Tyranitar (Poké Monday on Thursday 6/9/16)

Better late than never.

  RNG (Tyranitar)

Tyranitar
Tier: OU
Type: Rock/Dark
Base Stats: 100 HP, 134 Atk, 110 Def, 95 Sp.Atk, 100 Sp.Def, 61 Speed
Abilities: Sand Stream, Unnerve (hidden)

Mega Tyranitar
Tier: OU
Type: Rock/Dark
Base Stats: 100 HP, 164 Atk, 150 Def, 95 Sp.Atk, 120 Sp.Def, 71 Speed
Ability: Sand Stream

Usable moves: Ancient Power, Aqua Tail, Avalanche, Blizzard, Body Slam, Brick Break, Crunch, Dark Pulse, Double-Edge, Dragon Claw, Dragon Dance, Dragon Pulse, Dragon Tail, Earth Power, Earthquake, Façade, Fire Blast, Fire Fang, Fire Punch, Flamethrower, Focus Blast, Foul Play, Frustration, Hidden Power (Grass), Hone Claws, Ice Beam, Ice Fang, Ice Punch, Iron Head, Low Kick, Outrage, Power-Up Punch, Protect, Pursuit, Rest, Return, Roar, Rock Polish, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, Shadow Claw, Sleep Talk, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Superpower, Surf, Taunt, Thunder, Thunderbolt, Thunder Punch, Thunder Wave, Toxic

Overview

This is Tyranitar. Being a pseudo-legend, it has been a prominent force in the OU tier since its debut, especially in Generation III when it was given the ability Sand Stream. This ability allows it to conjure a sandstorm (hence the video above) when it switches in, which has the following notable effects:

  • Damaging Pokémon without Rock-, Ground-, or Steel-typing by 1/16 HP per turn (which obviously helps Tyranitar but may hinder teammates)
  • Granting a 1.5x Special Defense boost to Rock-types
  • Supporting Pokémon with the ability Sand Rush, such as Excadrill (and, on a less relevant note, helping Sand Force and Sand Veil users)

The second effect is especially notable; 100/110/100 bulk is already impressive, even if you take Tyranitar’s 7 weaknesses (including one 4x weakness) into account, and added special bulk on top of that just becomes ridiculous. (Not Chansey-level ridiculous in terms of special bulk, but Tyranitar’s natural physical bulk makes up for that.) Moreover, its respectable base 134 Attack allows it to lay a heavy hit on whatever crosses its path, and its usable base 95 Special Attack allows it to run Fire Blast or Ice Beam to blast away would-be defensive checks like Ferrothorn or Landorus-Therian (respectively). (Alternatively, it can run Fire Punch or Ice Punch if it decides to go purely physical.) However, Tyranitar has one problem apart from its 4x Fighting weakness: its Speed. Base 61 is rather slow, and not even having access to Dragon Dance can quite remedy that. In fact, even some walls—including Skarmory, Heatran, and Mega Venusaur—are faster than that.

In Generation VI, even though the lack of permanent weather caused the supportiveness of Tyranitar to take a hit, the rocky beast was given a Mega Evolution (as if it really needed one) that amplifies its bulk to 100/150/120, bumps its base Attack up to 164, and increases its Speed to a slightly better base 71. The Speed boost may not seem like much, but it is enough to cut past base 70s before Dragon Dance and base 116-130 after a Dragon Dance (assuming Jolly nature). That’s about it, though, sadly. The lack of freedom of item choice is a bit of a bummer, as it is with all Mega Evolutions, for which reason Dragon Dance is the only real way to justify running Mega Tyranitar over non-Mega Tyranitar.

Something to keep in mind, though, is that Tyranitar is not the only Pokémon with Sand Stream. The one other option is Hippowdon, which has the following advantages and disadvantages:

+: better typing with much fewer weaknesses
+: slightly better bulk on the physical side
+: reliable recovery in Slack Off
-: typing also has fewer resistances
-: less special bulk (especially factoring in sand)
-: STAB has immunities
-: not quite as strong
-: unusable Special Attack stat
-: noticeably slower
-: no Mega

If the three advantages listed above seem more appealing than what Tyranitar has to offer, go ahead and use Hippowdon instead. Otherwise, stick with Tyranitar.

Set (regular)

Tyranitar @ Smooth Rock
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 248 HP / 80 Def / 180 SpD
Relaxed Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Stone Edge
– Pursuit
– Ice Beam

EV spread was taken from the good ol’ Strategy Dex because I don’t claim any know-how when it comes to defensive investment. The HP and Defense EVs allow it “to survive an Earthquake from +1 Dragonite”, and the rest of the EVs are put into Special Defense for the obvious reason of the set being defensive. Chosen nature is Relaxed so that it can keep its bulk as high as possible without sacrificing offensive power from its dual STABs or Ice Beam.

The point of this set is to conjure an 8-turn sandstorm courtesy of Smooth Rock, lay down Stealth Rock, and wear down the opposition. (The second step may not be absolutely necessary, but it is recommended.) Stone Edge is its strongest STAB, Pursuit allows it to trap opposing Pokémon that fear it, and Ice Beam gives it an easier time against Ground-type walls.

Set (Mega)

Tyranitar @ Tyranitarite
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
– Dragon Dance
– Stone Edge
– Crunch
– Fire Punch

As mentioned before, Dragon Dance is the one justification to using Mega Tyranitar over regular Tyranitar—primarily due to the extra Speed, but also for a bit of extra bulk. The move in question grants this sandy dino +1 in Attack and Speed, patching up its poor (even after Mega) Speed and making it hit harder. Stone Edge and Crunch are its strongest STABs, while Fire Punch is there chiefly to prevent bulky Steels (e.g., Ferrothorn) from ending its reign of terror.

EVs and nature are obviously focused on physical offense, maximizing Speed above all else. Item choice is also obvious, because you can’t have Mega Tyranitar without Tyranitarite.

Other Options

If you need immediate power or speed, slap a Choice Band or Scarf (respectively) on Tyranitar to watch it break down walls or revenge kill (respectively) without having to set up.

Other offensive options include Superpower and Ice Punch. The latter lets it hit bulky Ground-types on physical sets, while the former deals more damage to Bisharp and opposing Tyranitar than any other move. Fire Blast is an option on the support set if roasting bulky Steels seems more appealing than having an answer to certain Ground-types.

Sample Teams

http://pastebin.com/x2QkuA5w – regular Tyranitar team

http://pastebin.com/U19iuNni – Mega Tyranitar team

Because I wanted to get this post done before the end of the day, these teams have not undergone any testing whatsoever; keep that in mind.

The regular Tyranitar team contains:

  • Tyranitar (set above)
  • Excadrill for hazard control and sweeping with sand support
  • Amoonguss for defensive synergy with Tyranitar, and as an answer to bulky Waters
  • Talonflame for priority and wrecking Grass-types
  • Keldeo for wrecking Ground-types
  • Chansey for walling and clerical support

The Mega Tyranitar team contains:

  • Mega Tyranitar (set above)
  • Talonflame for priority and wrecking Grass-types
  • Keldeo for wrecking Ground-types
  • Skarmory for physical walling and setting up Spikes
  • Chansey for defensive synergy with Skarmory
  • Latios for hazard control and Scarf Trick
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