Dratini (Poké Monday 7/18/16)

 RNG (Dratini)

Tier: LC
Type: Dragon
Base Stats: 41 HP, 64 Atk, 45 Def, 50 Sp.Atk, 50 Sp.Def, 50 Speed
Abilities: Shed Skin, Marvel Scale (hidden)

Usable moves: Agility, Aqua Jet, Aqua Tail, Blizzard, Body Slam, Double-Edge, Draco Meteor, Dragon Dance, Dragon Tail, Extreme Speed, Façade, Fire Blast, Flamethrower, Frustration, Haze, Hidden Power (Fighting, Grass), Ice Beam, Light Screen, Outrage, Protect, Rest, Return, Sleep Talk, Substitute, Surf, Thunder, Thunderbolt, Thunder Wave, Toxic, Waterfall

Not listed but somewhat usable: Iron Tail

Overview

Thanks to the introduction of the Fairy type, Dragons are not nearly as viable as they used to be, and Dratini is no exception. Its lack of physical coverage against Steel-types and lack of Dragon Claw or Dual Chop don’t help its cause, although it does have arguably the best all-around stats of its draconic kindred; its Attack is decent, and all its other stats are average. It’s also one of two Pokémon in the tier with access to Extreme Speed (the other being Zigzagoon), giving it the privilege to cut past +1 priority abusers such as Fletchling. Moreover, while Zigzagoon is 10 base points faster than Dratini, the latter can check (weakened) variants that lack Speed investment, which are actually the norm. Another quirk that distinguishes Dratini from its fellow dragons is access to Shed Skin, which grants a 1/3 chance of curing a paralysis or burn that could otherwise put a damper in its sweeping potential.

In essence, Dratini may flop against Fairies and (mostly) Steels, but otherwise it’s a notable priority attacker with decent offensive prowess.

Set

Dratini @ Life Orb
Ability: Shed Skin
Level: 5
EVs: 244 Atk / 36 SpD / 196 Spe
Adamant Nature
IVs: 17 HP
– Outrage
– Dragon Dance
– Extreme Speed
– Iron Tail

This is the primary type of set to run when considering Dratini. Outrage is its most powerful attack and most preferable choice of STAB. Dragon Dance boosts its Attack and Speed to 25 and 21, respectively, letting it cut past all Pokémon in the tier lacking Choice Scarf and giving it some extra bite. Extreme Speed gives it priority to defy faster Scarf users and most opposing priority. Iron Tail is there in case it needs to take out a weakened Fairy on its own; however, having Iron Tail does not mean that you should consider preparing a sweep when the opponent has a full-health Fairy waiting in the wings. Here’s why:

+1 244+ Atk Life Orb Dratini Iron Tail vs. 212 HP / 196+ Def Eviolite Spritzee: 21-26 (77.7 – 96.2%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

244+ Atk Life Orb Dratini Iron Tail vs. 36 HP / 196 Def Eviolite Snubbull: 16-21 (69.5 – 91.3%) — 6.3% chance to OHKO after Stealth Rock

This is assuming that Dratini has already set up a Dragon Dance, and it’s much worse off without. Besides the inability of Iron Tail to be a standalone answer to Fairies, that 25% chance to miss could play a crucial role in how it actually fares against Fairies.

Adamant nature maximizes power, but the rest is pretty much a sandbox. The EV spread is a more offensive take, which uses a bit of Sp.Def investment to prevent Download Porygon from gaining +1 Sp.Atk on the switch in, as well as a deliberately lowered HP IV for a stat of 19 (which makes Life Orb recoil do 1 damage).

A more defensive approach, however, would be to use Eviolite with an EV spread of 28 HP / 164 Atk / 76 Def / 36 SpD / 196 Spe. This grants it better bulk while not cutting too much off its Attack stat, although the loss of Life Orb hinders its offensive prowess to some degree.

Other Options

Using its decent Special Attack stat and Fire Blast, Dratini can make a decent lure for Steel-types such as Pawniard and Ferroseed.

196+ SpA Life Orb Dratini Fire Blast vs. 0 HP / 116 SpD Eviolite Pawniard: 18-23 (85.7 – 109.5%) — 75% chance to OHKO

196+ SpA Life Orb Dratini Fire Blast vs. 84 HP / 148+ SpD Eviolite Ferroseed: 26-31 (118.1 – 140.9%) — guaranteed OHKO

Note that it also has the highest Special Attack stat of any Dragon-type in the tier besides Goomy, and therefore one of the most powerful Draco Meteors.

One thing to note when going mixed, however, is that a Defense-hindering nature renders it prone to being KO’d by Pawniard. Therefore, Rash nature is worth the risk of giving Download Porygon a Sp.Atk boost.

That’s about it, though, really.

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/F5THnxWy – Keep in mind that I have had no time to test this team because of an internship.

This team contains:

  • Dratini (set above)
  • Foongus as a bulky pivot in general, particularly for Fairies
  • Ponyta for Steel-types
  • Chinchou to complete the Fire-Water-Grass core (a good beginner tactic in teambuilding)
  • Pawniard because it can be slapped on any team (I hate to say it, but it’s true)
  • Spritzee as a cleric and ironic Dragon-stopper
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