Smogon official tier: BL2 (not UU by usage, but too broken for RU)
Stats: 79 HP, 115 Atk, 70 Def, 125 Sp.Atk, 80 Sp.Def, 111 Speed
Abilities: Prankster, Defiant (HA)
Smogon official tier: OU
Stats: 79 HP, 100 Atk, 80 Def, 110 Sp.Atk, 90 Sp.Def, 121 Speed
Usable moves: Acrobatics, Aerial Ace, Agility, Air Slash, Brick Break, Bulk Up, Crunch, Dark Pulse, Extrasensory, Façade, Focus Blast, Foul Play, Frustration, Grass Knot, Hammer Arm, Heat Wave, Hidden Power (Fire, Ice), Hurricane, Knock Off, Protect, Psychic, Rest, Return, Sludge Bomb, Sludge Wave, Substitute, Superpower, Tailwind, Taunt, Toxic, U-turn
Tornadus’ main claim to fame is being the only Pokémon with a pure Flying typing (other than Sky Plate Arceus, of course). This separates it from typical Normal/Flying types that it resists Fighting-type moves (such as Mach Punch) at the expense of losing a Ghost immunity and Normal STAB; a trade for the better, I say. It doesn’t have the best movepool, but it definitely has enough to get by.
Tornadus-I is more offensive than its Therian counterpart, despite its lower Speed stat. While its main ability, Prankster, is not suited for an offensive role, its hidden ability, Defiant, makes it the best Defog blocker in UU. It also makes for a solid saboteur with Taunt, Knock Off, and U-turn at its disposal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any better physical Flying STAB than Acrobatics, for which it has to sacrifice an item slot. On the special side, it can fire off Hurricanes with Heat Wave and Grass Knot for coverage, but not much else beyond that. (Unlike Thundurus, Tornadus does not get Nasty Plot.) Its Prankster ability can also be used for Tailwind, but Tailwind is generally not used in Singles.
Tornadus-T sacrifices offense in favor of an increase in Speed and bulk. Then why is it OU instead of BL2? Two reasons: 1) better Speed tier, and 2) Regenerator. As a matter of fact, its Speed is so impressive that it doesn’t even need full Speed investment; in fact, it only needs enough investment to outspeed Jolly Choice Scarf Tyranitar. The extra EVs can then be put into its Special Attack and either its Attack or its HP, depending on what variant it is. More interesting is its Regenerator ability, which heals 1/3 of its HP every time it switches, which works very well in conjunction with U-turn. In fact, Tornadus-T happens to be the only Pokémon besides Mienshao with access to the combination of U-turn and Regenerator (although Mienshao is slower, less bulky, and has arguably worse STAB). Still, just because Tornadus-T has increased bulk compared to its Incarnate counterpart, as well as a superior defensive ability, don’t expect it to be taking every single attack for the team. I’m just comparing its bulk to that of frail Pokémon, plus it’s weak to Stealth Rock. Sure, it can easily heal the 25% it loses on switch-in, but beyond that it only has 8.3% of health to preserve in order that it can fully heal on the switch out. Therefore, when using Tornadus-T as a defensive anything, be sure to not underestimate your opponent and also bring hazard control. These issues are not as vital if using a wallbreaker Tornadus-T, but they are still worth noting.
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
– Knock Off
As mentioned, Defiant makes Tornadus-I a good countermeasure against Defog and Intimidate. Its lack of item simply serves to bump the power of Acrobatics up to 110, making the move its best physical STAB (because Flying Gem does not exist in 6th gen). Knock Off is Knock Off, one of the best utility moves in the game. U-turn is there in case Tornadus finds itself in a bind—that is, up against a wall or a slower attacker that it can’t deal with properly. Speaking of walls, Taunt is an option on Tornadus that prevents anything slower standing in its way from being able to do nasty things like setting up hazards, inflicting status, or recovering lost health. EVs and nature are dedicated purely to physical offense because Tornadus is frail and also needs all the power and Speed it can get.
Tornadus-Therian (M) @ Assault Vest
EVs: 132 HP / 160 SpA / 216 Spe
– Focus Blast
– Knock Off
I’m going to come out and say I stole this one from the Smogon Strategy Pokédex, just because it’s difficult to analyze a Pokémon of such oddity as Tornadus-T without a load of competitive experience, which I lack. (In fact, I’d say the farthest extent of my competitive knowledge lies in analyzing Speed tiers, and that’s due to a handy spreadsheet that I have at my disposal.) As mentioned, the Speed investment serves to creep past Choice Scarf Tyranitar, the fastest of its threats that can still be outsped. The Special Attack investment guarantees an OHKO on Keldeo with Hurricane, while the rest of the EVs are put into HP to give it a much needed increase in bulk. Assault Vest and Regenerator make a great combination, Assault Vest substantially increasing the special bulk of its holder while preventing it from using non-offensive moves, and Regenerator giving it recovery that it would otherwise lack. It may seem odd to use a Timid nature on a set that uses physical attacks, but this is so that no bulk is lost, not to mention Knock Off and U-turn are types of moves that don’t really need the extra oomph at the expense of bulk. As far as the moveset is concerned, Hurricane is its main STAB that does massive damage, Focus Blast gives it coverage against Steel- and Rock-types, Knock Off is for utility, and U-turn lets it switch out for some nice Regenerator recovery.
Incarnate forme can also use a special attacking set that puts to advantage its access to Prankster Taunt, of which it is the fastest user in UU besides Whimsicott (although note that Whimsicott does not run max Speed). Get this, though: slapping a Life Orb on it makes it more powerful than Mega Pidgeot.
252 SpA Life Orb Tornadus Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 24+ SpD Florges: 140-165 (38.8 – 45.8%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Mega Pidgeot Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 24+ SpD Florges: 114-135 (31.6 – 37.5%) — 0% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
However, I say this is a matter of preference as Mega Pidgeot is bulkier and has access to Roost as well as Work Up. Still, Mega Pidgeot is helpless against Rock-types whereas Tornadus has access to Focus Blast and Grass Knot, so there’s that. Also, as mentioned before, Tornadus also gets Tailwind, but it’s generally not used in Singles. Therian forme, instead of serving as a defensive pivot, can also fill a wallbreaker role. The set in the Smogon Strategy Pokédex suggests Naïve nature, Life Orb, and an EV spread of 76 Atk / 216 SpA / 216 Spe, specifically tailored to OHKO Excadrill and Tyranitar with Superpower. The thing about Regenerator is: not only does it alleviate Stealth Rock damage; it can also heal Life Orb recoil, meaning it doesn’t usually mind having to U-turn with Life Orb in tow. Tornadus-T can also use Taunt, and its lack of Prankster is somewhat offset by its handy Speed tier.
These teams have gone through testing, but they are still not much, if at all, better than samples.