Featured Uber Pokémon: Kyogre

By bojangles. Art by Nastyjungle.
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Well, it's finally here. Kyogre. Introduced back in the good old days of ADV play, Kyogre, along with Groudon and Rayquaza, was part of the legendary trio that controlled weather. This was actually the dawn of the Ubers metagame, since before this time, there were so few Ubers Pokémon you could count them all on a single hand. This legendary trio is important for another reason though: they are quite possibly three of the most important Pokémon in the metagame, if not the three most important. Groudon and Kyogre are responsible for most of the weather wars in the tier (go home, Tyranitar and Abomasnow), increasing or decreasing the power associated with certain threats such as Ho-Oh or Palkia. Rayquaza, while not contributing weather of its own, is one of the biggest reasons why you absolutely have to carry a Steel-type; its twin base 150 attacking stats are unparalleled. However, if there's one Pokémon who truly stands out, it's Kyogre. This is a Pokémon so mind-blowingly powerful and game-changing that it has been number one on the usage stats for years straight; during the writing of this article I actually asked fellow Ubers fanatic Great Sage, who has been a part of Smogon since mid-2006 and has watched the DP Ubers metagame unfold, and he said he just can't remember a time when Kyogre wasn't at the top of the stats. We're talking about a Pokémon who has completely and utterly dominated the tier for years (it's been on almost half of all teams for that time). We're talking about a Pokémon who single-handedly makes or breaks pretty much every Pokémon who tries to perform in the Ubers tier. We're talking about a Pokémon who, with STAB, Drizzle rain-boost, and base 150 Special Attack, has the single strongest move in the entire game, a full health Water Spout. While Arceus may have 17 different viable formes, no one forme has achieved complete dominance over Ubers; where Arceus fails, Kyogre succeeds. Welcome to what is quite possibly the singular best Pokémon in the game.

Kyogre's Qualities

First, let me teach you some manners. Don't stare, don't let your jaw hang open, and don't make any weird "happy noises." We're looking at one of the most amazing and optimal monsters in all of Pokémon, and it would really behoove you to act appropriately. Oh and don't drool. It's just gross and it makes you look uncouth.

Off the bat, we can easily see that Kyogre has just glorious offensive stats. With base 150 Special Attack and one of the best mono-attacking types in the game, Kyogre is primed and ready to go as one of the most feared offensive Pokémon in the metagame. While this is actually slightly less than Mewtwo's Special Attack, Kyogre also has superb bulk, even by Ubers standards, with base 100 HP, allowing it to make 101 Substitutes; base 90 defense; and a whopping base 140 Special Defense, meaning that it can actually tank quite a few special attacks when setting up or switching in. Really, the only "problem" with Kyogre's stats is that its middling base 90 Speed is on the lower end of the Ubers Speed tier. This, however, is easily fixable with a fashionable Scarf, should you want to have Kyogre outspeeding things.

Kyogre doesn't have the biggest movepool, but it has exactly what it needs. Basically, when putting Kyogre on your team, you are faced with simple options: Water Spout, Surf/Scald, Thunder, Ice Beam, Calm Mind, Substitute—choose four. Really though, it degrades into something even more straightforward: do you want your Kyogre to use a Choice set or a boosting set? If you want a Choice set, you'll never go wrong with Water Spout, Surf, Thunder, and Ice Beam, whereas if you want a boosting set, you can eschew Water Spout for Calm Mind and you're set to go. You can also throw Substitute or the combination of Rest and Sleep Talk on there and get equally amazing results. Remember, there are no bad Kyogre sets, only ones that are slightly less optimal for your team.

No qualities section would be complete if I didn't spend at least a bit of time gushing over Kyogre's ability, Drizzle. This is an ability with power beyond measure, outdone really only by Wonder Guard and Multitype. This probably predates many of you reading this, but years back, the Create-a-Pokémon team decided to try allowing Kyogre into OU, along with Groudon, at level 78, a level where their stat total was supposed to match that of a typical OU. Didn't help. Not one bit. They were just too powerful, even at reduced strength, partially because of their amazing team support. Newer users know another great example of Drizzle's power in Politoed, a Pokémon who was previously declared as rubbish by the competitive scene, but is now leading the charge as the premier archetype in OU: rain. And Politoed itself still isn't even that good, apart from a pretty potent Choice Specs Hydro Pump. If that makes you scared though, you should take some Valium before discovering that Choice Specs Kyogre's Water Spout at full health literally 2HKOes everything in the entire game that does not have an immunity; the only reason something like Palkia can check Kyogre is that it can strike back before the second attack and weaken the devastating blows. Drizzle also provides tremendous team support, mitigating weaknesses and boosting various STAB and coverage moves.

Playing with Kyogre

Many Ubers teams will start with one of the two weather controllers; however, virtually all of them will end with at least one of them. Rain, though, is the more popular of the two, since Kyogre itself is widely considered to be a lot stronger than Groudon, and would surely win in a one-on-one battle. Furthermore, it just so happens that Stealth Rock exists and severely gimps most of Groudon's Drought abusers, such as Ho-Oh and Reshiram, whereas Kyogre's gang, such as Palkia and Ferrothorn, is unperturbed. You're almost always going to consider Kyogre on your team, unless you start with the mission of a sun team or a sand team, so here's the lowdown on how to use this frightening beast to make your opponents squirm.

The most popular set for Kyogre this generation is far and away the Choice Scarf set. Serving as both a great revenge killer and a powerful sweeper if left unharmed, Choice Scarf Kyogre can spam Water Spout while remaining ahead of many Pokémon in the Speed tiers. Unless your opponent has a Ferrothorn or a Palkia, this is going to be pretty much unstoppable. While some Pokémon can live through a Scarf Water Spout, not many can live through two, meaning that your opponent invariably has to sacrifice one of their precious teammates unless they have one of the two Kyogre checks. With some smart predictions, though, and a bit of help from entry hazards, Kyogre can even beat Palkia with some thunder and lightning action, although you shouldn't try that until after Groudon has bitten the dust.

I feel like I may be overusing the Hulk metaphor of "POKEMON SMASH, etc." but there is seriously no better example of this phenomenon than Choice Specs Kyogre. I mean, really, have you ever heard a whale song? It could definitely pass as the low pitch groans of the Hulk. Although it has seen a bit of a fall from grace in terms of usage since its glory days of DPP, Choice Specs Kyogre is something that every Ubers player fears in the deepest fiber of his or her being. Even the most popular Kyogre check, Ferrothorn, is left helpless as Kyogre's Water Spout just completely rips through it, delivering a clean 2HKO. Your opponent will be left with no answer to your Kyogre, and probably other rain abusers, leaving you to do your best super villain impression while they go cry in a corner. The only pitfall of this version of Kyogre is that it is quite slow, leaving it very easily revenge killed, or even weakened, which also weakens its Water Spout. If you can find a way to surmount this obstacle, though, heaven help your opponent, since really the only way for him or her to win would be some sort of spectacular divine intervention.

The final options for your Kyogre are for those who like to subject their opponents to a slow, painful death. A Calm Mind set, either a Substitute or Rest + Sleep Talk iteration, is more than viable on Kyogre, since it boosts not only Kyogre's absurd base 150 Special Attack but also its plentiful base 140 Special Defense. RestTalk sets are especially mischievous, since, just when they think Kyogre is on its last legs from mounting Toxic damage or repeated drillings from random attacks, you click that Rest button and watch their hopes dissolve like Kleenex in the rain (which Kyogre started, I might add). Rest + Sleep Talk sets can also utilize Scald perfectly, so that not even your opponent's physical attackers will be able crack Kyogre after a burn. Truly a set for the cruel-hearted.

Playing Against Kyogre

One of the first things any young, bright-eyed Ubers player learns is that Kyogre rules the world, and there's nothing they can do about it. Therefore, they need to take certain precautions. First of all, you need a Kyogre switch-in. I don't care if your team is the most hilariously unfair SmashPass team or the most ruthlessly durable stall team; if I switch my Kyogre in and you switch in something like a Giratina to try and absorb my Water Spout, I will laugh and know that I'm going to win. You see, not only will my Kyogre rip through their team (man, that's fun to just think about!), it will also shows me that they don't have a true grasp of Ubers. Don't do that. Save yourself the humiliation.

This being said, I will now list the appropriate Kyogre switch-ins. Ferrothorn. Palkia. Grass Arceus. Eviolite Chansey. End of list. Yeah, it's only 4 Pokémon—who can all eventually fall to the repeated brutality of Kyogre's onslaughts—but I'm sure you can find room for one of them on your team. You can't? Try again. You will find a space for one of them, even if it means sacrificing a bit of your strategy or insurance against other Pokémon, since Kyogre is undoutably the most important Pokémon to have an answer to in Ubers. If you don't, most Ubers players will probably refuse to call your squad a team. Another catch: Ferrothorn rolls over to Choice Specs Kyogre, so make sure you have some ways of weakening it. This is where entry hazards come in. Switching into a round of Stealth Rock and a few layers of Spikes will knock the power of Water Spout down to Surf levels, meaning that Kyogre becomes a lot less scary to switch into. Toxic Spikes also works wonders, as it means that your opponent can't just sit there jabbing the "smash" (Water Spout) button repeatedly.

The last thing I have to say will probably make the OU players vomit, but most of beating Kyogre relies on prediction. If you find yourself face-to-face with a Choice Specs Kyogre and only a Ferrothorn to switch in, you're going to have to start making assessments of which Pokémon you need the least who can also significantly weaken Kyogre. I can't sit on your shoulder while you play, but these thoughts will invariably need to run through your head. This also goes for situations where the Kyogre player has stacked a lot of entry hazards against you. If you're not ready and willing to make these tough decisions, well, Ubers is probably not the right tier for you.

Fitting Kyogre onto Your Team

This section will be laughably short, since Kyogre is probably the easiest Pokémon to fit onto your team. By default, it should be a serious consideration for any Ubers team with its amazing stats and great team support via Drizzle. In fact, much of this will be how Kyogre helps other Pokémon onto your team.

Environmental Factors

Entry hazards, entry hazards, entry hazards. Kyogre definitely has a love-hate relationship with these things, as they can either make or break a Kyogre rampage ("sweep" just isn't a strong enough word for the blue beast). Clearing out Spikes and Stealth Rock from under Kyogre's feet (fins?) means that it can switch in unimpeded and fire off full power Water Spouts to bring your opponent to their knees. A full power Water Spout is one of my recurring nightmares, so I can tell you that having entry hazards down is definitely something your opponent will try to do when they see Kyogre in Team Preview. Tentacruel works great with Kyogre for this reason, since it can Rapid Spin away the Spikes and Stealth Rock and simply absorb the Toxic Spikes that would otherwise limit Kyogre's staying power. In return, Kyogre's Drizzle allows Tentacruel to bump up its per-turn recovery with Rain Dish and power up its STAB Scald. How nice a relationship is that? Having your own entry hazards to deal with opposing Kyogre is also important for the reasons just discussed. Not only this, but your opponent will also find it difficult to absorb Kyogre's attacks if their switch-in, whether it's Palkia, Ferrothorn, or Chansey, is losing a quarter of its health coming in.


Ironically, the Pokémon who give Kyogre the most trouble are also its best teammates. Ferrothorn, new to the Ubers scene, is already becoming Kyogre's new best friend, since it can set up entry hazards to help Kyogre in its conquests. In return, Ferrothorn gets its 4x Fire weakness reduced by Kyogre's Drizzle. This duo is so powerful that Ferrothorn was elevated to number two in usage stats last October, ahead of other Ubers monsters like Mewtwo and Dialga! People were commenting on Ferrothorn's dominance and how the apocalypse was nigh (or should be, if, like me, you hate Ferrothorn), but experienced Ubers players knew that this was just another show of Kyogre's dominance. Palkia, who is one of the best Kyogre switch-ins because of its good special bulk and 4x Water resistance, also loves the rain from Kyogre's Drizzle, since it further boosts its Water-type STAB, and makes its Thunder 100% accurate. A mixed attacking Lustrous Orb Palkia in the rain just absolutely rips through stall, as long as it carries Fire Blast for pesky Ferrothorn. Almost any Pokémon who carries Thunder or a Water-type move, or has a fear of Fire-type moves, will love Kyogre's presence and the permanent rain it brings. For example, Forretress is only 2HKOed by Ghost Arceus's Flamethrower, meaning that it can stay in an extra turn to set up another layer of hazards or Volt Switch out, giving its teammate a free switch in. In fact, Kyogre's Drizzle is so omnipresent that many Giratina-O have dropped Hidden Power Fire altogether, meaning that Forretress has much less to fear from the most popular spinblocker in the tier.

Get Out There!

Kyogre is the best Pokémon in the game. Arceus is good, yes, but no single forme it has can overthrow Kyogre as "King of Ubers." This is your chance to fire off the most feared, most powerful, most unrivaled attacks in the game. I know this makes you giddy; don't lie to me. Using Kyogre is the closest you will ever come again to reliving those days of tearing through the Elite Four with your level 100 Mewtwo (no hacks, I swear!) and giggling when Lance's Dragonite tried to stop you. Get out there and relive that addicting sense of power with Kyogre at your side.

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