Litleo, the lion cub Pokémon, is a dual Fire/Normal-type Pokémon introduced in Gen 6, and it’s the pre-evolution of Pyroar.
A lion cub obviously inspires Litleo’s design. Even its personality is based on it: it likes to explore and is curious, while it doesn’t get scared of getting in a battle. So Litleo sticks with its pride until it is capable of hunting, then it gets kicked, and its mission is to start a brand new pride by itself.
Its design is rather simple; it is a quadrupedal, feline, mostly brown Pokémon. The thing that distinguishes Litleo the most is its short mane on the top of its head. Litleo uses its mane to intimidate its opponents by making it shine by heating it up.
Litleo’s name comes from the union between Little (or you can also understand it as Lit) and the Latin word “Leo”, which means Lion.
Litleo Summary of Appearances in Pokémon Versions and Media (Games, Anime, Movies)
In the games, you can find Litleo in the following places:
- Gen 6: In X & Y, Litleo can only be found in Route 22, while it is unobtainable in ORAS; if you want one there, you have to transfer it.
- Gen 7: Litleo is unobtainable in SM, you have to transfer it, but you can have one in USUM, exactly in the Poké Pelago.
- Gen 8: Litleo is unobtainable in SS, and there’s no way to transfer or getting one of them in these games yet.
Litleo only had two major appearances in the anime; Its debut was in A Fiery Rite of Passage! When a Litleo is forced to leave its pack, Ash helps it get independent and makes its own pride.
After that, Litleo only had minor appearances and cameos.
While in the Manga, Litleo has appeared at least three times in Pokémon Adventures. Its debut was in PS550 under the ownership of a girl who is running with it. Then, in PS554, a wild Litleo appeared to battle against X on Route 22. Its last appearance was in PS558, when a Litleo is seen under the ownership of a kid in Lumiose City.
Lastly, in the TCG, Litleo has cards in the following expansions:
- Phantom Forces
- Steam Siege
- Forbidden Light
- Lost Thunder
- Cosmic Eclipse
- Evolving Skies
All of Litleo cards are Common, and in all of them, Litleo is a Fire-type Pokémon.
Litleo Evolution Line: When Does Litleo Evolve?
Litleo has a cool feature when it evolves: When it becomes a Pyroar, It can have two different forms depending on its gender. Anyway, Litleo evolves into Pyroar at Level 35, while Pyroar can’t evolve.
Sadly, Litleo is one of those Pokémon forgotten when Gen 8 was released, mainly because people didn’t use it when it got out in Gen 6. Litleo not being used happened because of its evolution’s really low stats and the moves it can learn, making it useless in the competitive system.
These are Litleo’s stats:
|HP||Attack||Defense||Sp. Atk||Sp. Def||Speed|
As you can see, Litleo is a Special Attack user, with a lot of Speed, Special Attack, and HP considering its tier, that has to be LC (Little Cup, where all the baby Pokémon can compete).
Litleo’s Defenses are really bad, as well as its Attack, which is useless. But, we will try to use Litleo as a Pivot, with a build that enhances its Speed while giving it some love to the Attack that we will use.
Now we have to look at Litleo’s possible abilities.
Litleo can have one of the following abilities:
- Rivalry: This ability increases Litleo’s Attack if it is facing a Pokémon of its same gender.
- Unnerve: This ability doesn’t let Foe’s Pokémon use a berry, only if it has one.
- Moxie (As its hidden Ability): This ability increases Litleo’s Attack if it gets a Pokémon down.
Litleo’s Abilities are really good, but they are useless for Litleo. If you see Litleo’s stats, the thing that stands out the most is its Special Attack, while no ability helps Litleo use this advantage because Rivalry and Moxie buffs its Attack and not what Litleo needs.
Rivalry is a bad ability because of the condition it needs to activate; to get the buff, you’ll need to pass a 50/50 probability, remembering there are many genderless Pokémon and other Pokémon that are mostly Female or Male.
Unnerve is basically useless in the competitive system because only a few Pokémon use berries as a part of a strategy, mostly the Stallers that try to be in the field for the most time. However, even those who use Stallers use Leftovers over the berries.
This lets Moxie as the ability you have to use with Litleo. Thanks to Moxie, Litleo can get a really high buff in its Attack. Sadly, Litleo’s function is as a Pivot, and eventually, it will have to leave this buff apart to get out of the field.
As we said before, we will try to give Litleo’s Speed some use; for that, we will buff its Speed with a good Nature.
These are the Natures Litleo can use:
- Timid (Increases Speed, decreases Attack)
- Hasty (Increases Speed, decreases Defense)
- Jolly (Increases Speed, decreases Special Attack)
- Naive (Increases Speed, decreases Special Defense)
We have to make a decision, and we are going with Jolly. Remember, you don’t have to get a Pokémon’s Defense down with a Nature since the idea is to have a Pokémon that handle the most in the field.
Now, let’s check the moves Litleo can learn since they are the main reason Litleo isn’t getting used and, therefore, being forgotten.
Moves per Level (Gen 7)
Well, Litleo has basically two options to use; Hyper Voice and Incinerate. Flamethrower can also be used too, but that’s all. That’s why we are going to make a Physical build for Litleo.
Moves per TM (Gen 7)
|TM (GEN VII)||Move||Type||Category||Power||Accuracy||PP|
If you take a closer look at the list, there’s no single move that outstands or can help Litleo. The problem is that Litleo is a Special Attacker or Pivot, while most of the interesting moves it can learn are Physical.
We saw Litleo’s main characteristics, but it’s now time to see its strengths and weaknesses.
Litleo is a dual Normal/Fire-type Pokémon that can resist attacks from the following types:
- It only gets 1/2 of the damage against Steel, Bug, Fire, Fairy, Ice, Normal, and Grass-type moves.
- Also, Litleo is immune to the Ghost-type.
Also, with its attacks, Litleo can deal a good amount of damage to the following types:
- With Fire-type attacks, it will inflict x2 damage against Steel, Bug, Ice, and Grass-types.
Litleo can handle a good amount of types, and that Ghost-type immunity is always helpful too. Litleo can get rid of common types in LC, like Bug or Grass-types. That’s why we recommend having a Fire-type in your team if you will compete in LC!
Litleo’s Immunity to the Ghost-type will be an advantage as we can get rid of the Ghost-types with a good Dark-type move. Also, Litleo will be faster than several Pokémon in the field.
Now, we have to see Litleo’s Weaknesses since there’s a lot to talk about here.
Litleo will suffer against the following types:
- It takes x2 damage against Fighting, Water, Rock, and Ground-types.
Also, its attacks will not do much against the following types:
- Its Fire-type attacks will only inflict 1/2 of its damage against Water, Dragon, Fire, and Rock-types.
- Its Normal-type attacks will only inflict 1/2 of its damage against Steel and Rock-types.
Litleo will be fast and strong if we build it properly, but there are many better options in LC, being the best Ponyta, which is stronger, faster, and can resist attacks.
Litleo can’t handle a single attack because its Defenses are really bad. So we have to constantly switch Litleo because if it gets hit one time, it will faint or be really close to getting out of the game.
Its weakness against Water is a problem, but we can solve it by having Wild Charge in our move set, while There’s not a good way to cover Litleo from Rock, Fighting, or Ground-types as it can learn Solar Beam, but that attaches us to build a whole team using the Sunny weather.
Now, let’s check out the build we designed for Litleo.
Litleo Best Moveset
Litleo can work with the following build:
- Flare Blitz
- Wild Charge
With Heal Bell as its item, Moxie as its ability, and Jolly as its Nature.
EVs: 4 HP / 194 Atk / 52 Def / 20 SpD / 180 Spe
First, let’s explain Litleo’s moveset.
Flare Blitz will be its best Physical Fire-type attack, and it has to use it every time it can. The only problem is that it reduces 33% of Litleo’s HP. This also happens with Wild Charge, as it has a 1/4 recoil. Wild Charge will protect Litleo against its Water-type weakness.
Return is the strongest Physical Normal-type attack Litleo can learn, and you can use it if you don’t want to risk your HP, as well as Crunch that will work to inflict a lot of damage to Ghost and Psychic-types. You can change this last move slot for whatever you want; study the team you are building and find a flaw on it, then search if Litleo can learn something to cover the flaw.
Heal Bell is our preferred item for those Pivots which are losing HP because of the recoil. This item will heal 1/8 of the damage inflicted by Litleo, so if you sweep a Pokémon, Litleo will recover a lot of HP.
Lastly, its EVs are set to protect Litleo the most while buffing its Speed and Attack since those will be the most used. Covering Litleo with a great team is vital; you have to find some Entry Hazard Setters to chip the Foe’s Pokémon enough to use Litleo and sweep them out. A Sticky Web and Stealth Rock Setter will be really worth it.
Also, it’s a good idea to add a Staller on your team since they can do the same as the Hazard Setters but better since they can let the Foe’s Pokémon weakened enough for Litleo to come out and start hitting everyone!
Question: Why isn’t Litleo in Pokémon Sword and Shield?
Answer: Game Freak decided to exclude many Pokémon since they don’t have space in Galar to insert them all, so Litleo and its evolution got out. But don’t be sad; it probably will get into the game in an expansion, as well as a lot of Pokémon did in the past!
Question: Which is the best moveset for Litleo?
Answer: Litleo has a problem; it has a good Special Attack, but it doesn’t learn good Special moves. That’s why a move set with Physical Fire-type moves and a nature that enhances its Speed while using EVs to set up its Attack will be enough to make Litleo a good Pokémon.
Question: Is Litleo a starter?
Answer: No, Litleo isn’t a starter since the starters in its Gen, which is Gen 6, are Froakie, Chespin, and Fennekin. However, you can find a Litleo on Route 22.
Litleo Guide: Conclusion
Litleo is surely a forgotten Pokémon; no one uses it competitively because people prefer stronger Pokémon like Ponyta, and also it got excluded from Pokémon Sword and Shield. But, if you give it a try, Litleo can accomplish your desires by being a great pivot and sweeping Pokémon; you just have to set up a great strategy, and that’s all!