Garchomp, The Mach Pokémon. When it folds up its body and extends its wings, it looks like a jet plane. It flies at sonic speed. It flies at speeds equals to a jet fighter plane. It never allows its prey to escape. It is said that when one runs at high speed, its wings create blades of wind that can fell nearby trees.
Garchomp has had a fun time in standard play. All things considered Garchomp is probably the most successful non-legend in Pokemon history. Literally every tier, metagame, server, and website rules it could be played with Garchomp has thrived. It's no surprise really. Garchomp doesn't really have any flaws. It has the best offensive STAB combination in the game, great speed and attack, enormous bulk, fantastic offensive movepool, two great abilities, and just enough special attack to beat the very few things that would dare stand in Garchomp's way. Garchomp is so insanely good that it was banned by some in 4th gen and part of 5th. Fairy types? Garchomp doesn't care, it just Earthquakes them to death. Mega Evolution? Nah, Garchomp is so good it actually outclasses its own Mega! Quiver in fear in the face of one of the most devastating Pokemon to have ever existed.
Sand Veil: Raises the Pokémon’s evasion during a sandstorm by one level. Watching Garchomp take a grand total of zero damage from Ice Beam is pretty cool (get it? cool?) but it isn't reliable especially now that sandstorm only lasts 5 turns even when a Sandstream Pokemon summons it.
You need more than an oxygen tank to take care of this one....
- Outrage / Dragon Claw
Before I start off let's make it clear that Garchomp has a LOT of options. Most Garchomp sets look pretty similar but generally you can put them into two categories. Garchomp that have learned Stealth Rock, and those who have not. This set is an example of one that runs the ubiquitous Stealth Rocks. The goal here is, obviously, to use Stealth Rocks as early as possible. After that you can use Garchomp's insane combination of attack, bulk, and speed to deal critical damage to the opponent's team. Rocky Helmet is a good item choice as it is reliable and really assists with chomp's phenomenal damage output. Focus Sash is also solid as it allows you to lead off against most of the things that can beat Garchomp one on one like Latios and Greninja. Probably the biggest decision you will make when using Garchomp is the age old debate of Dragon Claw vs Outrage. Dragon Claw is pretty weak and isn't advised unless you're running Swords Dance but after a boost or two it can do decent damage. However Dragon Claw does let you beat Air Balloon Heatran and Excadrill. Outrage on the other hand hits like a truck. It is so strong that it can OHKO max HP Landorus-T after a Swords Dance. The downside to Outrage is locking yourself into it means Garchomp probably won't even last long enough to see itself become confused. The third slot is dedicated to what you hate the most. Does Skarmory give you trouble? Well the answer is yet it will. Without Fire Blast Garchomp is basically helpless against the metal bird. It can even Defog your Stealth Rocks! Fire Blast cleanly roasts Skarmory in two shots while OHKOing Scizor (and sometimes OHKOing Mega Scizor with a little prior damage!). If you run Fire Blast use a Naive nature, if not use Jolly. Swords Dance on the other hand skyrockets Garchomp's attack to the point where not even the bulkiest of Zapdos or Hippowdon can stop you. It's difficult to express how good Garchomp is at doing damage. Not only does it have terrifyingly good coverage with just two STAB moves it is also the king of indirect damage with Rocky Helmet + Rough Skin and Stealth Rocks. Give Garchomp a try if you haven't already, you won't regret it.
- Outrage / Dragon Claw
This is the second half of the main Garchomp sets. The previous one focused on doing damage more indirectly with Rough Skin and Stealth Rocks. This one deals it directly with withering unstoppable firepower. No wall in the game can switch in on this and walk away intact. Not only is this good at trashing walls, it is also good at luring them in. Things like Hippowdon and Skarmory who would otherwise handle Garchomp okay each take terminal damage from a Swords Danced or Fire Blasted hit. Even Togekiss who was famed as the first real "Garchomp counter" is easily brushed aside by a single +2 Stone Edge. Quagsire, famous for its ability to halt any sort of setup sweepers with "Unaware" is stopped dead by a combination of Earthquake + Outrage. Life Orb is the more powerful option which is helpful pretty much all the time but Lum Berry lets you have a "second life" against badly timed Scald burns or Will-O-Wisps. Against stall you want to Swords Dance then proceed to rip into everything in your path. Against offense you don't even need to Swords Dance. Very little can handle a Life Orb Earthquake or Outrage. I could go on and on but nothing speaks louder about a Pokemon's ability to step on walls like damage calculations!
The Choice of Champions
While it isn't as good as dealing damage early game Scarf Garchomp is a great way to clean up late game as well as protect yourself from being swept by things such as Keldeo and Latias. Earthquake and Outrage are your power moves and pretty much required on the set. Rock Slide OHKOs Talonflame, Volcarona, Charizard, and Mega Pinsir and can "cheat" wins with its flinch rate against bulkier targets like Gyarados. Stone Edge is less accurate and can fail you when you need it most (Arceus help you should Stone Edge miss against a Swords Dancing Mega Pinsir...) but has additional power that can help break through Mandibuzz, Togekiss, and Zapdos as well as things like Bulk Up Talonflame and tougher variants of Volcarona. Fire Blast can give you something to do against Skarmory besides suck and die however you can use Dragon Claw instead if you really don't like locking yourself into Outrage. If nothing else on your team can successfully find space for it Choice Scarf Garchomp CAN run Stealth Rocks but you are always forced to switch out after. It can run rocks, but it is really inefficient at it when holding Scarf.
Is it a bird, is it a plane?
- Dragon Tail
I go on and on about how utterly destructive Garchomp's offenses are but it's easy to forget that it has pretty solid defensive typing and stats. This set nearly has the physical durability of Skarmory while taking special hits a little better. Not something to take lightly as each time Garchomp takes a direct hit it will passively strip 29% of the attacker's HP away. Add in a turn to switch in on Stealth Rocks and potential Life Orb damage and that's over half the opponent's HP gone... without Garchomp even attacking! Bulky Garchomp makes a solid switch in to things like Talonflame, Heatran, Lucario (without Ice Punch), Tyranitar, Scizor, and Terrakion. Unfortunately this set isn't perfect. There is a reason this set is so rarely seen and that is more or less because it can't run Leftovers nor does it have any real recovery moves. Being 4x weak to Ice moves also kind of stinks because a lot of physical attackers run Ice moves to deal with Landorus T and Gliscor which sort of screws Garchomp over too. Without offensive EVs or items Garchomp probably won't hit as hard as you would like. Unless you are willing to sacrifice Rest + Sleep Talk to use Fire Blast and Toxic this set will probably get walled by its common nemesis Skarmory (and Hippowdon / Landorus T to a lesser extent). Most of the time Garchomp will switch in and take a hit, Rest, then probably die before it wakes up. Give it a shot and have fun with it, but more likely than not you will find an offensive Garchomp will pull its weight far more effectively.
Yache Berry / Haban Berry, Aqua Tail, Fire Fang, Dual Chop, Choice Band, Substitute / Sand Veil, Crunch, Dragon Rush, Rock Tomb, Poison Jab / Iron Head, and Draco Meteor.
Double & Triple Battle Options
When asking yourself "Is Garchomp really as good as they say?" allow me to remind you that a great number of Pokemon run Hidden Power Ice just to hit Garchomp. Meaning other casualties like Salamence and Dragonite are nice, but the main reason they run HP Ice is the threaten Garchomp, who otherwise will tear holes in teams. Base 102 speed means it outspeeds all unboosted (Mega) Charizard and threaten it with Rock Slide or Dragon Claw. Base 130 attack means when it does hit, it hits hard. Base 108/95/85 defenses means it can take a hit or two before going down. So altogether we have a Pokemon that hits fast, hits hard and can take damage very well. OH it has STAB Earthquake too.
- Dragon Claw
The set is pretty straightforward, just use the best move for the current situation. Base 102 speed means Garchomp is outspeeding a lot of Pokemon, meaning its Rock Slides usually always give the opponents a chance to flinch. Stab Dragon Claw hurts opponents who don't resist it but also offers Garchomp a way to target a single Pokemon rather than rely on the spread damage that Rock Slide and Earthquake do. Earthquake is Garchomp's other Stab option that hits hard, but also hits your team mate, so be cautious when using it. Protect is a great move in general. The item it holds depends entirely on what your team needs. A pokemon who can take Spore/Will O Wisp without fear? A Pokemon who will punish those who think just one Ice move will take it out? A Pokemon who punishes Fake Out of Physical contact moves in general? It's up to you, there's no "best item" for Garchomp. .
- Dragon Claw
Garchomp is already difficult to deal with normally, and now all of a sudden it's behind a substitute. If handled incorrectly this Garchomp will win games just be being present on the field. This set openings for it's partner to attack or set up by being the center of attention, if running Rock Slide it's damaging both opponents while giving them a chance to flinch, while Earthquake is more for just dealing more spread damage and needs to be built around to make work consistently. If you're a gutsy player, you can forgo protect and use Swords Dance instead. +2 Garchomp behind a Sub is no joke..
The best partners for Garchomp here are Pokemon who don't mind Earthquake, like Levitators or Flying types. Mawile makes an excellent partner as it can switch in on all of Garchomp's weaknesses taking reduced damage.
Togekiss is the #1 Garchomp counter. It is immune to both its STABs, Defog's Stealth Rock and can shrug off Fire Blast (Even Heal Belling the burns!). If Garchomp runs Stone Edge Togekiss is demolished. Skarmory does similar to Togekiss but it is vulnerable to Fire Blast. Quagsire is pushed aside by Life Orb impacts and doesn't always win but it sort of checks Swords Dance Garchomp by spamming Recover until Life Orb kills it. Landorus-T beats non-Swords Dance versions most of the time. Mamoswine can usually take a hit and threaten a OHKO with Ice Shard. It doesn't really eat Life Orb Earthquakes very well though. Latios and Latias are obviously decimated by STAB dragon moves but they can take any other hit easily enough. The chances of Greninja switching in safely roughly equate to me writing the Pokemon of the Week completely sober but once in it can use Protean to punch a hole clean through Garchomp with Ice Beam, even if it has Yache Berry. Hippowdon tanks everything Garchomp can do unless it has Swords Dance, in which case Hippowdon loses badly. Keldeo can sort of survive a single hit and OHKOs Garchomp back with Specs Hydro Pump or Icy Wind. I should stress that most of beating Garchomp is somehow getting something faster in and trying to minimize the damage it does to you. Air Balloon Heatran does okay if it has HP Ice but it loses if Garchomp has Dragon Claw or Stone Edge. Walling Garchomp is rarely possible except with some of the most specialized Pokemon. What makes Garchomp so handle is its unpredictability. Sometimes you can send Skarmory in and Defog, laughing at its pitiful +2 Dragon Claws. Other times Skarmory gets roasted by Fire Blast. Togekiss might win a few times but other times Stone Edge will rock its world. Just examples here, but pretty much nothing can safely counter Garchomp. Beating it is more about playing smart than it is about just hard countering it. Garchomp is feared for a reason after all.
Garchomp, one of the most powerful Pokemon in a game gets a 100 base stat point boost thanks to its Mega evolution... and somehow manages to become worse for it? Yep. Who would have thought? Losing 10 base speed totally gutted one of Garchomp's main qualities, its speed. Without speed it's just a slow bulky attacker. It has 170 / 120 offenses but this isn't even important because standard Life Orb Garchomp hits hard and is faster. Okay sure Mega Garchomp gains a bit of bulk? Not enough to make up for no longer having Rough Skin or not being able to hold Rocky Helmet! It isn't all bad though. Megachomp gets Sand Force which makes its Earthquakes and Stone Edges (and Iron Heads, but you still shouldn't use that) hit with insane power. Its boost to Special Attack actually helps it by giving it a powerful Draco Meteor to steamroll the bulky grounds that sort of stopped its non-Mega form. It might not be as great as its previous form but hey it's a shark crossed with a praying mantis so it has to be at least somewhat good right?
Sand Force: Ground-type, Rock-type & Steel-type moves have their power increased by 33% in a Sandstorm. While Mega Garchomp will miss Rough Skin Sand Force lets hit do things even its pre-evo couldn't.
We have our Mega Shark, where's our giant octopus?
This is it, the only real set Mega Garchomp can run. This requires Sandstorm support but with the grainy winds blowing Megachomp can really make itself known. The key here is to trick your opponent into thinking you run standard Garchomp by not Megavolving immediately. Before you Megavolve you will appear to be a standard non-Life Orb Garchomp. Maybe they swill switch in Quagsire and take ~30% from your Earthquake. They will laugh and click Recover only to watch their HP deplete to zero as you Megavolve and wipe their mudfish out in a single ruthless Advance Wars themed Meteor Strike. What about Togekiss? Did it switch in on Earthquake or Fire Blast and smile in your face as it readies an annoying Defog? That stinks because you hit Stone Edge and Megavolved, and now they are dead. But now what if you aren't facing stall? You don't have to Megavolve. You can keep your speed to harass opposing Charizard and Landorus at least until something tougher comes along. Then boom Megavolve and wipe them out. Notice that unlike all of standard Garchomp's sets this set runs Sand Veil instead if Rough Skin. The reason for this is that Mega Garchomp is almost always going to be used in a sandstorm so it gives you a 25% chance to switch in on any move for free. Rough Skin is still an option of course because it's stupidly good. Draco Meteor is the best option here but if you want Surf gets similar KOs on Landorus / Hippowdon etc while Sand boosted Earthquake 2HKOs Quagsire. Draco Meteor is good for the sheer power it brings as it can pick off incoming Latios / Latias and deal heavy damage to anything that doesn't resist it.
Basically nothing. An alternate EV spread maybe? Swords Dance perhaps...
Double & Triple Battle Options
Mega Garchomp loses it's speed the turn after Mega evoling, so if done right, you'll get one free base 170 attack move off at base 102 speed, for hopefully a surprise knock out. After that though, Mega Garchomp get's outsped by other dragons and Charizard which isn't good, it also isn't exactly slow enough for Trick Room to use fully. If your opponent is running sand and you want to punish them severely or if you're running sand and need a little extra power, Mega Garchomp may be the way to go.
Pretty much the standard doubles Garchomp with a twist in being able to hit incredibly hard and ridiculously fast.... once. But that may be all you need to seal the game up. Base 92 speed will still outpace some slower threats, so even if the first faster attack didn't go through as planned, nothing (except from powerful super effective attacks) is exactly stopping Mega Garchomp from attacking again next turn. Though when running this version of Garchomp be very cautious of burns as it only takes one burn to ruin this set entirely.
Countering Mega Garchomp
Sponging its assaults is virtually impossible unless you run weird things like Assault Vest Slowbro. If you play stall you are probably going to lose. If you are playing offense it might surprise you when it Megas but at which point the secret is out and you can easily revenge kill it with almost anything commonly seen on offense. Mega Garchomp isn't something you should prepare for because you can't really prepare for it any more than you could regular Garchomp. It's basically a far stronger Garchomp with far less utility. Walling it is impossible. Revenge killing is easy.
Locations in Games
Black 2/White 2:
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