OU Spotlight: Volcarona

By sedertz.
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Art by Shaymoo

Art by Shaymoo.


When Volcarona was introduced in BW, it was initially cast aside in the early rush. Given how much Generation 4 revolved around Stealth Rock, Volcarona was derided for its crippling 4x weakness to Stealth Rock and vulnerability to Spikes, meaning that it could lose up 75% of it's health upon switching in. This never changed—but Volcarona had a few tricks up its sleeve. Boasting access to the rare Quiver Dance, which boosts the user's Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed by one stage, Volcarona eventually cemented itself as one of the best setup sweepers in BW OU, thanks to a monstrous 135 base Special Attack and a stellar offensive typing in Bug/Fire, which let it nail top metagame threats like Tyranitar and Jirachi super effectively. The icing on the cake was that Volcarona resisted much of the common priority at the time, such as Breloom's Mach Punch and Scizor's Bullet Punch, which allowed it to continue its rampage unhindered.

Unfortunately, everything wasn't so rosy for Volcarona during Generation 6. It fell to BL due to a combination of several factors. For example, top metagame threats such as Azumarill and Talonflame easily revenge killed it with their strong priority, and Volcarona struggled to set up with all the status being thrown around the tier. Volcarona was a decent pick, but it was far from the terrifying sweeper that annihilated teams during BW.

Volcarona has returned with a vengeance, however, becoming one of the best setup sweepers in the tier. Everything seems to be going Volcarona's way in SM OU, with a general lack of priority thanks to the popularity of Psychic Terrain, Thunder Wave having largely disappeared from the tier, and a large supply of Pokémon that Volcarona loves to set up on. Many of Bug Buzz's targets from Generations 5 and 6 have decreased sharply in popularity, freeing up an additional moveslot for Volcarona to work with and preventing its sweep from being cut short by Pokémon such as Heatran and even Toxapex. Z-Moves are a godsend for Volcarona, allowing it to blast bulky Pokémon with the sheer power of a +1 Inferno Overdrive, or muscle through a potential check in Toxapex with a +1 Shattered Psyche. Volcarona doesn't even need a Z-Move to be successful as anti-meta sets such as Charti Berry let it survive revenge kill attempts from fast Choice Scarf Pokémon such as Stone Edge Keldeo. Volcarona has certainly cemented itself as one of the best Pokémon in SM OU.

Hot sets


Offensive Quiver Dance is Volcarona's bread and butter in SM OU. Either set can set up a Quiver Dance or two after Volcarona's checks have been eliminated, and use its powerful STAB and coverage options to clean the rest of the opponents team. Volcarona's set should be tailored to what its team needs. A particularly Toxapex weak team may opt for Psychium Z to eliminate Toxapex after a single Quiver Dance. A team that struggles with Pokémon such as Zygarde or Choice Scarf Keldeo can go for Hidden Power Ice and Charti Berry, respectively, to handle those Pokémon better. Lastly, a team that needs the raw power of Inferno Overdrive to break Pokémon such as Mega Charizard Y may opt for Firium Z. Volcarona is quite straightforward, but it is a frightening cleaner nevertheless.

Uncommon sets


Bulky Volcarona is an uncommon set that takes advantage of Volcarona's defensive typing to check threats early in the game without sacrificing the ability to sweep later. The EV spread lets Volcarona outspeed Adamant Tapu Bulu and Timid Magearna, as well as Greninja at +1, while preserving as much physical bulk as possible—additional Speed can be run for threats such as Jolly Bisharp and even Jolly Tapu Bulu. Fiery Dance is preferred over Fire Blast as a consistent STAB attack, as the power is not needed. Flamethrower is another option for the extra PP, allowing Volcarona to beat Chansey that do not carry Toxic. Unfortunately, bulky Volcarona has largely fallen out of favor since the ban of Mega Metagross, which it was formerly able to pivot in on and potentially burn thanks to Flame Body.

Metagame trends

Volcarona has come to shape the Sun and Moon metagame. Almost all the viable Choice Scarf users in SM OU are tailored to be able to revenge kill Volcarona. For example, Keldeo runs Stone Edge and a Hasty nature on its Choice Scarf sets in order to OHKO Volcarona after a Quiver Dance. Choice Scarf Garchomp initially ran Rock Slide to deal with Volcarona, but with Charti Berry sets on the rise, Garchomp has shifted over to the lower-accuracy Stone Edge to deal with it instead. Other Choice Scarf users have also sprung up to deal with Volcarona, such as Choice Scarf Latios to 2HKO with STAB Psyshock and Choice Scarf Protean Rock Slide Greninja. The popularity of these Choice Scarf users is a testament to Volcarona's dominance, and it displays how Volcarona is an important threat every teambuilder needs to prepare for.

Good cores

Volcarona + Dugtrio


Volcarona and Dugtrio make an absolutely terrifying core. Dugtrio, which narrowly escaped a ban in the second suspect of SM OU, traps and eliminates Pokémon such as Heatran, Tyranitar, and Toxapex, which happen to wall this particular Volcarona set. Volcarona is then free to run moves such as Giga Drain and Hidden Power Ice to muscle through other bulky Water-types, Zygarde, and Garchomp. The EV spread allows Volcarona to take any hit from Choice Scarf users such as Stone Edge Keldeo and Stone Edge Garchomp, allowing Volcarona to Quiver Dance as they switch in, Quiver Dance a second time as it survives a potential hit, and then sweep the opposing team with +2 Special Attack and +2 Speed. 216 Speed EVs and a Timid nature let Volcarona outspeed Choice Scarf Tapu Lele. Players can also opt for the Firium Z set—if so, Volcarona should run the spread mentioned earlier in the article. This core should be ideally paired with Defog users such as Mew and Mega Scizor.

Get out there!

Volcarona has quickly claimed its position in OU as Queen of the Setup Sweepers, and will easily sweep an unprepared opponent. Even if you don't go out and use it, be careful or Volcarona might just set up that single Quiver Dance and faint all six of your Pokémon!

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