Darmanitan

Sheer Force
Increases power of moves with secondary effects by 30%, but removes the effects.
Zen Mode
The wielder changes forme when below 50% of its max HP.
Type Tier
Fire UU
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
105
- 180 212 -
Atk
140
144 160 192 211
Def
55
67 75 107 117
SpA
30
45 50 82 90
SpD
55
67 75 107 117
Spe
95
103 115 147 161

Overview

A high Attack stat, above-average Speed, and a fantastic ability seem to set Darmanitan up for great things in VGC 2012. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the norm. Common spread moves such as Rock Slide, Surf, and Earthquake land super effective damage on Darmanitan, and its poor defenses further decrease its staying power. While this may turn off one's interest in Darmanitan, proper support and correct strategy will turn it into a premier attacker in VGC 2012.

Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Sheer Force Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Flare Blitz
~ Superpower
~ Rock Slide
~ Earthquake / Fire Punch
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Darmanitan's base 95 Speed is often not suitable for VGC, where many Pokemon reside at a base Speed of 100 or higher. However, Darmanitan is able to patch this up by donning a Choice Scarf, which boosts its Speed at the cost of it being able to use only one move. Thankfully, Flare Blitz is such as powerful move that this handicap is often not a handicap at all. Still, some Pokemon resist or are immune to Fire-type attacks, meaning Darmanitan can't run away with the game just by spamming Flare Blitz.

Darmanitan does have several useful coverage options to fall back on should the foe resist its powerful STAB attacks. Tyranitar and Heatran give Darmanitan massive problems, the former resisting Darmanitan's STAB move and the latter being immune to it. Thankfully, Superpower is super effective against both of these Pokemon—Tyranitar being 4x weak—and with its Choice Scarf, Darmanitan easily outspeeds and OHKOes them. Rock Slide takes on Pokemon that otherwise wall Darmanitan, such as Chandelure. Earthquake rounds off Darmanitan's coverage, completing the QuakeSlide combo and hitting both foes at once; this can be utilized to great effect with an immune partner such as Cresselia. However, the recoil from Flare Blitz may be unattractive, and Fire Punch has certain situational uses, such as OHKOing the genies Tornadus and Thundurus, making it an option over Earthquake.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Physical Attacker

Life Orb Sheer Force Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Flare Blitz
~ Superpower / Earthquake
~ Rock Slide
~ Protect
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

Though Darmanitan's middling Speed becomes more predominant in the absence of a Choice Scarf, a Life Orb set can provide the sheer firepower which the Choice Scarf set lacks. STAB-, Life Orb-, and Sheer Force-boosted Flare Blitz has a mind-boggling Base Power of 304, destroying everything that doesn't resist it. Superpower deals with pesky Rock-types, as well as Heatran, which is immune to Flare Blitz via its ability Flash Fire. However, Earthquake deals damage to both opponents at once, and with an immune partner that can also provide Helping Hand support, such as Cresselia, it still gets the same KOs Superpower does. Keep in mind though that even with a Helping Hand boost, Earthquake won't OHKO Tyranitar, which will KO back with its STAB Rock-type attacks. Rock Slide, while granting little additional coverage, grants Darmanitan the ability to hit two opponents at once without harming its partner. Protect is vital to Darmanitan's well-being, allowing its partner to eliminate a threat and granting it a crucial additional turn of life.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Taunt may seem like an attractive option, but Darmanitan's poor defenses and middling Speed mean it would rather be attacking, and bulkier, faster Pokemon utilize Taunt better in most cases anyway. A Choice Band turns Darmanitan into an unstoppable machine; Choice Band Flare Blitz OHKOes 252 HP Musharna, and has an excellent chance to OHKO physically defensive Cresselia in the sun, something no other Pokemon can boast. Stone Edge looks like a powerful alternative, but it has low accuracy and can only hit one opponent, making it inferior to Rock Slide. Brick Break may be used over Superpower if one finds the Attack and Defense drop unsuitable; however the drop in power is so great that Superpower or even Earthquake is usually the superior choice. U-turn has a niche on the Choice Scarf set, hitting Psychic-type Trick Room users hard and allowing Darmanitan to switch out before they have a chance to Trick Room and neuter it.

Checks and Counters

Terrakion just avoids being OHKOed by Superpower, and can hit Darmanitan hard in return with a combination of Rock Slide to weaken it, and Quick Attack to KO. Other Rock- and Ground-types that resist Flare Blitz, such as Rhyperior with its high Defense and Garchomp with its Dragon typing, are able to take a hit and respond with a super effective Rock Slide or Earthquake. Gyarados walls Darmanitan to the end of the earth and back, lowering its Attack with Intimidate and taking next to nothing from Darmanitan's assaults outside of Rock Slide, while responding with a super effective Waterfall of its own.