With BW bringing a plethora of offensively inclined threats into the metagame, Ferrothorn remains an exception to the rule, holding its ground against many of the most threatening Pokemon seen in competitive play. Great defensive typing, above average stats, and a killer support movepool make him a valuable asset to both offensive and defensive teams alike. The ability to check so many threats at once, including (but not limited to) Latios, Gengar, and nearly every Water-type in existence allows Ferrothorn many opportunities to switch in and either set up entry hazards or retaliate with either of its two powerful STAB moves. Much like any other Pokemon, Ferrothorn does have its drawbacks in its poor Speed and 4x Fire weakness, but with the right team support, Ferrothorn will almost always perform well.
This set is Ferrothorn's standard fare and is what it will be running the majority of the time. Spikes work excellently on Ferrothorn, giving it something to do after switching in on an opponent that can't touch it. Leech Seed is also a very effective move, useful for preventing opposing Pokemon from setting up on it while providing self-healing at the same time. Gyro Ball and Power Whip are Ferrothorn's best attacking options, hitting the majority of the standard metagame for at least neutral damage. However, because Ferrothorn's Attack stat is less than impressive without any investment, Protect is an appealing alternative over either move; it is useful not only for scouting, but for racking up Leech Seed and Leftovers recovery as well. Gyro Ball and Power Whip each have their own merits; the former is more useful against faster threats—most notably Dragon-types and Gengar—while the latter is more useful against Water-types and slow Pokemon, such as Reuniclus.
In addition to the moves listed, two other viable options in Ferrothorn's movepool are Stealth Rock and Thunder Wave. While Ferrothorn is typically better suited for setting up Spikes, Stealth Rock can be used over Leech Seed, although this means Ferrothorn is left without any means of recovery outside of Leftovers. Although Thunder Wave has poor synergy with Gyro Ball and can be difficult to fit into a moveset, it allows Ferrothorn to cripple many of its common counters, such as Infernape and Hydreigon. Ferrothorn can also use Shed Shell in order to escape from Magnezone and Wobbuffet, although this means that Ferrothorn loses out on valuable Leftovers recovery.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While this set may appear to be a gimmick at first, it is quite far from it. Ferrothorn may lack a large offensive movepool, but its two extremely powerful STAB moves in Gyro Ball and Power Whip—backed by a respectable base 94 Attack stat—show that this set is not to be underestimated. Steel- and Grass-type attacks have surprisingly good coverage together, only being resisted by a handful of common threats (most of which possess either Steel or Fire typing). Despite Bulldoze's paltry Base Power of 60, it hits many of the Pokemon that resist Ferrothorn's STAB moves for a large amount of damage. The last moveslot is largely filler; Spikes isn't the best move to be locked into, but can be useful in certain situations. Explosion's high Base Power, on the other hand, is very appealing, but comes at the cost of Ferrothorn's life and is not much more powerful than Ferrothorn's STAB moves.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Two of the most noteworthy moves not mentioned above are Curse and Gravity. Curse is a viable set-up move for Ferrothorn, allowing it to boost its Attack to dangerous levels while simultaneously increasing its Defense through the roof. However, Ferrothorn is still vulnerable to Fire-type attacks and will be OHKOed by many of them, so this set requires a great deal of team support. Gravity, on the other hand, allows Ferrothorn to act as a defensive pivot on a Gravity-based team, although Gravity is generally considered a gimmicky strategy.
For individual sets, the standard set does not have many other options available aside from Stealth Rock and Toxic. Stealth Rock is only recommended if there is no teammate that can set up Stealth Rock effectively, as Ferrothorn is one of the few useful Pokemon capable of setting up Spikes. Toxic is a viable option as well, but it is generally dismissed in favor of Leech Seed, which heals Ferrothorn in addition to racking up residual damage. Rocky Helmet is also a viable item choice on the standard set, as Pokemon that use contact moves against Ferrothorn will lose 29% of their health due to the combination of Rocky Helmet and Iron Barbs. This is especially helpful in warding off Pokemon that want to use Rapid Spin against Ferrothorn, as Rapid Spin does not remove entry hazards if the user faints from Iron Barbs immediately after using the move. On the Choice Band set, Ferrothorn can use Return, Rollout, Payback, Shadow Claw, or even Leech Seed in the fourth slot, although Spikes and Explosion are generally superior options.
Checks and Counters
Pokemon that carry Fire-type moves, such as Heatran, Infernape, Ninetales, and Hydreigon, are more than capable of forcing Ferrothorn out. However, Ferrothorn is capable of surviving some weaker Fire-type attacks, such as Tyranitar's Flamethrower. This gives Ferrothorn the opportunity to either attack back or set up entry hazards. Likewise, users of powerful Fighting-type attacks, such as Conkeldurr and Terrakion, will also scare most Ferrothorn off. Magic Bounce Xatu and Espeon, as well as Taunt Skarmory, are capable of rendering Ferrothorn nearly useless by preventing it from laying down Spikes while providing their own form of team support in the form of either dual screens or Spikes, respectively.
Many Pokemon that are often otherwise shut down by Ferrothorn, such as Latios and Starmie, are capable of crippling Ferrothorn if they choose to run Hidden Power Fire or Trick. Magnezone with either Hidden Power Fire or the combination of Charge Beam and Substitute is also capable of making Ferrothorn's life miserable. Finally, because Ferrothorn does not have reliable recovery outside of Leech Seed and Rest, it can eventually be worn down by powerful or boosted neutral hits. Be warned, however, that many of Ferrothorn's counters will dread switching in on the Choice Band set, especially if they are not expecting it.