QC: Raiza / Anty / WhiteDMist
GP: GatoDelFuego / The Dutch Plumberjack
Rapidash has a niche as one of the few pure physical Fire-types in PU, and it is the best one, as it has superior coverage, higher Speed, and access to instant recovery in Morning Sun over the stronger and bulkier Flareon. Rapidash fits very well on offensive and balanced teams due to its good Speed and Attack, as well as Flash Fire, which grants Rapidash a 1.5 boost to Flare Blitz if it switches into a Fire move. This ability, together with its Fire-typing, also makes Rapidash a great Pokemon on sun teams to cover the Fire weakness that Victreebel, Leafeon, and Sawsbuck create and takes advantage of the sun to augment Flare Blitz and Morning Sun. Rapidash also has access to good coverage moves such as Wild Charge and Drill Run to hit Pokemon hard that resist Flare Blitz. Rapidash's typing is occasionally useful, as coupled with Flash Fire, it makes it a great check to offensive Fire-types such as Ninetales and certain Grass-types; however, it also leaves Rapidash weak to a lot of common attacking types such as Water and Ground and gives it a weakness to all entry hazards. This entry hazard weakness, coupled with recoil moves and low bulk, limits the amount of times Rapidash can switch in if it doesn't get an opportunity to use Morning Sun. Rapidash's coverage moves are also somewhat lacking in power without an item to boost them, but those boosting items come with their own disadvantages, such as extra recoil damage and locking Rapidash into one move.
name: 3 attacks + Morning Sun
move 1: Flare Blitz
move 2: Wild Charge
move 3: Drill Run / Will-O-Wisp
move 4: Morning Sun
item: Charcoal / Leftovers
ability: Flash Fire
evs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Flare Blitz is a strong STAB move that can get a Flash Fire boost if Rapidash switches into a Fire attack. Wild Charge is necessary coverage to hit Water-types such as Pelipper and Poliwrath for super effective damage, which would otherwise wall Rapidash. Drill Run hits Fire-types such as Ninetales and Heatmor, which Rapidash checks with Flash Fire, as well as Rock-types such as Golem. Will-O-Wisp is an option over Drill Run because most Fire-types are already 2HKOed by Wild Charge and most, if not all, bulky Rock-types are crippled by burns. Morning Sun recovers the health Rapidash loses form entry hazards and recoil and avoids Sucker Punch.
The given EV spread, along with a Jolly nature, maximizes Rapidash's Speed so it can revenge kill a fair amount of Pokemon in PU, such as Simipour, Dodrio, and Ninetales. Maximum Attack investment allows Rapidash to hit as hard as possible. Charcoal is the preferred item, as it grants Rapidash a 1.2 boost to Flare Blitz without causing additional recoil damage and allows Rapidash to bluff a Choice item. Leftovers can be used because two out of three of Rapidash's attacking moves cause recoil and it has a weakness to all entry hazards, so recovering some of the health Rapidash loses is useful. Life Orb is an option to give a 1.3 boost to all of Rapidash's attacking moves, but the added recoil and the fact that Rapidash will mostly be using Flare Blitz anyway often makes it an inferior option.
It is important to predict very well early-game, as removing Fire-resistant Pokemon such as Golem and Poliwrath is essential if you want to clean up with Rapidash. Rapidash does have the coverage to hit them, but it needs to hit most Fire-resistant Pokemon on the switch, as it cannot OHKO them. Use Morning Sun on predicted switches to recover the health Rapidash loses due to recoil and entry hazards. Pivot Rapidash into Fire-types, such as Flareon and Ninetales, and defensive Ghost-types that use Will-O-Wisp, such as Misdreavus and Gourgeist, as it can get a Flash Fire boost from Fire moves and defeat opposing Fire-types with Drill Run. Switching into anything else than a resisted or very weak attack is usually a bad idea, as Rapidash's bulk is quite mediocre; Rapidash should often only be brought in to revenge kill Pokemon it outspeeds. Rapidash works best against balanced teams, as it can often break their defensive cores with its strong attacks and good coverage and has the Speed to outrun a lot of offensive threats as well.
Rapidash fits well on offensive teams that struggle with Grass-types or with Ninetales. Entry hazard removers such as Pelipper and Armaldo are good teammates because Rapidash is vulnerable to all kinds of entry hazards. Rapid Spin users are especially good partners because Rapidash appreciates entry hazards on the opponent's side. Grass-types such as Roselia and Jumpluff are good teammates because they cover Rapidash's Water and Ground weaknesses and hit Rock-types for super effective damage. In return, Rapidash checks Ice- and Fire-types such as Regice and Ninetales. Water-types can defeat Ground- and Rock-types for Rapidash. Poliwrath is an especially good teammate, as it resists Rock and Water, two of Rapidash's weaknesses, while Rapidash resists two of Poliwrath's weaknesses in Grass and Fairy. Carracosta is another good offensive teammate, as Rapidash deals with bulky Grass-types such as Tangela and can also lure in Poliwrath and weaken it with Wild Charge, while Carracosta defeats bulky Rock-types for Rapidash. Entry hazards from Pokemon such as Golem and Whirlipede are valuable, as they make it easier for Rapidash to KO Pokemon, such as 2HKO Lickilicky with Flare Blitz and Stealth Rock or one layer of Spikes up. Slow users of U-turn and Volt Switch, such as Volbeat and Probopass, can bring Rapidash in safely without having to risk it taking heavy damage. Volbeat can also set up sun for Rapidash so its STAB moves are augmented and it can use Solar Beam without having to set up sun itself.
Low Kick can be used over Drill Run, as it hits Golem and Aurorus for more damage and also hits Lickilicky hard. However, it misses out on Fire-types. Megahorn hits bulky Psychic-types such as Duosion, Grumpig, and Solrock for huge damage, which would otherwise be a check and counters, respectively. Flame Charge makes it easier for Rapidash to clean up late-game. Baton Pass maintains momentum, but Rapidash does not really have the room for it, as it prefers having better coverage and recovery. The combination of Sunny Day + Solar Beam works well, as it gives Rapidash a better chance to defeat bulky Rock-types such as Golem, Barbaracle, and Carracosta. Rapidash can act as a revenge killer with a Choice Scarf or hit much harder with a Choice Band. Neither is preferred, however, as Rapidash relies highly on its coverage to function. Choice sets should also be used with Baton Pass to not lose momentum.
Checks and Counters
**Rock-types**: Rock-types such as Golem, Carracosta, Barbaracle, and Solrock can take at least one Drill Run, or in the latter's case are immune to it, and KO Rapidash in return with their Rock STAB attack. They can also set up Stealth Rock against Rapidash, or a Shell Smash in Carracosta and Barbaracle's case.
**Bulky Water-types**: Bulky Water-types such as Carracosta and Poliwrath can survive a Wild Charge with ease and KO in return with Scald or set up Stealth Rock or Rain Dance, respectively. It should be noted that Rapidash needs a Life Orb and three layers of Spikes to 2HKO defensive Poliwrath, so not even hitting it with Wild Charge on the switch beats Poliwrath.
**Physically Defensive Pokemon**: Physically defensive Pokemon such as Stunfisk, Piloswine, and Togetic can take a hit from Rapidash and either KO it with their STAB moves or cripple it with status. However, due to a lack of a Fire resistance they often cannot switch in.
**Faster Pokemon**: Faster Pokemon such as Purugly, Raichu, and Floatzel can outspeed Rapidash and can take care of it with their STAB moves. It doesn't matter if they hit Rapidash for super effective damage or not, as Rapidash is quite frail and easy to wear down.
**Priority Moves**: Strong or super effective priority moves such as Sucker Punch and Aqua Jet from Pawniard and Carracosta can take care of Rapidash with just a little prior damage, which is very easy to get, as Rapidash gets worn down really easily. They can also set up a Swords Dance or Shell Smash as Rapidash is forced to switch out.
**Residual Damange**: Due to a weakness to all entry hazards and the use of recoil moves, Rapidash tends to faint very fast if it does not get an opportunity to use Morning Sun.