When it comes to both overall utility and effectiveness as a defensive pivot, Ferrothorn is second to none. Great defensive typing, above average stats, and a stellar support movepool make him a valuable asset to both offensive and defensive teams alike. The ability to check so many threats at once, including, but not limited to, Latios, Kyurem-B, and virtually every Water-type in the tier barring Keldeo allows Ferrothorn many opportunities to switch in and either set up entry hazards or retaliate with either of his two powerful STAB moves. Much like any other Pokemon, Ferrothorn does have his drawbacks in his poor Speed, a 4x Fire weakness, and no method of reliable recovery (aside from Rest), but if played to his strengths, Ferrothorn will almost always perform well.
This set is Ferrothorn's standard fare and is what he will be running the vast majority of the time. Despite the myriad of viable moves Ferrothorn has at his disposal, each combination functions almost identically; switch in, set up hazards, and cripple the opponent. Spikes work excellently on Ferrothorn, giving him something to do after switching in on an opponent that can't touch it. Leech Seed is also a very effective move, useful for preventing opposing Pokemon from setting up on him while simultaneously providing self-healing. Either of these moves can be replaced with Stealth Rock should there not be room for it elsewhere on the team, although both are of substantial utility and will be missed.
Gyro Ball and Power Whip are Ferrothorn's best attacking options, hitting the majority of the standard metagame for at least neutral damage. Each of these two moves has its merits; the former is generally more effective against faster Pokemon or those that resist Power Whip such as Gengar, Latios, Dragonite, and Kyurem-B, whereas the latter primarily slams Water Pokemon such as Rotom-W, Jellicent, Gyarados, and Keldeo. Unfortunately, it is worth noting that some of these Pokemon have methods of crippling Ferrothorn before he lands a single Power Whip; the former two are capable of afflicting Ferrothorn with a burn via Will-O-Wisp, whereas Keldeo can nearly OHKO with Secret Sword before Ferrothorn can land a single hit.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While this set may appear to be a gimmick at first, it is quite far from it. Ferrothorn may lack a large offensive movepool, but its two extremely powerful STAB moves in Gyro Ball and Power Whip backed by a respectable base 94 Attack stat show that this set should not be underestimated. Steel- and Grass-type attacks have surprisingly good coverage together, only being resisted by a handful of common threats, most of which possess either Steel or Fire typing. Despite Bulldoze's paltry Base Power of 60, it hits many of the Pokemon that resist Ferrothorn's STAB moves for a large amount of damage. The last moveslot is largely filler; Spikes isn't the best move to be locked into, but can be useful in certain situations. Explosion's high Base Power, on the other hand, is very appealing, but comes at the cost of Ferrothorn's life, and is not much more powerful than Ferrothorn's STAB moves.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
A noteworthy move not mentioned above is Gravity. Using Gravity allows Ferrothorn to act as a defensive pivot on a Gravity-based team, although Gravity itself is generally considered a gimmicky strategy.
As far as individual sets are concerned, the standard set does not have many other options apart from what is listed aside from the generic Toxic and Curse. Stealth Rock is only recommended if there is no teammate that can set up Stealth Rock effectively, as Ferrothorn is one of the few useful Pokemon capable of setting up Spikes. Toxic is generally dismissed in favor of Leech Seed, which heals Ferrothorn in addition to racking up residual damage. On the Choice Band set, Ferrothorn can use Return, Rollout, Payback, Shadow Claw, or even Leech Seed in the fourth slot, although Spikes and Explosion are generally superior options.
Checks and Counters
Pokemon that carry Fire-type moves, such as Heatran, Infernape, Ninetales, and Hydreigon, are more than capable of forcing Ferrothorn out. However, not only is Ferrothorn capable of surviving some weaker Fire-type attacks such as Tyranitar's Flamethrower, but if rain is up, he can tank many of these attacks (particularly those that lack STAB) quite nicely. This gives him the opportunity to either attack back or set up entry hazards. Likewise, users of powerful Fighting-type attacks, such as Conkeldurr, Breloom, and Terrakion, will also scare most Ferrothorn off. Magic Bounce Xatu and Espeon, as well as Taunt Skarmory, are capable of rendering Ferrothorn nearly useless, preventing him from laying down Spikes while providing team support in the form of either dual screens or Spikes, respectively.
Many Pokemon that are often otherwise shut down by Ferrothorn, such as Latios and Starmie, are capable of crippling Ferrothorn if they choose to run Hidden Power Fire or Trick. Magnezone with either Hidden Power Fire or the combination of Charge Beam and Substitute is also capable of making Ferrothorn's life miserable. Finally, because Ferrothorn does not have reliable recovery outside of Leech Seed and Rest, it can eventually be worn down by powerful or boosted neutral hits. Be warned, however, that many of Ferrothorn's counters will dread switching in on the Choice Band set, especially if they are not expecting it.