Monstrous, both competitively and aesthetically, Tyranitar is easily one of the most dangerous Pokemon in the game, and for good reason. Its excellent stat spread gives it incredible versatility, allowing it to perform in nearly any role it wants. Choice Scarf sets make incredible trappers and revenge killers, while mixed and Choice Band sets pack incredible power and generally make stall weep. On top of that, Tyranitar can sweep with a Dragon Dance set. It's no slouch defensively as well, with 100/110/100 defenses bolstered by Sand Stream and its Rock typing.
That said, Tyranitar isn't without issues. Numerous weaknesses to common types make it tough to survive hits from many opponents, and the popularity of Scizor, its greatest nemesis, doesn't help. Despite these faults, Tyranitar is an excellent Pokemon, and easy to fit into nearly any type of team.
It may seem odd to use a Choice Scarf on such a slow Pokemon, but Tyranitar's great stat spread makes it a superior user of Choice Scarf. 61 base Speed gives it the ability to outspeed Pokemon with 115 base Speed and below, even with a positive nature, which allows it to outspeed notable foes such as Starmie, Azelf, and Gengar.
Stone Edge and Crunch serve as Tyranitar's main attacks, packing incredible power when backed by its outstanding Attack stat. However, the magic of this set lies in the speedy Pursuit, which gives Tyranitar the ability to put opponents into a checkmate position and eliminate them without fail. While Pursuit is guaranteed to OHKO all of the above Pokemon on the switch, it also does a number when they don't switch. For example: on a non-switch, 4 HP / 0 Def Gengar takes 78.2% - 92%, giving Tyranitar a significant chance to OHKO it after sandstorm and Stealth Rock, and guaranteeing the KO with 2 Stealth Rock switch-ins. Superpower and Earthquake round out the set, providing essential type coverage. Earthquake hits Steel-types such as Lucario and Metagross, as well as striking opposing Tyranitar. However, Superpower allows Tyranitar to eliminate Blissey more effectively, as Bold Blissey is not 2HKOed by any of Scarf Tyranitar's moves, even Stone Edge.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
With a monstrous 134 base Attack and a powerful STAB Stone Edge, Choice Band Tyranitar is easily one of the most devastating Pokemon in OU. STAB Stone Edge coming off of Tyranitar's massive 604 Attack is enough to break through even the toughest of OU's defensive Pokemon. Combine this with 100/110/100 defenses and Sand Stream's Special Defense boost, and Choice Band Tyranitar is a Pokemon who can switch in with ease and, once in play, punish the opponent with its devastating power.
Stone Edge is one of the keys to this set's success. After the Choice Band boost, it scores OHKOs on a significant portion of the metagame even when hitting for neutral damage. It also packs enough power to easily 2HKO walls such as Skarmory and Forretress, making it an effective tool against stall. Crunch serves as an accurate secondary STAB, and provides neutral coverage on Pokemon that resist Stone Edge, such as Swampert, Bronzong, and Metagross. Pursuit allows Tyranitar to catch opponents fleeing from its powerful Stone Edge or Crunch and finish them off with ease. This helps Tyranitar eliminate specially-based Pokemon such as Zapdos, Jolteon, Starmie, and Choiced Rotom-A. The final slot provides Tyranitar with much-needed type coverage. Aqua Tail hits Hippowdon, Gliscor, and opposing Tyranitar hard, as well as providing neutral coverage and a reliable attack. Earthquake hits Metagross, Jirachi, and other Tyranitar, but is a dangerous move to be locked into. Finally, Fire Punch allows Tyranitar to OHKO Scizor and Forretress, as well as reliably 2HKOing Skarmory and Bronzong.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
After a Dragon Dance, Tyranitar has the power of the Choice Band set, speed of the Choice Scarf set, and the ability to change moves. On top of that, Tyranitar's excellent bulk and potential to pose an immediate threat makes it easy to set up a Dragon Dance.
Stone Edge serves as Tyranitar's main attack, packing excellent power. However, Rock Slide can be effective for two reasons. Firstly, it has enough power to OHKO Dragonite, Gyarados, Zapdos, and other common targets of Tyranitar's Rock-type STAB, but with 10% more accuracy than Stone Edge. Secondly, it has a very notable 30% flinch chance, which a Dragon Danced Tyranitar can use as a last-ditch effort to score some important 2HKOs. Crunch provides secondary STAB and reliable power. The last moveslot is used to provide important coverage. Fire Punch hits Steel-types hard as well as reliably OHKOing Scizor and 2HKOing Skarmory with 100% accuracy. Earthquake hits Metagross and Jirachi harder, while providing more power against opposing Tyranitar. Finally, Aqua Tail hits Gliscor, Hippowdon, and other Tyranitar.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set is meant to bait out and eliminate many of Tyranitar's top counters. Since the types of Pokemon used to check Tyranitar are rather predictable, this Tyranitar can bluff a Choice Scarf and proceed to OHKO or heavily damage whatever comes in on the next turn.
Stone Edge and Crunch are basic STAB moves for Tyranitar, and choosing between them is a matter of choosing what you want to hit. Pursuit is used in tandem with other moves to play mind games with the opponent. For example: A popular tactic with Gengar is to use Protect as Tyranitar uses its first move, and then either attack on the Pursuit that fails to KO or flee from the Crunch. With this Tyranitar, you can fake out the Gengar user by choosing Crunch first, then use Pursuit as it attempts to get away scot-free. Blissey suffers the same fate, as it can easily absorb weak Pursuits, but falls to Superpower.
The last move serves to deter Steel-types. Lucario sets up for free on both of Tyranitar's STAB moves, but Flamethrower will often catch it attempting to Swords Dance on a predicted switch. Fire Blast has less accuracy and reliability, but it allows Tyranitar to 2HKO Specially Defensive Skarmory without Expert Belt. If using Expert Belt, Flamethrower is always the better option. Ice Beam can be used to hit Gliscor and Hippowdon, two common Tyranitar counters, but misses out on Scizor and Skarmory.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Once the pinnacle of stallbreaking power, TyraniBoah is a legendary set capable of making even the fiercest stall teams shudder. Tyranitar has the perfect combination of bulk, type coverage, and power to punish stall teams that allow it to set up, and with Blissey being such an integral part of stall, it's hard not to let it get set up.
Boah, as it is commonly called, is fairly simple to use. Bring it in on something that can't threaten it, set up a Substitute, and prepare to wreak havoc. With 404 HP, Tyranitar can set up 101 HP Substitutes, preventing Blissey from breaking them with one Seismic Toss. Once a Substitute is up, Tyranitar can start firing off powerful Focus Punches. Dark Pulse and Crunch both provide basic STAB- Dark Pulse is better due to its ability to hit physical walls that Tyranitar otherwise wouldn't be able to hit. However, Crunch is effective, as even with 176 EVs and a boosting nature, Tyranitar's Attack is still superior to its Special Attack. The fourth move allows Tyranitar to take on specific threats. Flamethrower and Thunderbolt both hit Skarmory, with the former also being effective against Scizor, Metagross, Bronzong, and Jirachi, and the latter being effective against Suicune and Vaporeon. Ice Beam's main purpose is to hit Hippowdon, though it can also catch Dragonite and Flygon.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Between STAB Crunch, excellent defensive stats, and the Special Defense boost from sandstorm, Tyranitar makes an excellent Curse user in the OU metagame. The set is pretty self-explanatory. Curse up for a while, using RestTalk to heal off any damage or status, then eventually sweep with an incredibly powerful STAB Crunch. This works especially well if Tyranitar is the last Pokemon, as then it cannot be forced out by Pokemon such as Skarmory, which resist Crunch and can Whirlwind Tyranitar out. Fire Punch can be used over Sleep Talk, as it deals solid damage to Skarmory and Scizor, who may not OHKO Tyranitar after a Curse due to Tyranitar's solid defenses. However, it renders Tyranitar helpless while sleeping, so be careful when using Tyranitar without Sleep Talk.
The EVs are meant to build on Tyranitar's solid Special Defense stat, making it incredibly difficult to eliminate after multiple Curses. It is not necessary to invest in Tyranitar's Attack, because Tyranitar has 304 Attack before any investment, meaning that after a couple of Curses it can still hit incredibly hard.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Unlike the BaitTar listed earlier, which is used to bluff a Choiced set in order to fool Tyranitar's offensive checks, this specially-based set focuses more on punching holes in the physically defensive cores of opponents. Instead trying to feign a Choice set, this set depends on prediction to attempt to catch one of Tyranitar's counters as it switches in.
Flamethrower is the primary attack, given how often Steel-types, such as Skarmory, Metagross, and Forretress switch into Tyranitar. Ice Beam handily disposes of Hippowdon, Gliscor, Dragonite, and Flygon attempting to switch into a weak physical attack or a resisted attack. The third slot is for coverage. Dark Pulse hits Rotom-A, Gengar, and the like, as well as having solid neutral coverage alongside the other two moves. However, Crunch can be used to bluff a Choice Scarf set and potentially ease prediction against Steel-types such as Skarmory. Finally, Thunderbolt allows Tyranitar to hit Vaporeon and Suicune. For the last slot, Superpower can be used to hit Heatran, opposing Tyranitar, and most notably Blissey, which walls the rest of the set.Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
There are a couple of options that aren't listed in the main sets, but are entirely viable. Rock Slide has more accuracy than Stone Edge, but 25% less power, often making it a lesser option. While the Choice Scarf set is primarily built for using physical attacks, it's possible to swap some of its physical attacks for special attacks. Most notably, Earthquake / Superpower and Pursuit can be swapped for Fire Blast and Ice Beam respectively, allowing Tyranitar to reliably revenge kill things that it normally wouldn't be able to, such as Gliscor, and also 2HKO Skarmory, which is usually more than comfortable switching into anything ScarfTar would normally pack.
Tyranitar is more than capable of using its massive bulk for a defensive set. 100 / 110 / (154) defenses are among the best in the entire metagame, and with a little investment, Tyranitar can be incredibly hard to break on the special side. However, there's no "one spread" that's best for this purpose, so really, using defensive Tyranitar comes down to seeing what you need it to do and then giving it a spread that complements that. For supportive sets, Tyranitar can also make use of its fairly solid utility movepool, which includes Roar, Stealth Rock, and Thunder Wave.
Tyranitar can also make use of a Choice Specs set. However, Tyranitar benefits greatly from the versatility that its movepool provides, and as such, it is much more effective when using an item that capitalizes on that versatility, such as Expert Belt or Life Orb. Still, Choice Specs provides potentially massive power, and the results are extremely rewarding when you predict correctly.
Checks and Counters
There are a couple Pokemon in OU that Tyranitar has a tough time hurting. Swampert is the most notable, as it resists Tyranitar's powerful Stone Edge, takes no more than ~40% from Crunch, and is neutral or better to any other attack that Tyranitar would carry. It can also retaliate with a STAB Surf or Earthquake, both of which are super effective against Tyranitar. Machamp is another notable counter to Tyranitar, as it can shrug off both of Tyranitar's powerful STABs and ravage it with a powerful 4x effective DynamicPunch. Hippowdon performs extremely similarly to Swampert, except it is susceptible to Ice Beam from mixed or special sets. Finally, Breloom is probably one of the best counters to Tyranitar in the game. It resists everything that the common Tyranitar uses outside of Superpower or possibly Fire Punch, and it can use Tyranitar as setup fodder.
When dealing with Choice Scarf Tyranitar, options open up somewhat. Skarmory can switch into nearly any attack that Choice Scarf Tyranitar can use and proceed to lay down Spikes, significantly shortening Tyranitar's reign of terror. Blissey actually becomes a viable way to deal with Tyranitar, as outside of an untimely critical hit or a predicted Superpower, Tyranitar is unable to 2HKO Bold variants of Blissey. Forretress can perform similarly to Skarmory, except it trades the ability to recover reliably for the ability to take advantage of Tyranitar and Rapid Spin away hazards. Defensive variants of Rotom-A may not be able to switch in reliably, but they can survive an attack from Tyranitar and burn it with Will-O-Wisp, crippling it for the rest of the match.
Since the most common variants of Tyranitar are Choiced, it's easy to set up on its attacks with Pokemon that resist its STABs. Lucario has the advantage of being able to switch into both Stone Edge and Crunch with a 4x resistance, taking minimal damage despite its frailty. However, variants of Lucario who lack Bullet Punch or Agility should be wary, as even though Tyranitar may be setup fodder, it can later come in and revenge kill Lucario, who cannot respond due to Tyranitar's resistance to Normal-type attacks. However, Bullet Punch and Agility variants need not fear Tyranitar's return, as they are more than capable of eliminating a Scarfed Tyranitar.