Thursday, July 26, 2012

Competitive Battling Spotlight #37: New Pokemon Fourteen

The awesome Mienshao!

Tier: UU (as of July 2012)

H.P.: 65
Attk: 125
Def.: 60
Sp.D: 60
Spe:  105


Inner Focus:  Prevents being flinched by opponent’s moves. This ability is rather situational and, when compared to Mienshao’s other two options, doesn’t stand out much at all. It’s nice to be able to ignore an opposing Mienshao’s Fake Out, or even an Iron Head flinch run from a Jirachi, but in both of those scenarios, Mienshao will be taking a lot of damage due to its frailty. In short, you’re better off switching out to a Pokemon that can take the flinching hits than leaving Mienshao in to ignore them.

Regenerator:  Restores up to 1/3 HP when switched out of battle. For a frail offensive Pokemon, this may seem like an odd choice of ability, but it actually comes in handy more times than you’d think. Most common Mienshao sets will run Life Orb, which means that the restoration of 33% of your health will definitely be welcome. U-Turn also capitalizes on Regenerator’s effect, dealing damage on the opponent while scouting what they’ll do next. Definitely an excellent ability for Mienshao.

Reckless:  Boosts the power of recoil moves by 20%.  Hi Jump Kick nabs the boost from Reckless for its potential to lose half of Mienshao’s HP if it misses. This means that Mienshao’s most powerful STAB move is made even stronger with Reckless. This ability is probably tied for Mienshao’s best option because it is tailored toward more offensive play, which is how Mienshao should be used.


            Mienshao is a good Pokemon introduced in Black and White. With its Fighting typing and a very good movepool backed by good offensive stats, it really has everything it needs to take apart stall teams and even single-handedly beat out most of its common counters. However, despite its great list of assets, it just wasn’t cutting it in OU. With threats like Terrakion in the tier, most Fighting types have been subjugated to much lower usage, due to his beastly dominance and command of almost the entire metagame with just two moves. This, coupled with quite poor defenses, sent Mienshao packing at the end of June to the lower realms of UU.

            Which is, in my opinion, a grave mistake. Right as it entered UU, Black and White 2 became released into the competitive scene, blessing Mienshao with a purely offensive ability in the form of Reckless. Reckless allows for Mienshao’s already destructive Hi Jump kicks to hit very, very hard. It also has access to Hidden Power Ice backed by a decent base 95 Special Attack to take on the likes of Gligar or Claydol. Regenerator isn’t a bad ability for it, either, as with a standard Life Orb set with Fake Out and U-Turn, a lot of the damage taken from prior turns can be relieved.

            With this wonderful coverage and power, Mienshao has the potential to single-handedly increase the viability of offensive play in the Underused tier, being capable of ripping apart entire stall teams on its own. I never liked it too much in OU (I <3 Terrakion), but in UU I think it is safe to say Mienshao will quickly Jump up the ranks.


Potential Sets *all sets may effectively use either Regenerator or Reckless, unless specifically stated*:

1. Enter, the Shao
   252 Atk/6 SpAtk/252 Spe
    Naïve/Naughty @ Life Orb
    -Fake Out
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge/Hidden Power Ice

            This was a common spread during Shao’s stay in OU, and for good reason. With Life Orb and 125 Attack, Fake Out serves as an excellent way to get some early damage on the opponent’s Pokemon. Hi Jump Kick is the main move of the set, being able to punch holes in anything that doesn’t resist it. Stone Edge and Hidden Power are for coverage, while U-Turn gets Mienshao out of there and attains momentum in your favor.

2. Deadly Dancer
    6 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly/Adamant @ Fighting Gem
    -Swords Dance
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge/Hidden Power Ice/Substitute    

            If Mienshao weren’t so frail, or if it were just a bit faster, this set would probably ban it straight to BL. After a Swords Dance, Hi Jump Kick alone is capable of 2HKOing everything in the entire tier that is not a Ghost type. Even Slowbro, an expected counter to Mienshao, loses AT LEAST 60% of its health just by switching in to one of these. For this reason, with Acrobatics being able to hit a lot of things HJK can’t (in addition to being boosted once Fighting Gem is used), this set has near perfect coverage. Just pair Shao with a fast Pursuit trapper (ahem, Krookodile) to get rid of Ghosts and other fast threats, and you will have no problem sweeping teams.


3. Choice Scarf  
    252 Atk/ 6 SpAtk/252 Spe
    Jolly/Adamant @ Choice Scarf
    -Hi Jump Kick
    -Stone Edge   
    - Dual Chop/Aerial Ace
            With Mienshao’s unique and excellent Speed stat, as well as great offensive skill, a Choice Scarf set can be extremely effective, especially as it allows for you to outspeed and kill nearly every common Scarf user in UU (Flygon, Darmanitan, Krookodile, etc). Jolly is preferred here, to reach the maximum potential Speed, though Adamant allows for the Hi Jump Kicks to hit much harder.
            In terms of coverage, Hi Jump Kick and Stone Edge are almost all you need, having excellent synergy together. Dual Chop can be made use of to break Subs and hit Dragons hard, but usually Hi Jump Kick can do that better.

            You may run either Reckless or Regenerator on this set, depending on what you want to do. If you’d like HJK to be as powerful as it can be, obviously Reckless is what you want. But if you want ScarfShao’s role to be more of a hit-or-miss kinda thing that focuses more on prediction than doing heaps of damage, then Regenerator is grand with U-Turn. Either one works very well here. 

4. MienChoice   
    6 HP/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Ability: Reckless
    Adamant @ Choice Band
    -Hi Jump Kick   
    -Stone Edge
    -Aerial Ace
            Choice Banded Mienshao serves a different role than its Scarf counterpart, and that is to hit things hard. With Hi Jump Kick and Reckless, Mienshao becomes more powerful than even Choice Banded Adamant Terrakion, which is quite a feat to accomplish considering it is nearly just as fast. In UU, not many things can live a Hi Jump Kick from this set, meaning that you’ll be catching a lot of things off guard with your sheer outright power. Because of this, as always, team support will help optimize this set.
            Because the Adamant nature loses out on a little bit of Speed here, you’ll want to use something fast to make up for and take out the quicker threats that Mienshao might have trouble with (such as Azelf, or Flygon, to name a few). Maybe using your own Choice Scarfer could help greatly to patch up this lack in outright Speed. Also, because of Mienshao’s notoriety as both a powerful and versatile offensive threat, it is likely to force  a lot of switches from things like Scrafty, Snorlax, Porygon2, etc. For this reason, entry hazards will be a great aid to this set, as with any other.


5. Mienshao, Would You Knock it Off Already?!
    4 Hp/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Life Orb/Leftovers
    -Knock Off/Substitute  
    -Hi Jump Kick    
    -Stone Edge/U-Turn     

             Of course, where would I be without my somewhat-gimmicky sets. Here I’d like to believe that this set has the potential to cripple and possibly kill most of Mienshao’s common counters and checks, such as Slowbro, Azelf and any Ghost type. Using the logic that Mienshao will likely be forcing a lot of switches, you can use your awesome prediction skills to know when your opponent is going to send something in to wall or outrun Shao, smacking them with a Knock Off or Toxic (or setting up a safe Sub) and likely crippling their initial strategy (and definitely confusing the **** out of them!).

            Afterward, you may either fire off a Hi Jump Kick or U-Turn out to an appropriate check/counter. Stone Edge is also a great option here, as it can kill opposing Chandelure on the switch.

This set has the potential to work because it allows you to weaken something that would otherwise win one-on-one against Mienshao so that once it’s finally gone, Shao or something else on your team can remove the remainder of the weakened threats.

6.  Life Orb + 3 Attacks
    4 Hp/252 Atk/252 Spe
    Jolly @ Life Orb
    -Hi Jump Kick  
    -Stone Edge    

             Just like a standard offensive set, but with a small addition. With Protect or Sub, Mienshao’s ability to scout opposing threats is made apparent here. Using one of the aforementioned scouting moves, you can ease your prediction greatly, shedding light on how to react to an opponent’s Pokemon. Protect gives you the ability to determine (possibly) whether an opponent is Choiced or not, and also shows a bit of their strategy to taking your Mienshao down. once you have learned of this, you are free to act accordingly, giving you a slight edge.


            Mienshao is a fantastic addition to the competitive metagame with its great stats, typing and abilities. Additionally, its ability to beat out its own counters with some advanced prediction and rather unconventional sets make it a great strategy Pokemon for those who enjoy playing mindgames, or just altogether catching your opponent off guard. Definitely try out Mienshao on a UU team sometime soon, because it may not last there for long!

Competitive Usability: 

  • STAB Fighting and a movepool with good coverage.
  • Great Offensive stats across the board.
  • STAB Hi Jump Kick boosted by Reckless
  • Regenerator, to make up for its frailty.
  • Very fragile.
  • Narrow Special movepool.
Verdict:  8 out of 10 

            Mienshao looks like a weasel with long, floppy hands. Its coloration and design are also rather unconventional for a Fighting type. The good thing about all of this is that Mienshao is pretty unique, both as a Fighting type and as a Pokemon in general. The bad is that it’s actually kinda creepy, and I’m not entirely sure what type of look its designers were really trying to depict.
Aesthetic Design:  6 out of 10

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