Tactical Tuesdays #15 – Granbull


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 Granbull! If you have any comments, questions, or requests, please leave them below.

#210 – Granbull

Species: Fairy Pokemon
Abilities: Intimidate, Quick Feet, Rattled (HA)
Height: 4’07
Weight: 107.4 lbs

Notable Moves:

Play Rough
Ice Fang
Fire Fang
Thunder Fang
Bulk Up (TM)
Earthquake (TM)
Thunder Wave (TM)
Stone Edge (TM)
Wild Charge (TM)
Power-Up Punch (TM)
Close Combat (Egg move from Primeape line, Zangoose, Infernape line, Lucario)
Heal Bell (BW2 Move Tutor)
Fire Punch (BW2 Move Tutor)
Thunder Punch (BW2 Move Tutor)
Ice Punch (BW2 Move Tutor)


Granbull, the Fairy Pokemon, is one of the few Pokemon across the main series games to have its type completely retconned. Debuting as a run-of-the-mill Normal type in Generation II GSC, Granbull didn’t have much going for it up until this generation. In fact, Granbull was completely outclassed by a huge number of other mono-Normal types through Generation II through V, mainly because it didn’t have too much special to bring to the table. Like other Normal types, Granbull had an above-average movepool that gave it better coverage than your average attacker, although this was hardly a trait that set it apart from anything. The only other thing that stuck out about Granbull was it’s awesome base 120 Attack stat, but even with that and its move-pool, its other base stats were so horrendous that it found itself almost exclusively in the NU tier. In a lot of ways, gaining the Fairy type in Generation VI did little to help it that much. But a buff is a buff, and now being exclusively Fairy type, along with being one of the few physically-oriented one of the type, has made Granbull a little bit better than a punch line in today’s meta.

Indeed, being a Fairy type is all that keeps Granbull afloat. Boasting new resistances to common attacking types in Fighting and Bug somewhat masks its pitiful defenses, along with the ever-useful immunity to the powerful Dragon type. New offensive weapons in the form of the pseudo-rare Play Rough on top of its usual coverage has also made it a bit more formidable with its still excellent base 120 attack. But other than that… it’s somewhat difficult to recommend Granbull in higher tiers. But with a new home in the UU tier, there’s plenty of uses for it.

Although Granbull’s move-pool isn’t exactly the most expansive of all Pokemon, it still offers excellent coverage. What pops out the most is Granbull’s rare access to every form of elemental Fang and Punch, meaning that it can instantly get a good method of inflicting Ice, Fire, or Electric damage. Granbull also has access to other powerful physical attacks that offer a bit higher base power than the Fang and Punch elementals in Close Combat, Wild Charge, Earthquake, and even the strange choice of Outrage. With all things considered, there’s quite a lot to work with when it comes to what Granbull can throw at opponents, offering some good flexibility.

But what truly is the weirdest thing about Granbull is that, despite its rather pathetic offensive presence, it gets a handful of nice support moves. Thunder Wave is the number one way to bypass it’s middling speed that greatly holds in back, and Heal Bell is considered the quintessential support move that erases all stat from your entire party. Roar also offers some nice situational utility, and it able to shut down any opposing Substitute users that would attempt to take advantage of it. Unfortunately Granbull doesn’t have the greatest stats to properly use those options, but it’s worth noting that it is its dual support-attack nature that can make Granbull somewhat unpredictable as to what set its running, as they vary considerably and differ wildly.

All in all, Granbull is a Pokemon that can be considered “average” without much debate. But if you’re able to fit it into a team in the lower, Azumarill-less tiers that can take advantage of a support-based Pokemon that uses its fangs in a terrifying fashion, Granbull might be worth playing around with, if only for the STAB Play Roughs it can fire off.

Stats Breakdown:

HP: 90 – Decent, but there are other Normal types that are better
Attack: 120 – Excellent, being Granbull’s only really good stat
Defense: 75 – Okay, but nothing to write home about
Special Attack: 60 – Terrible, which is kind of a shame since its special move-pool is pretty good
Special Defense: 60 – Terrible, only making Granbull’s defensive woes worse
Speed: 45 – Horrendous, and probably the one thing that makes Granbull so “meh”

Viable Sets:

1.) “Let the Dog Out”

[email protected] Orb
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Adamant
EVs: 252 HP, 252 Attack, 4 Defense
– Play Rough
– Thunder Wave
– Close Combat
– Earthquake

– Granbull’s speed is so pathetic that it’s almost never worth investing in at all. With that in mind, maximum attack EVs are necessary to make sure that Granbull can hit as hard as it possible can with its decent move-pool, and a Life Orb helps it along even better to make use of the few turns you’ll probably have to attack. Max HP EVs are also used in conjunction with Intimidate to make Granbull’s physical bulk a bit better, although you’ll still have to be wary of special attackers.

– Play Rough is good mandatory STAB, and is actually the only physical Fairy-type move in the game as of right now, making it fairly valuable. In the tiers that Granbull is usually used in Fighting coverage is a very good thing to have, and firing off Close Combats with Granbull’s natural attack stat and a Life Orb wrecks defensive types of the tier, namely common Steel and Rock types such as Steelix, even if they’re dedicated walls.

– Thunder Wave is a good support option that also helps to remedy Granbull’s pathetic speed; like Togekiss up in OU, Granbull’s “sweeping” potential is much better if it can get lucky and Thunder Wave on a switch once its has forced out a Pokemon with its fearsome coverage options. Since Granbull is prone to either OHKO or THKO much of the tier, a paralyzed opponent makes it that much easier.

– I really like Earthquake, as its an incredibly powerful option with no drawbacks on Granbull itself. Play Rough has an annoying 90% accuracy that WILL miss when it hurts you the most, and Close Combat lowers Granbull’s already average defenses even more. Earthquake hits many power-creeps of the tier, mainly high-profile Fire-types that switch in hoping to resist the incoming Play Rough.

2.) “Guard Dog”

[email protected]
Ability: Intimidate
Nature: Impish
EVs: 252 HP, 252 Defensive, 4 Attack
– Play Rough
– Thunder Wave
– Heal Bell
– Roar/Earthquake

– In a weird twist of fate, Granbull is actually decent in another role that doesn’t fully utilize its massive attack stat; that of a physically bulky support Pokemon that’s great at switch into physical attacks with good utility options. Just like before, Intimidate boosts Granbull’s physical resistance on top of the EV spread that functionally makes it a dedicated wall that can hit back pretty hard, making it more of a tank than anything else.

– Thunder Wave serves the same use as above, although with this set its more geared towards slowing down faster threats or Choice Scarf users down the line so that your sweeper can more easily clean up. Heal Bell is among the best support moves in the game, and with the ample opportunities that Granbull will have to switch in due to its EV spread, you’ll quite a few Heal Bell opportunities that can relieve your team of annoying status effects.

– I think Roar is underrated in a lot of ways, but it really is among the best options to force out opposing Pokemon that attempt to set up in your face. Although, from my experience, this isn’t as useful in lower tiers, it’s still something good to consider given the role that Granbull is attempting to fill with this set. Should you find it useless, Earthquake hits everything that resists Play Rough (Steel, Poison, and Fire types) very hard.

– Play Rough could be the one attacking option that Granbull has, and isn’t really a bad thing with the ample support that this Granbull can provide.


- Did you know that the Bulldog is the most common college mascot in the United States? That goes to show the fondness that a lot of people have for the pudgy breed of dog, and that favoritism certainly carries over to Pokemon. Although outclassed and underwhelming in a lot of aspects, there’s still a certain satisfaction from using a purple Bulldog that looks kind of adorable.

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