Rayquaza, The Sky High Pokémon. It lives in the ozone layer far above the clouds and cannot be seen from the ground. Until recently, no one had ever seen it. Rayquaza is said to have lived for hundreds of millions of years. Legends remain of how it put to rest the clash between Kyogre and Groudon. It flies forever through the ozone layer, consuming meteoroids for sustenance. The many meteoroids in its body provide the energy it needs to Mega Evolve.
Rayquaza is a Pokémon that Game Freak has always given amazing treatment, even among other legendaries. Getting shiny event distributions and claiming Victini's signature move V-create isn't something that just any Pokémon can hope for without insane popularity backing it up. Rayquaza gets all of that and more with the treatment it gets in other games and the anime. Make no mistake though, having one of the coolest shiny forms and stealing signature moves isn't just for show. Only something with incredible strength can handle babysitting for titans like Groudon and Kyogre, and Rayquaza certainly wastes no time punishing them for their constant temper tantrums. Even if your name isn't Groudon or Kyogre though, this dragon is something you never want to let catch you unprepared since all it takes is one wrong move for Rayquaza to start tearing things apart. Titanic dual 150 offenses are nothing to ignore and with a movepool that gives it just about anything it could ever need, you can be sure that taking a hit from this monster isn't going to be pleasant. Access to both Swords Dance and Dragon Dance also lets it boost its already huge Attack stat to frightening heights fitting for the Sky High Pokémon, so walling it is no simple task. If that isn't strong enough for you, ORAS was kind enough to give it a shiny new signature move in the form of Dragon Ascent, and being a Flying type move rather than Dragon type means that not even Fairies are safe from its overwhelming power. On top of that, Rayquaza's new Mega Evolution has allowed it to ascend to unprecedented heights that not even Arceus has achieved. However, while defeating Rayquaza might sound like an impossible task, it's not invincible. Only slightly above average speed and unspectacular defenses can make it difficult to set up against the myriad of faster legendaries, and weaknesses to Stealth Rock and common attacking types like Ice and Fairy means that there's plenty of things keeping Rayquaza in check. Just hope it doesn't Mega Evolve against you.
Air Lock: All weather effects are negated while the Pokémon is on the field. This means that weather will have no effect on both allies and foes as long as Rayquaza is on the field. This also applies to Harsh Sunlight and Heavy Rain from Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre respectively. However, this doesn't permanently erase active weather conditions so if Rayquaza leaves the field before all turns of the current weather condition are exhausted then the weather effects will return. Given that weather is such a commanding force, this ability is an effective equalizer. Rayquaza wouldn't be able to babysit Groudon and Kyogre so easily without this ability so you really don't have a choice here.
Beyond the Sky
- Dragon Ascent
Whenever you're facing Rayquaza, this is the first set to expect. While Rayquaza has enough raw power to break things immediately, it has the perfect tools to capitalize further on its amazing Attack stat to turn it into an even more devastating wallbreaker. Dragon Ascent is the STAB move of choice over a Dragon type STAB for its fantastic power and ability to dent most common threats without being a free switch-in for Xerneas. Swords Dance is what makes this set so dangerous. After one boost, Adamant Rayquaza's Dragon Ascent can easily OHKO even the most physically defensive Lugia assuming Stealth Rock is in play, so this set's power is not to be taken lightly. Extreme Speed functions wonderfully on this set since not many Pokémon on offense teams like taking a +2 Extreme Speed, and it also allows Rayquaza to function as a late-game cleaner if necessary. Alternatively Dragon Dance can be run in conjunction with Swords Dance to give it the flexibility of choosing whether to smash walls or sweep on its own, depending on the opposing team. If offense teams are covered by the rest of the team, then Rayquaza can choose to run V-create instead to roast Skarmory and Ferrothorn. While Primal Kyogre normally takes an expected Fire type move as a free switch-in, Air Lock discourages it from doing so since Adamant Rayquaza's V-create is a clean 2HKO on offensive Primal Kyogre. The last slot is usually Earthquake to hit Steel types like Klefki and Aegislash while hitting Primal Groudon slightly harder than Dragon Ascent does, though V-create is also an option in this slot if you're not running Dragon Dance.
The nature and EV's are simple, there's no reason to not run 252 Attack and 252 Speed while the choice between Adamant and Jolly nature is up to preference. Adamant is generally the preferred nature though since the higher Attack helps it secure key KO's on threats like Lugia. Life Orb is the item of choice for this set, though Lum Berry is a viable albeit less popular alternative to beat the status users that will immediately come in and try to end Rayquaza's fun at the cost of a very noticeable power drop.
- Dragon Ascent
With dual 150 offenses it should come as no surprise that Rayquaza can run a threatening mixed set. The goal of this set is to demolish walls early in the game to create an opening for a teammate's sweep, and the combination of both Dragon Ascent and Draco Meteor allows Rayquaza to do this effectively. Dragon Ascent is the mandatory primary STAB move on any set and will seriously dent if not outright destroy almost anything that doesn't resist it. Meanwhile Draco Meteor takes advantage of Rayquaza's Special Attack to blast physically defensive threats that think they can just switch into Dragon Ascent without fear. The rest of the set depends on what coverage you want, though generally it will come down to Extreme Speed and one of Earthquake or Fire Blast. Extreme Speed is a powerful priority move that gives Rayquaza a useful tool to use against offense teams when there are no walls to break, since otherwise it struggles against offense teams due to its somewhat average speed. Earthquake is often used in the last slot to hit Steel types such as Klefki, Dialga and Aegislash, though Fire Blast is another fine option on this set if the team needs something to hit Ferrothorn and Skarmory. Running both Earthquake and Fire Blast is also viable though losing out on fantastic priority like Extreme Speed is generally less favorable for something like Rayquaza.
The nature and EV spread are fairly straightforward. Maximizing Attack is chosen over Special Attack to take advantage of its superior physical options, and Draco Meteor is still hitting hard enough without heavy investment anyway. 216 Speed and a Naive nature outspeeds positive natured base 90 Pokémon, while the rest goes to Special Attack to give Draco Meteor some extra power. Alternatively a Naughty nature can be used for even more power since it's faster than the walls it needs to break regardless. This set is fairly flexible though, and can function with more Special Attack investment and a Rash nature if the heavy physical focus isn't necessary. Life Orb is the item of choice either way since Rayquaza wants all the power it can get to tear down everything in its way.
- Dragon Ascent
Choice Band lets Rayquaza take a completely different approach to wallbreaking by giving it immediate power without the need to set up. Banded Dragon Ascent hits ridiculously hard and can throw off traditional switch-ins and thanks to Flying type being an incredibly dangerous offensive type, Dragon Ascent is generally a safe move to use. Extreme Speed is incredibly useful priority that can put a serious dent in frail Pokémon like Darkrai and lets Rayquaza function as an effective revenge killer to pick off weakened threats in an emergency. Unlike other sets, this one can also afford to run both V-create and Earthquake without giving up Extreme Speed, allowing to cover all Steel types at once. However, given the nature of choice items, you need to be very mindful of what move you make since a poorly timed Earthquake or V-create can give the opponent an easy switch to turn a favorable situation against you. Don't let this discourage you though, people will often assume Rayquaza is either running a mixed or boosting set before finding out that it's running a Choice Band, so be sure to take advantage of the surprise value of this set anytime you can.
A straightforward set like this naturally has an equally straightforward EV spread. As usual, fully investing in Attack and Speed is the way to go with Adamant as the preferred nature to maximize damage output. However, Jolly is always an acceptable option if the ability to outpace positive natured base 90 Pokémon is more important than the power boost.
- While not the best use of Rayquaza's strengths, Focus Sash is an option to let it function as an anti-lead with Extreme Speed to minimize the amount of hazards an opposing lead can set. There are usually better options for an anti-lead, though the surprise value of Sash Rayquaza gives it some merit.
While completely countering Rayquaza is not easy to do given its monstrous offensive stats, there are plenty of solid checks that can prevent it from throwing your team into the dust. Assuming Stealth Rock is not in play, Multiscale Lugia can comfortably switch into any of Rayquaza's moves and either Whirlwind it out, cripple it with Thunder Wave or KO it with Ice Beam. However, Dragon Ascent can 2HKO or even OHKO after Swords Dance if Stealth Rock is up so be extremely careful around hazards if Lugia is your only answer to Rayquaza. On a related note, Rayquaza does not like switching in repeatedly if Stealth Rock is up since the combination of hazards and its own Life Orb recoil can tire it out quickly. Support Arceus forms also check Rayquaza and can burn it with Will-O-Wisp, or KO with Judgment if it's Rock or Fairy type. However, burning it won't always be a complete stop since the mixed set can still ravage something with Draco Meteor and the occasional Lum Berry can let Rayquaza muscle its way through Arceus. Klefki can also cripple Rayquaza with Thunder Wave though it cannot switch into to Earthquake or V-create and gets shut down if Rayquaza happens to be running Lum Berry. Shuca Berry Dialga can also take a boosted Earthquake and retaliate with Draco Meteor, although not without taking heavy damage in the process. Primal Groudon can also threaten to OHKO Rayquaza with Stone Edge or burn it with Lava Plume though Rayquaza can just as easily punish it with Draco Meteor, boosted Earthquake and the occasional Water type STAB so avoid relying solely on Primal Groudon to check Rayquaza unless you have no other choice.
Offensively, faster threats can easily take advantage of Rayquaza's somewhat average speed and KO it with the proper move. Soul Dew Latios and Latias, Darkrai, Mewtwo, Xerneas and Mega Diancie are all among the Pokémon that can outspeed and OHKO Rayquaza with the proper STAB or coverage move. However, none of these Pokémon can safely switch into it and if it's running Dragon Dance, all of these offensive threats fall to a boosted Dragon Ascent or Earthquake. Dedicated revenge killers like Scarf Xerneas still function as a check to boosted Rayquaza though. Faster setup sweepers like Extreme Speed Arceus and Dragon Dance Mega Salamence can also pressure Rayquaza before it sets up although they can't switch in directly and struggle against it if Rayquaza gets any chance to set up before they come in.
While it's not possible completely account for every Rayquaza set with a single Pokémon, there's no shortage of options to keep it in check so don't stress too much about finding something that beats Rayquaza. It shares a number of its checks with Mega Salamence so most teams will have at least one or two checks to Rayquaza by sheer coincidence, though don't let that be an excuse to ignore it. It's not uncommon for Rayquaza to be accompanied by Mega Salamence since the two make an effective and devastating pair that can break through each other's checks through brute force. If you find yourself with only one strong check to Rayquaza and see it paired with Mega Salamence, you'll quickly find yourself quickly overwhelmed by the barrage of Flying type attacks.
Scientists in the Kanto region once set out to create what they believed would be the world's most powerful Pokémon. When they created Mewtwo, people had believed that their mission succeeded as none of the discovered Pokémon at the time could come close to matching Mewtwo's power. However, several hundred years before Mewtwo was created, the Draconid people of the Hoenn region had already witnessed the true power of a Pokémon more powerful than Arceus itself. That Pokémon is Mega Rayquaza, a Pokémon revered as the savior for aiding the people of Hoenn in their darkest hour and putting a stop to the destructive battle between Groudon and Kyogre. This magnificent dragon sits atop its throne in the sky as the single most powerful Pokémon in the game, capable of wiping out entire teams of even the most powerful legendaries all on its own. Its stats alone are enough to leave some of the most fearsome and intimidating Pokémon quaking in fear, sporting the highest combined offenses in the game at an even base 180 in both Attack and Special Attack. An impressive base 115 Speed also remedies Rayquaza's biggest flaw, turning it into a blazing fast sweeper that very few viable Pokémon can naturally outspeed, and that's only if it doesn't boost its own Speed first. Its ability Delta Stream also summons powerful winds that make it more difficult to take down by reducing all of its Flying type weaknesses, forcing you to rely on Dragon, Fairy and a reduced Ice weakness to hit it for super effective damage. However, what ultimately secures Mega Rayquaza's spot on the throne is its unique ability to store the energy required for Mega Evolution within its body, allowing it to Mega Evolve without the need of a Mega Stone and ultimately hold any item it wants. A Pokémon boasting a 780 base stat total with the ability to hold any item is undoubtedly a terrifying thought, and Mega Rayquaza turns that thought into a living nightmare that nothing in the game can properly counter. If Mega Rayquaza accepts you as its ally you have the world's strongest Pokémon on your side, but if for any reason you incur Mega Rayquaza's wrath, there is no hope left for you.
Delta Stream: Creates the Strong Winds weather. This lasts until the Pokémon exits battle, and weakens moves used on Flying-type Pokémon that would be Super Effective. It should go without saying that Delta Stream is a fantastic ability, but what this means is that Mega Rayquaza effectively removes its own Rock weakness, reduces its double Ice weakness to a normal Ice weakness and gains an Electric resistance when it enters the field. This also removes these weaknesses from opposing Flying types but Mega Rayquaza never uses Rock, Ice or Electric moves so it doesn't care. Strong Winds also overrides any active weather condition including Primal weather, and can only be removed if Mega Rayquaza leaves the field or if either Primal switches into Mega Rayquaza.
The Heavenly Sovereign
- Dragon Ascent
This is the quintessential Mega Rayquaza set, giving this celestial space dragon the tools it needs to destroy anything and everything that dares to stand in its path. Just like its base form, Mega Rayquaza excels at overwhelming opponents with its sheer power though better Speed and a sizable boost to its offenses turn it into the most terrifying wallbreaker and sweeper in the game. Mega Rayquaza needs to run Dragon Ascent in order to Mega Evolve so it naturally stands as the primary STAB move, mercilessly tearing through everything that doesn't resist it. Even the Pokémon that do resist it need to be reasonably sturdy to avoid taking significant damage from such a dangerous attack. The choice between Dragon Dance and Swords Dance ultimately depends on how Mega Rayquaza wants to strike fear into its opponents. Dragon Dance lets it outspeed everything in the game with a single boost including all standard Scarf users, and Swords Dance lets it destroy even the sturdiest walls in the game with ease. It's has little trouble sweeping teams regardless of the boosting move it runs, though Dragon Dance is more popular to eliminate the concern of being outsped by relevant threats. Extreme Speed is also a lethal move that lets it beat out attempts to revenge kill it with priority, and with Swords Dance the power of Mega Rayquaza's Extreme Speed nearly matches that of the infamous Swords Dance Extreme Speed Arceus. Earthquake rounds out its coverage to let it punish the Steel, Rock and Electric types that resist Dragon Ascent, ensuring that nothing is completely safe from the savior's relentless assault.
The EV spread needs little explanation. Maximum investment in Attack and Speed is the only way to go for a physical sweeper like this, and the choice between Jolly and Adamant nature is up to personal preference. However, while Rayquaza normally prefers Adamant nature if its stays in its base form, Mega Rayquaza typically makes use of a Jolly nature to capitalize on its fantastic speed tier and avoid being outsped by various threats such as Latios, Latias and Mega Diancie. Mega Rayquaza also enjoys the luxury of holding any item it chooses, so Life Orb is often used to push its offenses even further. However, Lum Berry is also a viable and fairly popular choice to protect it from the status users that might attempt to cripple it with burns or paralysis.
- V-create is a viable alternative to hit Steels like Skarmory and Ferrothorn harder, though they're less common than grounded Steels weak to Earthquake and the Speed drop is more bothersome than it is for base form Rayquaza.
Double & Triple Battle Options
Mega Rayquaza, at the time of writing, is the single most powerful Pokemon introduced in the history of the Pokemon Video Game.
One major difference between Normal Pokemon and Mega Pokemon is how that in order to Mega Evolve, said Pokemon must hold a Mega Stone, this is not the case for Rayquaza, as it only needs to know its signature move “Dragon Ascent” in order to Mega Evolve. This means that Mega Rayquaza can hold items like Choice Band or Lum Berry.
Luckily for Rayquaza, Dragon Ascent is a great attack and should be considered on most if not, all sets. For these reasons the sets listed here will apply for both Rayquaza or its Mega Evolution. HOWEVER! Know that Mega Rayquaza will have an easier time setting up due to its increased Defenses and losing a few weaknesses thanks to its ability. With Redirection support this detail may be negligible, but it's something to keep in mind when playing this Pokemon.
Physically inclined Rayquaza, as its signature move is a Flying typed Close Combat it's in Rayquaza's best interest to capitalize on that. The Lum Berry is attached to delay incoming Will-O-Wisps, Thunder Waves, Dark Voids.. just about anything that would hinder Rayquaza's physical damage output is delayed a turn. More often than not, that will turn the tide of battle. Earthquake is an option to hit Primal Groudon or Aegislash, the latter resisting both of Rayquaza's main attacking moves.
Since Rayquaza doesn't have Nasty Plot, but still has the ridiculous Special Attack alongside decent survivability, Weakness Policy is the way to go to put offensive pressure on both sides of the spectrum. The idea of having a partner with Ice Shard hit Rayquaza while it's Dragon Dancing to end up with +3 Atk, +2 SpA and +1 Spe by the end of a turn is very appealing (and risky). If using redirection to support Rayquaza, then it can forgo Protect in favor of more coverage. The more turns Rayquaza spends attacking the better. Dragon Pulse can be used over Draco Meteor in order to stay a massive Special attacking threat even after attacking.
Considering Air Lock and Delta Stream, partners for Rayquaza shouldn't rely heavily on Weather dependent moves in an attempt to catch Primal Groudon/Kyogre off guard. Mainly avoid using Thunder, and take advantage of the guaranteed neutral or Flying support weather. Togekiss loves Delta Stream, can redirect attacks for Rayquaza, and spread status. For this combination, utilizing a Fire or Ground type attack on Rayquaza or Aura Sphere on Togekiss to hurt Steels who will resist the duo's strongest attacks. If not Mega Evolving Rayquaza, Mega Evolve the Salamence instead, neither Pokemon are to be taken lighly, and with a Primal Groudon ready to switch in, opposing Xerneas might find it difficult to damage the Pokemon it wants Koed before being checked again.
Rayquaza has phenomonal stats, and the moves to use them properly. The biggest challenge is just choosing 4 attacks for Ray, because it is capable of so much. It might be a better idea to build a team without Rayquaza first, THEN fit Rayquaza in to your team's needs, rarely will it ever underperform.
Countering Mega Rayquaza
Pick whatever deity you worship and pray that your end is swift and painless. If said deity is Mega Rayquaza then you might be spared if it deems you worthy of living, otherwise you have no choice but to accept your fate. Nothing in the game can hope to save you from Mega Rayquaza's fury, as everything in the game is obliterated by one of its moves once it sets up. Stealth Rock support from any one of its allies also chips off the last sliver of hope of anything withstanding its incredible power. If you're foolish enough to oppose it, you do have a few options to delay the inevitable. While Lugia has no hope of walling Mega Rayquaza, it can buy some time for rest of its team with Whirlwind as long as Stealth Rock is not in play. Otherwise the Great Wall crumbles before Mega Rayquaza's majestic Dragon Ascent. Skarmory can avoid taking serious damage if Mega Rayquaza does not run V-create but otherwise can do little in return aside from chipping it a bit with Rocky Helmet or delaying its own demise with Whirlwind. Fairy type Arceus can try to stop it with Judgment though Dragon Ascent outspeeds and OHKO's the support set after a Swords Dance while the offensive set runs a dangerous risk of being nothing more than a sacrifice to the Dragon Dance variants. This applies to all other forms of Arceus as well, and even those that survive its heavenly assault long enough to burn it with Will-O-Wisp lose all hope if they see Mega Rayquaza cure itself with a Lum Berry. Extreme Speed is the best hope Arceus has at picking it off though that only manages to take out half of its health if unboosted while Mega Rayquaza defies its divine judgment with a decisive blow from Dragon Ascent. Klefki can try to paralyze it with Thunder Wave though as with support Arceus, it's a lost cause against Lum Berry variants. Shuca Berry Dialga can withstand the force of an unboosted Earthquake and strike it with Draco Meteor but if it lacks defensive stat investment it still risks falling against a +2 Earthquake. The mighty Xerneas can attempt to revenge kill it with a Scarf set but loses to Dragon Dance sets, and even a Swords Dance boosted Extreme Speed can OHKO it with some residual damage. Even Ditto, the typical answer to hyper offensive setup sweepers, is not a reliable check to Mega Rayquaza as it scoffs at the attempt to recreate its likeness with a +2 Extreme Speed that tears down the imposter. This same Ditto fails to OHKO the true savior if it tries to make use of the same tactic. In theory it is possible to defeat this celestial being if you make use of these Pokémon that stand at least a fighting chance against it, and hope that any little bit of damage it might take over the course of the battle eventually tires it out. However, Mega Rayquaza is more likely to run a team into the ground before that happens.
Countering Mega Rayquaza is simply a hopeless cause not worth pursuing. There is nothing to be gained from seeking true counters if it means trying mediocre options like Scarf Golduck that don't even succeed in checking it, let alone countering it. Just be thankful that the only Pokémon with this immense power is a Pokémon willing to put itself at risk to protect people from life-threatening meteors and titans like Groudon and Kyogre. Whether Mega Rayquaza will continue to sit firmly in its celestial throne for generations to come remains to be seen, but for now it stands as the world's most powerful Pokémon with nothing that can claim to counter it.
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