PU Spotlight: Drampa

By Megazard and HJAD.
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Art by LifeisDANK.


Drampa didn't have a terribly illustrious start when it dropped to PU. It was stuck in the same tier as Guzzlord, another slow Dragon-type with a lot more bulk, a better secondary typing, and only slightly less power. When the October quickshifts came around and raised Guzzlord to NU, however, Drampa finally got its shot to compete in the tier. It immediately became one of the metagame's most potent threats, shooting up the viability rankings and spiking in usage in PU Premier League. A beefy 135 Special Attack stat, a great STAB combo in Draco Meteor and Hyper Voice, and plenty of excellent coverage moves like Fire Blast make Drampa one of PU's best wallbreakers and an absolute terror for bulky balance and stall teams.



Choice Specs Drampa is a bit of an odd glass cannon. Normally when the term glass cannon is used, you might think of something like Alakazam, which has plenty of Speed to match its power. Drampa certainly doesn't lack power, but it bucks the trend with its horrible base 36 Speed. While Drampa's Choice Specs Draco Meteor is one of the hardest-hitting moves in the tier and its amazing coverage in Fire Blast and Focus Blast allows it to OHKO defensive titans like Ferroseed and Audino, it's so slow that even Lanturn easily outpaces it. This gives it a fairly unique dynamic in the PU metagame. Every time Drampa comes in, it immediately threatens to get a KO, but this doesn't leave it overpowered. Drampa has enough bulk to switch into weaker defensive Pokémon like Weezing and Gastrodon, but it isn't bulky enough to take two unresisted hits from anything much stronger. Drampa also needs to correctly predict frequently to achieve said KOs, as using Hyper Voice on a Haunter switch-in or Draco Meteor as the opponent switches into Clefairy can leave the Drampa user a terrible position. Of course, predictions work both ways, and it's the Drampa user who has a 50% chance at worst to get a free KO, so don't take that as an indication that Drampa is bad. It's simply a high-risk, high-reward Pokémon. When used effectively, it's the most horrifying balance breaker that PU has to offer, but if you're not paying attention it may end up as worthless as its design suggests.

Drampa also has a few other sets with some potential. It can attempt to run items such as Life Orb and Dragonium Z on a wallbreaking set to avoid dealing with 50/50s, but the loss of power is quite noticeable when missing OHKOs on Pokémon such as Gastrodon. These items are also options on a 3 attacks + Roost set, which has the potential to take advantage of Berserk much better than Choice Specs Drampa. Calm Mind is another interesting move in Drampa's arsenal that has yet to be fully explored. However, once again, the immediate power of Choice Specs is simply so devastating that these sets have failed to make much of an impact in PU. Running a bulkier set is also possible, but Drampa, particularly Choice Specs Drampa, does not benefit much from extra HP investment.

Ability: Defeatist
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Acrobatics
- Earthquake
- Roost
- Defog

Ferroseed @ Eviolite
Ability: Iron Barbs
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Relaxed Nature
IVs: 0 Spe
- Stealth Rock
- Leech Seed
- Protect
- Gyro Ball

Weezing @ Rocky Helmet
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpA
Bold Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Sludge Bomb
- Pain Split
- Toxic Spikes
- Taunt

Jynx (F) @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Dry Skin
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Psychic
- Ice Beam
- Focus Blast
- Lovely Kiss

Drampa @ Choice Specs
Ability: Sap Sipper
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Hyper Voice
- Draco Meteor
- Focus Blast
- Fire Blast

Pinsir @ Normalium Z
Ability: Moxie
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Adamant Nature
- X-Scissor
- Me First
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake

This sample team by Megazard is built around realizing Drampa's potential as a potent wallbreaker. Although it is not supported by slow pivots, the rest of the team baits in many Pokémon such as Qwilfish and Gastrodon, which Drampa enjoys taking advantage of. Additionally, with Drampa handling defensive cores, the rest of the team can take more of an anti-offense approach. Archeops can forego Taunt for emergency entry hazard removal, and Choice Scarf Jynx outspeeds many dangerous setup sweepers such as Lilligant. Pinsir is the Pokémon most changed by having Drampa as a teammate, opting to run a Normalium Z Me First set that is capable of outspeeding every Choice Scarf user at +2 Speed rather than running Swords Dance for more immediate power versus stall teams. While the team can struggle with certain Pokémon such as Substitute + Calm Mind Mesprit and Z-Focus Blast Magmortar, it retains enough offensive options to keep most threats in check.

Drampa Checks and Counters

Drampa is a unique Pokémon in the PU metagame; combining a fantastic Special Attack stat with a flawless coverage movepool that includes two incredible STAB options lets it boast some of the best wallbreaking prowess in the entire PU metagame. Between Specs and non-Choice sets, it can often seem overwhelming, especially from a bulkier archetype perspective, to truly take Drampa into account and beat it. There are some techniques PU builders are utilizing in order to give their balance teams the upper hand when taking on the likes of Drampa, even though it may seem hard to take it on efficiently without taking a more offensive approach. The key to handling Drampa is making sure that it always risks something when using a STAB move, since those are the moves that allow it to inflict huge amounts of damage onto balance teams in particular. In order to deter Drampa from using its STAB moves, you ideally would like very strong switch-ins to Normal- and Dragon-type attacks. Ferroseed has seen a boom in usage due to its ability to be an excellent switch-in to either of Drampa's STAB moves. Similarly, cores such as Clefairy + Sableye essentially force Drampa into 50/50s every time it comes in. This puts the balance player in a scenario where it's possible to read what move the Drampa will choose depending on what the opposing player views as more threatening. Additionally, partially due to Drampa's popularity, Pokémon such as Assault Vest Hitmonchan, specially defensive Type: Null, and Lanturn are seeing increased usage due to their capability of taking hits from any Drampa set. These are often used as middle-ground plays to prevent Drampa from really dealing damage to defensive cores. It’s often said that bringing a Drampa versus a balance team is a recipe for success; however, should the balance builder seek to be prepared for it, its influence even in a balance matchup can be limited. The only issue with taking this approach is that it can be quite taxing on your build; you may not have the room to fit complete a strong offensive core of your own, which is extremely important for taking pressure off the defensive backbone, and even more so in Sun & Moon with Z-Move wallbreakers lurking around every corner.

Checking Drampa on offense is much more natural. Glass cannons don't fare well versus offense, since the opportunities they get to nab KOs are limited by the offensive pressure that is applied on them. In order to check Drampa, all the offense user has to do is use Pokémon that can OHKO or 2HKO it, preventing it from doing more than trading for a single Pokémon. However, the effect Drampa has had on the metagame is quite obvious, even on offense. For example, usage of Ice Beam Mesprit has increased dramatically as a method to 2HKO Drampa. Other examples include Qwilfish, where usage of Explosion or Destiny Bond on defensive sets has increased to simultaneously prevent Defog and prevent Drampa from switching into Qwilfish and getting a free KO.


Drampa's influence on the PU metagame is undeniable. Since Guzzlord's departure gave it an opening, it's risen from a niche, rarely seen Pokémon reliant on using obscure parts of its movepool to a common and powerful offensive threat that every team has to keep in mind. It has already made an impact on how people build both balance and offense archetypes alike, forcing old balance archetypes to change and adapt in order to suit a much more wallbreaker-intensive meta. This new Generation 7 introduction to the PU metagame certainly adds a taxing weight on the shoulders of balance teams, even before factoring in the need to deal with Z-move users. As long as Drampa users are able to consistently bring out the best in the Pokémon, it seems likely that Drampa will remain a PU staple for years to come.

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