While Kingdra has taken quite a few steps back in BW with the Drizzle + Swift Swim ban, it still remains a potent threat due to its ability to counter rain teams. With rain-boosted Water-type moves and Swift Swim in hand, Kingdra can outspeed and decimate opposing rain teams by turning Politoed into a massive liability. Rain teams are often stuck with the difficult choice of cutting off a major source of their power by refraining from bringing out Politoed early or risking getting destroyed by Kingdra. Despite being an absolutely terror for rain teams, it isn't seen as much as one might expect because it competes with the many other OU Dragon-types for a spot on a team. It has a hard counter in the extremely common Ferrothorn and it is somewhat weak without rain support. It has a useful quadruple resistance to Fire and Water, which makes it a handy check to both powerful sun threats such as Victini and rain threats such as Keldeo and Choice Specs Politoed. One should also not discount its bulk, as Kingdra can take several common attacks, such as Terrakion's Close Combat and Landorus's Earthquake, quite nicely. Overall, while Kingdra isn't the best Pokemon in the world, it stands tall as the ultimate counter to rain teams.
This set makes great use of Kingdra's offensive capabilities. In the rain, Kingdra is essentially a faster Life Orb Latios, boasting similar Special Attack with an insanely powerful Water-type STAB, enabling it to do something Latios can only dream of doing: sweep with its most powerful move. To put this into perspective, very few Pokemon in OU aren't 2HKOed by either Hydro Pump or Draco Meteor. Kingdra is adept at disrupting weather teams due to its ability to set up rain at any time. However, the limited turns of rain in conjunction with a Life Orb puts Kingdra on two timers; Kingdra does not last very long, so you must make the most of the time it has.
When it comes to choosing a STAB move, you need to make a choice between Hydro Pump and Surf. A difference of 30 Base Power might not seem like much, but it makes a significant difference in practice as, accounting for rain and STAB, Hydro Pump has 270 Base Power and Surf 213. For this reason, Hydro Pump is recommended despite its tendency to miss: it punches massive holes in just about everything, 2HKOing even Ferrothorn with some prior damage. There goes Kingdra's biggest "counter"! If the accuracy really bothers you, by all means use Surf, but prepare to be disappointed by the lowered damage output.
Draco Meteor is the key to Kingdra's success, though just one use of it ends its sweep. That debilitating factor is beside the point, however, when you take into account its ability to 2HKO most bulky Water-types. Hydro Pump just cannot break bulky Water-types, especially Jellicent, and the goal of this Kingdra is to hit as hard as possible in the limited time it has; thus, Draco Meteor fits perfectly. Heck, you don't even have to go for two Draco Meteors if you're worried about missing or being even more vulnerable to set up; you can choose to use Dragon Pulse followed by Draco Meteor for the 2HKO. That way, Kingdra's second move will still hit hard if you pick something else.
Finally, the last slot is a toss-up between three moves. Just remember, it's not some filler move you'll never use. Surf might seem like the craziest idea to even consider pairing with Hydro Pump, but it gives you the best of both worlds: power and accuracy. When you don't need the power of Hydro Pump, you can go for Surf, and vice versa. Additionally, Surf gives Kingdra a reliable move with which to sweep late-game. Ice Beam has three main benefits: firstly, it lets Kingdra 2HKO Celebi, Amoonguss, and other Grass-types; secondly, it reliably KOes Landorus and Gliscor outside of rain; thirdly, it takes down Salamence and Dragonite without the need to use Draco Meteor. The final option is Dragon Pulse, which is similar to Surf in that it is a more reliable alternative to Draco Meteor. It is extremely useful for times when Kingdra needs to hit Water-types but doesn't want to render itself helpless in the turns following. However, keep in mind that a resisted rain-boosted Hydro Pump is just as powerful as a neutral STAB Dragon Pulse, so it's all for the accuracy.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The main issue other Kingdra sets have is the need to waste a turn setting up. While the boost obtained in that turn is certainly appreciated, it also leaves Kingdra open to its opponent's attacks. How do you fix this issue? It's simple; just throw on a pair of Choice Specs! With Choice Specs, Kingdra is able to go out easily and attack, but not have anything to lose by switching back out. It isn't on any timer and hits like a freight train. This immediate offensive presence surprises foes that expect Kingdra to spend a turn setting up and not damaging them. Additionally, it lifts the burden on Kingdra to sweep. Instead, Kingdra can fulfill a role as a supporting attacker, hitting hard early- to mid-game and relying on its resistances to Fire and Water as a pivot; after that, it can sit back and watch the credits roll as its teammates finish off the opposing team. If Kingdra manages to survive that long, it can even do that itself.
The first two moves are there for power. Every good Choice Specs user has a powerful STAB move or two, and Kingdra is no exception. With fantastic coverage together, little can stand in Kingdra's way. If you see a Pokemon that resists one move, most of the time you can pick the other, it's that simple. Hydro Pump is also useful to dismantle rain teams. However, both Draco Meteor and Hydro Pump have debilitating drawbacks, specifically an awful Special Attack drop and imperfect accuracy. While they are excellent moves to punch holes for most of the game, when late-game comes around, these drawbacks make them undesirable choices. The final two slots provide that reliability. Basically, pick a STAB move and Ice Beam. Ice Beam is needed to 2HKO specially defensive Celebi and do a ton to Amoonguss, while the STAB move is for reliable late-game cleaning. Surf is usually preferred because it hits many common threats hard and is quite powerful in rain, but Dragon Pulse has perfect neutral coverage against all foes bar Steel-types.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A classic set from DPP, Substitute + Dragon Dance Kingdra is still as effective as ever. Kingdra has plenty of special attacking prowess, but physical sets are just as effective due to how amazing Dragon Dance is as a boosting move. Aside from the Attack boost, the lack of reliance on rain for a Speed boost is huge. The basic premise of the set is to set up on defensive Pokemon, weakened Pokemon, or a Choice-locked Fire- or Water-type attack. Defensive threats, such as Jirachi and Jellicent, are the easiest to take advantage of. Between Leftovers and Substitute, Kingdra can laugh off their weak attacks and status moves. After Kingdra has set up a couple of Dragon Dances, it is all set to sweep. Substitute makes it far easier to set up, blocking status, Trick, and revenge kills. The offensive moves are pretty obvious as well, consisting of only Kingdra's STABs, which are all it really needs. Waterfall is reliable, has a nifty chance to flinch, and brings rain teams to their knees. Outrage is for when Waterfall just isn't enough; it has ungodly power after a Dragon Dance or two and hits most Pokemon that resist Waterfall hard. Be sure to use discretion with Outrage, however, as being over-reliant on it against Water-type resistors will inevitably lead to a Steel-type such as Skarmory coming in and putting Kingdra in its place.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The biggest problem Dragon Dance Kingdra suffers from is being worn down. ChestoRest is a tried-and-true combination that gives Kingdra the ability to fully heal itself once with no repercussions. It tosses aside worry of being hit by status while boosting, which eliminates a large pool of Kingdra's counters. Furthermore, it boasts the ability to take some hits while setting up and be at full health afterwards to stop what few revenge killers can deal with a boosted Kingdra. Kingdra has the resistances it needs to set up easily against most Pokemon that cannot hit it too hard. The goal of this set is to boost as many times as possible, heal up, and sweep with Outrage and Waterfall, which provide all the coverage Kingdra needs in most cases. One thing you must not do, however, is attempt to sweep with only one or two boosts; this Kingdra doesn't have the power necessary to do so.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Dragon Dance Kingdra usually attempts to obtain multiple boosts, that doesn't bode well for fighting more offensive teams. Such teams most often have Pokemon that can KO or completely cripple Kingdra as it foolishly attempts to set up. The goal of this set is to fix that issue; it has powerful attacks and a Life Orb in order to do so. This gives Kingdra the ability to hit everything hard, including physical walls that the other Dragon Dance sets struggle against. Examples of foes that are no longer a problem are Skarmory, Scizor, and last but not least Ferrothorn; many more can be defeated after a boost or two.
This set's wide coverage is the main reason it is so good. The biggest decision you will have to make is between Waterfall and Hydro Pump. Waterfall is more accurate, has a chance to flinch, and can be boosted by Dragon Dance, but Hydro Pump hits Skarmory much harder and can OHKO Hippowdon; it all comes down to what you want Kingdra to beat. The second attack is not nearly as difficult a choice. You should use Hidden Power Fire unless for whatever reason you don't care so much about beating Ferrothorn; in which case replace it with Draco Meteor, which gives Kingdra an alternative to Outrage against Water-resistant foes, such as Breloom, Starmie, Slowbro, Latios, and Hydreigon, among many others.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Kingdra can run quite a few more sets, but none are as effective as any of the ones listed. A mixed Rain Dance set is viable, but a rain-boosted Waterfall isn't what it used to be in a metagame filled with physically bulky Steel-types and Water-immune Pokemon. The main draw would be to beat special walls, but mixed Kingdra can't even beat Chansey; all you would really gain is a weaker Hydro Pump. A mono-attacking set with Outrage as the attack could work in a similar vein to CroCune, but it also has trouble sweeping, and being asleep, even with Sleep Talk, is undesirable with BW's sleep mechanics. Additionally, having one's only attack being Outrage is undesirable. A Double Dance set with both Dragon Dance and Rain Dance is yet another set that seems great on paper, as it theoretically allows Kingdra to use whichever setup move is best for the situation. However, there is really no need for that, as both Rain Dance and Dragon Dance are amazing tools and don't need to be used in tandem; rather, you're just wasting a moveslot. You can run a Dragon Dance Kingdra set with Disable and Protect or Substitute over conventional moves, with Outrage as the sole attack. Disable would prevent foes from 2HKOing Kingdra with a move if it is their only move to hit Kingdra, provided Kingdra is slower, but it's not worth being left with Outrage as Kingdra's only attack, and Protect or Substitute is needed to sweep.
Bounce might seem a usable move to spread paralysis, but it provides no additional coverage and is really better used by Gyarados, as Kingdra lacks the STAB to make good use out of it. Sniper can be used over Swift Swim on any of the sets other than Rain Dance if you want to use permanent rain to boost Kingdra's STAB Water-type attacks, but in doing so you've pretty much defeated the purpose of using Kingdra. Kingdra's viability relies on the fact that it can effectively combat rain due to Swift Swim; without Swift Swim, you might as well use another Dragon-type.
Checks and Counters
Clad in spiked armor, Ferrothorn is the bane of Kingdra's existence. Kingdra's Hydro Pumps and Draco Meteors do pittance while Ferrothorn's Iron Barbs edge Kingdra ever closer to death. Power Whip breaks Kingdra's Substitutes and Thunder Wave can completely cripple Kingdra. Ferrothorn can set up entry hazards in the time Kingdra is out. If rain is up, forget Hidden Power Fire, which only 2HKOes anyway; no Kingdra can score an OHKO. Ferrothorn's partner in crime—Jellicent—is just as good a counter, taking negligible damage from every attack in Kingdra's arsenal other than Draco Meteor. Jellicent can reply back with a burn, or worse, Taunt. Jellicent can Recover stall Draco Meteor, so the only way Kingdra will win is if it hits Jellicent with Dragon Pulse as it switches in and follows up with a Draco Meteor.
Gastrodon can take special sets and cripple non-Substitute Dragon Dance ones with Toxic or burn. Another is defensive Politoed, who can take on Dragon Dance variants fairly well, as it can force Kingdra out with Perish Song. The final is Rotom-W, who can cripple Dragon Dance variants with Will-O-Wisp, and if specially defensive, it can handle special variants adequately enough. The major issue that arises is Substitute + Dragon Dance and ChestoRest Kingdra, who doesn't have to worry about status and thus turns these three Pokemon into setup fodder. Notable bulky Grass-types include Celebi and Amoonguss, specially defensive Celebi and Amoonguss can handle special Kingdra fairly well, and Amoonguss can Spore all variants except Substitute ones. Choice Specs and even Life Orb Draco Meteors do tons to both bulky Water- and Grass-types though, so be wary of that.
Of course, you can always take the easy way out and use a revenge killer. Well, it's actually not that easy with Kingdra. Kingdra has some considerable bulk; it can tank some attacks, such as Choice Scarf Terrakion's Close Combat and Choice Scarf Keldeo's Secret Sword. For this reason, you will need a Choice Scarf Dragon-type to revenge kill Kingdra. Latios is preferable, as Kingdra needs two Dragon Dances to outpace it. You can also use Salamence, who has the benefit of turning Kingdra into a liability with Moxie. The only other way you're revenge killing Kingdra with a non-Dragon-type is Landorus and Terrakion, both of who can only shorten and not end Kingdra's life. Also, remember that you're simply not revenge killing Kingdra in rain, so you'd better have a decent answer to it. The Choice Specs set is much easier to revenge kill, as it has no way of boosting its Speed unless you have rain. If you do have rain, try to force it out before bringing out Politoed. The only way to revenge kill Kingdra in rain is with powerful priority, such as Technician Breloom's Mach Punch, Choice Band Dragonite's ExtremeSpeed, and Life Orb Mamoswine's Ice Shard, and they only KO if Kingdra's been weakened.