In previous generations, Sharpedo received harsh, yet justified criticism for being a generally average offensive Pokemon. Because Sharpedo was so held back by its frailty, bad defensive typing, and small movepool, it didn't receive much positive attention or usage, despite its good offensive stats and decent base 95 Speed. While Sharpedo did receive a small blessing from the Dream World in the form of, Speed Boost, it still has issues when attempting to execute a successful sweep. It's definitely not an exaggeration to say that Sharpedo is one of the frailest fully evolved Pokemon viable in OU and can be easily stopped by many bulky foes.
However, a blessing is a blessing; Sharpedo can actually make exceptional use of Speed Boost, which prevents it from being revenge killed as easily as it was in previous generations. Sharpedo's attacking stats are also in the range of other fierce attackers, such as Starmie and Gyarados, making it a very dangerous sweeper and revenge killer in OU after obtaining Speed boosts. Overall, there's no better Pokemon to represent the phrase "eat or be eaten" than Sharpedo.
What's scarier than a shark with a torpedo strapped on its back? Yeah, I don't know either. What is known, however, is that physically based Sharpedo is one ferocious Pokemon thanks to its great Attack and solid dual STABs. Speed Boost is really what sets Sharpedo apart from other physical attackers, as it transforms Sharpedo from a decidedly average threat to a flexible revenge killer and sweeper. After a single Protect, Sharpedo outpaces every unboosted OU Pokemon and can rip through the field with its arsenal of powerful attacks. Surprisingly, despite mostly packing physical attacks, most physical walls, including Gliscor and Skarmory, can't keep up with Sharpedo's onslaught, especially with Politoed's Drizzle support.
Protect is the key to Sharpedo's success, allowing it to accumulate enough Speed to outpace its opponent before it strikes. Waterfall is a fairly powerful attack with great overall coverage, and with Drizzle support, virtually anything that doesn't resist it takes huge amounts of damage. Even max Defense Skarmory is 2HKOed with Stealth Rock and Drizzle support, a rare feat for a physical attacker without the use of a super effective attack. Crunch compliments Waterfall well thanks to its ability to hit Dragon- and most Grass-types for neutral damage and is a great auxiliary move against Pokemon that resist or are immune to Water-type attacks in general. In the last slot, Zen Headbutt is generally given the nod to hit Keldeo, Tentacruel, and Toxicroak for super effective damage, target many other Water-type resistances such as Venusaur, and destroy incoming checks such as Breloom. Being able to target the first three threats is especially important because of their ability to completely wall Sharpedo lacking Zen Headbutt. Ice Beam can be just as effective for its ability to outright OHKO Dragonite (once Multiscale is broken), Gliscor, and Landorus-T. A special attack might seem out of place on a physical set; however, most Pokemon that are weak to Ice-type attacks are have lower Special Defense, so Ice Beam is a great way for Sharpedo to exploit this and nab an extra KO here and there. Aqua Jet compromises Sharpedo's coverage but is especially useful to pick off weakened priority users such as Scizor. Aqua Jet also has one other distinctive advantage. When up against faster threats such as Terrakion, Sharpedo would normally Protect on the first turn before it proceeds to attack. In such situations, there also arises the possibility of the Terrakion to use Rock Polish the turn Sharpedo Protects, allowing it to outspeed and KO Sharpedo before it can attack. In order to minimize these types of nail-biting situations, Sharpedo can make use of Aqua Jet and 89% minimum in the rain to Terrakion, enough to easily pick off weakened versions.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Sharpedo's high offensive stats, good movepool, and ability, Speed Boost, make its mixed attacking set quite potent. Speed Boost allows Sharpedo to bypass many Choice Scarf users after a few boosts, and with Sharpedo's powerful attacks taken into consideration, it is difficult for the opposing team to eliminate without being severely hurt. After a Speed Boost, Sharpedo can also revenge kill many common OU Pokemon with the appropriate attack, including but not limited to Latios, Latias, Terrakion, and Starmie.
Hydro Pump, boosted by Life Orb, allows Sharpedo to promptly eliminate the physical walls that would normally come in to sponge Crunch, most notably Hippowdon and Skarmory. Hydro Pump is also stronger than Crunch, so despite its imperfect accuracy, it is a good clean-up move against physically defensive opponents. Crunch is the main Dark-type STAB move on this set, being a powerful, consistent clean-up move that strikes the numerous Ghost- and Psychic-type Pokemon in OU super effectively. The third slot depends on your preference; Zen Headbutt nails the likes of Keldeo, Toxicroak, and Virizion, while Ice Beam grants Sharpedo reliable, much-needed coverage against most Grass-, Flying-, and Dragon-type Pokemon, including Hydreigon, Tangrowth, and Dragonite. Finally, Protect is used to scout incoming attacks and set up at least one Speed Boost in front of faster foes. Generally, Protect should be used on the first turn Sharpedo is out to bypass Choice Scarf users.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Sharpedo doesn't have too many options to experiment with outside of its primary attacks, it has just enough to concoct pure physical and special sets. By doing this, Sharpedo can maximize both its Speed and respective attacking stat, making it more formidable and faster. Sharpedo's notable physical options include Waterfall, Earthquake, Double-Edge, and Ice Fang. Choice Band Sharpedo gets a special mention for being able to blast through teams with Drizzle support; factoring in Speed Boost, it is incredibly difficult to counter a monster spamming a double-boosted STAB Waterfall. This has competition with Gyarados, however, due to Gyarados's ability to switch into many more common moves than Sharpedo. Special sweeping sets are also somewhat better left to the likes of Keldeo and Starmie, although the ability to 2HKO Jellicent with STAB Dark Pulse is something to consider. Hidden Power Fire can be useful to destroy Ferrothorn. Keep in mind, however, that if Sharpedo uses Hidden Power Fire, then rain support simply cannot be advised, and without it, Sharpedo is significantly less powerful. Substitute lends Sharpedo a safety net to fall back on when forcing switches, making it less susceptible to priority moves. Protect is usually the superior option however, as Sharpedo will lose massive amounts of HP due to Life Orb and Substitute. Sharpedo generally must refrain from using other support moves outside of Protect, as its frailty really undermines their effectiveness.
Checks and Counters
Offensive Pokemon that can deal with Sharpedo fall under two major subdivisions. The first of which involves offensive threats that can take Sharpedo out with priority attacks. Because of Sharpedo's pathetic defenses, even resisted priority moves do a number on it. For example, Choice Band Scizor can get a clean 2HKO on Sharpedo with Bullet Punch. There is, however, a more competent priority user that can take out Sharpedo: Breloom. Breloom has the distinction of resisting Sharpedo's STABS and also has the capability to outright OHKO it with a powerful Technician-boosted STAB Mach Punch. Be careful when switching Breloom into Sharpedo though, as it is quite frail and will be OHKOed by both Ice Beam and Zen Headbutt. Other Mach Punch users include Conkeldurr and Infernape, though neither of them want to switch in on Sharpedo's Water-type STABs or a Zen Headbutt. The final two priority users worth mentioning are Dragonite and Lucario. Both of them posses a powerful ExtremeSpeed capable of OHKOing Sharpedo from the get-go after Stealth Rock.
The second offensive subdivision involves Pokemon that can take a hit and OHKO back. The most prominent ones that comes to mind are Keldeo and Toxicroak. Both of them resist Sharpedo's STABs and get a clean OHKO with their respective Fighting-type moves; however, both must be wary of Zen Headbutt. Kyurem-B, Rotom-W, Hydreigon, Gyarados, and Politoed can all take a hit and OHKO back. Chlorophyll users can also check Sharpedo too. Shiftry and Venusaur in particular always outspeed Sharpedo at +1 and OHKO with their STABs, although of course neither of them will enjoy taking an Ice Beam. In general, Pokemon that Sharpedo cannot outright OHKO are major headaches.
In terms of defensive counters, Ferrothorn stands out among the crowd. Not only can Ferrothorn take nearly every attack Sharpedo can throw at it, but Ferrothorn can even turn it into setup bait. While not as common, Empoleon can easily tank Sharpedo's conventional attacks and OHKO back as well. There are also an incredibly vast amount of defensive checks that can beat Sharpedo if it lacks a certain coverage move. If it lacks Ice Beam, Tangrowth and bulky Dragonite are both solid answers. When lacking Zen Headbutt and Earthquake, Tentacruel and bulky Toxicroak are good counters.
Sharpedo must also be wary of switching in, as just about any neutral, or even resisted, attack deals massive damage to it. Any form of passive damage, including sandstorm, hail, and entry hazards, also severely limits Sharpedo's presence on the battlefield, cutting short its already-brief lifespan. With Life Orb recoil added in, using prediction and switching in resistances will take out Sharpedo eventually. A final note is that sun severely diminishes Sharpedo's attacking power by weakening its Water-type STABs. With the sun, Pokemon with at least moderate bulk that are resistant to Sharpedo's Dark-type STABs can check it; Forretress and Scizor are decent checks under these conditions.