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Bronzor could quite possibly be one of the most used Pokémon in the Little Cup metagame that has never been banned, or even thought to be suspect. In DPP, it made for an incredibly stable physical wall, as it was able to completely shut down Gligar, one of the metagame's top threats. With its excellent defenses and access to Stealth Rock, Bronzor could easily switch in multiple times throughout a match in order to combat any physical threat that dared stand in its way. With a large variety of support options, Bronzor could run any sort of gimmick in order to help the team out, be it Rain Dance, Trick Room, or even dual screens—if Bronzor got it, it could use it. This versatility made Bronzor a wonderful lead as well, as its moveset would be completely unpredictable; because Team Preview was not yet introduced, no one could predict Bronzor's partners before the match started in order to play accordingly. It would often take two turns to truly learn what team you were facing, and those two turns could be sufficient for the opponent to get an upper hand.
However, with the influx of Fighting-types in the BW metagame, Bronzor took a back seat to the action. It is relatively inferior to the new Ferroseed, who can set up Spikes and Stealth Rock, while also having access to support options such as Thunder Wave and Leech Seed. Throughout the first four rounds, Bronzor was absent from the heat of most battles, as they were fast-paced and had little time for a support option like Bronzor.
But there was a shining light after Gligar, Carvanha, Misdreavus, and Meditite were banned. Bulky sandstorm teams found their place in the metagame, and for a good month, people were scrambling to find a surefire counter to Eviolite Drilbur, quite possibly the biggest threat of that era. With an immunity to Ground and resistance to Rock, Bronzor never felt threatened by 3HKOs and could easily dispose of Drilbur with Hidden Power Ice. Bronzor's popularity began to surge, and the reintroduction of Gligar only helped its cause.
First, let's take a look at Bronzor's unique typing. Psychic / Steel is a pretty decent typing to have in any metagame, as it leaves vulnerabilities to only Fire- and Ground-type attacks. However, Bronzor has the option of losing one of those weaknesses, thanks to its abilities. Levitate, its more popular choice, prevents it from taking damage from Ground-type attacks, while Heatproof halves the damage Fire-type attacks inflict. The latter is really only used on the notion that because most Bronzor run Levitate, opponents will not even bother to try to use moves such as Earthquake or Earth Power. However, running Levitate gives Bronzor the added benefit of being immune to Spikes, and its Steel typing allows it to resist Stealth Rock and avoid sandstorm recoil. This is only accomplished by one other Pokémon in the metagame, Baltoy—a Pokémon no one (relevant) uses—and allows Bronzor to switch in multiple times during a match with little fear of taking passive damage.
Now, let's move on to Bronzor's stats. 57 / 86 / 86 base defenses are incredible, especially in Little Cup. With an Eviolite equipped, Bronzor's actual defensive stats are 24 / 28 / 24, combining to be the second-highest total defense of any Pokémon in Little Cup, surpassed only by Lileep. And despite its low attacking stats, it can still inflict a decent amount of damage on its enemies. Even with one extra point (4 EVs) of investment, Bronzor can OHKO Croagunk with Psychic, 2HKO most Mienfoo with the same move, and 3HKO Drilbur with Hidden Power Ice. Earthquake, while less common, is a 2HKO on Magnemite and Houndour and a 3HKO on Chinchou. Unfortunately, Bronzor's middling Speed tends to hamper it as it cannot set up entry hazards or Toxic as quickly as other Pokémon can, but this does boost the power of Gyro Ball.
Though Bronzor is going to be used only for defense, there are many routes that Bronzor can take in order to function to the best of its potential. Using a simple defensive set with Stealth Rock, Toxic, Psychic, and either Earthquake or Gyro Ball seems to be the best and most popular option. With added defenses courtesy of Eviolite, Bronzor can now switch in multiple times to take attacks.
Using a more gimmicky set can lead to mixed results—it really depends on what Pokémon the opponent carries and how your team plays against it. Access to dual screens coupled with Light Clay is great, but coming across a faster Pokémon with Taunt, such as Mienfoo, or a Pokémon with boosting attacks, such as Scraggy, can render that strategy useless. Rain Dance teams, though now quite uncommon, can wreak havoc on unprepared teams, but if you see your opponent toting a Ferroseed, your luck might have just run out. Trick Room is still good, but with essentially only three turns to make use of it at any given time, you better have Slowpoke and possibly another user to back up Bronzor and the sweepers.
Though Bronzor has high defensive stats and a pretty wide support movepool, there are a few Pokémon that will definitely give Bronzor the fits. Scraggy is probably Bronzor's number-one enemy due to its immunity to Psychic. It will also take little damage from a weak Earthquake or Gyro Ball and can potentially remove Toxic with Shed Skin. Another sure-fire counter to Bronzor is Magnemite, who has the added ability of trapping Bronzor with Magnet Pull. It is immune to Toxic and can avoid an OHKO from Earthquake with an Air Balloon and Magnet Rise. It can then use Substitute to protect itself from damage while wearing down Bronzor with powerful Thunderbolts. Steel-types in general fare well against Bronzor, as they don't take much damage from Earthquake with their natural defenses, resist Psychic, and are immune to Toxic. Ferroseed is a perfect example of this, as it can siphon Bronzor's HP away with Leech Seed and set up entry hazards while Bronzor cannot do much to the little durian.
Fire-types are also great checks to Bronzor, though one should take note of Earthquake as Fire-types are usually not the sturdiest Pokémon. This goes double for Houndour, a very frail Pokémon that needs to attack first or risks getting OHKOed. A Fire Blast will easily OHKO Bronzor, but be careful to note that Houndour should only be sent in on a Psychic, so it would be good to have Mienfoo U-turn Houndour in. Ponyta and Larvesta are afraid of Toxic, but can OHKO Bronzong with their Flare Blitz. Misdreavus is in the same boat, and while it cannot OHKO Eviolite variants after a Nasty Plot boost, it can easily get two hits in. RestTalk Misdreavus is an even better set to use, as it doesn't even care about Toxic.
Because Bronzor does not have a resistance to Fighting-type attacks in a Fighting-infested metagame, it is imperative that Bronzor has teammates that fare well against Fighting-type Pokémon. The most common switch-in to Bronzor would be Scraggy. In order to remedy this weakness, a bulky Mienfoo or Croagunk (or both) should definitely be considered as partners for Bronzor; these are probably the best checks to Scraggy in the game.
For offensive teammates, Pokémon that can make the most of Bronzor's qualities should definitely be top choices. Because Bronzor tends to lure in Mienfoo, Misdreavus is a good teammate as it is immune to Fake Out and Mienfoo's Fighting-type attacks and can set up with Nasty Plot, Calm Mind, or Substitute.
In terms of entry hazard support, Bronzor will not need it because it is a defensive Pokémon that will be setting the hazards. However, a Bronzor running Oran Berry and Recycle will very much appreciate Toxic Spikes support, as this variant is able to stall out opponents while recovering as they chip away at its health. With Toxic Spikes on the other side of the field, stalling out defensive teams becomes much, much easier.
One of the sturdiest defensive stalwarts in the Little Cup metagame, Bronzor is here to stay. If you need a Stealth Rock user or physical wall that can switch in numerous times within a match, definitely consider Bronzor for a team slot.
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