What is Little Cup?
Little Cup, or more commonly called "LC", is a fast paced metagame filled with NFE Pokémon Not Fully Evolved). This metagame differs greatly from standard battling, and therefore team building is much different. Little Cup has a few simple rules but before building your team, it is wise to think about how these rules influence play and to make sure you don´t do anything classified as "illegal".
Legality in Little Cup
Before you begin making that Little Cup team, it is important to know the rules. We all know that the Pokémon must be level 5, but we must also know what Pokémon are banned.
These Pokémon overcentralize the Little Cup metagame for various reasons and it is important to make sure that you know these 5 Pokémon are illegal so you don´t incorporate them into your team. If you see someone using one of these 5 in Little Cup, then it would be wise to tell them to replace that member of their team. If they refuse to change their Pokémon to make their team legal, then be sure to warn other Little Cup players.
Another important rule of Little Cup is legal egg and move combinations. Since some Pokémon can not breed to create egg moves, many attacks normally legal in standard play are banned. Be sure to check out what moves are legal on certain Pokémon in Little Cup play, this is most important for genderless Pokémon as they cannot get Lv. up moves unless they are learnt at Lv. 5 or lower.
Now before we start making movesets and deciding items, we must decide exactly what Pokémon we are going to use. Be extremely cautious at this point on; Little Cup is very different from standard play, and the metagame is much more fast paced. In fact, most teams will have 1 wall at the most. So lets not cut ourselves short and choose the worst possible Pokémon. So if you have been slightly skimming through so far, I highly urge you to stop skimming.
Little Cup is a different metagame, and therefore you will see different leads. You either want something incredibly bulky or you want to use something fast that can change the game early. The most common leads in Little Cup include:
Try to build your lead off this knowledge. Leading with a slow frail Pokémon such as Corphish is useless as most leads will easily be able to sleep Corphish and prepare to set up, or outspeed and KO it. Instead a Pokémon such as Aipom or Murkrow might fare better, as they have decent speed as well as Taunt and powerful attacks. Play theorymon with your lead, looking at scenarios with different Pokémon and how your lead and your team will react. If you have planned to use Elekid and Rhyhorn on your team, then it may not be wise to lead with Cyndaquil, as Diglett will easily take care of them. Sometimes taking Little Cup one step at a time is a bad idea, as it will cause you to put in Pokémon that might only go in for the sake of helping the team resistance wise. Make sure to think about who you plan to use before just randomly selecting a lead.
The other members
Little Cup is a high paced game and you will be forced to play accordingly. Although stall teams can easily handle offensive teams in standard play, the same does not hold true in Little Cup. Instead you will wish to make sure your team covers itself well with revenge killers and fast paced Pokémon. You will generally want a few scarfers as well as a few Pokémon who can hit a Speed of 19.
Counterplay is very common in LC and what it means is that you build your team to counter other teams. One of the reasons Magnemite, Diglett, and Murkrow are so popular is because they can counter many common LC Pokémon and easily KO them. You should try to use your knowledge of common Pokémon in LC to help you build a team like that.
Every Pokémon has a role
Unlike standard play, LC provides every Pokémon a specific role. For example Pineco and Squirtle are the only Rapid Spinners, Croagunk is the only Nasty Plotter with a special priority move, ect. Unlike standard play, you can not just account for the top OU Pokémon. Instead you must take into account every Pokémon in LC. Obviously, Pokémon such as Wurmple, Beldum, and Caterpie may be useless, but everything else is fair game.
One of the best ways to suceed in LC is to have a gameplan or a team strategy. Although Counterplay is a great way to win, PTI is an even better way. PTI stands for "Pressing the Issue" and it is where you make the opponent counter you, not the other way around. Playing offensively and pressuring the opponent can easily make them slip and almost guarantee you a victory
Most players of LC have a gameplan or a team theme. One will find that Trick Room and Rain Dance are much more powerful in LC than OU. However, more than just those 2 are lying out there. What are the most common of team strategies?
* Baton Pass Pass stat up boosts, substitutes, ingrains, mean looks, ect. onto recipients over and over again until you finally pass everything to a final sweeper who procedes to win the game.
* Rain Dance Set up Rain Dance quickly and get your Rain Dance sweeper in the game. Most Watertypes have high Special Attack meaning their Surf / Hydro Pumps can OHKO many Pokémon in the game. Some Watertypes also have Swift Swim boosting their speed to obscene levels in Rain Dance
* Sunny Day Although Tangela has been banned, Exeggcute and Oddish still make potent threats in Sunny Day. Sunny Day´s boost of Hidden Power Fire and Solarbeam makes a Grasstype a strong threat, and with Chlorophyll their Speed will double in Sunny Day
* Trick Room Simply set up Trick Room and sweep with slow strong sweepers. Since minimum IVs and a Spe Nature will drastically lower Speed in LC, it is easy to make Pokémon like Cranidos and Munchlax the fastest Pokémon in the game.
* Sandstorm Hippopotas is needed for a Sandstorm team thanks to Sandstream as its ability. With a 1.5x SpD boost for Rocktypes in Sandstorm as well as Pokémon abusing Sand Veil, Sandstorm is a tough threat to take down in LC.
* Hail Hail team are somewhat rare but effective. Snover is usually the lead with strong sweepers such as Swinub behind him. Hail teams also tend to be stallish so prepare for a tough long battle when facing one.