Houndoom

Early Bird
Reduces sleep time.
Flash Fire
Grants immunity to Fire-type moves and increases the power of Fire-type moves by 50% when hit by a Fire-type move.
Unnerve
Prevents the foe from consuming its held Berry item.
Type Tier
Dark / Fire UU
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
75
- 150 182 -
Atk
90
99 110 142 156
Def
50
63 70 102 112
SpA
110
117 130 162 178
SpD
80
90 100 132 145
Spe
95
103 115 147 161

Overview

When first considering Houndoom, it is most often compared to Chandelure, and rightfully so; much like Chandelure, Houndoom has the ability to hit Psychic-, Ghost-, and Grass-types. However, unlike Chandelure, it has remarkably bad defenses given its weakness to Fighting-type attacks and lack of immunity to Fake Out, as well as lower Special Attack, making Chandelure the more popular option. Houndoom does have two saving graces, however. The first is Sucker Punch, and the other is Unnerve, which enables Houndoom to reliably check common Steel-types such as Metagross and Scizor, with its STAB Fire-type moves without an Occa Berry blocking the KO. Still, its frailty and Fighting-type weakness, as well as heavy competition from Chandelure, keep Houndoom out of standard play and a rare sight outside of its small niche.

Name Item Ability Nature

Unnerving Attacker

Focus Sash / Life Orb Unnerve Naive
Moveset IVs
~ Sucker Punch
~ Fire Blast / Flamethrower
~ Hidden Power Ice / Taunt
~ Protect
30 HP / 30 Def
EVs
4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Houndoom is one of the few Pokemon that can claim a OHKO against Occa Berry Metagross, and with Sucker Punch, it is capable of OHKOing Latios with minor residual damage. Fire Blast is required to OHKO Metagross without any help from Houndoom's teammates, even with Life Orb, but Flamethrower is still useful should you have Pokemon to deal chip damage. Hidden Power Ice takes advantage of disabled Yache Berries to plow through standard Dragon-types, such as Garchomp and Dragonite, though it needs either Life Orb or chip damage for a clean OHKO. Taunt completely shuts down support Pokemon without moves to hit Houndoom, such as Cresselia, ensures Sucker Punch will always hit, and prevents Pokemon from using Protect. Protect is a fairly standard move in VGC, and it is very useful for waiting for Houndoom's teammate to deal chip damage to a target.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Houndoom doesn't have much else going for it. Flame Charge is basically a boosting move that can deal necessary chip damage, but you're better off having a teammate that can accomplish that given Houndoom's frailty. STAB Overheat is as frightening a prospect as ever, but the main reason it's not on the set is because Houndoom is better off projecting its Unnerving presence rather than switching out to regain its full attacking stats. Sunny Day might not be particularly useful in most cases, but it can shield Houndoom from numerous harmful weather effects such as hail, sandstorm, and rain, also powering up Houndoom's STAB Fire-type moves. Counter in conjunction with a Focus Sash stands a good chance of wiping the floor with most Fighting-types, though the omnipresence of hail, sandstorm, and priority moves make it unappealing. Beat Up, when used with a Justified user such as Terrakion or Virizion, is somewhat unexpected of Houndoom, which can turn the battle in your favor in a heartbeat. The only things wrong with this is that Houndoom is somewhat slow compared to the two, meaning you'll have to wait until the next turn to abuse your +4 Attack Close Combat, and both Pokemon are susceptible to priority or Speed-modifying moves such as Tailwind and Trick Room. Lastly, Heat Wave might seem like a good spread move to use over Fire Blast or Flamethrower, but the only way for Houndoom to learn it is to transfer it from the fourth generation games, which in turn makes it incompatible with Unnerve.

Checks and Counters

Given Houndoom's Fighting-type weakness and low defenses, Pokemon that have access to STAB Mach Punch are no-brainers as checks. Hitmontop and Conkeldurr are the best choices here, as they don't mind taking a neutral Fire-type move or two before 2HKOing Houndoom, assuming it is holding a Focus Sash. Faster Fighting-types, such as Terrakion and Infernape, also do a good job of checking Houndoom, though they might be taking some major damage after the Close Combat defense drops. Tyranitar is the next best Houndoom counter, as it laughs at all of Houndoom's moves while OHKOing right though its Focus Sash thanks to Sand Stream. Politoed and its posse of Swift Swim sweepers have absolutely no problem with Houndoom outside of being mildly annoyed by Sucker Punch. Arcanine is a notable check in this dog-eat-dog world, taking absolutely nothing from Houndoom and OHKOing it with Close Combat, and it doesn't have to risk a Speed tie afterwards if Houndoom hangs on with its Focus Sash thanks to ExtremeSpeed.