Salamence has one big selling point in the Ubers metagame: pairing it with Rayquaza forms an effective offensive partnership that is almost impossible to counter! This strategy is not without its drawbacks though - since Salamence and Rayquaza have the same typing, this means that your team will have at least two Rock-, Ice- and Dragon-type weaknesses. Due to this fact, Salamence cannot just be thrown in any team, it should be paired with Rayquaza and have a team centered around covering their drawbacks.
Even though Salamence is mostly outclassed by Rayquaza, do not let this fool you into thinking that it is not a threat. Salamence is still very capable of tearing its opponents to shreds in the Ubers metagame, whether it's with its Dragon Dance set or its mixed set. Overall, Salamence is an unorthodox yet deadly Pokémon in Ubers.
As a Dragon Dance sweeper, Salamence is normally outclassed by Rayquaza. However, when used alongside Rayquaza, Dragon Dance Salamence can be a powerful asset in the Uber metagame. Dragon Dance Salamence's main advantage over Garchomp as a Rayquaza partner lies in the Speed boost that Dragon Dance gives it. Unlike Garchomp, Salamence will outspeed and OHKO Pokémon such as Mewtwo, Darkrai, and Choice Scarf Kyogre after one turn of set-up.
Although Salamence may not be as powerful as Rayquaza, Outrage will still do an insane amount of damage to any Pokémon who doesn't resist it. After one Dragon Dance, Salamence with Life Orb will always OHKO Shaymin-S, Darkrai, offensive Mewtwo and max HP Kyogre with Outrage. A +1 Outrage will also deal 79.13% - 93.5% to 112 HP Groudon, and 54.95% - 64.85% to an Impish Groudon with max HP and max Defense. Even the standard max HP / 64 Defense Timid Lugia, which normally gives Salamence trouble, suffers 71.4% - 84.4% from a boosted Outrage (approximately a 20% chance to KO after Stealth Rock damage and Leftovers recovery)! Earthquake's main purpose is to hit grounded Steel-types, such as Dialga and Metagross, harder than Outrage would. A boosted Earthquake always OHKO max HP Metagross and min HP Dialga, after Stealth Rock damage; however, a max HP Dialga will be OHKOed by a +1 Earthquake around 92% of the time after it takes Stealth Rock damage. The final moveslot is a choice between Fire Blast and Flamethrower. Even with a Special Attack reducing nature, Fire Blast will deal 88.02% - 104.19% to a specially defensive Skarmory in the sun. If you only wish to OHKO Scizor and Forretress in the sun (or 2HKO them in the rain), then Flamethrower is a fine choice for its perfect accuracy.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Unlike the last set, this set puts Salamence in the role of helping Rayquaza sweep. Salamence may seem outclassed as a mixed attacking partner for Rayquaza when compared to more powerful wallbreakers, such as Dialga and Palkia, but Salamence sports two key advantages over them. First, since Dialga and Palkia's most common sets are either pure special attackers or Choiced sets, Pokemon such as Wobbuffet and Blissey - who give Rayquaza no problems - may switch in. On the other hand, Salamence is treated similarly to Rayquaza, which allows it to badly damage Rayquaza's counters. Unlike Garchomp, Salamence is capable of harming Rayquaza's checks without a turn of set up. The other big selling point of mixed Salamence as a Rayquaza partner is Dragon Dance, which can allow Salamence to sweep a weakened team later in the match.
While Salamence's base 110 Special Attack may seem meager when compared to the more powerful Dragon-types of Ubers, Draco Meteor still does a huge amount of damage to any Pokémon who doesn't resist it (with the exception of Blissey). For example, max HP Groudon (a common Salamence switch-in) will take 71.29% - 84.16% from Draco Meteor, allowing Rayquaza to possibly sweep due to Groudon either being 2HKOed by Salamence, or being put into the KO range of Rayquaza's attacks. Draco Meteor will also OHKO several common Choice Scarfed switch-ins that expect Salamence to use Dragon Dance, such as Darkrai, Garchomp and Shaymin-S (around 87% of the time without Stealth Rock). Finally, Draco Meteor will have around a 53% chance to OHKO 4 HP Mewtwo after it takes Stealth Rock damage. Fire Blast is Salamence's main move against the Steel-types that resist Draco Meteor - in the rain, only the most specially defensive Scizor will survive Fire Blast while Forretress will take 83.62% - 99.44%. In the sunny weather, Fire Blast will OHKO Scizor, Forretress, Metagross, Skarmory, and even 2HKO Groudon.
Outrage is Salamence's physical move of choice, as it will still do a large amount of damage despite the minimal Attack investment. Outrage is Salamence's best move against Blissey, dealing 66.41% - 78.22%. Outrage is also important for its ability to KO many important Pokémon after they take damage from Draco Meteor. For example, the standard Bold Max HP Lugia with 52 Defense EVs is KOed by a combination of Draco Meteor and Outrage around 98% of the time after factoring in Stealth Rock damage and Leftovers recovery. Additionally, Ho-Oh, maximum HP Kyogre, minimum Special Defense Dialga and Calm Wobbuffet (after Stealth Rock damage) are KOed by Outrage after switching into Draco Meteor. Be warned though, Draco Meteor plus Outrage will only have around a 58% chance and 57% chance to KO specially defensive Dialga and Bold Lugia with maximum HP and maximum Defense respectively after Stealth Rock.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Salamence has access to one move that sets it apart from Rayquaza: Roost. Roost can be used on a mixed Salamence set to restore its health on Pokémon it may force out, or on Pokémon who do little harm to it (such as Forretress without Explosion or Skarmory). This can be especially useful against stall teams, who sometimes rely on Stealth Rock damage to wear down Salamence. There are two main issues with Roost though. First of all, Roost can be hard to find time to use, as Salamence must often predict a switch to use it. Secondly, Roost does not pair well with Outrage. When Salamence uses Outrage, it will often be revenge killed before it can find time to use Roost. It's possible to use Brick Break over Outrage for this purpose (to 2HKO Blissey), but this leaves Salamence walled by Ho-Oh.
Salamence has several alternative attacks at its disposal. Stone Edge can be a good option on Dragon Dance Salamence, as a +1 Stone Edge OHKOes Timid Lugia around 87% of the time after it takes Stealth Rock damage and Leftovers recovery. Dragon Claw can be used on the Dragon Dance set to OHKO most Dragon-types without being force to lock Salamence into Outrage. If using Dragon Claw over Fire Blast or Flamethrower, Magnezone or Magneton support is recommended for eliminating most Steel-types. In a similar manner, Crunch can be used to OHKO Mewtwo after a Dragon Dance. Hydro Pump can be used on mixed Salamence to 2HKO Skarmory, Forretress, Scizor and Metagross in the rain if you must have Kyogre on your team. Hydro Pump will also OHKO Heatran in the rain.
If your team has problems with stall, Dragon Fang can be a reasonable option on mixed Salamence, though it will lose out on a few KOs. Both Yache Berry and Haban Berry are reasonable items to use on Salamence, but Rayquaza is often better off using them, as Salamence prefers the added power of Life Orb.
Checks and Counters
Salamence's counters are extremely similar to Rayquaza's. In other words, there aren't actually many Salamence counters at all! Salamence only has two hard counters in Ubers. Cresselia is able to survive any of Salamence's attacks, and can then OHKO Salamence with Ice Beam after Stealth Rock. Timid Lugia works in a similar fashion, but it must avoid Stone Edge after a boost. Bold Lugia can defeat Dragon Dance Salamence, but it has a chance of being defeated by mixed Salamence after it takes Stealth Rock damage.
Generally, the best way to deal with Salamence is to force it to use Outrage, and then switch to a Steel-type Pokémon. Scizor is one of the best choices for this, as it can 2HKO Salamence with a Choice Band-boosted Bullet Punch. Metagross and Jirachi are also reasonable choices due to Ice Punch. Skarmory is particularly notable because it will usually wall Salamence in the rainy weather. Although not a Steel-type, defensive Groudon is notable for its ability to survive a +1 Outrage from Salamence. Groudon can then choose to hit it with Stone Edge or cripple it with Thunder Wave.
Like Rayquaza, it's often easier to revenge kill Salamence than try and counter it. Choice Scarf Garchomp is a particularly good choice, as it outspeeds Salamence even after it uses a Dragon Dance and will OHKO Salamence with Outrage. In a similar manner, Choice Scarf users with a base Speed of over 100 and an Ice-type attack are good revenge killers. Good examples of this are Mewtwo, Darkrai, Shaymin-S and Gengar. Weavile and Mamoswine are notable for their ability to revenge kill Salamence without the use of Choice Scarf, thanks to their STAB Ice Shard.