Pinsir, The Stagbeetle Pokémon. It grips prey with its pincers until the prey is torn in half. What it can't tear, it tosses far. It has a pair of massive horns Protruding from the surface of these horns are thorns. These thorns are driven deeply into the foe's body when the pincer closes, making it tough for the foe to escape. Their pincers are strong enough to shatter thick logs. Because they dislike cold, Pinsir burrow and sleep under the ground on chilly nights. If it fails to crush the foe in its pincers, it will swing around and toss the opponent. Its two long pincer horns are powerful. Once they grip an enemy, they won't release until the foe is torn.
Pinsir spent all of the last generation in Heracross's shadow. It's tough work being a Bug type, but even a really well-built Bug type like Pinsir still struggles, especially when a similarly built but generally superior Pokémon is available. The fourth generation has gone some way to rectify the situation however, and whilst there isn't a large world of difference between the pair, Pinsir is now more than “just a lesser version of Heracross.”
The most important change is the addition of X-Scissor. A good strong STAB was absent last generation, so this immediately set the tone for Pinsir's new lease on life. Mold Breaker was secondary. It isn't quite the kind of ability that strikes fear in the opponent's heart, but nullifying things like Weezing's Levitate gives it something new. Sadly, the big boosts (and the other little ones) aren't enough to lift it into any tier it's not seen before. It's still stuck rather firmly in the Underused tier, boasting a mammoth Attack stat and pretty solid sweeping potential, but suffering from a massive collection of weaknesses and a real exposure to the faster assortment of Pokémon who can target those weaknesses.
Mold Breaker: allows a move that would usually be blocked by an ability to strike the opponent as though there was no ability involved. For Pinsir, this refers mostly to Levitate, the critical-hit preventing abilities (Battle Armor and Shell Armor) and Marvel Scale, since abilities like Volt and Water Absorb don't concern a Pokémon lacking Electric and Water moves. It's a bit on the gimmicky side, but it's an interesting ability that can give Pinsir the edge now and again. In particular, Weezing can be floored by Earthquake and Pinsir can have a full-blooded hit on Milotic, and that's more than enough intrigue to make this ability interesting.
Hyper Cutter: prevents the enemy from lowering your Attack stat. Whilst it isn't new and shiny, it is actually worth some serious consideration for blocking opponent's Intimidates (and the rather scarcely seen stat-drop moves).
- Swords Dance
When you have a Base 125 Attack stat and Swords Dance, you know you've got mountains of potential. A STAB X-Scissor, Earthquake to hit Poison, Steel and Fire types and Stone Edge to hit Flying types is all it really needs.
Life Orb can be tagged on to amplify that already massive Attack stat. Leftovers is the alternative, to help recover some HP. It has some decent (physical) defensive stats, which can work with some resistances to take a hit or two, so there is a rather valid reason to value Pinsir's HP. The other reason to value its HP is Pinsir's Stealth Rock weakness, which really doesn't favour the use of an item that'll chip an extra 10% HP off with every attacking move.
Running around with a choice item is Pinsir's other big option. With a Choice Band, it's got mountains of Attack straight off the bat, with no lingering around waiting for stat boosts. With Choice Scarf, it has the pace to outrun almost the entire Underused metagame, and run riot with a very good Base Attack.
Close Combat is the new addition here. Whilst it doesn't cover anything in particular, it hits some of what Earthquake would hit (Steel and Rock types) with more power, and you do add some other common types like Normal to your super-effective repertoire. It's also your best bet for hitting Fighting types, who resist X-Scissor and Stone Edge.
EVs and Nature:
You want a Jolly nature for the Swords Dancer. It's all well and good stacking up all those boosts together, and Adamant could make a difference, but you want that edge in Speed more than you want that extra 10% power. 295 Speed isn't particularly special (importantly it's short of that 299 mark where the crowd of Base Speed 100 Pokémon linger), but it's a big leap up from 269 Speed.
As for the Choice move-set. You do want Jolly if you're running around with a Choice Band, for similar reasons. The 10% boost is nice, the extra Speed is nicer. If you're using a Choice Scarf, you have room to use an Adamant nature, since that added Speed doesn't make much of a difference except against some other Scarfers.
Stealth Rock, Quick Attack, Flail.
Stealth Rock is a usable option in Pinsir's hands. Whilst it doesn't compliment it perfectly, Pinsir does enjoy having Stealth Rock in place to chip off 25% HP from those pesky Flying and Fire types. In practice, you'd be sacrificing Swords Dance, but if you don't have any other Pokémon suited for the entry hazard job and don't want to place your faith in boosting, you can try it out.
Quick Attack goes nicely with a lot of boosts, helping out Pinsir in one of its weaker departments: Speed. You need a good boost to make it threatening, either Swords Dance or Choice Band, but even with its diminutive Base Power, it can do a decent job of striking the faster fragile Pokémon that linger in the Underused tier.
Flail can be teamed with Endure, Substitute or a Salac Berry. It isn't hugely effective without STAB behind it, but it's an excuse for Pinsir to handle a Salac Berry for a Speed boost and Swords Dance for an attack boost. It does require a bit of timing, since you're piling everything into one strategy, but when it works it works very well. Of course, when it doesn't work there's no going back.
Although it's got the ability to cut apart almost every Pokémon in the Underused tier, Pinsir is really exposed to “revenge killing” (faster Pokémon who switch in after it's performed a KO). It suffers from the massive collection of Bug weaknesses and lacks the defences to really do anything about them other than run. You can spare waiting for a team-mate to faint if you can predict when it'll use a Swords Dance, or which attack it'll use in the case of a Choice move-set. Not much can actually switch into it easily and threaten it though, so a lot rests on predicting against it.
As a Pokémon with both a Stealth Rock weakness and no reliable recovery move, any damage Pinsir takes will be fairly lasting. You can also pick at it with Burn and Paralysis, but otherwise it's just a matter of usual battle intelligence to manage it. Despite this rather hapless Counters section, it isn't the most dangerous Pokémon out there. It has world's of potential but that Speed stat mixed with those weaknesses is more than enough to hold it back.
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