Pokemon Review: Fearow and Sandslash
A vulture-like Flying Pokemon that seems that seems to have faded into obscurity, Fearow nonetheless has its uses. Many of us caught a Spearow to trade for Farfetch'd, if nothing else, though Spearow's evolution proves much more capable than the evolution-less Farfetch'd.
But is it good enough to use competitively? Today we'll examine the moves, abilities, and stats for Fearow, then do the same for Ground-type Sandslash!
Type and Stats
Base Stat Total: 442
Like all Normal/Flying Pokemon, Fearow has three weaknesses by two resistances and two immunities, a useful typing that reduces or negates many kinds of damage.
Statwise, 442 isn't great, but it's not far behind the 469 that third-stage Pokemon Pidgeot has. Plus, I prefer how Fearow's point are allocated; it favors Attack and Speed. Fearow usually hits first and can deal decent damage as long as you're using physical moves, but be aware that it's fragile, and won't take more than a few hits to defeat.
1. Keen Eye: Prevents loss of accuracy. Also ignores boosts to opponent's evasion.
A decent ability that helps you land your attacks.
2. Sniper: Critical Hits deal increased damage.
The ability I'd choose allows Fearow to deal massive damage whenever it lands a critical. Consider having it hold an item that increases its critical hit chance for a potent combo.
Drill Run/ Ground
Increased critical hit rate
Mirror Move/ Normal
Copies last attack opponent used
Drill Peck/ Flying
Fearow's greatest failing is its lackluster movepool. It does learn a nice Ground move, Drill Run, that has a high critical hit chance (great with Sniper) and helps against Electric opponents, but other than that, there's little else.
Mirror Move is interesting, and Drill Peck decent, but Fearow's array of Flying attacks is surprisingly low. It can also learn Roost to restore health, but with its low max HP and defenses, I doubt it'll regain more health than it loses in a turn.
Overall Score: 4/10
Fearow's outclassed by stronger Flyers with better attacks. Sniper's a good ability, and I like Fearow's stat allocation, but a third evolution or more options when picking techniques would really benefit this classic bird. As is, you're not gonna see it in top-tier battles.
Champion's Quiz: Fearow and Sandslash
Back when the first American Pokemon video games debuted, only those with Pokemon Blue had access to the Ground-types Sandshrew and Sandslash (Red players could catch Ekans and Arbok instead). Thus, I never got a chance to test a Sandslash;s abilities in-game, but we'll now examines its powers to see what exactly I missed out on on.
Type and Stats
Base Stat Total: 450
As a Ground type, Sandslash has three weaknesses, two resistances, and an immunity, a decent typing for the critter. 450 as a stat total is neither great nor terrible. However, I do at least appreciate how the stats are divided - Sandslash heavily emphasizes Attack and Defense. If you can keep it away from Special Attacks, and utilize its mighty physical power, it's capable of defeating stronger Pokemon.
1. Sand Veil: Increases evasion in a sandstorm.
A decent ability if you plan on utilizing sandstorms in your battle, which deal damage to non-Ground, Rock, and Steel types each turn. As its Ground-type, Sandslash is immune to the damage, and Sand Veil will further increase your advantage.
2. Sand Rush: Doubles speed in a sandstorm.
Another ability triggered by sandstorms. Sandslash's speed will increase from mediocre to terrific with this ability. Sand Rush likely helps offense-oriented players more, while Sand Veil better suits those focusing on defense.
Can hit underground opponents.
Swords Dance/ Normal
Raises Attack by two stages.
Stone Edge/ Rock
High critical hit chance.
Sandslash learns almost exclusively Ground attacks while leveling up. Thankfully, TMs increase its repertoire. You'll want at least once powerful Ground attack, Earthquake makes a good choice. Stone Edge helps against Flying Pokemon, who are immune to Ground techniques.
Fury Cutter gives you access to a Bug move that increases in power the more you use it, and Swords Dance further boosts Sandslash's already high Attack. Poison Jab is a nice, physical Poison attack to further expand your elemental options.
Overall, I like Sandslah's moves. Most utilize its high Attack, and you have enough good attacks to pick from to keep your opponent guessing what you'll do next.
Ability: Snow Cloak: Increases evasion during a hailstorm.
Sandslash's new form will be available in the Alolan region, which hasn't yet released as of this writing. Sandslash changes type to an Ice/Steel combo, gains a new ability, and you can bet it'll learn different attacks.
Right now, we don't know what the new moves will be, or if the base stats will change, but Alola gives up another reason to keep our eyes on this oft-forgotten Pokemon.
Overall Score: 6/10
I really wish Sandslash had a third evolution. Its got decent abilities, good moves, and a useful stat distribution - the only thing holding it back is its limited stat total. A third form would turn Sandslash into a true competitive nightmare, but for now, he's still got enough qualities in his favor to see occasional use. Hopefully the Alolan form will help display Sandslash's potential.
Keep on the lookout for more Pokemon reviews as we countdown the days to Sun and Moon's release! Feel free to vote for your favorite of today's monsters, and I'll see you when we tackle our next set: Nidoking and Nidoqueen.
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