Heatran left DPP as the most-used Pokemon in OU. This comes as no surprise, for Heatran's impressive defensive stats, Fire / Steel typing, and useful ability enable it to combat a huge portion of the metagame. It is no slouch offensively, either—a base 130 Special Attack stat combined with a good offensive movepool makes even dedicated counters wince. In this generation, things appear to be even better for it. Air Balloon, a new item, allows it to switch into Ground-type moves safely. The popularity of Pokemon such as Ferrothorn enables Heatran to switch in with ease and shift the momentum in your favor.
However, with the nerf to Explosion, Blissey and Chansey are now the perfect counters to Heatran. Heatran also has to deal with Latios and Latias, previous Ubers who now find themselves in the same tier as Heatran. In addition, Fighting-type Pokemon are extremely popular, so it may have more trouble making an impact than it used to. Nevertheless, it is clear that Heatran will remain a top threat for quite a while.
Although Heatran at first glance looks like it would be primarily used as an offensive Pokemon, one should not forget about its defensive options. Base 106 defenses, immunity to Toxic, and a wide support movepool make it a powerful wall. A specially defensive set is used over a physically defensive set because Lava Plume's high burn rate enables Heatran to shrug off physical hits most of the time. In addition, the most common physical moves aimed at Heatran are usually high-powered moves such as Close Combat, Hi Jump Kick, and Earthquake, attacks that would easily OHKO or 2HKO Heatran regardless of investment in Defense.
Lava Plume is chosen due to its high 30% burn rate, which makes Heatran incredibly difficult to take down on the physical side. Stealth Rock makes it easier for offensive teammates to sweep the opponent's team, whereas Roar is useful for phazing out an enemy sweeper or troublesome wall. Roar is more suited for stall teams that already have a Stealth Rock user, and because Heatran is notorious for causing switches, Roar will allow it to accumulate a lot of Spikes damage. Protect is an excellent utility move on Heatran to scout for Choice users, gain Leftovers recovery, and accumulate status damage on the opponent. Finally, Toxic enables it to dispose of Chansey, Blissey, bulky Water-type Pokemon, and other defensive Pokemon who would otherwise wall Heatran. Will-O-Wisp is still a good option to nail incoming Tyranitar, although Lava Plume means that Toxic is generally the superior option. Since Pokemon immune to Toxic, such as Tentacruel, Gliscor, and opposing Heatran, can trouble Heatran if it chooses to run these moves, Earth Power and Hidden Power Ice are options over Protect to take out threats.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Heatran's typing enables it to switch into a variety of attacks, and its acceptable movepool also allows it to threaten many Pokemon at once. Air Balloon takes this to a whole new level by allowing Heatran to switch into Earthquake, a move that used to send chills down its spine. For example, with Air Balloon, it can check Gliscor pretty reliably. However, Air Balloon is instantly popped if Heatran is hit by an attack, and while the introduction of team preview makes prediction easier, caution must still be exercised to ensure that Heatran does not use up its item for nothing.
Fire Blast is a wickedly powerful STAB move, easily destroying anything that does not resist it. As the 85% accuracy is troublesome, however, Flamethrower is a viable alternative, but the loss of power may be very noticeable. Earth Power is useful for dealing with other Heatran, as well as in situations where using Fire Blast is not a good idea, such as against Drizzle teams. The choice of Hidden Power depends on which Pokemon trouble your team most. Hidden Power Ice takes out Gliscor, and Landorus, although it will need to attack the latter on the switch or while its Air Balloon is still intact. Hidden Power Grass is more suitable for dealing with Water-types such as Quagsire and Gastrodon. Heatran is also one of the few Pokemon who can happily use Stealth Rock without any compatibility issues.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Considering the existence, not to mention the popularity, of Drought Ninetales in OU, the use of Sunny Day Heatran requires some explanation. The actual purpose of this set is not to set up sun for sun-reliant Pokemon (a role Ninetales is superior in), but rather to reverse the momentum of the match against opposing weather teams and conventional Heatran counters. To explain how this works, consider this: the sight of Ninetales usually prompts many opponents into keeping their own Tyranitar, Hippowdon, or Politoed alive, often leading to time-consuming weather wars. Sunny Day Heatran, however, tends to avoid these types of situations. Without the threat of Ninetales, the opponent has little incentive to maintain their automatic weather inducer, and thus, after these Pokemon have been weakened or eliminated, Heatran can instantly turn the battle around in its favor by summoning sun. All things considered, this Heatran is best used on a weatherless team, where it can disguise itself as one of its other sets and fire off powerful Fire Blasts, with and without sun.
As stated before, Heatran may also win against its usual counters. As long as the sunlight is in effect, all Water-type moves are weakened and SolarBeam loses its charge-up period. These factors allow Heatran to survive powerful assaults from and retaliate against a number of counters. To put this in perspective, Timid Rotom-W's Hydro Pump, which would normally deal 99.1% - 117.6% in clear skies, will only manage 50.2% - 59.4% in sunlight. Assuming Heatran carries Leftovers, it can return the favor with SolarBeam, which will deal a massive amount of damage to—if not OHKO—Rotom-W. This situation applies to many of Heatran's Water-type counters, most of whom risk being weakened by Sunny Day and KOed with SolarBeam. It should be noted that an unboosted SolarBeam is stronger than a Life Orb Hidden Power Grass, giving Heatran the freedom to choose Hidden Power Ice rather than waste it on Grass. If opposing Heatran still prove to be a problem, Earth Power is always an option.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Heatran is usually seen either flaunting its offensive capabilities or using its defensive prowess to help lay hazards and wall Dragons, it can also function effectively as a trapper. Sun teams by nature are weak to sand and rain because both Tyranitar and Politoed have an edge over Ninetales. However, Heatran works very well in trapping and crippling those two due to its signature move, Magma Storm. While this might require some explanation due to the type advantage that both Tyranitar and Politoed have over Heatran, it is actually quite simple. Heatran works as an efficient lure for the two due to their typing advantages and can hit them on the switch-in with either Will-O-Wisp or Toxic. Either of these debilitating status conditions will cripple any opposing weather starter for the entire match, making it easier for Ninetales to win the weather war.
While Heatran cannot effectively beat down opposing weather starters in just one sitting, it will almost certainly do it in two. Magma Storm lets Heatran effectively trap the opposing Pokemon for four to five turns, as opposed to a minimum of two in DPP, giving it several turns with which to simply do damage with Earth Power while the opponent cannot switch out. After the opponent faints, Ninetales can come in and set up Drought unscathed. Taunt works very well because opponents such as Tyranitar will often try to set up Stealth Rock against Heatran, only to be thwarted by Heatran's superior Speed. However, Substitute is also a viable option to shield Heatran from Thunder Wave and revenge killing attempts that might follow.
The choice between Will-O-Wisp and Toxic depends on the team's capability to keep physical behemoths in check. If a team is weak to Terrakion, Landorus, or Gyarados, who are all common switch-ins to Heatran, Will-O-Wisp is the recommended move as it enables Heatran to handle these threats with more ease. However, Toxic is more effective against Blissey and Chansey, who pack massive Special Defense stats to counter Heatran. While it cannot cripple weather starters, Hidden Power Ice deals out massive damage to Dragon-types such as Dragonite, Salamence, and Haxorus.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Heatran is a Pokemon that can force out many different Pokemon with its high Special Attack and useful resistances, and this set aims to make use of those free turns to set up a Substitute. This lets it take down switch-ins that can outspeed and KO it, such as Terrakion and Landorus, without relying on guesswork. Substitute also makes Heatran harder to revenge kill, as Pokemon have to break its Substitute without being OHKOed by any of its attacks. Substitute along with Toxic allows Heatran to cripple common switch-ins to Heatran that would otherwise easily wall it, including Jellicent, Rotom-W, and Dragonite. Using Substitute makes the opponent take another round of Toxic damage, and after a few turns, either Fire Blast or Earth Power can 2HKO. Heatran also makes for a good Toxic user in general, as it is able to take down most Steel- and Poison-types with STAB Fire Blast or Earth Power.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Heatran's Speed stat has always been a severe letdown. However, with a Choice Scarf attached, it now becomes a blazing fast Pokemon that reaches 417 Speed with a Timid nature, enabling it to check or revenge kill many Pokemon. Overheat is a powerful STAB attack that dents almost any Pokemon who dares to switch in to Heatran. It may be strange to have Flamethrower in the second slot, as Overheat hits the same threats that Flamethrower does. However, Overheat's Special Attack drop makes it inadvisable in some situations, and Flamethrower allows it to cleanup in the endgame if necessary. Earth Power gives Heatran a way to deal with opposing Heatran, and is your best option against Steels if Fire-type moves are inadvisable, such as if facing a Drizzle team. Hidden Power Ice suits this set nicely by enabling Heatran to destroy Landorus, Gliscor, and Dragon-type Pokemon who are 4x weak to Ice-type moves. Dragon Pulse is an alternative to hit Latios, Latias, and Hydreigon for more damage; however, Hidden Power Ice is usually the better choice of the two.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This is the notorious Torment Heatran set that once upon a time made players rip their hair, gouge out their eyeballs, and jump out of a window as soon as they encountered it. The idea behind the set is that very few Pokemon carry more than one attack that can severely hurt Heatran, and by using Torment on them, said Pokemon must either switch out or stay in and engage in a long, brutal stall war. Pokemon who wield a Choice item are especially affected by Torment, for they must Struggle every other turn if they choose to stay in. Substitute and Protect allows Heatran to both scout and shield itself from moves that can harm it. Lava Plume is chosen so that Heatran can slowly chip away the opponent's health.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Unlike the Choice Scarf set, the task of this set is to tear, rip, and burn massive holes into the opponent's team, leaving other Pokemon to clean up the remainder. With a Choice Specs attached, Overheat becomes a terrifying move. For example, Overheat cleanly 2HKOes Latios after Stealth Rock damage. Unfortunately, Overheat's Special Attack drop forces Heatran to become a hit-and-run Pokemon, although this is how a Choice Specs set would generally play anyway. Fire Blast enables Heatran to stay in longer, at the cost of having a lower accuracy and Base Power. Dragon Pulse and Earth Power are there primarily for coverage, the former hitting Dragon-type Pokemon while the latter is useful for opposing Heatran. Hidden Power Grass takes care of bulky variants of Rotom-W and other Water-types. If Heatran already has teammates that can take care of them, then Flamethrower is an alternative. It may seem redundant to run two Fire-type moves on one set; however, keep in mind that both Fire Blast and Overheat have negative qualities about them that may make using those moves unsuitable in certain scenarios.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
When used in conjunction with Sunny Day, Heatran can take advantage of its signature move, Magma Storm, to help sun teams win the weather war. The premise of the set is that when Heatran can predict a slower opposing weather inducer switching in, it can hit them with Magma Storm. From there, Heatran can Sunny Day before the opponent can attack. Politoed's STAB moves will no longer hit for super effective damage, and Tyranitar will no longer receive a Special Defense boost from its sand. This sets up Heatran to use a chargeless SolarBeam, either OHKOing or 2HKOing the opponent before Heatran can be 2HKOed in response. In this event, Ninetales can be brought in after Sunny Day wears off, guaranteeing permanent sunlight so long as the opponent does not have an alternative source of weather. It is important to note, though, that Heatran will not always win agaisnt an opposing weather inducer. Outside of a Magma Storm miss, Choice Scarf Politoed can outspeed and OHKO Heatran before it can use Sunny Day. Choice Scarf Tyranitar will similarly outspeed Heatran and 2HKO with Superpower or Stone Edge, or flat-out OHKO with Earthquake. However, these two variants are easy enough to deal with using specialized team support. Be wary of Shed Shell users as well. Fortunately, this set functions as a powerful special attacker even outside of its trapper role, allowing it to serve multiple uses and rarely become a liability. It can also trap Pokemon that operate independently of weather should sun be up, such as Jellicent and Starmie. It should be noted that while this Heatran is put to best use on sun teams, it can also be used to good effect on teams utilizing other weather or no weather at all, in order to combat certain weathers.
The first three moves are of course all staples, but the last moveslot is dependant on team support. Earth Power is the default move, because without it it is impossible to harm opposing Heatran. This set functions by forcing switches to opposing Pokemon that resist its powerful Fire-type STAB, so if the opponent has a Pokemon that can switch into this set with absolute impunity, then it largely ceases to function. Because of this, Earth Power is absolutely necessary, with one exception: a partnered Dugtrio. Dugtrio's unparalleled ability to easily dispose of opposing Heatran is an incredible asset for this set; it not only frees up the fourth moveslot as Earth Power is no longer a strict necessity, but it also effortlessly disposes Choice Scarf Tyanitar, one of the Pokemon that can give this set trouble. Just be wary of Air Balloon Heatran or the rare Choice Scarf Heatran, as the two of them must be carefully played around. Hidden Power Ice allows Heatran to become a trapper of Dragon-types as well. Adamant Dragonite, for example, will always have its Multiscale broken if it switches into Magma Storm, and is then outsped and easily OHKOed with Hidden Power Ice. Should sun be up, Latios can also fall victim to Heatran, being 2HKOed by either a double Magma Storm or a Magma Storm followed up by a Hidden Power Ice, while Surf fails to OHKO Heatran. Hidden Power Ice also gives Heatran a reliable way to hit Gliscor, Tornadus-T, and Breloom without relying on the shaky accuracy of Magma Storm.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
There aren't too many other options that Heatran has. Moves such as Flash Cannon and Dark Pulse sound appealing, but a STAB Fire Blast or Overheat will usually outdamage these moves, even if they are super effective. Heatran can opt to use Eruption with a Quiet nature on a Trick Room team. If this is done, it is advised to carry another Fire-type move, as repeated damage slowly makes Eruption useless. Finally, Heatran can run a RestTalk set to tank hits and recover health at the same time.
Checks and Counters
Heatran has trouble dealing with most specially-based walls, especially bulky Water-types. Jellicent, Gastrodon, and Gyarados all give Heatran that do not carry Hidden Power Grass or Hidden Power Electric a hard time. While all of these can be ruined by Toxic, they can OHKO or 2HKO Heatran in return. Tentacruel also does well because it can use Rapid Spin to rid the field of Stealth Rock that Heatran lays and attack back with Water-type STAB moves. However, Tentacruel must watch out for Earth Power due to its secondary Poison typing. Other specially-based walls such as Chansey and Blissey can waltz on Heatran by simply attacking it with Seismic Toss or crippling it with Thunder Wave. Chansey and Blissey do have to watch out for TormentTran and Magma Storm Heatran, though, because these sets are capable of beating the pink blobs in one-on-one situations, as the former can shut down Seismic Toss for a turn and the latter can prevent the blobs' escape and recovery.
Fighting-types give Heatran heavy trouble if they can tank a hit or outspeed it. Pokemon such as Lucario and Terrakion are two threats that can boost their stats as Heatran switches or OHKO with Close Combat. Conkeldurr can absorb Will-O-Wisp or tank a hit that isn't Fire Blast or Magma Storm and either retaliate with a powerful Drain Punch or set up while Heatran switches out. Keldeo and Terrakion both resist Heatran's STAB and can make quick work of it with their own STAB attacks. If sand is up, Terrakion can shrug off even the super effective Earth Power. Other great checks to Heatran include Landorus, who can come in on Earth Power or Protect and wreak havoc with Earthquake. Choice Scarf Landorus does not work well as a check because specially defensive variants of Heatran can scout moves with Protect and react accordingly, but Expert Belt Landorus can bluff a Choice Scarf and ruin the opponent's reaction. Heatran that carry an Air Balloon can conveniently escape from Landorus early on, but once the Air Balloon pops, Landorus has free reign. Ironically, opposing Heatran equipped with Air Balloon are also good checks, as they are immune to Fire-type moves and Earth Power does not damage them. Reuniclus, Hydreigon, and Gliscor can come in on nonthreatening moves and either set up or do major damage to Heatran. However, Gliscor and Hydreigon must make sure to avoid Hidden Power Ice.
With obscene Special Defense and a Fire-type resistance, Tyranitar is an excellent check to Heatran. Specially defensive sets take pitiful damage from even the super effective Earth Power. Thought it dislikes Toxic and fears burn, Tyranitar's Superpower or Earthquake can 2-3HKO most Heatran even while burned, and even with minimal Attack investment. On the subject of weather starters, Politoed is arguably one of the best Pokemon in dealing with Heatran, as it summons rain, halving the power of Heatran's Fire STAB. It immediately puts Heatran at a disadvantage, as without its Fire STAB, Heatran is forced to rely on Earth Power and Hidden Power on offensive sets or status-inflicting moves on defensive sets. Starmie, another common offensive Water-type, does well against Heatran because it can use Rapid Spin to get rid of Stealth Rock and use Hydro Pump to blast away Heatran. Additionally, Starmie has the ability to OHKO or 2HKO most Rapid Spin blockers in the metagame, so Heatran is often hard-pressed to retain momentum once Starmie switches in. Rotom-W does well in dealing with Heatran, though Choice-locked sets can often backfire against Heatran that carry Protect. For this reason, the best Rotom-W sets that work effectively against Heatran are those that can switch moves but attack with authority, such as the bulky attacker.
Heatran's Dream World ability is Flame Body. This may be useful on some defensive sets in order to buff up Heatran's defense. In addition, Flame Body prevents the rare, but incredibly annoying, Trace Gardevoir and Porygon2 from setting up on it. However, Flash Fire is usually the better option, otherwise, it would be taking neutral damage from Fire-type attacks. The more resistances, the better.