Salamence

Intimidate
Lowers the foe's Attack one stage. Decreases wild encounter rate.
Moxie
Boosts Attack by one stage if the wielder knocks out another Pokemon.
Type
Dragon / Flying
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
95
- 331 394 -
Atk
135
275 306 369 405
Def
80
176 196 259 284
SpA
110
230 256 319 350
SpD
80
176 196 259 284
Spe
100
212 236 299 328

Overview

To put it simply, Salamence is an offensive powerhouse. Boasting the second highest Attack stat of any Dragon-type in OU at base 135, Salamence can easily take out the opponent with its massively powerful STAB Outrage, both before and after a boost. Salamence is made even more threatening by the addition of Moxie, allowing its damage output to snowball to uncontrollable levels. Intimidate is another nice ability that enables Salamence to tank physical hits just a bit better, and complements its decent defensive typing and stats. Furthermore, Salamence can separate itself from its Dragon-type brethren quite easily when using Dragon Dance, thanks to a higher Speed stat, as well as the ability to go mixed, taking out Steel-types outside of rain thanks to Fire Blast backed by a base 110 Special Attack stat.

Salamence does have a few key weaknesses, however. The most apparent of these is its vulnerability to Stealth Rock, which cripples even sets with Roost. Salamence's Speed could also just be a smidge faster; many Pokemon that outspeed it can hit it super effectively with Ice- or Dragon-type attacks. Garchomp in particular is a huge threat to Salamence, as Choice Scarf variants of Garchomp outspeed Salamence even if it has acquired a Dragon Dance boost and smash it with either Outrage or Stone Edge. Steel-types can also come in on Salamence if it's locked into Outrage and do whatever they please. However, don't let these drawbacks prevent you from using Salamence; there was a reason it was banned from DPP OU!

Name Item Nature

Dragon Dance

Life Orb / Lum Berry Naive / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Dragon Dance
~ Outrage / Dragon Claw
~ Earthquake
~ Fire Blast / Roost
252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe

Salamence is still the fastest relevant user of Dragon Dance in OU, and it can make use of the boosting move quite effectively thanks to STAB Outrage or Dragon Claw coming off its base 135 Attack. Earthquake is its main coverage move, hitting most Steel-types at least neutrally, bar Skarmory. Fire Blast hits all Steel-types except for Heatran, who is handled by Earthquake, and is Salamence's best way of getting past some of the most prominent Steel-types in the tier, namely Ferrothorn and Genesect. Roost, however, is also an option if you seek some sort of reliable recovery on Salamence.

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

Choice Scarf

Choice Scarf Moxie Naive / Jolly
Moveset EVs
~ Outrage
~ Dragon Claw
~ Fire Blast
~ Earthquake / Brick Break
252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe

With the release of Moxie, Salamence can effectively spam Outrage thanks to the Attack boosts Moxie brings after every KO, which can let Salamence sweep the opponent easily once Steel-types have been eliminated or significantly weakened. While it might be tempting to go ahead and select Outrage as soon as Salamence is out, this is rarely the best course of action. Dragon Claw has a decent amount of power after the STAB boost, while Fire Blast will easily take out most Steel-types looking to come in on Outrage; Heatran, the only Steel-type immune to Fire Blast, is easily dispatched by Earthquake. Brick Break will still hit Heatran and other Steel-types, while smashing into other Pokemon, namely Blissey and Terrakion.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Name Item Nature

MixMence

Life Orb Rash / Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Draco Meteor
~ Fire Blast
~ Earthquake / Brick Break
~ Outrage / Roost
132 Atk / 200 SpA / 176 Spe

Given that Salamence has amazing attacking stats across the board, the fact that it can run an excellent wallbreaker set should come as no surprise. Draco Meteor is the main move on this set, as it makes full use of Salamence's Special Attack stat and obliterates most of the physical walls that can take Outrage. Fire Blast is an interesting move in the second slot, as it allows Salamence to take care of Steel-types before using Draco Meteor. In the third slot, Earthquake provides coverage on Heatran and Chandelure while Brick Break hits all Steel-types and does super effective damage to Chansey and Blissey, who otherwise wall Salamence. In the final slot, Outrage gives Salamence an effective STAB move to use once Draco Meteor is spent; it is still incredibly powerful even without full investment. Roost is also an option that allows Salamence to recover health lost to Life Orb recoil, increasing its longevity.

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

Lure (Moxie)

Expert Belt / Lum Berry Moxie Naive / Naughty
Moveset EVs
~ Outrage
~ Dragon Claw
~ Fire Blast
~ Earthquake / Brick Break
252 Atk / 4 SpA / 252 Spe

Moxie Salamence is such a threat in the OU metagame that many players have to cautiously prepare their teams with switch-ins to take the resisted or ineffective attacks from the Choice Scarf set; this common scenario can be exploited by utilizing items other than Life Orb or a Choice item. Thanks to the lack of HP modification in Leftovers recovery or Life Orb recoil, as well as the absence of Intimidate, the opponent will likely expect Salamence to be using a Choice Band or Choice Scarf set, and send in an "appropriate" check or counter. However, with this set, Salamence can retaliate with an appropriate coverage move and deal massive damage to the presumed "safe" switch-in. Thanks to Salamence's high offensive stats, it almost always achieves at least one kill, receives an Attack boost thanks to Moxie, and becomes a fearful sweeper. This set, however, should be used early-game to lure and eliminate as many foes as possible; do not be overzealous with switching Salamence in constantly if you can't afford it.

All attacks from the Choice Scarf set are still applicable due to this set's ability to lure in checks and counters to the aforementioned set. In order to successfully attract these threats, Outrage must be used only in case of bulky threats that cannot be KOed in any other way. Otherwise, Salamence will be locked in for a couple of turns, which creates an easy opportunity for the opponent to send in a surefire counter. Dragon Claw should be used first to scout potential switch-ins, especially Steel-types, who can then be hit super effectively with Fire Blast, Earthquake, or Brick Break. After these Steel-types are eliminated, Salamence is virtually free to go all-out with its STAB moves.

Team Options & Additional Comments >>>

Other Options

There are a number of sets that Salamence can run effectively, but they are often better done by other Pokemon. A Choice Band set is workable, as it poses a massive threat to defensive teams if it acquires boosts from Moxie. However, it faces direct competition from Dragonite and Garchomp, as the former has Multiscale while the latter has a higher base Speed. Choice Specs is an interesting option for Salamence thanks to its access to powerful special attacks, especially Hydro Pump, but again, Choice Specs Latios and Hydreigon are usually better in that role. Lastly, Salamence can attempt a defensive set thanks to access to Intimidate, phazing in the form of Dragon Tail or Roar, as well as Wish, but it suffers from too many common weaknesses to work effectively. Hydro Pump is a choice on any set that requires a special attack; it can work especially well over Fire Blast if one is using rain. However, Hydro Pump can only be used with one of Moxie or Outrage if you choose to use either, which greatly limits its viability. Fire Blast is also more reliable against Steel-types such as Ferrothorn. Dragon Pulse is an option over Draco Meteor, but the drop in power is painful.

Checks and Counters

Salamence's sheer versatility and power makes countering every set a difficult feat to accomplish. Intimidate variants of Salamence can all be handled nicely by Porygon2, whose Trace ability lowers Salamence's Attack by one stage. With all of Salamence's physical attacks weakened, Porygon2 can destroy it with Ice Beam. Skarmory and Bronzong can both switch in on any of Salamence's attacks except for Fire Blast; Skarmory can set up Spikes on Salamence if it's locked into Outrage, while Bronzong can nail Salamence with a super effective Hidden Power Ice. Other Steel-types make great checks as well. Metagross can come in and deal heavy damage with Bullet Punch, while Jirachi can take an Outrage and either heal back up with Wish or hit Salamence with STAB Iron Head. If rain is up, any Salamence not carrying Hydro Pump is hard-countered by Skarmory and Bronzong.

Offensive checks are much easier to come by, as there are many Pokemon that can outspeed Salamence and KO it. Choice Scarf Ditto will beat most Salamence sets by outspeeding and KOing with a Dragon-type attack. Choice Scarf Chandelure can also come in on MixMence and KO with Shadow Ball if Salamence is sufficiently weakened. Heatran can take on any Salamence without Earthquake and KO with Hidden Power Ice. Users of Ice Shard get a special note thanks to Ice Shard's priority. Mamoswine and Weavile are the first users that come to mind, though Donphan can use Ice Shard as well, albeit a much weaker one. Cloyster can also use Ice Shard effectively as well, though most Shell Smash sets do not carry Ice Shard. In addition, Cloyster has the benefit of tremendous physical bulk, which lets it tank most unboosted attacks with ease. Finally, Choice Scarf users that have more than base 100 Speed, such as Latios and Garchomp, are great revenge killers, as they outspeed even a boosted Salamence and can KO it with their respective STAB moves.