Granbull, The Fairy Pokémon. It is timid in spite of its looks. If it becomes enraged, however, it will strike with its huge fangs. It can make most any Pokémon run away simply by opening its mouth wide to reveal its big fangs. It is actually timid and easily spooked. If attacked, it flails about to fend off its attacker. Because its fangs are too heavy, it always keeps its head tilted down. However, its bite is powerful.
Up until now, Granbull has had a hard time standing out in competitive play. In GSC, Game Freak released it alongside Ursaring, a Pokemon not only with identical typing, but also with equal HP and Defense stats and higher stats literally everywhere else. All that Granbull really had to set itself apart was Heal Bell. RSE gave it Intimidate, but even then there was only so much it could do defensively with only one immunity and no resistances to speak of, and Ursaring still outclassed it offensively. DPPt gave Granbull Quick Feet, a cool offensive ability…oh yeah, and they gave it to Ursaring too. Bummer. Thankfully, XY finally gave Granbull exactly what it wanted: something to help it carve its own niche. Okay, that was incredibly vague. More specifically, they gave it a brand new Fairy typing. Part of me wonders if they really didn't want to make it a Fairy Pokemon at first but then realized that they kinda brought it upon themselves when they named its species "the Fairy Pokemon," but I digress. With its newfound typing, Granbull finally has a niche of its own since, thanks to Intimidate, it's the most physically defensive Fairy in the game bar Fairy Arceus (technically Mega Mawile beats it after normal Mawile's Intimidate, but that only works once). While it's still outclassed for the most part as a supporting tank in standard environments like OU and Battle Spot, it's a solid pick for lower tier play.
Intimidate: Upon entering battle, the opponent's Attack is lowered one stage. This has always been an excellent ability for any Pokemon, and Granbull is no exception. Combined with its great typing, Intimidate makes Granbull a solid physical tank.
Wow. Very Bulk. Much Tank.
If there's one thing Granbull's really good at, it's tanking physical hits (and to a smaller extent, dishing them out as well). It's a pretty solid answer to a lot of RU's top threats such as Druddigon, Gallade, physical Sharpedo, and Hitmonlee. Thankfully, Game Freak didn't pull another Flareon here, so Granbull has a pretty good physical STAB to work with in Play Rough. Earthquake pairs really nicely with Play Rough, hitting most Pokemon that resist Granbull's STAB for neutral or super effective damage while offering solid power in general with no drawbacks. Between these two moves and its impressive Attack stat, there aren't a lot of offensive Pokemon that are comfortable with taking Granbull's hits. Next we have our support moves. Thunder Wave is a solid move for crippling just about any offensive Pokemon. Nothing likes being paralyzed, especially if they're a frail sweeper. What's more is that Granbull is just fast enough to outspeed everything slower than a Choice Scarf Delphox once the opponent has been paralyzed. Heal Bell is another great support move, and Granbull is one of the best users of the move in lower tiers. Due to its solid Intimidate-boosted physical bulk and good typing, Granbull can find plenty of opportunities to switch in and use the move to heal both itself and its teammates from status inflictions. This makes Granbull a good choice on both defensive and offensive teams that don't want to deal with status wearing their Pokemon down or stopping sweepers in their tracks. The given EV spread maximizes Granbull's physical bulk. Just to put this into perspective, Choice Band Terrakion needs Stealth Rock and 3 layers of Spikes just to ensure that Stone Edge will 2HKO Granbull on the switch. However, running more Attack investment is also viable. If you don't need Granbull to wall opponents quite as much, you can give it more power to strengthen its solid neutral coverage while still having enough bulk to take a couple of hits.
Roar, Rest, Sleep Talk, Thunder Punch, Ice Punch, Fire Punch, Fighting-type attacks, Crunch, Payback, Super Fang, Toxic, Bulk Up, Taunt, Quick Feet
Double & Triple Battle Options
Jumping into X and Y, Granbull's typing changed. Now instead of being weak to fighting, it's now resistant to it, alongside Bug and Dark. Given what Granbull has always had, was the type change significant enough to grant it a solid niche in competitive battling?
Arkwright & Granbull
The perfect switch in to Physically inclined Dragons right? Intimidate plus the immunity. Nothing can go wrong here. Wait.. what do you mean Garchomp used Rock Slide anyway? Why is Salamence using Fire Blast of all things?? Mega Charizard X Dragon Danced the turn I switched in?/ in Granbull's face? Why isn't this working?
Granbull has an impressive base attack of 120, the same as Arceus. But that alone (and even with Intimidate) won't allow it to do its job properly. in the few examples above it should be noted that Granbull, despite being a fairy, is not THE counter to dragons. It will actually be hard pressed to land a clean hit on any dragon not named Dragalge or Mega Ampharos, and even then Play Rough hits only 90% of the time.
Play Rough is now Granbull's hardest hitting STAB, there's no reason to not use it. Stone Edge hits single targets harder just by being a single target move, not to mention its higher than normal crit rate. Rock Slide is for if you can depend on Trick Room being up with Granbull so that opposing flinches are a possibility. Close Combat is there because it's a strong Fighting type attack and also encourages the "hit and run" play style suggested. Payback can be stronger than Crunch if you know you're going to be hit first, otherwise in Trick Room, Crunch is probably the better option. It also allows Granbull to not be completely helpless when facing Aegislash.
So the idea is to switch Granbull in on something that doesn't want to be intimidated and then depending on what you know of your opponent's team, predict what they might switch in and attack accordingly. With the Choice Band, it's going to hurt no matter what they send in, assuming you've hit for at least neutral damage. And that is where the fun ends with Granbull usually. With Intimidate and Choice Band, it's usually best to switch out after that.
The ideal partners for Granbull would be Trick Room users or U-Turn/Volt Switch users. Trick Room because it has base 45 speed, which means Carbink and Weedle are faster than you normally. And U-Turn/Volt Switch users because Intimidate forces switches more often than not, utilizing U-Turn/Volt Switch may put you ahead of the game for a bit.
Granbull's speed and generally poor defenses hold it back from being able to deal consistent damage. Yeah, intimidate helps its physical defense, but are you really going to switch/keep Granbull in on Mega Mawile? Scizor? Aegislash? I would hope your answer would be NO.
Bronzong can tank either of Granbull's main attacks easily, and Thunder Wave only boosts the power of its Gyro Ball. In fact, Bronzong's Gyro Ball goes from a possible 8HKO to a guaranteed 2HKO after paralysis. Rhyperior is only 5HKOed at best by Granbull's Earthquake and is immune to Thunder Wave. It can then set up Stealth Rock on Granbull or just 3HKO with its own Earthquake. Aromatisse can take hits all day, heal off the damage with Wish, cure paralysis with Aromatherapy, and wear Granbull down with Moonblast. In fact, just about any Pokemon that can take a Play Rough and Earthquake and doesn't mind / is immune to / can heal paralysis checks Granbull. Pokemon with strong STAB Poison- or Steel-type attacks can hit Granbull super effectively and hopefully take it out. Likewise, due to the fact that Granbull is so specialized as a physical tank, powerful special attackers can hit its weak point and beat it down. Taunt users ruin Granbull's ability to use its support moves, which is a major part of its purpose on any given team. The fact that Granbull has no reliable recovery often leaves it unable to wall opponents for long time periods (unless it has RestTalk), so even if you don't have a foolproof answer to it, you can generally beat Granbull simply by attacking outright and eventually putting it down like Old Yeller (R.I.P.).
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