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 swings its long pincer horns wildly to attack. During cold periods, it hides deep in forests. With its pincer horns, it digs burrows to sleep in at night. In the morning, damp soil clings to its body.
You know, RBY Pinsir would have made a really cool Normal-type. It would have been the strongest Normal Pokemon by a good margin, and it had a great bunch of Normal moves (even Slash), Fighting coverage for Rock-types, and even Seismic Toss for Gengar (Seismic Toss used to ignore immunities). But alas, Game Freak made it a Bug without a single good STAB move to call its own. The next generation, they made Heracross, a Pokemon that does pretty much everything that Pinsir could do better. It goes without saying that Pinsir has never really had a chance to bask in the limelight like many other Bugs. XY finally gave us Mega Pinsir, a Pokemon that wreaks havoc in standard environments, but regular Pinsir still just faces way too much competition from other Pokemon to warrant usage on a serious team. If you're using Pinsir, you need to be using the Pinsirite. If you can't fit Mega Pinsir on your team for some reason, then you're a lot better off using Heracross than plain ol' Pinsir.
+Base 125 Attack is pretty solid. If there's one thing you can say about Pinsir, it's that it has some real muscle going for it.
+Despite having a disappointing HP stat, base 100 Def gives it a bit of sturdiness on the physical side so that it won't just roll over and die to just any attack.
+Pinsir's movepool is pretty decent. It has plenty of physical coverage moves (especially Fighting-type attacks), Knock Off, and even Stealth Rock.
+Pinsir has a decent collection of abilities, each of which is at least somewhat useful.
+It can Mega Evolve, so you don't have to deal with normal Pinsir for more than one turn!
-Base 85 Speed is kind of on the slow side. Pinsir isn't going to be sweeping much any time soon.
-While it can take physical hits decently enough, its special bulk is really bad.
-Bug typing leaves Pinsir with 3 fairly common weaknesses, including one to Stealth Rock.
-In a way, Mega Pinsir is also bit of a negative. At least in earlier generations, Pinsir had a niche in lower tiers. Now, thanks to Pinsir's Mega form causing it to rise to OU usage, regular Pinsir can no longer be used in those same environments.
-Heracross exists, and it outclasses Pinsir for the most part with its secondary Fighting-type (better offensively and defensively), lack of a Stealth Rock weakness, more rounded bulk, and much stronger Bug STAB in Megahorn.
Hyper Cutter: The opponent cannot lower this Pokemon's Attack stat. This is a decent ability since it blocks Intimidate from Pokemon such as Gyarados, Mega Manectric, and Landorus-T. This is great when you want to Mega evolve since it makes the latter two much less reliable checks.
Mold Breaker: This Pokemon's moves are not affected by the opponent's abilities in battle. Essentially, you can smack Rotom-W with Earthquake and Stealth Rock through Espeon's Magic Bounce. This is also a decent ability for Mega evolving since it discourages Rotom-W (one of Mega Pinsir's best checks) from switching in.
Hidden Ability (Available):
Moxie: Attack is raised by one stage whenever this Pokemon knocks out another Pokemon. Much more situational for Mega evolving, and any attempts to use this on regular Pinsir are overshadowed by Heracross.
The Lesser of Two Weevils
-Stone Edge / Earthquake / Close Combat
Item Attached: Focus Sash / Life Orb
Ability: Mold Breaker / Hyper Cutter
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Pinsir does have one little thing that Heracross doesn't have: Stealth Rock. While it isn't a great Stealth Rock lead – or even a decent one, for that matter – it still gets the move and is capable of using it. One cool thing about Pinsir is that it can threaten opposing Deoxys-D/-S leads with STAB X-Scissor, and it can even bypass Espeon's Magic Bounce to prevent it from bouncing Stealth Rock back. It's not a huge deal, but it's something. Knock Off is another pretty cool move, arguably one of the best in the game. While Pinsir may not be able to KO many Pokemon or do a ton of damage on its own, it can at least set up Stealth Rock and do a little damage and/or remove an opponent's item with Knock Off, so at least it won't be completely useless. The last moveslot is dedicated to coverage. Stone Edge does decent damage to Zapdos and Mandibuzz, two common Defoggers, so it can at least put a little pressure on them and prevent them from removing Stealth Rock as easily. Combined with X-Scissor for the Lati twins, you actually threaten a decent number of Defoggers. Stone Edge also prevents Charizard from coming in easily and getting a free turn to Mega evolve. However, Earthquake also offers solid coverage and hits a few Pokemon such as Bisharp, Terrakion, and Heatran harder than its other moves. It even slams Rotom-W if you're using Mold Breaker. Likewise, Close Combat hits some of those same Pokemon while also hitting Pokemon such as Chansey and Ferrothorn harder. Either move also hits Excadrill, the best Rapid Spinner out there, so you can keep it from removing Stealth Rock easily as well. One big downside to Pinsir is that it isn't taking many hits, so Focus Sash ensures that you'll at least survive one attack and get Stealth Rock up. Still, Life Orb gives it a bit more of a punch in general and allows it to 2HKO physically defensive Mandibuzz with Stone Edge most of the time. Mold Breaker is probably going to be the best ability for this set it lets you ignore Espeon's Magic Bounce, and you can also hit Rotom-W with Earthquake as a bonus. Hyper Cutter ignores Intimidate, which is useful, but it's not like you pose a huge threat to common Intimidate users anyway. Adamant nature is chosen because if you're going to use Pinsir, you might as well take advantage of that beefy base 125 Attack while you're at it. But in all honesty, you're probably a lot better off using something like Deoxys-S or Terrakion as an offensive Stealth Rock lead. Either one can offer a lot more offensive presence than Pinsir and can actually do stuff outside of setting Stealth Rock and dying.
Swords Dance, Bulk Up, Brick Break, Smack Down, Substitute, Focus Punch, Quick Attack, Moxie, Pinsirite
Swords Dance and Bulk Up are decent boosting moves, but Pinsir isn't exactly the best Pokemon to abuse them. Swords Dance sets are still slow and easily revenge killed, and while Bulk Up makes Pinsir harder to take down on the physical side, it has an even harder time of boosting Pinsir's Attack quickly enough to actually sweep.
If you're going to lead with Pinsir, you can use Brick Break to stop the opponent from setting up Reflect and Light Screen with something like Deoxys-S. Too bad it's too weak to serve as a good coverage move.
Smack Down hits Zapdos and Skarmory so that you can follow up with a super effective Earthquake. In fact, it's probably your best bet at actually stopping Skarmory from Defogging all over you.
Like many Pokemon, Pinsir is capable of using the combination of Substitute and Focus Punch, but there are so many Pokemon that pull off "SubPunch" better.
Quick Attack is Pinsir's only form of priority, but unlike Mega Pinsir's Quick Attack, it does not get STAB and is very weak as a result.
Moxie sets with a Choice Scarf seem good at first, but Heracross does this so much better with STAB Megahorn and Close Combat, among its other advantages.
Seriously, just use Pinsirite. Mega Pinsir is an infinitely better use of a teamslot.
Double & Triple Battle Options
When was the last time you saw a Pinsir in Team Preview and assumed it wasn't holding a Mega Stone? Never? Well that just about sums up what can be said of Pinsir in a doubles environment. It's difficult being an offensively minded Pokemon when your only STAB is Bug. Base 85 Speed means it can outspeed Smeargle and a few other odds and ends Pokemon, but outside of Feint, it'll never outspeed a Talonflame, or (Mega) Charizard or Mega Kangaskhan, all very common and very dominant threats that it can't seem to do enough damage to before falling. It's weak to Rock Slide too and you STILL want to use it without a Mega Stone?
- Knock Off/Thief
Item Attached: Black Glasses
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 Attack / 252 Speed/ 4HP
The Brave nature of this Pinsir is merely reflective of it's trainer. The Black Glasses only bolster Pinsir's impressive Swagger. The opponent might become frustrated and hurt themselves all the more for it, also Black Glasses makes your Dark Move of choice a little stronger. Guillotine is Pinsir's ONE move that makes it stand out from the crowd of Bug Type Pokemon, but if Guillotine isn't allowed then Revenge is a fine choice too.
What do you mean this isn't a serious set? This is as serious as it gets for Pinsir sets, sure, you could advertise it has Mold Breaking (STABless) Earthquakes and strong (STABless) Fighting type moves... but if you're taking Pinsir that seriously you should probably put a Mega Stone on it.
Pinsir really isn't a hard Pokemon to counter. If you can handle stuff like Scizor and Heracross, you can probably handle Pinsir. Skarmory is a really good answer to it since it can take Pinsir's coverage moves easily and Defog away its Stealth Rock, although it does hate losing its item to Knock Off. Mega Scizor can do the same with Defog, and it also laughs at Knock Off and can use Bullet Punch to pick off Pinsir before it can move, so it can't just reset Stealth Rock before dying. Pinsir has 3 fairly common Fire, Flying, and Rock weaknesses, and there are plenty of Pokemon that have STAB or coverage moves of these types. Any of them can slam Pinsir and KO with these moves. Depending on the coverage moves Pinsir is running, many Pokemon such as Terrakion and Heatran can switch in with ease and KO Pinsir or force it out. Pinsir's special bulk is so bad that many neutral special attacks will 1-2HKO Pinsir. For instance, Greninja's Hydro Pump is almost always a OHKO from full health (which is why Focus Sash is so important). Bulky Fairy-types such as Clefable and Sylveon fear none of Pinsir's coverage moves and can set up their own forms of support all over it. I could go on and on. Unlike Mega Pinsir, regular Pinsir is very easy to keep in check and probably won't do much against a solid player other than get Stealth Rock up once, maybe do a little damage, and die.
I can still remember when Mega Pinsir was first announced and people were saying things like, "LOL Mega Pinsir sucks! Bug/Flying? Thanks for the 4x Stealth Rock weak Troll Freak!" Then we learned about Aerilate and how it makes Normal-type moves Flying-type and gives them a free Life Orb boost on top of that, and the rest is history. Mega Pinsir has pretty consistently been a very real threat that every team needs to take seriously. There's really no other way to say it: Aerilate-boosted Return is a nuke. It's so powerful that after a Swords Dance boost, even Skarmory struggles to tank it. Yeah, Skarmory struggles to tank a resisted hit. That's how strong this guy is. It even gets a decently strong priority move in Quick Attack, so you can't just toss a Greninja or something in front of it and expect it to die just like many other powerful sweepers would. That's not to mention that Flying is a pretty solid and easily spammed offensive type in general, and Mega Pinsir is one of the biggest reasons that "Fly Spam" is even a thing right now. That isn't to say that Mega Pinsir is without flaws (Bug/Flying typing is still pretty bad), but it's such a powerful Pokemon that its flaws are more than worth it. You need to be careful about including a solid check or counter to this guy on your team or you're going to get steamrolled.
+Aerilate is a fantastic ability, turning Return into a really powerful STAB move with great coverage in general and Quick Attack into a pretty strong priority move. This ability defines Mega Pinsir.
+Mega Pinsir has a really good base 155 Attack. It may not seem all that high given the inability to hold a boosting item, but given Mega Pinsir's access to a 133 BP STAB move and complimentary coverage with Earthquake, it's more than enough.
+65 / 120 / 90 defenses may not be stellar, but they're pretty good for an offensive Pokemon.
+Aerilate Quick Attack is a great priority move. Frailer revenge killers get demolished after a Swords Dance boost (i.e. Greninja has a great shot at being OHKOed from full health), and even sturdier ones can be wiped out with a little prior damage.
+Base 105 Speed is pretty good. There are still quite a few things that outspeed Mega Pinsir, but it does outpace a lot of common Pokemon and has Quick Attack to handle some of the faster ones.
+I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mega Pinsir with a Swords Dance boost is scary.
-Bug/Flying typing is not good at all. It leaves Mega Pinsir with a 4x weakness to Stealth Rock on top of several other common weaknesses. You'll definitely want Defog or Rapid Spin support when using this guy.
-With no way to boost its Speed, it's often reliant on Quick Attack to dispose of faster opponents, many of which much be weakened significantly first.
-Kind of a one-trick pony, although it's honestly a really good trick.
Aerilate: Changes Normal-type moves to Flying-type and increases their power by 30%. This is the ability that made Mega Pinsir the monster it is today. Return's base power is boosted to 199 after STAB and Aerilate, making it essentially a drawback-free Flying-type Self-Destruct, and Quick Attack becomes a Flying-type priority move with power just shy of an unSTABed Extremespeed. Yeah, it's good.
Item Attached: Pinsirite
Ability: Aerilate (Hyper Cutter / Mold Breaker on Pinsir)
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 Speed
Swords Dance Mega Pinsir is scary. Really scary. With Sword Dance, STAB, and Aerilate boosts put together, Return is going to slam anything that doesn't resist it really, really hard. Just a few calculations to show how powerful this thing is:
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Hippowdon: 318-375 (75.7 - 89.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Hippowdon: 427-504 (101.6 - 120%) -- guaranteed OHKO
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Skarmory: 140-165 (41.9 - 49.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 4 Def Skarmory: 184-217 (55 - 64.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+1 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Landorus-T: 286-337 (74.8 - 88.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Delphox: 648-763 (222.6 - 262.1%) -- guaranteed OHKO
252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Unaware Quagsire: 198-234 (50.2 - 59.3%) -- 79.3% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 0 Def Aegislash-Shield: 174-204 (53.7 - 62.9%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Zapdos: 198-233 (51.5 - 60.6%) -- 91.8% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 252 Atk Aerilate Mega Pinsir Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Rotom-W: 169-200 (55.5 - 65.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
Mega Pinsir 2HKOs all of these at the worst bar physically defensive Skarmory, and each of them is either a notable physical wall and/or a notable Flying-resistant Pokemon. Or a Delphox. Even physically defensive Skarmory is taking an upwards of nearly 50% from it, and specially defensive variants get 2HKOed. That's right, Skarmory. Great physical bulk. Flying-resistant. Still can't safely stomach a +2 Return without serious physical investment. Even Quagsire's Unaware won't save it due to the raw power of Return. Keep in mind, though, that you don't always need to set up Swords Dance as soon as you bring Mega Pinsir in. Sometimes it's best to just toss out a Return or two to weaken potential switch-ins and set up later when the opponent's team is weakened. Regardless, Mega Pinsir's combination of raw power, solid neutral coverage, and strong priority make it a nightmare for a wide range of Pokemon. Against slower opponents, only the bulkiest of walls can take a +2 Return or Earthquake, as shown in the calculations above. Against faster Pokemon, you need a Flying resistance or solid natural bulk and high health to survive a +2 Quick Attack. As far as ability choice goes, Hyper Cutter and Mold Breaker are both fairly useful. Hyper Cutter prevents Landorus-T from switching in and dropping your attack as you Mega evolve since switching has a higher priority than Mega evolution. This makes it a far less reliable switch-in unless you've already Mega evolved earlier in the match. On the other hand, Mold Breaker can be used to hit Rotom-W on the switch with Earthquake if you choose not to immediately Mega evolve. Even if you don't, the threat of a Mold Breaker Earthquake might still discourage one of Mega Pinsir's best checks from switching in. Keep in mind as well that you're going to want max Speed on this thing with a Jolly nature in order to outspeed several common Pokemon such as Garchomp, Mega Gardevoir/Medicham/Charizard X and Y, and Kyurem-B so that you can KO with a powerful Return.
Frustration, X-Scissor, Close Combat, Double Edge, Thrash, Façade, Feint, Bulk Up, Stone Edge, Moxie, Giga Impact
Frustration is literally the exact same thing as Return, so you could use that. A cool advantage is that it sometimes makes it harder for Ditto to revenge kill Mega Pinsir since, if Ditto has max happiness, it'll have a really weak Frustration. Of course, you could also run into a Ditto that runs 0 happiness just for Frustration Mega Pinsir, so it's kind of a coinflip anyway.
Some people look at X-Scissor and say, "Oh boy, STAB!" It doesn't actually hit much, though. It does a lot to Rotom-W, but it still only hits about 21% harder than Return and still just 2HKOs physically defensive sets.
Close Combat is sort of an alternative to Earthquake. It does hit Rotom-W harder than Return and allow Mega Pinsir to 2HKO physically defensive Skarmory at +2, but it also leaves you badly walled by Aegislash, which is a very bad thing. Not to mention the defense drops.
Double Edge seems like a good alternative to Return due to the 20% extra power, and it would be…except for the fact that it's illegal with Quick Attack. Priority is just too important to give up for that extra bit of power. Besides, there's also recoil to take into account.
Thrash also offers 20% more power over Return without the recoil or the illegality with Quick Attack. Unfortunately, locking yourself into such a move runs the risk of giving your opponent free turns to set up with a Flying-resistant sweeper or easily revenge killing Mega Pinsir.
Façade can be really, really powerful if you happen to get paralyzed, poisoned, or burned. At +2, it can knock off up to 2/3 of physically defensive Skarmory's health! However, getting that power boost is unreliable when you can't hold a Toxic Orb, and otherwise it's much weaker than Return.
Feint is a cool alternative to Quick Attack. With it, you can outrun opposing priority moves such as Talonflame's Brave Bird and +0 Dragonite's Extremespeed, which Quick Attack cannot do. Still, 25% power is a lot to give up, so it's considerably worse the majority of the time.
Bulk Up isn't a bad boosting move. After a couple of boosts, Mega Pinsir's Defense will be high enough to survive even Choice Band Talonflame's Brave Bird and such, but the quicker power boost of Swords Dance is generally much more worth it and easier to sweep with.
Stone Edge has minor use in being able to OHKO physically defensive Zapdos at +2, removing an otherwise solid counter, but there really isn't anywhere to put it without removing a far more important move.
Moxie seems like a good ability before Mega evolving. After all, if you can KO something as regular Pinsir, you get a free Attack boost. However, it's very situational, so you'll generally get more consistent use out of Hyper Cutter or Mold Breaker.
Do. Not. Use. Giga. Impact. There, I said it. I know it has effectively 293 base power after Aerilate and STAB, which is enormous, but it's not worth being locked into a recharge turn shortly after. You can get much more damage out of consecutive Returns and not leave yourself open to an easy revenge kill.
Double & Triple Battle Options
In Mega Evolving, Pinsir gains a secondary type in Flying, alongside Aerialate which breathes new life into some of Pinsir's old and looked over moves. It fears Rock Slide and Rotom like no other, but the proper team support will let it rip teams to shreds.
Item Attached: Pinsirite
Ability: Aerilate (Hyper Cutter on Pinsir)
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 252 Atk / 252 HP / 4 Speed
Adamant / Jolly Nature
Hyper Cutter? That's there in case your opponent switches in an Intimidate user or thinks they're gonna be clever and use Charm on Pinsir only to have their efforts be in vain.
Why not Quick Attack over Feint? Feint has +2 Priority, which means it can get a quick hit on Talonflame. Feint is also useful for it's original ability -- removing Protect/Wide Guard etc for the turn. Thanks to Aerialate, Feint is also part Flying, meaning it can hit and break Aegislash's King's Shield to allow Pinsir's partner to follow up with the KO hopefully. Pinsir will need Protect to scout for Rock Slides and the such, as it is very vulnerable to Super Effective attacks. Return is your strongest STAB attack now and X Scissor is your secondary STAB. Not terrible coverage at all.
Pinsir's partners will need to be able to handle Rotom-W/H and help shield it or discourage Rock Moves. Assault Vest Scrafty can switch in on predicted Rock Slides, intimidate the Rock Slider and take a special hit or two. Focus Sash/Lum Berry Bisharp would make a great partner too because of Defiant, the opponent would be less likely to spam their Intimidate Pokemon quite so much, and it presents possible mind games with Sucker Punch.
Pinsir I believe is better suited for Single Battles, if for nothing else, just because in Singles if it OHKOes it's opponent, it doesn't have to worry about it having a partner ready to attack it in return. Though to be honest, I've seen crazier things work before. Pinsir is strong, but it needs its support to pull its weight on your team.
Countering Mega Pinsir
Mega Pinsir is surprisingly difficult to wall. As shown in those earlier calculations, even some of the best bulky and/or Flying-resistant Pokemon struggle with it. Physically defensive Skarmory is probably your best bet since it avoids the 2HKO from Mega Pinsir's most common attacks even at +2, and it can either phaze it out and ruin its boosts, use Roost to wear it down with Rock Helmet, or attempt to KO with Brave Bird. Rotom-W and Zapdos can switch in on Swords Dance, tank a +2 Return, and threaten back with a super effective STAB attack (or even a burn, in Rotom-W's case). Other physically bulky tanks such as Hippowdon and Landorus-T can also switch in as Mega Pinsir boosts, take a hit, and KO back with Stone Edge or something. Outside of that, the best way to beat Mega Pinsir is to check it. There are quite a few faster Pokemon that can take a +2 Quick Attack and KO Mega Pinsir back. Pokemon such as Thundurus, Mega Manectric, and Choice Scarf Tyranitar all resist Quick Attack and can OHKO back with their STAB moves. Even Terrakion could be used since it has enough bulk to tank a Quick Attack and OHKO back. In fact, Talonflame and Dragonite both have strong priority moves that can outpace Mega Pinsir's Quick Attack and KO before it has a chance to move (although Dragonite needs significant prior damage to KO even with a Choice Band). Finally, just try your best to get Stealth Rock up and keep it on the field. Stealth Rock will knock off 25% of Pinsir's health when it first switches in and 50% after it Mega evolves, so it'll often be enough to keep pressure on it and prevent it from getting in and setting up easily.
Locations in Games
Safari Zone (LeafGreen)
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/LeafGreen (FireRed)
Snagged from Cipher Peon Grupel in Citadark Isle (XD)
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/LeafGreen (Colosseum)
Routes 229 (Pearl, Platinum)
Trade from Pearl/Platinum/HeartGold/SoulSilver (Diamond)
National Park Bug Catching Contest
Black 2/White 2:
Route 12, Lostlorn Forest Hidden Grotto (White 2)
Lostlorn Forest Hidden Grotto (Black 2)
Route 12, Friend Safari (X)
Friend Safari (Y)