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Dragapult is one of OU's premier wallbreakers, offensive pivots, and ways of keeping faster foes in check, boasting a near unresisted STAB combination, great coverage options, and a near-unparalleled Speed tier. The latter in particular is a versatile attribute that lets it get past a majority of offensive Pokemon in the tier and take full advantage of its dual STAB combination to sweep weakened teams, easily spread status, or safely pivot with U-turn. This, in addition to its access to Infiltrator, makes it a fantastic answer to more offensively inclined teams, including dual screens archetypes, as switching safely into its Ghost-type STAB attacks is incredibly difficult for them to do without a dedicated answer. Furthermore, its access to a fast U-turn in tandem with its powerful STAB combination lets Dragapult facilitate offensive teammates very well, letting it form incredible cores with a myriad of offensive Pokemon like Urshifu-R and Garchomp. More prominently, most of Dragapult's checks are highly exploitable with U-turn and can easily have progress forced against them, as they either lack reliable recovery or can be overwhelmed in the long run with entry hazard or Knock Off support. Dragapult also wields great coverage options such as Thunderbolt and Flamethrower that let it overwhelm would-be checks such as Mandibuzz, Toxapex, Tapu Fini, and Ferrothorn more reliably. However, Dragapult's lack of longevity and only serviceable bulk in spite of its solid defensive typing means that damage it sustains is permanent, leaving it susceptible to long-term pressure from status effects, chip damage from resisted hits, and entry hazards in the case of non-Heavy-Duty Boots variants. Consequently, this can lead to it being picked off by healthy Pokemon, priority, or Choice Scarf users later in the game. For these reasons, it is also incapable of utilizing its Dragon typing to provide long-term defensive utility against prominent targets like Heatran, leading to it needing pivoting support or aggressive doubles to find good opportunities to do its job. Dragapult's Special Attack stat is also only slightly above average, meaning it needs Choice Specs or status to be immediately threatening with its primary STAB attacks or Hex, respectively. Even when boosted, its damage output can be middling, making it reliant on forced switches and prior chip damage to safely damage its targets without risking damage or status against itself.
name: Choice Specs
move 1: Shadow Ball
move 2: Draco Meteor
move 3: U-turn
move 4: Flamethrower
item: Choice Specs
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
When equipped with a Choice Specs, Dragapult becomes a menacing wallbreaker that can easily overwhelm a majority of the metagame with its STAB Draco Meteor and Shadow Ball. In particular, Shadow Ball is an incredibly spammable, powerful option that is incredibly hard to switch into without a dedicated answer that is able to handle Dragapult's other options in the long run, like specially defensive Clefable, Toxapex, or Blissey. U-turn allows Dragapult to exploit and safely chip away at its small pool of checks to generate momentum, allowing offensive teammates to either enforce progress or safely wallbreak. Flamethrower is a highly effective coverage option that lets it apply more immediate pressure against targets like Corviknight, Scizor, and Ferrothorn. Alternatively, Dragapult can use Thunderbolt or Thunder to instead pressure would-be checks such as Mandibuzz, Tapu Fini, and Toxapex. Thunder, notably, is capable of more reliably finishing off specially defensive Toxapex at the cost of accuracy and PP. Although a more niche option, Hydro Pump allows Dragapult to further pressure Heatran and beat Hippowdon. Hex is a similarly strong alternative that lets Dragapult overwhelm Gastrodon, Hippowdon, and Clefable when they've been statused, but it leaves Dragapult extremely reliant on teammates that can spread status. Dragapult's access to Infiltrator alongside its fantastic Speed tier makes it a great answer to offense teams, wholly disregarding dual screens and Substitute from Pokemon such as Kyurem and Landorus-T, making it the ideal choice over the more situational Clear Body.
Dragapult's ability to pivot around Clefable, Tyranitar, and Blissey lets it pair incredibly well with offensive Pokemon that are capable of helping it break past them and remove shared checks. Urshifu-R and Melmetal are incredible examples of great U-turn recipients. The former can use its powerful STAB combination to beat Tyranitar, Hippowdon, and Blissey while helping it deal with Tapu Fini and Toxapex. Similarly, Melmetal also takes advantage of U-turn to come in against Clefable and Blissey, and its access to Toxic and Thunder Wave further reinforces Dragapult's wallbreaking potential with Hex. In return, Dragapult is capable of using its Ghost-type STAB and powerful Draco Meteor to hit or pivot against their checks like Slowbro, Tangrowth, Zapdos, and Corviknight. Additionally, Kyurem and Hydreigon can be fantastic in helping Dragapult overwhelm shared Fairy- and Steel-type checks in the form of Clefable, Ferrothorn, and Melmetal. They also appreciate Dragapult's ability to pivot against Pokemon like Toxapex, Gastrodon, and Hippowdon to find critical wallbreaking opportunities. Heatran is another U-turn recipient that is capable of trapping Toxapex, Clefable, and Blissey with Magma Storm or setting Stealth Rock. Dragapult also greatly appreciates Knock Off support in order to strip checks like Clefable and Tapu Fini of Leftovers recovery while leaving others like Mandibuzz and Blissey more vulnerable to entry hazards. Ferrothorn is a solid option that can target foes like Heatran with Knock Off to create progress for Dragapult and is also capable of setting entry hazards. Additionally, Kartana is an incredible, more offensively inclined Knock Off user that benefits from Dragapult's U-turn, easily ripping past Dragapult's checks like Gastrodon, Clefable, and Hippowdon with its high Attack, STAB attacks, and coverage. Landorus-T's access to Stealth Rock, Toxic, and Knock Off makes it capable of targeting and pressuring shared checks in the form of Mandibuzz and Tapu Fini while hitting Toxapex super effectively and providing Dragapult with both a Zeraora switch-in and pivoting support. Landorus-T also appreciates Dragapult's ability to provide it with a safe entry against Pokemon like Tyranitar and Blissey, which it can easily exploit to enforce progress with its utility.
name: Offensive Pivot
move 1: Hex
move 2: Draco Meteor
move 3: U-turn
move 4: Thunder Wave / Will-O-Wisp
item: Heavy-Duty Boots
evs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Dragapult's access to status, U-turn, and STAB Hex makes it a potent disruptor and pivot capable of sweeping past chipped down teams. Additionally, its blistering Speed tier alongside U-turn lets it operate as a superb check to fast Pokemon on offensively inclined teams, being able to take advantage of forced switches with ease to generate momentum or force progress with status. Dragapult's choice of status condition is highly dependent on the needs of its team, as well as what it wishes to target. Thunder Wave typically is the preferred option, as it is capable of punishing and crippling most of Dragapult's checks, including Clefable and situationally Heatran while slowing down fast offensive Pokemon like Tornadus-T for its teammates. Will-O-Wisp, however, can be a great option that takes advantage of and ruins the value of physical attackers while negating Leftovers recovery of Hippowdon and Gastrodon and forcing passive damage on Mandibuzz. Dragapult's vulnerability to entry hazards as an offensive pivot makes it a great user of Heavy-Duty Boots, enabling it to more reliably generate momentum in the long term. Lastly, Infiltrator lets Dragapult wholly disregard dual screens and Substitute and more freely force damage and inflict status on hyper offense builds. Access to Infiltrator also allows Dragapult to disregard Safeguard Volcarona and reliably paralyze it.
Dragapult's ability to check faster Pokemon and facilitate offensive teammates with its access to status, fast U-turn, and ability to invite in its exploitable checks makes it a phenomenal pick on balance teams. Likewise, it also appreciates offensive teammates that are able to help it handle its checks due to its relative lack of immediate power. For example, Urshifu-R is a superb teammate that highly appreciates Dragapult's ability to slow down or weaken fast, offensive threats such as Kartana and Tornadus-T while also being able to take heavy advantage of Dragapult checks like Tyranitar and Blissey for wallbreaking opportunities. Additionally, Urshifu-R is capable of pivoting against Pokemon like Slowbro and Tangrowth to give Dragapult more opportunities to spread status. Kartana, similarly, heavily appreciates Dragapult's ability to cripple potential checks while providing it with safe switch in against Gastrodon, Hippowdon, and Blissey. Thunder Wave also allows Kartana to outspeed otherwise faster Pokemon like Weavile, improving its cleaning potential in the long run. Access to Knock Off can also allow Kartana to enforce progress for Dragapult and leave its checks more vulnerable to entry hazards and chip damage. Garchomp is a great offensive partner that likes having checks in Corviknight and mixed Clefable dispatched by Thunder Wave, exploits Toxapex, and takes great advantage of Dragapult's pivoting abilities while helping it deal with Clefable, Hippowdon, and Gastrodon more effectively. Landorus-T is also a great partner that can utilize both Knock Off and Stealth Rock to enforce progress for Dragapult while providing a solid switch-in against Zeraora, which may attempt to revenge kill it otherwise if it has sustained any chip damage. Lastly, Dragapult's ability to compress roles with its Speed tier to offensive check fast Pokemon, status, and cleaning make it a good fit on more defensively inclined teams alongside the aforementioned Landorus-T and allies such as Clefable and Ferrothorn that are similarly able to spread item removal and set entry hazards.
Dragapult is able to run a mixed variant of its pivot set utilizing Dragon Darts, being capable of beating Volcarona and pressuring Blissey and Tyranitar while providing reliable damage output without a Special Attack drop. However, donning a mixed variant further divvies Dragapult's middling power by forcing Attack investment and leaves it without the immediate power of Draco Meteor. Most notably, Dragapult is incapable of OHKOing a healthy Garchomp with Dragon Darts. On the other hand, Dragapult is able to take advantage of its great Attack stat and access to Dragon Dance to pierce past weakened teams. However, such a set is difficult to get value with against common Pokemon like Toxapex, Melmetal, and Corviknight, which can outlive its onslaught and dispatch it accordingly, especially against two attack variants. Substitute + Hex variants are also extremely potent at taking advantage of forced switches by easing prediction while spreading status and damage more deliberately, but the loss of U-turn and Speed investment strips Dragapult of its ability to facilitate offensive teammates and keep faster foes in check.
Checks and Counters
**Special Walls**: Dragapult's damage output is greatly challenged by special walls like Blissey, Toxapex, Gastrodon, Hippowdon, and Clefable. However, in spite of this, Dragapult is easily able to exploit these Pokemon with its access to U-turn, and the latter three can easily be overloaded due to their reliance on being healthy to check Dragapult; additionally, Hex variants can be troublesome to check in spite of this. Tapu Fini and Tyranitar are decent short-term checks but are not reliable in the long run due to a lack of longevity.
**Fairy-type Pokemon**: Clefable and Tapu Fini are immune to its Draco Meteor and possess the bulk to stomach a Shadow Ball; the latter is also impervious to status due to Misty Surge. However, they can be overwhelmed with the aid of Knock Off support, making it increasingly difficult for them to check Dragapult as the game progresses.
**Dark-type Pokemon and coverage**: Bisharp, Mandibuzz, and Tyranitar are common Dark-type Pokemon that resist Dragapult's most spammable option in Shadow Ball. The former, uniquely, is able to resist both of Dragapult's STAB attacks but lacks the bulk to switch into it in the long run, forcing it to rely on pivoting support to reliably keep Dragapult at bay. Mandibuzz and Tyranitar are both very vulnerable to residual damage from Dragapult's U-turn and passive damage; Mandibuzz, particularly, is extremely vulnerable to Knock Off, which can make it an inconsistent check to Dragapult as the game progresses. Knock Off is also a very frequently utilized move that Dragapult is weak to, making it more vulnerable than other offensive Pokemon to stray uses of the move and making it further reliant on pivoting support.
**Residual Damage**: Dragapult's lack of longevity leaves it susceptible to residual damage from entry hazards, status, and resisted hits, which can reduce the utility of its defensive typing and limit switch-in opportunities over the course of the game.
**Revenge Killers**: Dragapult is very vulnerable to being revenge killed, since it is reliant on weakened foes or forced switches in order to safely do its job without risk of chip damage or status. However, priority moves from Rillaboom, Bisharp, and Weavile and Choice Scarf users like Tapu Lele, Kartana, and Landorus-T are capable of picking off Dragapult without the need of a defensive answer. Zeraora, on the other hand, is simply able to revenge kill it with Knock Off, as it barely eclipses its Speed tier.
- Written by: [[ausma, 360720]]
- Quality checked by: [[Abhisdn417, 526987]], [airfare, 513717]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Milak, 262594]]