Dynamax in AG

By Geysers. Released: 2021/05/26.
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Dynamax in AG art

Art by Shadowshocker.


Dynamax is an incredibly powerful mechanic that can massively shake up the direction of a game in just a single turn. Owing to this tremendous volatility, it has been banned in all of Smogon's tiers, with the sole exception of Anything Goes. Within this metagame it serves a unique role, allowing games to be decided based off of skillful usage of Dynamax. Unlike in previous generations of AG, where the outcome of a game could be decided at preview based off of team compositions, Dynamax can allow what looks like an unwinnable matchup to still be won through its judicious use. Dynamax influences all aspects of play in AG, thanks to its ability to make a threatening sweeper even stronger, or allow a vital defensive Pokémon to take a hit it might not otherwise have survived.

Offensive Dynamax

Offensive usage of Dynamax is easily the most common, allowing Pokémon that were already potent offensively to seriously reduce the number of potential checks. The two strongest offensive Dynamax users in AG are Yveltal and Xerneas.


With Dynamax, Yveltal's spectacular firepower augmented by a Life Orb and Dark Aura allows it to OHKO or 2HKO the entire non-Dynamaxed metagame. Additionally, its access to Max Airstream allows Yveltal to boost its own Speed to phenomenal levels, outspeeding almost the entire metagame, and Max Darkness further limits counterplay by dropping the foe's Special Defense. Yveltal is made especially threatening by its access to a wide range of coverage moves, ranging from Knock Off and Sucker Punch to break through Blissey and revenge kill Calyrex-S, respectively, to Heat Wave, which can remove Zacian-C under Dynamax. In addition, its expansive movepool allows it to pick and choose its checks. Yveltal is truly the poster child for a dominant Dynamax user in AG.


In Generation 7, Xerneas was a threatening setup sweeper thanks to its access to Geomancy, a strong STAB move in Moonblast, and numerous coverage moves. Despite this, strong counterplay existed in the form of specially defensive Necrozma-DM, Primal Groudon, and Arceus-Poison. All three of those checks relied on being able to survive a single hit from Xerneas and retaliate back by OHKOing or phazing it using Z-Moves, super effective STAB moves, or Roar. Dynamax alleviates all of these issues, making Xerneas nigh-impossible to OHKO under its effects while also completely removing Primal Groudon as a reliable check thanks to Dynamax's phazing immunity. Xerneas's incredible firepower under Dynamax means extraordinarily limited counterplay to it exists, with the most reliable check being Necrozma-DM, which is forced to Dynamax itself in order to check it, but can still lose if Xerneas decides to stall its Dynamax turns out with a sequence of two uses of Substitute followed by Max Guard.


Groudon, which would otherwise be held back by its mediocre Speed tier, can shine as an offensive threat thanks to its access to Max Airstream, EdgeQuake coverage, and Swords Dance. Groudon can find numerous setup opportunities against common defensive Pokémon like Ho-Oh, Necrozma-DM, and Ferrothorn, then Dynamax and shred teams with an incredibly strong Max Quake, which OHKOes even bulky Zygarde after a boost. By boosting its Speed with Max Airstream, it becomes a very capable late-game cleaner as well. Additionally, the added bulk from Dynamax can give Groudon more opportunities to continue its sweep against Pokémon like Yveltal and Calyrex-S that could otherwise heavily damage it and prevent it from sweeping.

Situational Offensive Dynamax

Some Pokémon that are already potent offensive threats can utilize Dynamax to further enhance their capabilities, allowing them to more reliably break through their already potentially limited checks. While these Pokémon would still thrive in a metagame without Dynamax, they become even more deadly with its presence.


Already a deadly sweeper, Calyrex-S can utilize Dynamax to break through Pokémon that would otherwise check it, such as Yveltal and Tyranitar, with a deadly Max Starfall. With this additional firepower, Calyrex-S is even more oppressive, and its checks are even more limited as a result, often forcing Yveltal to run Sucker Punch. Calyrex-S can also utilize Dynamax to break through other Pokémon that could take a hit from it, such as Ho-Oh, allowing it to snowball out of control even faster.


A dangerous setup sweeper capable of taking advantage of most passive Pokémon to set up and sweep teams, Zygarde is made even more destructive by Dynamax. The ability to boost its bulk and in the process gain more firepower allows Zygarde to break through Pokémon that would otherwise wall it, such as defensive Xerneas. Additionally, since Dynamax turns Dragon Tail into a neutral priority move, Zygarde can break through defensive Haze Zygarde with a powerful Max Wyrmwind before the other Zygarde can use Haze and stop its sweep. Notably, Zygarde has considerable defensive utility as well, capable of Dynamaxing to stop Pokémon such as Zekrom or Calyrex-S from sweeping.

Other threats

Some Pokémon that would otherwise struggle to sweep can suddenly find themselves powerful wallbreakers that can easily sweep an unprepared team when Dynamaxed. Notable examples include Reshiram and Rayquaza, which have very few reliable checks under Dynamax. As such, they are both capable of blasting through teams that are not heavily prepped for them. Some of these Pokémon can be quite niche, and, despite their impressive firepower, see limited usage due to their major flaws.


Thanks to Dynamax and the addition of Dragon Dance to Reshiram's movepool, it has become a threatening setup sweeper with extremely limited checks. In the absence of Dynamax, this set would get scouted by Ho-Oh and then removed by a Dragon-resistant or -immune Pokémon due to Outrage's locking effect. With Dynamax, however, Reshiram has access to a Dragon-type attack with no locking effect even more powerful than Outrage, allowing it to power through Ho-Oh and other common defensive Pokémon. Additionally, the extra firepower from Dynamax coupled with Max Flare setting harsh sunlight and negating Flare Blitz's recoil allows Reshiram to 2HKO most common resists, severely limiting potential switch-ins.


Falling from the height of its dominance in USUM AG, Rayquaza is still a decent pick thanks to its impressive stats and expansive movepool. Dynamax allows Rayquaza to make up for its mediocre Speed tier by using Max Airstream. After a Swords Dance boost, there are almost no reliable checks to Rayquaza thanks to its ability to heavily pressure most forms of defensive counterplay, notably OHKOing defensive Zygarde with Max Wyrmwind after a boost and OHKOing defensive Necrozma-DM with Max Flare. Despite this immense firepower, Rayquaza is not a particularly dominant presence due to its mediocre bulk, which deprives it of setup opportunities. Regardless, Dynamax allows Rayquaza to carve itself a niche that it likely would not have otherwise.

Defensive Dynamax

Defensive use of Dynamax can help balance out the offensive aspects of the mechanic, allowing a player in a tight situation to stop a potentially threatening sweeper, or let their Pokémon take a vital hit. Defensive Dynamax is often overshadowed by its offensive uses, but should by no means be underestimated.


Thanks to its already solid bulk coupled with an amazing ability, Necrozma-DM can use Dynamax to stop most threatening sweepers. Notably, a Dynamaxed Necrozma-DM can shut down Swords Dance Zacian-C, Swords Dance Rayquaza, Geomancy Xerneas, and a plethora of other threats thanks to the massive increase in bulk. In addition, Necrozma-DM's ability to boost its Defense under Dynamax with Max Steelspike allows it to take multiple hits from opposing threats, letting it either defeat them or burn out their Dynamax turns. Necrozma-DM can also run Earthquake, boosting its Special Defense to potentially take hits from Calyrex-S or Yveltal. Even outside of Dynamax, Necrozma-DM can provide invaluable defensive utility by setting Stealth Rock and providing Knock Off support. Thanks to Necrozma-DM's versatility, it can defensively Dynamax against most offensive Pokémon in the meta, notably stopping threats such as Zekrom, Yveltal, Xerneas, Zygarde, and Groudon in a pinch.


Ho-Oh is another strong user of defensive Dynamax in AG, capable of increasing its already impressive natural bulk to absurd levels while simultaneously increasing its damage output. Under Dynamax, Ho-Oh can take on many of the metagame's most threatening offensive Pokémon, ranging from a boosted Zacian-C, to a runaway Yveltal, to a chipped Xerneas. The HP boost from Dynamax allows Ho-Oh to beat the thin margins by which many threats KO it, letting it take a +2 Max Lightning from Xerneas and a +3 Wild Charge from Zacian-C while dealing heavy damage or OHKOing them in return with Max Flare. In addition, Ho-Oh can finish off a chipped Calyrex-S using Dynamax to survive hits that might otherwise KO it, such as a boosted Psyshock and Astral Barrage.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Dynamax plays a massive role in the AG metagame, allowing previously under-represented offensive threats to shine while making some old threats even stronger. Despite Dynamax's offensive applications, it is somewhat kept in check by the power of defensive Dynamax users, which can be vital to help stop runaway sweepers. Now take some of these sets for a spin on the ladder and try to make the most of their Dynamax potential!

HTML by Ryota Mitarai.
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