Featured OU Pokémon: Tornadus-Therian

By Seven Deadly Sins. Art by Yilx.
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History

Tornadus-Therian. There's not much history to be said about this beast—it's more interested in making history than being a part of it. Tornadus-T builds on a short yet interesting legacy—that of Tornadus in the first BW metagame. Very much a legacy of ups and downs, Tornadus had its share of successes and failures in BW OU (even a short jaunt in UU!), and proved itself rather mediocre and the least interesting of the three Genies. It was a real demon when it shone, firing off vicious Hurricanes with impunity, U-turning around, abusing Prankster with Rain Dance, or even using a quick Bulk Up and Rest to fire off huge boosted Acrobatics. However, its utter reliance on rain for its most effective sets made it questionable at best, and its 111 base Speed, Stealth Rock weakness, and mediocre defenses left it on the verge of UU for most of BW1.

Tornadus-Therian represents an advance over Tornadus in pretty much every key area. It's got a better ability, higher defenses, and a crucial speed increase, all in exchange for a largely insignificant reduction in attacking stats. Combine that with a resurgence of rain, the ability to switch into Breloom with little fear, and the addition of Superpower, and Tornadus-Therian brings one hell of a storm to OU.

Tornadus-Therian's Qualities

While the other two Therians are all about power in their respective elements, Tornadus-Therian is all about speed and hit-and-run. Its 121 base Speed puts it in a unique bracket, outspeeding a number of crucial Pokémon that Tornadus-Incarnate is incapable of outspeeding, such as Starmie, Scarf Tyranitar, Dugtrio, Raikou, and the errant Alakazam. It also hits bloody hard, as 110 Special Attack is nothing to scoff at when you're looking at either Life Orb or Specs boosted Hurricane / Focus Blast. It's also got a solid 100 Attack with which to use U-turn, and it can also leverage this high Attack with Superpower to punish Tyranitar attempting to neutralize its Hurricane.

Defensively, it's also looking at a solid improvement over Tornadus-Incarnate, with 10 additional points of both Defense and Special Defense. Its pure Flying typing gives it a brand new niche in OU, as pretty much every other Flying-type possesses a secondary typing that makes it neutral to one of Breloom's STABs. Tornadus-Therian's 79 / 80 / 90 defenses are solid, and let it switch into resisted attacks without significant fear.

Its new ability, Regenerator, pulls all of these facets together. It lets Tornadus-Therian leverage its improved defenses, U-turn out, and regenerate off all the damage! It also heals off all the damage Tornadus-Therian takes from Stealth Rock, removing the standard four-switch limit given to most Flying-types without instant recovery. It also heals off Life Orb damage, allowing Tornadus-Therian to come in, pop off some devastating Hurricanes and Focus Blasts, and then U-turn away without losing any net HP.

Tornadus-Therian's movepool is pretty mediocre, yet it has all the tools that it would ever need to be useful. On the special side, it's got Hurricane for a devastatingly powerful STAB, with Focus Blast, Grass Knot, and Heat Wave to provide additional super effective coverage. On the physical side, it's got Acrobatics for STAB, with Superpower or Hammer Arm to break through tough Steel- and Rock-types, and U-turn to scout. In its last slot, it can run any number of neat support moves, including Sleep Talk to counter Breloom, Rain Dance to provide weather control, or even some more esoteric options, such as Taunt and Tailwind.

Playing with Tornadus-Therian

Blast, then bounce. Tornadus-Therian lives to come in, fire off a ridiculously strong STAB Life Orb or Specs-boosted Hurricane, and then either pop off a coverage move, U-turn out, or just switch out. It's that simple. Despite being a fairly underrepresented type, Flying actually has remarkably few notable resists in OU, with Magnezone providing the only common 4x resistance and being weak to both Focus Blast and Heat Wave. Focus Blast can also eliminate Tyranitar, which is more than glad to come in and chop away at Hurricane's accuracy and make it a bit less reliable. That said, even resistance does little to stop a good Tornadus-Therian sweep—not only does it still hit remarkably hard, but it's also got a 30% chance of confusion, which can strike at the most inopportune times. Often even a single self-hit from confusion can be enough to bust through a team if it afflicts a Pokémon such as Jirachi or Skarmory. Additionally, Tornadus-Therian has different utility depending on its last slot. If you're packing Rain Dance, Tornadus-Therian can function as a last ditch counter to sun and sand teams, taking advantage of its bulk and terrifying power to replace any outstanding weather with its own. Meanwhile, Sleep Talk variants can switch into most of Breloom's attacks with impunity, and if Spored, have a better than 50% chance of taking out Breloom with a Sleep Talked Hurricane or Focus Blast, or barring that, U-turning out to another useful defender.

If that's not quite your taste, you can take a stab at the more physical variant of Tornadus-Therian and use Bulk Up + Acrobatics. After a couple Bulk Ups, Tornadus-Therian becomes incredibly durable on the physical side. Combine this with 79 / 80 / 90 defenses, and then tack on a STAB Acrobatics off of 100 base Attack, and you can see where Tornadus-Therian would easily be able to wear away at teams. However, Tornadus-Incarnate arguably does this specific set better, as Prankster allows Tornadus-Incarnate to use Bulk Up and Rest with +1 priority, making it much easier to set up. Additionally, it hits much, much harder with its 115 base Attack. However, Tornadus-Therian has its advantages—its higher Speed makes it immune to revenge killing by Scarf Tyranitar and Starmie, and higher defenses give it a slight defensive edge. It can also switch in and out repeatedly and still have the high HP needed to exact a switch, something that the normal Bulk Up set is unable to do. This also means that it can more reliably run a Flying Gem set and repeatedly threaten things with a boosted Acrobatics while remaining healthy.

Playing Against Tornadus-Therian

Flying resists. If you go up against Tornadus-Therian with no Flying resistances, you might as well just give up, as it'll pick you apart with its STAB Hurricane. The only major exceptions are the blobs, Chansey and Blissey. They fear little from Tornadus-Therian, though as with any reasonably strong special attacker, a well-timed Focus Blast can cause problems, and a Life Orb Superpower can threaten to demolish Chansey and Blissey like they're nothing.

The best way to beat Tornadus-Therian's wanton hurling of Hurricanes is to bring in Tyranitar, which resists Hurricane, gets a 50% Special Defense boost in the sand, and reduces Hurricane's accuracy to 70%—enough that it becomes an unreliable move in the vein of Stone Edge and Focus Blast. That said, be careful, as switching into a Focus Blast or a Superpower not only spells doom for Tyranitar, but lets the rain user get up his preferred weather for the rest of the match. This is doubly important for Rain Dance variants, as Tornadus-Therian can cause problems by using Rain Dance to ensure the continued presence of rain in the fight.

Stealth Rock also goes a long way to limiting Tornadus-Therian's effectiveness. While it's got Regenerator to shrug off Stealth Rock damage, the presence of Stealth Rock does limit Tornadus-Therian's ability to wreak havoc significantly. With Stealth Rock down, it's harder for Tornadus-Therian to sponge strong resisted attacks, and eventually allows the player to wear down Tornadus-Therian where otherwise it wouldn't be possible. It also allows some more effective revenge killing measures, such as Mamoswine and Scizor, which ignore Tornadus's blazing speed and punish it with priority attacks.

Since Tornadus-Therian plays mostly hit-and-run, Pursuit can make short work of it. Tornadus-Therian also often switches out of Scizor and Tyranitar, fearing Bullet Punch or a strong attack in response, and easily fall prey to Pursuit, especially Choice Specs variants.

However, remember that even in the best of situations, you can still find yourself falling prey to confusion hax from Hurricane—in many cases, this is unavoidable, but just keep in mind that switching out will remove confusion, and that it can sometimes be necessary to sacrifice a Pokémon to remove confusion from your important Tornadus-Therian counter, like Jirachi or Skarmory.

Fitting Tornadus-Therian Onto Your Team

Tornadus-Therian NEEDS Politoed and its accuracy-giving rain to succeed in this metagame, as it turns Hurricane into a devastating and reliable nuke. Without Politoed, Tornadus-Therian gets a lot less useful. It also appreciates allies that are able to break through blobs, as Blissey and Chansey are two of Tornadus-Therian's most effective counters. Something to take out Tyranitar is also always appreciated, though Tornadus-Therian isn't too shabby at that itself.

While Rapid Spin isn't vital to Tornadus-Therian's success, it does help. Taking 25% every time it switches in can take a toll on a Tornadus-Therian plagued by weather, Life Orb, and weak resisted attacks. On the flip side, hazards are extremely useful. Not only does Tornadus-Therian appreciate hazards on the opponent's side to break through rough walls, but it also has the ability to force switches left and right due to its threat, which makes hazards all the more useful.

Get Out There!

Tornadus-Therian is quite a reversal of fortunes from its shakier counterpart in BW1. While Tornadus-Incarnate languished in the depths of OU, Tornadus-Therian has carved its own niche in OU, blowing away its competition and likely banishing its Incarnate counterpart to UU, a much less forgiving land. It's still early in the life of the metagame, but all signs point to Tornadus-Therian as a defining threat in the BW2 metagame. However, only time will tell the ultimate fate of this beast, but as long as rain exists in OU, Tornadus-Therian will be there, ready to fire up the ol' stormcloud and drop some Hurricane on some poor unsuspecting fool. Why not make your opponent that fool?

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