Featured Pokemon: Thundurus

By SevenDeadlySins. Art by HellaHellaStyle and Fatecrashers.
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As the Electric-type member of this generation's "genie trio", it was easy to see from day 1 that Thundurus would take the metagame by storm. With a solid offensive movepool, excellent offensive stats, and even a respectable support movepool, Thundurus's striking versatility and exceptional power made it a top threat from day 1. On top of that, it's one of the few new threats to persist in its popularity, and still enjoys a position in the top 15 most used Pokemon in Generation V. Its presence is so notable that it may singlehandedly be responsible for Swampert's continued presence in OU, and its ability to terrorize both offensive and defensive teams is legendary.

Thundurus's Qualities

One look at Thundurus and it's obvious that it's going to be an offensive juggernaut. Its 115 / 125 offensive stats allow it to do enormous damage with its powerful STABs, and its 111 Speed just barely outpaces notable offensive Pokemon such as Gengar and Latios/Latias. This is even more notable when you consider its solid offensive movepool. Even though it's rather small, its movepool is targeted enough to be extremely effective, similar to how Infernape's movepool was just precise enough to be excellent in Generation 4. Thunderbolt is an incredible STAB, and on top of that, Drizzle from Politoed allows Thundurus to abuse the ridiculously powerful STAB Thunder. Hidden Power Ice, Focus Blast, and Grass Knot round out Thundurus's movepool perfectly, giving it coverage against Ground-types, Grass-types, and Ferrothorn. However, it also has the option of running a Life Orb and 36 Attack EVs, which gives Hammer Arm the power to OHKO 252 HP Tyranitar, something that many rain abusers wish they could manage.

Thundurus also has access to Nasty Plot, which makes it an incredible sweeper capable of plowing through teams. At +2, Timid Thundurus hits 698 Special Attack, which is incredible when boosted by a Life Orb, and doubly incredible when you consider its access to a 120 BP STAB in the form of Thunder. Its coverage is nearly impeccable, and the only thing it really needs to gamble on is Focus Blast's shaky accuracy. It can even plow through the common Water/Ground "counters" if it foregoes Focus Blast for Grass Knot, though that means that the ever-present Ferrothorn needs to be killed or significantly weakened in order to get a successful sweep off.

If you're not looking for a sweeper, Thundurus can also pack a Choice Scarf to be a potent revenge killer. Access to U-turn makes it a fantastic scout, and it can also outspeed every single Dragon Dance user in the game and nail them with a powerful Hidden Power Ice. Or if Choice Scarf's not your game, you can use a set that takes advantage of Thundurus's ability, Prankster. Utilising +1 priority Substitute, Taunt, and Thunder Wave, Thundurus can act as a solid scout and all-purpose check to non-Ground-type sweepers. Prankster also gives Thundurus the ability to Nasty Plot before opponents can get a Taunt off.

Playing with Thundurus

The first thing to do is pick a set for Thundurus, which is usually based on the team it's fitting into. Drizzle teams appreciate the incredible power of STAB Thunder, and you can also use it as a Tyranitar lure with Hammer Arm, letting you set up the neverending rain that keeps your team running. However, many teams are "wise to this" by now, so it might take a little gutsier play to hit Tyranitar with Hammer Arm in the current metagame. Otherwise, Thundurus is great at coming in and out, threatening stuff with its incredible STAB and solid coverage. Just try and keep rocks off the field.

However, if you're looking for an attacker that can also serve as an impromptu check to nearly every single fast sweeper in the game (that's not immune to Electric), Thundurus can abuse priority Thunder Wave to protect yourself from fearsome sweepers like DD Haxorus, opposing Thundurus, Quiver Dance Volcarona, and even some notable Scarfed Pokemon, such as the Latis, Jirachi, and Hydreigon. Even though Thundurus usually has to sacrifice itself to pull this off, it's worth it to fully stop a sweep that would otherwise cost you the game.

Despite all of its other options, the most fearsome Thundurus set is by far the Nasty Plot sweeper set. After a Nasty Plot, its 698 Special Attack and fantastic coverage makes it incredibly difficult to take down if your opponent doesn't have something faster than it, and at 353 Speed, that's not a lot of potential checks. The only real issue with it is that Focus Blast tends to miss at the most inopportune times, leading Thundurus to eat Thunder Waves from Ferrothorn or Stone Edges / Ice Beams from Tyranitar, which can cut a good sweep short. However, barring bad luck, there are a great many games that just straight up are over as soon as Thundurus gets that Nasty Plot off.

Playing Against Thundurus

The level of threat that Thundurus poses to your team depends on its set as well as its team, so the first thing to do is try and figure out how to scout it. If it's on a rain team, there's a good chance that it's running Thunder, so canceling out the rain with weather of your own can help to make Thundurus a little less reliable for your opponent. That said, unless that weather is sun, this isn't an insta-stop- all it does is reduce Thunder's accuracy to 70%, but it doesn't make Thundurus any less powerful, so don't think that just because rain isn't up that Thundurus is useless. You'll still get swept by a rainless Thunder every once in a while.

There also isn't much you can do about the Thunder Wave set other than use sweepers that are immune to Electric like Jolteon, Landorus, and Mamoswine. Unfortunately, nearly every Thundurus carries HP Ice, which these sweepers do not enjoy taking at all. Still, it's good to keep in mind that Scarfed Landorus and Mamoswine can switch into Thundurus's Electric-type attacks without taking any damage and instantly take it out.

There's also the issue of the Water/Ground Pokemon. These Pokemon are immune to Thundurus's STAB Thunder(bolt) and take neutral damage from its other moves. Gastrodon, Swampert, and Quagsire are each capable of dealing with Thundurus, since the first two have the bulk to take a +2 Focus Blast and the latter has Unaware to cancel out the Nasty Plot bonus. However, it's risky running only Ground/Water types as your check to Thundurus, as it still has access to Grass Knot, which will easily take them out. They're still reliable against the most common sets, but don't rely on them and them alone.

Fitting Thundurus Onto Your Team

Thundurus isn't a Pokemon in need of a ton of support. Just soften up some walls, give it a little rain, and watch it do wonders.

Environmental Factors

Obviously Drizzle is a big part of Thundurus's power game, as it gives it somewhere around 27% more power on its main STAB while eliminating Thunders drawback of 70% accuracy. Therefore, Politoed is a natural teammate for Thundurus. It's also important to try and keep Stealth Rock off of the field, simply because the 25% cut to Thundurus's life prevents it from switching in repeatedly. There are a couple ways to go about this- Espeon and Xatu can use their Magic Bounce ability to reflect Stealth Rock back at their user, but they're a bit frail and hard to fit into a rain team. The more likely way to go about it is with a Rapid Spinner. Forretress and Starmie both benefit from rain- the former gets a cut in the Fire-type damage it takes, while the latter gets a powered up Surf / Hydro Pump as well as a 100% accurate Thunder. Either one works fine, it's just a matter of preference.


Thundurus's teammates really depend on the set it's running. If it's running a support set, then it doesn't need much explicit support, but if it's running Nasty Plot, it's gonna need at least a little help to plow through teams. Blissey is always a thorn in Thundurus's side, though it's hard for Blissey to wall Thundurus if it's at low enough HP. As a result, running a Blissey trapper like Scizor can really help the team shine. Even if it doesn't take out Blissey, every little bit of damage increases the chance that Thundurus will be able to break through Blissey when it's actually time to sweep.

Get Out There!

Putting the teeth back in the legendary trios of the game, Thundurus is the vanguard of a new offensive metagame, and definitely raises the bar for special sweepers in Generation 5. If you're looking for something to charge up your team, drop in Thundurus and watch teams fall before his awesome might.

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