As the slowest fully evolved weather inducer with a base Speed of 47, Hippowdon can typically be relied upon to set up its sandstorm, as well as function in Trick Room. While Hippowdon's support options are less useful in doubles play than in singles, the sand hippo takes physical hits like a boss thanks to its great physical bulk, and retaliates back with an above average base 112 Attack and powerful spread moves. Although Tyranitar is most often picked as the sandstorm inducer for a sand team, Hippowdon is still worth considering.
This set utilizes Hippowdon's slow speed and strong attack to function as a bulky physical sweeper. Earthquake is Hippowdon's strongest STAB spread move, as well as its most reliable way of dealing damage. Ice Fang complements Earthquake nicely, hitting the Flying-types that are immune to Earthquake, as well as Latios. In addition, Ice Fang decimates Garchomp, which has high bulk to take Earthquake and has Sand Veil to abuse sandstorm. Crunch hits bulky Psychic-types for super effective damage and Levitate Bronzong for neutral damage. Protect is a staple for doubles, but Slack Off can be used to provide Hippowdon with recovery. Leftovers is recommended in conjunction with Slack Off in order to assist in stalling.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Hippowdon does not have a great offensive movepool, and its great support movepool is admittedly more useful in singles than doubles. Rock Slide, Fire Fang, and Thunder Fang are options that can be used over Ice Fang and Crunch. As with Ice Fang, Rock Slide complements Earthquake well, together forming the QuakeSlide combo, which provides great neutral coverage barring Pokemon such as Breloom. Fire Fang is an option because a max Attack Hippowdon can OHKO a 252 HP / 0 Def Abomasnow with Fire Fang, while surviving Abomasnow's assaults. In addition, Fire Fang hits Steel-types super effectively, most notably Bronzong, which resists both Earthquake and Ice Fang. Thunder Fang alternatively gains super effective coverage on Water-types, most notably Gyarados, which can Intimidate and wall Hippowdon. Yawn can be used over Crunch to force switches, and is especially effective due to the lack of sleep clause. Roar or Whirlwind can be used in order to phase out Trick Room setters that threaten your team.
A specially defensive set consisting of 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD Sassy nature can be used with a Sassy nature to help take on rain teams. With this EV spread, Hippowdon can survive a Rain boosted Surf without any recovery moves, and can survive two Surfs outside of rain from Kingdra. However, there is a small chance of being 2HKOed, so a Sitrus Berry or Passho Berry can be used to reliably survive. In addition, outside of rain, Hippowdon holding a Passho Berry can survive an assault of Hydro Pump followed by Surf.
Rindo Berry can be used to take Grass-type attacks, but Grass-type attacks are not common in VGC 2012. If you want to make absolutely sure that Hippowdon sets up Sandstorm, Iron Ball can be used. This will drop Hippowdon’s Speed to a paltry 23, making it slower than all weather starters bar the virtually nonexistent Snover, along with most Trick Room sweepers.
Hippowdon's Dream World ability is Sand Force, which boosts its Ground-, Rock-, and Steel-type attacks by 30% in sandstorm. This will boost Hippowdon's Earthquake and Rock Slide, but another Pokemon will have to set up sandstorm for Hippowdon to abuse this ability. In addition, this removes Hippowdon's niche in the metagame as the slowest weather inducer. On the other hand, the lack of sandstorm may be a boon to some teams that need a physically bulky Pokemon but do not appreciate the introduction of the residual damage.
Checks and Counters
Powerful special attacks such as Hydro Pump and Grass Knot can take down Hippowdon. The majority of bulky Water-types, such as Suicune and Gyarados, can shrug off Hippowdon's attacks and swiftly KO with their own STAB moves. In addition, burn hurts Hippowdon badly, depleting its health and limiting its damage output.