on through. You're going to at least force a shield in that matchup, which ain't a bad consolation prize, all things considered.
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Razor Leaf | Bubble Beam & Energy Ball
Just to bring the Razor Leaf discussion to a close, here's an intriguing alternative. I actually don't have much more to say--you can scan that list of wins yourself--but I know Lotad has been popular in unofficial "Sippy Cup" formats like this in the past, and it likely will be here as well, so study that list to know what to expect. One fun note: Lotad, like a handful of 'mons in this meta, only HAS two charge moves, so at least that decision is easy!
Powder Snow | Energy Ball & Stomp/Ice Beam
Say hello to Little League's Abomasnow. As you'd probably expect, yes, Snover tends to beat the Dragons (Deino included) and most Grasses and Flyers, as well as most Grounds and Waters thanks to Energy Ball. The best second move actually seems to be Stomp, not so much for pure damage (though it does okay, but more for the bait potential to set up a bigger closing move. As with Aboma, Shadow Snover is a sidegrade alternative, losing Shadow Stunky and unfortunately Deino (usually), but gaining wins against Ducklett, Snorunt, and Swinub, and with really good IVs, Nincada and Cottonee as well! This is an underrated pick, folks... don't overlook it.
I'll mention HOPPIP here as our last real Grass option worth discussing, but since it lacks a Flying move--even a mediocre one like Jumpluff has--it's actually relatively boring. The best thing you might be able to do with it is sneak in a Dazzling Gleam on Deino that hits it so hard it would die twice. 🤩
Fury Cutter | Leaf Blade & Brave Bird
A Fighter that is best running with any Fighting moves, and with a very unique body of work as a result. Again, I'll let you look over the list yourself. It's rather... eclectic. Frustratingly, it fails to beat Deino, but it's a decent little list otherwise.
Wing Attack | Bubble Beam & Brave Bird/Aerial Ace
Gonna keep this one pretty simple. Yes, the results are somewhat skewed by good Bubble Beam baits, and the win column lacks Bronzor and Deino, but you have to like the overall potential. And it's still a perfectly viable overall performance even without any baits at all. Hopefully you held onto a right-sized Duck or two after the event where they were everywhere, as it just may be the best Flyer this side of Hoothoot... and perhaps even better.
Bubble/Spark | Bubble Beam & Thunderbolt
I know, I know... more Bubble Beam baits. But Chinchou is, in my estimation, the only truly viable Electric type here, and that counts for something, no? I do think that it's Bubble you want for the fast move; Spark beats Drifloon but is worse overall with the Grounds you'll see around. This is not quite Lanturn, but if you like using that, Chinchou has a similar feel and may be for you.
Water Gun/Mud Shot | Body Slam & Mud Bomb
The primary Mud Boy alternative to Barboach, though lacking the Ice coverage of Boach with its Ice Beam means that Wooper cannot beat Deino, Cottonee, Drifloon, Hoothoot, or... well, Wooper like Barboach can. What it DOES do is beat Igglybuff and present a much harder challenge for Bronzor, potentially winning the 2v2 shield with Water Gun and the 0v0 shield with either fast move. Water Gun does actually seem slightly bettemore versatile overall, with Mud Shot better handling Chinchou, Riolu, an Dratini, but Water Gun instead beating Snorunt and most Grounds, including Swinub, Nincada, Cubone, and... oh hey, back at ya, Barboach! 💪
Mud Slap | Mud Bomb & Rock Tomb
First up on Alolan Diglett's impressive résumé: it is one of very few things that can beat Bronzor--even a #1 IV Zoro--in ALL even shield scenarios. And this showcases its inherit strengths: solid Ground moves that wear down a lot of things, but especially those weak to such damage (Ground is one of Zoro's very few Achilles' heels), and a Steel subtyping that resists a TON of things... A-Dig has ten resistances in all, including ALL of Bronzor's moves, and Deino's Dragon Breath and Body Slams. And so yes, depending on IVs, A-Dig can beat Deino across all even shield scenarios as well, though it is a little close for comfort at times. A-Dig also tends to beat Stunky, Croagunk, Onix, and Chinchou, none of which appreciate a steady dose of Ground damage, and Igglybuff, Alolan Sandshrew, Dratini, and often the Fires as well. This is a sneaky good pick in this meta if you have a good one.
As a rather direct comparison to what A-Dig can do, consider SHELLOS, with the same Mud Slap/Mud Bomb moveset and a nice spammy Body Slam on top of it. It loses to Bronzor AND Deino despite being significantly bulkier than A-Diglett, simply because it lacks that Steel subtyping. Shellos isn't bad by any means, but given the choice between getting Zoro/Deino or not, I think it's an easy decision. Give me A-Dig.
Mud Slap | Bone Club & Bulldoze
It's a solid enough Ground type, sure. Handles Zoro fine, though can lose (closely) in 0 and 2 shield, and very nearly gets Deino in 1v1 shielding (and usually wins in 2v2 shield). Does most standard Ground things otherwise. You'll see them because Cubone is popular and easy to acquire and build, but you can do a bit better... though you can also do a LOT worse. Cubone is fine... just wish it had a better second charge move than Bulldoze. Don't use the Shadow version.
Rock Throw | Rock Blast & Thunderbolt/Rock Slide
Lacking the Steel subtyping of its marvelously mustachioed evolution, Nosepass still does plenty of good in this meta. Of particular note: it pushes Deino to a stalemate in 1v1 shielding and typically emerges victorious in other shielding scenarios, which is quite nice on top of all the other good it does (crushing Bugs, smashing Ices, knocking out Flyers, putting out Fires, and also beating Stunky and Iggly and Purrloin and such). If you have some left over from your days of Probopass evolving, maybe dust one off and give it a look.
Powder Snow | Icy Wind & Rock Slide/Body Slam
Here we have a very rare case of something having Body Slam in its arsenal and not wanting it. Instead, I recommend Icy Wind and Rock Slide. Yes, you lose Deino (more on that in a second, though), but you gain wins against Shelmet, Ducklett, Snorunt, Lickitung, and Vulpix that you don't get otherwise. And as for Deino, with halfway decent IVs, Nub beats Deino with just Icy Wind anyway across all even shield scenarios, and Wind is also sufficient to beat Cottonee, Wooper, and Barboach with even very average IVs. There is something to be said for Slam, sure--it DOES make Deino easier, as Nub can just spam Body Slams for a comfortable win--but overall I like the closing power and potential surprise that comes with Rock Slide. It makes Swinub a more unique and versatile threat, one that I think could be a true MVP on the right teams.
Powder Snow | Night Slash & Blizzard/Gyro Ball
Another Ice, and one that has a much easier time with Deino, even with a resisted charge move. But that, of course, is not all A-Shrew does. Anything Dragon, Flying, or Grass it put... well, on ice, as well as bonuses like Nincada, Shelmet, Onix, and even Seel. I generally recommend Blizzard as the second move, because even in Little League, Powder Snow CAN get there, but Gyro Ball is a viable alternative that punishes opposing Ices (and Lickitung and Igglybuff) at the cost of Seel, Lotad, Shelmet, and Ducklett. Some teams will want one move, others will want the other. Do YOU want A-Shrew?
Powder Snow | Icy Wind & Shadow Ball/Avalanche
Yep, ANOTHER viable Ice type. So let's go through the list and check them off. Beats the Dragons... check. Beats Flyers... check. Beats Grasses... well, it gets Cottonee, at least, so check enough. Beats the Mud Boys too, and A-Dig, and Cubone, and Shelmet & Nincada, and Seel, and even A-Shrew. Yep, seems solid to me. Snorunt's niche is in having Shadow Ball, obviously a potent weapon that even Bronzor has to be wary of. If you want a good Ice, you're certainly not short on options in this meta!
Ice Shard | Aqua Tail & Icy Wind
Dewgong in Little League, without needing Elite TMs! But it does lack the Ice subtyping, for what that's worth. (Honestly, that might be a PLUS in this meta. Anyway....) Seel gets Ice Shard AND Icy Wind AND a really solid Water move on top of it, something not even Gong can say. As you might expect, that all leads to a very solid performance, easily beating all the standard Ice targets while also extinguishing things like Vulpix, Onix, Croakgunk and Stunky with Aqua Tail (which also lets it beat Alolan Diglett easily, unlike the other true Ices). Seel may just be the best Ice here overall... and it's not even really an Ice!
Bite | Crunch, Sludge Bomb, or Flamethrower
Unfortunately, Stunky does not get Poison Jab like Skuntank, leaving it with slow-to-generate-energy Bite. That leaves Stunky as a very mediocre pick. However, Shadow Stunky is another story. With JUST fast moves, it can chomp through Bronzor (without even needing to shield!), Wynaut, Dratini, and most Flyers, Ices, Grasses, and many more. Yes, you will SOMETIMES want a charge move, and it's probably actually the more expensive Sludge Bomb or Flamethrower, for coverage, rather than Crunch, which offers no real advantages (and the sims agree). But if you're stuck with Frustration, you don't HAVE to add a true charge move at all if you don't want to, which is nice. Shadow Stunky is like a Grasshole here... maybe call it a Gashole? 😏 Get it? 🦨
Bite/Snarl | Poison Fang & Crunch
Want to double down on that kind of performance? Well here ya go. The difference with Carvanha is in the resistances... with it being half Water, it has an easier time chomping through Fires, Ices, and other Waters, leading to a slightly different but no less impressive performance as compared to Stunky. Not bad at all for something with only 25 Defense. 😱 Of course, its 120-plus Attack is just as notable here... insane for Little League. Here is your ultimate glass cannon.
Ember | Body Slam & FlamethroweFlame Charge
The best Fire here? Likely true. Vulpix is in a rather unique position of being a Fire that can beat Deino AND Alolan Diglett, as well as doing all the stuff you'd expect a good Fire to do (burning Grasses, Fairies, Ices, Bugs), though it falls frustratingly short of beating Bronzor in 1v1 shielding without decently high Attack... though then you drop Deino in the process. That's also true with Shadow Vulpix, which now easily beats Zoro and picks up wins versus Drifloon and Swinub too, but again loses Deino. That loss is unfortunate, but the overall body of work still makes me recommend a good Shadow Vulpix over a regular one. You gotta like all else it can do.
Fire Spin | Fire Punch & Flame Charge
Considering this performance is about as good as it gets for Fires outside of Vulpix, you can see why Fires in general are surprisingly tame in this meta. No Deino wins in sight, and even the Bronzor win is just BARELY there. (And Zoro usually beats Daru in shieldless and 2v2 shielding.) Darumaka is viable-ish, but the dropoff is pretty clear.
Infestation | Body Slam & Bug Buzz
You've probably seen me mention Shelmet a few times so far and wondered why. Well, this is why. Turns out a good Bug has some real play here, beating Deino (and Dratini) and Wynaut with ease, chewing through Grasses, outlasting the Fighters and Grounds (even A-Diglett) they resist, and even taking it to Seel, Stunky, Igglybuff and others. Accelgor has never made any headway in PvP, but if you have a good Shelmet, it could do the whole evolutionary line proud, just this once.
Fury Cutter | X-Scissor & Drill Run
Doing Beedrill and its own evolution Escavalier proud with its own Drill Run, little Karrablast is another Bug that does a lot of good things in Little Cup. In this case Deino is sadly out of reach (though Karra does outrace it with shield down), but Drill Run is obviously a nice weapon to have to get Bronzor to play honest and clobber a lot of other things in the meta (read as: on the win list I just linked to). Shelmet is a little more reliable, but for those that like big play potential, you can do a lot worse than Karrablast's Drill Run.
Lick | Body Slamᴸ & Grass Knot
Seen a lot of chatter on this one, and sure, if you were smart enough to keep one with Legacy Body Slam around with under 500 CP, hats off to you... you've now got one of the bulkiest beasts in this format. But honestly, it's just okay here. You'd hope for it to tangle with Zoro thanks to Lick, but it really doesn't, and having a Ghost fast move is a liability with Deino and even Igglybuff, who also win. Wynaut turns the tables on it thanks to Counter. I mean, sure, its list of wins IS enough to make it viable, but it Licki doesn't seem to bring it when and where you want it most. Trot it off if you like it, but just for mop up duty. The biggest and baddest stuff here fends it off.
Before I leave this section behind, quick shout outs to regular and Alolan Grimer and Junichi Masuda's favorite Psyduck (that he actually took to PoGO PvP "Worlds" last year). Like Lickitung, they actually do some fun things, but sadly don't get the wins that matter the most.
75,000 Dust/75 CandyI am going to try to cover these a bit more succinctly, as I have a Reddit character limit to account for AND these are obviously not thrifty picks anymore. So strap in for the final push!
Bug Bite | Night Slash & Bug Buzz
I mentioned how a good Bug can do good things. Well, while Nincada is rather expensive to second move and doesn't have an initially impressive list of wins, it gets GOOD wins, like Deino and Shelmet and Riolu, and comes VERY close to beating Zoro in 1v1 AND 2v2 shielding, with Cada's Ground typing nerfing Heavy Slam right out of Bronzor's arsenal, which is more than many other 'mons can say. I like it as a handy spice pick that can panic the opponent once it sees what its capable of.
Dragon Breath | Aqua Tail (& Wrap?)
Savings alert: you can run Dratini with Aqua Tail as its only charge move, save some serious dust, and really not even notice. The sims only ever want to use it anyway, as its other charge moves are pretty poor. Regular and Shadow perform pretty similarly overall, with regular and its bulk standing up to big fast moves like Mud Slap and Razor Leaf better, but Shadow having enough firepower to beat things like Purrloin and Drifloon. One big plus to Dratini is that practically nothing behind Charmers truly blows it out, taking the fight hard to even things with clear advantages over it, like Bronzor and Ices. If you're unsure how to fill your third team slot, Dratini isn't a terrible choice for practically any team.
Hex | Icy Wind & Shadow Ball
Quite literally just a baby Drifblim, right down to the same bulky body and moveset. That means that Loon terrorizes Grounds, Fighters, Bugs, Grasses, and Psychics in equal parts. It needs high IVs to do it in 1v1 shielding, but yes, Loon also consistently beats Bronzor (it's even easier in other shielding scenarios). That and the other good it can do means that Loon should be a very popular pick in this meta... don't let its late arrival in this article lead you to think it's NOT a big part of Little Cup!
Rock Throw | Sand Tomb & Stone Edge/Rock Slideᴸ
There's good news and bad news here. The good: beats Dragons, Bugs, Flyers, Fires. Bad news: this ain't no Steelix, and you've got no shot against Zoro, Grounds, Waters, Fighters, or even most Ices. Maybe that still fits your team, and I DO like Onix overall, but there are big downsides it has to overcome to work. Good luck if you want to try... I hope it DOES work!
And that's it! I bumped right up against Reddit's silly character limit with this one, so I had to actually cut some "bonus" coverage and push it to a comment, so check that out too. But otherwise, that's all I got for this one. Hopefully it helps you balance the cost of where to save yourself some hard-earned dust (and candy!), especially in a Little League we may not see again for a while. One final tip, though: keep in mind that many of these investments (Deino, Cottonee, Dratini, Snover, Drifloon and others) can be evolved afterwards if you wish and those evolutions will still be below the cap for Great League. So it may not be a one-time investment after all! 👍
So very soon I will cover the new GBL season move rebalance, and then it's on to the next Nifty Or Thrifty for KANTO CUP. Until then, you can always find me on Twitter for near-daily PvP analysis nuggets, or Patreon with an exclusive tie-in Discord server you can access to get straight through to me. And please, feel free to comment here with your own thoughts or questions and I'll try to get back to you!
Thank you for reading! I very much appreciate you taking the time, and sincerely hope this helps you master Premier Cup, and in the most affordable way possible. Best of luck, and catch you next time!
The Ultimate guide for OFFLINE features, split-screen, Bots, LAN Play in Cold War
KNOWN MAJOR OFFLINE ISSUES/BUGS all present in latest 1.05 version (tested on PS4/PS5) Please read these as it may answer some questions instead of posting a comment.- when playing split-screen multiplayer (versus) player 2 can do create-a-class but only edit the main weapon, they can not edit any attachments
- when playing split-screen multiplayer (versus) often player 2 can not select a class when starting the match at all.
- offline zombies has no option for split-screen or adding a controller when playing offline period (unsure if this is a glitch or the fact zombies has no split-screen option offline at all
- online zombies, has the option to add a second player for split-screen, but even when you do this the game won't launch and will often come up with a error stating this mode has exceeded the maximum amount of players, (unsure if ths is a glitch or the fact zombies isn't supposed to be split-screen at all)
- Search and Destroy and VIP Escort modes, do not support offline bots at all
- the maps Armada and Crossroads do not support offline bots at all currently for any mode
- the maps Armada and Crossroads have a small variant for normal modes, however when playing VIP escort mode only, you get the full expanded large scale combined arms map (with vehicles) however again no offline bot support, unsure if this is a glitch or not.
- various interface/menu bugs within the menus/lobbys
- multiple instances of glitches when playing in split-screen, gunsights missing/notloading, hands dissappearing etc etc.
- multiple settings not working, loadout restrictions settings completely broken and not working right, guns misnamed, M82 is called the XM4 etc and turning off or enabling what is supposed to be the M82 turns off both or enables both the M82 and XM4, really broken.
- I have to do more testing but I've had two instances on PS5 where my campaign save will dissappear completely after playing split-screen multiplayer.
- FFA and TDM game modes only support up to 7 bots- Hardpoint, Control and Domination support up to 11 bots.
- unsure if a glitch or designed this way.
If you find any bugs/issues or fixes that I haven't do let me know in the comments or flick me a PM, Finding new stuff every time I play it.
I'll endeavour to keep this guide updated over the next couple of months, do be with me as I can't update EXACTLY on time every time a new update comes out..
All testing done with the PS4 and PS5 version of the game (v1.03) (now updated to V1.05)
I have updated the game now to V1.05, I can confirm nothing has changed for offline with this update, what is down below is still current including no OFFLINE split-screen option for Zombies and the Crossroads/Armada maps still do not support bots.
I now have the PS4 as well as the PS5 version of the game, It's exactly the same, nothing additional, no extra bots/maps/modes/features, exactly the same issues, exactly the same stuff.
Some people are asking about the Dualsense for it, it's neat, the guns all feel slightly different, so the resistive triggers have different 'pulls' for different weapons, big LMGs the aiming trigger is a slow steady pull where as a pistol is very lightweight and barely any resistance, the vibration stuff, pretty standard, although again every gun feels a little different, nothing mind blowing, but neat feature. Astros Playroom on the other hand is amazing for the dualsense.
All testing done on PS4 Pro and PS5, running in an offline environment, no internet on the console, boot from cold startup, booting up Black Ops Cold War OFFLINE and playing OFFLINE.
This guide is aimed at people who enjoy the offline part of Call of Duty (yes there are people like us) If you play online thats fine, no need to make a stupid comment like "why are you playing offline in 2020 what a loser etc etc"
I've done this for several years, this guide is for fans of offline play and aimed to get CORRECT information to people who need it
FAQ Starts hereWhat do you mean when you use the word OFFLINE?
To clear up any confusion as many people seem to confuse the terms OFFLINE and LOCAL PLAY, these are two VERY different things.
If I use the word OFFLINE in this guide at any point, I mean OFFLINE, no internet on the console, no WiFi, no Ethernet, Console as well as game has been cold booted with NO INTERNET WHATSOEVER.
Can you play Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War OFFLINE without an internet connection?
Yes once your game is at version 1.03 (latest current version at time of release) You can play the game fully offline.
Like Modern Warfare 2019, the game is quite large (100.4GB for PS4 at of time of writing) It also like Modern Wafare 2019 is divided into PACKS
The Base game has the following PACKS, which you need to have installed if you want to play every mode available.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Single Player License Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer License
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies License
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Campaign 1
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Campaign 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Campaign 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Multiplayer Base Install
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Zombies Base Install
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War - Dead Ops Arcade Pack
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Content 1 - 6 License (1 file for each) ( I believe this is just DLC stuff)
The console versions like WWII, Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare 2019 will work OFFLINE after patching/updating, the PC version however due to Battlenet is ONLINE ONLY, even for Campaign/offline bots.
Can you install and play Black Ops Cold War from the disc without installing any updates/patches?
No you can not, like Call of Duty WWII, Black Ops 4, and Modern Warfare 2019 before it, the physical copies of the game do not contain all the files nor can you play the full experience OFFLINE via the disc only, you can only play a few multiplayer maps vs bots, thats it.
*A MANDATORY INSTALLATION/UPDATE IS REQUIRED FIRST\*
Can you play the Campaign OFFLINE?
Yes as mentioned before, as long as you have updated your game to the minimum version of 1.03 (latest current release) the games campaign will be playable OFFLINE.
Can you play the multiplayer (versus) OFFLINE?
Yes as mentioned before, as long as you have updated your game to the minimum version of 1.03 (latest current release) the games multiplayer will be playable OFFLINE.
Can you play the Zombies mode OFFLINE?
Yes as mentioned before, as long as you have updated your game to the minimum version of 1.03 (latest current release) the games multiplayer will be playable OFFLINE.
**Can you play the Zombies Onslaught mode OFFLINE? (exclusive to PS4/PS5 for 1 year)**yes
Is there Split-screen support in mutliplayer versus?
Versus Multiplayer has 2 players split-screen per console maximum
Is there split-screen support in Zombies?
THERE IS NO SPLIT-SCREEN in zombies mode at all for OFFLINE as of version 1.04
People are getting confused as to OFFLINE vs ONLINE.
Currently as of version 1.04, if you boot the game OFFLINE, you CAN NOT play Zombies in split-screen.
Currently as of version 1.04, if you boot the game ONLINE, the option to add a second controller exists, however you can not launch the match once this is done, I have confirmed this is the case for both the PS4 and PS5 version, I have heard from Xbox users that this is happenening there too.
unsure if this is just a glitch or mean't to be designed this way specifically.
But the guide as of V1.04 still stands, YOU CAN NOT play Zombies Split-screen OFFLINE
KEY WORD IS OFFLINE here.
Is there co-op campaign or split-screen campaign?
Campaign is single player only.
What does the aspect ratio for split-screen look like? Is there any 'black bars' on the sides?
Split-screen for multiplayer versus has both Vertical and Horizontal options.
Horizontal split-screen (TOP and BOTTOM) has black bars on the left and right.Vertical split-screen (LEFT and RIGHT) has black bars on the top and bottom.
Is there OFFLINE LAN support, (2 or more systems connected offline for multiplayer) ?
You can play 2 players PER CONSOLE in multiplayer versus. Zombies is ONE PER CONSOLE currently, LAN is broken though unless you go online and download temporary hotfixes, so basically you need all consoles to be online, connected to servers, get hotfixes (so every game/console is on the same version and then it will work) this is the exact same issue Modern Warfare has. Its stupid. true proper OFFLINE LAN play is pretty much broken in the last two CODs.
OFFLINE BOT SUPPORTIs there offline bot (AI Enemies/teammates) support?Which modes support them?How many Bots per mode?
Yes there are offline bots
you can have a total of 12 players in each core game mode, so if playing SOLO, you can have 11 bots.
I can confirm if playing split-screen you can still have 11 bots in the game total.
you can not add bots to the Crossroads or Armada maps at all.
VIP Escort and Search and Destroy game modes do not support offline bots.
Can you make assymetrical/uneven teams?
Yes, however you can't go over the maximum of 6 players per each team,
So you can't for example do a team death match with you on one team vs 11 bots on the other team.
6 v 6 max
How many players can play each mode? (assume bots means players too here)
2 REAL players in split-screen and up to 11 bots (6 players/bots per team)
Edit: I didn't notice before as I mainly play objective modes not FFA or Team Deathmatch,
If you play Free-for-all or Team Deathmatch the bots cap at 7, not 11
What difficulties are there for the bots?
Recruit, Regular, Hardened, Veteran
are there loadout restrictions and can we force the bots to use certain loadouts?
There is an option for loadout restrictions in the menu, however It dosen't affect bots, you can turn off custom classes but sadly there again is no option to set what the DEFAULT classes are (like how Modern Warfare Remastered allows)
Right now the restrictions screen is VERY broken, half of the weapons are sharing the same name, for example the M82 Sniper rifle is incorrectly labelled as the XM4 (assault rifle) I turned off EVERYTHING but the M82 but it has the XM4 enabled (as its obviously broken) I have turned off everything but the XM4 and there are still weapons that are accessible.
So hard one to test right now, It's restricting some weapons but I can only tell from the player side no the bot side, Patches are needed to test this feature properly.
are there friendly/teammate bots for Zombies mode?
No there are no friendly AI/teammates/bots in Zombies mode.
What are the bots like, and how do they play?
I've had a quick go (I'll update this more later) but they feel like how they did in MW 2019.
Create-a-Class/Loadouts/CustomisationIs there an offline progression system? or is everything unlocked for offline play?
There is no offline progression system, everything is unlocked from the start, all attachments, gear, weapons etc is available offline from the start
What about customisation/camos etc?
Yes you can apply camos, change reticles offline, it looks like everything is unlocked here
What is available in offline create-a-class?
A ton, I'll add a video in the comments later with a showcase of everything, it's comparable to how MW was at launch.
How many custom classes can you have? can you save/rename them?
You can have 5 custom classes per player offline, yes you can rename/save them.
What Operators are available offline?
All launch Operators are available offline
What game modes are available offline?
Team DeathmatchFree-For-AllSearch & DestoryDominationHardpointControlVIP Escort
What about the Larger Combined Arms modes?
Although the maps like Crossroads (which was the big snowy map in the beta with snowmobiles etc) are here, these are not the combined arms versions, these are smaller cut down versions of these maps, you can only do 6 v 6 in offline.
Is there a realism mode? or Hardcore Mode?
No realism mode, there is no hardcore 'mode' like MW2019, however there are Hardcore versions of TDM, FFA, SND, and DOM.
What multiplayer maps are available?
What interesting custom game settings are there? anything different/new?
Nothing out of the ordinary, all pretty standard fare at launch.
Can I save custom game modes OFFLINE?
Yes you can save them.
ZombiesIs everything unlocked for create-a-class?
Yes, everything is unlocked, it's the same weapon selection from multiplayer versus, however you get 1 weapon, not 2, and a field upgrade which are zombies themed special powers.
Is there settings like in Black Ops 4, where you could adjust zombies/custom game settings?
Sadly no, it seems very scaled back more like the normal zombies modes from the older Black Ops games.
What modes are available for zombies offline?
Round based (standard zombies)Dead Ops arcade 3 (top down twin-stick shooter mini game mode)Onslaught (PS4/PS5 Exclusive for 1 year)
What maps/scenarios are available for offline zombies?
Round based (standard zombies)
**Dead Ops Arcade 3 (mini game)**Rise of the Mamaback
Moscow (same as the multiplayer Moscow map....just with zombies)
What is onslaught mode anyway?
so its basically a VIP escort thing, you have a floating orb, that has a protective cirlce around it, you need to stay in the circle to live, zombies come at you, you shoot em, orb moves to a new location, rinse and repeat. Neat but you aren't missing much if you are a PC/Xbox player.