Ho-Oh

Ho-Oh, The Rainbow Pokémon. Ho-Oh's feathers glow in seven colors depending on the angle at which they are struck by light. These feathers are said to bring happiness to the bearers. This Pokémon is said to live at the foot of a rainbow. It will reveal itself before a pure-hearted Trainer by shining its bright, rainbow-colored wings.A legend says that its body glows in seven colors. A rainbow is said to form behind it when it flies.

Overview

First Johto Pokémon revealed at the end of the first anime episode, being a mystery Pokémon for a long time, eventually being revealed and delivering Ho-Oh was always a powerful threat. Boosting nice coverage and impressive stats, Ho-Oh has been a reasonable threat since its release having strong coverage with moves like Earthquake and Thunderbolt as well as having its own formerly exclusive move Sacred Fire. Ho-Oh has also aged very well and overall improving with gens, namely gen 5 gaining Regenerator as its hidden ability as well as Flame Charge giving it a chance to sweep.
Positives
+ Sacred Fire has a 50% burn chance making Ho-O's effective bulk very good
+ Fire/Flying has pretty good coverage, resisted by Tyranitar, Arceus Rock, and Zekrom all who are moderate
+ Ho-Oh applies a lot of pressure with its flexibility making it hard to handle overall

Negatives
- Fire/Flying makes it quad weak to Stealth Rocks
- Ho-Oh's Speed is pretty average
- Most Ubers threats resist Ho-Oh's Fire stab as well forcing it to use Brave Bird

Abilities

Pressure - Pokémon lose 2 PowerPoint's instead of 1 - Very mediocre ability overall especially compared to Regenerator and overall contradicts Ho-Oh's overall slot as an offensive Pokémon, being a more defensive ability Hidden Ability
Regenerator- Pokémon heals 33.3% of its maximum health switching - Ho-Oh's hidden ability, this ability is awesome on most Pokémon, especially bulky attackers such as Ho-Oh as well as help recover from Stealth Rock damage if they haven't been removed

Movesets

Phoenix from the Ashes

-Sacred Fire
-Brave Bird
-Recover
-Toxic/Substitute/Hidden Power Ice
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Regenerator
EVs and Nature:
224 HP/136Atk/72 SpDef/76 Spd
Adamant Nature

Making use of Ho-Oh's nice power and healing prowess, this bulky attacker build checks a lot of powerful special threats like Lunala and Calm Mind Arceus. Sacred Fire is a key move, roasting Steel types that Ho-Oh will look to switch in on as well as burn physical threats that can try to check it such as Zekrom and overall add to Ho-Oh's effective health. Brave Bird is the best stab Flying move available to Ho-Oh and more than Sacred Fire due to it having more power points, but you need to be wary of the recoil from both the move and Life Orb. Recover allows you to remain on the field longer and apply pressure for longer as Ho-Oh applies an immense amount of offensive pressure. Lastly Toxic is a great last move to hurt Ho-Oh's counters putting them on a timer or forcing Rest early in the case of Complete Forme Zygarde. Substitute is also nice as it allows Ho-Oh to dodge status moves from is counters and slowly apply pressure to them while Hidden Power Ice allows Ho-Oh to 2hko Mega Salamence after Stealth Rocks and Complete Forme Zygarde after Brave Bird damage.

Rainbow Guardian

-Sacred Fire
-Brave Bird
-Toxic
-Recover
Item Attached: Leftovers
Ability: Regenerator
EVs and Nature:
252HP/204def/56SpDef
Impish Nature

Aiming more to keep powerhouse threats in check such as Xerneas, Lunala, and Calm Mind Arceus, Ho-Oh pressures threats out with its massive special defense. Sacred Fire is still your go to stab with its high burn rate and in general raw power allowing it to muscle and status its way through threats. Toxic is your other status, allowing you to pressure through Calm Mind Arceus easily as well as work other bulky threats such as Giratina. Recover is the next vital move as it allows you to outlast these threats with constant healing as well as keep it in the game. Finally Brave Bird is the more general move as it lacks the haxing chance of Sacred Fire but has the recoil making it less desirable in some situations. Impish allows for a better tanking ability leaning on Ho-Oh's naturally high special defense allowing it to be countered less easily.

Sacred Bird of Johto

-Sacred Fire
-Brave Bird
-Earthquake
-Sleep Talk
Item Attached: Choice Band
Ability: Regenerator
EVs and Nature:
252HP/252Atk/4Spd
Adamant Nature

With a Choice Band, Ho-Oh switches into a more offensive focused threat, but can still soak up a bit of damage. EVs make it so you can take a +2 Thunder for Xerneas and live but you can opt for an offensive EV spread to outpace threats from Adamant Excadrill down. Sacred Fire is your Fire type stab, but you need to be wary of spamming it due to the Choice Band. Switch ins don't normally mind the burn and Mega Salamence actually likes it with Facade. Brave Bird is the more spammable move in this set but the recoil is nasty to deal with so be wary of that. Earthquake rounds out the damage of the set, 2hkoing Rock counters such as Tyranitar and Arceus Rock as well as Primal Groudon. Sleep Talk rounds out the build allowing Ho-Oh to be a Spore/Dark Void absorber and allows Ho-Oh to be a bit more flexible, hitting any of its moves but makes it random.

Other Options & Partners

Flame Charge- Flame Charge can be run as a third move as a means to look to sweep or apply more offensive pressure. You can also run a full offensive EV spread but lose the ability to take moves such as +2 Thunder from Xerneas
Earthquake- Another coverage option, this allows Ho-Oh to 2hko Tyranitar and Arceus Rock as well as pressure Primal Groudon hard, some of the only Pokémon that can resist Ho-Oh's stab coverage
Toxic- Another option over Sleep Talk, Toxic, while forcing you to switch after, allows Ho-Oh to cripple counters such as Lugia and Complete Forme Zygarde making it easier to muscle through them later in the match.

Teambuilding & Matchup

Ferrothorn - Ferrothorn has the ability to counter a lot of Ho-Oh's primary counters such as Primal Kyogre as well as it's type makes a nice core with Ho-Oh to check most of the Ubers metagame. Ferrothorn also brings hazards, a boon to Ho-Oh as with Spikes support in particular, it can 2hko dome major threats with a Choice Band, notably Complete Forme Zygarde, while the Life Orb version can ad well with Hidden Power Ice.
Arceus Water - One of the few Defoggers in Ubers, Arceus Water synergies well on that level but typing wise as well. Similar to Ferrothorn, Arceus Water can counter Primal Kyogre, granted not as well as Ferrothorn, as well as Tyranitar, while some of the threats Arceus Water brings in such as Ferrothorn Ho-Oh can switch in on and start applying pressure.
Giratina - Running in the vein as Arceus Water, Giratina is a strong Ubers Defogger making it a strong partner for Ho-Oh. Giratina has a bit less type synergy, losing to Arceus Dark and doesn't really like Tyranitar, Giratina does brings in special attackers such as Xerneas and Lunala that Ho-Oh counters giving it free switch in opportunities. Giratina can also hot other big walls and sweepers with Toxic or Will-O-Wisp.
Primal Groudon - Outside the general ability synergy of Primal Groudon, it also bring hazards, a nice bonus for Ho-Oh as it breaks Lugia's Multiscale and makes Mega Salame .ca a 2hko. Speaking of, Primal Groudon counters Mega Salamence, Tyranitar, Arceus Rock, and Zekrom while checking Primal Kroger all major threats to Ho-Oh and can pressure most hazard users in tier such as Excadrill, Dialga, and other Primal Groudons. It should be noted a defensive Primal Groudon is also check to Extreme Killer Arceus who can be annoying for Ho-Oh but isn't a major counter.

VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options

Oh, VGC 2016...amid all the MANY Primals and Xerneas, there were actually some "fun" restricted legendaries like Ho-oh. While Ho-oh was not the most dominant Pokemon in last year's controversial format, it did have some early success and was able to wall Geomancy Xerneas and some sets of Groudon. While we may not see an official format like VGC16 again for quite some time, and Ho-oh is banned from most other common doubles formats, it is a powerful option for the few formats and tournaments that do allow it.

Ho-oh and the Order of the Phoenix!

-Brave Bird
-Sacred Fire
-Tailwind
-Protect
Item Attached: Leftovers or Mago Berry
Ability: Regenerator
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature

Ho-oh has fantastic defensive potential, especially on the special set. Its attack stat is no slouch either, especially with two very powerful STABs. This set supports the team with speed control, but can also launch strong attacks. Bulk can certainly be invested, but Ho-oh can take a hit or two, so maximum attack and speed lets it become more of an offensive threat. An Adamant nature maximizes this power, but Jolly will (at worst) speed-tie with other Primals, and also outspeed slower Xerneas. While Regenerator was illegal in VGC 2016, it is still the ability of choice and is better than Pressure. Leftovers provides consistent recovery over time, while a Mago Berry (or any other "pinch" berry that restores 50% health without causing confusion) provides a greater recovery once.

Brave Bird and Sacred Fire are very strong STAB moves. Brave Bird provides very strong coverage, and the recoil can be healed off with your item or Regenerator. Sacred Fire is also strong, but can cripple physical attackers with the 50% burn chance. Tailwind provides support to the team and makes up for Ho-oh's middling speed, while Protect is still fantastic to dodge attacks aimed at Ho-oh.

Other Options & Team Ideas

-Offensive items like Life Orb, Choice Band, or the Fire or Flying Z-crystals all increase Ho-oh's offensive power.
-Pressure is not terrible if playing in a format where Regenerator is not available, but use Regenerator if you can.
-Recover is a fantastic move with Ho-oh's bulk, and pairs well with a recovery item and moves like Substitute or Toxic.
-Earthquake is really Ho-oh's only noteworthy physical coverage move, but does provide spread damage as well.
-Flame Charge is not particularly strong but does boost Ho-oh's speed for a follow-up attack the next turn.
-Whirlwind can deny most Trick Room setups or ruin an opponent's Geomancy or Extreme Evoboost plans.
-Weather Ball is extremely gimmicky but can surprise a Primal Groudon if you switch in your own Primal Kyogre.
-Despite a good special attack stat, a special set is still inferior to a physical one, especially with the lack of a strong special flying move. A mixed set with Earth Power can threaten Primal Groudon a little more though.

-Teams in need of a counter for Xerneas, even if it is allowed to get a Geomancy boost, should consider Ho-oh, as it can survive multiple +2 Moonblasts or Dazzling Gleams, and hit back on the unboosted physical defense of Xerneas.
-Intimidate support helps shore up Ho-oh's weaker defensive stat. (Mega) Salamence, Landorus-T, (Mega) Mawile, Mega Manectric and Hitmontop were common Intimidate users in VGC 2016.
-Wide guard support is nice to protect Ho-oh from Rock Slide, Water Spout, Origin Pulse, or, if Gravity is active, Precipice Blades.
-Primal Groudon's Desolate Land boosts Sacred Fire's power and eliminates Ho-oh's water weakness.
-Mega Rayquaza's Delta Stream reduces Ho-oh's weakness to electric- and rock-type attacks, and gives Ho-oh an ice resistance.
-Lightning Rod support can keep Ho-oh safe from most electric-type attacks.

Countering Ho-Oh

Zekrom - Zekrom is one of a handful of Ubers Pokémon that resists Ho-Oh's stab moves and can KO back easily with Bolt Strike. Zekrom however is just a check to Ho-Oh as it can't switch into it due to Sacred Fire's high burn chance which will cripple Zekrom for the rest of the match.
Lugia - The great wall of Ubers and Ho-Oh's counterpart, Lugia gained almost as much from gen 5 as Ho-Oh with Multiscale. Lucia has the ability to slowly work down Ho-Oh with Toxic and/or phase it for Stealth Rocks damage. However, as most Ho-Oh sets run Toxic Lugia can lose to Ho-Oh but is still a solid answer.
Complete Forme Zygarde - The other main counter to Ho-Oh, Complete Forme Zygarde can laugh at Ho-Oh and KO it or force it away. Thousand Arrows will allow for super effective damage to Ho-Oh and strip its Flying type making it less flexible. Rest allows Complete Forme Zygarde to also remove status Ho-Oh tries to inflict onto it and just heals up and can slowly boost with Coil, making it an incredible pain to deal with using Ho-Oh.
Primal Groudon - Primal Groudon can come in on most of Ho-Oh's moves bar Earthquake and threaten to KO with Stone Edge, forcing it out or set up Stealth Rocks forcing it to lose half its health coming back in. Lastly, while Toxic is a pain for defensive Primal Groudon, it will win versus Ho-Oh most of the time making it a good counter.
Arceus Rock - Another counter, Arceus Rock can set up on most Ho-Oh sets and KO easily with Judgement, but needs to be careful of the stray Earthquakes. Arceus Rock doesn't care for Toxic as it will slow it down and limit how long it can stay in the match, but is a solid counter to Ho-Oh, but is a lesser Arceus form.
Tyranitar - Tyranitar does the same thing as Arceus Rock but suffers from the same problem as Zekrom, fearing the burn from Sacred Fire. However the defensive build doesn't care as much and can still scare out Ho-Oh and set up Stealth Rocks forcing it to wait on coming in or lose half its health. Lastly Sandstorm can further chip away at Ho-Oh's health, especially Life Orb builds so it has to play careful.
Stealth Rocks - Stealth Rocks will chunk Ho-Oh's health, losing 50% of its health switching in making it easy to kill. Stealth Rocks aren't a solid counter and more of a check similar to Volcarona in OU, but is a nice splashable check.
Primal Kyogre - Probably the best counter to Ho-Oh, Primal Kyogre straight removes Ho-Oh's Sacred Fire, a major part of its builds forcing it to use Brave Bird. Primal Kyogre can also force kills on Ho-Oh with Hydro Pump so Ho-Oh always has to switch out against Primal Kyogre. Toxic can be annoying as well but isn't as big of a deal for Primal Kyogre as for other threats such as Arceus Rock and Lugia.

Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Not in game

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Naval Rock (Emerald)
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen/Emerald (Ruby/Sapphire)

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Naval Rock

Colosseum/XD:
Mt. Battle (Colosseum)
Trade from FireRed/LeafGreen/Emerald (XD)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Trade from HeartGold & SoulSilver

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Tin Tower

Black/White:
Transfer from Generation IV

Black 2/White 2:
Transfer from Generation IV/Dream Radar

X/Y:
Trade from Omega Ruby

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Sea Mauville (Omega Ruby)
Trade from Omega Ruby (Alpha Sapphire)

Sun/Moon:
Transfer from Generation VI

Animé Appearences

Ho-Oh has made many appearances in the anime. Most of which had it appear at times to guide Ash.

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
1 Pokémon! I Choose You! Pokémon! I Choose You Pics
229 For Ho-oh the Bells Toll Suicune and Eusine! Legend Of Ho-oh!! Pics
275 Gotta Catch Ya Later! Farewell...and then Setting Off! Pics
M6 Jirachi - Wish Maker The Wishing Star of Seven Nights - Jirachi Pics
454 Battling the Enemy Within Battle Pyramid! VS Regirock! Pics
472 Dawn of a New Era Piplup VS Budew! Dawn's First Battle!! Pics
M11 Giratina & The Sky Warrior Giratina & The Bouquet of the Sky - Shaymin Pics
M12 Arceus & The Jewel of Life Arceus - Towards Conquering Space-Time Pics
M13 Zoroark - Master of Illusions Phantom Champion Zoroark Pics
M20   Pokémon I Choose You!  

 
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