“Run for your lives Tyranitar is rampaging through PUCLcon! No Thatch, don’t try to be a hero you can’t fight him off with your barehands”. “But Pokemon are my friends, I have to protect them”, said Thatch. Thatch used Charm and the wild Tyranitar was calmed just as its flamethrower was about to roast Thatch alive. Welcome friends to Pokemon of the Week #44, I am your guide SumtimesIFly, and today we are going to crunch our way through information on one of the most consistently strong Pokemon ever seen, Tyranitar. So grab your Safety Goggles, throw on your Overcoats, and lets get to it.
Description: The Armor Pokemon
Type: Rock / Dark
Abilities: Sand Stream
Hidden Ability: Unnerve
Competitive: [Smogon OU]
Evolution: Larvitar -> Level 30 -> Pupitar -> Level 55 -> Tyranitar -> Tyranitarite -> Mega Tyranitar
Origin: Tyranitar’s origins appear to be that of a kaiju, namely Godzilla. Apparently it is based on the Armadillo Girdled Lizard in real life which would explain the Sand Stream ability since they are sand dwellers, but I don’t quite see the resemblance. Its name is a combination of tyrant and (I looked up all english words that fit) either Scimitar or Guitar…I think the “-itar” part is just a cool way of ending its name.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Gold and Silver
Dex Entry [Ruby]: Tyranitar is so overwhelmingly powerful, it can bring down a whole mountain to make its nest. This Pokémon wanders about in mountains seeking new opponents to fight.
Tyranitar has one of the oddest evolution lines until the Flygon line. Unlike Flygon however, there is no real world equivalent explanation for the cocoon like transformation of Pupitar. None the less Larvitar has to be one of the cutest baby pseudo-legendary Pokemon out there. Tyranitar’s design is from Generation 2 so it goes without saying that not only does it look great, like a terrifying mountain monster, but also very clean. Competitively, it has always had a place in the meta with well above the mean base stats and an aggressive offensive typing.
One of Tyranitar’s most useful traits is its ability, Sand Stream. Not only does Sand offer great synergy with other top tier Pokemon like Excadrill and Mega Garchomp (and if you are cheeky Sand Veil Garchomp), it also innately boosts the Special Defense of Rock types including itself. Unnerve is almost never the right choice unless it is reintroduced to a future VGC format and your team doesn’t synergize with weather. Its stats are perfectly balanced between Attack and bulk, allowing it to fill any roll from wall to all out attacker. I know I used to use it to counter Talonflame back in the era of always active Gale Wings. When it Mega Evolves its relevant stats all get substantial boosts including a nice Speed boost that will come into play later.
Because of its monstrous origins, Tyranitar also has a monstrous movepool. For STAB its best moves are Stone Edge (yes despite the accuracy) and Crunch. For coverage it gets all the punches, Bolt/Beam combo, Iron Head, Earthquake, and Superpower. Finally for utility Tyranitar is rocking Taunt, Roar/Dragon Tail, Pursuit, Rock Polish, Dragon Dance, Snarl, Stealth Rock, and if your opponent ever rests it will even appear in their Nightmares. Honestly this only scratches the surface, it has so many moves that I loved picturing it learning like Outrage, Whirlpool, and Focus Punch that I do suggest you check it out yourself.
The most common set in the current meta is Choice Band because the extra power is needed with the bulkier teams running around. I remember in ORAS it used to run scarf instead. Nowadays it even switches to Adamant for more power. Max Speed investment is there to out speed Mawile and slow Landorus. It runs the Stone Edge/Crunch combo for power, and Earthquake for Magearna, Heatran, and Tapu Koko. The final move slot is what I think sets Tyranitar apart from others which is being a top tier Pursuit trapper. Its bulk means it doesn’t have to rely on Speed to counter things like Scarf Lele or Latios and guarantee a knock out on them with Pursuit. Another set I’ve seen is a bulkier Assault Vest. In Sand Tyranitar’s Special Defense is through the cave’s roof allowing you to check many Special threats and get off some Adamant attacks. The move set is up to you but I would recommend Ice Punch to try and catch incoming Landorous and maybe Dragon Tail so you aren’t set up fodder.
Mega Tyranitar is exactly like Tyranitar but with bigger spikes and slightly better stats…right? Almost, that little boost in Speed is just enough so that when it uses Dragon Dance it reaches a much better Speed tier to start sweeping. Almost every Mega Tyranitar set runs Dragon Dance for this reason. Move choice is key here and greatly depends on what your team has a hard time dealing with. The most popular is Stone Edge for a strong STAB, Ice Punch for Landorus, and Fire Punch for Ferrothorn/Scizor/Magearna. Oh no now you don’t have Dark coverage or without Pursuit you can’t trap Latios and your team has a hard time beating Latios otherwise. Maybe you need Thunder Punch for Tapu Fini. There are a lot of choices and only after analyzing your team and performing some key Damage Calculations will you come up with your optimal moveset.
Tyranitar is the big bad, striking fear into travellers from Mt. Silver to Terminus Cave. Look at its moves, Snarl, Nightmare, Scary Face. To counteract all that evil I have a less threatening set this week, for those of you more avid battlers, let me know your thoughts and if you have any desire to test it yourselves (I don’t think that’s a good idea this time)! Welcome suicide lead Tyranitar. It runs Taunt, Stealth Rock, Fling, and Stone Edge. For stats you want max Speed and max Attack. Here is how the battle goes. You encounter an enemy trainer and Tyranitar greets their Pokemon by placing a crown, Kings Rock, on its head causing it to flinch in delight. Then you Taunt your enemy with some friendly banter, and on the third turn you show them some of your favourite Stealth Rocks. At this point it has done its job and greeted the opponent with the utmost respect. What is this! After your friendly Taunt the enemy has attacked you, this demands retribution, you must unleash the fury of the mountain upon them with Stone Edge getting off whatever damage you can before you are KO’d. The success of this set mostly depends on how its Speed lines up against other leads to ensure the Taunt works and honestly Fling is not nearly as good as Focus Sash + Counter would be (if Landorus Earthquakes turn 1 it is good bye Landorus) but I really like Fling.
When you were exploring the wonders of Mt. Silver in the Pokemon Gold and Silver maybe you should be thankful that all you encountered was Red the strongest trainer in the region, instead of the sleeping mama Tyranitar that was only a few paces behind him barely outside of your gameboy’s view box.
Until next time, SumtimesIFly