Bisharp – Battle Styles
Date Reviewed: May 8, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bisharp is a no-frills baseline Pokémon: no Rule Box, no giving up extra Prizes, no Battle Style, no naming-variant, none of that stuff. That can be good if keeping it simple lets it focus, or bad if the rest of the card is too vanilla and/or underpowered. Bisharp is a Metal type; not useful and not likely to become useful for exploiting Weakness, but with some strong support like Metal Saucer. The mixed blessing is that it also contains strong members like Zacian V… great when they play nice together, but a problem if the Metal-type in question clashes or just isn’t good enough to justify running alongside Zacian V.
Bisharp is a Stage 1, which on its own is decent. While they demand more than Basics, they still have a competitive presence in the metagame most Formats. Where it could hurt is if Bisharp is already underpowered, or if what it does right is specifically undermined through not being a Basic. 110 HP is not low enough for Level Ball, but isn’t high enough to be significantly more durable than 90 HP. 110 is still a probable OHKO, though it is resilient enough to not being a super easy OHKO. [R] Weakness is isn’t going to mean a lot with the HP, while [G] Resistance just doesn’t mean a lot due to the metagame. Still better to have any Resistance than none at all, though. The Retreat Cost of [C] is good; low and easy to pay, and it at least feels unusual on a Metal type.
Bisharp knows two attacks. “Slash” costs [C] and does 30 damage. For [MCC], “Steel Slice” does 90 damage, and if you’re opponent’s Active is a Metal type, then it does another 90, or 180 in total. Slash is vanilla filler, and I almost wish it was priced a tad higher given the Energy acceleration available to Bisharp. Still, sans any of that, Slash is priced so Bisharp could Slash one turn (fueled by basic Metal Energy or Coating [M] Energy), then use a Twin Energy or Triple Acceleration Energy the next turn to immediately jump to Steel Slice. Without heavy Metal support, skewed on the defensive side of things, Bisharp is not surviving to go for a 2HKO.
It doesn’t help that Bisharp is trying to be an anti-Metal attacker that needs Metal support e.g. needs to be in a Metal deck. Further souring its prospects is that it is using a brute force approach to try and counter a type known for soaking damage and/or having big HP scores. Steel Slice does not hit hard enough to OHKO Zaciani V, the Pokémon V to OHKO right now. You could use Galarian Perrserker (Sword & Shield 128/202; SW – Black Star Promos SWSH008; SW – Rebel Clash 205/192; Shining Fates SV087/SV122) to up Bisharp’s damage. Just two Galarian Perrserker on your Bench would let Steel Slice swing for 230 against Zacian V… but then a single Metal Goggles lets Zacian V survive. Or I suppose go really crazy and use the “Altered Creation-GX” attack found on Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX, as 220 is still enough…
…but what are you going to do against all the non-Metal decks? Without backup, Bisharp only does 90 damage against non-Metal types. Even with what I’ve just mentioned, we’re looking at 130 or 120 damage. Bisharp is meant to be a counter for just Metal types, and on its own, it can’t even handle the most important one. It doesn’t need a lot of Metal Energy, so you might run it off type with just a splash of basic Metal, or just sparing an Aurora Energy, but Bisharp does not hit hard enough to justify the effort. If Steel Slice did 220 against [M] types for [CCC], then we’d be talking. It still wouldn’t be an automatic inclusion; any defensive buff would let Zacian V endure.
On the other hand, if you use it with Metal-type support, it doesn’t make good enough use of it. Even as a basic, Bisharp would be lacking, but it is a Stage 1 that really needs to do its job without requiring so much support… or else do a job where the support is fully justified. The final nail in the coffin is something all too common; there isn’t enough good going on in the Bisharp line. The Pawniard are filler, and the Bisharp tend to almost work. This is a line that often can go Darkness or Metal, and even both at the same time with Bisharp (XY – Steam Siege 64/114) in Expanded! That last one even knew a little competitive success thanks to its first attack and dual-typing feeding certain combos. Bisharp (Sword & Shield 134/202) has an almost useful attack called “Charge Order”, that does 30 damage plus 30 for each Pawniard you have in play.
- Standard: 1/5
- Expanded: 1/5
Bisharp is Johnny Bait. You can invest a lot and force it to be a Zacian V OHKOing machine, but you’ll get more using the same resources to soup up some other Metal Pokémon. Especially because, though you’d be investing in it like it was your main attacker, it would still just be your anti-Zacian V card. Well, maybe also anti-Zamazenta V and a few other Metal types, but mediocre against everything else. I can see a way in which I could be wrong, but it hinges on a Zacian V deck using some of the damage increasing tricks I mentioned not only having room for a Stage 1 line to help with the mirror, but not finding a Basic or Stage 1 baseline attacker among what is available.
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