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Abilities: Inner Focus/Multiscale
Notable moves: Agility, Aqua Tail, Draco Meteor, Dragon Claw, Dragon Dance, Dragon Pulse, Dragon Tail, Earthquake, Fire Blast, Fire Punch, Hurricane, Outrage, Roost, Substitute, Superpower, Surf, Thunder, Thunder Punch, Thunder Wave
4x damage: Ice
2x damage: Rock, Dragon, Fairy
½x damage: Fighting, Bug, Fire, Water
1/4x damage: Grass
Before Gen V, Dragonite didn’t have much to set him apart from the bigger Dragon-types, such as the Lati twins, Garchomp and Salamence, only coming out to play when they were banished to Uber. Dragonite’s Attack stat may be impressive but its base 80 Speed was nothing to get happy about. However, Gen V brought Dragonite a gift that allowed it to carve out its niche in OU: Multiscale. Essentially guaranteeing that Dragonite, wouldn’t get OHKOed from full health, Multiscale allowed Dragonite to make up for its lackluster Speed. After a Dragon Dance, Dragonite outruns all common unboosted Pokemon, giving it the opportunity to put its immense Attack, now with a +1, to great use along with its impressive movepool.
Unfortunately, Gen VI didn’t give Dragonite any notable new toys. Instead, Dragonite was given a new foe: Fairy-types. Immune to Dragon-type attacks, Fairy-types bring Dragonite’s rampage to a stop, preventing it from using its strongest physical STAB attack. Luckily, many of the common Fairy-type threats came with a dual-typing that allowed Dragonite to hit them for super effective damage. However, Dragonite now more than ever feels the restrictions of having four moveslots, being unable to use its impressive movepool to its full capacity.
Dragonite requires some specific team support if it wants to potentially sweep. Probably one of the biggest threats to Dragonite is Stealth Rock. Along with being weak to Rock, Dragonite also loses its Multiscale whenever it is below full health, which Stealth Rock guarantees. To deal with this, a Rapid Spinner is absolutely necessary. Starmie, Mega Blastoise and Excadrill are all great options seeing how they not only clear the field of hazards but are also capable of putting offensive pressure on common Dragonite counters. Defog is another option if you choose to not run hazards yourself, but Dragonite greatly appreciates any hazard damage to your opponent to allow it to sweep easily. Steel- and Fairy-types are another huge concern for Dragonite, although the former can sometimes be easily dealt with. Pokemon, such as Scizor, can not only force switches in the face of Fairy-types but also can set Dragonite up with a favorable match-up thanks to its slow U-turn.
Dragonite @ Lum Berry / Leftovers
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
- Dragon Dance
- Outrage / Dragon Claw
- Earthquake / Fire Punch
Probably Dragonite’s best choice as of now, this set sets Dragonite up to wreak havoc on your opponent’s team. Multiscale guarantees a Dragon Dance assuming that Dragonite doesn’t take any Stealth Rock damage on switch-in. Lum Berry is the first choice here seeing how any status essentially kills Dragonite. With Will-O-Wisp being quite common, the berry essentially buys Dragonite a free turn, either to setup or 2HKO the opponent. In the case that your Lum Berry isn’t used to clear a status that way, it comes in useful after Outrage ends its cycle and confuses you. Dragon Claw is a weaker option that doesn't trap you in a move, but you feel the power difference quite often when it comes to neutral attacks. ExtremeSpeed is a staple on this set seeing how it deals with faster threats magnificently after a +1, while also leaving some parting damage on something that is guaranteed to KO you otherwise. The final slot is, unfortunately, a trade-off. Earthquake allows you to hit the likes of Heatran and Aegislash, that too without making contact, while Fire Punch lets you hit Skarmory, Scizor, Forretress, Ferrothorn and Genesect among other things. This decision should be made after taking into account the rest of the team and its potential to deal with the aforementioned threats.
You can choose Leftovers as your item seeing how it will allow you to work off damage, slowly bringing you back to full health and reactivating Multiscale, but it leaves you exposed in regards to status. On top of that, you often won’t stay alive long enough to see yourself at full HP again, at least not while you are in a favourable match-up, so it is best to go with a Lum Berry.
Dragonite @ Weakness Policy
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
- Agility / Dragon Dance
- Dragon Claw
- Fire Punch / Earthquake
Even if Gen VI wasn’t the nicest to Dragonite, it did give it a new toy to play around with. Thanks to Multiscale, Dragonite is one of the few Pokemon that can abuse Multiscale safely. Seeing how its weaknesses are quite common, Weakness Policy isn’t too hard to activate, sending Dragonite straight to an immense 806 Attack. To cover its Speed, Dragonite can choose to either use Agility, allowing it to outrun many Scarfed Pokemon, or it can be greedy and boost its Attack along with its Speed with Dragon Dance. Seeing how the Attack boost from Weakness Policy is enough to make it a formidable opponent, Agility should be the first option. Unfortunately, running Agility makes it so you are relying entirely on your opponent to activate Weakness Policy, which is a gamble. Apart from that, the rest of the set aims for coverage. Dragon Claw is chosen over Outrage seeing how a +2 STAB Dragon Claw with no drawbacks outweighs Outrage without a Lum Berry. ExtremeSpeed gives Dragonite some clean-up potential while also being useful against threats that somehow outsrun you still. Fire Punch versus Earthquake is a difficult choice seeing how the former hits huge threats, such as Genesect, Scizor, Ferrothorn and Forretress, for huge damage while the latter deals with Heatran and Aegislash without making contact. If you are riding on the assumption that Weakness Policy is activated, you should opt for Earthquake seeing how Scizor and Genesect can be dealt with using a +2 Earthquake.
Although this set seems appealing on paper, it has one major drawback. It relies entirely on the assumption that your opponent will activate Weakness Policy while you have Multiscale active. On top of that, you need to be left with enough HP so that a simple priority attack doesn't clean up the rest of your health. Seeing how common it is to break Multiscale with a neutral attack first, this set is unreliable more often than not, so it should be used with caution.
Dragonite @ Choice Band
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
- Fire Punch / Dragon Claw
With such an immense Attack stat, it is obvious that using Choice Band would turn Dragonite into wrecking ball. The main thing that holds this set back is that Dragonite can no longer boost its Speed, leaving it stuck at a less than admirable 80 base Speed. Nevertheless, Dragonite doesn’t need to worry about staying out long enough to feel the effects of its Speed. CB Outrage is the first choice when it comes to moves seeing how it 2HKOs the likes of Hippowdon if you choose to take it on. ExtremeSpeed deals with sweepers and faster Pokemon in general, as long as they aren’t too bulky. Earthquake allows you to hit grounded Steel-types, notably Heatran and Aegislash. In the final slot, you can either opt for Fire Punch, giving you much more coverage, or Dragon Claw, giving you another STAB option if you don’t want to get locked into Outrage.
Previously Usable Sets
The following sets are no longer suggested due to their ineffectiveness following the transition from Gen V to Gen VI, but they deserve a honorable mention for being able to still be functional if the team is built around them.
Dragonite @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
- Dragon Tail
- Thunder Wave
The playstyle of this set is relatively straightforward. After inducing paralysis, you stall with Roost and Substitute until you can successfully end the turn with a Substitute and full HP. Following this, you use Dragon Tail to force the opponent out. Rinse and repeat.
This set’s downfall can be blamed on two main things introduced in Gen VI. The first is Fairy-types, who are immune to Dragon Tail, preventing Dragonite from phazing very well. Along with this, Electric-types picked up an immunity to paralysis, nullifying part of this set’s process. Even with their current commonness, Fairy- and Electric-types make running this set extremely risky and unadvisable.
Dragonite @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 236 SAtk / 20 Spd
- Surf / Substitute
Possessing a usable Special Attack, Dragonite was a great addition to Rain teams in Gen V. Thanks to the accuracy boost that Thunder and Hurricane received in the rain along with the Water-type attack boost, Dragonite became a powerhouse on Rain teams, especially when it came to breaking walls. Although it lacked Dragon-type STAB attacks, its three move choice allowed it to deal significant damage to whatever came its way, especially with STAB Hurricane. Substitute is a good option over Sure seeing how you can take advantage of a predicted switch to Sub and possibly make 2HKOs you previously couldn't.
Due to the rain nerf in Gen VI, running a moveset so entirely dependent on the weather is extremely risky. Even with a Damp Rock, the number of turns Dragonite can use this set effectively is limited, allowing the opponent to stall for the majority of Dragonite’s usable turns. On top of that, Dragonite is mostly useless unless it is preceded by the rain inducer, making it overly reliant on another Pokemon on the team.
Dragonite has the potential to become a great sweeper as long as the proper precautions are taken before sending out. Fairy-types should either be significantly weakened if not killed seeing how they completely wall Dragonite if they don’t possess a second typing that makes them weak to Fire- or Ground-type attacks. Steel-types can be problematic if you chose a coverage move that doesn’t hit the current threat for super effective damage. As long as the opposing Steel-type doesn’t resist the chosen coverage move, you can probably get off with significantly weakening the Pokemon so as to clean it up with Dragonite. Stealth Rock should be taken off the field before Dragonite switches in unless you want to forfeit your Multiscale protection, making you a sitting duck while you try to set up.
Dishonorable mention for Greninja, who OHKOs non-bulky Dragonite through Multiscale.
252 SpA Life Orb Protean Greninja Ice Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Multiscale Dragonite: 328-385 (101.2 - 118.8%) -- guaranteed OHKO
What is your opinion on Dragonite?
~Sig from Kuro vi Lolitania~
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