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Although it was one of the best defensive Pokemon in BW NU, Mandibuzz was rarely seen outside of the lower tiers. Its typing gives it weaknesses to common attacking types, and a nasty Stealth Rock weakness greatly reduces its defensive potential. Mandibuzz also has terrible offensive stats and must rely on Foul Play or Toxic to deal damage, which makes it very predictable. However, with the Steel-type nerf causing Ghost- and Dark-type moves to jump in popularity, Mandibuzz's typing shines, as it gives it these two key resistances combined with a neutrality to Fighting-type moves. This allows Mandibuzz to counter many popular threats that rely on Ghost / Fighting or Dark / Fighting coverage, including Aegislash and Gengar. Add in immunities to Ground- and Psychic-type attacks, excellent 110 / 105 / 95 defensive stats, and reliable recovery in Roost, and Mandibuzz becomes very difficult to take down. With a number of great support options including Defog at its disposal, Mandibuzz is a real defensive threat in XY.
move 1: Foul Play
move 2: Roost
move 3: Taunt / Whirlwind
move 4: Defog / Toxic / Knock Off
evs: 248 HP / 136 Def / 108 SpD / 16 Spe
nature: Bold / Impish
Foul Play is one of the biggest factors to Mandibuzz's success, as it allows Mandibuzz to bypass its own terrible offensive stats by using the opponent's Attack stat. Foul Play deals heavy damage to opposing physical attackers, defeating them one-on-one. For example, standard bulky Dragon Dance Gyarados fails to deal 26% damage with Waterfall, while Foul Play is a guaranteed 2HKO in return. Combined with reliable recovery in Roost, Mandibuzz is a great counter to many physical threats. Mandibuzz is also surprisingly fast for a defensive Pokemon, and access to Taunt allows it to perform as an amazing stallbreaker while Whirlwind racks up entry hazard damage and can force out special setup sweepers. The final moveslot is used for a utility move of your choice. Defog provides anti-entry hazard support for the team. Toxic allows Mandibuzz to stall out defensive threats that don't fear Foul Play. Knock Off is an excellent option to remove items from common switch-ins, and is especially effective when combined with Whirlwind on stall teams.
248 HP EVs make Mandibuzz generally bulkier, and the most of the rest are split between both defenses; 108 EVs are invested into Special Defense to avoid a 2HKO from Landorus's Focus Blast, and the rest is put into Defense to cushion physical hits even better. 16 Speed EVs gives the small, but useful benefit of outrunning neutral-natured max Speed Mawile and Azumarill, giving Mandibuzz an opportunity to hit them in desperate situations. Because Foul Play is the only attack, a Bold nature with 0 Attack IVs should be used to reduce confusion and opposing Foul Play damage. Choose an Impish nature if you use Knock Off or other physical attacks.
Mandibuzz has excellent bulk and makes a great switch-in to many physical threats, and Foul Play allows Mandibuzz to defeat most attackers one-on-one, because it only gets stronger if they attempt to boost against Mandibuzz. However, Mandibuzz also has solid Special Defense, which makes it the most reliable switch-in to Aegislash, which commonly runs mixed sets.
The final moveslot really determines the role Mandibuzz will take and which type of team it will fit best on. Defog combines well with Taunt to ensure that Mandibuzz can reliably clear hazards and defeat opposing hazard setters one-on-one, and is best for more offensive teams. Toxic and Taunt together turn Mandibuzz into an excellent stallbreaker. Finally, Whirlwind is best when Mandibuzz is used on more defensive stall teams.
Mandibuzz is vulnerable to super effective special attacks, so it works best with support from specially defensive teammates such as Blissey, Mega Venusaur, or Ferrothorn. If using Defog, offensive teammates that appreciate the support include Talonflame, Volcarona, and Charizard. If not using Defog, Mandibuzz itself requires Rapid Spin support to be most effective, and Excadrill is an excellent partner for that purpose. Other Pokemon that have solid bulk and good defensive synergy with Mandibuzz include Rotom-H, Jirachi, and Magnezone.
Substitute is a good option in place of Taunt, as it allows Mandibuzz to utilize the SubRoost combination to stall out slower threats. U-turn can allow Mandibuzz to function as a bulky pivot, and is especially useful after using Defog to safely bring in a teammate. Brave Bird is a powerful STAB attack that can surprise opposing Fighting- and Grass-types, but has little use otherwise. Tailwind can be used alongside U-turn as a niche support option for offensive teams. Finally, Mandibuzz has access to Nasty Plot and special moves including Dark Pulse, Air Slash, and Heat Wave, but base 55 Special Attack is too weak even after a boost.
Checks & Counters
**Powerful Special Attackers**: Mandibuzz is vulnerable to common special attacks such as Ice Beam and Thunderbolt. Special attackers such as Thundurus-T, Rotom-A, Greninja, Magnezone, Mega Ampharos, and Mega Manectric don't fear Foul Play and can defeat Mandibuzz with powerful super effective moves. Mixed offensive Pokemon such as Kyurem-B and Thundrus-I risk being 2HKOed by Foul Play, but outspeed and easily 2HKO Mandibuzz if they switch in safely.
**Fairy-types**: Defensive Fairy-type Pokemon such as Sylveon and Clefable resist Foul Play, often carry reliable recovery and status healing moves, and threaten Mandibuzz with their STAB Fairy-type attacks. Mega Mawile and Choice Band Azumarill are much more offensive counters, capable of nearly OHKOing Mandibuzz with STAB Play Rough. Mega Gardevoir can cleanly OHKO Mandibuzz with Hyper Voice.
**Fast Toxic or Taunt Users**: Mandibuzz is crippled by Toxic and shut down by Taunt. Because Mandibuzz can Taunt slower defensive threats, the best users must be fast yet able to withstand Foul Play. Gliscor and Crobat are the best choices, outspeeding Mandibuzz and being capable of using both Toxic and Taunt to ruin Mandibuzz. Both are immune to Toxic themselves and have reliable recovery as well. Tentacruel is another good choice and can Toxic Mandibuzz before it can Taunt, while Sableye can shut down Mandibuzz with Prankster Taunt and stall out Foul Play.
**Stealth Rock**: Keeping Stealth Rock on the field greatly limits Mandibuzz's defensive abilities. Mandibuzz often carries Defog, so the best users also threaten Mandibuzz to prevent it from switching in. Good choices include Mamoswine, which can outspeed and 2HKO with STAB Icicle Crash. Tyranitar can be Taunted, but threatens with Stone Edge and resists Foul Play. Terrakion gets a special mention as it can set up Stealth Rock, 2HKO Mandibuzz with Stone Edge, and gain a free boost from Foul Play thanks to Justified.
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