Moltres

Pressure
Enemy attacks lose one extra PP. Increases wild encounter rate.
Flame Body
30% chance to burn when struck by a contact move. Halves the number of steps required to hatch Eggs.
Type Tier
Fire / Flying RU
Level 50 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
90
- 165 197 -
Atk
100
108 120 152 167
Def
90
99 110 142 156
SpA
125
130 145 177 194
SpD
85
94 105 137 150
Spe
90
99 110 142 156

Overview

Losing 50% of its health from Stealth Rock, having a mediocre base 90 Speed, being weak to Electric-, Rock-, and Water-type moves, and being outclassed by various other Fire-types were all reasons why Moltres never sees any real use in OU. However, Moltres's access to Hurricane gives it a reason to be used. While it faces stiff competition with the tier's premier Hurricane user, Tornadus, Moltres has its own unique traits to distinguish it. These are the ability to act as a hard check to some dangerous offensive Pokemon in OU, such as Volcarona and Swords Dance Scizor, the ability to use an Agility set to attempt a late-game sweep, the ability to overcome Jirachi, Bronzong, Metagross, and OHKO Ferrothorn in rain, and the ability to easily switch into many Pokemon that sun teams carry and punch holes with a stupidly strong Fire Blast. Even if those traits are not enough for Moltres to escape from the shadow of Tornadus and its other flaws, Moltres and Tornadus form a destructive Hurricane combo when combined together, where Moltres weakens the Pokemon that prevent Tornadus from cleaning up late-game or vice-versa, with Tornadus sacrificing itself after using priority Tailwind to allow Moltres to sweep. In short, despite needing a ton of support to work, Moltres has two definite niches in OU: the ability to work as a wallbreaking partner for Tornadus and the ability to act as a powerful Agility sweeper under rain.

Name Item Nature

Choice Specs

Choice Specs Modest / Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Hurricane
~ Fire Blast
~ Hidden Power Ground / Hidden Power Fighting
~ U-turn
4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Moltres is tied with Tornadus for the most powerful Hurricane in OU, and with Choice Specs attached its power is phenomenal. To give an example of Moltres's power, offensive Heatran is always 2HKOed by Hurricane after Stealth Rock alone. In addition, Moltres's typing allows it to check some dangerous offensive threats that no other Hurricane user in OU can, such as Lucario and Volcarona. As with any Hurricane user, Moltres needs Drizzle support from Politoed to function properly. However, unlike most Hurricane users, Moltres has the ability to perform admirably under sun, as nothing except Heatran can take its Fire Blast; to make matters worse for opposing sun teams, Moltres gets many opportunities to switch in against Pokemon commonly found on sun teams, including Ninetales, Heatran, Volcarona, Forretress, Xatu, and Venusaur. Hurricane is the move Moltres should be using most of the time, as it 2HKOes every Pokemon that doesn't resist it not named Blissey or Chansey. Under rain, Fire Blast will at worst 2HKO every Steel-type that can tank Hurricane, such as Jirachi, Bronzong, and Metagross, and will also OHKO Ferrothorn, which is a boon for rain teams that lack a way to quickly dispose of it. Fire Blast is also Moltres's main weapon against sun teams, as Moltres can find many opportunities to switch in and proceed to fire off sun-boosted STAB Fire Blasts. Hidden Power Ground OHKOes any Heatran while 2HKOing any Choice Tyranitar, but fails to do any significant damage to specially defensive variants of the latter. Hidden Power Fighting is used to 2HKO any Tyranitar and Heatran; offensive Heatran and Choice Scarf Tyranitar are even OHKOed after Stealth Rock. Hidden Power Ground is the superior move for the third slot, as it OHKOes its main target, Heatran, and U-turn deals with Tyranitar pretty well anyway. U-turn allows Moltres to scout for switch-ins from its counters while also doing a fair bit of damage to Tyranitar as mentioned previously.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Agility

Life Orb Modest / Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Agility
~ Hurricane
~ Fire Blast
~ Roost / Hidden Power Ground
4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

Agility transforms Moltres into a fearsome sweeper under both rain and sun, which after a turn of setup outspeeds the entire OU metagame, including Chlorophyll Venusaur in sun. Thanks to its typing, Moltres can force out and set up on dangerous and common Pokemon, Technician Breloom and Scizor, meaning that setting up won't be very hard as long as Stealth Rock is off the field. Hurricane OHKOes every single offensive Pokemon that doesn't resist it after Stealth Rock and has great neutral coverage, with only nine Pokemon that resist it in OU. Fire Blast complements Hurricane perfectly, OHKOing even in rain some of the Pokemon that can take a Hurricane, such as Magnezone and Skarmory, and greatly damaging some of the rest, such as Jirachi and Metagross. It also gives Moltres a fearsome weapon against sun teams as well as a more accurate STAB move to use if neither rain nor sun are up. Fire Blast is also useful to OHKO Ferrothorn in rain, a quality that many rain teams struggle to find but really appreciate. Roost gives Moltres better survivability, allowing it to have better presence in early- and mid-game, and eases setup against Pokemon that Moltres walls, making any attempt of those Pokemon to stay in and wear Moltres down futile. Roost is also very useful in games where using Agility is not an option, either because Moltres and its teammates can't get past the opposing defensive core or because it is difficult for Moltres's team to keep Stealth Rock off the field, and allows Moltres to take the role of a wallbreaker and a check to problematic Pokemon. On the other hand, Hidden Power Ground forfeits all of those benefits to give Moltres better sweeping potential, as with it Moltres can OHKO offensive Heatran and deal 75% minimum to specially defensive variants, OHKO Jolteon after Stealth Rock most of the time, and hit Ninetales slightly harder and more reliably than Fire Blast.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

A defensive set utilizing Substitute and Roost alongside Flamethrower and Hurricane or Toxic is the most viable Moltres set not already listed. Thanks to Pressure, Moltres can easily PP stall moves from Pokemon that would otherwise hurt it badly by alternating between Substitute and Roost, such as Stone Edge from Tyranitar and Hydro Pump from Rotom-W and Choice Specs Politoed. Such a set should run 248 HP / 164 SpD / 96 Spe with a Timid nature. This gives Moltres enough Speed to outrun positive-natured base 70s, such as Breloom and Politoed, and places the rest of the EVs into HP and Special Defense because Moltres's typing is better suited to take special hits. However, this set can be walled and rendered useless by many common Pokemon, such as Roar Heatran, Hippowdon, Jirachi sets with Calm Mind or Thunder, and Tentacruel, and is checked by many other Pokemon, depending on the final move Moltres chooses to run. Its viability is also hurt pretty badly by Stealth Rock, as with Stealth Rock up it can't wall any of the threats that it otherwise could and has to spend all of its time using Roost. Substitute can be used with Life Orb on the offensive set when running Roost to take advantage of Pressure and stall out moves that could hurt Moltres, scout faster switch-ins, and ease prediction, but between Substitute, Life Orb recoil, and Stealth Rock damage, Moltres will rarely find time to attack or heal. Choice Scarf is an option on the offensive set to enable Moltres to act as a moderately powerful revenge killer, but it is outclassed by pretty much any other revenge killer in OU due to a huge Stealth Rock weakness and a mediocre Speed stat. Lastly, an Agility set with Fire Blast, SolarBeam, and Hidden Power Ground is a viable option in sun teams and can act as a decent cleaner late-game, but faces a lot of competition from better sun sweepers, such as Volcarona, Venusaur, and Victini, and thus is generally outclassed.

Checks and Counters

The best way to deal with Moltres is Stealth Rock, as with it on the field Moltres can only switch in three times at best. If the Stealth Rock setter is paired with Pokemon such as Choice Band Tyranitar or Choice Scarf Gothitelle, Moltres will have an even harder time coming in, as the two spinners most commonly paired with Moltres—Starmie and Tentacruel—are in danger of getting trapped. As far as traditional counters go, Chansey and Blissey are the only surefire counters to Moltres. Tyranitar and Heatran work too, but they both get hurt pretty badly by the appropriate Hidden Power, and Heatran can't do any immediate damage back to Moltres. Rotom-W and Rotom-H, as well as Zapdos and Jirachi in rain, are all good checks, but are prone to getting worn down (the first two lack reliable recovery while Zapdos is weak to Stealth Rock) except for Jirachi, and will lose if a Hurricane confusion occurs or will get 2HKOed by Fire Blast in Jirachi's case. Everything faster than Moltres that can take a hit and OHKO back is an okay check, namely Choice Scarf Rotom-W, Jolteon, Thundurus-T, and Calm Mind Jirachi, as they can switch into Moltres once or twice and force it out. Finally, there are many offensive Pokemon that can revenge kill Moltres, including Keldeo, Latios, Starmie, and Terrakion, as long as Moltres hasn't used Agility.

Unreleased

Moltres gets Flame Body from the Dream World, a very useful ability that lets it burn physically based Pokemon that Moltres can easily switch into, such as Ferrothorn, Toxicroak, and Lucario, as well as U-turn users such as Scizor and Jirachi. Flame Body is almost always superior to Pressure, as Moltres only uses offensive sets that don't get any real benefit from Pressure.