Donphan

Sturdy
If the wielder is at full HP, it will survive any attack. OHKO moves will fail.
Sand Veil
Evasion increases by 25% in a sandstorm.
Type
Ground
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
90
- 321 384 -
Atk
120
248 276 339 372
Def
120
248 276 339 372
SpA
60
140 156 219 240
SpD
60
140 156 219 240
Spe
50
122 136 199 218

Overview

Donphan goes into the DW metagame relatively unchanged from previous generations: its access to both Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock, coupled with an excellent base 120 Defense and an improved Sturdy, give it a niche over other spinners and bulky Ground-types, such as Gliscor, Excadrill, and Hippowdon. Donphan also possesses an impressive base 120 Attack, backed by a small, but precise, physical movepool, the highlights of which are Earthquake, Head Smash, Stone Edge, Ice Shard and Fire Fang. All in all, these traits let Donphan dish out powerful hits as well as take them. While Donphan's poor Speed and Special Defense stats, in addition to its lack of reliable recovery, limit its ability to wall several prominent threats, such as Genesect and Keldeo, Donphan remains one of the best utility Pokemon in the DW metagame.

Name Item Ability Nature

Defensive Rapid Spin

Leftovers Sturdy Impish
Moveset EVs
~ Rapid Spin
~ Stealth Rock
~ Earthquake
~ Toxic
252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe

This set capitalizes on Donphan's excellent physical bulk and defensive typing to reliably clear hazards off your side of the field, as well as lay Stealth Rock down. Donphan's niche over a lot of the other Stealth Rock users is that it can safely set up Stealth Rock as a lead without worrying about being OHKOed thanks to Sturdy. Earthquake hits hard thanks to Donphan’s high Attack stat, and prevents Donphan from being Taunt bait. Toxic is Donphan's best option against physically defensive Jellicent looking to block Rapid Spin, as an uninvested Earthquake doesn't even 3HKO it.

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

Offensive Rapid Spin

Leftovers Sturdy Adamant
Moveset EVs
~ Rapid Spin
~ Earthquake
~ Ice Shard / Fire Fang
~ Stone Edge / Head Smash
252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe

This set utilizes Donphan's stellar base 120 Attack to force switches and KO Ghost-types, allowing it to use Rapid Spin more freely. Rapid Spin is a staple on any Donphan set, as it differentiates Donphan from Hippowdon. STAB Earthquake serves as Donphan's primary attack, which even 2HKOes specially defensive variants of Jellicent. Unlike the defensive set, this set's Ice Shard is strong enough to finish off foes such as Landorus, Salamence, and Garchomp. Fire Fang 2HKOes Gengar without any drawbacks, as well as Ferrothorn and Forretress in sun, preventing them from laying hazards. Stone Edge, in addition to cleanly 2HKOing Gengar, also forms the superb EdgeQuake coverage. Head Smash provides the same coverage and OHKOes Gengar, but the recoil hurts due to Donphan's lack of reliable recovery.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Donphan can use Sand Veil when paired with a sand inducer; the 20% boost to evasion can free up an opportunity for Donphan to spin or lay Stealth Rock. However, Sturdy makes Donphan a much more reliable utility Pokemon, and doesn't force it to rely on weather to function properly. Donphan is a good candidate for a Choice Band set as it has strong EdgeQuake coverage in addition to priority in the form of Ice Shard, but Landorus and Excadrill generally outclass it in this role, and Donphan should almost always be utilizing one of its best traits: Rapid Spin. Counter is an interesting option on Donphan as Sturdy essentially gives it a free Focus Sash, but this set has trouble using Rapid Spin or setting up hazards as it is usually at 1 HP. Superpower can be used on either set to stop Air Balloon users such as Excadrill, Heatran, and Terrakion from setting up on Donphan, but the stat drops make Donphan prime setup bait. Assurance can be used to hit Ghost-types trying to block Rapid Spin, but Jellicent and Gengar can easily shrug off a 50 Base Power Assurance. Donphan has access to some other attacks, such as Seed Bomb, Thunder Fang, and Ice Fang, but Earthquake and Stone Edge usually provide it with enough coverage and power.

Checks and Counters

Defensive Donphan despises Ghost-types as they block Rapid Spin; Jellicent is only 3HKOed by Earthquake while Gengar is immune to it, and both can KO Donphan with their respective STAB attacks. As Donphan also typically carries only one attack that can harm Gengar, SubDisable Gengar can completely shut it down. If Chandelure switches in on Rapid Spin, it will trap, outspeed, and rip through Donphan's paper-thin Special Defense. While they can't stop Donphan from fulfilling its main role of spinning away hazards, physical walls such as Skarmory, Ferrothorn, Gliscor, Forretress, and Bronzong will often force Donphan to switch out (provided that Donphan isn't using Fire Fang in the sun in Ferrothorn's and Forretress's case). Donphan hates being induced with status; a burn turns Donphan into complete setup bait, while Toxic will wear it down quickly considering its lack of reliable recovery. Jellicent can burn Donphan with Will-O-Wisp, and Gliscor can poison it. Finally, strong special attackers, such as Latios and Starmie, can prey on Donphan's miserable Special Defense stat.