Nidoking

Poison Point
Enemies' contact moves have a 30% chance of poisoning them.
Type Tier
Poison / Ground UU
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Min- Min Max Max+
HP
81
- 303 366 -
Atk
92
198 220 283 311
Def
77
171 190 253 278
SpA
85
185 206 269 295
SpD
75
167 186 249 273
Spe
85
185 206 269 295

Overview

Nidoking's great movepool makes it usable in standard. There are very few surefire counters to Nidoking, as it can always surprise you and KO one of the key elements of your team. However, it can be rather hard to bring in due to its common weaknesses to Surf and Earthquake, and it will always have problems taking down sturdy Water-types.

Name Item Nature

Choice Band

Choice Band Hasty / Lonely / Naive
Moveset EVs
~ Earthquake
~ Megahorn
~ Sludge Bomb
~ Ice Beam / Rock Slide
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe

As with most other Choice Band users, depending on the prediction skills of both players, Nidoking could be completely messing up the opponent's team or doing nothing to them at all. Earthquake should take care of Water-types in a couple of hits, Megahorn picks off Celebi, and Sludge Bomb provides handy STAB. Rock Slide takes down Flying-types such as Zapdos, while Ice Beam catches Salamence.

Name Item Nature

Mixed Sweeper

Leftovers Lonely
Moveset EVs
~ Earthquake
~ Megahorn
~ Thunderbolt / Fire Blast
~ Ice Beam
240 Atk / 120 SpA / 148 Spe

A great wallbreaker in standard play, this set takes care of just about all defensive Pokemon besides Water-types, in addition to a few offensive threats as well. Megahorn will nearly always OHKO Celebi, and does more than enough damage to Starmie and Claydol as well. Earthquake dents Metagross, and will also be Nidoking's best bet against Water-types if it picks Fire Blast in the third moveslot. Both slashed third moves 2HKO Skarmory; in addition, Thunderbolt hits Water-types, especially Gyarados, while Fire Blast has more power and eliminates Forretress and Steelix. Generally, Thunderbolt offers more versatility. Ice Beam beats Donphan and Salamence, and does good damage to Grass-types such as Breloom and Sceptile as well if you don't want to risk Megahorn's subpar accuracy.

Name Item Nature

SubPunch

Leftovers Mild / Rash / Quiet
Moveset EVs
~ Substitute
~ Focus Punch
~ Thunderbolt
~ Ice Beam
200 HP / 56 Atk / 252 SpA

This set hits everything in the game bar Shedinja for at least neutral damage, but it's severely limited in effectiveness because of lack of STAB. Once your opponent scouts out the set, Metagross, Swampert, and to a lesser extent Zapdos will easily wall it, and it cannot do much to Blissey, Snorlax, or Regice without a Substitute up either. STAB Earthquake usually does more damage than Focus Punch anyway. Fire Blast can be used over Substitute if you don't mind having to predict more when using Focus Punch.

Other Options

Counter can take down Choice Band users, walls, and even Ground-types. While it is effective, Nidoking is usually better off straight-up attacking. Double Kick is a novelty move, but is notable for allowing Nidoking to entirely destroy Tyraniboah. Not only does Double Kick let Nidoking both break Tyranitar's Substitute and damage it, Nidoking also resists Focus Punch and is immune to Thunderbolt. Thunder does more damage to Water-types than Thunderbolt does, and has a higher paralysis chance to boot, but Thunderbolt's greater accuracy is preferred. Nidoking can use Roar to phaze away Scizor and Ninjask, as well as Zapdos and Jolteon that lack Hidden Power Ice. Hidden Power Grass is an interesting option to hit Swampert.

Toxic and Thief can help wear down opponents, but once again, Nidoking is better off smashing in its opponents' faces instead of stalling them out. Rest + Sleep Talk is, as always, a nice combination on Pokemon that can take a hit or two. Nidoking can absorb sleep from Grass-types and surprise them with Sludge Bomb, but the loss of two moveslots does hurt his great versatility. Protect can be used to scout for Earthquake and Explosion, to reduce prediction against Choice Band users, and to gain some Leftovers recovery. Substitute can be used in combination with a powerful special move such as Fire Blast or Thunder to help Nidoking dispose of Weezing.

Checks and Counters

Suicune and Milotic can switch in on anything except Choice Band Earthquake as they shrug off even Thunderbolt, and then dispose of Nidoking with Surf. Swampert is further immune to Thunderbolt and packs STAB Earthquake, but it must watch out for Hidden Power Grass. Weezing makes an all-around good counter as it resists Sludge Bomb and Megahorn, is immune to Earthquake, and takes little damage from Rock Slide thanks to its high Defense. Aside from using Will-O-Wisp on Nidoking and wearing it down with Sludge Bomb, Weezing can also use Pain Split to restore HP. However, watch out for Substitute, which will block Will-O-Wisp, as well as special attack such as Fire Blast and Thunder. Skarmory can wall Nidoking and set up Spikes on it if Nidoking lacks a Fire or Electric move. Much the same goes for Forretress; while it lacks an Earthquake immunity, it is not weak to Electric, and its own Earthquake 2HKOes Nidoking.

Flygon's typing and ability allow it to switch in on all of Earthquake, Rock Slide, Sludge Bomb, and Thunderbolt; it can then OHKO Nidoking with STAB Earthquake. However, it takes huge damage from Ice Beam and Choice Band Megahorn. Claydol can better sponge Ice Beam, but is slower and takes even more damage from Megahorn. Donphan's high Defense makes it an ideal counter to physical sets; however, Ice Beam will take out about half its health. Celebi can destroy Nidoking with Psychic, but it is OHKOed by Choice Band Megahorn and 2HKOed by non-Choice Band Megahorn and Sludge Bomb, so make sure to switch it in safely.