|Maximum CP||Cup Start||Cup End|
|500||November 9, 2020, at 1:00 p.m PST||November 16, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. PST|
The Little cup is upon us! So what exactly is the Little cup? It's the latest limited format released for the GO Battle League. In this format, Pokemon that are first stage and can still evolve and are 500 CP or under are the only options. Just looking at the limitations, let's be honest; this is not a meta worth spending on.
- It's only here for one week, and it's just the first week of the Season
- In this Season of GBL, you don't need to go all out to reach Rank 10
- We have no confirmation that a 500 CP format will ever return
- Pokemon raised specifically for this format are useless in-and-of themselves unless raised farther
- It's a resource sink at best if played to its fullest
That said, what if we still want to have a bit of "fun" and join in on the Little Cup without making hefty investments? The answer is only raise Pokemon that can be taken farther than the Little Cup's limitations after it ends! For this reason, this article compiles a number of "good investments" for the Little Cup; Pokemon that can be invested in farther in order to end up viable in an established format once this week comes to its inevitable close.
The Absent Pokemon
Players who have actually paid attention to the Little Cup meta may notice that a few Pokemon that are undeniably good in the cup that could be used beyond it are not here. We have excluded these species for very specific reasons:
Cottonee (Charm + Seed Bomb) is a great Pokemon in the Little Cup, but taking one to or near 500 CP means that its will be slightly above 1500 CP when evolved into Whimsicott, which is only valuable in the Great League. You can choose to play an underleveled Cottonee in the Little Cup, but that's on you!
Why not include Wynaut (Counter + Mirror Coat)? Well, why not tell me what use Wynaut is after it evolves? If gym defense was a stronger meta, then Wynaut would be on this list. But why not just exclude Wynaut when the real question is "why not just forget that even Wobuffet even exists?"
The Best Little Cup Investments
Bronzor (Confusion + Psyshock + Heavy Slam) is the must-have, bulky, annoyingly meta-defining king of the Little Cup meta. In short, the best thing you can play by far.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Bronzor into Bronzong (Confusion + Psyshock + Bulldoze) which is a decent spicy pick for Ultra Premier League. It does need to be maxed out for that, though, so you’ll ideally need to play a hundo Bronzor in the Little Cup, which is slightly suboptimal but still totally playable.
Deino (Dragon Breath + Body Slam + Crunch) is one of the strongest picks in the Little Cup, being a great generalist thanks to its Dragon typing and countering Bronzor thanks to its other Dark half.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Deino into Zweilous (Dragon Breath + Body Slam + Dark Pulse), a pretty powerful pokemon in the Great League.
Dratini (Dragon Breath + Aqua Tail + Wrap) doesn't counter Bronzor like the other Dragon-type above, but it still does everything else just as well, and it's also very good as a Shadow.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Dratini into a Dragonair (Dragon Breath + Aqua Tail + Dragon Pulse)
which will come in handy for the upcoming Kanto Cup — or into a Dragonite (Dragon Breath + Dragon Claw + Hurricane) which is very relevant in both the Ultra and Master Premier Cups. You cannot, however, evolve a 500 CP Dratini into a Great League Dragonite, since it would go way over 1500.
Stunky (Bite + Crunch + Sludge Bomb) is a premier Bronzor and Wynaut counter for the Little Cup, especially as a Shadow variant.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Stunky into Skuntank (Poison Jab + Crunch + Flamethrower or Sludge Bomb) which is viable in the Great League and has been very relevant in the latest Halloween Cup as well as many Silph Arena Cups before it.
Barboach (Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Aqua Tail or Ice Beam) is a really spammy boy in the Little Cup, with super effective hits on Bronzor and (with Ice Beam) Deino and Cottonee as well.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Barboach into Whiscash (Mud Shot + Mud Bomb + Blizzard), an old staple of the Great League which is always good to have in your roster.
Drifloon (Hex + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball) is a versatile pick for the Little Cup, having super effective hits on Bronzor, Deino and Cottonee, and neutral Icy Wind to threaten and debuff its Dark counters.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Drifloon into Drifblim (Hex + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball), a solid pokemon for both the Great League and (if maxed out) the Ultra Premier Cup. It's also been relevant in both the latest GBL cups, Flying and Halloween.
Seel (Ice Shard + Icy Wind + Aqua Tail) is a great counter to Deino and Cottonee in the Little Cup, and it has the spammy Water-type coverage that its evolution sorely misses.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Seel into Dewgong (Ice Shard + Icy Wind + Water Pulse), an extremely powerful Great League pokemon which, however, requires two Elite TMs to build because Ice Shard and Icy Wind are unfortunately both legacy. If you're willing to invest those, you'll probably enjoy it a lot.
Swinub (Powder Snow + Body Slam + Icy Wind or Rock Slide) has an amazing moveset for the Little Cup, only getting walled by Bronzor, and being able to beat both Deino and Cottonee with Icy Wind.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Swinub into Mamoswine (Powder Snow + Avalanche + Bulldoze) if it has 100% IVs or near: when maxed out it becomes a fantastic option for the Master Premier Cup.
Snorunt (Powder Snow + Icy Wind + Shadow Ball) is another great Ice-type in the Little Cup, and notably the only one with a heavy super effective hit on Bronzor.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Snorunt into Froslass (Powder Snow + Avalanche + Shadow Ball), a very solid pick for the Great League.
Alolan Sandshrew (Powder Snow + Night Slash + Gyro Ball) is a great hard counter to both Dragons and Grasses thanks to its Steel subtyping. Unfortunately, it comes out of eggs over the 500 CP cap: to have one that's eligible in the Little Cup, you needed to catch it in the wild when it was available during a few 2019 events.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Sandshrew into Alolan Sandslash (Powder Snow + Ice Punch + Bulldoze), an interesting spicy pick for both Great League and Ultra Premier Cup.
Dwebble (Smack Down + X-Scissor + Rock Blast) can put in work in the Little Cup since Rock damage goes vastly unresisted outside of the Bronzor matchup.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Dwebble into Crustle (Smack Down + X-Scissor + Rock Slide), a decent pick in the Great League (especially relevant in the latest Halloween Cup) and a very strong one in the Ultra Premier Cup.
Nosepass (Spark + Rock Slide + Thunderbolt) hits very hard in the Little Cup with its quick Rock Slides, only really fearing Bronzor and Cubone.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Nosepass into Probopass (Spark or Rock Throw + Rock Slide + Magnet Bomb or Thunderbolt), a strong Steel tank in the Great, though it's largely outclassed by Bastiodon, Registeel and Galarian Stunfisk.
Mareep (Thunder Shock + Body Slam + Discharge) has a really spammy moveset for the Little Cup, threatening all the fragile pokemon running around with some classic Body Slam spam.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Mareep into Ampharos (Volt Switch + Thunder Punch + Focus Blast), a very powerful pick for the Ultra Premier Cup.
Vulpix (Ember + Body Slam + Flame Charge) functions as a great counter to Grass and a check to Bronzor in the Little Cup. Running the Shadow variant is recommended.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Vulpix into Ninetales (Fire Spin + Psyshock + Solar Beam) which is viable in the Great League, and could become really good if Niantic finally decides to give it the promised Weather Ball Fire at some point in the future.
Chinchou (Bubble + Bubble Beam + Thunderbolt) is a nice pick for the Little Cup, mainly useful to debuff opponents, though it gets walled very hard by Grasses and Dragons.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Chinchou into Lanturn (Spark + Hydro Pump + Thunderbolt), a trusty staple of the Great League and always one of the best counters to Azumarill.
Turtwig (Razor Leaf + Body Slam + Seed Bomb) in the Little Cup hits really hard with Razor Leaf! And as usual with Razor Leaf users, the Shadow variant is generally superior.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Turtwig into Grotle (Razor Leaf + Body Slam + Energy Ball), another effective Grass-type in the Great League, and one of the most popular Victreebel partners for the common and annoying Bastiodon + double Razor Leaf team composition.
Duskull (Hex + Ominous Wind) is viable in the Little Cup, with decent bulk, though it doesn't convincingly counter anything in particular, and really hates facing any Dark-type.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Duskull into Dusclops (Hex + Shadow Punch + Fire Punch or Ice Punch), one of the bulkiest Ghost-types in the Great League.
Piplup (Bubble + Icy Wind + Bubble Beam or Drill Peck) is a flexible pokemon in the Little Cup, especially good at debuffing opponents and counter any Fire- and Ground-type around.
After the Little Cup you can evolve Piplup into Empoleon (Waterfall + Hydro Cannon + Drill Peck), granted that you wait for the eventual December Community Day event to make it learn Hydro Cannon upon evolution. Empoleon will come in handy for the Ultra Premier Cup, where it's one of the best picks in the meta.