Houndoom

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.
Early Bird
Reduces sleep time by 50%.
Type Tier
Dark / Fire UU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
75
- 291 354 -
Atk
90
194 216 279 306
Def
50
122 136 199 218
SpA
110
230 256 319 350
SpD
80
176 196 259 284
Spe
95
203 226 289 317
  • Underused

Overview

Houndoom is UU's most powerful Nasty Plot sweeper, and often the most deadly as well. Its great dual STAB and auspicious stat distribution allow Houndoom to cut through unprepared or weakened teams like a hot knife through butter. Although its function is fairly one-dimensional, Houndoom's methods can vary greatly between sets, and this versatility is what makes Houndoom such a dangerous threat. Each of its sets has a different trick up its sleeve, and making assumptions about which set you're facing can often lead to your demise. Unfortunately, Houndoom's Stealth Rock weakness and subpar defensive stats mean it cannot take hits nearly as well as it gives them out.

Name Item Ability Nature

Nasty Plot Mixed Attacker

Life Orb Flash Fire Hasty
Moveset EVs
~ Nasty Plot
~ Fire Blast
~ Dark Pulse
~ Sucker Punch
100 Atk / 184 SpA / 224 Spe

This is Houndoom's bread-and-butter Nasty Plot set. Fire Blast and Dark Pulse are both used on this set to make the most of the excellent coverage afforded by Houndoom's dual STABs. Fire Blast is Houndoom's preferred sweeping move due to its high Base Power, while Dark Pulse hits the Fire-, Water-, and Rock-type Pokemon who resist Fire Blast for heavy damage. After a Nasty Plot, Moltres, Arcanine, and Rhyperior are OHKOed, and Milotic loses upwards of 70% HP.

It may be odd to see Sucker Punch, a physical attack, on a Nasty Plot set, but the move is actually an excellent tool for Houndoom, both in assisting its own sweep and in putting a stop to opposing sweepers. Sucker Punch always OHKOes 4 HP Dugtrio after Stealth Rock, which means without Substitute and good prediction it cannot stop Houndoom's sweep. Sucker Punch also prevents Choice Scarf Rotom, most Alakazam, and some Mismagius from revenge killing Houndoom. Finally, even when Houndoom is not attempting a sweep, Sucker Punch allows it to finish off faster, weakened foes.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Mixed Attacker

Life Orb Flash Fire Hasty
Moveset EVs
~ Pursuit
~ Sucker Punch
~ Crunch / Thunder Fang
~ Fire Blast / Overheat
252 Atk / 32 SpA / 224 Spe

Even though Houndoom's higher offensive stat is Special Attack, it would be a shame to waste its base 90 Attack stat, especially when it is backed up by STAB attacks like Pursuit and Sucker Punch. The main draw of this set is its ability to efficiently eliminate opposing Ghost-types, especially Rotom and Mismagius. While there are several viable UU Pokemon with STAB Pursuit, Houndoom is the only one immune to Will-O-Wisp, which greatly enhances its performance against defensive Ghost-types.

Pursuit is a given to take advantage of Houndoom's ghostbusting abilities. Sucker Punch is an excellent utility move for Houndoom, as with proper prediction it allows Houndoom to eliminate weakened sweepers and faster threats like Alakazam. Crunch is the preferred option in the third slot; while it may seem odd to use three physical Dark-type attacks on the same set, Pursuit and Sucker Punch are only situationally useful attacks, while Crunch provides reliable power. Thunder Fang is also an option in this slot if you're concerned about hitting Moltres and Milotic for more damage. It almost always OHKOes Moltres after Stealth Rock damage (Crunch doesn't on average) and means Milotic must think twice before switching in if it is moderately weakened. Finally, Houndoom uses a high-powered special Fire-type attack in the last slot to blast through Pokemon like Donphan, Tangrowth, Venusaur, and Registeel. Fire Blast deals more damage than Overheat over two turns, but Overheat is more effective against physically bulky targets neutral to Fire, such as Donphan, and against Pokemon who would force Houndoom out before it gets a second chance to attack.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Nasty Plot

Passho Berry Flash Fire Timid
Moveset EVs
~ Nasty Plot
~ Fire Blast
~ Dark Pulse
~ Hidden Power Grass / Beat Up
252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe

Standard Nasty Plot Houndoom has issues getting past Water-type Pokemon—both defensive ones, such as Milotic, and offensive ones with Aqua Jet, such as Azumarill and Kabutops. With a Passho Berry, Houndoom has a good shot at beating all three. After one Nasty Plot, Hidden Power Grass 2HKOes Milotic, OHKOes Kabutops, and has a good chance of OHKOing Azumarill after Stealth Rock damage. Fire Blast and Dark Pulse provide great coverage in tandem, hitting every UU Pokemon outside of Blaziken, Houndoom, and Thick Fat Hariyama for at least neutral damage. Beat Up can be used instead of Hidden Power Grass in the last slot. If your team has three or four healthy team members left, it will usually OHKO Chansey, who otherwise walls this set. This does make Houndoom less effective against opposing Water-types, but Dark Pulse can usually pick up the slack, as it will still OHKO Kabutops and 2HKO Bold Milotic.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

Lead

Focus Sash / Lum Berry Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Fire Blast
~ Dark Pulse
~ Sucker Punch
~ Hidden Power Grass / Pursuit
32 Atk / 252 SpA / 224 Spe

Houndoom has the Speed and offensive capabilities to act as an effective anti-lead. It has great coverage with its dual STAB, and the given moveset allows Houndoom to effectively deal with the most common UU leads. Dark Pulse deals with Uxie, Mesprit, and Alakazam, while Fire Blast is useful against Spiritomb, Scyther, Nidoking, and Pinsir. Sucker Punch gives Houndoom the advantage over other attacking leads as it allows him to beat Focus Sash and priority users. Hidden Power Grass allows Houndoom to win against Cloyster, Omastar, Kabutops, and Rhyperior leads, but Pursuit can be used to trap leads like Mismagius who will most likely switch out.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Ability Nature

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Flash Fire Hasty
Moveset EVs
~ Overheat
~ Dark Pulse
~ Pursuit
~ Hidden Power Grass / Toxic
84 Atk / 196 SpA / 228 Spe

Houndoom usually doesn't have Speed issues, but attaching a Choice Scarf makes it a competent revenge killer for Rock Polish sweepers as well as naturally faster Pokemon like Mismagius, Alakazam, and Sceptile. Houndoom's Overheat and Dark Pulse provide great coverage, hitting the majority of the metagame for at least neutral damage. Pursuit is really what sets Houndoom apart from other Choice Scarf Pokemon, since it places Rotom and Mismagius in a checkmate position. Hidden Power Grass hits Rhyperior for big damage, while Toxic can cripple a predicted Milotic switch-in.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

For all sets using Life Orb, a 29 HP IV decreases Life Orb recoil. With a perfect IV, Houndoom has an HP stat of 291, meaning it loses 29 HP to Life Orb recoil, while with a 29 HP IV it only has an HP stat of 289, corresponding to 28 HP lost to recoil. Although 29 HP IV Houndoom initially starts off with two fewer HP than 31 HP IV Houndoom, it gains one point relative to its counterpart every time it attacks; after two attacks, both Houndoom have equal HP, and at three or more attacks, 29 HP IV Houndoom comes out ahead. Basically, your choice should come down to how many attacks you expect Houndoom to fire off before it is KOed.

Essentially all of Houndoom's viable moves and items have been mentioned in one set or another, and you can mix and match these moves and items to other sets to fit specific needs. For example, if you find that you like the power that Life Orb brings but want to retain the ability to OHKO Chansey with Beat Up, you can replace Sucker Punch with Beat Up on the Life Orb set. One option that hasn't been mentioned, though, is the Rest + Early Bird combination. This grants Houndoom the ability to fully restore HP and remove status effects at the cost of only one turn. Early Bird Houndoom can use Nasty Plot along with Flamethrower and Dark Pulse, or it can even use Flamethrower, Toxic, and Taunt with a specially defensive spread of 252 HP / 4 SpA / 252 SpD with a Calm nature to serve as an effective stallbreaker.

Checks and Counters

Houndoom's most reliable counter is specially defensive Milotic with Haze. Physically defensive Milotic also works quite well in most cases, although it has issues dealing with the uncommon Passho Berry Houndoom. Other Water-type Pokemon are also good switch-ins since they resist Houndoom's STAB Fire attacks. The physically oriented ones, such as Azumarill, Kabutops, and Feraligatr, commonly pack Aqua Jet, which can KO Houndoom before it is able to attack. Blastoise is essentially a lesser Milotic in terms of countering Houndoom, but can check it neatly in a pinch.

Priority attacks are also a great way to check Houndoom. Arcanine's ExtremeSpeed, Blaziken's Vacuum Wave, Hitmontop's Mach Punch, and the aforementioned Aqua Jet all guarantee OHKOs on Houndoom with Stealth Rock damage. Speaking of Arcanine, specially defensive versions counter Houndoom as well since ExtremeSpeed (even without Attack investment) 2HKOes Houndoom, while a boosted Dark Pulse doesn't OHKO Arcanine. Finally, Houndoom's frailty leaves it easy prey for faster Pokemon with a decently powered attack, such as Scyther, Tauros, Sceptile, and Swellow. Dugtrio deserves a special mention since Houndoom cannot switch out of its Earthquake due to Arena Trap. If Houndoom has Sucker Punch, Mismagius and Alakazam should be careful when revenge killing, and Dugtrio needs Substitute to come out on top.