Sunday, April 17, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #7: New Pokemon Four

Yet another new Pokemon introduced in Black and White, the Sword Blade Pokemon. 


H.P.: 65
Attk: 125
Def.: 100
Sp.A: 60
Sp.D: 70
Spe: 70


Defiant: When any of Bisharp’s stats is dropped (i.e. -1 Def from Crunch or -1 Atk from Intimidate), its Attack is raised by two stages. This is an excellent new ability and, though it is quite difficult to activate, it can be used to boost Sharp’s already monstrous Attack stat to even greater heights. Definitely Bisharp’s most promising ability.

Inner Focus: Yadda-yadda, prevents flinching, all that nonsense. Unless you’re worried about things like Fake Out and Rock Slide (both of which Bisharp resists), this ability really doesn’t have too many benefits worth note. Of course flinching is annoying and to avoid it is helpful, but overall this ability comes as second place to Defiant.

Pressure: A great ability to make use of effectively stalling out the opponent. However, given Bisharp’s typing and stat spread, it seems to function more like a quick get-in-get-out revenge killer/sweeper/hard hitter. With that being said Pressure seems to be more tailored toward bulkier monsters. Not a bad ability, but Bisharp has better options.

           Analysis:  Bisharp’s design is perhaps one of the most unconventional, non-traditional Pokemon sprites ever to be created. To be frank, it looks like a cross of something between a Power Ranger and a Beetleborg. That is not to say, however, that this is a bad Pokemon. Nor that it is bad looking. With its unique typing it boasts a whopping nine resistances, two immunities, and only three weaknesses (although one of these is a 4x Fighting weakness). Its stats are also very good, particularly its Attack stat, which compares to that of beasts like Heracross, Gyarados and Honchkrow, while its Defense is still something to be weary of (plus, its semi-high Defense goes great with its numerous resistances). The remainder of its spread is quite average, with 70 base Speed being somewhere in the limbo between decently-fast sweeper and god-awful slow tank, but it does have something that puts it far beyond other Pokemon with this problem: STAB Sucker Punch.
            Though STAB Steel moves have never been much of a force in the metagame, Bisharp’s movepool has enough options to cover for its infallicies. Powerful moves such as Brick Break and Stone Edge add excellent coverage, while the Sword Blade Pokemon also possesses its fair share of boosting moves; Rock Polish and Swords Dance included. While the future for this new Pokemon in the forthcoming metagame is not all too clear, it has a great many features that distinguish it over many similar options. It is clearly not the best, especially with the heavy onslaught of newly overpowered Fighting-types,  but one fact remains that Bisharp is essentially as useful as it is odd.

 Potential Sets: 

  1. LeadSharp
252 HP/252 Spe/4 Atk
Jolly @ Leftovers/Focus Sash
   -Stealth Rock
   -Sucker Punch
   -Thunder Wave/Metal Burst/Brick Break/ Pursuit

While it may not look the part, Bisharp has a decent number of qualities that it can effectively utilize in a lead position. Though it is not blazingly fast, it can Taunt the few things that are slower than it before they are able to set up, or even possibly faster things before they can set up multiple layers, etc. Stealth Rock is an excellent choice for a lead, especially in this Generation where it is a bit more rare than the last. Sucker Punch is awesome for its STAB and priority, allowing Bisharp to hit its opponents before they are able to hit it. The last slot is very open to Bisharp’s capabilities; Thunder Wave helps it to cripple switch-ins that might otherwise threaten the rest of your team, while Metal Burst is a great option with Focus Sash for the ability to answer back to heavy hitters, potentially downing them in one shot. Brick Break can be chosen if you want for a more offensive lead, as it rounds off the coverage very nicely, while STAB Pursuit is a great way to chase off more fragile leads, such as Azelf, who’d otherwise fear Bisharp’s potency.

  1. Dances with Swords
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant @ Life Orb  
   -Swords Dance
   -Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge

            Easily my favorite set for Bisharp, Swords Dance ups its already beastly Attack stat by two stages, allowing it, with Life Orb, to hit very, very hard. In my opinion Speed isn’t optimal in this set, as Sucker Punch essentially takes care of that, and Brick Break and Stone Edge are there for the best possible coverage. It goes without saying that this spread relies heavily on prediction, where Bisharp’s life depends on predicting switches, setting up, predicting the foe to attack, using Sucker Punch, etc. Overall, this is a very useful set for this Pokemon, and it is definitely one to consider if your team requires a sweeper of sorts.

  1. Polished Blades are the Best Kind
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant/Jolly @ Life Orb/Leftovers
   -Rock Polish
   -Night Slash/Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Iron Head/Stone Edge

            Rock Polish is definitely beneficial to Bisharp’s arsenal, as it raises its quite average Speed, however I am a bit confused as to how this Steel robot-superhero-bishop thing can polish rocks. For that reason I am calling this set Blade Polish, and that is all there is to it.
            Night Slash is chosen over Sucker Punch here, as with +2 Speed Bisharp will become very fast, leaving the idea of priority slightly obsolete. Of course, if you are fearing other priority users, such as Azumarill, for example, you may retain Sucker Punch. Again, Brick Break adds powerful coverage, while the last slot may be filled with Iron Head to attempt the flinch hax on the opponent.

  1. I Didn’t know Power Rangers Looked so Good in Scarfs!
252 Atk /252 Spe/4HP
Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Scarf   
   -Night Slash/Sucker Punch
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge
         -Retaliate/Iron Head

                  70 Speed and 125 Attack are undoubtedly idealized with a Choice Scarf. With Jolly, Bisharp hits 393 Speed, while Adamant only acquires about 358. For that reason, I’d prefer Jolly, as I tend to look at this set more as a revenge killer than a heavy hitter. Essentially, Bisharp will come in, attempt to knock out the opponent (who is, at this point, ideally weakened already), and then come back out. Again, Night Slash vs. Sucker Punch is more of a preference, however Night Slash seems ideal for a Scarf set, as being locked into Sucker Punch becomes potential setup fodder. The coverage on this set is not much different than the previous ones, though Retaliate may be added for a more effective, and overall more powerful, revenge kill.

  1. BandSharp
252 Atk /252 Spe/4 HP 
Adamant @ Choice Band   
   -Sucker Punch/Night Slash
   -Brick Break
   -Stone Edge
               -Retaliate/Iron Head

                        Last but not least here we have the Band set. As Honchkrow is one of my favorite Pokemon of all time, I very disappointedly attempted to use Bandkrow in the late-gen4/early-gen5 blur. STAB Sucker Punch and Brave Bird worked wonders, but as Honchkrow was quite slow, weak to Stealth Rocks and overall considerably fragile, it never really got the job done.
                        Allow me to introduce the new-and-improved Banded Honchkrow of Generation 5. Though its design is vastly different and it lacks Brave Bird, Banded Bisharp seems much more promising with its numerous resistances, decent overall defenses and arguably better coverage all around. Plus, it still has STAB Sucker Punch! I have yet to try this set out for myself, but I can imagine that it’ll prove to be very useful when I do.

            In closing, Bisharp has definitely grown on me. Upon first seeing its design I felt as though the realm between cute-Anime-Japanese-creatures and real-life-fantasy-robots had been breached, but in actually using Bisharp on my teams and simply reveling in the fact that it is yet another cool-looking Dark-type, it has easily become one of my favorite competitive 5th Gen Pokemon. Its usability is definitely up there, though its design to me seems like it’s been done before (in a world outside of Pokemon).

Competitive Usability: 8.5 out of 10 

Aesthetic Design: 7 out of 10 

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