Feraligatr is a Pokemon that is often overlooked in OU, largely because of its seemingly average stats. While base stats of 105 Attack and 100 Defense are by no means bad, its base 78 Speed is lacking for an OU sweeper. Fortunately, Feraligatr thrives in the rain-dominated metagame, as it powers up its Water-type STAB attacks in the form of Aqua Jet and Waterfall, which possess good neutral coverage. Its access to Aqua Jet, Crunch, Swords Dance, and a useful ability in Torrent give it a definite niche in OU over other physical rain attackers such as Gyarados and Azumarill.
Although Feraligatr is an effective late-game sweeper thanks to Aqua Jet, it can also function well mid-game, as opposing weather starters that attempt to remove rain have a hard time switching into it. The only exception is Abomasnow, who still won't enjoy taking a hit from Feraligatr while eating hazards damage. Defensively, its Water typing allows it to overpower common bulky Water-types or other Pokemon that seemingly wall it, barring Scald burns.
That said, Feraligatr does have a number of flaws. Its STAB is resisted by many popular OU Pokemon. Furthermore, it is too slow to freely spam Waterfall against offensive threats and therefore is forced to rely on Aqua Jet or its bulk to take a hit and dish back damage. However, given proper support, Feraligatr has the potential to wreak havoc due the fact that it is a forgotten threat with a specific niche, which gives trouble to a lot of stall teams already hard-pressed to cover common OU threats.
The goal of this set is to come in late-game against something that cannot do much back to Feraligatr, such as Forretress, or more commonly, Pokemon that cannot knock Feraligatr out, which include OU powerhouses such as Keldeo, Terrakion, and Scizor. From there Feraligatr can proceed to grab a Swords Dance boost as the opponent attempts to weaken it or switch out. At this point, the opposing team should be weakened enough such that faster threats will either fail to OHKO Feraligatr and get knocked back by a boosted Waterfall or Crunch, or be picked off by a +2 Mystic Water—and possibly Torrent—boosted Aqua Jet in the rain, while any slower walls will succumb to Waterfall or Feraligatr's coverage move of choice.
As stated above, Aqua Jet is the main selling point of this set. It allows Feraligatr to bypass its Speed issue and decimate weakened faster threats. Its power in the rain is almost comparable to Scizor's Bullet Punch, and it goes above and beyond that once Torrent kicks in. This might seem easier said than done, but Feraligatr's surprising bulk allows it to set up much more comfortably than expected. For instance, despite Keldeo's resistances to Water and Dark-type moves, it cannot take Feraligatr out in one hit and will fall to a boosted Waterfall + Aqua Jet. Gyarados also falls in the same vein. Additionally, Aqua Jet allows Feraligatr to check multiple boosting threats in OU, such as Terrakion, Scizor, and Volcarona.
While it is tempting to use two coverage moves in place of Waterfall, a rain-boosted STAB Waterfall still comes in handy in most cases, as it allows Feraligatr to muscle through Hippowdon, Skarmory, Landorus-T, Gliscor, and less bulky Pokemon that resist Water-type moves. Superpower packs a massive punch and easily breaks through Ferrothorn, Gastrodon, and Chansey, among others; it can also be fired off unboosted to soften some threats, most notably Rotom-W. Ice Punch prevents Dragonite and Salamence from setting up on Feraligatr, and deals significant damage to other Dragon-types that resist Water, such as Latios, Latias, and Hydreigon. It also severely injures bulky Grass-types such as Celebi and Amoonguss, as well as less common ones like Tangrowth. Crunch, on the other hand, is the ideal choice for dealing with Jellicent, Celebi, and Slowbro. Crunch is listed first as it decimates the ever-so-common Jellicent and Celebi, and a boosted Waterfall will still hurt the other walls. Crunch also allows Feraligatr to support Keldeo, as it removes problematic Pokemon such as Jellicent and bulky Celebi, who cannot OHKO with Giga Drain. Keep in mind that a 2x-resisted STAB Mystic Water-boosted Waterfall in the rain still hits harder than any of Feraligatr's neutral coverage moves bar Superpower.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
There are a few other options that can be considered when using Feraligatr in OU, however it is hard to find one that is not outclassed by another Pokemon. Feraligatr can make good use of its bulk to run a Choice Band set, but Azumarill is better in this regard. Likewise, a Dragon Dance set is viable, but Gyarados usually performs this better due to its ease in getting two Dragon Dances up, which is necessary for either of them to outspeed common Choice Scarf foes.
A Swords Dance set with Aqua Jet and two coverage moves can be used, as the combination of Superpower and Crunch can dispose of defensive cores such as Ferrothorn + Jellicent. Feraligatr also receives other physical moves that are worth mentioning, such as Aqua Tail, Earthquake, Return, Shadow Claw, and Low Kick. Waterfall is still preferred over Aqua Tail as it generally nets the same KOs while having perfect accuracy and a chance to flinch. Earthquake is a gimmicky option that hits Tentacruel, Toxicroak, and Jirachi harder, as well as making quick work of Ninetales that might think it can tank a hit in the sun. Return can be used to hit its checks and counters neutrally, barring Ferrothorn and Jellicent. Shadow Claw is an option over Crunch to keep a neutral hit on Toxicroak but loses some crucial OHKOs. Finally, Low Kick lacks the negative effects of Superpower and still gets the job done against Ferrothorn. However, it should be noted that Superpower is much more reliable against special walls and Rotom-W.
A Substitute + Swords Dance set can be used at the expense of Aqua Jet or the coverage move, leaving Feraligatr with only Water-type attacks. Substitute is a nice surprise move as it can block status and ward off Scald burns, and reliably getting into Torrent + boosting-berry range is also a neat option to have. However, mono-Water-type attacks leave it completely walled by too many things and dropping Aqua Jet makes little sense as it is Feraligatr's main selling point. Substitute does work as a one-time cushion against revenge killers, but it will lose the ability to pick off weakened teams, which should be the goal of a team centered around Feraligatr.
Checks and Counters
Feraligatr's checks and counters can be divided into two categories, yet they have one thing in common: a resistance to Water. The first group of checks to Feraligatr comprises of those that can outspeed and deal heavy damage to it. These include Latias, Latios, Salamence, Dragonite, Kyurem-B, Breloom, Celebi, Venusaur, Toxicroak, Starmie, and Rotom-W. Keep in mind that most of these Pokemon need to be kept healthy to properly check Feraligatr, as a boosted Aqua Jet can pick off weakened ones. This is especially true for Rotom-W, who, despite being able to maim Feraligatr with its STAB Electric-type attack or Will-O-Wisp, is one of the easier Pokemon to wear down as it is often forced to switch in and out to deal with Feraligatr's common teammates Starmie, Politoed, and Tornadus. Checks in this group also need to take Feraligatr out in one hit, as they will fall to the Waterfall + Aqua Jet combination otherwise. Toxicroak gets a special mention as it is immune to Feraligatr's dreaded Water-type moves, and can set up in return. Technician Breloom also outspeeds Feraligatr with the given EV spread and can out-prioritize Feraligatr with Mach Punch, as can ExtremeSpeed Dragonite.
The second way to handle Feraligatr is by attempting to wall it. Pokemon that fall into this category are Jellicent, Ferrothorn, Tentacruel, Tangrowth, Amoonguss, and Slowbro. However, they will all fall to the appropriate coverage move. If Feraligatr lacks the coverage move to deal with these Pokemon, Jellicent can cripple Feraligatr with Will-O-Wisp, Tangrowth and Amoonguss can neuter Feraligatr with Sleep Powder and Spore respectively or outright attack with Giga Drain, and Ferrothorn can utilize Power Whip and Leech Seed. Tentacruel, like a lot of other bulky Water-types, can attempt to stomach Feraligatr's assault, but cannot do much in return aside from fishing for a Scald burn. However, the Toxic set can try to stall Feraligatr out, and laying up Toxic Spikes early will help in limiting Feraligatr's staying power.
Sheer Force is an interesting addition to Feraligatr, as not only does it aid the Swords Dance set, but it also makes a Dragon Dance set more viable. In addition to boosting the power of Waterfall, Crunch, and Ice Punch, this ability also negates Life Orb recoil when the aforementioned moves are used. This will allow Feraligatr to fire off much more powerful unboosted attacks right off the bat, increasing its versatility.