Durant, The Iron Ant Pokémon. Individuals each play different roles in driving Heatmor, their natural predator, away from their colony. They attack in groups, covering themselves in steel armor to protect themselves from Heatmor. Durant dig nests in mountains. They build their complicated, interconnected tunnels into mazes.
In the real world, individual ants are often regarded as tiny and weak, easily crushed beneath the feet of larger species. However, in Durant’s case, good luck trying to crush a 72 pound ant with a solid steel body. As one of a handful of Bug/Steel types, Durant has long since been compared to the well-established Scizor. Considering Scizor has widely been regarded as one of the best Pokemon in the game, Durant had some lofty expectations thrust upon it, and consequently, met with mixed results. On one hand, it has a solid base 109 attack and a fantastic base 109 speed tier, along with the great offensive Hustle ability, meaning it has some offensive potency. In addition, its base 112 defense gives it some solid physical bulk as well. Unfortunately Durant is cursed with low HP and low special defense, meanings its special bulk is truly horrid. The poor ant also has to deal with some unfortunate accuracy, as although Hustle gives it an impressive boost in power, its accuracy suffers accordingly, causing it to miss about a fifth of the time. Gen 6 was also something of a mixed bag for it as well. It does find it rather easy to prey on the new Fairy types and resists their attacks, but with the loss of its Dark and Ghost resistances, it’s even easier than ever to wear down. Couple that with the fact that Mega Evolutions have caused a power and speed creep, causing Durant to get overlooked in standard play. It may not have made as much of a splash as Scizor or Genesect, but you’d be wise not to underestimate this little bug; in tiered play, it’s a dominant force in the lower tiers. Despite having some faults to hold it back, it’s still quick and can take a bite out of you if you’re not prepared!
Swarm: When HP is below 1/3rd its maximum, power of Bug-type moves is increased by 50%. - Swarm is one of those abilities that’s just too situational to be useful. Surviving with less than a third of your HP is something of a lofty order, and even then, you only get an increase to bug type attacks, which is the weaker of Durant’s two STAB’s. Overall, a really lackluster ability that’s inferior to Hustle.
It shouldn’t take too much thought to realize that Hustle and Hone Claws go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Hustle’s main downside, the drop in accuracy, is patched up by Hone Claws’ accuracy increase, while also pushing Durant’s damage even further with the attack increase as well. Not only that but Durant has several opportunities to set up, as it can force out some more passive Pokemon such as Aromatisse and certain variants of Togetic. From there, it’s just a matter of maximizing coverage. Iron Head and X-Scissor are Durant’s obligatory STAB attacks, but of course there’s a very obvious gap in its STAB coverage: Steel types. That’s where Superpower comes in. Although the attack and defense drops are a bit of a bummer, its raw power allows it to blow through most steel types so that Durant is not walled by them. In general though, you probably want the steel types and other such checks weakened or removed entirely before you let Durant be your win condition.
The 252 Speed EVs and Jolly nature maximize Durant’s speed, allowing it to outspeed the myriad of base 108’s. The other 252 EVs are put into attack to get more damage, while the leftover 4 EVs are put into Special Defense. A Lum Berry can allow Durant to get around checks that may try to use status to stop it, while a Life Orb can push Durant’s damage even farther, although the recoil puts Durant on a timer. Hustle is, was, and always will be the preferred ability on offensive sets.
With a Choice Scarf equipped, Durant hits a monstrous speed tier that can outspeed every unboosted Pokemon and even several Pokemon at +1 speed. This allows Durant to make an effective revenge killer and lategame cleaner. However, it’s important to remember that unlike the previous set, without Hone Claws’ accuracy increases, you may find Hustle’s accuracy drop much more noticeable, so watch out for those random misses. Regardless, the premise with this set is even more simple than the last one. With your high speed, pick the appropriate attack and revenge kill. Iron Head and X-Scissor are once again your primary STAB attacks that need no introduction, while Superpower allows Durant to tear down Steel types. The final moveslot presents Durant with a choice. It can choose Crunch to deal better with certain ghosts such as Jellicent who resist all its attacks, if you prefer an offensive approach. Baton Pass may seem odd on a Scarf set, but it allows Durant to pivot out, especially with the switches that it tends to force, which can often force your opponent into a double-switch situation.
Choice Scarf Durant has the option of utilizing either an Adamant or a Jolly Nature. Admittedly Adamant nature will outspeed almost everything you come across and give you more power to boot, but Jolly Nature does have a niche in that it outspeeds Adamant Rock Polish Tyrantrum, making Durant an exceptional check and revenge killer against the dangerous dino. Regardless of the nature you choose, the EVs are the same, with max attack and speed EVs being fairly self explanatory to maximize your revenge killing potential, and the leftover 4 EVs go into Special Defense. As always, Hustle is your ability of choice for the huge increase in damage it brings, even though the accuracy may fail you at times.
A Bug’s Life
While Durant’s offensive potency is the main reason to utilize it, Baton Pass does have some merit. Substitute is fantastic for Durant as it can ease prediction, prevent easy revenge killing, and block status. Not only that, but it pairs fantastically with Baton Pass, letting it pass said Substitutes to other Pokemon, which for many can offer easy switch-in opportunities. Whether you use it or pass it though, Durant can still make good use of those offensive stats that it boasts. For this reason, it continues to utilize its best STAB attack in Iron Head. X-Scissor continues to be an option for its secondary STAB, but admittedly Superpower offers superior coverage, so either attack is viable. Just be careful of inadvertently Baton Passing Superpower’s stat drops! As a side note, Durant can also opt to Baton Pass Hone Claws as well, but it tends to utilize Hone Claws better than almost anything it can Baton Pass the boosts to, so normally it tends to pass Substitutes. As ever, a Jolly nature and 252 speed and attack EVs seek to maximize Durant’s speed and power, while the remaining 4 EVs are put into special defense. Hustle continues to be the ability of choice for its offensive potenty. Leftovers become the preferable item on Substitute sets, as the healing can afford the opportunity to make an extra Substitute that you might not have otherwise been able to.
King of the Battle Maison
While we normally don’t list in-game sets, Durant’s Battle Maison set is so good at what it does, that it absolutely warrants a mention. As a disclaimer though, this set should not be used in a competitive setting against other players. Stick to the Battle Maison with this one.
The premise of this set is very simple. Durant’s goal is to lead in the Battle Maison, and use Entrainment to afflict whatever opponent is in front of you with Truant. After that, its job is basically done. You might be wondering what’s so special about this. Well, it takes advantage of the fact that the AI almost never switches. As a result, they’ll sit there with Truant, forcing them to experience the “loafing” turn every other turn. This, in turn, lets you utilize Protect on another Pokemon in your team for what is effectively infinite setup. By Protecting on the opponent’s attacking turn, and then setting up on theie Truant turn, you can set up to +6 with almost no fear of retaliation. This works great in combination with moves that can boost multiple stats simultaneously, such as Dragon Dance. From there, you proceed to sweep. Very few things in the Battle Maison can stop this strategy.
So why not try this against other players? Simple; because this strategy is entirely circumvented by switching, which causes Truant to go away on the opponent’s Pokemon. Players switch, the AI does not. This is the only reason this works at all in the Battle Maison, and the reason why it does not work against other players. Even if you try to trap your opponent with another Pokemon after giving them Truant, it’s very easy to see coming, and also causes Durant to be a one-trick pony. Flying types and Levitate users can also circumvent attempts to trap, especially if they know what you’re trying to do. As a result, in a competitive setting this set is something of a gimmick, and an unreliable one at that.
Jolly Nature, 252 Speed EVs, and a Choice Scarf practically ensure you’ll be getting off Entrainment on the other Pokemon by acting first. The rest of its EVs are put into HP to maximize its bulk, while the remaining 4 EVs are put into its weaker Special Defense. Durant will almost never need to use its other 3 attacks in this set, but it is given its standard attacks of Iron Head, X-Scissor, and Superpower in the off chance that it has to pick off a weakened target as a last resort. You never know!
-Rock Slide can be considered as a surprise to certain fire types, but thanks to Hustle, it ends up at 72% accuracy, which is only marginally better than the infamously unreliable Focus Blast. In other words, the accuracy may be prone to letting you down at the worst possible moment.
Double & Triple Battle Options
When one takes Durant in for consideration on their team, it more than likely means they're forgoing another certain Bullet Punching Bug/Steel type in the format. What does Durant have over its Technician Bullet Punch brother?
Pretty straightforward. Durant comes in, sets up a Hone Claws and then deals serious damage the following turns.... in an ideal world built for Durants. There's an absurd ammount of intimidate flying around on most teams alongside Prankster Thunder Waves. Many times a player will find themselves needing just a bit of chip damage from Durant to finish off an opponent, but the shaky accuracy courtesy of hustle makes those situations way too risky. There are a few times where Durant's raw power will shine through and win a game or two, but not with Heatran being as popular as it is. One could suggest using Swarm for an ability, but that is akin to no ability at all, Durant really needs all the power it can get if it's trying to show up Scizor.
Durant appreciates redirection for an easier time setting up Hone Claws. But if your team is utilizing Gravity it'll have an easier time. Clefairy and Clefable can use both moves, so either are ideal.
Durant really has problems when its STABs go into Pokemon that resist them, and there are quite a lot of Pokemon who resist them, Steel / Bug isn't terribly strong coverage, being shut down almost entirely by Defensive Thundurus. It's true calling would be a niche one on a niche team in Gravity, otherwise, the resources spent on making sure Durant can pull its weight will often result in the battle being lost.
Durant is pretty solid in the formats where it’s most used, such as the lower tiers, but it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. One look at Durant’s stat spread should tell you that hitting it on the special side is definitely the way to go. Even uninvested neutral special hits can threaten to 2HKO it, so physically bulky Pokemon with a decent special attack can threaten Durant immensely. For example, Jellicent’s Scald can 2HKO Durant with no investment, in addition to threatening it with a burn. Meanwhile, any Durant lacking Crunch (or the even rarer Thunder Fang) will only 6HKO physically defensive Jellicent, and 4HKO at +1. Even specially defensive Jellicent is only typically 3HKO’ed at +1. Quagsire can ignore Durant’s Hone Claws boosts thanks to Unaware, and is typically only 3HKO’ed at best, while it can 3HKO Durant with Scald while stalling with Recover. As ever, Scald’s burns can tip the tide in Quagsire’s favor as well. Physically defensive Alomomola is only 4HKO’ed by an unboosted X-Scissor about half the time, and even the rare Thunder Fang is only a 4HKO as well. Even at +1, Alomomola is only 3HKO’ed by Thunder Fang or X-Scissor, although with Stealth Rock +1 Thunder Fang can be a 2HKO, and Life Orb sets can turn that into an easy 2HKO at +1 and a 3HKO unboosted. That said, the combination of Scald and Wish+Protect can allow Alomomola to stall out Durant or threaten it with a burn, and thanks to Regenerator, it can heal off any damage if it forces Durant out. Cofagrigus makes an interesting counter to Durant; although it hates Crunch, it’s bulky enough to only be 4HKO’ed by an unboosted Iron Head, and Mummy will strip Durant of Hustle, meaning that it’ll lose a huge chunk of damage. Meanwhile, Cofagrigus can 2HKO with an uninvested Shadow Ball or burn it with Will-o-Wisp. Mega Steelix and its supreme physical bulk can take an uninvested Superpower with HP to spare, although +1 Superpower and Life Orb or Choice Band Superpower can secure the 2HKO. But for Lum Berry and Choice Scarf sets, Superpower only 3HKOs, while Mega Steelix can 1HKO Durant about half the time with Earthquake after Superpower’s defense drop. Thanks to Intimidate and resisting all of Durant’s most common attacks, Qwilfish can wall Durant, and cripple it with Thunder Wave or attempt to wear it down with Waterfall (which is typically only a 4HKO). Checking Durant can be a little bit easier, as it cannot take a special hit to save its life. Things like Clawitzer and Rotom-C can 1HKO with powerful special attacks, and the latter often utilizes a Choice Scarf to outspeed Durant. Jolteon also gets a special mention due to the fact that it naturally outspeeds Durant, and dispatches it with Thunderbolt. Fire types have an especially easy time of dispatching Durant as its 4x weakness to fire will make its life miserable. Things like Emboar, Delphox, and Typhlosion all soundly 1HKO Durant, and often carry Choice Scarf to outspeed all but Scarf Durant. Mega Camerupt is also bulky enough to take any unboosted attack and soundly 1HKO Durant with Fire Blast. Other Pokemon such as Flygon, Druddigon, Amoongus, and Tangrowth can all survive an unboosted attack and typically 1HKO back with a Fire coverage move, such as Fire Blast, Fire Punch, or Hidden Power Fire. Even Hidden Power coming off of Amoongus’s uninvested base 85 special attack is enough to soundly 1HKO Durant. At the end of the day, Durant can be worn down due to its poor HP and abysmal special bulk, and status can often neuter non-Lum Berry variants as well, especially in the case of Will-o-Wisp or Thunder Wave.
In more inclusive formats, Durant starts to have a bit more trouble. Moltres makes a solid answer to Durant, resisting its most common attacks and only fearing its very rare Rock Slides and Stone Edges. Meanwhile, Moltres can soundly 1HKO with either Hurricane or Fire Blast. Rotom-H is largely in the same boat, as it resists Durant’s STAB attacks and isn’t terribly bothered by Superpower on defensive sets. Meanwhile, it can force Durant out or 1HKO it with Overheat. Thanks to Intimidate, defensive Arcanine can stomach anything Durant can throw at it (including Stone Edge!) and 1HKO it back with Flare Blitz. Bulky water types can be problematic for Durant as well. Things like Suicune and Tentacruel are only 4HKO’ed or 5HKO’ed respectively, while 2HKOing Durant with Scald, if not burning it. Milotic and Vaporeon are in the same boat, although the weaker physical defenses causes them to usually be 3HKO’ed by X-Scissor, but between Scald’s 2HKO and reliable recovery they can usually beat Durant regardless. Durant struggles with bulky special attackers who it can’t 1HKO, such as Nidoqueen, Mega Blastoise, and Mega Ampharos, who can all 1HKO with their STAB special attacks. Skarmory ends up being an immovable object for Durant, as even the rare Thunder Fang can only 3HKO at best with a Life Orb, while Skarmory can phase Durant out if it tries to set up Hone Claws. Thundurus, Starmie, and Tornadus-T all outspeed Durant and can fry it with powerful special attacks. Durant may outspeed Keldeo, but the pony can survive any unboosted attack and 1HKO with its powerful special attacks. Remember in the beginning when I said that Durant really wished it hit that base 110 speed tier? Well, it doesn’t, so powerful special attackers like Gengar and Latios that enjoy their base 110 speed tier outspeed it and promptly 1HKO it with powerful special attacks. Raikou can outspeed Durant, and fries Durant with a powerful electric STAB. Mega Manectric can do it one better thanks to Intimidate, although it can’t switch in as standard Manectric. Mega Pidgeot is in the same boat, as it needs to be Mega Evolved to check Durant, but once it is, it outspeeds it and obliterates it with either Hurricane or Heat Wave. Rotom-W has to watch for X-Scissor 2HKOing on Life Orb sets, but its Hydro Pump can put Durant out of its misery, and Durant can’t 1HKO it. Landorus-T can take down Durant thanks to Intimidate, as even offensive variants are only 3HKO’ed at best by Durant, while Earthquake will always 2HKO Durant, even on defensive variants of Landorus-T. Both variants of Mega Charizard have no trouble surviving anything but the rare rock type attacks, and the fact that they fry Durant with their fire STAB attacks goes without saying. Dragons like Dragonite and Garchomp often carry fire attacks for coverage that can dispose of Durant, and tend to be bulky enough to survive its attacks. Durant also hates to deal with the residual damage that Garchomp can cause with Rough Skin and/or Rocky Helmet. Serperior and Mega Venusaur typically carry Hidden Power Fire for coverage, and Serperior can outspeed Durant while Mega Venusaur is bulky enough to take it on. And of course, it goes without saying that Talonflame’s high speed and Flare Blitz dispatches Durant in a heartbeat. Brave Bird can also be used to pick off a weakened Durant as well, and of course its priority goes without saying. At the end of the day though, Durant is not terribly bulky thanks to its poor HP and special defense, so most powerful STAB attacks can 2HKO it at worst. Most powerful special attacks are more than capable of preying on Durant’s weak special defense, allowing them to dispose of it even on resisted hits! To put it in perspective, Durant resists Latios’s Life Orb Draco Meteor, but it still has a 75% chance to 1HKO, which is a guarantee with Stealth Rock. You might not simply be able to step on this ant, but it’s not too difficult to crush regardless.
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