Tyrantrum, The Despot Pokémon. Thanks to its gargantuan jaws, which could shred thick metal plates as if they were paper, it was invincible in the ancient world it once inhabited. Nothing could stop this Pokémon 100 million years ago, so it behaved like a king.
Ever since the first generation when Fossil Pokemon were introduced, people have wanted a Tyrannosaurus Pokemon. Gen 2 seemed like it would answer the call with Tyranitar, but it didn’t quite have the appearance resembling everyone’s favorite theropod, instead seeming closer in appearance to Godzilla, and it wasn’t really a fossil either. Years passed, and it seemed like the call for the world’s most popular dinosaur in Pokemon form would go unanswered… that is, until Gen 6 came along, and blessed the world with a true Tyrannosaurus Pokemon! With a big head and little arms, Tyrantrum was truly the theropod that people have been clamoring for. Of course, design can only take you so far, so the world wondered how Tyrantrum would fare in terms of usability. And the results… are somewhat mixed, unfortunately. On the plus side, Tyrantrum does have solid offensive typing in Rock/Dragon, and high attack and defense stats. On the other hand, its defensive typing can be considered somewhat shaky, and its special defense and speed are both poor. As a result, it might not be the king of the world that it was 100 million years ago, but this dangerous dino is not something you want to underestimate.
Strong Jaw: Increases the power of biting moves by 50%. - Strong Jaw’s actually a decent ability on paper. The boost it grants to biting moves is equal to that of a STAB boost, which is solid. That said, you really can’t justify passing up those recoil-free Head Smashes, since you either have to suffer recoil damage from Head Smash, or utilize the substantially weaker Stone Edge in its place. Plus, the low power of most biting moves causes a neutral STAB Head Smash to outdamage a 2x SE Biting Move (barring Crunch), so in general, Strong Jaw really doesn’t see much usage anymore… except on its pre-evolution.
With high attack and mediocre speed, Tyrantrum makes great use of a Choice Scarf to flip speed tiers on their head and outspeed a large portion of the unboosted metagame. As a result, your standard Choice Scarf strategy applies; pick your strongest STAB attacks and best coverage moves, and click the appropriate move when the timing is right. It goes without saying that Head Smash is a must-have, as its dastardly base 150 power will make very few things want to switch into it. On the other side of the STAB spectrum, Outrage is slightly less powerful than Head Smash but still packs a serious punch. However, both STAB attacks have a very obvious gap in their coverage: Steel types. That’s where Earthquake comes in. It helps Tyrantrum deal a little better with Steel types and offers some pretty solid coverage in general alongside Head Smash. For its final slot, Tyrantrum can choose between Dragon Claw and Superpower. Dragon Claw is useful for when you need your Dragon STAB, but don’t want to get locked into Outrage, which prevents you from switching. On the flip side, Superpower offers a little more coverage against specific threats, but the stat drops are a definite downside.
With a Jolly Nature and 252 Speed EVs, a Choice Scarf puts Tyrantrum at a solid 397 speed, enough to outspeed up to max speed base 130’s. From there, 252 attack EVs go without saying to maximize your power, while the remaining 4 EVs are put into special defense. Rock Head is always the preferred ability, as it allows you to spam Head Smash with reckless abandon.
While a Choice Scarf may be Tyrantrum’s most common forte for revenge killing and late game cleaning, Tyrantrum can pack a Choice Band to become a fearsome wallbreaker than very few things will want to switch into. If you thought Head Smash was powerful on the Scarf set, wait until you see a Choice Banded Head Smash. Most of the time your strategy will be “Select Head Smash and watch your opponent’s HP bar plummet”. Of course, for those pesky Ground and Fighting types, Outrage is your alternative STAB, which still hits pretty hard as well, although getting locked into it kinda sucks. Earthquake and Superpower round off Tyrantrum’s coverage, letting it hit basically anything and everything for at least neutral damage. Of course, on a Choice Band set, you’ll need to predict well to get the most out of those coverage moves, especially since more often than not you’ll want to spam Head Smash.
Full 252 EV investment in attack and speed goes without saying to maximize Tyrantrum’s offensive capabilities, while the leftover 4 EVs are put into special defense. The choice of Adamant vs. Jolly nature comes down to preference, as both have advantages. Adamant is capable of 1HKOing things that Jolly cannot, such as Jellicent, Aromatisse, and certain variants of Alomomola, while Jolly outspeeds things such as Jolly Emboar and Adamant Braviary. EIther one is perfectly viable, though.
-Dragon Dance / Rock Polish
Despite the fact that Tyrantrum is most commonly seen utilizing Choice items, it still has all the tools necessary to run a boosting set to clean up and be a win condition. And fortunately for Tyrantrum, it has two solid boosting options available to it. Dragon Dance is the more common of the two, with its well known single stage boost to both attack and speed. On the other hand, Rock Polish doesn’t boost attack, but boosts Tyrantrum’s speed two stages. Which you choose depends more on preference; Dragon Dance is harder to wall due to its superior power, but easier to revenge kill. Rock Polish sets are harder to revenge kill due to the massive speed boost, but it lacks the power of Dragon Dance. Either one is viable, and really comes down to personal preference. Regardless of which you choose, the attacks that come with it stay relatively the same. STAB Head Smash with Rock Head backing it continues to be a monstrous attack that very few things want to switch into, as it can at least 2HKO most things without much duress. Outrage is a powerful STAB attack as well, but getting locked into it can be counter-productive when sweeping. As a result, Dragon Claw is a less powerful but lower risk option as well. Finally, Earthquake is the preferred final slot for your moveset, as it nails the Steel types that resist both STAB attacks.
252 Attack and Speed EVs are pretty standard on Tyrantrum no matter what, so as to maximize power and speed. However, it can get away with one of two natures; Jolly for more speed, or Adamant for more power. Which you choose often correlates with the boosting move you choose; Dragon Dance prefers the extra speed of Jolly, while Rock Polish prefers Adamant’s power given it has plenty of speed to spare. In terms of items, Tyrantrum can run a Lum Berry to prevent itself from being screwed by status, or a Life Orb to squeeze out even more power, but at the cost of recoil damage. Either one works!
-Crunch pretty much exists solely as your best option to deal with Bronzong, but outside of that its coverage is not especially significant.
VGC, Double & Triple Battle Options
Tyrantrum is one of two fully evolved Pokemon that have access to Dragon Dance and STAB Rock Slide, the other one is Tyranitar.... both start with Tyran.. is it a mere coincidence??
Ice Fang / Fire Fang / Head Smash
Tyrantrum has recoiless Head Smashes to its name, but it has similar accuracy to Hydro Pump, which may push some trainers away. Dragon Dance + Rock Slide is theoretically disastrous for any opponent.
Strong Jaw isn't a bad ability, it gives STAB to biting moves, making the elemental fangs more comparable to the elemental punches, but with a status AND flinch chance. Being faster only makes these effects more beneficial. Dragon Dance is there to help.
Rock Slide is notorious for turning games around
Tyrantrum partners well with Defiant or Competitive Pokemom, namely Bisharp and Milotic. Gyarados scare away some Landorus and Heatran which give Tyrantrum some trouble. Investing in Tyrantrum may leave the trainer a bit short, as in setting up a Dragon Dance for Tyrantrum might not guarantee a win much less a KO, where if one were to use resources to set up a Mega Salamence, they might get more out of their efforts. Tyrantrum isn't that fast either so getting a Dragon Dance in might not be practical. Add that all together with Tyrantrum's Dragon typing being more of a liability than an asset and it becomes apparent why Tyrantrum seems extinct in Team Preview. However the only other Pokemon who enjoys STAB Rock Slides off of a Dragon Dance is Mega Tyranitar, so with some support it may be feasible yet.
Though it is good to remember that the most common Rock Sliders of VGC 14 and 15, Garchomp and Landorus, don't have STAB on Rock Slide.
Although not many things want to be eating Tyrantrum’s nuclear-powered Head Smashes, there are a few things that can stand up to this T-Rex and put it in its place, especially where it’s most commonly used. Mega Steelix is perhaps the best answer to Tyrantrum, and one of the few things that can reliably say it doesn’t mind Head Smash. Thanks to a 4x resistance to rock and a staggering base 230 defense, Steelix can take Head Smashes all day long without ever worrying about its steel body being dented. Even Earthquake and Superpower are typically going to only be 4HKOing it without a boost or Choice Band. Meanwhile, Heavy Slam can 2HKO Tyrantrum, as can Iron Head. Although Mega Steelix doesn’t like Choice Banded Earthquakes, its resistance to both of Tyrantrum’s STAB attacks (which Tyrantrum will be spamming 90% of the time) makes it a reliable answer nonetheless. Registeel can take Head Smashes pretty well too, but has to watch out for banded Earthquakes, which can 2HKO it. Bronzong is an interesting answer in that it resists both STAB attacks, is immune to Earthquake, and resists Superpower, but it does have to worry about Banded Head Smashes 2HKOing it, so prior damage can be problematic. That said, Gyro Ball 2HKOs without investment, while it can 1HKO with Stealth Rock against a Scarf set. Cofagrigus, despite not resisting Head Smash, can be an interesting albeit unconventional answer. Although Banded and boosted Head Smashes can 2HKO it, unboosted Head Smashes only 3HKO, while Mummy robs Tyrantrum of Rock Head, forcing it to take recoil damage, and it can threaten with Will-o-Wisp. Hitmontop’s bulky set threatens Tyrantrum due to resisting Head Smash and packing Intimidate, but a Choice Banded Outrage can still threaten to 2HKO it. However, Close Combat followed by either Sucker Punch or Mach Punch can 2HKO Tyrantrum, so it’s still fairly reliable. Although not much likes switching into Head Smash, there are a number of things that can check Tyrantrum fairly easily. Rhyperior is one example, who can take any boosted or banded attack and survive with plenty of HP to spare, and in turn retaliate by 1HKOing with Earthquake. Defensive Aromatisse survives any unboosted attack (although it has to watch out for +1 Head Smash, which only narrowly avoids 1HKOing), and can 1HKO back with Moonblast. Durant doesn’t want to switch in, but it naturally outspeeds Tyrantrum and 1HKOs with Iron Head. Its Scarf set is also noteworthy for being able to outspeed Adamant Rock Polish variants, making it a reliable revenge killer. Scarf users such as Flygon, Medicham, and Rotom-C can all outspeed Dragon Dance and Choice Scarf Tyrantrum and soundly dispose of it with their STAB attacks. If you’re lacking specific answers, you can always resort to status attacks such as Will-o-Wisp or Thunder Wave, both of which can cripple non-Lum Berry Tyrantrum. In addition, Tyrantrum’s special defense leaves a lot to be desired, so hitting it on its weaker special defense allows most special attackers to 2HKO it with a strong neutral STAB, or 3HKO it at worst.
In more inclusive formats, Tyrantrum can run into more trouble. Tyrantrum has trouble breaking bulkier physical walls such as Mega Aggron, who is can only 3HKO at best with Choice Banded Earthquake, while it gets 3HKO’ed by Heavy Slam as well. Physically defensive Chesnaught can also be problematic for Tyrantrum, as the combination of Drain Punch and Leech Seed allow Chesnaught to beat it one-on-one. Hippowdon’s ridiculous physical bulk allows it to shrug off even Banded Head Smashes, while Banded Outrage is only going to 3HKO the bulk of the time. Meanwhile, Earthquake 2HKOs Tyrantrum, and it can Slack Off to heal off any damage. Ferrothorn may not like Banded Superpower or the rare Fire Fang, but it resists both of Tyrantrum’s STAB attacks and takes neutral damage from Earthquake, which causes Head Smash and Earthquake to 3HKO at best even at +1. Meanwhile, Leech Seed and Iron Barbs can stall Tyrantrum out, while Gyro Ball has a low chance to 1HKO, which becomes a guarantee if Tyrantrum’s speed is increased by boosting or Choice Scarf (not to mention Iron Barbs brings Gyro Ball into KOing range). The number of things that can check Tyrantrum goes up substantially too. Mega Lopunny can utilize Fake Out to afford itself the turn to Mega Evolve, and then 1HKO Tyrantrum with High Jump Kick; it’s also noteworthy that Mega Lopunny outspeeds Scarf Tyrantrum as well. Almost every Scarf user, including but not limited to Keldeo, Garchomp, Landorus-T, Kyurem-B, Hoopa-U, Jirachi, Diggersby, and many more can easily check Tyrantrum by outspeeding even its own Scarf set, and 1HKOing it by preying on its many weaknesses. Many powerful special attackers such as Starmie, Serperior, Gengar, Latios, Alakazam, Mega Gardevoir, and many more can prey on Tyrantrum’s low special defense, and all of these naturally outspeed Tyrantrum. Although not enough to 1HKO it, powerful priority attacks such as (Mega) Scizor’s Bullet Punch, and Breloom’s Technician Mach Punch can pick off a weakened Tyrantrum to revenge kill it. Finally, status continues to be an easy answer to non-Lum Berry variants, and things like Whimsicott, Thundurus, and Sableye can utilize Prankster to be an emergency panic button to inflict Tyrantrum with status if you have no other choice. They’ll usually be KO’ed in the process, but if it stops Tyrantrum from sweeping, it’s usually worth it. At the end of the day, Tyrantrum may have stupidly powerful Head Smashes that are difficult to switch into, but with its low speed and special defense, along with abundant weaknesses, it’s not too difficult to deal with.
In the Little Cup, Tyrunt stands as a middle-of-the-road Pokemon. Its attack is pretty solid and its typing lets it hard counter the ever annoying Fletchling, but being fairly slow and being weak to the dominant fighting types such as Timburr and Mienfoo does it no favors. Unlike its evolution, Tyrunt doesn’t quite have a thick enough skull to bludgeon everything in sight, as it lacks both Head Smash and Rock Head. As a result, it finds itself preferring a Dragon Dance set since it lacks that one stupidly powerful STAB to spam. All it needs to do is find an opportunity to set up against something that it forces out, such as the aforementioned Fletchling. Just be aware that it does face competition from the myriad of Shell Smashers such as Omanyte and Tirtouga. Despite this, its Dragon Dance set can still be viable. Stone Edge or Rock Slide make viable rock type STAB attacks, but which you use depends on your preference of power vs. accuracy. Either way is viable. From there, Dragon Claw is a solid Dragon STAB which can nail the fighting and ground types that resist your Rock STAB. It is preferable over Outrage due to the fact that getting locked into it allows Spritzee and several steel types to have a field day. For its final attack, Fire Fang helps deal with the steel types of the LC, most notably Ferroseed who would otherwise wall you. It can also 2HKO Pawniard, or 1HKO if you have a boost.
204 Attack EVs and an Adamant nature maximize Tyrunt’s attack stat at an impressive 19. 212 Speed EVs put Tyrunt at 14 speed, which after Dragon Dance climbs to 21, which is enough to outspeed pretty much the entire unboosted metagame. 76 EVs in Special Defense helps to patch up its weaker special bulk by boosting it to a decent 12. With Eviolite in the mix, Tyrunt finds itself being fairly solid with a 22 HP, 21 Defense, and 18 Special Defense. Finally, Strong Jaw is the preferred ability to boost the power of its main coverage move, Fire Fang.
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