- Move power depends on gender of the opponent.
- Abilities that hinder attacks are nullified.
- Prevents the foe from consuming its held Berry item.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
One glance at its fearsome tusks and red irises will tell you that Axew is one vicious little dragon. There was once a time when Axew was outclassed by other Dragon Dance users such as Dratini and Scraggy, but that time is long in the past, as Black and White 2 bestowed upon it gifts from the move tutors: Aqua Tail and Superpower. This means that coverage issues can no longer restrain this majestic beast. Base 87 Attack is what makes Axew truly formidable, as it is able to reach dizzying power levels when paired with Dragon Dance, which also boosts its less impressive base 57 Speed to respectable levels.
Alas, even mighty warriors like Axew have weaknesses. 46 / 60 / 40 defenses are far from impressive, though Eviolite can mitigate this somewhat. Its typing, though a blessing offensively, leaves it vulnerable to Ice-type attacks and the dreaded priority Ice Shard. Furthermore, despite the new toys it received from the move tutors, Axew finds itself walled by some Steel-types, especially if it lacks Superpower. Bulky Fighting-types also lurk in the shadows with the potential to ruin Axew's day with their ability to take hits and retaliate with powerful attacks. Its flaws, however, can be covered by its fantastic sweeping capabilities; with the right support, it can ravage unprepared teams.
Dragon Dance is a move that Axew utilizes superbly. The goal of this set is simple: switch in after a teammate has been felled or on a resisted attack, then Dragon Dance to turn Axew into into a killing machine. After a Dragon Dance, Axew reaches a bone-crushing Attack of 27, and its Speed reaches a relatively nimble 24, meaning it can outspeed the entirety of the unboosted metagame and even some slower Choice Scarf Pokemon, such as Snover. Once boosted, there is little that can face up to the wrath of Axew; it is both faster and more powerful, stat-wise, than Dratini and Scraggy.
Outrage serves as the obligatory Dragon-type STAB. It boasts a monstrous 120 Base Power, meaning it will demolish enemies that do not resist it even before a boost. Aqua Tail provides fantastic coverage for Axew, hitting threats like Hippopotas for super effective damage and allowing Axew to attack without locking itself into Outrage. The move used in the last slot can vary depending on user preference. Dragon Claw is to negate the side effect of Outrage in exchange for less power. Superpower can be used to scout a potential switch-in, paving the way for Axew to ravage the opponent's team later in the game. However, the subsequent Attack drop can often be detrimental to Axew's sweep, and, to a lesser extent, so can the fall in Defense.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Choice Scarf turns Axew from a deadly sweeper into a just-as-deadly revenge killer, able to come in after a teammate has perished and avenge its fallen ally. A Speed stat of 24 when equipped with a Choice Scarf is nothing to scoff at, and along with Axew's Attack stat of 18, picking off weakened foes becomes child's play. Dragon Claw is the preference of STAB this time, as a Choice set likes being locked into Outrage even less than the Dragon Dance variant. Superpower allows Axew to deal with many Pokemon that would otherwise give it trouble, such as Lileep and Ferroseed, scoring a nice super effective hit on them. Aqua Tail hits Hippopotas slightly harder than its Dragon-type STAB attacks, as well as scoring a super effective hit on the many Fire-types that plague the tier such as Houndour and Larvesta. Outrage, Axew's most powerful option, can be used when there is nothing left on the opponent's team to take a hit or outspeed Axew, allowing it to also function as a competent late-game cleaner or to smash a bulky check as it comes in so that Axew can pave the way for a sweep for a teammate.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Axew has a few other options up its sleeve that have similar functions to its already existing sets. Night Slash scores a super effective hit on Misdreavus and other bulky Ghost-types that can give Axew trouble, though a STAB Outrage will often do similar damage and Night Slash has poor coverage alongside Axew's Dragon-type STAB. A more bulky Dragon Dance set could be used to accumulate more than one boost, but this is somewhat outclassed by Dratini, which can use Rest for recovery to less detrimental effect due to Shed Skin. Life Orb or Choice Band give Axew more immediate power, but the bulk provided by Eviolite is normally a superior option, as it gives Axew an easier time setting up and allows it to take priority easier once it has done so. Swords Dance seems like a good option at first, but Axew's slightly disappointing Speed and lack of priority means that Axew will hardly ever sweep. A double dance set with could be used to help Axew overcome some normal counters, though it will not usually find the time to set up twice. Rivalry is an interesting option, as many Pokemon that Axew could not break through before could be beaten if that Pokemon is the same gender. However, this could also work conversely, meaning Axew will often just miss out on a kill that it would otherwise achieve, and thus it is usually not worth the risk. Unnerve would have been good in Generation 4, but Generation 5 introduced Eviolite, so Oran Berry, a previous staple on Little Cup teams, has been shunned somewhat.
Checks and Counters
Bronzor is the best counter to Axew, as it resists its Dragon-type STAB and has a neutrality to Superpower, thanks to its secondary Psychic typing. A +1 Aqua Tail only does 32-40%, while Bronzor can use Toxic and then stall with Protect and Rest, putting a timer on Axew's sweep. Other Steel-types such as Magnemite and Pawniard can wall Axew that are locked into Outrage or that lack Superpower and retaliate with powerful STABs, or, in the case of the latter, set up Swords Dance to become a very dangerous threat. Some Fighting-types like bulky Mienfoo and Riolu act as decent checks, as they can both just about take a +1 Outrage. Mienfoo can Fake Out and then Drain Punch, scoring good damage on Axew, then switch out to recover some of the damage done. If Axew last used Outrage, Riolu can use Copycat, which, due to Prankster, allows it to move before Axew and hit it for 72-90%, picking it off if it has taken some prior damage. Timburr can also take a +1 Outrage and heavily damage Axew with a combination of Drain Punch and then priority Mach Punch. Other priority users can really hinder Axew, despite the defense boost provided by Eviolite. A Sucker Punch coming from a Life Orb Murkrow does 54-72%, and an Ice Shard from Choice Scarf Snover does 36-54%, so both have the potential to KO Axew if it has been weakened. Finally, faster users of Choice Scarf, such as Mienfoo and Abra, can outspeed Axew and crush it with their powerful STAB attacks.