Featured OU Pokémon: Terrakion

By Harsha. Art by paintseagull.
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Terrakion has always been a fearsome brute, but it was not always the overused powerhouse it is now. In fact, at the incipience of BW, Excadrill dominated the metagame, so much so that people tended to assume that only Air Balloon Terrakion would be valuable. It was commonly seen boasting a double dance set, but otherwise, Excadrill was considered the superior sand-enhanced Pokémon. Things changed when Excadrill got the boot from OU, though—people began to realize that Terrakion was actually a sweet Pokémon. After hanging in mediocrity at near the 40th most popular Pokémon mark, Terrakion's usage began to swell. People began using the incredible Speed of the Choice Scarf set or the immediate breaking power of the Choice Band set to complement offensive teams. Soon, people discovered that Terrakion could force switches and boost with Swords Dance, and with a Rock Gem, it could break through even the bulkiest of physically defensive walls such as Slowbro, Gliscor, and Skarmory.

BW2 has only made Terrakion better, giving it new toys in the form of Salac Berry and Stealth Rock. Terrakion could now pose as an effective lead, or it could sweep teams without worrying about a revenge killer taking it down. While Terrakion's history is somewhat shallow (given that it's a fifth generation Pokémon, this should be no surprise), its history is that of a powerful Pokémon that has always reigned supreme over the OU metagame.

Terrakion's Qualities

Terrakion has many stellar qualities that make it a good choice in the OU metagame. For one, its blistering base 108 Speed leaves it only outpaced by very few Pokémon. Its high base Attack allows it to punch big holes in opposing teams without too much trouble. With great coverage between just its two STABs, Terrakion has all it needs to be a force in this frail metagame. Access to both Swords Dance and Rock Polish gives it the tools it needs to keep opponents on their toes, while Choice Scarf, Choice Band, Life Orb, Salac Berry, and Rock Gem can give Terrakion the small boost it needs to decimate the opponent. Terrakion's largest flaw is its weakness to common priority moves in Bullet Punch (from Scizor) and Mach Punch (from Breloom), but these can easily be avoided through either luring these Pokémon out and wearing them down or the use of Substitute.

Playing with Terrakion

Playing with Terrakion is entirely dependent on what set you're running. If you are going with a Focus Sash Terrakion that carries Stealth Rock, leading with it against teams that lack spinners generally works best, as doing so forces the opponent to take Stealth Rock damage throughout the entire match. With Taunt, it provides an especially good lead against Deoxys-D teams, as it can prevent the opponent from laying hazards and deal heavy damage to opposing sweepers. With Swords Dance in Taunt's place, Terrakion can set up and punch holes in more defensive teams.

With the Choice Band set, the only moves you should ever be using are Close Combat and Stone Edge, though even Stone Edge will see far less use than Close Combat. Unless the opponent has a Ghost-type, Gliscor, or Landorus-T aboard, Terrakion's Close Combat will make every Pokémon cower in fear. Stone Edge is useful when your opponent has a Gengar or Jellicent, but otherwise it won't be used very much. With a Choice Scarf, Terrakion might have the same moveset, but its role is completely different. As a revenge killer, Terrakion enjoys good coverage between its two STABs, and what it can't pick off with its STABs falls to Earthquake and X-Scissor. Like any other revenge killer, Terrakion will only be brought out to KO a Pokémon that has been weakened already, but due to the high power behind its attacks, Terrakion can come out against healthier Pokémon than most other revenge killers can.

Dancing sweepers simply need to find the right time to come out. When you find an opposing Tyranitar locked into Pursuit and your opponent's team is sufficiently weakened, you know it is the right time to send out Terrakion and either set up a Substitute or boost the appropriate stat. Oftentimes, sending out a Latios to bait Tyranitar to Pursuit works well, as it provides an opportunity for Terrakion to come in for free. Sending Terrakion out and risking taking damage is generally not the best strategy, but with good prediction it can work.

Playing Against Terrakion

One of the hardest things to do against a Terrakion is finding a Pokémon that can directly switch into its onslaught. However, before you need to do that, you should always try scouting out its set. Relatively speaking, a Choice Scarf Terrakion will have many more switch-ins than a Choice Band Terrakion due to the sheer damage output, but a Choice Band Terrakion and a Rock Gem SubSD Terrakion will have a different set of switch-ins entirely. Step one in playing against Terrakion is deducing what set it runs. From here, you can take the appropriate course of action.

If you see a Terrakion lead against you, you can almost be certain that it's a Focus Sash lead Terrakion, unless of course your team is so outrageously weak to Choice Band Terrakion that it can clean up right off the bat. Preventing an opposing Terrakion from laying Stealth Rock is quite difficult because you never know what move it will use, and very few Pokémon can actually outpace Terrakion. Additionally, with a Focus Sash, it will land at least one move. A better strategy here is to take care of Terrakion by KOing it quickly with a Pokémon that can deal with it effectively and then use Rapid Spin later on in the match. If you don't take care of Terrakion quickly enough, it may come back later on in the match to set up a Swords Dance and sweep!

The Choice Band and Choice Scarf sets require some prediction to bypass, but one needs to remember that the Choice Scarf set is fairly weak (compared to the Choice Band set), and it will only make an appearance against a Pokémon that has been weakened. Dealing with it generally comes down to choosing the appropriate switch-in; a Hippowdon, Gliscor, Landorus-T, or any such Pokémon works fairly well. However, Hippowdon and Gliscor have to be very careful when switching into the Choice Band set. A mixed wall Hippowdon is actually 2HKOed by Terrakion's Close Combat, while Gliscor has to be very wary of Stone Edge. Landorus-T is a great switch-in to Terrakion due to its ability, Intimidate, but it does not have reliable recovery aside from Leftovers, so it needs to be in good condition in order to check Terrakion.

A big aspect of playing against Terrakion is limiting opposing setups. You will always want to have momentum on your side from turn one, since if Terrakion can get a Substitute or boost in against your Choice-locked Tyranitar, you'll be in plenty of trouble. Winning the battle starts with lead match-up. You want to be able to grab momentum as early as you can so that you can keep the Terrakion at bay and hopefully KO it. If it isn't a SubSD variant, revenge killing it is not very hard, as there are plenty of Pokémon that carry either Bullet Punch or Mach Punch or that simply outpace it. Variants with Substitute will need to be played around very carefully, as one wrong move means that you will be swept.

Always make sure that you have a Pokémon that resists Rock and Fighting moves, as otherwise Terrakion is free to spam Close Combat and Stone Edge. Good Pokémon to consider defensively include Hippowdon, Gliscor, Landorus-T, Latias, and Tangrowth. Offensively, Dugtrio, Scizor, and Breloom all make good checks to Terrakion, as Dugtrio can trap it and KO after a Close Combat Defense drop (or tank a hit with Focus Sash and 2HKO Terrakion), and Scizor and Breloom carry super effective priority.

Fitting Terrakion Onto Your Team

Fitting Terrakion onto your team isn't very hard to do; it fits on nearly any offensively based team, and it can work well on even balanced teams due to its diversity. If you need a lead that fares well against Deoxys-D teams, look no further. If you are looking for a wallbreaker that can harass even Skarmory and Gliscor, this is your man. A late-game sweeper that can run through weakened teams? This guy right here. A Choice Scarf user that outpaces nearly the entire metagame? You probably see where I'm going at this point. Whatever offensive role you need filled, Terrakion does the job quite nicely. Just be sure to pack the correct support to make its job easier, otherwise you might be in a bit of a pinch if the opponent tries to bring too many physical walls. Of course, this problem can be remedied by using a Calm Mind set with Hidden Power Ice, Focus Blast, and Hyper Beam!

Get Out There!

Terrakion is really an embodiment of the BW2 metagame. No, it is NOT rain. Instead, it represents brute force, the force it takes to blow by an opposing team with little resistance. As one of the heaviest hitters and biggest threats in OU, you'll have no problem trying to fit it on your teams, and you should have even less trouble using its sheer power. What are you waiting for? Get out there and take this behemoth out for a spin, as it surely won't disappoint.

A note: The use of Calm Mind Terrakion is in no way, shape, or form condoned by Smogon University. We take no responsibility for any ill experiences caused by its use.

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