With the ability to switch in on many common physical attackers and remove entry hazards while taking only light damage in the process, Donphan makes a fine Rapid Spin user in the OU environment. Its lack of a reliable recovery move and its low Special Defense stat are both disheartening traits, but Donphan has great HP, Attack, and Defense stats that it can put to good use. Ghost-types that attempt to spinblock are not a huge problem for Donphan as it can hit them with Assurance.
Donphan has a great support movepool, including Rapid Spin, which is vital for removing entry hazards that damage your teammates. Donphan's resistance to Stealth Rock, a handy trait for a spinner, lets it take a pitiful 6.25% damage upon switching in. Donphan's great HP and Defense stats allow it to take physical hits reasonably well, while its huge Attack stat enables it to dish out powerful hits simultaneously. Opponents such as Tyranitar, Metagross, and Scizor are unable to do large amounts of damage to Donphan, which makes it a fine choice to remove entry hazards from the field.
Earthquake, Donphan's most powerful STAB move, hits Lucario and Metagross super effectively. Assurance allows Donphan to hit Ghost-types, particularly Rotom-A, for super effective damage. Stealth Rock breaks the opponent's Focus Sash, and also weakens foes as they switch in. Ice Shard hits weakened Dragon-types such as Dragonite and Flygon, who are both 4x weak to the move. Finally, Roar is helpful to shuffle your opponent's team.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set, in contrast to more defensive variants, takes advantage of Donphan's base 120 Attack stat and powerful STAB move. Even without much defensive investment, Donphan is still difficult to take down. Furthermore, offensive Donphan can damage some of OU's most dangerous threats, namely Tyranitar, Swampert, and Metagross. This set provides the best possible type coverage, as only Breloom resists the combination of Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Assurance.
Earthquake is Donphan's most powerful move. With 100 Base Power and a STAB boost, it will put a huge dent into any opponent that doesn't resist it. The second move, Stone Edge, hits Flying-types that are immune to Earthquake, and will specifically always 2HKO the standard bulky Gyarados even without Stealth Rock. Ice Shard allows Donphan to hit Dragonite and Flygon for 4x super effective damage. Assurance enables Donphan to hit Ghost-types that expect Rapid Spin. Lastly, Rapid Spin is a helpful move that rids the field of entry hazards, while Seed Bomb lets Donphan OHKO even the most defensive of Swampert.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Donphan has a surprisingly good movepool with numerous options. Charm is a great option to soften physical hits even further, but it is unreliable against opponents such as Metagross and Gliscor, who have Clear Body and Hyper Cutter, respectively. Both sets can utilize Body Slam; the paralysis chance could be helpful due to Donphan's awful Speed stat. Counter could be a devastating surprise for an opponent aiming to take out Donphan with boosted attacks, but Donphan rarely has a free moveslot for such a move. A set based around Rock Polish is usable, but Donphan is outclassed by Rhyperior at this as it doesn't get STAB on Stone Edge. Fire Fang is an option if Scizor troubles your team, but STAB Earthquake does more than enough damage to take care of it. RestTalk is Donphan's only way to recover health, and is therefore usable if you are desperate, but the unreliability of Sleep Talk alongside Earthquake could prove disastrous. Finally, Odor Sleuth is a great option to temporarily remove a Ghost-type's immunity to Rapid Spin, which allows Donphan to remove entry hazards with success.
Checks and Counters
As the goal of most Donphan is to support their teams with Rapid Spin, Ghost-types such as Dusknoir and Rotom-A cause problems for them. Both these spinblockers have access to Will-O-Wisp which can burn Donphan, making its physical moves worthless. Dusknoir and Rotom-A can also block any attempt to use Rapid Spin, while Rotom-A is immune to Earthquake with its Levitate ability.
Steel-types immune to Earthquake can wall Donphan by forcing it to switch out or use a weaker coverage move. In addition, Bronzong can put Donphan to sleep with Hypnosis, while Skarmory can use Whirlwind to remove it from the field. Bulky Water-types, such as Vaporeon and Suicune, make excellent counters to Donphan as they take little damage from Earthquake, can recover health with Wish and Rest respectively, and can hit Donphan super effectively with STAB Surf; the latter can even set up with Calm Mind. In general, you can prey on Donphan's low Special Defense stat and destroy it with specially based Ice-, Grass-, or Water-type moves. Any faster threat with one of the aforementioned moves can KO it with little worry.