it's only in our heads
Dragonite is a very effective late-game cleaner due mostly to its high raw damage output and ability to boost its Speed. Its high base 134 Attack and STAB Outrage result in one of the strongest viable moves in the entire metagame, further supported by its great Dragon typing in a meta where only a couple of bulky Steel- and Fairy-type Pokemon, those being Melmetal and Clefable, are commonly used. After using Agility, Dragonite outspeeds the entire unboosted metagame, leaving it free to pick up KOs without interruption. Dragonite is capable of setting up versus several relevant foes thanks to its above average defensive stats and can utilize Roost effectively to heal off any damage before attacking. Its main weakness is common physical tanks, most notably Melmetal and Rhydon, that can take its Earthquakes if kept healthy and retaliate with Ice Punch or Rock Slide, respectively. If pressured into using Outrage prematurely, Dragonite can become fodder for the aforementioned Steel- and Fairy-type Pokemon. Finally, it struggles with a healthy Mew, which can easily burn Dragonite and therefore end its sweep.
name: Agility Cleaner
move 1: Outrage
move 2: Earthquake
move 3: Roost
move 4: Agility
Agility allows Dragonite to outspeed any foe it faces, and Roost allows Dragonite to take advantage of its good defensive stats and notably improves its defensive typing for the turn, a factor that lets it heal off powerful attacks such as Mega Aerodactyl's Rock Slide. Outrage is Dragonite's most powerful attack and provides the main damage output in most scenarios. Earthquake provides good super effective or neutral coverage versus all relevant Outrage responses. Adamant is the absolute best nature for this set, as it helps guarantee KOs versus weakened foes, and extra bulk is generally unnecessary. Jolly might seem good at first glance, as it allows Dragonite to outrun foes such as Eevee-S, Nidoqueen, and Adamant Mega Gyarados before a boost, but extra power is useful in more scenarios.
Dragonite is best saved for the end of the battle when defensive Pokemon and notable threats to it are weakened or outright removed from play, but it can be used earlier on to pick up KOs with Earthquake if necessary. If an opportunity arises late-game for Dragonite to set up, you should generally take it. Dragonite can set up on a good number of Pokemon thanks to its natural bulk and Roost, so don't be afraid to bring it in on foes like Mega Gyarados, Zapdos, Mega Venusaur and Snorlax when the stage is set for it. Use Agility as soon as possible unless Dragonite naturally outspeeds the opponent's remaining Pokemon or you predict a switch to a healthy check. Make liberal use of Roost where sensible to keep Dragonite out of range of more threatening attacks from anything that can still take a hit, such as Rock Slide from Rhydon. Don't lock Dragonite into Outrage until absolutely necessary or it is safe to do so. If Dragonite looks to be unable to clean, don't be afraid to use it as a tank. Its bulk, Roost, and solid damage output let it deal with many common Pokemon like Alolan Muk, Zapdos, and Mega Gengar if necessary.
Mega Beedrill is a very effective partner for Dragonite thanks to the two sharing several common switch-ins, enabling it to force important damage on them in preparation for Dragonite's sweep. In certain matchups, they can even assume reversed roles, with Dragonite utilizing its high damage output earlier on to weaken foes for Mega Beedrill. This works especially well versus teams that rely on Melmetal to check both, as it will be weakened for an easy late-game sweep. This is most significant in matchups where Dragonite isn't given good setup opportunities. Mega Aerodactyl is a good partner for similar reasons to Mega Beedrill, having a better Speed tier, the option of providing Stealth Rock, and defensive value in exchange for weaker STAB and a lack of U-Turn. Poliwrath makes for a good defensive teammate thanks to its good matchup versus Ice-types, Rock-types, and Melmetal. Melmetal itself is also a great teammate, resisting all of Dragonite's weaknesses and appreciating Dragonite's resistances while also providing a response to fast Mega Evolutions like Mega Aerodactyl, Mega Alakazam, and Mega Beedrill, which can threaten Dragonite before it sets up.
Dragonite can attempt to pull off a lure set that capitalizes on the effectiveness of its standard Agility set, taking advantage of its vast movepool that includes options like Fire Blast and Surf, but such a set leaves Dragonite susceptible to offensive counterplay from faster Pokemon. The Agility set can replace Roost with specific coverage to deal more damage to one of its prominent answers, but this lowers the number of safe setup opportunities Dragonite gets drastically.
Checks and Counters
**Physical Tanks**: Pokemon that can take an attack from Dragonite if healthy and OHKO or do high damage to it in return are some of the best answers to it. The most noteworthy examples are Melmetal and Rhydon.
**Mew**: If healthy, Mew can easily put an end to Dragonite's sweeping attempts with Will-O-Wisp from a support set or Ice Beam from a Nasty Plot set.
**Clefable**: Clefable easily deals with Dragonite if it is locked into Outrage, but it takes significant damage from Earthquake.
**Priority Users**: Alolan Sandslash and Cloyster can reliably revenge kill Dragonite with Ice Shard after some prior damage and take a hit if necessary thanks to their respectable bulk. Other priority users such as Sucker Punch Alolan Dugtrio can attempt to revenge kill a weakened Dragonite but must be wary of it using Roost.
- Written by: [[ezaphs, 375272]]
- Quality checked by: [[Hayburner, 291554], [Yoshi, 322194], [Funbot28, 255984]]
- Grammar checked by: [[Estronic, 240732], [The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216]]