Welcome back to Tactical Tuesdays, where we take a Pokemon every week and attempt to provide an in-depth competitive analysis of it. This week, we’re taking a look at Braviary! If you have any comments, questions, or requests, please leave them below.
Bulk Up (TM)
Steel Wing (TM)
Shadow Claw (TM)
Rock Slide (TM)
The terror of the skies approaches! Well, that’s what I thought when I first saw Braviary in my issue of Nintendo Power (RIP). Truth is that Braviary has a bit of a hard time differentiating itself from the plethora of Normal/Flying types that are sprinkled throughout the game. Namely, Braviary finds itself being pitted against the likes of Staraptor and Swellow as the meanest bird around. This is also reflected in Braviary’s rather low ranking on the tier list, being featured more prominently in the RU and NU meta-games. “But why?”, you may ask. After all, Braviary has a massive, if rather strange, 123 base attack, along with decent defenses and a surprisingly great base 100 HP stat.
Well, the answer to Braviary’s lowly status is definitely its lack-luster base 80 speed, something that’s actually kind of abnormal for Flying types such as himself. Stealth Rock is another reason why Flying types had to be especially good in order to make it in the likes of OU, and Braviary didn’t have too much to distinguish itself in that regard in Generation V.
In a lot of ways, Generation VI didn’t do too much for Braviary at all. There is one blessing in disguise, however, with the buff of Defog making one of Braviary’s biggest detractors a much, much less formidable threat, with Braviary being able to pack Defog himself. So, with those pesky rocks out of the way, it’s time to talk about what makes Braviary so special in today’s meta, and that reason can be found in its Hidden Ability, Defiant, and what it can do on top of Braviary’s already massive Attack stat. Defiant is an excellent ability that increases the user’s Attack for every other stat that’s dropped, be it from moves or other abilities such as Intimidate themselves. With proper prediction, or just capitalizing on your opponent’s ignorance to what Braviary can do, you can work these factors greatly to your favor on top of items such as a Life Orb.
So Braviary can hit hard, we’ve established that. What else can it do? Well, the true answer is that Braviary is ranked low for a reason. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun experimenting. A Choice Scarf set is among the best way to pop unsuspecting trainers that scoff at its low base Speed, and is a great option coming off of a base 80 that isn’t THAT horrendous. If you really want to go full Haymaker mode, a Choice Band can be used to even further push the bounds of what a Life Orb can do.
HP: 100 – Awesome, meaning Braviary’s defenses are better than you think
Attack: 123 – Excellent, lending itself to Sheer Force abuse and Choice Bands
Defense: 75 – Not that great, but its HP is a good substitute
Special Attack: 57 – Terrible, but rather irrelevant
Special Defense: 75 – Not that great, but its HP is a good substitute
Speed: 80 – Let’s face it: It’s bad, especially for a Pokemon with such a great attack stat
[email protected] Orb
EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 HP
– Brave Bird
– The flagship(lol) set of all things Braviary. A Life Orb skyrockets its attack to incredibly high levels, and offers versatility that Choice sets lack. If you’re looking for the most powerful option Braviary can provide without the unfortunate side-effect of choice-locking with other sets, this one is definitely for you.
– Although Braviary’s coverage could theoretically be better, this set does a pretty good job. Return acts as a powerful base 102 Normal STAB attack that does a great job against types that don’t resist it, and has no drawbacks at all from a recoil, accuracy, or stat-drop perspective. “Brave Bird everything” may be Talonflame’s mantra, but Braviary does just as well with it, and actually hits harder than Talonflame could ever hope to.
– Normal-Flying STAB is by no means a bad combo, but the reality of the situation is that Rock and Steel types would walk all over Braviary if all it had to defend itself was the Return-Brave Bird combo. Luckily, Braviary has access to the incredibly powerful Superpower to deal with both of those types. Although it works as a one-shot move that lowers Braviary’s attack, you’ll be doing some serious damage to Rock or Steel types just due to Braviary’s natural Attack + Life Orb.
– U-turn and Volt Switch are great moves to have on any Pokemon, as it’s basically switching with bonus damage added in. Braviary actually makes better use of U-turn than others like Forretress do with Volt Switch, because, again, its attack stat in conjunction with a Life Orb. Having a Bug-type attacking option also isn’t a bad thing at all, as there’s quite a few things you an hit super-effectively with the Bug type that you can’t hit with the other recommended move slots. Like always, you’ll have to stay on your toes and be able to properly predict when the best time to use U-turn is.
– In my trial runs, I didn’t find Roost too useful, as my priority was always crushing faces with an attacking move of choice due to the nature of the lower tiers I tried out. But like always, Roost is a great option to improve longevity if you need it, and may actually be a better option in higher tiers where I didn’t run any tests.
2.) “Choice of Freedom”
[email protected] Scarf
EVs: 252 Attack, 252 Speed, 4 HP
– Brave Bird
– Despite the choice of move slots being exactly the same (bar Roost, as recovery moves are incredibly rare on Choice sets), this set has a different motive in mind. Braviary’s middling base 80 speed is what arguably holds it back in this generation, and detractors that stand by that statement aren’t really wrong. A Choice Scarf is the best way to attempt to bring any given Pokemon up to par with speed that properly suits a sweeper, and base 80 isn’t a bad stat to boost with a Choice Scarf at all.
– I’d also recommend a Jolly nature for this one as, again, you’re aiming for a true sweeping role with this one. The EV spread is once again identical, although it’s worth noting that this set isn’t nearly as powerful as the first one mentioned above, which, in my opinion, lessens the effectiveness of the role that Braviary is best suited to fit.
– The coverage could be a bit more liberal on this one, although I’d still stick with Superpower and U-turn both, as they work very well on any Choice set. You could sacrifice Return for other options such as Shadow Claw, Rock Slide, or even Steel Wing according to what you think you might need, as it goes without saying that Normal isn’t super effective against anything.
3.) “Bulky Byrd”
EVs: 252 Attack, 252 HP, 4 Defense
– Bulk Up
– Brave Bird
– He may not look it, but Braviary has an awesome HP base stat of 100. Although I don’t think a pure defensive set is worth it with Braviary because of its lack of any type of support move bar the now-common Defog, I definitely think it means that Braviary can make great use of Bulk Up, which boosts its Attack and Defense by one stage. Bulk Up was made to turn Pokemon into terrifying tanks, and Braviary can make better use of it than you might think.
– Leftovers is good for residual recovery, but Roost is critical to make sure that Braviary can actually stick around long enough to get an adequate amount of Bulk Ups under its belt. It also helps that it mitigates Braviary’s Flying type for those pesky Rock and Electric type moves, although since Braviary is so slow, you might not make the best of it.
– I stuck with the dual-STAB combo on this one, just because it’s pretty awesome not matter how you slice it. If you’re able to get enough Bulk Ups off, Sheer Force might be able to do the trick for you and even take care of the annoying Rock and Steel types if they’re not completely dedicated physical walls. Be careful if you take this route though, as the last thing you want is to waste several turns setting up Bulk Ups only to be walled by a fully invested Rhyperior or Skarmory.
– If you don’t want to worry about the above bullet point at all, I’d recommend foregoing Return in order to bring Superpower back into the frey. Bulk Up mitigates the side-effect of Superpower, making it to where you can use it multiple times without dipping into the negative zone of Braviary’s Attack, while all the more getting better Defense.
- Braviary was instantly one of my favorite Gen V Pokemon when I first saw it, and I still love it to this day. Although its counterpart Mandibuzz got a far better new lease on life than it did this generation, I think Braviary is still worth a shot in the lower tiers. There’s something really fun about going for an all-out attack method, and this patriotic bird is able to do just that.