Purrloin can be found on Routes 2 and 3. Liepard can be found on Routes 5, 9 and 16. Both Purrloin and Liepard can also be found in the Dreamyard, however Liepard is only available in the dark grass in this location.
So we’re really doing this, huh? To put it kindly, Purrloin is usually a rather...unfortunate encounter in a Nuzlocke. To put it less kindly, Purrloin is more of a trash Pokemon than Trubbish. Purrloin and Liepard aren’t extraordinarily bad in any specific roles. Rather, they’re just mediocre enough in every aspect that they're incapable of doing useful things on a team.
Their stat spread lends to a mixed glass cannon, but neither attacking stat is high enough to nail the necessary OHKOs. Meanwhile their movepool suggests support and stall since it completely lacks coverage and leans heavily on status, but their defenses aren’t nearly high enough to fulfill this role effectively. Getting its first STAB move at level 15 isn’t good either. Purrloin evolves early, at level 20, but that’s not helpful in a region full of powerful Bug and Fighting types where it might not even get a chance to evolve. Surprise U-Turns are not fun.
So why on earth would you use a Liepard? That’s a tough one to answer. Purrhaps for the challenge? Or out of necessity, if your ruleset results in a Liepard joining your party. Purrloin and Liepard learn Assist, so you may have fun playing with that gimmick too. With all its flaws, the Purrloin line is certainly interesting to use, so you can give it a try if you get the chance.
Bianca (Route 2): This is an awful matchup for Purrloin, with Scratch as its only reliable damaging move. Bianca’s Lillipup is dangerous for a frail Pokemon like Purrloin. Even though Purrloin outspeeds it, Lillipup can comfortably 3HKO it with Tackle. That’s not even factoring in Leer, which makes this even more risky. Bianca’s starters should also be avoided. Both Oshawott and Tepig can 3HKO Purrloin with Water Gun and Ember respectively. Snivy is the least dangerous of the three in terms of turn damage, but it can speed tie with Purrloin and still out-damages it with Vine Whip, 4HKOing it.
Cheren (Striaton City): Cheren leads with his starter. All three have the same movesets as they would in the Route 2 battle with Bianca if she had picked them. So just like with Bianca, Purrloin should probably sit this one out. Cheren’s Purrloin is a slightly better matchup. Your own Purrloin can usually outspeed his and 4HKO it safely with Scratch. In case of an unfavourable Nature that lowers Speed or Attack, your Purrloin can probably still use Growl a few times to help a teammate.
Gym #1 - Cilan/Chili/Cress (Striaton City, Grass-, Fire- or Water-type): This matchup is tricky, but technically possible. The Lillipup’s only attacking move is Bite, which your Purrloin resists. Equipped with Sand-Attack and Scratch, Purrloin can 5HKO Lillipup and possibly dodge some hits. Watch Lillipup closely; its Bite may be an 8HKO, but it carries Work Up and may make your team’s life harder if left unchecked. Purrloin cannot handle the elemental monkeys. Unlike the Lillipup, they do carry STAB moves and hit hard. Avoid them.
Cheren (Route 3): Unsurprisingly, Purrloin does not fare well against any of the three starters. Oshawott is particularly dangerous, with its Water Gun 3HKOing Purrloin. Tepig is no pushover either, its Ember and Tackle both have a chance to 3HKO Purrloin. Meanwhile, Snivy lacks the firepower of the other two, but is still a threat with Growth and Wrap. Purrloin’s Scratch is a 7HKO on all three. Slightly overleveling to level 15 will give Purrloin its first STAB move, Pursuit, and this is a much more respectable 4HKO on all three. Keep in mind that the starters all carry Oran Berries and this will extend the battle. Purrloin may be better to use Sand-Attack a few times and get out. Meanwhile, Cheren’s Purrloin is usually pretty easy to fight. Unless you get unlucky with Fury Swipes crits from his Purrloin, yours should be able to wear his down with Scratch. If the IVs and Nature are not in your Purrloin’s favour, it can still help out with Sand-Attack.
N (Nacrene City): Purrloin is a bad lead. N’s Pidove defaults to Quick Attack most of the time, which negates Purrloin’s speed and does more damage than anything Purrloin has at equal levels. Pidove also has Super Luck, which makes it significantly more dangerous. Purrloin can use Sand-Attack as usual, but it should avoid doing more than that. Timburr is a no for obvious reasons. Tympole does surprising damage as well- it has a chance to 2HKO Purrloin from full health with Bubble Beam. It’s best that Purrloin avoids this fight entirely.
Gym #2 - Lenora (Nacrene City, Normal-type): DO NOT attempt to do this with Purrloin, both of Lenora's Pokemon can cleanly 2HKO it and OHKO after a Leer and Purrloin's Pursuit will not be doing much to either of them, especially after Herdier's Intimidate. I guess you could maybe try to use Growl or Sand-Attack to nerf their attacks, but afterwards, get out! Liepard doesn't fare much better. Pursuit doesn't get much of an increase in power after evolution and Herdier and Watchog's attacks are still reasonably likely to 2HKO the frail leopard. Overall, best not to have Liepard fight here. Hopefully you picked up a Timburr, Sawk or Roggenrola. Use that instead!
Gym #3 - Burgh (Castelia City, Bug-type): It's a Bug-type Gym and you're using a Dark-type Pokemon. Fortunately for Liepard, the most powerful Bug-type move anyone has is the Specially based Struggle Bug, which is still a 4HKO when coming from Whirlipede and Dwebble and a 3HKO from Leavanny. Liepard can outspeed and outdamage Whirlipede with a combination of Fake Out and Pursuit, but be sure to bail if it uses Screech as this will impede Liepard's performance against it and Dwebble and put it in danger. Liepard also outdamages Dwebble; both it and Liepard on average 5HKO each other and Liepard outspeeds, but remember to keep Liepard healed for critical hits and bail if Dwebble gets a Sand-Attack in as the last thing you want is for Pursuit to miss at an inopportune moment. Finally, there's Leavanny, which can lower your Speed with String Shot and scores a 3HKO with Razor Leaf (and likely crits will take this down to a 2HKO) while Liepard can only manage a measly 5HKO with Pursuit. Liepard should go nowhere near Leavanny.
Bianca (Castelia City): Liepard's matchup against Herdier is skewed due to Intimidate. After a Fake Out, both Liepard and Herdier will 3HKO each other with Pursuit and Take Down respectively barring critical hits, but one way to prevent this is to switch out Liepard before this. The elemental monkeys will be a cakewalk for Liepard especially with Fake Out support as Pursuit 3HKOes them all and they can't do much back. Munna literally can't touch Liepard so feel free to go wild on it. Finally, we have the starters. Dewott can drop your Defence with Razor Shell whilst building up Fury Cutters and Pursuit is only a 4HKO. Liepard shouldn't fight it, especially if it gets a Defence drop with Razor Shell. Servine should be fine as you outspeed and 4HKO with Pursuit while it can do no better, but definitely switch out if it gets a Leech Seed off on you as this will turn the battle into a stall war. Liepard can't do crap to Pignite and if it's lucky, its Arm Thrust will OHKO your fragile leopard if it gets 5 hits (or 4 plus a critical hit) Liepard should go nowhere near it.
Cheren (Route 4): Just follow Bianca's section on how to deal with the monkeys and starters, they're practically the same, but higher leveled. As for the other two, the mirror match with his Liepard can be won with Fake Out and Fury Swipes because your level is higher than it, just be wary of Sand-Attack and crits and heal as needed. Pidove shouldn't be a problem, as you easily outspeed and 3HKO it with Pursuit and even critical Quick Attacks and Air Cutters can't do any better.
N (Nimbasa City): Right now, Liepard should have access to two new toys. The first one being Return and the second one being Hone Claws. Sandile is perfect set-up fodder for Liepard because it can only 5HKO it at best and the boost in accuracy Liepard gets will counteract Sandile's Mud-Slap. At +3, a Liepard with a max power Return will score an OHKO on Sandile, Darumaka and Scraggy and score an OHKO on Sigilyph with Pursuit or Payback . Do not attempt Darumaka or Scraggy without prior setup as they will 2HKO with Fire Punch and Brick Break respectively. As for Sigilyph, it will likely go for Tailwind on the first turn and Air Cutter on the second. After a Fake Out, Liepard should be able to 2HKO Sigilyph with whatever Dark STAB it has at the moment. Just be wary of Air Cutter crits and be thankful, as Liepard is one of the only Pokemon that can take on N's Sigilyph relatively safely.
Gym #4 - Elesa (Nimbasa City, Electric-type): Liepard with Limber and equipped with the BlackGlasses found in Desert Resort can be an alright support Pokemon in this battle. It outspeeds both Emolga and is able to paralyse both of them with Thunder Wave while their Volt Switch is a 3HKO. Heal as needed and if you get a chance to set up Hone Claws, do it. +1 guarantees a 2HKO on both Emolga with Payback or Return, making their switching opportunities limited. If Zebstrika comes in and Liepard isn't at full health and/or hasn't set up to +2, switch it out, Zebstrika's Spark is likely to be a 2HKO, it outspeeds and Liepard can't paralyse it due to Lightningrod. Admittedly, Liepard can take advantage of this with Payback, but only a +2 Attack will be enough to guarantee an OHKO against Zebstrika with it.
Cheren (Route 5):
Gym #5 - Clay (Driftveil City, Ground-type):
Bianca (Driftveil City):
N (Chargestone Cave):
Gym #6 - Skyla (Mistralton City, Flying-type):
Cheren (Route 7):
Gym #7 - Brycen (Icirrus City, Ice-type):
Bianca (Route 8):
Gym #8 - Iris/Drayden (Opelucid City, Dragon-type):
Cheren (Route 10):
Elite Four Shauntal (Pokémon League, Ghost-type): A BlackGlasses or Expert Belt Liepard does well in this fight with Hone Claws. By profiting off Cofagrigus as set-up fodder and healing burns when needed, Liepard can guarantee an OHKO on everything on Shauntal's team with Night Slash at +2 Attack. If you're worried about Jellicent disabling Night Slash with Cursed Body, teach Liepard another Dark-type move like Payback just for this battle so Liepard can go on sweeping uninterrupted.
Elite Four Marshal (Pokémon League, Fighting-type): Really? You're going to send your fragile Dark type out against a bunch of bulky Fighting types? If you need to be explained as to why this is a terrible idea, you shouldn't be Nuzlocking.
Elite Four Grimsley (Pokémon League, Dark-type): Not a good matchup for Liepard. The lead Scrafty can easily 2HKO Liepard with Brick Break while Liepard's Return only reaches 4HKO status. Krookodile can do the same with Earthquake while nerfing Liepard's Attack with Intimidate and Grass Knot, the best move Liepard has against it, can do no better. The mirror match with his own Liepard is the only breather you have; You can outdamage it with Return and Hone Claws. Finally, Bisharp resists everything you have and cleanly 2HKOes with X-Scissor, don't let Liepard anywhere near it.
Elite Four Caitlin (Pokémon League, Psychic-type): Reuniclus easily OHKOes Liepard with Focus Blast while Night Slash is only a 2HKO, so no set up fodder there. Sigilyph's Air Slash comes dangerously close to a 2HKO, but it gives Liepard a window of setup. At +1 attack, Night Slash is guaranteed to OHKO everything on Caitlin's team except Musharna, which can't do much in return except set up Reflect, which shouldn't be much of an issue given Night Slash's high crit ratio and the fact that it is still very likely to OHKO with it.
Reshiram/Zekrom (N's Castle): No, Liepard is far too weak to fight Reshiram or Zekrom as Fusion Flare/Bolt will rip it apart, as will DragonBreaths and critical Slashes. Use someone else or throw the Master Ball
N (N's Castle): Once again, do not fight N's dragon as its offensive capabilities are far too high for Liepard to stand up to. Carracosta is also far too much for Liepard to handle because of its defensive capabilities and Sturdy. Waterfall and Stone Edge will both 2HKO Liepard; the latter is also likely to crit. The only way Liepard can hope to get past it is with Grass Knot. Vanilluxe can 2HKO with Blizzard whereas Liepard only scores a 3HKO with Night Slash. Unexpectedly, Liepard can do work against Archeops. With a combination of Fake Out and Sucker Punch, Archeops can be brought down into Defeatist range, where it can be finished off with another Sucker Punch. In Defeatist range, Acrobatics and Stone Edge range from 2-3HKOes, just be wary of crits. Finally, do not fight Klinklang or Zoroark. The former resists everything Liepard has while the latter can easily OHKO with Focus Blast
Ghetsis (N's Castle): Ghetsis' Cofagrigus can be dealt with in the same way Shauntal's was; heal the status conditions it inflicts and set up with Hone Claws; +2 will guarantee an OHKO on Cofagrigus, but a +5 set up is needed is needed for a guaranteed OHKO for everyone on Ghetsis' team with Night Slash and Return sans Bisharp and Hydreigon. If one of these two come in, Liepard will have to abort the sweep as Hydreigon OHKOes it with Focus Blast, while Bisharp 2HKOes with X-Scissor. If Liepard chooses to abort the sweep, no one on Ghetsis' team will be a safe kill for it as they all 2HKO with their STAB Attacks. In an emergency, Liepard can take on Seismitoad if it has Grass Knot, but that's it.
Post-Game: How in Arceus' name did you manage to get a Liepard to the post game?
When caught, Purrloin will know the moves Scratch and Growl. It gets Assist at Level 6, which is barely useful, as any move Purrloin can pull from the move, another teammate can use better. Level 10 gives you Sand Attack; if you're willing to gamble, this can increase Purrloin's survivability somewhat. Just don't rely on it. Fury Swipes at Level 12 would be useless on any Pokemon, much less on a Purrloin. Pursuit at Level 15 is worth it merely for being Purrloin's only STAB move up to this point. Don't bother learning Torment at Level 19. At Level 22, Liepard finally gets a good move in Fake Out, followed up by Hone Claws at Level 26; Liepard won't usually be able to find a time to set up, but Hone Claws makes it marginally more useful when it can. Assurance at Level 31 should replace Pursuit as Liepard's main STAB, though a 60 BP move being your only STAB at this point in the game is rather sad. At Level 34, Liepard gets Slash; if, for some reason, your Liepard still has Scratch, replace it with this; otherwise, Return is just better. Taunt at Level 38 is certainly interesting; Liepard definitely has the Speed for it, but most trainers in the maingame don't use set-up moves, anyway, and the move is generally better on other Pokemon to begin with. Night Slash at Level 43 is the best thing that could ever happen to Liepard; 70 BP STAB with an increased critical chance is about as good as you're ever going to get with this cat. Snatch at Level 47 is useless, as is Nasty Plot at Level 50; while Liepard's Special Attack is equal to its Attack, its Special movepool is as pathetically small as its chances of surviving this long to learn these moves. Finally, at Level 55, Liepard learns Sucker Punch; a great move, but good luck getting your Liepard that far in the first place.
As far as TMs go, Liepard has a few interesting options, but not really anything that makes it more viable. Liepard can get Hone Claws via level-up, but if for some reason you didn't learn it, you can now. Thunder Wave provides an interesting status move to deal with a few choice threats. Substitute is generally not worth it; Liepard is too frail. The ubiquitous Return easily finds a slot on Liepard's moveset for lack of better options. Other physical options include Payback and Shadow Claw, two mostly filler moves used until better Dark STAB arrives, and Aerial Ace, one of Liepard's few coverage moves, and one that would have been more helpful if it had come just a teensy bit earlier. On the special side of things, Liepard gets Shadow Ball if you want it, as well as Grass Knot for added coverage against Water and Ground types. Finally, Liepard can get Hidden Power via TM; don't use it unless the power and type are exceptionally good.
Minimum stats are calculated with 0 EVs, IVs of 0, and a hindering nature, if applicable.
Maximum stats are calculated with 252 EVs, IVs of 31, and a helpful nature, if applicable.
Purrloin Line Ratings
What Nature do I want? Liepard is a jack of all trades, master of none. As such, it really doesn't want any of its stats lowered. If anything, a nature that lowers its already poor defenses is probably best, as Liepard shouldn't be taking very many hits anyway. Liepard would also prefer that its attacking stats, especially its Physical Attack, be raised, as it has more than enough Speed as is. As a result, natures such as Lonely and Mild are really the best Liepard can get.
At what point in the game should I be evolved? As Purrloin's evolution level is fairly low, you should have a Liepard, if not before, then immediately after Lenora's Gym.
How good is the Purrloin line in a Nuzlocke? The word of the day for Liepard is 'interesting', and not necessarily 'good'. Sure, Liepard has a few fun moves and strategies it can throw around, but at the end of the day, it's still a fairly mediocre Pokemon with very little going for it. Getting a Purrloin isn't necessarily a death sentence for the felonious feline, but using one in a Nuzlocke is something only an experienced player should try.