PKMN of the Week: Braviary

Hopefully some people out there are able to enjoy the President's Day weekend like I am.  While other parts of the country may generally ignore President's Day, here in Washington, DC, the Federal Government and most of the universities are closed.  In honor of presidents Washington and Lincoln, we get a day without traffic jams.

Around DC one of the most frequent sites is the great seal of the united states.  I get to see it every morning while walking my dog - we pass some uniformed secret service cars on our walk.  I also frequently see a variation of the great seal when I'm at work.

Did you know that these seals feature one of the Unova Pokémon?  That's right, our founding fathers selected Braviary, the valiant pokémon, as a symbol of the United States throughout the world.

Something that has bothered me about Braviaries - they're all male.  No girl Braviaries about to make Braviary eggs with.  Of course, if someone only lives in the world of Pokémon White, they'd never know that there is a female compliment to Braviary, the Mandibuzz.  Unfortunately, if you leave a Braviary and a Mandibuzz at the Day Care Center, all you're going to get is a Vullaby.  If you want to make some Rufflets you'll have to leverage a Ditto in there (which makes me think that the Braviaries must migrate to Giant Chasm from time to time to make Rufflets, but that is pure speculation).  Interestingly enough, eagles and vultures both fall within the Falconiformes order of birds, so their relationship is not so beyond evolutionary consideration.

Another interesting factor when thinking of Braviary is that he is a combination Normal/Flying type.  I have always thought it strange when Normal types combine with anything - I mean, they're just normal, right?  Well, it turns out that there is only one pure Flying-type out there - Tornadus.  There are actually quite a few Normal/Flying-type Pokémon out there.  Keep in mind that this dual-typing means that neither Ground nor Ghost-type moves will touch a Braviary.

Braviary's strongest points are his high HP capacity and high Attack.  His other stats are decent, but pretty level across the board.  Try to get your IVs in HP and Attack and then try for an Adamant nature (boosting Attack and decreasing Special Attack).  Sometimes when battling I try to whomp my opponent quickly and a healthy physical attacker may just do the trick.

Non-Dream World Braviaries can either have the Keen Eye or Sheer Force abilities.  Keen Eye is nice to have (prevents loss of Accuracy), but, honestly, how many people keep Sand Attack as part of their core move set?  Dream World Braviary can have the Defiant ability (Attack raises two stages if another stat is lowered) but I'm not a fan because it does not work like the Justified ability (Attack goes up one stage when hit by a Dark-type move).  Defiant is not triggered if Braviary is hit by one of his teammates (Justified is).  So, as they say, Defiant is a bit hit or miss.  At least with Sheer Force you know what you are getting.  I should also mention that if you keep a Keen Eye Braviary at the head of your party he will act somewhat like a permanent Repel, keeping low level Pokémon from springing out unexpectedly.

Moves to suit a Braviary? First off, I insist on Aerial Ace.  It is a physical attack, you get STAB, and it never misses.  I cannot count the number of times I have been beat down by Aerial Ace.  It always comes through in a pinch.  The other high powered attacks Braviary learns by leveling up come at a cost - with Superpower you drop Attack and defense with every hit, Brave Bird hits you back with a 30% recoil, and Thrash leads to confusion (which you can fight with a Persim Berry if you want to go that route).  Some of the mid-level moves with STAB are worth keeping in mind - Crush Claw works well with a Sheer Force bonus, as does Air Slash (although Air Slash is a Special Attack).

A word to the wise - just avoid Sky Drop.  I know it sounds awesome and sweet.  Sure, a Braviary can pick up a car and carry it.  I wish it worked.  Unfortunately, because of the Sky Drop glitch you still can't use it in regulated competition.  Hopefully it will be fixed someday but for now just leave it.

Some TMs/HMs to consider?  I always like Return, because it is easier to make a Pokémon happy than to make it unhappy, have Facade on hand for punishing status effects, and maybe Shadow Claw if you are up against a Ghost-type (a physical Ghost-type move).  Fly is out there, obviously, and you do get STAB for it; in my experience only the inexperienced use Fly in battle as a way of delaying their eventual demise.

If you are comfortable with your Braviary's Attack stat, why not have him hold a Choice Band?  You do get locked into one move, but think about it, Aerial Ace + IV for Attack + Adamant Nature + Choice Band?  You'll be knocking some people out!  You may also want to have him hold a Cell Battery - your Attack goes up one stage once when you are hit by an Electric-type move.  That's an interesting way to turn a weakness around.

All cards on the table, I have a Rufflet in one of my boxes but I haven't evolved him into a Braviary yet.  Then again, I caught my own Vullaby and haven't evolved her either.  Let me know your experiences with America's Pokémon, Braviary!