- Grants immunity to Fire and increases Fire's power 50% when hit by a Fire move.
- Reduces sleep time by 50%.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Houndoom is, to put it simply, high-risk high-reward. On one hand, it is a great asset to teams as a threatening special attacker that can instantly remove Gengar and Alakazam from the field with Pursuit, as well as 2HKO the most popular special sponge with Beat Up. On the other hand, it is terribly fragile and not quite as fast as one might want him to be; it is slower than Gengar, Alakazam, Raikou, and Salamence. However, altogether, it is a usable Pokemon with good potential.
This is the standard set for Houndoom. You can afford to mix and match all moves easily, as each has its own use. Pursuit is one of the main reasons to use Houndoom; it always KOes a switching Gengar, which in turn allows the likes of Snorlax lacking Shadow Ball to dominate. Beat Up's main target is Blissey; it should 2HKO her as long as your team is alive and healthy. Lum Berry is a great option if taking this route, as it lets Houndoom take a Thunder Wave from Blissey.
Crunch OHKOes Gengar that stay in, and also brings good STAB power to the table. Hidden Power Grass is mostly for Swampert and Tyranitar, both of whom are 2HKOed. Will-O-Wisp cripples them considerably though, and hinders Snorlax, Salamence, and Gyarados as well. However, think twice before using it on Milotic. Hidden Power Ice hits Salamence and Flygon, but Will-O-Wisp completely shuts them down.
With 188 Speed EVs and a Timid nature, Houndoom hits a Speed stat of 300, which is the lowest it should go. Maximizing Speed is viable as well.
While this can be a pretty nasty surprise for Snorlax and Blissey, Blaziken fills this role much better with STAB Reversal, the Blaze ability, and a higher Attack stat. Flamethrower eliminates the Steels that Reversal cannot, while STAB Crunch removes Ghosts and Howl boosts Attack.
Attack is maximized as this set is physically based. Although this set runs more Attack EVs than Special Attack, Shadow Ball is inferior to Crunch as Houndoom's high base Special Attack and STAB means the latter hits harder unless it can nab several Howl boosts, which is rarely going to be the case.
Counter can be a load of fun on Houndoom. After burning Tyranitar with Will-O-Wisp, Houndoom will always survive an unboosted Rock Slide and can bounce it back for the OHKO; Snorlax can be messed up by it as well. There's also a small chance Houndoom survives a burned Choice Band Aerodactyl's Rock Slide as well, but to guarantee that, use 52 HP and 48 Defense EVs. The last slot is filler; you can put about any move there. Protect lets Houndoom scout your opponent's move. In particular, it can be handy against Swampert, who might use Surf or Hydro Pump instead of Earthquake.
Houndoom isn't that good at SunnyBeaming as it doesn't outspeed everything, but it can cause some havoc late-game and has significant surprise value if your opponent switches in Swampert. Sunny Day turns SolarBeam into a one-turn move, powers up Flamethrower, and makes Water moves less powerful, all of which benefit Houndoom. You don't want Tyranitar to switch into SolarBeam though, as Houndoom will be forced to stay in as Tyranitar OHKOes it with Rock Slide or switches out again to a counter, so if you predict a Tyranitar switch-in, use Sunny Day again.
As mentioned before, Houndoom has a load of useful moves that it can use effectively on nearly all sets. First, Fire Blast is equally as great as Flamethrower anywhere on any set. It averages more damage per turn, but Houndoom cannot afford to miss with its low defenses, so it's still a gamble. Houndoom can combine Early Bird and Rest for a one-turn full recovery, but as Houndoom is so weak defensively, this is not the best option. Sleep Talk, however, is pretty useful on its own as Houndoom can sop up sleep moves easily and surprise threats such as Venusaur and Jynx. Toxic is great on any set as it ruins the stalling potential of Water-types and makes Gyarados, Salamence, and Tyranitar much less useful as well.
Checks and Counters
Dugtrio outspeeds and OHKOes Houndoom easily with Earthquake. It cannot switch in easily though, due to the risk of Will-O-Wisp; Modest Houndoom can also OHKO with Flamethrower or Hidden Power. Salamence, Gyarados, Flygon, and Tyranitar resist Fire attacks, can take a Crunch or two, and will usually OHKO Houndoom with Rock Slide or Earthquake; they are vulnerable to Will-O-Wisp, however. Aerodactyl can outspeed Houndoom and OHKO with Rock Slide and Earthquake, but despite its Fire resistance, it cannot switch in reliably because of its low Special Defense and the threat of Will-O-Wisp.
Bulky Waters, such as Suicune, Swampert, and Milotic, wall Houndoom easily; Milotic can even absorb Will-O-Wisp to trigger Marvel Scale. Swampert can easily be screwed over by Will-O-Wisp or Hidden Power Grass, though. Just about all Water-types are headaches to Houndoom, though some are more easily taken care of than others. Poliwrath can be a real annoyance with its resistance to Dark and access to STAB Fighting moves.