Pokemon of the Week #1: Bisharp

Hello Hat Lovers!

Today we’ll be starting the weekly series Pokemon of the Week. The previous Charizard and Aegislash articles have been retroactively made a part of the series so our first official article shall be the third in the series.

The first Pokemon for the official series is Bisharp. Bisharp is a Dark/Steel type introduced in generation five. Bisharp is known for two things: It’s ability Defiant and Sucker Punch. Bisharp’s name has often been noted as similar to a Bishop from Chess, which is fitting because Bisharp makes the game more like a chess match with all the prediction it brings to the match.


Ability
Bisharp has three abilities, Defiant, Pressure, and Inner Focus. The only ability Bisharp should ever consider is Defiant. Defiant is the main selling point of Bisharp as a Pokemon. If Bisharp’s stats are lowered by an opponent its attack is boosted by two stages. This means Intimidate gives Bisharp a +1 boost to attack instead of a -1 drop. Defiant will make Salamence and other Intimidate users think twice about leading against a team with Bisharp.

Attacks
The most important attack for Bisharp is Sucker Punch. Sucker Punch is a base 80 Dark type priority move that only works if the target was using a damaging move that turn. With Bisharp’s fantastic attack stat it will be able to KO the fast and frail Pokemon before they can attack back.

Iron Head is the standard Steel STAB move for Bisharp. It deals great damage against Gardevoir and Tyranitar, as well as Pokemon that resist Dark.

From here another Dark move is often used so Bisharp doesn’t need to rely on Sucker Punch as its only Dark move. Night Slash has been the standard in the past, with 70 base power and a heightened critical hit rate.

Another move that’s been seeing a rise in popularity lately is Assurance. Assurance has a base power of 60 but if the target has taken damage already Assurance deals double damage. Between the initial damage that triggered Assurance the effective base 120 damage Bisharp will be able to finish off most opponents.

Protect is a standard move for VGC that Bisharp should carry. Another option to use either alongside or instead of Protect is Quick Guard, which blocks all priority moves targeting either of your Pokemon. This allows Bisharp to block opposing Sucker Punch and Brave Bird, as well as shut down any Prankster Pokemon trying to ruin your day with Swagger.

Standard Bisharp

Bisharp @ Life Orb
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Sucker Punch
– Iron Head
– Assurance / Quick Guard
– Protect / Quick Guard

This is what I consider to be the standard way to play Bisharp. Life Orb boosts your damage output to help Sucker Punch pick up important KOs on Pokemon such as Salamence, as well as make Assurance an even greater threat. 252 Attack should be used on every Bisharp. I’ve opted for 252 speed to get the jump on Rotom, Tyranitar, and Gardevoir (barring Choice Scarf sets for these Pokemon.) The last 4 went into HP for no special reason.

Depending on the teammates you pair Bisharp with you may need to lower its speed so that they can attack first and give Assurance full power.

One neat idea employed by Wolfe Glick of Eggy Emporium was to use an HP IV of 29 and 0 HP EVs to reach an HP of 139. This reduced Life Orb damage by 1 so his Bisharp would have more HP in the long run. While this idea is clever I think its a bit excessive and wouldn’t bother breeding for it. I doubt the extra recoil makes the difference in the long run.

Choice Band Bisharp

Bisharp @ Choice Band
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Sucker Punch
– Iron Head
– Assurance
– Sleep Talk

With Bisharp’s massive attack stat and strong priority move Choice Band makes a lot of sense. Sleep Talk has taken the place of Protect to help deal with Dark Void and Spore.

Swords Dance Bisharp

Bisharp @ Focus Sash
Ability: Defiant
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Adamant Nature
– Sucker Punch
– Iron Head
– Swords Dance
– Protect

Swords Dance is the most dangerous set for Bisharp, for both players. Its tough to get a free Swords Dance but once you do your opponent is only going to be more afraid of Bisharp. Because of Swords Dance I’ve given Bisharp a Focus Sash to allow it to survive a hit instead of an item that boosts Bisharp’s power.

Teammates
Because of Defiant Bisharp punishes Intimidate users, so a team full of physical attackers is a good place for it. With a Defiant boost Bisharp OHKOs Salamence with Sucker Punch, giving its partner safety from the scarfed menace.

If you’re using Assurance then you’ll benefit from having faster Pokemon with spread moves such as Charizard or Scarf Chandelure with Heat Wave, and Garchomp or Salamence with Rock Slide. Assurance is a great move but you don’t want to get caught double targeting a Pokemon using Protect.

Bisharp also works well with Pokemon that don’t enjoy facing Sucker Punch or Talonflame if it carries Quick Guard. Being able to shut down any Prankster is a godsend, and prevents the opponent from going Swagger GG against you.

For the Swords Dance set you’ll want partners that can help Bisharp set up, such as Kangaskhan with Fake Out or Greninja with Mat Block.

Counters
Pokemon that can out speed Bisharp and aren’t OHKO’d by Sucker Punch can keep it in check. Bisharp will have a hard time pulling its weight when staring down a Garchomp, unless its partner can deal with it. Kangaskhan can tank a Sucker Punch and KO back with Power-Up-Punch. Scarf Tyranitar isn’t afraid of Sucker Punch at all and can OHKO with Fire Blast.

Rage Powder and Follow Me prevent Sucker Punch from working properly, but most users are slow and must be wary of Assurance.

Rotom-H is a great answer to Bisharp, able to burn it or OHKO with Overheat. Caution must be used as Rotom-H will be KO’d by Assurance after taking chip damage earlier in the turn.

Conclusion

Bisharp is a strong force in the metagame, however if played incorrectly it will be dead weight on a team. It can’t just be slapped onto a team and expected to preform well, it needs to be thought about in relation to each member of the team, from which threats it covers for its teammates to the threats that its teammates will need to cover themselves, as well as the effects of having Defiant in team preview.

If you liked the series or want to see your favourite Pokemon featured next week let us know!

~Max

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2 comments

  1. Night Slash just isn't as good as Assurance when you have proper team support. A critical hit from Night Slash doesn't deal as much damage as a regular hit from Assurance if the target took damage earlier in the turn.

    Like

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