While Terrakion was one of the best and most common sweepers in VGC 2011, many new checks and counters to it have risen in VGC 2012. Despite this, Terrakion retains its title as a top-tier threat in VGC play. Terrakion possesses several key qualities that many other Pokemon would die for, the most obvious being its brilliant dual STABs: a strong Rock Slide puts the hurt on both opponents, while Close Combat can badly hurt a single opponent. Together, they form a STAB combo that is resisted by only a few Pokemon. Complementing this is Terrakion's towering Attack stat, high Speed, and decent bulk, which enables it to survive most neutral attacks. However, said bulk is compromised by Terrakion's many common weaknesses, most notably to Fighting-, Ground-, and Water-type attacks. Consequently, there are many common Pokemon that threaten it, particularly as all forms of weather run rampant in VGC 2012. Team support thus becomes even more important this year, as it helps Terrakion overcome its many counters and lets it reach its full potential.
This is Terrakion's standard set. Close Combat and Rock Slide form a nearly unresisted STAB combo, one hitting an individual target very hard, and the other hitting both opponents, albeit for less damage. Quick Attack can finish off weakened opponents, and is the usual choice for the third moveslot. An alternative option to Quick Attack is Quick Guard, as Terrakion is weak to Mach Punch, Bullet Punch, and Aqua Jet, with the first two priority moves being very prevalent. If you have teammates that are also weak to common priority attacks, Quick Guard can protect both Terrakion and your teammate from them. It also provides protection against Fake Out from Pokemon that are slower than Terrakion, and temporarily shuts down Technician Hitmontop, whose only form of offense is in the form of priority attacks. Protect is a staple move in doubles play, as it keeps Terrakion safe from harm as a teammate eliminates a potential threat to it, and lets Terrakion stall out at least one turn of Trick Room or Tailwind, in addition to guarding it from priority. Quick Guard can also be used over Protect, but this isn't recommended as Protect is generally superior to either of the moves in the third slot.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With a Choice Scarf, Terrakion outspeeds almost everything without more than a +1 boost in Speed, enabling it to take out certain opponents, such as Low Kick Weavile, before they have a chance to attack. Close Combat and Rock Slide are staples for great coverage; Earthquake deals less damage than STAB Rock Slide and might possibly damage your ally, but nets extra coverage and functions as another spread attack when Rock Slide wouldn't be as useful or if you really need the 100% accuracy; it forms the infamous QuakeSlide combo with Rock Slide as well. Earthquake is also notable for hitting Toxicroak super effectively; as it resists all of Terrakion's other attacks, it otherwise walls Terrakion while posing a threat with STAB Fighting-type attacks. X-Scissor hits Psychic-types harder than any of Terrakion's other moves do. Just keep in mind that it won't OHKO bulky Psychic-types such as Reuniclus and Musharna, while 252+ Musharna has a 81% chance to OHKO Terrakion with Psychic, and Reuniclus will OHKO for sure.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Chople Berry is an option to provide protection against the common Fighting-types attacks that could otherwise OHKO Terrakion; it is also a good choice if Terrakion's teammates are already holding Focus Sash and Life Orb. Terrakion can use a Choice Band for extra power, but its many weaknesses make this less appealing, as Choice Band means that it can’t effectively utilize Protect or the Speed provided by Choice Scarf to overcome its checks and counters. Finally, Lum Berry is another option to remove paralysis, burn, and sleep, all of which severely cripple Terrakion.
Sacred Sword is an option to avoid Close Combat's defense drops while ignoring defensive boosts, though the latter effect will rarely be utilized. Close Combat is usually the superior move choice due to its raw power. Stone Edge deals significantly more damage to one foe than Rock Slide does, but Rock Slide is generally more useful as it hits both targets, has superior accuracy, and has a good flinch rate. Stone Edge can be used in conjunction with Rock Slide if you're willing to give up a coverage attack, though. Safeguard is useful against Amoonguss and slow, bulky Ghost-types that might use Will-O-Wisp and take little damage from Terrakion's attacks, but Terrakion is usually better off just attacking other status-inducing foes. Taunt can disrupt your opponent's strategy, and Terrakion has the Speed to pull it off, but Pokemon with the ability Prankster can utilize the move better. Taunt's best use is against Trick Room users, but if they're not Porygon2 or Dusclops, they might be holding a Mental Herb, rendering Taunt useless. Terrakion also gets Helping Hand, but it is usually better off attacking than giving a teammate a power boost.
Checks and Counters
Despite Terrakion's solid offensive typing, it has a large number of checks and counters. Amoonguss can shrug off whatever Terrakion uses and put it to sleep with Spore, or even hit it hard with a super effective Giga Drain. Any moderately bulky Ghost-type without a weakness to Rock Slide, such as Jellicent, Dusclops, Dusknoir, or Golurk, completely wall Terrakion. In return, they can either hit Terrakion hard with their super effective attacks or cripple it with Will-O-Wisp.
Fighting-types that can take a Close Combat are also effective counters. Hitmontop is arguably the best counter to any Terrakion without Quick Guard, as it can possibly KO Terrakion with the combination of Life Orb- and Technician-boosted Fake Out and Mach Punch, both of which bypass Terrakion's superior Speed. Alternatively, it can lower Terrakion's Attack with Intimidate instead while still dealing good damage with its Fighting-type STABs. Conkeldurr and Toxicroak are the next two big threats; the former bypasses Terrakion's Speed with Mach Punch, while both shrug off Terrakion's attacks with good bulk and resistances, respectively. The latter loses if Terrakion has Earthquake, however. Reuniclus and Musharna are not OHKOed by X-Scissor, and can threaten to OHKO with Psychic in return. Cresselia can only 2HKO Terrakion with Psychic, but her massive bulk enables her to survive even two consecutive X-Scissors. Terrakion hates rain teams as they commonly run multiple Water-types, most of whom can OHKO it. Swift Swim users are even greater problems as they outspeed Terrakion, with some able to outrun even Choice Scarf Terrakion. Other Water-types, such as Rotom-W, can OHKO Terrakion outside of rain, while surviving any of Terrakion's attacks.
Finally, it should be noted that many of the Pokemon that Terrakion could normally defeat easily might be holding either a Chople or Charti Berry to survive a super effective hit and could retaliate with a super effective attack of their own; one such example is Chople Berry Scrafty.