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.
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.
The Lesser of Two Weevils
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
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?
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.
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: 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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