Doubles Spotlight: Heatran

By Joim. Art by Bummer.
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Heatran is well-known by OU players. It's a very versatile Pokémon that has the solid niche of countering and checking a lot of OU threats, as well as having two handy immunities. In DPP, it was the Pokémon most used, and that's no wonder. As the main anti-meta Pokémon, it countered most dangerous DPP OU threats with its excellent Choice Scarf set, which helped with its limited Speed. In BW OU it's maintained its usage at the top, overthrown from top 1 by Scizor, Genesect earlier on, and Politoed; however, it's still there as it has many tools to shine and fit into a lot of teams with either its specially defensive set, soaking all kinds of attacks, or its offensive set, denting with powerful Fire Blasts even for foes that resist it. In Doubles, it's even more versatile and scary as it has access to the two most powerful spread attacks in the game, as well as many other moves that help it get around its checks.

Heatran's Qualities

When you take a first sight at Heatran's stats, what shines most is its impressive Special Attack and good defenses; moreover, it has a very good ability and a decent movepool on top of all that. It can fit in either a Trick Room team or a Tailwind team, being able to fit perfectly with a lot of teammates. It has access to both Eruption and Heat Wave, the best Fire-type spread moves; it can use Earth Power to get past other Flash Fire users; and even Dragon Pulse or Dark Pulse for Latios and Latias. While Eruption's requirement of a Speed-hindering nature is unwelcome in singles, it fits perfectly in a Trick Room Doubles team; you can put the Speed IVs to 0, invest EVs in HP and Special Attack and call it a day. While some dangerous foes like Politoed or Jellicent might still be faster in Trick Room, Heatran will usually move first, obliterating its enemies before they can even move. Flash Fire is an awesome ability that lets Heatran soak other Eruptions and Heat Waves, making itself stronger at the same time. It's a very good tool in a metagame infested by spread attacks like those, helping your team overcome those opponents.

Playing with Heatran

Heatran has different styles of playing, even though they're similar. The most powerful and devastating Heatran is Trick Room Eruptran. Packing 0 IVs on Speed and 0 EVs, and using an EV spread of 252 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD, this behemoth is ready to start firing Eruptions. What's more, Heatran is unique as it can get a Flash Fire boost, a Sunny Day boost, and a Helping Hand boost all along with Eruption. Practically nothing bar a few extremely high Special Defensive Pokémon or 4x resistant Pokémon can survive that hit. That strategy requires a lot of set-up, though, and you have to be wary of the multiple Fake Outs, Close Combats, and Surfs around. You will usually lead with Heatran unless the opposing team is threatening to him, then you will try to get rid of those first. If you see a Politoed, a Kingdra, or some strong Close Combat user like Fighting Gem Hitmontop, you better be careful and dispose of those first. The best comrade to set up Trick Room Eruptran is either Dusclops or Dusknoir, depending on what you prefer: insane bulk or one turn Taunt protection. The first has gargantuan bulk thanks to Eviolite, whereas the latter can hold Mental Herb while retaining decent bulk. Either Ghost-type can provide Trick Room and Sunny Day, use Fire Punch or Will-O-Wisp on Heatran to give him a Flash Fire boost, and support him with Helping Hand. Usually Heatran will use Protect the same turn in which its partner uses Trick Room, ensuring that Heatran will be at full health to use the most powerful Eruption possible. It's better to use Charcoal on this Heatran, as Life Orb hurts Heatran's Eruption's Base Power, and damage reduction Berries are only a small boost on Eruption's duration, so Charcoal will be generally better as it boosts both Eruption and Heat Wave at all health levels and at all turns.

Non-Trick Room Heatran will usually try to get Tailwind buff and then start KOing foes with powerful Heat Waves or Fire Blasts, using Earth Power for other Heatran and Chandelure. As with most Doubles Pokémon, it must use Protect to be sure that nothing will KO it during the Tailwind turn. The moveslot left by Eruption allows you to choose one of the several useful Heatran's moves for replacement; for example, you could go with Dark Pulse to deal with Jellicent, Latios, and Latias. Item wise, you'll probably be better off using a Chople Berry to take an incoming Close Combat, as Charcoal will only boost the power of Heat Wave or Fire Blast anyways, and the presence of any Wide Guard user will render the former move useless; basically Hitmontop forces you to switch, whereas with Chople Berry you can risk it and finish off a wounded Pokémon.

But that's not everything Heatran can do! You can team it up with Cresselia and make it use Skill Swap so Heatran gains Levitate, getting rid of its worst weakness. While a bit gimmicky, this tactic might surprise your opponents greatly and they'll have to resort to Fighting- and Water-type attacks to damage Heatran. You can also run Sunny Day on non-Trick Room Heatran, which helps both boosting its Heat Wave and halving its Water weakness, leaving these attacks as neutral and at the same time denying the Drizzle boost to the Water-type foes.

Playing against Heatran

Heatran totally hates rain and 4x Fire-resistant Pokémon like Kingdra. They will take little damage from its attacks and they can severely hurt or directly KO him. It also hates slow Pokémon that resist its attacks like Gastrodon that will also move faster in Trick Room and easily walls him. Gastrodon is very dangerous as it will survive any hit and KO back with Earth Power, and it will move first in Trick Room against Heatran no matter what. Taunt users are detrimental especially to Trick Room Heatran, as they can shut off Trick Room users until you get rid of them. Prankster Thundurus is a nightmare to all kind of set up teams, making it impossible to set up anything until you faint it. Generally, it will have problems playing against teams that use any combination of Earthquake, Rock Slide, and Discharge, as these teams can usually spam these moves constantly no matter what their active Pokémon are. If there's a danger of Earthquake, Heatran won't appear in the match until the end-game. Focus Blast, while unreliable, dents Heatran seriously. Darkrai on a Gravity team is seriously dangerous, as it will put a Pokémon to sleep and it can destroy Heatran easily before Heatran can KO it.

Fitting Heatran in your team

Heatran fits well on most teams; however, you will rather build your team around Heatran rather than otherwise. It appreciates Sunny Day and Trick Room support for Eruption, so Cresselia and Dusclops or Dusknoir are the premier teammates. While Ninetales provides Drought, it can only dish out decent damage with Heat Wave and use Confuse Ray, so use it only at your own risk. Fake Out and Intimidate users make it easier for Heatran's teammate to survive and to set Trick Room, so both Hitmontop and Scrafty provide excellent support for Heatran and your Trick Room team. Zapdos is a great Discharge and Heat Wave user, and the latter gets boosted by Sunny Day, so if you plan to have sun up often, the bird threatens Heatran's foes and can profit from the same team archetype. Alongside Zapdos, you could pack Garchomp with its nice typing to team it up with Zapdos given the need, or you could use a Gastrodon or a Ludicolo yourself to deal with rain. Victini in sun simply wrecks everything with the ridiculously high Base Power V-Create, so always consider it on your team with Heatran. You should never use Heatran on a Drizzle team or a team that relies on Surf or Muddy Water spam; other than that, it's welcome on Trick Room, Tailwind, and Thunder Wave teams.

Get out there!

Heatran is simply put an awesome Pokémon that can work in different team archetypes. It has the most powerful spread attack too, so don't hesitate to try it to fry your opponents! It's no wonder it's been at top percentage of usage on OU for so long; what's a mystery is that it's not being used that much in Doubles, mainly due to being overshadowed by rain teams, but if you trust in him, it won't fail you!

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