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OU Forum Head
Nidoking is equipped with an incredible STAB combination that is amplified by its ability Sheer Force and a Life Orb, allowing it to operate as a powerful special wallbreaker despite its mediocre base Special Attack. In addition, it boasts phenomenal coverage options such as Thunderbolt, Flamethrower, and Ice Beam that allow it to reliably pressure switch-ins to its STAB attacks such as Slowking, Corviknight, Ferrothorn, and Landorus-T. Nidoking's defensive typing is solid as well, letting it take advantage of Pokemon like Tapu Koko and Clefable for wallbreaking opportunities as well as providing it with a handy Toxic and Thunder Wave immunity. However, its bulk and Speed tier leave much to be desired. It is very prone to being revenge killed by faster threats like offensive Landorus-T, Garchomp, and Tapu Lele and struggles to find natural wallbreaking opportunities due to its frailty, relying on pivoting allies that can switch it in safely. Despite its good defensive typing, Nidoking's fragility also makes it difficult to utilize consistently, especially if it sustains prior chip damage. On top of this, Nidoking is reliant on its item to do damage due to its mediocre Special Attack, making it susceptible to Knock Off. This can be particularly troublesome against Clefable, which Nidoking can otherwise take advantage of. Special walls such as Blissey and Slowking are problematic as well, having no qualms switching into most of its attacks and gaining momentum on its escape with Teleport.
move 1: Sludge Wave
move 2: Earth Power
move 3: Thunderbolt / Thunder
move 4: Flamethrower / Ice Beam
item: Life Orb
ability: Sheer Force
nature: Modest / Timid
evs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Nidoking uses Thunderbolt as its most consistent coverage option, super effectively damaging Slowking and Corviknight. Thunder is an alternative that applies much more pressure to Slowking and OHKOes Tornadus-T as they switch in at the cost of a lower accuracy; however, a Modest nature is necessary if Thunder is used to create a more favorable roll to KO Slowking with a subsequent Sludge Wave. Flamethrower is another coverage option that reliably OHKOes Ferrothorn and Scizor and can apply pressure to Landorus-T switch-ins. Alternatively, Ice Beam targets Landorus-T and Garchomp but gives Nidoking a more difficult time in pressuring Ferrothorn, which can take advantage of it by using Knock Off, Leech Seed, or Spikes. Substitute is another option that lets Nidoking fully capitalize on a forced switch and safely force damage on a target of its choice without the threat of being knocked out beforehand, which greatly eases the need for prediction, but forces Nidoking to drop an additional coverage option. A Modest nature provides the Nidoking user with a more fruitful damage output and a much more favorable roll to 2HKO Slowking with Thunderbolt. However, Timid allows Nidoking to outspeed Tapu Bulu, Modest Tapu Lele, and Zapdos.
Nidoking's inability to find many natural wallbreaking opportunities makes it a phenomenal partner with offensive pivots such as Tapu Koko and Dragapult that can provide it with opportunities to switch in safely. The former is able to apply great pressure to checks like Corviknight and Slowking while pivoting against bulky Grass-types like Ferrothorn; its Electric Terrain, additionally, boosts Nidoking's Thunderbolt, which is prominent against Slowking. The latter pivots against bulky Fairy-types like Tapu Fini and Clefable while applying pressure to Slowking with its Ghost-type STAB attacks. Additionally, it is capable of utilizing Thunder Wave to slow down Pokemon such as Tornadus-T, turning them into wallbreaking fodder for Nidoking. Nidoking also pairs well with defensive pivots like Corviknight and Rotom-W, which give Nidoking a safe wallbreaking opportunity against Electric-types like Tapu Koko and Grass-types like Tangrowth. They, additionally, can give Nidoking a good escape option against potential revenge killers like Tapu Lele for Corviknight and Landorus-T in Rotom-W's case. Slowking can also find good pivoting opportunities against Tapu Koko and Tangrowth while giving Nidoking the ability to exploit Toxapex for a wallbreaking opportunity. In addition, entry hazards and Knock Off are valuable tools that can greatly aid Nidoking's wallbreaking abilities by forcing checks like Slowking and Landorus-T to fold to its coverage. Ferrothorn, for example, boasts access to Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Knock Off to remove Slowking's Heavy-Duty Boots and more effectively pressure it. Landorus-T is also capable of using Stealth Rock and Knock Off, as well as pivoting against opposing Tangrowth, Ferrothorn, and Tapu Fini with U-turn and providing Nidoking with a wallbreaking opportunity. Clefable is also a solid Stealth Rock setter that has access to Knock Off.
Taunt allows Nidoking to exploit its small subset of switch-ins by incapacitating most forms of progress, such as Teleport and entry hazard removal, or hazard setup. Taunt mainly punishes Blissey, greatly limiting its utility and providing the Nidoking user with an opportunity to capitalize on it. However, Taunt is a move that needs to be used aggressively to get value, which can conflict with Nidoking's role as a wallbreaker. Alternatively, Focus Punch can be used for the luring and dispatching of Blissey, putting it in range of a subsequent STAB move. This can open Nidoking for more wallbreaking opportunities against teams that are overreliant on Blissey as their special backbone; however, Focus Punch is extremely matchup reliant and has little to no utility against other Pokemon. Lastly, Stealth Rock can be used on teams lacking a Stealth Rock setter, enabling Nidoking to set the hazard on forced switches. Though, using the move limits Nidoking's wallbreaking potential greatly.
Checks and Counters
**Faster Pokemon**: Nidoking is extremely susceptible to revenge killing from a wide range of offensive Pokemon like Landorus-T, Rillaboom, Dragapult, and Urshifu-R that can take advantage of its mediocre bulk and Speed tier to force it out and create progress with options such as Stealth Rock, Knock Off, and U-turn.
**Ground-types**: Landorus-T and Garchomp can scare out Nidoking with their greater Speed and super effective STAB attacks. Landorus-T, particularly, is not bothered by Nidoking's STAB attacks but can easily be overwhelmed by its coverage if utilized recklessly. Gastrodon and Swampert, additionally, are willing to take on Nidoking and scare it out with their respective STAB moves; the latter, however, can also be overwhelmed due to its lack of reliable recovery.
**Specially Defensive Pokemon**: Blissey is a counter to most Nidoking variants that can reliably switch into any one of its special attacks, being only somewhat deterred by Taunt and the situational Focus Punch. Galarian Slowking, Slowking, and Tyranitar are also capable of taking its hits if healthy.
**Item Removal**: Nidoking is reliant on its Life Orb to for its damage output; for this reason, Nidoking losing its Life Orb to Knock Off or Trick greatly mitigates the threat of its power. Additionally, given Knock Off's prevalence, Nidoking's susceptibility to the move allows Knock Off users to safely force progress using it against the Nidoking user's team.
- Written by: [[ausma, 360720]]
- Quality checked by: [[curiosity, 443485], [Jordy, 395754]]
- Grammar checked by: [[The Dutch Plumberjack, 232216], [Estronic, 240732]]