Little Cup is an interesting tier available on Smogon’s Pokémon Showdown. In Little Cup (LC), only Pokémon on their first stage of evolution are allowed to be used. Pokémon in this tier also must be capable of evolving, so there’s no sweeping a team with your trusty Tauros either. It’s all weak, unevolved Pokémon who can be obtained at level five in the game. One such Pokémon is Yamper.
The question remains: while Yamper certainly qualifies for use in Little Cup, is it a viable choice given its stats, skillset and the metagame of the tier?
Abilities: Ball Fetch/Rattled
Yamper on the Offensive
Yamper boasts an Attack stat of 45, a Special Attack Stat of 40 and a Speed of 26. Overall, those numbers aren’t too bad for a pre-evolved Pokémon, although it would be foolish to try and pretend its Speed was anything other than mediocre. Its movepool is also decent, not very diverse, but possessing some good STAB options in Wild Charge and Volt Switch and some decent coverage options in moves like Play Rough and Fire Fang.
Unfortunately for Yamper, while its power and movepool are by no means bad, they are also far from exceptional and are nothing to write home about either. For example, even with an Adamant Nature and max EV investment in Attack, Yamper still takes two attacks to KO Ferroseed with a 4X effective Flame Charge or Fire Fang. Similarly, it can only 2HKO Mareanie with those same stats, despite being able to hit it with a super-effective STAB Wild Charge. Yamper simply lacks the power to break through common defensive threats in the tier.
The metagame itself is also unfriendly to Yamper, on account of the Puppy Pokemon’s typing and movepool. Electric only hits Water and Flying super-effectively, is resisted by Grass, Dragon and itself, and Ground is totally immune to Electric attacks. While Water types are relatively common in the current meta, Flying types are quite rare leaving few Pokémon vulnerable to Yamper’s STAB. Meanwhile, many of the most prominent Pokémon in the tier are Ground type such as Onix, Trapinch and Diglet and there are a handful of viable Grass types reasonably common also such as Ferroseed or Oddish, rendering its STAB further useless. Yamper’s Fire coverage options do somewhat mitigate the issue of Grass types, as does Play Rough for the odd Dragon type that shows up, but its narrow movepool and middling power leave it nothing for the prominent Ground types in Little Cup or for the rare times another Electric type appears. Even Diglett, a Pokémon known to be incredibly frail, can survive anything Yamper can throw at it, trap it and outspeed it to OHKO with a STAB Earthquake.
Yamper sees no help relieving these offensive deficits from its Abilities either. Ball Fetch has no competitive use and Rattled is situation at the best of times and only offers an inconsequential boost to Yamper’s terrible Speed. From an offensive standpoint, Yamper has no real place in Generation VIII Little Cup. Even if the meta were friendlier to it, Yamper would still be outclassed by other Electric types like Electrike, Chinchou and, of all things, Joltik. It’s not terrible on paper, but in practical use, it is not at all viable.
Yamper on the Defensive
For its defensive stats, Yamper weighs in at 59 HP, 50 Defence and 50 Special Defence. Much like its offensive stats, this is not half-bad for an unevolved Pokémon. It’s certainly got more going for it defensively than something like Diglett. It also has access to some potentially useful defensive utility moves such as Roar, Substitute, Protect and Volt Switch.
Stat-wise, Yamper is a lot better on the defence than the offence. None of those numbers are enough to blow anyone’s minds perhaps, but its bulk is extremely solid. Even with no HP or Defence investment, Yamper has just under a 50% chance to survive the standard offensive Ponyta’s High Horsepower. With investment in both or either, it will always survive. With the right investment, it can also survive an unboosted Crabhammer from Corphish, a dangerous offensive threat. Of course, this is far from walling anything, but it is nice that Yamper does have some degree of longevity.
Sadly for Yamper, those rather middling feats are about as good as it gets for it. Electric is not a very good defensive type as it resists only Steel, Flying and itself. This hurts Yamper as Steel and Electric barely exist in Little Cup and Flying isn’t that much more prevalent. Electric is also weak to the extremely common Ground type, including the omnipresent coverage that is Earthquake. This means that Yamper’s decent bulk is compromised heavily by its typing and by the meta it exists in.
Yamper’s longevity could be improved by the use of Substitute, but as Yamper lacks recovery outside of its held Item, this is mostly just a delaying tactic. Furthermore, this strategy is extremely prediction reliant on account of Yamper’s pitiful Speed. The ability to scout for dangerous moves with Protect is also a boon, but likely not one significant enough to outweigh Yamper’s deficits. This is especially true as it would still be thoroughly out competed by Chinchou, which has a better typing, movepool and Abilities from a defensive standpoint too as well as fairly comparable bulk.
Yamper is not the worst Pokémon in Little Cup by any means. Unfortunately though, it is also far from good. It simply exists in the tier because there isn’t anywhere else for it to go. Offensively, it lacks the power or movepool to pose any significant threat to the more prominent Pokémon of the tier and its solid bulk is crippled by a lack of recovery and a bad defensive typing. Furthermore, if for some reason you did need an Electric type on your LC team, Yamper is greatly outcompeted by other options such as Electrike, Joltik and especially Chinchou. Yamper might be adorable, but viable it is not.
Edited by bobandbill and ddrox13.