Type Analysis: Flying

By Seven Deadly Sins. Art by Birkal.
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Flying-types, soaring over the battlefield ever so gracefully. While they aren't exactly viewed as the best type, especially after the introduction of Stealth Rock, it's hard to dispute the raw power that Flying-types bring to the table. There are a ton of exceptional Pokemon that, while not defined by their Flying typing, still use it to their extreme advantage. With its resistances to Fighting and Bug, as well as a crucial immunity to Ground, Flying-types are a staple on any team.

Flying-types in OU

When it comes to Flying-types, one Pokemon easily soars above the rest—Dragonite. While it may not have been the best Pokemon for the past few generations, Multiscale has definitely put it at the top of its game. With its exceptional 91 / 95 / 100 defenses, incredible 134 Attack, and solid 80 base Speed, Dragonite is a real terror in OU. It can do pretty much anything it wants to do, from going all-out offense with Dragon Dance, to bulky mono-attacking with Substitute and Roost, to special rain offense with Hurricane and Thunder, to wallbreaking with a mixed set, to even a defensive support set with Thunder Wave and Dragon Tail. With Multiscale activated, it's damn near impossible to OHKO it with anything, as it's even capable of taking Ice Beams and Latios's super effective Draco Meteor! If your team's even a little bit weak to Dragonite, and you can't keep Stealth Rock up, Dragonite's the kind of Pokemon that'll just rip a team to shreds.

Gyarados, on the other hand, has also been a real star. With its excellent 95 / 79 / 100 defenses, Intimidate, and a rare Water / Flying typing, it's more than capable of powering through teams. Like Dragonite, it's a real physical powerhouse with base 125 Attack, Dragon Dance, and a powerful STAB Waterfall. Coverage moves such as Earthquake, Stone Edge, and Bounce help it significantly, and with the addition of permanent rain, Waterfall's Base Power gets bumped up to 120 excluding STAB, making it as powerful as Outrage without the issue of lock-in! Gyarados is also more than capable of leveraging its defensive abilities. It picked up Dragon Tail in Generation 5, giving it a more efficient phazing option and letting its defensive set spread around even more residual damage.

Gliscor has always been great in OU, but its Dream World ability, Poison Heal, has really turned it up a notch. With its Ground / Flying typing, it's got some incredibly crucial resistances, such as to Bug and Fighting as well as dual immunities to Ground and Electric. Poison Heal gives it effective status immunity as well as double Leftovers healing, which works extremely well with Gliscor's incredible base 125 Defense. With Poison Heal, Gliscor can run a defensive set and just heal off any damage it takes passively. It can also play like Stallrein and run SubProtect while wearing opponents down with Toxic or sandstorm, with the added bonus of having STAB Earthquake to deal with most Steel-types in OU. It can even forgo Poison Heal and go with a vicious offensive set with Swords Dance and Acrobatics with a Flying Gem, enhanced by the rage-inducing Sand Veil. With reliable healing, great resistances, and solid offense, Gliscor's one tough nut to crack in OU.

Despite being overshadowed significantly by Dragonite, Salamence still has what it takes to make a splash in OU. 95 / 80 / 80 defenses with Intimidate and solid resistances lets it switch in, and its terrifying base 135 Attack and base 100 Speed makes it tough to handle for many teams. It's also got an above average 110 base Special Attack, letting it power through Skarmory with Fire Blast like it wasn't even there. It can put on the pressure in a number of ways—while Dragon Dance is the most apt to sweep, it's also received a new trick through Dream World—a Choice Scarf set with Moxie. With Choice Scarf, Salamence doesn't have to set up to outspeed pretty much the entire tier, and if it can get that first Attack boost through a well-timed Outrage kill, it can easily ride that Attack boost straight through the opposing team, busting through even the toughest opponents with ease.

There's also the ever-ubiquitous Skarmory. Packing a unique Steel / Flying typing, Skarmory has set the gold standard for physical Defense ever since it came out in GSC. With its incredible base 140 Defense and extensive roster of resistances, it can be extremely difficult for physical attackers to bust through it. It can phaze with Whirlwind, lay down entry hazards, absorb physical blows while recovering with Roost, and even hit back with STAB Brave Bird. It's also got a nasty option in Taunt, which can let it break down stall teams by Taunting their recovery and then shuffling them across the Spikes that it lays down. While it still has to worry about the ever-present Magnezone, that hasn't put a damper on Skarmory's popularity at all, and it's still a staple on every OU stall team.

Landorus is a new addition to the team. Packing the same top-notch typing as Gliscor, it also has an extremely trollish 101 base Speed, as well as devastating 125 / 115 offenses. It backs that with STAB Earthquake, Stone Edge, U-turn, and Hidden Power Ice, the four moves that pretty much make up the entirety of its coverage. Furthermore, it can boost its Earthquake and Stone Edge even further with Sand Force, pumping its offense into total overdrive. It can then use Swords Dance, turning it into one of the most devastating attackers ever seen in OU—if something doesn't resist all of its attacks, it's likely to get turned into Poke-soup by Landorus's unrelenting force. And to top it off, it's not even that frail! Its 89 / 90 / 80 defenses are the envy of many a brutal sweeper, and they make it quite rough to take down Landorus without a super effective attack.

Last, but certainly not least, there's Tornadus, the sultan of rain sweeping. With perma-rain on the field, it's more than capable of rolling straight through opposing teams, and since Flying-type offense is so rare, it's not uncommon to find teams that simply don't have a Flying resist at all! It's also got Focus Blast and Hammer Arm for breaking those pesky Tyranitar in half, and can U-turn to scout out possible responses before going on the warpath later in the game. To top it off, it has Prankster Rain Dance, which lets it guarantee that it can get rain on the field and running again in case of Politoed's absence. It can also go with a Bulk Up set, using AcroGem or ChestoRest to power up Acrobatics and sweep.

Flying-types in UU

With all those great Flying-types dominating OU, it's hard to find any that are left over to go on the warpath in UU! Nevertheless, there are at least four aerial specimens capable of tearing it up in the UU metagame, and they're definitely in a class of their own.

Zapdos finds itself in UU as a result of Generation 5's power creep, and it's as at home there as it's ever been in any generation. With its base 125 Special Attack, 90 / 85 / 90 defenses, and 100 base Speed, it's pretty brutal in any role. Between the Life Orb special attacker with Thunderbolt, Hidden Power, Heat Wave, and Roost, the defensive SubRoost set with Toxic, and the nasty Choice Specs sets with Volt Switch, Zapdos has found a new home in UU as one of its premier special attackers.

Xatu's an odd bird. While its 65 / 70 / 70 defenses definitely leave something to be desired, and its base 95 Special Attack and Speed are just a hair above useless on it, it's gotten an amazing little toy that's tough to pass up—Magic Bounce. This makes it one of the most effective anti-hazard Pokemon in the metagame, as it's capable of switching into stuff like Deoxys-D and completely shutting it down for the most part. It can also set up with Calm Mind or Cosmic Power and sweep with Stored Power, kind of like a weaker Sigilyph with a fancier ability. While it's not the cream of the crop, it's definitely pretty rage-inducing for entry hazard-reliant teams.

Crobat's only real exceptional stat is Speed, but it definitely makes the most of it. Its high Speed and U-turn makes it an incredible scout, and with Taunt and base 130 Speed, it's a great way to shut down stat boosters or stall Pokemon. It can also chip away at targets with Super Fang, wear them down with Toxic, or just outright kill them with Brave Bird and its 120 Base Power. Finally, to top it all off, it's got Roost, allowing it to heal off Stealth Rock damage as well as any residual damage it's taken from switching into attacks. Between its 85 / 80 / 80 defenses, and its 90 base Attack, it can be tough to handle without a good Flying resist, and sometimes even with one.

To top it off, there's Togekiss, the only Pokemon capable of rivaling Jirachi in terms of rage inducement. It's got Body Slam, Thunder Wave, and Air Slash, which combine with Serene Grace to turn Togekiss into a paraflinching machine. Its 120 base Special Attack lets it dish out a hell of a lot of hurt while it's doing it, and it's also got top notch coverage from Aura Sphere and Fire Blast. It's also a bulky beast, with Roost, 85 / 95 / 115 defenses, and a decent Normal / Flying typing. It's even a great supporter, with Heal Bell for status healing and plenty of paralysis spreading. Finally, it can set up with Nasty Plot, turning it into a powerful sweeper on top of all of its rage-inducing luck.

Notable Flying-type Moves


Acrobatics – 55 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – Power doubles if user is not holding an item

An odd attack, this is Generation 5's big addition to the physical Flying-type roster, and it's a pretty great attack. It'd probably be pretty terrible if it wasn't for the additional bonus of the type Gems, which allows the first hit of Acrobatics to hit with a devastating 165 Base Power.

Brave Bird – 120 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – User receives recoil equal to 1/3 of damage dealt

A staple move for those Pokemon that want the ability to hit, but don't want to invest heavily in their Attack. It finds a home on stuff like Skarmory and Crobat, which is looking to hit hard without a lot of investment. It's kind of hampered by its distribution, but it's also on stuff like Honchkrow, where it turns that bird into a one-man wrecking crew.

Drill Peck – 80 Base Power – 100% Accuracy – No special effect

The "reliable alternative" to Brave Bird. Like Brave Bird, it's got terrible distribution, but it's still useful on stuff like Skarmory if you're not a fan of recoil damage. Still, an okay move that's just not on enough Pokemon.


Aeroblast – 100 Base Power – 95 Accuracy – High critical hit ratio

Lugia's signature move, it'd be a real terror if it was on anything other than Lugia. Still, it's a pretty crazy attack, though a bit rage-inducing with 95% accuracy.

Air Slash – 75 Base Power – 95 Accuracy – 30% chance to flinch target

TOGEKISS. This thing is about as insane as Iron Head is on Jirachi, and makes Togekiss as annoying as it is. It's also one of the key things that got Shaymin-S banned from OU, as 60% flinch from a base 120 Special Attack and 127 Speed is a bit much to handle.

Hurricane – 120 Base Power – 70 Accuracy – 30% chance of confusion, --% accuracy when raining

The Flying-type equivalent of Thunder, this move totally owns. It's what makes Tornadus so terrifying, gives Dragonite a powerful move to abuse in the rain alongside Thunder, and is part of the reason you'd even consider using Volcarona in the rain.


Roost - - --% Accuracy – Heals 50% of user's health, removes user's Flying typing

One of the things that makes Flying-types so good is that most all of them have access to this easy 50% healing move. Between the dragons like Salamence and Dragonite, the defensive behemoth that is Skarmory, and some of the nasty attackers like Zapdos, Roost really makes the Flying-types nasty to face.

Tailwind - - --% Accuracy – Doubles speed of all Pokemon on user's team for 4 actions

One of those moves that is pretty terrible in singles but amazing in doubles, Tailwind turns a whole team into speed demons for the next 4 turns. Much less effective than just passing Agility with Baton Pass, but in VGC where battles can be decided in 4-5 turns, Tailwind is excellent.


Despite being considered not an especially good type by itself, Flying is attached to so many exceptional Pokemon that it can easily be considered one of the most defining types of the OU metagame. Whether you're playing offense, stall, or something in between, you'll probably end up with one of these behemoths on your team without even trying.

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