Houndoom: Overlooked Anti-Lead?

An overlooked anti-lead

As recent trends show, it's now more important than ever to have a great lead, what with all the suicide leads running around. Lets take a quick look at the most used leads in OU


And now presenting the pokemon that can effictively take on 7 or 8 of the top pokemon and usually come out winning. I've used Houndoom for almost a year now with very positive results

(random cool pic)

Houndoom@ Focus Sash
Early Bird
Timid Nature
252 Spe/252SpA/6HP
-Dark Pulse
-Flamethrower/Fire Blast
-Hidden Power Ground/Wil-o Wisp

Fire/Dark provides amazing coverage in OU. Flamethrower is prefered over Fire Blast since you can't really afford to miss, although the power is nice. Counter is how you can take out/mess up Tyranitar & freinds and net some surprise KOs.HP ground is obviously for Heatran, and WoW can be used to screw over physical attackers like Mence(although I personally run HP). Early Bird over Flash fire because of 'Doom's SR weakness he can't really go around switching to take attacks, and he still sort of has the fire "immunity", since FF is whats expected.

Pros for using 'Doom:
-Great coverage on common OU threats
-Respectable base 110 SpA
-Access to early bird can surprise someone depending on sleep to set up
-Unpredictable moveset
-2 possible immunities, 4 resistances

Cons for using 'Doom
-SR weak
-Kinda slow for OU sweeper standards
-Paper thin defences

Now for how he takes on the top 10

-Azelf: Dark Pulse will net you the 2KO with his Focus Sash, while he cant touch you without exploding(which your Sash will help you survive) and most people know not to test if it's flash fire or not. If he goes for the SR, you still come out on top. Theres almost no way for you to lose to sacrifice lead Azelf. Nasty Plot/Choice leads dont hurt him either unless they U-Turn or carry hidden power fight/ground.

-Tyranitar: This one's a little tricky as excellent prediction is key to taking him out. Sand stream obviously takes out FS, but counter will still work. You can either start with a counter and hope for EQ for the KO, or go with HP to take out a atleast half of his health if you hit twice.The biggest problems are substitute leads and DD leads, as they dont get hit by counter.WoW screws most Tyranitars, but ends up with you dead and no damage on Tyranitar

-Infernape: Probably the hardest matchup of the ten. You'll lose hte matchup if he goes for Fake ut, but HP nets the 2KO if they go for SR. You'll usually lose this one

-Bronzong: A straightforward matchup, you'll easily 2KO with flamethrower on the standard Bornzong, not taking any damage if they go for stealth rocks. arly Bird gives you a good chance at a 1 turn sleep, also.

-Hippowdon: Similar to the Tyranitar matchup, but easier.Counter obviously gives the KO if they go for EQ, while WoW really hurts his physical prowess, and Flamehtrower can 2KO with burn, while you may manage to get a KO if you get a flinch off of Dark Pulse

-Metagross:The matchup varies. Flamethrower is a 2KO on 208HP/224SpD, non-occa Gross, while its a paltry 3KO with Occa variants. Houndoom also doesnt mind getting choice scarfed, while Gross won't like a useless Sash. Many Gross though, will switch out upon seeing Houndoom. And again, WoW screws physical attackers

-Aero: Dark Pulse for the 2KO, since he will most likely go for taunt/SR. Counter is also an option if you think they'll attack

-Ninjask: No real problem here, flamethrower breaks sub and your FS can help bring down the passee

-Gengar: 90% Gengars will go for Focus Blast, which you'll survive or miss, and then go for the OHKO with Dark Pulse.

-Zapdos: A tossup matchup.Zapdos can stall out with a defensive set that you can only hope to 3KO, while you can 2KO offensive sets. Usually a switch out for me

Other useful matchups:
-Scizor: Obviously a winning matchup
-Heatran: The most common switch in, HP ground will take it out if you predict the switch and you outspeed Specstran and LO variants.
-Gyarados: A common lead also, usually with DD. Attack first turn as they DD, expecting a switch, to bait out the attack. Then counter for the KO. You can also WoW
-Salmence: Similar to the Gyara set, but falls to Specs/Scarf variants
-Starmie: Survives the surf and OHKOs with Dark Pulse
-Skarmory/Most steels(Jirachi, Magnezone): Most will switch out, and those who dont eat a SE flamethrower
-Heracross: Outruns CB and survives with FS, takes out with Flamethrower

Chou Toshio

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I only consider my lead to have "won" against a suicide lead if I'm left with 6 fairly useable pokemon after. What I mean is:

enemy: 5 pokes + SR up
You: 5 pokes + Houndoom @1hp

=/= win

I'd much rather have SR up than a houndoom at 1hp.

Also your comment about Gyarados is ridiculous, as any Gyarados lead user worth his salt will Waterfall off the bat. DDing up immediately in a game full of focus sash, scarf users and gengar is ridiculous.
Azelf, Aerodactyl, and Infernape will still get off an easy Stealth Rock, and the latter two carry Super Effective attacks, while Azelf U-Turns away for a respectable amount of damage.

And how useful would Counter really be if this is supposed to be an anti-lead? Counter an attack, but they'll survive since they are running a Sash(assuming the ever so common suicide leads)

I'd prefer Weavile for something like this, since it can Fake Out Sashes and Ice Shard Aerodactyl while using STAB Dark Attacks on Azelf, or Brick Breaking Tyranitar.

Oh, awesome picture by the way.
How is this an anti-lead? It KOs suicide leads after they setup a Stealth Rock, but... aren't Suicide leads supposed to die, anyway? Houndoom might net one KO as a lead with that set, however, any Pokemon abusing a Focus Sash and Counter can do the same thing. Weavile actually does a much better job with Fake Out/Taunt/Counter/Ice Punch imo.

The one thing Houndoom could benefit from is using its lackluster Speed (still being outsped by positive base 100 Pokemon >.>) and Flash Fire to attempt a "sweep".

Let's take a look at these "good" matchups.

From what I've seen, Scizor leads were either Choice Scarfed with U-Turn or, Focus Sashed with Superpower.

ScarfTran (who is most common) wouldn't have a problem getting in safely while slower variants tend to invest a bit more in bulk, allowing for them to take other Heatran's Earth Power's.

Gyarados has no problem Taunting you while Houndoom, in turn, does shit damage to you.

Salamence in general can't even be touched by Houndoom >.>.

Dark Pulse is actually s 2HKO on Starmie.

Steels like that will just switch out and come back in after Houndoom is gone.

Heracross is a common lead?
Let's see:

No answer to Sashes (Fakeout, the rare powerful multi-hit attack)
No access to a move that can prevent them from setting up rocks (Taunt/Trick)
No access to entry hazards of his own (Spikes/Rocks/TSpikes)
Outsped by every suicide lead, thus most can both KO him AND set up rocks (First hit knocks you to sash, you respond with the same. They outspeed with a second hit that knocks you out, they've still got 1 HP left and can set up rocks on your next Pokemon unless it's a priority user. Your outlook is even worse against Anti-Lead Suicide Leads, who can Fake Out then OHKO you before you can do ANYTHING).
Against slower leads, his only option is counter, which is entirely foiled by them setting up instead. Especially as this then reveals your intent to use counter and provides them a free switch to a special attacker or whatever.
Early bird only provides a partial answer to sleep leads.


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As long as the suicide lead gets SR off, it's done its job. You can't "counter" a suicide lead unless you prevent this.
Fake Out weavile is an anti suicide lead. Scarfed iron Head Jirachi is an anti suicide lead. This lead manages to not only let them get down Stealth Rock, but get itself killed in the process.
I tried something very similar to this once:

Houndoom (M) @ Focus Sash
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 40 Atk/216 Spd/252 SAtk
Hasty nature (+Spd, -Def)
- Flamethrower
- Sucker Punch
- Counter
- Dark Pulse

Sucker punch allows you to come out on top against suicide leads (they sr, you dark pulse, then sucker punch on their attack). I put flash fire on as sleep leads are much rarer these days, and lead azelf sometimes carries flamethrower. If Houndoom survives, then it helps the team by affecting the opponent mentally; they will be more reluctant to use fire and psychic type moves. It can sometimes put the emergency stop on a sweep with sucker-punch too.

Overall, it wasn't very effective. But I thought it was worth a shot.

Chou Toshio

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Problem with Sucker Punch is that it is extremely predictable. It's far too easy for the opponent to switch out to any of a number of pokemon that can easily finish off houndoom while taking minimum damage even if it chooses to try to keep sucker punching (houndoom's physical attack is a joke anyway, even with STAB).

Also if you're going for a Sucker Punch mix-attacker Honchkrow outclasses that set in almost every way. Sure it's slower, but with sucker punch and focus sash it's not like speed is your perogative, especially when you're losing to like . . . everything. Save Metagross. Metagross is probably the only common lead houndoom does better against than Honchkrow.

Oh btw Honchkrow also has insomnia (or can go with Super Luck Night Slash since there is no way the enemy will be purposefully using sleep moves on it), and is much more unpredictable with Superpower, Whirlwind (lol ninjask), Icy Wind and a monstrous Pursuit in its movepool. Back in the day when Salamence/Garchomp leads were common, it was a hoot to abuse Mirror Move to steal a swords dance/dragon dance before killing them with their own Outrage/Dragon Claw. lol
Honchkrow can also play mind games with other leads with Pursuit and Sucker Punch while it demolishes things resisting its moves with Superpower.
At the time I made it, I was looking for something to take on both Metagross and suicide leads, so yes, that was why I used it. I'm not saying that it's better than Honchrow, in fact, I agree with you that Honchcrow greatly outclasses Houndoom at this job. I was just throwing my experience out there, namely that Houndoom does this job better with sucker punch, but that it still isn't very good at it.


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I firmly agree with the anti-suicide leads sentiment. I'd much rather have Stealth Rock on a tank so that I can bring it back out later in case my opponent has a Spinner. Besides which, if you're going to spend a team slot JUST to beat the opposing lead, Shaymin-S does that substantially better, in my opinion.
But Houndoom's a Little Bit Brittle, Its Below Average Defenses cant Really Take hits that Much From Boosted non-Super Effective Attacks,
But Houndoom's a Little Bit Brittle, Its Below Average Defenses cant Really Take hits that Much From Boosted non-Super Effective Attacks,
Wait... what does that have to do with anyone's post? If anything, it would only further disagreements about this set. As said, already, it would be much better to stop Stealth Rock rather than have a Houndoom with 1 HP left.

EDIT: I don't think anyone's mentioned that Hidden Power Ground doesn't OHKO a 4 HP/min Timid Heatran >_>.
Cool idea. I like originality. You get an A++ from me for that.

Focus Sash is so prevalent, its not even funny. Why do you think ttar is so popular? Other than obamasnow (pun intended), nothing else truly counters suicide leads as effectively. But I'm with you, cuz apparently nobody else in this thread is cuz they're all critics. Everybody is.

My strategy is to screw what other leads do and just put something tight there... even if i have been known to lead ttar. Hey, i led solrock to. Yes, thats right, in OU. Its surpisingly good, actually.

"Solrock: Overlooked Anti-Lead?"
powerful rock slide+tr+explosion+sr+focus sash is not to be underestimated. And his attack is quite respectable, actually.
Wait... what does that have to do with anyone's post? If anything, it would only further disagreements about this set. As said, already, it would be much better to stop Stealth Rock rather than have a Houndoom with 1 HP left.

It cant Afford Damn Switch-ins Due TO measly Defenses and Stealth Rock And Sandstorm..
It cant Afford Damn Switch-ins Due TO measly Defenses and Stealth Rock And Sandstorm..
It wasn't really meant to switch in on Attacks (or switch out for that matter) according to the op's details on the set.

@luxomaniac- Fast Taunt users, Encore, Tyranitar's Pursuit, Hippowdon's Crunch/Earthquake... anything that can either keep Stealth Rock away, use Stealth Rock and/or that lead as setup fodder, or something that can keep Stealth Rock from being setup again "counters" anti-leads.

Solrock already has a leading set for OU >.>. Or it's already been mentioned.
I recommend you slash in Protect in as an option in the last slot. It does wonders against Infernape leads since Fake Out can only be used on the first turn.
Because obviously, revealing your entire team to your opponent is worth the usually less than amazing damage. Not only that, but your team would have to be stacked with strong physical attackers for it to be any use, although this isn't to say that the team must be entirely physical.
it 2HKOs Blissey no matter what, so it's worth the novelty "lol" factor if your running a team that's purely special but has decent mixed stats(a good example being Azelf).
I used to try anti-leads and even anti-anti-leads, including Houndoom, and they just don't work, especially since, although that list of 10 may be the most used leads, an OU team could have almost any lead.
You're better off leading with a generic physical/special sweeper that you can bring in later.
If anything's "overlooked" about Houndoom, it's Beat Up. It's not even mentioned in the analysis at all.
Probably because Beat Up is at most a 60 base power move that, if I recall correctly, uses the weaker of Houndoom's attack stats.

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