As one of the Pokemon mysteriously absent from Pokemon Sword and Shield, Staraptor will return to the competitive Pokemon metagame in the Gen 4 remakes Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. When it last appeared during Gen 7 – Sun and Moon – Staraptor was a fringe competitive option thanks to its hidden ability, Reckless, and strong attack stat. Will Staraptor prove to be a competitive player in Gen 8 thanks to its return through the Diamond & Pearl remakes?
Back in the Diamond and Pearl days, Staraptor was a fairly good Pokemon, especially in the main game playthrough. It has decent speed and its primary ability, Intimidate, lowers opponent Pokemon’s attack stats. Unfortunately, Intimidate does nothing against special attackers, so even in the regular adventure, you had to pick and choose the spots to use Staraptor. However, it can learn powerful moves such as Close Combat and Brave Bird, the latter of which is a STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus) Flying move. So, Staraptor was a perfectly serviceable Pokemon, and was a fringe option on some competitive teams for several generations.
The problem with Staraptor lies in its typing, Flying/Normal, the same as another popular Pokemon Pidgeot who was absent from Sword and Shield. This means it’s two times weak to Electric, Ice, and Rock type moves. It’s also extremely fragile with merely a 70 defense stat and a 50 special defense stat. While investing heavily in speed and attack, especially with a plus speed nature like Jolly, can be good, Staraptor still gets outclassed by many other Pokemon. That’s even when it’s holding a Choice Scarf, which boosts its speed by 20 percent but is locked into using one move.
Fortunately for Staraptor, it gained a Hidden Ability called Reckless. This means the power of any moves Staraptor uses that involve recoil damage are increased by 20 percent. Since Staraptor learns both Brave Bird and Take Down, this is a perfect ability for this Pokemon. Additionally, in place of Take Down, Staraptor can learn Double-Edge through breeding, which is not only 50 percent more powerful, but 15 percent more accurate. With the ability to learn U-Turn, a bug move that returns the user back to the trainer, Staraptor gains the ability to switch out in unfavorable matchups. Plus, learning Endeavor through level up, it can cut the target’s HP to its own, making the recoil damage an actual advantage rather than a disadvantage.
Additionally, Staraptor can learn the Fighting-type move Final Gambit. While this knocks out Staraptor, it deals damage equal to the user’s HP. This means it can reliably knock off 145 HP or more if Staraptor happens to hit first while at full HP. While sacrificing a Pokemon isn’t always the best strategy, it can serve as a way to deal with a stall Pokemon you wouldn’t otherwise have a way to KO. You could also give Staraptor Tailwind to boost your team’s Speed stat or Defog to clear hazards on your team’s side.
Considering all of the new competitive options that Gen 8 gave trainers, it’s hard to say if Staraptor will re-emerge as a serious competitive option. Still, it will be nice to see Staraptor again, especially as it’s a good Pokemon that can serve a role on some teams which could benefit from the Predator Pokemon’s raw attack power.
Which Pokemon are you most excited to see return in Generation 8 through the Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes?
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