This week we’ll be looking at Hydreigon. Introduced in generation five, Hydreigon has been an interesting Dragon type the sets itself apart from the previous Dragon types. It was the first of the pseudo legendary Dragons to favour special attack over physical attack and also has a unique type combination.
Hydreigon has never been the most popular Dragon in VGC due to competition from the stronger and faster Latios in 2012 and 2013 and Scarf Salamence in 2014. Despite this Hydreigon has seen it’s fair share of success over the years.
I’ve changed up the formatting a bit this week, instead of listing all the moves for a Pokemon I’ll first list the sets and then have a section for the other options.
Hydreigon has fantastic base stats, yet I can’t help feeling like Game Freak went out of their way to troll Hydreigon. Giving it a base speed just below all the base 100s in the game is a major pain for Hydreigon. This low speed stat really holds Hydreigon back against Garchomp, Kangaskhan, and non-Scarf Salamence. Hydreigon’s speed stat is what I attribute its lower usage to, its easy to be a hipster and say I’m going to promote the lesser used Dragon but it sees less usage for a reason.
Speed aside Hydreigon has been blessed with base 125 special attack, giving it the strongest Draco Meteor outside of legendary Pokemon (and only being 5 points behind Latios). 92 HP and 90 in each defence makes Hydreigon fairly bulky.
Dark / Dragon is what sets Hydreigon apart from Salamence. Hydreigon resists Electric meaning it resists all of Rotom’s STAB moves (unless you encounter these rogue Rotom-F and Rotom-A). Dark also gives you resistances to Dark and Ghost as well as an immunity to Psychic. The downside to this typing is that you’re weak to Fighting and Bug. Instead of being 4x weak to Ice Hydreigon is 4x weak to Fairy. This is actually a pretty good trade off as Hydreigon can survive an Ice Beam unlike Salamence and while it gets KO’d by any Fairy move Salamence wasn’t surviving a Fairy move outside of a Dazzling Gleam.
Hydreigon’s only Ability is Levitate. This grants Hydreigon an immunity to Ground type attacks. Having a free immunity is nice, and it lets Hydreigon’s partner use Earthquake with worry.
Choice Specs Hydreigon is one of the strongest special attackers we have in the format (considering most Pokemon with higher Special attack are either a Mega and don’t get to use Choice Specs or don’t have a reliable move with Draco Meteor’s base power). This Hydreigon can smash right through most of the metagame, OHKOing 4 HP / 4 SDef Mega Kangaskhan. Dark Pulse and Dragon Pulse are your reliable STAB moves for when you need to lock into one moves for the rest of the battle. Fire Blast is for Steel types and gets a clean OHKO on Ray’s Mega Mawile.
This spread reaches 140 speed which puts it ahead of neutral nature Rotom and positive nature Smeargle. It’s also considerably faster then DarkAssassin’s Hydreigon so it’ll beat anyone copying his set as well as anyone trying to speed creep that Hydreigon. Ideally I’d be able to invest a bit more into speed as 140 is a good number to settle for but I needed all the remaining EVs for bulk.
20 HP / 60 Def survives Jolly Garchomp’s Dragon Claw and Adamant Mega Kangaskhan’s Return. Being able to take a hit from either of these Pokemon is a major boon to a Pokemon that can’t out speed them. 4 HP / 76 Def survives these attacks all the same, but 4 HP / 68 doesn’t so theres no room to increase speed.
Scarf Hydreigon is kinda like Scarf Salamence, except you always lose the speed tie, you don’t have Intimidate and you hit harder. You could use a Timid nature to beat Modest Scarf Salamence but since you won’t even have Intimidate to give you and indication of which Dragon is faster and you’ll always lose to Timid Salamence I wouldn’t bother trying.
The EV spread is exactly the same as before. I didn’t intend for this to happen but I actually came up with the same one without realizing it. At least you won’t have to worry about retraining a Hydreigon if you switch items. 252 Special Attack is obviously for maximum damage output. 172 Speed puts Hydreigon at 210 speed after the Scarf is applied. This puts you ahead of Mega Manectric and Scarf Smeargle. The remaining was put into HP until I realized I had the same amount of investment left for bulk and could survive the hits the previous set could (although surviving them is less important now that you out speed them).
Life Orb Attacker:
If you don’t want to use Choice items there’s always a Life Orb set. Since we’re using Life Orb there isn’t much point investing in bulk as you’ll finish yourself off with Life Orb recoil.
Flamethrower is an option if you don’t like the 85% accuracy of Fire Blast, but you’ll miss out on KOs against things like Mega Mawile depending on your set.
Hydreigon still learns Earth Power but there isn’t much point to it without Heatran in the format.
Sleep Talk is an option on choice sets to help against Dark Void and Spore.
U-Turn can be used on a Choice Scarf set to scout switches.
Hydreigon gets a couple support moves like Thunder Wave, Taunt and Roost, I wouldn’t recommend any of them but if you want to play Hydreigon that way go for it.
Hydreigon can be made to survive Draco Meteor’s by way of Assault Vest or Haban Berry so that it can respond with its own Dragon move. This can catch opposing Salamence and Hydreigon by surprise.
Some form of speed control is greatly appreciated by Hydreigon. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of options for this in the format. Thunder Wave support is probably the best way to use speed control right now. Hydreigon will enjoy seeing a Salamence or Kangaskhan paralyzed. Gyarados, Miltank, Rotom and Zapdos are all bulky Pokemon that spread paralysis with Thunder Wave.
Follow Me / Rage Powder support is greatly appreciated. Amoonguss is probably the best partner for Hydreigon, being able to tank a Draco Meteor or Fighting move aimed at Hydreigon and using Regenerator to heal itself.
Fairy types will KO Hydreigon with ease. Azumarill can take anything standard Hydreigon can throw it’s way and OHKO in with Play Rough. Gardevoir and Mawile can also OHKO it with their Fairy moves, but both of them need to be wary of at least one of Hydreigon’s moves. Wigglytuff resists Hydreigon’s STAB moves and can KO with Dazzling Gleam.
Outside of Fairy types countering Hydreigon depends on what set its running. A non-Scarf set can be out sped by a number of Pokemon and OHKO’d with their STAB moves. Mega Lucario, Salamence and Hammer Arm Mega Kangaskhan are all examples of this.
Hydreigon isn’t as easy to slap on a team as Garchomp and Salamence, but its still a strong Pokemon and can tear through teams if given the proper support and played properly. I expect this Pokemon to see more play at Nationals but only time will tell if it can oust Salamence as the goto Draco Meteor user.