Darumaka instantly stands out as an aggressive, destructive attacker in Little Cup. With a huge base Attack stat of 90, an amazing ability that boosts its Attack significantly, and extremely powerful moves at its fingertips, it is safe to say that nothing lacking Flash Fire can switch into Darumaka's attacks without paying for it. While Darumaka is undoubtedly the strongest physical attacker in Little Cup, there are a few reasons why the blazing critter has not centralized the metagame. While Flare Blitz is certainly powerful, it comes with a heavy price in 1/3 recoil, a price that decidedly limits Darumaka's sweeping abilities despite a good HP stat. Not only does Darumaka suffer from recoil, but it is exposed to all forms of residual damage, most notably being weak to Stealth Rock. Despite its limitations, Darumaka is an interesting Pokemon that will burn holes in the opponent's team easily.
This is Darumaka's signature set, and for good reason too. Darumaka's herculean power makes it immediately a threat to any team, and with a Choice item, it's almost impossible for the opponent to avoid losing a teammate or two. Choice Band and Choice Scarf play differently, but Darumaka excels at using both items.
Choice Scarf is usually the item of choice for a few reasons. With Hustle, Darumaka already hits an Attack stat of 27, which is higher than even Cranidos's Attack stat, effectively making Darumaka the strongest physical attacker in the tier. Holding a Choice Scarf allows Darumaka to outpace all unboosted Pokemon in the tier, as well as a fair share of opponents that commonly hold a Choice Scarf, including Magnemite and Snover. Darumaka's powerful Flare Blitz will OHKO just about any Pokemon that doesn't resist it, and Darumaka will probably outspeed them as well. This means that this fiery blob will probably take out a few members of the opponent's team before succumbing to priority and recoil.
By contrast, with a Choice Band around Darumaka's wrist, its Attack skyrockets to a jaw dropping stat of 40. With 40 Attack, it is safe to say that anything lacking Flash Fire will fall to a Flare Blitz with Stealth Rock or Spikes. Even attacks that aren't boosted by STAB, such as Superpower and Rock Slide, will do tremendous damage and OHKO anything that they hit super effectively. Overall, 40 Attack is truly scary and makes Choice Band Darumaka the true threat that it is.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Darumaka is normally seen as an offensive threat, it plays a support role exceptionally well with high HP and a great support movepool. Encore allows Darumaka to force the opponent into using the move last used; this is extremely annoying for the opponent as the defensive Pokemon that commonly switch into Darumaka are particularly vulnerable to Encore. The move in the second slot depends on your team; if it has trouble with physical attackers, you can use Will-O-Wisp to cripple them. Otherwise, you can use Yawn to force switches or put a foe to sleep. Yawn's ability to force switches is especially great when lots of entry hazards are present. Using it in tandem with U-turn, Darumaka can play mind games with the opponent to cause even more switches and rack up the damage with hazards and U-turn. U-turn also allows Darumaka to make advantageous switches against opposing switch-ins trying to take advantage of Encore or Yawn. Additionally, it can net a few KOs here and there against frail Pokemon that take super effective damage from it, such as Zorua.
Fire Punch is the best STAB move Darumaka has for this set in terms of power and consistency. If you want to use Flare Blitz for added power, you can, but its recoil is not appreciated on this support set.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Darumaka has access to Belly Drum. With an Oran Berry, it can use Belly Drum without losing any HP if the opponent isn't attacking. A set of Belly Drum, Encore, Fire Punch, and Brick Break can easily set up and abuse Belly Drum. Ideally, you would want to pass some Speed boosts to Darumaka. Darumaka has other means of boosting its stats, notably Flame Charge and Work Up, which can be used with Fire Punch, Brick Break, and Rock Slide.
Darumaka gets some nice movepool combinations, such as SubPunch with Encore. The point of this set is to switch in on something that tries to set up or use a weak move such as Porygon using Recover or Ice Beam, and use Encore. The opponent will be forced to switch out while you can set up Substitute and attack with a cushion. This also allows Darumaka to use Focus Punch without losing its focus. Lastly, Darumaka gets some cool alternative moves such as Flame Wheel, Fire Fang, Hammer Arm, and Roar that can be used in place of more destructive moves. It also has the choice of Life Orb, but the added residual damage really inhibits Darumaka.
Checks and Counters
Ponyta, Houndour, and Growlithe all have Flash Fire and can switch into Darumaka's STAB moves while boosting their own. Buizel gets Aqua Jet and can OHKO Darumaka with Stealth Rock, but they can't switch in on Choice Band Flare Blitz. The best way to defeat Darumaka is with residual damage; Stealth Rock and Spikes, especially the former, will do a lot of damage to Darumaka. Munchlax with Thick Fat can switch into Flare Blitz and cause Darumaka to take a lot of recoil damage due to Munchlax's high HP stat. Sandstorm and hail can also be used to wear Darumaka down very well. In the rain, Water-types can easily switch into Flare Blitz and OHKO Darumaka with just about any Water-type attack. Slowpoke is among the very select few which can switch into Darumaka's attacks without fainting.