Rayquaza is one of the most threatening forces in the Uber metagame, and as such should always be considered when making a team. With one Dragon Dance, it is capable of sweeping half a team until Outrage confuses it or Life Orb recoil destroys it. With Swords Dance, Rayquaza becomes a hellish priority sweeper that can force teams to use Choice Scarf Steel-types or Garchomp. Rayquaza even has the ability to be a deadly mixed attacker that rips through its most common switch-ins. More often than not, the disadvantageous Pokémon who faces Rayquaza will have to stay in; otherwise one Dragon Dance or Swords Dance on their switch will lead to their demise, and it's better to hit it hard before it does that.
Rayquaza does have a flaw though: it is not an easy Pokémon to switch in. The combination of an environment full of extremely powerful offensive Pokémon, its average defenses (by Uber standards anyway), and its weakness to Stealth Rock means that Rayquaza will have a hard time switching into neutral attacks without taking a large amount of damage. In general, Rayquaza's main switch-ins are done by using its resistances and the opponent's Choice items. Despite having a hard time switching in, Rayquaza is still a fearsome threat that can rip unprepared teams apart.
This set is a huge threat once it sets up. After a Dragon Dance, Jolly Rayquaza outspeeds every non-Scarfed Pokémon except Deoxys-S. Outrage is extremely powerful, OHKOing almost every Pokémon who doesn't resist it. Before using Outrage, it is best to scout the opponent's team. This is because early in the game, your opponent may have Pokémon like Forretress to take the Outrage and explode. For this very reason, Overheat is included to OHKO it. Overheat also has the additional use of OHKOing Skarmory, who would otherwise wall the entire moveset. Earthquake is here to KO Metagross and Dialga (although Dialga needs a heavy defensive investment to live through Outrage).
While Jolly is often the preferred nature, Adamant is still a viable nature that has some advantages over Jolly for Dragon Dance Rayquaza. The reason Jolly Rayquaza is normally the better choice is because it will always outspeed and OHKO Timid Choice Scarf Dialga after one Dragon Dance. This is important because Choice Scarf Dialga will often switch into Rayquaza, expecting the Swords Dance set. When using Jolly, it is important to note that a +1 Outrage only has around a 66% chance of OHKOing the standard Bold 252 HP / 52 Defense Lugia after it takes damage from Stealth Rock. This makes Stone Edge a viable alternative to either Earthquake or Overheat when using Jolly Rayquaza, as a +1 Stone Edge guarantees an OHKO on Lugia after it takes damage from Stealth Rock. Adamant Rayquaza has the advantage of not needing to use Stone Edge to have a 100% chance of KOing Lugia, as it has a 100% chance of KOing Lugia with Outrage providing Stealth Rock is in play. Adamant Rayquaza will unfortunately be outsped by Deoxys-A, even after a Dragon Dance. Because of this, ExtremeSpeed is recommended over Earthquake or Overheat to OHKO Deoxys-A. When using ExtremeSpeed with either nature, it is best to use maximum Speed, so Rayquaza will have a chance of revenge killing an opposing Swords Dance Rayquaza.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Dragon Dance is often used to compensate for Rayquaza's below average Speed, boosting its Attack along the way. However, Swords Dancing will let Rayquaza boast a massive Attack score of 876; unfortunately, it has no way of boosting its mediocre Speed. However, this set is a monstrously powerful physical sweeper thanks to Rayquaza's priority move, ExtremeSpeed. ExtremeSpeed always OHKOes Darkrai, and with help from Stealth Rock, a +2 Life Orb ExtremeSpeed has around a 87% chance of OHKOing 4 HP / 0 Defense Timid Palkia and a 79% chance of OHKOing 4 HP / 0 Defense Mewtwo, all of which are significant KOs.
Dragon Claw or Waterfall are the best options for the next slot. Dragon Claw is a good STAB attack for Rayquaza that allows it to OHKO Giratina after a Swords Dance, while being able to do severe damage to other slower Pokémon. While it may seem harsh to forget STAB on any Pokémon, Waterfall can be a good choice over Dragon Claw to hit Groudon much harder (don't worry about the weather, as Air Lock negates this). It also comes with a handy 20% flinch rate, should one find oneself in a tight spot. In the last moveslot, Earthquake or Overheat are the best choices for the last slot. Earthquake is best for taking out Steel-types that would ruin your sweep, such as Metagross. Overheat can easily OHKO Forretress, Skarmory (who walls you otherwise) and Scizor.
Rayquaza should usually be using an Adamant nature, since ExtremeSpeed will be its most commonly used attack. If one is paranoid of an opposing Rayquaza's ExtremeSpeed, Jolly could be used over Adamant. Jolly should also be used if Rayquaza finds itself with Swords Dance and Outrage on the same set. However, Outrage is not recommended as it makes Rayquaza a very easy Pokémon to revenge kill, especially in Ubers. It does have the benefit of OHKOing both Groudon and Lugia after an Swords Dance. The main problem with using Jolly Swords Dance Rayquaza is that ExtremeSpeed has a much lower chance of KOing Mewtwo and Palkia after Stealth Rock. Only use Jolly Swords Dance Rayquaza if your team has no other way to beat Lugia.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set takes advantage of Rayquaza's often overlooked base 150 Special Attack in order to cripple the standard Rayquaza switch-ins. Draco Meteor is obviously your main form of attack and is what you should be leading off with most of the time. Your opponent will be shocked when their Rayquaza counter is met with a Draco Meteor off of 518 Special Attack. Rayquaza's main counters, Groudon and Lugia, are both maimed by this set. Only the most defensive of Groudon will survive the first hit while standard Lugia will always be 2HKOed with Stealth Rock on the field.
Fire Blast takes care of the common specially defensive Steel-types, such as Metagross and Jirachi, that attempt to wall Draco Meteor after you reveal it. Fire Blast is listed over Flamethrower since the set relies on sheer power to avoid taking any damage so while missing 15% of the time might be a negative, the extra power is almost a must. ExtremeSpeed lets you clean up weakened Pokémon who threaten to ruin your fun. However the main reason for using ExtremeSpeed is for the OHKO on Deoxys-A (though watch out for Focus Sash if it hasn't taken any damage yet).
The best two options for the last slot are Outrage and Brick Break. Outrage is still a very powerful attack, even with only 40 Attack EVs. For example, it can still 2HKO Kyogre. Brick Break can 2HKO Blissey, and break Light Screen and Reflect. This is very useful because if Rayquaza has Brick Break, it has a chance at beating Baton Pass Mew. After breaking Reflect and Light Screen, Rayquaza can KO Mew with a combination of Draco Meteor followed by ExtremeSpeed.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Choice Band Rayquaza is an extremely powerful threat, capable of 2HKOing the majority of the metagame with a Choice Band equipped. Although it may seem inferior to Choice Band Garchomp at first glance, who has STAB on its Earthquake, higher base Speed, and immunity to Thunder Wave and other Electric-type attacks, this is not the case. Rayquaza does have several key advantages over Garchomp, namely higher Attack, a priority move in ExtremeSpeed, and an immunity to Ground-type attacks.
Dragon Claw is the main attack of the set, 2HKOing anything that does not resist it or is not a physical wall such as Groudon. Earthquake OHKOes Metagross and Jirachi and 2HKOes Scizor, Forretress, and even the bulkiest of Dialga. ExtremeSpeed gives Rayquaza strong priority for picking off faster Pokemon such as Darkrai and Mewtwo. Unlike Garchomp, Rayquaza's priority allows it to become a capable revenge killer as well as a powerful sweeper. Outrage from this set is so powerful it can 2HKO even defensive Groudon as well as Lugia after Stealth Rock damage. However, Outrage leaves Rayquaza open to being revenge killed by faster Pokemon and Steel-type, so use it with caution. It is usually best to use Dragon Claw first to scout for Steel-types. Overheat is also an option to OHKO Skarmory, as otherwise it will wall this set with little effort.
The choice between an Adamant or Jolly nature is really personal preference. Jolly allows Rayquaza to always outspeed Pokemon who lie in the base 90 Speed group as well as Adamant Rayquaza, but Adamant allows for a stronger ExtremeSpeed if you really need Rayquaza for revenge killing purposes.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
All EVs are included within their respective sets. Coincidentally, 216 Speed EVs give Rayquaza 280 on the neutral Speed (outspeeding neutral base 90s), and 308 on the +Speed ones (outspeeding +Speed Groudon / Kyogre). For the Dragon Dance set, you can run max Speed if you want to try to outrun other Rayquaza, and you feel the HP is unnecessary due to Life Orb Recoil. The remaining 4 EVs should go to anything else besides HP; with odd HP, Rayquaza can switch into Stealth Rock four times, and gets maximum amount of attacks with Life Orb. For the Swords Dance set, an alternate EV spread can be used if you don't mind losing Speed ties with other Rayquaza: 112 HP / 252 Atk / 144 Spe. The EV spread hits a good HP number that rounds down Life Orb and Stealth Rock while also outspeeding minimum Lugia.
A Choice Specs set is a viable option on Rayquaza, as it can surprise its usual switch ins. Generally, Dialga and Palkia are better choices for this, as Rayquaza can destroy Lugia with its Mixquaza set just as easily, in addition to Palkia and Dialga lacking Rayquaza's weakness to Stealth Rock. Thunder Wave can cripple Pokémon like Choice Scarf Dialga switching into you, but you shouldn't really be focusing on this and you should focus more on setting Rayquaza up. Ice Beam is pretty useless with Draco Meteor, but you can knock down Groudon without suffering a Special Attack drop. Rayquaza is capable of producing 101 HP Substitutes if you want to block any attempts to Seismic Toss or status you. Beware, however, because Blissey / Deoxys-D may carry Ice Beam just for this, or just for Rayquaza in general. Bulk Up is rather novelty but you can use this move to survive a Choice Banded Stone Edge from Groudon and OHKO back with Outrage if you're holding a Life Orb. Toxic can poison Lugia and Cresselia on the switch, making them useless at tanking, but once again you should be more focused on the sweeping part. Sleep Talking an Outrage doesn't get you locked, so it's worth a shot. Rest can be used for defensive purposes, but it is rather novelty because Rayquaza dies very quickly. Crunch is a reasonable option on the Dragon Dance set, as it can hit the Psychic-type Ubers hard without resorting to Outrage.
Focus Sash lets Rayquaza survive a powerful hit, and then pull off a Dragon Dance and Outrage to almost guarantee at least one KO on the opponent. It makes a good lead because it destroys both Mewtwo and Kyogre, and does not fear sandstorm thanks to Air Lock. However, you should watch out for Metagross switching into you when you try and Outrage these leads. Haban Berry is a reasonable choice for both Dragon Dance Rayquaza and Swords Dance Rayquaza if you have Rapid Spin support, as this will allow Rayquaza to survive attacks from common Choice Scarf revenge killers such as Garchomp, Dialga and Palkia. Rayquaza can then OHKO them with a boosted super effective attack in return.
Checks and Counters
Cresselia can survive Outrage with its high HP / Defense and OHKO with Ice Beam when Life Orb damage is taken into account, but is severely dented by the mixed set. Skarmory can come in on Rayquaza without Overheat / Fire Blast and laugh at it. Lugia can also switch in and OHKO with Ice Beam, but it will need a lot of HP and Defense to survive a hit from Dragon Dance Rayquaza, and Stone Edge will hurt Lugia. Also, Stealth Rock will severely hinder Lugia's ability to wall you. Thankfully, Lugia can easily outspeed Swords Dance Rayquaza. Lugia must be careful about switching into Rayquaza though, as Hasty mixed Rayquaza can outspeed and 2HKO it with Draco Meteor if Stealth Rock is out. Metagross can switch in on Outrage / Draco Meteor and KO back with Ice Punch or maybe Meteor Mash.
If you're running Adamant, a Hasty Deoxys-A will outspeed you and KO you, even if you Dragon Danced, with Ice Beam. Pokémon with a base Speed above 95 can carry a Choice Scarf to revenge kill Dragon Dance Rayquaza. The prime examples are Mewtwo, Palkia, and Darkrai. Steel-types with Choice Scarf and a super effective move can revenge kill Swords Dance Rayquaza. The best examples of these Pokémon are Dialga, Metagross, and Heatran (with Hidden Power Ice). Gengar has the interesting ability to revenge kill both Swords Dance and Dragon Dance Rayquaza (as long as Gengar has a Choice Scarf), thanks to Gengar's 110 base Speed and the Normal immunity granted by Gengar's Ghost-typing. The same goes for Choice Scarf Garchomp as well, as it will not only outspeed Rayquaza after a Dragon Dance, it will also only have a 7% chance of getting KOed by an Adamant Rayquaza's +2 ExtremeSpeed with Life Orb. Weavile is able to OHKO Rayquaza with STAB Ice Shard; the only Rayquaza that can handle it is a Dragon Dance Rayquaza with ExtremeSpeed. Extremely defensive Groudon can survive Outrage and KO back with Stone Edge.