Minior is arguably one of the cutest Pokemon we received this generation, but don’t be fooled by its appearance. Minior is an adorable ball of terror underneath that shell, and I expect it to make a big impact in league format, no pun intended.
The first thing you might notice about Minior is its unique ability, Shields Down. Shields Down means that once Minior’s HP drops into the yellow, its shell breaks away, and some crazy things happens to its stats. Like Aegislash’s ability Stance Change, Minior’s high defenses get delegated to its offenses, and its speed doubles, effectively making it one of the fastest new Pokemon in a generation full of slow, bulky threats. The only difference from Aegislash is that once that shell breaks off, it’s gone for good unless it gets healed above 50%, but it has no recovery moves besides Rest. I couldn’t even begin to describe what it would be like if Minior got a move like King’s Shield to send it back to its shell, but that’s beside the point. The fact of the matter is, with this unique ability and stat distribution. Minior has some great foundations laid to become an interesting defensive and offensive threat.
The first thing you have to understand about Minior, despite how you may have seen it used so far, is that it’s far from being just a one trick pony because of its ability. It’s easy to think of Minior as an excellent Shell Smash sweeper and call it a day, and while it does fill that role excellently, Minior’s potential would be wasted if that’s all it did.
This guy isn’t Crustle or something. (I still love you though, Crustle <3)
Truth is, in a draft league environment, Minior’s potential can be explored to the fullest.
Minior has a myriad of both offensive and defensive moves in its arsenal, and since Minior starts off as a defensive Pokemon, I’m going to talk about the more defensive side of its movepool first. Minior has access to Stealth Rocks, which is always sought after in league format. Reliable Stealth Rock setters tend to go fast; that being said, I wouldn’t rely on Minior to do the majority of your stealth rock setting, simply due to it not being a fully defensive Pokemon. But is it afraid to run Stealth Rocks on its moveset? Absolutely not. Minior makes a great back-up hazard setter if your main one has a bad matchup for a certain week.
Minior also gets access to Light Screen and Reflect, which are great support moves to have, and with 60/100/100 bulk with its shields up, it’s definitely a viable user of these moves. It’s also worth noting that Rest has interesting viability with Minior. It’s not a conventional recovery move by any means, but Rest opens some interesting doors since it’s the only way to get your shields back up. Minior has access to both Calm Mind and Cosmic Power, both of which it can spam until its shields go down. Then, with its shields down, it will be fast enough to go for a Rest and heal all the way back up to full. A set with Cosmic Power, Toxic, Sleep Talk and an attacking move would be the most defensive form of Minior that you could get away with. I’m not saying you should draft Minior just to run this set, but you could catch someone off guard with it if they plan for a more offensive Minior.
Lastly, it’s important to note that Minior cannot be statused while it’s protected by its shell. So not only can Minior serve these more supportive and defensive roles, but it can do that while being a status sponge as well.
But the offensive side of things is even more exciting. Minior, as I already expressed, is an excellent Shell smasher. That’s not only because of its ability, but because of its offensive movepool. Stone Edge and Earthquake are standard options. Acrobatics is a great move if you run White Herb, or even Weakness Policy if you’re incredibly daring. On the special side of things, you have Power Gem or Ancient Power, Dazzling Gleam, Psychic, and even Charge Beam if you are interested in the boosts. Solar Beam is also one more option, which works better on mixed sets (which are very viable) because if you use Power Herb, it allows you to use Acrobatics.
Another more offensive tool Minior has includes U-Turn, which doesn’t work out so well when you Shell Smash up, but it is a viable offensive move and it works well on offensive Stealth Rock sets. Explosion is one last notable option to hit hard on your way out before you die, and can be an effective way of trading Minior for one of your opponent’s more offensive threats in a match.
It’s because of these options that I think Minior has a surprising amount of potential for draft leagues. It has the versatility that makes a lot of good Pokemon great. So even if when tiers settle, and everybody gets used to Minior and realizes it might be “just okay” instead, I think Minior’s unique ability and movepool will keep it off the sidelines in draft league format.
So if you were thinking about drafting this cute little chunk of rock, I say go for it. Who knows? He could just end up being the surprise star of your team. Because just like his design, from a competitive standpoint, there’s a lot more to Minior than what you see on the surface.