Heatran, The Lava Dome Pokémon. It dwells in volcanic caves. It digs in with its cross-shaped feet to crawl on ceilings and walls. Its body is made of rugged steel. However, it is partially melted in spots because of its own heat. ť
It's not like Heatran ever suffered any popularity issues, but ever since Platinum came out, the environment has changed around it, all in its favour. Garchomp was cast out to the Uber tier, Scizor unleashed its inner beast and Heatran happily milked the benefits.
Things are set out nicely for Heatran. Usually being a Fire type is a bad thing but it doesn't hamper it all too much, and pairing it up with a Steel typing gives it a bagful of resistances to abuse. It has the stats to abuse them too, with good stats in its HP, Defence and Special Defence. In fact, it has good stats all-round, with only its Speed stat being below average (and even then, at Base 77, it's still good enough that Heatran's sweeping capabilities go fairly unhindered).
It's no surprise Heatran has a comfortable spot in the Standard tier's “top five”, even duking it out with Gyarados and Salamence for that number two spot. It's got the stats, it's got the move-pool, it's got the typing and even a 4x Ground weakness doesn't stop it.
Flash Fire: gives Heatran an immunity to Fire moves (which it'd normally have been neutral too); and in addition, if Heatran is struck by a Fire move, it'll get a nifty 1.5x boost to its own Fire attacks. All-in-all, a great ability.
- Fire Blast / Flamethrower / Overheat
As noted, its Speed stat is as close as Heatran comes to having a “weak” Base Stat. Throw on a Choice Scarf and there's no talk of any weakness. A Scarfed Heatran becomes the ultimate “revenge-killer”, as well as having its own sweeping possibilities as a result of its wonderful Special Attack stat.
A Fire move is obviously the first thing to decide on. Fire Blast is the most popular, since it gives that near-perfect mix of power and consistency. Flamethrower is favourable for that increased reliability at the cost of power whereas Overheat plays into the hands of the “hit once then switch” mentality, trading in a bit more power for a lot less consistency.
Earth Power goes on with very little question. It wrecks any opposing Heatran and you'll be wanting it for the likes of Tyranitar anyway. Explosion is similarly unarguable, providing that “last ditch” power move for when Heatran's on its last legs, as well as posing a psychological threat to Blissey and any Water types that think Fire moves are a safe switch-in.
The last move-slot is up for grabs between a few moves. Dragon Pulse may be outmatched by Hidden Power against Salamence, but it's still there for getting a near-KO on it (an assisted OHKO with Stealth Rock and Modest), as well as doing a nice number on Kingdra and providing some all-round neutral coverage. Hidden Power [Ice] packs that extra edge against Salamence and completely does in Gliscor (although Gliscor should have its reservations about taking on Heatran anyway). Hidden Power [Grass] is aimed at Water types, who usually fancy their chances against a resisted Fire Blast. It won't be pulling off any OHKOs (except on Swampert) but it'll do a nice chunk of damage and make them rethink showing their faces again.
- Fire Blast / Flamethrower / Overheat
Where Choice Scarf gets its kicks revenge-killing, Choice Specs gets its kicks just plain bulldozering. When you stack up that monster Special Attack with Choice Specs, even Blissey has its reservations about diving in blindly. Fire Blast is especially potent with this combination, having that aforementioned mix of power and consistency that wrecks most Pokémon's days. Throw in Flash Fire and even Blissey risks a 2KO (and it's not often that that's said about a special move). Again, Flamethrower and Overheat provide alternatives hitting the opposite ends of consistency and power respectively.
Earth Power is present once again for other Heatran variants and Tyranitar. Hidden Power [Grass] gets a bit more weight on this set than the last since a lot of emphasis is focused on abusing the raw power of Heatran's Fire moves, and a safe way to knock chunks out of Water type's HP stats is very welcomed. Dragon Pulse rounds things off for a blistering strike on Salamence and Kingdra and some generally good damage on the many targets it hits for neutral damage. If you intend to run with Overheat, then you could possibly drop Dragon Pulse for Flamethrower, giving Heatran a late-game sweeping option in a similar way to Specs-Mence and its dual use of Draco Meteor and Dragon Pulse.
- Stealth Rock
Whilst it's not quite a “suicide-lead”, it is built in the mould of one. You'll probably be banking on your opponent assuming that Heatran is equipped with a Choice Scarf, letting that psychological threat (mixed with the opponent's over-prediction) do a lot of the work for you; but the Shuca Berry should make sure that Heatran getting OHKOed is out of the question (some of the stronger Fighting typed leads can land an OHKO, but the threat is limited enough that a Focus Sash is more of a luxury than a necessity).
As with almost all “suicide-leads”, it's all about getting Stealth Rock up and running. Once that's in place, Heatran functions like it normally would, albeit at the risk of being devoid of a lot of its HP and being hampered by a non-offensive item and one less move-slot to work with. A Fire move is first pick (with Fire Blast again being the usual), backed by Explosion for that eventual “last ditch” sayonara. Earth Power is the favoured one of the remaining moves, again for Tyranitar and any opposing Heatran.
- Fire Blast / Flamethrower
Think of it like a Choice Specs Heatran with a bit more freedom offensively but a bit less freedom defensively. You can't eat up as many hits but your sweeping chances increase tremendously when your opponent has to face four boosted moves at once instead of just the one (this means no more Water types sitting in front of Fire Blast or Flying types dodging Earth Power).
EVs and Nature:
In most cases you're running a straightforward 252. However, there's a bit of a mix in whether to go for a +Speed nature or go for the raw Special Attack boost, but in a lot of cases, the Speed boost is worth it. The Choice Scarfer is edged ahead of the likes of boosted Gyarados, Scarf Heracross and the faster end of the Speed scale like Weavile and Aerodactyl. Without Choice Scarf, it's an edge over Heracross, Mamoswine, Gallade, Rotom (Machine Form) and Jolly Breloom. It also gives you the edge over other Heatran variants, or at least guarantees you'll tie Speed with other +Speed Heatran variants.
Saving your Defence or your Special Defence is a tough choice, but one of the two tends to get sacrificed to keep Explosion unhindered. Either one can be sacrificed, although a slightly stronger Defence is an added safeguard against Scizor, on the off-chance you need to take a Brick Break from it; and the same goes for the many neutral-hitting Stone Edges out there.
Magma Storm, Hidden Power [Electric], Taunt, Will-o-Wisp, Toxic.
Heatran's signature Magma Storm deserves a mention. “Signature moves” tend to suffer from gimmick over substance, and to an extent, Magma Storm suffers this. It matches Fire Blast for PP and power but trades in 15% accuracy for 2-5 turns of passive damage and a trapping effect (the latter of which being the more attractive part of this trade-off). The accuracy loss is crippling, but being able to trap a foe and use that to your advantage isn't something to completely overlook.
Hidden Power [Electric] slots in comfortably in place of Hidden Power [Grass] on all of the aforementioned move-sets. The primary reason to choose it over Grass is for Gyarados. You risk giving Swampert an easy time, but Gyarados is a very popular Pokémon. You're hitting most Water types just as strongly with either, so the choice simply depends on which of Gyarados and Swampert is seen as the bigger threat by your team.
Taunt can stop attempts to paralyse Heatran or inflict any other nasty statuses (or try and get around it using non-offensive measures).
Will-o-Wisp can make Swampert, Tyranitar, Gyarados and others feel very regretful, although the non-offensive route doesn't fit Heatran perfectly (and ripping a huge chunk out of their HP stat should cause an equal amount of sorrow to the aforementioned Pokémon). On the subject of statuses, Toxic causes a similar level of sorrow to “Bulky Waters” (with the same argument being put forth that removing chunks of their HP should inflict similar levels of suffering). They are worth considering, but it is a rather unorthodox way to use one of Heatran's move-slots.
Water types are your main refuge when faced with Heatran. Vaporeon, Suicune, Tentacruel, Swampert, Milotic and co. all rely on their defensive builds and Fire resistances to take on Heatran's raw power. Hidden Power [Grass] (and for Tentacruel, Earth Power) poses a problem, but they are otherwise fairly reliable. A bulkily built Gyarados comes pretty close to being a “sure-thing” counter, benefiting from neutrality to the aforementioned Hidden Power Grass.
Porygon2 also comes close to the “sure thing” category since it traces Flash Fire and can cripple Heatran with a Thunder Wave, then with a mix of Recover, Thunderbolt and full-paralysis overcome Heatran in a battle of attrition.
Snorlax really enjoys a makeshift Fire resistance from Thick Fat and will most likely force Heatran to explode or switch. Earthquake means it has no trouble getting a KO either. Blissey isn't quite as threatening, but it can suck up Fire Blasts in a battle of attrition and when equipped with Thunder Wave, it can at least pose enough of a threat to Heatran that it'll have to decide between exploding or switching.
Tyranitar won't want to get locked into a battle of Earthquake vs. Earth Power, but it's worth mentioning since its Sandstorm-boosted Special Defence can eat up Fire Blasts and when it comes down to it, Tyranitar takes an Earth Power with a lot more dignity than Heatran takes an Earthquake.
As a final note, Dugtrio can trap and OHKO Heatran (although it'll have to be weary of Scarfed variants).
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