Is Hisuian Braviary a Good Pokemon?

One of the Noble Pokemon featured in Pokemon Legends Arceus, Hisuian Braviary differs in type from its traditional form for a special regional variant. This Braviary, besides apparently being available to Fly you to places in Hisui, is a Psychic/Flying Type. We have several examples of Pokemon with this type: Sigilyph, Swoobat, and Xatu. In particular, Xatu has proven a useful Pokemon over the years both in game and competitively in lower tiers. So, we have an idea of how the dual typing of Psychic and Flying can function, though none have ever been huge competitive standbys.

Braviary is typically Normal and Flying like many other bird type Pokemon. Is the type shift a blessing or a curse? Notably, by losing the Normal type and gaining the Psychic type, Hisuian Braviary gains Ghost and Dark type weaknesses, although it can still hit Dark types for super effective damage before with its array of Fighting-type moves it likely will still learn by level up. It still retains some Fighting-type moves in its repertoire though, such as Superpower, through use of a TM in Scarlet and Violet.

What is odd about this new typing is that Braviary is known as a vicious physical attacker with a poor Special Attack stat. There are some notable physical Psychic moves, such as Zen Headbutt and Psychic Fangs, but not many, so it will need to have a strong STAB move to pair with Flying-type Brave Bird. Indeed, Braviary could learn Zen Headbutt by TR (Technical Record) in Sword and Shield and the Move Tutor in other generations.

However, Game Freak clearly thought their Hisuian form changes through quite a lot. After all, the lore which introduced the Hisuian Braviary to us hinted it would have Special Attacking moves. Normal Braviary’s Special Attack is a measly 57 base points. So, Hisuian Braviary completely alters its stat spread in order to cover for this initial weakness. It gains 10 base HP (110 vs 100), loses a whopping 40 base Physical attack (83 vs 123), loses 5 Defense (75 vs 70), but gains a whopping 55 Special Attack (112 vs 57). It also gains 5 Special Defense (75 vs 70), but loses a fair 15 points in Speed (65 vs 80).

Like many Pokemon native to the Hisui region, Hisuian Braviary gained a signature move called Esper Wing, indeed a Special Attacking Psychic-type move. It’s a base 75 power move (113 with Same-Type Attack Bonus) with 90 percent accuracy, an increased critical hit chance and raises the user’s Action speed – thanks to Legends Arceus having the Agile/Strong Style battle system.

Will Hisuian Braviary be a good Pokemon? While it’s easily a decent Special Attacking Pokemon with a fair mix of Flying and Psychic attacks, part of what could hold it back is its reduced Speed stat. Unlike other Psychic/Flying types, it’s a bit on the slow side. Sigilyph has 97 base speed and Xatu has 95. Swoobat is lightning fast with 117 base speed, but it’s frail and doesn’t hit hard at all.

So, we know Hisuian Braviary will be significantly better than Swoobat, who was a fine Pokemon in Black and White for a good chunk of the adventure, but little beyond that. But, Hisuian Braviary doesn’t quite fit the role that Special Attackers like Xatu and Sigilyph do, Pokemon best known for their supporting roles on competitive teams.

Xatu is known for its ability Magic Bounce, which reflects status moves, and its mix of utility, defensive, and offensive moves has made it a mid-tier competitive threat. Likewise, Sigilyph has Magic guard, meaning it can’t be damaged by anything but direct attacks, and it can hold Life Orb with no loss of life, making it hit fairly hard with things like Psychic and Air Slash off of a very good 103 Special Attack.

Normal Braviary has hung around a similar competitive tier as Xatu and Sigilyph, relying on Bulk Up and its Defiant ability to boost its Attack, as well as its physical Defense with Bulk Up. It typically ran Brave Bird and Close Combat, with Roost as its final move for recovery. But, Hisuian Braviary loses any good reason for running Bulk Up, and it doesn’t learn Calm Mind or any other Special Attack boost move in Hisui. Hisuian Braviary is probably best running Air Slash, Esper Wing, Roost, and another type-coverage Special Attack move for its best moveset.

Defensively, Hisuian Braviary loses more than it gains with its new typing. Having Fighting moves now only be 25 percent effective against it is neat, but that’s about it on the gains. The new aforementioned Dark and Ghost weaknesses are significant, and Bug-type moves now hit for 100 percent effectiveness rather than 50 percent.

Sure, original Braviary could hold its own in the Smogon Never Used (NU) tier of competitive singles for Sword and Shield. It’s worth noting that it could hit quite a few things with Zen Headbutt for super effective damage. Dragalge, Garbador, Passimian, Salazzle, and Sirfetch’d are all hit hard, plus Toxicroak and Vileplume for 4x effective damage. It did get walled by Dark types such as Drapion, Guzzlord, and Zoroark, though.

While Hisuian Braviary does retain the ability to learn some Fighting-type moves for its arsenal, such as Superpower, they would hit nearly as hard. It’s more likely it will run something like Mystical Fire to deal with Steel-types or Dazzling Gleam for Fairy-type coverage. That’s not a bad Pokemon, but it certainly is going to serve a very different role than its original counterpart.

Also, being that it’s a Special Attacker, the best nature for Hisuian Braviary is likely Timid, which boosts Speed at the cost of physical Attack, which you wouldn’t be worried about with this Pokemon anyway. Other trainers have suggested a Quiet nature, which boosts Special Attack at the cost of Speed. As the Hisui form of Braviary is significantly slower than its regular counterpart, this is another potential option, although we still recommend Timid nature.

Overall, Hisuian Braviary is an OK Pokemon, but the new defensive weaknesses are hard to overlook. There are enough good Dark and Ghost types that will now give it trouble without its Normal typing, which meant it was immune to Ghost types before. Will its new offensive firepower, which is really limited to Esper Wing and Dazzling Gleam it seems, overcome its new defensive drawbacks? It seems that Hisuian Braviary gets weaker competitively, but in the game itself, Hisuian Braviary gains a bit more type coverage offensively to the point where it probably mostly evens out. Just don’t bring it out against Dark or Ghost types and you’re probably OK.

While Braviary has been decent, if perhaps a bit middling, Hisuian Braviary is a bit underwhelming. Braviary was certainly one of the better Generation 5 Pokemon from a design standpoint and it packs enough punch, especially when it boosted its already solid Attack prowess, to do a fair amount of damage. Hisuian Braviary is going to still hit pretty much everything it did before and then some, but had to give up pumping with Bulk Up and forgoing its much more powerful physical attacks.

All that being said, Hisuian Braviary could find its spots in competitive play. While the design is fine, I’m not sure it can be better than its original form. Although, given the right tools, it opens up a new dimension for a fairly useful Pokemon to explore. As for its role as a ride Pokemon in Legends Arceus, it’s actually turned out to be more than just the glider you’re told that it is.

Yes, Hisuian Braviary can actually fly up, thanks to players discovering that if you press Y, then hit right on the D-pad twice, then press A, he’ll actually go upwards. You can also tap B repeatedly to maintain altitude and trajectory. Why they didn’t bother to just tell players you could do that beats me, but it makes this bird actually extremely useful for getting around the pseudo open world of Legends Arceus.

Besides its obvious utility for getting around Hisui, this Braviary is probably not going to hang in the competitive tiers where its regular form sees the most usage. In regular gameplay, Hisuian Braviary is a solid Pokemon, if not exciting. It gave this species some interesting new gimmicks, but overall, it’s one of the more disappointing Hisui forms in battle.

Updated 10/23/2022

Photo credit: The Pokemon Company

Pokémon and All Respective Names are Trademark & © of Nintendo 1996-2022

Writing words, spreading love, Amelia Desertsong primarily writes creative nonfiction articles, as well as dabbling in baseball, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, and whatever else tickles her fancy.
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