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Dragonite faces stiff competition in Battle Spot Singles due to seemingly more powerful Dragon-types such as Mega Salamence, Garchomp, and Mega Charizard X running amok in the metagame. However, Dragonite has a few neat tricks up its sleeve that set it apart from these powerhouses; Multiscale gives it significant bulk when at full health, and it is the only Dragon-type with access to a priority move in Extreme Speed. Dragonite also has an expansive movepool, giving it coverage against almost anything that it wants to hit, which, when backed by its monstrous Attack and usable Special Attack, means that it can tailor its moveset to get past some of its common checks. Dragonite is also one of the best Choice Band users in the metagame, as the item gives immediate power to Outrage and Extreme Speed, allowing it to punch holes early or effectively clean up the opposing team. However, Dragonite hates status conditions, as they severely hinder its ability to sweep the opposing team; while a Lum Berry gives it a second chance when using the Dragon Dance set, the Choice Band set needs to look out for common Will-O-Wisp users such as Sableye, Gengar, Talonflame, and Rotom-W. Dragonite also has trouble fitting all the moves it needs onto one set, as its movepool is so large that it often has a hard time choosing exactly what it needs; this is especially true for the Dragon Dance set, which already has a moveslot taken up by Dragon Dance itself and needs to decide between great options such as Fire Punch, Roost, Substitute, and Iron Head. It is also quite hard to switch Dragonite into the battle, as taking damage nullifies Multiscale, and Dragonite is actually quite frail without it. Due to this, Dragonite should also be kept away from common Fake Out users such as Mega Lopunny, Weavile, Mega Medicham, and Mega Kangaskhan. Dragonite's 4x weakness to Ice-type moves is also easily exploitable, as those moves are very popular in the metagame to defeat popular threats such as Garchomp, Landorus-T, and Mega Salamence. Dragonite may seem like an underwhelming choice; however, because it doesn't require a Mega slot, it is able to set itself apart from Mega Salamence and Mega Charizard X and can fit on most teams very easily.
name: Dragon Dance
move 1: Dragon Dance
move 2: Outrage
move 3: Extreme Speed
move 4: Earthquake / Fire Punch
item: Lum Berry
evs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Dragon Dance boosts Dragonite's Attack to monstrous levels and its Speed to a high enough level to outspeed threats such as Garchomp, Latios, Latias, Serperior, Raikou, and Greninja after only one boost. Outrage may seem too risky to lock into, but its monstrous power is well worth it. While Extreme Speed may seem redundant with Dragon Dance's Speed boosting capabilities, it allows Dragonite to go ahead of most other priority moves, most notably Ice Shard, meaning that Dragonite can pick off weakened users such as Mamoswine and Weavile instead of being KOed itself. It's also a great move in general and is great for picking something off if Dragonite hasn't yet boosted its Speed. Earthquake is the preferred coverage option, as it allows Dragonite to heavily damage the Steel-type Pokemon that resist Outrage, most notably Aegislash, Heatran, and Mawile. Fire Punch has the benefit of hitting Ferrothorn, Scizor, and Skarmory, but it leaves Dragonite walled by Heatran.
Maximum Attack and Speed investment is used to increase Dragonite's sweeping potential, and an Adamant nature boosts Dragonite's power even further. Jolly can be used instead to outspeed Mega Gengar at +1, but Dragonite appreciates the increase in power a lot more. A Lum Berry combines fantastically with Multiscale, practically guaranteeing Dragonite to boost with Dragon Dance at least once; it also cures the confusion inflicted by Outrage if it isn't used up before then. If you aren't worried about status conditions, you can try using a Weakness Policy instead. If Multiscale is intact, Dragonite can stomach most super effective hits and come out with a +3 in Attack if it boosts on the same turn, which will allow it to do devastatingly high amounts of damage to the foe.
Dragon Dance Dragonite is one of the safest leads in the game, as it is very easy to grab a first-turn boost with Dragon Dance and then immediately go on the offensive. Against Fake Out leads such as Mega Lopunny or common status spammers such as Sableye and Thundurus, it is best to switch out to a teammate so that you can keep Multiscale and the Lum Berry intact. Despite being a fantastic lead, Dragonite can also function as a terrific cleaner, as it can pick off a weakened foe with Extreme Speed or take the opportunity to boost with Dragon Dance if the foe does not threaten it. While Dragonite may function exceptionally well at any time in a match, it desperately needs to keep its Multiscale active, as it isn't actually very bulky without it; accordingly, you need to be careful when switching, as taking unnecessary damage will void the Multiscale. For this reason, it is best to either lead with Dragonite or bring it in after a teammate has been KOed or with the aid of a slow Volt Switch or U-turn user. Once Dragonite is set up, you can start using Outrage for maximum damage against the foe. This is really only a risky play if the opponent has a Fairy-type Pokemon to switch to; if they don't, Dragonite is basically free to use Outrage. Earthquake should only be used if Dragonite is faced with a Steel-type that resists Outrage.
Dragonite's most popular teammates are Hippowdon and Mega Lucario; these three are a very popular core amongst Japanese players. Hippowdon is used as a lead that can set up Stealth Rock to break opposing Focus Sashes, as well as put the foe to sleep with Yawn, and once Hippowdon has been KOed, you can bring in Dragonite at full health to set up a Dragon Dance. Mega Lucario is used to beat the Fairy- and Ice-type Pokemon that Dragonite has trouble with, and Dragonite helps against the Ground-types that Mega Lucario doesn't want to face. Dragonite can be paired with almost anything that takes care of opposing Fairy-, Ice-, and Dragon-types; these Pokemon include Suicune, Mawile, Metagross, Azumarill, Scizor, and Rotom-W. Notably, Mega Gengar can be used to trap and eliminate troublesome Fairy-type Pokemon for Dragonite. Porygon2 is a great bulky partner for Dragonite, being a great switch-in to Greninja, and provides valuable paralysis support with Thunder Wave, helping Dragonite against faster threats. Dragonite hates Stealth Rock, as it removes its Multiscale upon entering the field, so stopping it from being set up in the first place is the most feasible course of action. Mega Sableye is probably the best at doing this, as it can either make use of its non-Mega forme to quickly Taunt a foe trying to set up Stealth Rock or send it back onto their side of the field with Magic Bounce.
name: Choice Band
move 1: Outrage
move 2: Extreme Speed
move 3: Earthquake
move 4: Fire Punch
item: Choice Band
evs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Outrage is Dragonite's STAB move of choice, hitting for ridiculous amounts of power right from the get-go thanks to the Choice Band. Extreme Speed is what sets Dragonite apart from other Dragon-types, giving it a strong priority move with which to pick off faster threats. Earthquake hits troublesome Steel-types such as Heatran and Aegislash for super effective damage. Fire Punch rounds out Dragonite's coverage against Pokemon such as Ferrothorn, Skarmory, and Scizor. Iron Head or Iron Tail can be used over Fire Punch to hit Fairy-types such as Sylveon and Togekiss super effectively; however, it is usually best to just let a teammate deal with them.
Maximum Attack and Speed investment increases Dragonite's wallbreaking abilities as much as possible, and an Adamant nature is used to increase Dragonite's Attack even further. The Choice Band gives Dragonite immediate power equal to that of a Dragon Dance boost, allowing it to do large amounts of damage right away, such as OHKOing Thundurus, Mega Salamence (after Intimidate), maximum HP Mega Gengar, physically defensive Ferrothorn, physically defensive Mega Latias, and Mega Kangaskhan and 2HKOing physically defensive Zapdos, Cresselia, Suicune, Hippowdon, and Porygon2 lacking Trace.
While this EV spread is rather simple, it is possible to change Dragonite's EVs to be able to tank certain hits better at the cost of some power and speed. An alternative spread is 236 Atk / 212 SpD / 60 Spe. This allows Dragonite to still outspeed most Rotom-W and Suicune, as well as giving Dragonite a great chance at surviving Life Orb Greninja's Ice Beam as long as Multiscale is still active. Dropping the Attack EVs doesn't sacrifice too much power, as Dragonite can still OHKO Greninja and get the 2HKO on Rotom-W. However, Dragonite is usually better off leaving those Pokemon to its teammates, meaning you can stay with the original EV spread.
Choice Band Dragonite acts as a great wallbreaker and late-game cleaner due to the immediate power of the Choice Band allowing it to easily finish weakened teams with Outrage and Extreme Speed. Because this Dragonite does not aim to spend a turn boosting, it is much easier to switch it into the battle without worrying about its Multiscale being broken; however, it still benefits greatly from having it intact to take on Pokemon such as Mega Salamence, Thundurus, Garchomp, Raikou, and Blaziken, so take this into account when switching. All of Dragonite's moves are easily exploitable by Pokemon that are immune to them, so be wary of any Fairy-, Ghost-, or Flying-type Pokemon or Levitate or Flash Fire users on the opponent's team, as they can easily use Dragonite for a free switch. Therefore, if you plan on sweeping with Choice Band Dragonite, it is of utmost important that you clear the field of any of these Pokemon before locking Dragonite into a certain move.
Hippowdon and Mega Lucario are very popular teammates for Choice Band Dragonite. Hippowdon is used as a lead to set up Stealth Rock and put the foe to sleep with Yawn, and when it has been KOed, either Mega Lucario is brought in to set up with Swords Dance or Nasty Plot or Dragonite can come in to immediately start doing damage. If Mega Lucario is brought in after Hippowdon to set up, Dragonite acts as the cleaner with its powerful Extreme Speed, usually after Mega Lucario has been KOed itself so that Dragonite can maintain its Multiscale. Mega Lucario and Dragonite work brilliantly together, as Mega Lucario can effectively beat opposing Fairy-, Ice-, and Rock-type Pokemon for Dragonite, while Dragonite is immune to Ground-type moves and has a good matchup against Fire-type Pokemon. Choice Band Dragonite suffers from its average Speed stat, meaning that many faster Pokemon such as Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Charizard X and Y, Serperior, and Mega Salamence can give it trouble. For this reason, paralysis support is really helpful, allowing Dragonite to go ahead of these Pokemon and pummel them with its powerful moves. Porygon2 is perhaps the best partner, as it is a great switch-in to these threats with its fantastic mixed bulk and ability to punish them with Thunder Wave. Serperior is also able to paralyze Ground-type Pokemon such as Garchomp and Landorus-T with Glare or just outright beat them with Leaf Storm. Choice Band Dragonite also benefits from teammates that can beat opposing Fairy-, Ice-, and Dragon-type Pokemon; good partners include Suicune, Mawile, Scizor, and Rotom-W.
Dragon Dance Dragonite has a plethora of options; it can make use of Roost for recovery, Substitute or Safeguard to aid against status, and Superpower or Thunder Punch for coverage against Pokemon such as Tyranitar and Gyarados. The Dragon Dance set can be altered to use a Weakness Policy over Lum Berry and Agility over Dragon Dance. This set aims to quickly boost Dragonite's stats against a foe with a weaker super effective move, such as Mega Manectric with Hidden Power Ice, Serperior with Dragon Pulse, or Landorus-T with Rock Slide. However, relying on being hit with and surviving a super effective move to get the boost from the Weakness Policy is very risky. Dragonite can also make use of rain, either setting it up itself with Rain Dance or letting a teammate do it, as it has the perfect movepool for taking advantage of rain, with moves such as Hurricane, Thunder, Surf, and Waterfall; however, Dragonite absolutely needs rain to be set up in order for such a set to work, and keeping rain active is difficult. Dragon Claw and Dragon Rush are alternative STAB options to Outrage; however, the difference in power between Dragon Claw and Outrage is significant, and Dragon Rush's accuracy is quite unreliable. Dragonite can also use a Life Orb on either set, but it leaves the Dragon Dance set susceptible to status and is weaker than the Choice Band set. It also lowers Dragonite's health when an attack is used, which removes Multiscale if Dragonite is at full health.
Checks and Counters
**Fairy-types**: Because Dragonite's main form of offense is Outrage, it should be wary of locking into it and having Pokemon such as Azumarill, Sylveon, and Togekiss come in for free and force Dragonite out.
**Ice-type Moves**: Even Multiscale can't save Dragonite from powerful moves such as Greninja's Ice Beam, Mamoswine's Icicle Spear, and Weavile's Fake Out + Icicle Crash combination. Even Kangaskhan can run Ice Punch and bypass Multiscale by hitting twice in the same turn.
**Removing Multiscale**: Dragonite actually isn't very bulky if it isn't at full health and can't make use of Multiscale. Stealth Rock users stop Dragonite from switching in freely, as they will break Multiscale upon entry. Fake Out users such as Mega Kangaskhan, Mega Lopunny, and Weavile can all break Multiscale and follow up with a KO with Ice Punch or, in Mega Kangaskhan's case, Double-Edge. U-turn and Volt Switch users can also break Dragonite's Multiscale while simultaneously switching to a counter.
**Status**: Dragonite is highly susceptible to status conditions, especially the Choice Band set, as it lacks the recovery of the Lum Berry. Will-O-Wisp users such as Sableye and Rotom-W can stop Dragonite from doing any significant damage, whereas Pokemon such as Thundurus, Klefki, and Liepard can inflict paralysis with Thunder Wave or even attempt to confuse Dragonite with Swagger.
**Physical Walls**: Defensive Pokemon with reliable recovery can outright stop Dragonite from doing much of anything; these include Suicune, Cresselia, Hippowdon, Skarmory, Slowbro, Quagsire, and Gliscor.
**Serperior**: While the Dragon Dance set is able to boost its Speed and beat Serperior, the Choice Band set is walled by physically defensive Serperior, which can set up Reflect and continue to heal with Synthesis until Dragonite succumbs to recoil from its Rocky Helmet.