Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Basculin possesses underwhelming stats, a sorely restricted movepool, and there are plenty of other Water-types in the tier that can do practically everything it does—much more effectively. Looks can be deceiving, however; Basculin's saving grace is its ability, Adaptability, which gives it a STAB boost of 2x instead of the usual 1.5x. What sets Basculin apart from other Water-types in the tier is its access to Taunt, and more importantly, Aqua Jet. Priority moves in NU are a rarity, so a powerful STAB one is a blessing to Basculin.
Basculin's defenses are paper-thin, so it will have to hit and run in order to prove effective. The much-needed priority on Aqua Jet allows Basculin to hit threats that would otherwise outstrip it thanks to its middling Speed, and to do so with hefty STAB. With a Choice Band, Basculin can nab a 2HKO on Misdreavus with Waterfall after the residual damage of Stealth Rock. Double-Edge provides further coverage, hitting the Water-types that resist Basculin's STAB. Be warned that neither of them receive a boost from Adaptability and rely on Basculin's underwhelming Attack stat. Furthermore, Double-Edge's recoil will only serve to hamper Basculin's longevity. Superpower is available mostly as filler, but it can provide both a super effective hit on Lickilicky and Cacturne and a neutral hit on other Grass-types if prediction is an issue.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
As mentioned earlier, Basculin possesses a particularly narrow movepool, leaving it with few other options. Taunt will keep Basculin from being walled, or at the very least statused, but Alomomola unfortunately still walls it. Basculin also has access to Ice Beam, and its Special Attack is only marginally less impressive than its Attack. Ice Beam allows it to hit Grass-types such as Tangela particularly hard, 2HKOing it with Life Orb. Its alternate ability, Reckless, increases the power of recoil moves by 20%, which makes Double-Edge a little more attractive. It provides an alternative to relying on Adaptability and STAB moves, but recoil remains an issue with Double-Edge. Blue-striped Basculin, or Basculin-B, has access to Rock Head, which negates recoil, again making Double-Edge a little more viable. Finally, Basculin receives an assortment of interesting niche and utility moves in Agility, Revenge, Final Gambit, Hidden Power, Substitute, and Scald, which can be experimented with. However, many other more impressive Water-types count these amongst their movepools.
Checks and Counters
Basculin's number one concern is Alomomola, which walls it endlessly; Tangela also walls all bar odd Life Orb Ice Beam variants. In fact, this is true in general for all bulky Grass-types, and Basculin really relies on support from its teammates to remove these. Other threats to watch out for are Choice Scarf Rotom-S, who will revenge kill Basculin if it is not carrying a Choice Scarf of its own, and fast Electric-types in general, who can revenge kill Basculin with or without a Choice Scarf.