Should You Pull? Grimsley & Bisharp

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TL;DR: Should You Pull?

What Does It Do?

Teased during the Poké War event, Grimsley is here in a distinctly eastern garb alongside Bisharp to turn the tables. This variant of Grimsley originated in Pokemon Sun/Moon, and he sports a very interesting gimmick this time around. So, can this legendary gambler pull to an inside straight this time around? Let’s take a look.

Grimsley & Bisharp have a bit of an issue in terms of raw stats. Their Attack stat is usable, yet not great. Their speed is fairly lackluster. Even their bulk is virtually paper-thin. However, stats aren’t everything, and they do have the ability to break through this limitation to a certain degree. Iron Head starts Grimsley & Bisharp’s moveset as Bisharp’s only normal attack, and it’s exactly the same as it always has been: decent Steel Type damage with high odds of Flinching to sweeten the deal. Screech is next, and it drops the target’s Defense by 2 stages. Stay Sharp is Grimsley’s Trainer Move, and it... Is quite a piece of work. This gargantuan Trainer Move provides +6 Attack, +3 Critical Rate, the Super Effective Up Next effect, and the Endurance effect in its one use. However it also drops Defense and Special Defense to -6 each. Grimsley is a gambler, and OH BOY is this move a gamble! And yet, it seems that Grimsley may have stacked the deck in this case, as we’ll get to shortly. Finally, we come to Metal Burst. This is a counter-style move similar to what Wallace & Milotic have in Mirror Coat, where Bisharp will take up a posture on the turn that it’s used, and then will launch the attack when hit, dealing damage back based on the damage that it just received. This seems pretty strange for a frail Sync Pair, doesn’t it? Well, we’ll get to that soon. It has 1 use and counts as a Steel Type attack, so it is capable of dealing Super Effective damage on top of its normal multiplier.

With moves out of the way, Passive Skills are next. Unflappable is first, and it actually has nice synergy here as Bisharp does not want to be locked out of attacking due to Flinching. Full First Aid is next, and it works like its more common counterpart: recover HP when low on health. Except for the fact that this variant fully heals Bisharp’s HP when it is activated. Finally, we come to Grimsley’s Gambit, and the real gimmick behind this Sync Pair. When Bisharp uses the previously mentioned Metal Burst, this skill forces the next move used by the opponent to aim squarely for Bisharp, overriding any tactics that may already be set. Once Metal Burst has gone off, this skill will grant +6 Evasion and restore all of Bisharp’s lowered stats, basically turning the negatives of Grimsley’s Trainer Move into a method for dealing maximum damage, and then immediately patching up the hole that it left.

The long-and-short of Grimsley & Bisharp is to buff up/debuff the opponent, use Metal Burst, wait for Bisharp to take a hit and hopefully drop to 1 HP thanks to its now abysmal defenses and the Enduring effect that Grimsley’s Trainer Move grants, then laugh as Bisharp unloads a super-inflated counter, has its stats restored, fully recovers, and then proceeds to harass the opposition with Flinches, Defense drops, and strong Sync Moves. In particular, their Sync Move damage is actually quite high, dealing very respectable numbers when set up properly, especially when EX-unlocked. Overall, Grimsley & Bisharp’s kit works very efficiently towards their big goal. Much of what they have is designed to soften up the opponent, quickly buff up, and then force one huge counter with the potential for stupidly high damage. Metal Burst and its accompanying skill also have the benefit of relieving the team’s tank for a single cycle, which can provide a fair bit of team longevity if used against specific stronger moves.

But, sadly, we also need to deal with the negatives on this Sync Pair. As stated, their stats aren’t great, which leaves them lagging behind in terms of both Speed and damage-output aside from Metal Burst countering a strong attack and the occasional Sync Move. They also have to be very careful of strong AoE moves, as they are pretty vulnerable when not sporting an Enduring effect. And speaking of: their unique gimmick can only be performed one time per stage under normal circumstances. Even if you aim for an MP refresh tile on their grid, the lack of Endurance makes another go at Metal Burst very risky, as it could easily just outright KO. On top of that, Metal Burst also has the issue of doing literally nothing if not activated by the opponent, making Grimsley & Bisharp a potential lag on the Sync Move counter. It also doesn’t activate against Sync Moves, which Endurance also won’t protect against, so it’s very important to not risk being OHKO’d by a Sync after waiting too long to use Metal Burst. In short: Grimsley & Bisharp come in strong, but their damage output will quickly take a nose-dive, leaving them heavily reliant on Defense drops and Flinches to stay relevant in prolonged battles. 

Champion Stadium: Master Mode

Grimsley & Bisharp can easily set up an early-game Metal Burst for huge damage, but it’s important to know the attack order so that it’s not wasted on the wrong target or left active too long as the opposing team buffs up. Overall, they can perform very well here, unleashing the aforementioned Metal Burst and powerful Sync Moves to quickly beat down the opposition.

The Legendary Arena

If the boss has a specific single-target attack that deals high damage and comes at a specific point in the battle, then Grimsley & Bisharp can turn the tables with a bit of proper planning. The ability to Flinch and drop Defense are also useful in a number of stages, so they’re fine here but not necessarily the best for longer and/or hard hitting stages.

Extreme Battles

Appropriately, Grimsley & Bisharp are a bit of a gamble here. Using Metal Burst at the right time can easily obliterate one member of the opposing team, but poor timing can turn our dear gambling duo into dead weight that’s easily cut off by the opposing team, so figuring out which opponent uses what and when will be the key to victory.

The Battle Villa 

This is a bad idea in general. By design, Grimsley & Bisharp only one one real shot at performing their signature gimmick, so a marathon like the Battle Villa is not exactly their forte.

How To Use It?

These are generally the most important tiles on Grimsley & Bisharp’s grid:

  • Haymaker (⅗) is a very powerful staple tile, and it enables the majority of Grimsley & Bisharp’s damage outside of Metal Burst.
  • Iron Head: Aggravation 1 (⅗) gives Grimsley & Bisharp the majority of their Tech-oriented utility, as it greatly increases Iron Head’s Flinch odds.
  • Harry 3 (⅗) is great for Iron Head builds, as it stacks more damage onto what Bisharp will be doing anyway.
  • Metal Burst: Critical Strike 3 (⅗) is a top pick for helping to ensure that Metal Burst annihilates its target on use.
  • Iron Head: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) is a staple for helping with Bisharp’s lower speed when using Iron Head builds.
  • Risky Counter 9 (⅗) can be useful for ticking down the Sync Move timer, which is becoming more and more important as more and more timer-reducing Sync Pairs hit the field. It’s also great for compensating for the lack of Sync Move countdown when Metal Burst actually activates, which can put the next Sync Move farther out.

Next are the tiles that are nice to have, but are either niche or not generally worth going out of the way for:

  • Metal Burst: MP Refresh 4 (⅗) is here if you really want to try to catch lightning in a bottle twice in a battle, but a successful second activation can be difficult to pull off successfully, as we’ve already discussed.

Finally, these are the tiles that are probably best to ignore unless they somehow play into a bigger strategy in some way:

  • Metal Burst: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) will only have a chance to activate once, maybe more times if your build focuses on MP Refresh.
  • Stay Sharp: BOGO 9 (⅖) can be useful, as it’s intended to make Metal Burst free to use. However, it will only activate once under normal circumstances.
  • Critical Healing 2 (⅗) looks nice on paper, but in reality the healing that it provides will not do much for such a frail Sync Pair most of the time
  • Stay Sharp: Move Gauge Refresh 3 (⅖) is pretty much worthless. One shot at one bar is very underwhelming.

Lucky Skills

With the goal of unleashing a single blast of high damage backed by maxed Attack and Critical Rate followed by potentially snowballing attack damage, the clear winner here is Critical Strike 2.

Team Comps

The ability to instantly set up Attack and Critical Rate with no effective drawback is a huge boon for Grimsley & Bisharp, and it greatly reduces their support requirements. Offensively-speaking Move Gauge support/Speed is the number one item on the wish list, so Sync Pairs like Ingo & Excadrill, Masked Royal & Incineroar, or Kiawe & Alolan Marowak can do the deed extremely well. Note that we didn’t mention the normal go-to Speed buffer, Skyla & Swanna, here. That’s because their Speed buffs come packaged with Defense buffs. While this is great normally, it can be a waste if used early, due to the unique drop-and-reset gimmick that their Trainer Move and unique Skill have going on. Defense buffers are fine to bring along, and units like Caitlin & Sableye can be great partners, but just avoid buffing defenses until after Metal Burst has done its thing.

Is It Worth Pulling?

Right now, the answer is probably no. While an interesting Sync Pair to say the least with a very fun gimmick, we have the Christmas units well on the way, a new top-tier Support unit not long after, and even the absolutely amazing Lusamine & Necrozma on the near horizon. For now, saving your gems or just spending them elsewhere is probably for the best for most players, especially considering the fact that Grimsley & Bisharp are about to enter the general pool.

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About the Author(s)

Long-time Gamepress fan and writer for Pokemon Go and Pokemon Masters sub-site