Ninetales

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.
Drought
Summons permanent sun.
Type
Fire
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
73
- 287 350 -
Atk
76
169 188 251 276
Def
75
167 186 249 273
SpA
81
178 198 261 287
SpD
100
212 236 299 328
Spe
100
212 236 299 328

Overview

From the dawn of competitive Pokemon until the BW generation, Ninetales was always an inferior Pokemon. Its decent Speed and Special Defense were hardly enough to make up for its disappointingly low offenses, especially given its movepool. When abilities rolled around, even Flash Fire couldn't save it from mediocrity. Seemingly out of nowhere, though, things changed. Permanent sun finally became an option below Ubers when Ninetales obtained Drought, making Chlorophyll sweepers viable. Its decent special movepool, including powerful sun-boosted STAB Fire Blast and an instantaneous SolarBeam, allows for excellent coverage. Powerful Fire-types such as Chandelure and Volcarona, as well as Chlorophyll sweepers such as Growth Venusaur, are devastating forces in today's Dream World metagame. However, not all fares well for Ninetales. Its general frailty, weakness to Stealth Rock, and the inability to set up immediate sun as a lead thanks to it outspeeding all other weather starters make Ninetales a liability in some cases. It is also outsped by many powerful physical attackers, such as Terrakion, making Ninetales an easy target. Don't let these flaws stop you from using Ninetales, as its vital team support and surprisingly powerful Nasty Plot set allow you to rip through teams.

Name Item Ability Nature

Sunny Day

Leftovers / Air Balloon Drought Timid / Modest
Moveset EVs
~ Sunny Day
~ Fire Blast / Flamethrower
~ SolarBeam
~ Hypnosis / Will-O-Wisp
12 HP / 252 SpA / 184 SpD / 60 Spe

Sunny Day seems like an inferior move on Ninetales, given the fact that it sets up permanent sun upon switching in, but Ninetales is easy prey for Tyranitar and Politoed, who typically have no problem switching into Ninetales's unboosted Fire Blast. The goal here is to use Sunny Day while your opponent switches, allowing it to outspeed all weather starters and abusers without a Choice Scarf and pull off an instant SolarBeam. Both Politoed and Tyranitar lose their weather effects, eliminating the usual risks involved with SolarBeam and 2HKOing non-bulky variants should they decide to stay in. Hypnosis is a great option in case your opponent decides not to switch in their weather starter, buying you an extra turn to either stay in and use Sunny Day while they actually do sent out their weather starter or to switch out and trap your opponent with Chandelure or Dugtrio.

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

Nasty Plot

Life Orb Drought Timid / Modest
Moveset EVs
~ Nasty Plot
~ Fire Blast
~ SolarBeam / Energy Ball
~ Hidden Power Ground / Hidden Power Fighting / Hypnosis
4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe

With Nasty Plot and a Life Orb, Ninetales becomes an unorthodox and deceptively powerful special attacker. Infinite sun boosts Fire Blast to incredible levels and allows Ninetales to use a risk-free SolarBeam, offering fantastic coverage with the Hidden Power of your choice. As with any boosting set, send in Ninetales against a support Pokemon who cannot do much to it, boost with Nasty Plot, and terrorize your opponent. To give you an idea of Ninetales's power after one Nasty Plot boost, Fire Blast 2HKOes all but the bulkiest of Dragonite through Multiscale and also has a guaranteed 2HKO on physically defensive Chansey and Blissey. In fact, no Pokemon in the game bar Dragonite itself can afford to set up on Ninetales. Gyarados? Bulky Dragon Dance has about a 1% chance of surviving Fire Blast after Stealth Rock damage. Salamence faces a similar fate. Haxorus? All jokes aside, Fire Blast is so powerful that SolarBeam and Hidden Power Ground are merely accessories. Remember that a resisted Fire Blast is more powerful than a neutral SolarBeam, so only use SolarBeam against those who resist Fire Blast or are weak to SolarBeam. Hidden Power Ground is literally only for Heatran; Fire Blast already 2HKOes Tentacruel.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

Ninetales does have the option to run a specially defensive set with utility moves such as Will-O-Wisp and Hypnosis, with Chesto Berry and Rest for one time instant recovery. Toxic can be used on the Sunny Day set, as it hampers both Politoed and Tyranitar. Choice Specs is a possibility, granting an immediate boost to its powerful Fire Blast, but locking Ninetales into the wrong attack can seal its fate if it needs to switch in again due to its vulnerability to all entry hazards and low bulk. For its offensive sets, Ninetales has very little room for attacks. Hidden Power Ice is almost pointless, as Fire Blast does massive damage to any Dragon-type that's not Dragonite behind Multiscale. It also leaves Ninetales completely walled by Heatran. If you are tempted to use Psyshock, do the math and you will change your mind. Not only does it have no business on the Nasty Plot set, but Fire Blast hits Chansey and Blissey significantly harder in the sun, and its ability to 2HKO them outright is a testament to Ninetales's Power. In fact, in almost any case where Psyshock outdamages Fire Blast, both will 2HKO anyway! The only relevant exception to this is Tentacruel, who indeed does have a chance to be OHKOed by Psyshock.

Why Not to Lead with Ninetales

A common mistake for new players is to use Ninetales as a lead to bring in the sunshine immediately. It must be stressed, however, that no Ninetales set functions as a lead unless the other team lacks an instant weather starter. The reason for this is that Ninetales outspeeds Tyranitar, Politoed, and Hippowdon, who will always get their weather up, as opposed to sun, when used one-on-one. You might think of reducing Ninetales's Speed to nearly guarantee instant sun in the lead position. However, it is nearly impossible to underspeed Hippowdon without the extremely gimmicky Iron Ball, and Ninetales's high 100 base Speed is almost as vital to its success as Drought! Obviously, Ninetales will be forced to switch out, fearing a super effective attack from Tyranitar or Politoed, giving instant momentum to your opponent. Use your first turn to set up entry hazards instead of losing your weather setter so early in the match.

Checks and Counters

Without perpetual sun, Ninetales is at serious risk of being manhandled. Its primary rival weather starters, Tyranitar and Politoed, are able to switch in on any set bar Sunny Day and force out Ninetales as both hit it super effectively with their STAB moves. However, they must be careful not to switch into Hypnosis or Will-O-Wisp (especially in Tyranitar's case), allowing Ninetales to switch out and reset its weather later. It is also a good idea to scout for which Hidden Power Ninetales carries. If it carries Hidden Power Ground, only Air Balloon Heatran can switch in, but this gives Dragonite the perfect opportunity to switch in and start boosting with Dragon Dance. Still, both Pokemon fear status from Hypnosis or Will-O-Wisp, as Dragonite is outsped and Salamence has a chance to lose the Speed tie, so tread carefully. Blissey and Chansey can easily switch in, threaten Ninetales with status from Thunder Wave or Toxic, and wall it to hell and back. Terrakion outspeeds Ninetales and OHKOes with either of its STAB moves, but it must be careful not to switch into SolarBeam or Will-O-Wisp. All entry hazards inflict massive pain on Ninetales, with Stealth Rock and Spikes taking at least 25% of its health every time it switches in, and Toxic Spikes limiting its sweeping time. Latios and Latias resist all of Ninetales's attacks and can take it out with a well placed Draco Meteor, but a predicted Fire Blast will deal respectable damage to them. Finally, Dugtrio is a surefire way to remove Ninetales, outspeeding and hitting it hard with its moderately powerful super effective Earthquake.