by Dillon P
Every time I look at Granbull, I imagine Denis Leary’s ladybug character from “A Bug’s Life” yelling “So! Being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl! Is that it?!” I’m sure Granbull didn’t ask to be a Fairy type, but we can’t deny the benefits it has brought him.
With the introduction of the meta-balancing Fairy type in Generation 6, many Pokemon were renovated with this new type, either having it added to its original typing or replacing its old typing completely. Snubbull and Granbull were subject to such a change, as their Normal typing was changed to Fairy. This new typing gave the often forgotten Granbull new life in a battling format heavily focused on Fairy types and their new potential roles. However, as many Fairy types were brought to the top of Smogon tier ratings, Granbull to this day is still lagging behind in the Rarely Used tier. Granted, Granbull does very well in this tier, but many players that focus on higher tiers may not be accustomed to the true utility this Pokemon has. Especially in a league format, Granbull’s constant overlooking can be detrimental to anyone foolish enough not to be scared of this thing.
The core of any Pokemon’s usefulness competitively is its stat distribution. Granbull has mediocre defense and special defense stats at 75 and 60 respectively, and an even lower speed stat at 45. However, Granbull packs quite the punch with it’s massive 120 attack, a base attack overshadowing higher-tier Pokemon such as Krookodile, Lucario and even Entei.
Of course, an impressive attack stat isn’t enough to warrant much attention from the competitive community. But luckily for Granbull, it has several ways to counter its shortcomings. Its pure Fairy typing certainly helps with its defenses, resisting Fighting, Bug and Dark, as well as being immune to the notorious Dragon type. Aside from this, one of Granbull’s most commonly used abilities, Intimidate, lowers the opposing Pokemon’s attack by one stage, helping Granbull live that one hit and strike back with a vengeance. To make up for its low speed, Granbull has another ability called Quick Feet, doubling its speed from a base of 45 to a much more respectable 90, making it a real problem for many unsuspecting opponents. If Intimidate is too important an ability to give up, having Thunder Wave in a move slot will certainly help, cutting the target Pokemon’s speed to a quarter of what it was.
Speaking of move slots, another key to any halfway decent Pokemon is a diverse moveset, and Granbull has quite the diversity. Of course it knows Play Rough, currently the hardest-hitting (and only, believe it or not) physical Fairy-type move there is, but it knows a plethora of other useful moves: Close Combat, Crunch, Rock Slide, Low Kick, Stone Edge, Wild Charge, Iron Tail, OUTRAGE! Not to mention Thunder, Fire/Ice Punch/Thunder/ Fire/Ice Fang (if you need all of those at once), as well as its best answer to its only two weaknesses in Poison and Steel, Earthquake. Even if you want a bulkier support Granbull, you have plenty of options with the aforementioned Thunder Wave, along with moves like Heal Bell, Reflect, Taunt, Torment and Roar. The best part about this immense diversity is that you can mix and match to your play-style, and THAT is what’s most dangerous about Granbull in a league format.
Many people only see Pokemon based only on their tier ratings and fail to look past OverUsed and UnderUsed for a Pokemon’s potential, but there are many low-tier Pokemon that are low-tier for one reason: someone else does their job better. In Granbull’s case, Mega Mawile, Mega Altaria and Azumarill are very, VERY hard-hitting physical Fairy-type Pokemon, but in a league format, they usually get drafted in the first or second round (Yes, I know Mega Mawile is in Ubers, and it still makes me sad to this day).
So when your turn to draft comes around and you find that your team is made up primarily of special attackers, or your team is particularly Outrage-able, don’t forget about little Granbull sitting in RU. It’s always better to have its fangs facing down the field away from you as opposed to the other way around, as your opponents will surely discover.
[October 6th, 2016]