In BW, Dragonite rose from the shadows of its competitors due to being gifted with the rare Multiscale. With Multiscale, Dragonite has gone from an outclassed niche Pokemon to one of the most dominant offensive and defensive threats in the metagame. It can fill almost any role and is one of the few Pokemon that can claim to work on any team due to its endless movepool and well-distributed stats. However, residual damage, particularly a nasty Stealth Rock weakness, limits Multiscale's effectiveness. A slightly below-average Speed holds it back as well, though Multiscale helps mitigate this flaw somewhat. Speedy threats such as Choice Scarf Salamence and Thundurus-T don't do it any favors either. Regardless of these downfalls, Dragonite defines the OU metagame with its great bulk and power, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
While in previous generations Dragonite was often overlooked in favor of the much faster Salamence, Multiscale gives it a major boost that puts it on the forefront of Dragon Dance sweeping. With Multiscale, provided that Stealth Rock is off the field, Dragonite is the only Dragon-type that can claim to have a guaranteed turn of setup, which rivals Salamence and Haxorus only wish they could have. It can even set up on and KO Starmie and Latias, both of which would otherwise have their way with slower Dragon-types. Once set up, very few Pokemon in OU can take on the menace that is boosted Dragonite, allowing it to rip apart teams if left unchecked.
There are two choices for Dragonite's STAB move: Outrage and Dragon Claw. Outrage is much more powerful, so powerful that it 2HKOes offensive Heatran with a +1 boost, meaning that with it and Fire Punch Dragonite can hit every Pokemon in OU for a large amount of damage. Dragon Claw is another option, having much less power but giving Dragonite the option to switch moves. Dragon Claw pairs well with ExtremeSpeed, as the combination of the two allows Dragonite to continue its sweep against faster revenge killers, such as Keldeo, Thundurus-T, Latios, and Haxorus. Earthquake is another option that allows Dragonite to beat Pokemon that rain teams in particular often have trouble with such as Tentacruel, Jirachi, and Heatran. Lastly, Roost can be run in order to optimize Dragonite's access to Multiscale to obtain more boosts and increase overall longevity.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set is more oriented towards the hit-and-run strategy. It is similar to Scizor in this aspect, except that ExtremeSpeed has better general coverage and around the same amount of power as Bullet Punch. With a Choice Band, Dragonite becomes a monster, capable of blasting apart walls and tearing large holes in both offensive and defensive cores. Outrage is the primary offensive tool of this set, capable of steamrolling through everything that is not a bulky Steel-type and puncturing through the highest of defenses. ExtremeSpeed is a huge boon to Choice Band Dragonite, allowing it to act similar to Scizor in that it can pick off almost any weakened Pokemon that does not resist it. Fire Punch has excellent coverage with Outrage, hitting the Steel-types that resist it hard, but Waterfall is the superior choice in rain due to being boosted by the weather. Earthquake rounds out Dragonite's coverage by smacking Heatran and Jirachi in rain, though Superpower is actually a very competitive alternative. It does heavy damage to Tyranitar, Blissey, and Chansey, and has arguably better coverage too, hitting most Pokemon that Earthquake hits and more. However, Jirachi in rain and Metagross will then wall Dragonite, but outside of rain Fire Punch deals a decent amount of damage and the right support can make them a non-issue.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
The main goal of this set is to deal with the three main things that standard Dragon Dance Dragonite is stopped by: status, revenge killers, and residual damage from sand. While usually Dragonite will have to choose which issue to overcome, with this set it can have it all, with beating revenge killers such as Choice Scarf Haxorus lacking Dual Chop, Choice Scarf Keldeo, Choice Scarf Terrakion, and Choice Scarf Thundurus-T being icing on the cake. Without having to worry about status and being protected from faster revenge killers and priority, Dragonite can easily boost all the way up to +6 provided it gets in against a slower wall or Pokemon that cannot hit it for much damage. Most teams lack a way to prevent this from happening other than denying Dragonite momentum, which can be easily gained with a simple slow Volt Switch or U-turn. Once Steel-types are removed, this set is a nightmare for stall, as other than Roar and Whirlwind, such teams usually lack ways of stopping this set from setting up to +6 and unleashing its untold fury upon their mightiest and bulkiest walls. The SubRoost strategy finds its home on this Dragonite set, allowing Dragonite to maintain Multiscale and have an even easier time setting up. Dragon Claw is the sole attack, boasting a large amount of power after a few boosts. While Dragonite might have a bit of trouble finding time to actually switch in and set up Substitute, the moment it does spells doom for all of its opposition.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While it might seem unorthodox for such a powerful offensive threat, this set is extremely effective with the right support. The goal is to shuffle the opposing team in order to rack up entry hazard damage as well as damage from Dragon Tail, possibly spreading paralysis if it has a chance or instead utilizing that slot to hit Steel-types hard that otherwise do well against Dragonite. Dragonite has an excellent set of resistances and has excellent bulk that is bolstered by Multiscale, having even more bulk than the titan of special walls, Blissey, with Multiscale intact. This set is best for teams built around entry hazards and residual damage, and functions poorly if used like a normal phazer, though if Multiscale is intact it gets the chance to phaze anything not behind a Substitute, barring a Dragon Tail miss.
This set has a very simple setup process. First, come in on a resisted move or one that Dragonite is immune to and make sure that the opposing Pokemon cannot deal heavy damage to Dragonite. Next, the goal is to set up a Substitute and attempt to stall with Substitute and Roost while using Dragon Tail every time Dragonite gets a chance. Thunder Wave is usually the modus operandi in order to achieve this, but if paralysis support is already provided, Dragonite can run Flamethrower to deal with the ubiquitous Steel-type switch-ins that are not fazed by entry hazards, such as Skarmory due to its access to recovery and Ferrothorn because of Iron Barbs, making it so Dragon Tail also deals damage to Dragonite if it connects. Forretress is another Steel-type that is problematic, mainly due to being able to spin away the hazards that are vital to this set's success.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
All it takes is one look at Dragonite's offenses and movepool to see that it can make an excellent mixed attacker in rain. It boasts coveted access to both Hurricane and Thunder with STAB to boost the former. There are other reasons that it works well in rain, such as covering the Grass-type weaknesses that many members of most rain teams tend to have without being weak to Electric-type attacks, which is a solid advantage over such Pokemon as Tornadus. It does not take much to get Dragonite in, and once it gets in it blasts holes, boasting downright amazing coverage and tearing apart common threats to rain teams.
Due to this set being built for rain, Hurricane overtakes Dragonite's Dragon-type STAB as the main spam move of choice, boasting 100% accuracy in rain as well as a high Base Power and excellent neutral coverage. The next slot is all preference; Aqua Tail gains a sort of pseudo-STAB in rain and does solid damage to most Pokemon that resist Hurricane, with notable hits being the OHKO on 252 / 0 Heatran 81% of the time, the OHKO on 0 / 0 Thundurus-T after Stealth Rock, the 2HKO on 252 / 0 Jirachi 65% of the time after Stealth Rock and one layer of Spikes, the 2HKO on Blissey after Stealth Rock, and the 2HKO on Tyranitar outside of rain. While Superpower might seem like a much more inferior option when put up against how well Aqua Tail does against a variety of threats, Superpower OHKOes Tyranitar, OHKOes Blissey after Stealth Rock, and 2HKOes Chansey, all of which are very relevant and notable checks to rain, and although lowering stats is a drawback, the draw is still there for smacking those three Pokemon hard. However, it does then leave Dragonite open to Jirachi if it forfeits Earthquake, and Earthquake and Superpower have redundant coverage when used together.
Thunder is in the third slot due to the fact that it has perfect accuracy in rain and deals super effective damage to Pokemon that rain teams struggle with, such as Tentacruel, as well as allowing Dragonite to lure in and KO Skarmory expecting a physical Dragonite. The solid 30% paralysis chance can be helpful in a clutch, giving the Latias, Latios, and other fast Pokemon that can take a Thunder second thoughts on switching in. The last slot is all a tossup, as it won't be used very much at all. ExtremeSpeed allows Dragonite to pick off faster Pokemon and Choice Scarf users and can be combined with another move that could potentially surprise the opponent. Earthquake hits a few things that Aqua Tail and Superpower fail to hit and gives Dragonite a great tool against sun teams that are otherwise challenging for rain teams to beat. Roost can be useful to keep Dragonite alive longer and possibly repair Multiscale, but its use is limited, and the use of Life Orb breaks Multiscale anyway. Every move that can be put in the last slot does have some potential use, but in actuality it isn't all that much and the best move to pick is the one that will handle something that your team struggles with.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While many Dragonite sets aim to break holes, this set aims to deal with many common threats to rain teams thanks to its numerous resistances and the all-important Multiscale. Thanks to being made for rain, it has the ability to hit back hard as well, which is a key advantage over the Multiscale shuffler set. Out of every single set contained in this analysis, this set is the best abuser of Multiscale, taking advantage of Roost to stall out even super effective attacks from some of the most monstrous attackers in existence. Dragon Tail is able to be used at key times if Multiscale is intact, as well as STAB Hurricane and perfectly-accurate-in-rain Thunder to hit back hard.
Hurricane hits quite hard thanks to STAB, even without investment, with the 30% confusion chance being ever-present and always a headache for opposing Pokemon. Thunder has decent coverage with Hurricane and has a very nice 30% chance of paralysis, allowing Dragonite to cripple many a sweeper completely and even create an unreliable but still deadly parafusion combination with Hurricane. Rain stall teams often struggle with bulky Water-types, such as Jellicent, Vaporeon, and Tentacruel, and Thunder allows Dragonite to beat them. Dragon Tail prevents Dragonite from being set up on and can be pulled off to save a battle from the fires of defeat, being able to be used as a revenge killer for setup sweepers not behind a Substitute. It would be remiss not to mention Roost, which is supremely important for keeping Dragonite in a decent range of health and abusing Multiscale. Bringing Dragonite without it would be a tragic mistake.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This Dragonite set can take on a variety of roles for a team, including paralysis spreader, sweeper, lure, and a check to some of the top threats of the metagame. Thunder Wave allows Dragonite to support slower teammates as well as itself, which most importantly means that it gets more opportunities to use Roost, possibly reactivating Multiscale in the process, allowing it to survive an otherwise fatal hit. With Thunder Wave slowing opposing Pokemon down, Dragonite can invest all of its EVs in bulk and power, making it so Dragonite can function as an effective tank. In a similar vein with Tinkerbell Celebi, Dragonite should aim to spread paralysis early-game and fire off strong attacks later. While Dragonite's 100 base Special Attack doesn't seem like much, it is more than enough to hit a pretty decent majority of the metagame hard thanks to high-power attacks in Draco Meteor and Fire Blast.
Due to the heavy threat level of the omnipresent Dragon Dance and Choice Band variants of Dragonite, this set can also act as an effective lure, dealing heavy damage to physical walls such as Slowbro, Gliscor, and Skarmory that might switch in expecting to take an Outrage only to meet a Draco Meteor or a Fire Blast, paving the way for physical sweepers, such as Terrakion and Scizor, to sweep. Luring in physical walls is something rain variants of Dragonite cannot do, as special attacks such as Hurricane and Thunder might be expected under these conditions. If Dragonite is using Leftovers and Thunder Wave happens to be revealed before either of Dragonite's attacks are, it can effectively bluff being the Multiscale shuffler set and surprise foes with a powerful attack, as Multiscale shuffler Dragonite typically does not invest in its offenses. Draco Meteor is Dragonite's strongest attack, and thanks to the STAB boost it receives, only a handful of non-Steel-type Pokemon are able to switch in to it and live to tell the tale. Fire Blast provides excellent coverage alongside Draco Meteor, with the combination of the two attacks only resisted by Heatran. Flamethrower is a viable alternative to Fire Blast, but the drop in power is noticeable. However, if sun support is provided, Flamethrower is generally the better option, as with the sun boost, Flamethrower gets all the KOs Fire Blast would, in addition to having perfect accuracy.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Dragonite's movepool contains a plethora of other options. Agility can be used to boost Dragonite's disappointing Speed to a quite high level, but Dragon Dance boosts its Speed anyway and more importantly its Attack, making Agility an inferior option. However, a special rain Agility set has potential thanks to the Attack boost not being missed, making it not all bad. Heal Bell can be used on a bulky set to allow Dragonite to function as a cleric or even to help set up Dragon Dance; however, Substitute is better for that and Dragonite's moveslots are cramped as it is, not to mention that it is incompatible with Multiscale thanks to being a move solely found on Dragonite in Pokemon XD. Haze can have some potential use to check setup sweepers, but Dragon Tail is superior due to it shuffling around the opponent and spreading entry hazard damage, though Haze might see the light of day on teams that struggle with last Pokemon setup sweepers. Tailwind can be used in a similar vein to Agility and to support the team, but once again Dragon Dance is superior for boosting the power of Dragonite's attacks. The gimmicky Icy Wind can be used to lower the opposing Pokemon's Speed and follow it up with a powerful attack, but an attacking move followed by ExtremeSpeed is a more effective strategy.
Although Superpower is superior in most cases, Brick Break can be used with more consistency and breaks through dual screens, but unfortunately it is not very powerful. Stone Edge is a very niche option solely viable to OHKO Volcarona without any chance of being burnt by Flame Body. Dragon Rush might seem to be a decent option over Dragon Claw for more power, but the much lower accuracy makes the increased power not worth it for most teams.
A mixed set composed of Draco Meteor, Fire Blast, Superpower, and ExtremeSpeed can be used to decent effect, but other sets are generally more effective and the set itself is inferior to Hydreigon and Salamence. It does have a few things that it boasts that separate it from the two, including that it lures in physical walls thanks to its most common set being Dragon Dance, ExtremeSpeed for priority, and lack of reliance on Outrage to hit special walls hard. Other than that, its inferior Special Attack and Speed make it a worse choice. Multiscale can't even save Dragonite here, with at maximum there being only one turn of it and most of the time it being already broken.
Checks and Counters
Due to Dragonite's extreme diversity it has no hard counters, but many checks exist. Faster Choice Scarf users, such as Keldeo, Terrakion, Kyurem, Salamence, Latios, Haxorus, and Thundurus-T, can outspeed and OHKO Dragonite once Multiscale is broken even if it has set up, with a few even being able to OHKO Dragonite through Multiscale. Landorus-T and Gyarados make decent switch-ins due to Intimidate and can take a neutral Outrage, and with a Steel-type teammate such as Ferrothorn, Skarmory, Heatran, or Forretress to sponge Outrages creates a core that Dragonite cannot hope to break. Steel-types and walls with high physical bulk that can switch in on Outrage, such as Jirachi, Heatran, Skarmory, Hippowdon, Ferrothorn, and Gliscor, beat most physical Dragonite sets, though even they must be wary of the proper coverage move that might be used specifically to beat some of these threats.
Slowbro and Tangrowth make excellent switch-ins thanks to Regenerator allowing them to make up for any mistakes, and outside of mixed and special sets Dragonite cannot OHKO either of them. Both are able to take a super effective coverage move and then switch out to something that resists it, while coming out of the scenario pretty much unscathed. The very rare Porygon2 makes a perfect counter, copying Multiscale with Trace and being able to take any hit not named Superpower. Quagsire is another rare Pokemon that can beat Dragonite, though the only set it beats is Dragon Dance all thanks to Unaware. Defensive Cloyster is another of these rare Pokemon that can beat Dragon Dance sets, having massive physical bulk as well as Icicle Spear which has four times its usual effectiveness and ignores Multiscale due to being a multi-hit move. Choice Scarf Ditto is another option but only actually beats and revenge kills the offensive Dragon Dance set. Stealth Rock is usually one's best line of defense against any Dragonite, negating Multiscale, and combining it with a sturdy spinblocker such as Jellicent will make Dragonite's life quite difficult. Attempting to figure out Dragonite's set early on is key, as its versatility makes it very difficult to deal with later in the game if its set is not yet known. Overall, the best ways to deal with Dragonite are revenge killing, priority, prediction, and something that can absorb a few hits, and most all teams worth their stuff have, at the very least, one of these methods in place.