Rhydon is a prime example of a Pokemon that is a great risk to use, but those who do will surely reap the rewards. Its physical bulk is unmatched in RU, as Eviolite boosts its stellar Defense stat to ridiculous levels in combination with Rhydon's naturally high base HP. To illustrate Rhydon's incredible defensive capabilities, with maximum investment and Eviolite, Rhydon can survive Choice Band Medicham's Hi Jump Kick! Add to this Rhydon's wonderful base 130 Attack stat, and you have a Stealth Rock-laying tank that can take powerful hits and dish out equally powerful ones back. Unfortunately, that's where the praise ends. Rhydon's downright awful Speed holds it back from sweeping without resorting to Rock Polish or paralysis support. In addition, when functioning as a tank, Rhydon is often passed over for Steelix, who has better defensive typing as well as Roar to rack up hazard damage for stall teams. However, Rhydon has a niche of countering Entei that lack Hidden Power Grass while filling a similar role to Steelix.
Another aspect of Rhydon that is quite debatable is its typing. On the offensive side, STAB EdgeQuake is nothing to laugh at, especially when Rhydon also has Megahorn to hit Grass-types and break down the popular Regenerator core of Tangrowth and Slowking. However, Rhydon's typing leaves it with many common weaknesses on the defensive side, such as Water-, Grass-, Fighting-, and Ground-type attacks. Furthermore, Rhydon is prone to being killed by most special attackers, as most carry a move that can hit Rhydon hard enough to KO it. Therefore, Rhydon often finds itself in a kill-or-be-killed situation; while few things can actually switch into every move in Rhydon's arsenal, three-fourths of the tier can outspeed and KO Rhydon before it has a chance to do anything in the first place. As mentioned before, using Rhydon is a high-risk, high-reward strategy that can ultimately pay off if used properly.
Rhydon is most often seen using its combination of incredible bulk and power in a tanking role. It has a niche as being a physical tank that can set up Stealth Rock, with its ability to switch into most Entei separating it from Steelix. Stealth Rock is a must for every team in a tier filled with behemoths such as Moltres, Scyther, and Entei, and Rhydon is a fine choice to set it up if you require its talents. Rhydon appreciates the reliable STAB of Earthquake in its arsenal, and it is especially important when facing Taunt + Swords Dance Drapion because Rhydon hard counters it. When considering Rhydon's Rock-type STAB move, there are two viable choices. Rock Blast is the preferred choice to break through Focus Sash users such as Aerodactyl, Accelgor, and Scolipede, as well as Crustle. As such, Rhydon makes a fine lead when using Rock Blast as it can set up Stealth Rock on turn one while also being able to dispose of other hazard leads. However, another option that should be considered is Stone Edge. While Stone Edge is strangely more reliable, Rock Blast has a good chance to hit at least as hard as the former while also reaping the benefits of being a multi-hit move. Megahorn is a great move for Rhydon that enables it to hit bulky Grass- and Psychic-types, such as Tangrowth and Uxie, that would otherwise be able to tank its hits and retaliate. It is also essential for breaking down the Regenerator core of Slowking and Tangrowth which plagues most teams.
Another option that can go in place of Stealth Rock is Substitute. While Stealth Rock is the recommended choice in nearly all aspects, Rhydon has a free moveslot when Stealth Rock is covered by another member of your team. The only thing holding Rhydon back from destroying most teams is its abysmal Speed, which leaves it forced out by many threats, so Substitute attempts to remedy this by creating a buffer that Rhydon can safely hide behind while it it dispatches the opposing Pokemon with the appropriate move. However, when using Substitute, Eviolite becomes a liability and Rhydon will be worn down immensely due to entry hazard damage and Substitute. Leftovers is the primary item choice when using Substitute, as is an alternate EV spread of 72 HP / 252 Atk / 100 Def / 84 Spe. Not only does this mitigate the health lost from creating Substitutes, it also allows Rhydon to create five Substitutes when at full health, as well as survive uninvested Qwilfish's Waterfall after one layer of Spikes. However, Eviolite can still be used with Substitute to increase special bulk tremendously and stand a better chance of countering Drapion.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Although Rhydon often capitalizes on its bulk to attack, a more offensive set is also effective. When holding a Choice Band, Rhydon can pulverize anything not named Poliwrath with its incredible power. Due to the loss of bulk that comes from the loss of Eviolite and a reduced defensive investment, Rhydon must be treated as more of a wallbreaker than something that can take hits. Its resistances still allow it to take attacks such as Flare Blitz and Head Smash with ease, but the loss of bulk is noticeable when tanking the likes of Earthquake and Close Combat. In fact, Rhydon is best brought in on double switches to Pokemon who can't hurt it, such as Slowking, Lanturn, and Mandibuzz, before firing off one of its incredibly powerful moves. This set functions as an excellent Tangrowth lure, as Rhydon will always win if Tangrowth decides to switch in on it. Defensive versions of Tangrowth are outsped and always 2HKOed by Megahorn, while offensive variants are OHKOed by that same Megahorn. As such, this set finds a home on balanced and offensive teams, particularly bulky offense. Rhydon is unique in that it is a powerful Choice Band user that can switch into many of its competitors, while Entei and Aggron can't say the same.
Many users of either Choice Band or Choice Specs have their so-called "spam attack," their most powerful move that can destroy most of the metagame; your opponent will typically switch in a Pokemon that resists this move as there is a large chance that you will use it. Rhydon is no exception to this. Earthquake is powerful, reliable, and it gets the job done, so it is the move that Rhydon should be using most of the time. Stone Edge completes Rhydon's wonderful STAB combination, and is used to hit Flying- and Bug-type foes as well as Levitate users, as Moltres, Accelgor, and Rotom will all look to come in for free and they are all disposed of by Stone Edge. Complementing Rhydon's wonderful STAB coverage is Megahorn, which hits Psychic- and Grass-types, such as Uxie and Torterra, right where it hurts. Double-Edge is the primary option in the last slot as Rhydon doesn't need additional coverage, and Double-Edge is useful for hitting Pokemon that don't take much damage from Earthquake, such as Flying- and Bug-types in addition to Levitate users, without risking Stone Edge's accuracy. However, Rock Blast can go in that spot as well; although Rhydon shouldn't set up Stealth Rock with a Choice Band, it still makes a fine anti-lead that can destroy common leads such as Aerodactyl, Scolipede, Accelgor, and Crustle, while limiting them to only one layer of hazards.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
While Rhydon's other sets focus on being bulky and powerful at the same time while sacrificing the need for Speed, this set aims to singlehandedly fix Rhydon's poor Speed with one move: Rock Polish. After only one Rock Polish, Rhydon outspeeds Sceptile as well as Choice Scarf base 70 Speed Pokemon, such as Magneton. To make sure that Rhydon can sweep, a few things must occur. Firstly, defensive walls that can counter this set such as Steelix, Poliwrath, and Tangrowth must be removed from play entirely as they will jeopardize the success of this set. Secondly, Aqua Jet users such as Feraligatr and Kabutops, as well as common Choice Scarf users over base 70 Speed, such as Rotom-C, Manectric, Primeape, and Medicham, must be nowhere to be found. The idea of this set is to wear down its counters over time with hazards and offensive pressure, then use Rock Polish for the final attempt at a sweep. As such, this set prefers to be on offensive teams that can take advantage of its powerful coverage and ability to take a hit while softening each other's checks so that one Pokemon can sweep with the help of its teammates.
The rest of the move choices are fairly obvious and take advantage of Rhydon's unique assets. Earthquake is Rhydon's most reliable STAB move, and should be used more than anything else, especially when there is no need to predict. Next, "the worst move in the game" finds major use on this set, completing Rhydon's STAB EdgeQuake combination, and hitting the Flying- and Bug-types as well as Levitate users that like to come in on a predicted Earthquake. It is less of a risk to take than other users of the move as, even if you predict incorrectly, it will still have the same Base Power as Earthquake. Rounding out the set is Megahorn, which is essential for hitting the Grass-types that resist Earthquake, as well as bulky Psychic-types such as Slowking. It is worth noting that a Life Orb-boosted Megahorn will always OHKO Slowking after Stealth Rock, and it is a 2HKO on Tangrowth after Stealth Rock as well.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Rhydon has a wide movepool, although most of these options are inferior to other Pokemon or just aren't good enough to warrant their own set. First on the list is a SubPunch set, which can utilize Stone Edge and Megahorn for coverage. Earthquake isn't used because Stone Edge and Focus Punch are both as powerful as it, and in general it offers redundant coverage. An Adamant nature along with an EV spread of 72 HP / 252 Atk / 100 Def / 84 Spe should be used to not only maximize power, but also to outrun Tangrowth, hit a Leftovers number, and avoid the OHKO from defensive Qwilfish after one layer of Spikes. This set isn't very good because it doesn't beat any threats that one of Rhydon's other sets doesn't, and Earthquake is a much better attacking option than Focus Punch. As such, you're better off not using this set. However, it can set up on Pokemon that can't do anything to Rhydon, such as Mandibuzz, and possibly take out other members of your opponent's team after that as well.
Here we draw the line from "decent if used well" to "there is absolutely no reason to use this." Counter is one of the most prediction reliant moves in the game, and only has value on Rhydon for its ability to take almost every physical attack in the tier. However, most players will attempt to bring Rhydon down with special attacks, so the uses of Counter are few. Rhydon can also set up Sunny Day and Rain Dance with Stealth Rock to compliment its weather, but Rhydon doesn't offer any key resistances and Uxie does this much better. Rhydon has a very large special movepool to possibly take advantage of as well, but nothing hurts coming off of Rhydon's base 40 Special Attack. Its Nidoking-like coverage gives it a would-be powerful STAB in Earth Power, while getting another pair of moves other than its STAB combination that provide some of the best two-move coverage in the game in Thunderbolt and Ice Beam. Rhydon also has Fire Blast to hit Steel-types, especially those such as Ferroseed and Steelix. If Rhydon had more Special Attack, not even Normal-type special walls such as Clefable would be able to stop it with its access to Focus Blast.
Checks and Counters
While Rhydon's incredible power and coverage leave most defensive Pokemon unable to touch it, there are a few exceptions to this. Ridiculously bulky Pokemon, such as Poliwrath, Tangrowth, and Alomomola can take even Rhydon's most powerful hits in some cases and deal damage back. Poliwrath is the best Rhydon counter in existence, as it only fears the 2HKO from a Choice Band Earthquake, and can outspeed and OHKO with Scald. Eviolite Rhydon isn't OHKOed by Scald, but can't 2HKO Poliwrath in return. Tangrowth is a close second, as only the Choice Band set is guaranteed to beat it. Without an item boosting its power, Rhydon can't get a guarenteed 2HKO Tangrowth with Megahorn, and although offensive variants are 2HKOed, they outspeed and OHKO Rhydon with Leaf Storm. Alomomola can take any hit from Rhydon with ease thanks to her incredible physical bulk and either prey on Rhydon's 4x weakness to Water with Scald or Waterfall or whittle Rhydon down over time with Toxic, which is especially effective as Rhydon lacks any form of reliable recovery. Ironically, Rhydon is also checked by itself, and only a very rare Aqua Tail can catch it off-guard. Usually, whichever Rhydon with more Speed wins.
As not much else can take Rhydon's attacks, you'll usually have to resort to revenge killing it. Obviously the most difficult set to revenge kill is the Rock Polish set, but there are a few Pokemon capable of it. Aqua Jet users such as Kabutops and Feraligatr can each deal approximately 80% to Rhydon if it lacks an Eviolite, which makes Rhydon very prone to entry hazards or Life Orb damage after that. Various Choice Scarf users with over base 70 Speed have no trouble with revenge killing Rhydon, and most are fairly common as well. Your best bet is to hit Rhydon on the special side, and Pokemon such as Rotom-C, Manectric, Typhlosion, and Galvantula can all outspeed +2 Rhydon with a Choice Scarf and OHKO with either Leaf Storm, Hidden Power Grass, or Giga Drain. Physical Choice Scarf users give Rhydon trouble as well, mainly Primeape and Medicham. Both Close Combat and Hi Jump Kick are typically too much for Rhydon to handle. Accelgor doesn't even need a Choice Scarf to outspeed Rhydon at +2, and can OHKO with Giga Drain or Focus Blast. Although they are faster than +2 Rhydon and carry super effective moves, both Choice Scarf Rotom and Choice Scarf Drapion can't OHKO Rhydon and will promptly be destroyed by Stone Edge or Earthquake, respectively.
Non-Rock Polish variants of Rhydon are a lot easier to kill. Rhydon is hilariously slow, and most Grass- or Water-type special attacks will put an end to the beast. While the Choice Band set uses enough Speed to outrun Roselia and Lanturn, tank sets are prone to being killed by Giga Drain and Scald, respectively. Lilligant and Sceptile can switch in on Earthquake, and both OHKO with Giga Drain. However, they must watch out for either Megahorn or Stone Edge, as both do enough damage to make switching in difficult, or even to outright OHKO them. Moltres comes in for free on Earthquake, and can end Rhydon with a simple Hidden Power Grass. However, it is crippled tremendously by the Stealth Rock that Rhydon sets up, and fears Stone Edge or Rock Blast greatly. Omastar is a good check to Rhydon as defensive variants aren't OHKOed by any of Rhydon's moves, and can outspeed tank Rhydon and OHKO it with Scald. Choice Band and Rock Polish sets outspeed and 2HKO, however. Offensive Omastar can't switch in, but it outspeeds all variants of Rhydon and can Hydro Pump for the kill. Similar to offensive Omastar, Crawdaunt outspeeds all Rhydon sets and OHKOes with Adaptability Waterfall. Other Waterfall users, such as Feraligatr and Kabutops, outspeed and are guaranteed to OHKO most Rhydon variants as long as they use a Life Orb.