Welcome delicious PUCLonians to your destructio…I mean Pokemon of the Week. This week we will be investigating the trail of chaos left behind by the brutal Hydreigon. I wanted to make the intro a bickering conversation between the three heads but that will have to wait until Dodrio is our subject because the Pokedex has informed me that the heads on the arms do not have brains to converse with! I was never invested too heavily into Generation V so I missed Hydreigon’s reign of terror which is why I am so excited to learn more about it today.
Description: The Brutal Pokemon
Type: Dark / Dragon
Hidden Ability: N/A
Competitive: [Smogon UU] [Smogon OU] [PokeaimMD]
Evolution: Deino -> Level 50 -> Zweilous -> Level 64 -> Hydreigon
Origin: Hydreigon’s inspiration is actually well documented if you check out its Bulbapedia entry. It is based on the mythical Japanese dragon Yamata no Orochi and if you are interested there is a very short passage from the myth to read there. The purple tank treads on its belly are from a previous tank-inspired design. Its name is a combination of Hydra, drei (German for 3), and dragon. Its previous evolutions also include the German words that match their number of heads, zwei is 2, and eins is 1.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Black and White
Dex Entry [Black]:This brutal Pokémon travels the skies on its six wings. Anything that moves seems like a foe to it, triggering its attack.
Hydreigon has some of the most ferocious dex entries of any Pokemon I have seen, which is fitting for a Pokemon labelled as the Brutal Pokemon. Everything from its appearance, to its behavior, to its origins, scream monster and that is exactly what it is in battle too. As we go through this article, try to remember (imagine in my case) what this typing did before the existence of Fairy type, terrifying.
Hydreigon has only one ability, typical of Levitate, but gaining a Ground immunity is a powerful trait. Its stats are well balanced with a minimum of 90. They lean towards Special Attacker though with a SpAtt of 126(!) and a Speed of 98. Unfortunately, this Speed puts it just under the key 100 base tier where as its predecessor Garchomp benefitted from being just over that mark at 102. Hydreigon has a really poor level-up move set, with only Crunch, Dragon Pulse, and Outrage as decent moves and all available else where (and who would blame you for using a Heartscale when Outrage is learned as late as level 79). However, it does gain a lot of coverage from TMs, tutors, and Egg moves. Almost universal coverage on the Physical side and on the more important Special side it gets Draco Meteor, Dark Pulse, Flash Cannon, Flamethrower, Focus Blast, and Earth Power to name a few. For utility it has access to Roost, Taunt, and U-Turn.
I wanted to make some notes about Zweilous and Deino here. First off, I can’t imagine what is was like in Gen V trying to raise a Deino into a Zweilous when it doesn’t evolve until Level 50, at that point it could be facing a fully evolved Haxorus. A neat bit of trivia on Bubapedia is that each evolution learns a normal type move that attacks for each head, Tackle, Double Hit, and Tri Attack. You know what they say about two heads being better than one, well three is even more Special.
Hydreigon almost always runs Timid to boost its Speed alongside powerful STABs in Dark Pulse and Draco Meteor. I could see some cases being made for Naive/Hasty if you add in Superpower/U-Turn to your set. Speaking of U-turn, the most popular set uses Choice Scarf where this move fits nicely. The fourth moveslot is normally filled by a coverage move, I would recommend choosing between Focus Blast/Earth Power (Empoleon), Fire Blast (Scizor), and Flash Cannon (Ninetales-Alolan) depending on your expected checks. I tried to give some examples of checks from UU. Other sets run similar to this one but with Life Orb or Choice Specs options. Of course Smogon will have the details! I like the Choice Scarf version personally because it gains you momentum every time you come in to play, even if they have a counter like Sylveon you can always U-Turn out. Of course this version will need more support from hazards to get the opponent in range of a KO compared to its harder hitting counterparts.
I had a tough time coming up with a fun set for Hydreigon. All of the Hyper Offensive sets are already standard because they fit Hydreigon so well. I think that Taunt is a well appreciated but underused move which is why I like the following set. Taunt, Roost, Dragon Pulse/Draco Meteor, and Dark Pulse to deal with some bulkier Pokemon in the tier. Replacing the Dragon type attack or Taunt with U-Turn could even turn it into a pivot. Another option is a lure Hydreigon. Raise a Naive Hydreigon and work with it to learn Iron Tail. By giving it Steelium-Z your Corkscrew Crash can be EV’d to KO Specs Sylveon which would normally get a free switch in on you. The last set I want to try out runs Fightinium-Z, Superpower, Draco Meteor, Dark Pulse, Work Up. This set feels far more versatile than any of the other Hyper Offensive options, but will require more team support to find a turn to set up.
No Hydreigon don’t burn that building! Bad Hydreigon, no stop it, hey don’t give me that look, friends are for playing not for chomping. Iris and other Hydreigon trainers sure have their work cut out for them, watching not one but three trouble making heads.
Until next time, SumtimesIFly