Today, we examine the merits of Hisuian Samurott, a regional form of Oshawott’s final evolution introduced in Pokemon Legends Arceus. Originally introduced in Black and White, Samurott is a fairly above-average offensive Pokemon, with modest defenses and below average speed. What’s powerful about Hiusian Samurott gaining the Dark-typing in Legends Arceus is that it now bears more resemblance to one of the most popular final form starters of all time in Greninja.
Of course, Greninja has a couple of things working in its favor, a 122 speed stat and the hidden Protean ability. The Protean ability is identical to Cinderace’s Libero ability; a Pokemon with Protean changes its type to the attack it’s using, therefore automatically gaining a 50 percent same-type attack bonus. While Samurott can’t compete with the sheer power of Greninja, it’s proven itself as a mid-tier competitive Pokemon in the past. So, how will Hisuian Samurott stack up against normal Samurott?
With abilities locked and hidden in Pokemon Legends Arceus, we don’t have to even consider Samurott’s existing ability, Torrent. This common water starter ability powers up Samurott’s Water-type moves when falling below one-third HP. Its hidden ability in Shell Armor is OK, which prevents Samurott from receiving critical hits. While this defensive minded ability isn’t bad, most competitive players would rather have Torrent, being able to deal out significantly more damage in a pinch.
As a pure Water-type, normal Samurott was a decent mixed attacker, although being only a 70 base As a pure Water-type, normal Samurott was a decent mixed attacker, with Attack and Special Attack stats of 108 and 100, respectively. However, being only a 70 base speed held it back in higher competitive tiers in past games. Still, the mediocre speed stat didn’t stop Samurott from being one of the best Water-type sweepers of lower tiers, though. Having a priority move in Aqua Jet certainly helped its cause by making its speed unimportant, holding a Life Orb to hit 30 percent harder. While Samurott often would take a hit before returning the favor, it has enough HP to hold on to most neutral attacks, dishing out often super-effective special damage with Grass Knot and Ice Beam, and often also packed Taunt or Knock Off. As we’ll discuss, Knock Off is going to be an important move for Hisuian Samurott.
While the mixed attacker Samurott moveset was common, the other way to build this Pokemon was as a Swords Dance Sweeper. It would set up Swords Dance, take a hit, then dish out a powerful Liquidation or Megahorn. Against quicker foes, it could land an even more powerful Aqua Jet than before. It not only served as a solid revenge killer with its STAB move, but also could one-hit KO certain foes with the powerful Bug-type Megahorn.
Hisuian Samurott gains one important offensive upgrade over normal Samurott with its new Dark-typing. With this new typing, Hisuian Samurott also gains a new signature move, Ceaseless Edge. It’s only a 65 base power move, but that’s improved to nearly 100 power with the Same-Type Attack Bonus (STAB). Normal Samurott learned Knock Off, a similar power move that knocks off opposing held items; while that move can be the difference between winning and losing already, this signature move can end up being more deadly.
Ceaseless Edge not only has an increased critical hit chance, but it also leaves behind splinters. This means that the opposing Pokemon takes damage for several turns. With this move in mind, you may want to focus more on the physical sweeper role due to this now being Samurott’s other best physical move. Hisuian Samurott also gains access to Dark Pulse, but the recurring damage of Ceaseless Edge may be what tips the scales in the physical direction. Unfortunately, this Samurott doesn’t get access to Grass Knot, though it does still get Megahorn, Psycho Cut, and Poison Jab as type coverage moves at the Training Grounds.
However, there are some defensive repercussions for Samurott gaining the Dark-type, one of which is the new weakness to Bug, Fairy, and Fighting-type moves. Yes, Samurott gains one-half resistance against Dark and Ghost type moves and an immunity to Psychic-type moves. Unfortunately, there are plenty of Pokemon with the Bug-type U-Turn running around, as well as many Pokemon packing a variety of Fighting-type moves and the occasionally Fairy-type Play Rough. Defensively, Greninja can handle these weaknesses by merely outspeeding them. Samurott doesn’t have that luxury.
It’s going to be very fun to see Samurott back in competitive play with the release of Generation 9’s Scarlet and Violet. This is probably for the best that we have to wait, as neither normal Samurott nor Hisuian Samurott seems to match up well with Generation 8’s metagame. Zacian eats Hisuian Samurott for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Urshifu will snack on him, too. Anything packing a Bug, Fairy, or Fighting move will need to be dealt with immediately as Samurott isn’t surviving a return hit and it’s going to be revenge killed fairly easily. Perhaps Night Slash, a Dark-type move that always lands a critical hit, will be given to Hisuian Samurott in the future. Such a move may mitigate some of his defensive drawbacks, but that won’t be enough to make it towards the top of the competitive ladder.
Hisuian Samurott may yet succeed in lower competitive tiers, but there are enough Pokemon with those types of moves in lower tiers, as well. Underused has Aegislash and Thundurus-Therian packing Close Combat and Focus Blast, respectively. Jirachi’s, Hydreigon’s, and Zarude’s U-Turn will do a ton of damage, too. Heck, Skarmory often runs Body Press! In rarely used (RU), you have Flygon and Croat with U-Turn, Cobalion with Close Combat, Mimikyu with Play Rough, and even Reuniclus with Focus Blast. Even never used (NU) has common threats: Talonflame has U-Turn, Diancie has Moonblast and Body Press, some Sylveon run Moonblast, Bronzong has Body Press, and Tauros has Close Combat.
Even in PU, the worst of all tiers, Tsareena and Togedemaru have U-Turn, Ribombee has Moonblast, U-Turn, and/or Bug Buzz, and Scrafty has Drain Punch. These are all very hostile environments to a Water/Dark type with below average speed. In these lower tiers, Greninja would survive thanks to higher speed and the Protean ability; Hisuian Samurott gains only some of the Frog Ninja’s offensive abilities in terms of Dark-type STAB attacks, thus the defensive drawbacks seem to be overall worse for his competitive chances in any tier!
Unfortunately, normal Samurott and its mono-Water type would actually be better in today’s game than this new Dark type Hisuian form. That being said, Hisuian Samurott should be a ton of fun in the Pokemon Legends Arceus adventure. It’s a shame that while mono-Water Samurott was at least a star in NU Sun and Moon, the Hisuian Samurott may end up untiered in Scarlet and Violet. Yes, the Hisui form of Samurott is a great design and perhaps some clever players will make him work in future games, especially on Rain teams where his Liquidation and Aqua Jet hit much harder. But, overall, you’re going to take the other two Hisui starters over Samurott, and that’s just too bad.
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