Welcome to the thirty-first issue of 6th Generation's Pokemon of the Week! This week we'll be discussing a Pokemon that has been OU since its debut in Generation 2. This week, we'll be discussing Tyranitar.
Larvitar feeds on soil. Once it has eaten an entire mountain, it falls asleep and becomes a pupa. Pupitar's shell is as hard as sheet rock, and is also very strong. By storing pressurized gas, it can launch itself like a rocket, with force able to topple a mountain. With only one hand, Tyranitar is able to make an earthquake powerful enough to crumble mountains. If it becomes angry, its rampage can destroy landscapes and bury rivers. Maps must be redrawn afterward.
Tyranitar is a monster, and it has been since introduction. Even with the weather nerf this generation, Tyranitar still makes excellent personal use of the Sand provided by Sand Stream, since Sand raises the Sp. Defense of Rock types by 50% for as long as Sand is active. This allows Tyranitar to counter and/or check many prominant OU threats, such as Latios, Mega Alakazam, and many other weakened or choice-locked threats, since it has access to the strongest Pursuit in the game. The weather nerf actually did Tyranitar a huge favor, since Politoed usage has dropped significantly since last generation, allowing Tyranitar to reclaim his throne as the king of instant weather. While it faces some competition from Mega Charizard-Y, Tyranitar's overall bulk and lack of a crippling Stealth Rock weakness allows it to outlive most Charizard-Y.
While Tyranitar is an amazing competitive Pokemon, it has its downsides too. Rock/Dark typing is a mixed bag, granting 6 resistances and 1 immunity, while also bringing 7 weaknesses with it, all of which are commonly used move types in OU. If you use Tyranitar to its strengths, of which there are many, and make sure it's fulfilling a role on your team that isn't filled better by something else, you won't be let down.
|Tyranitar@ Choice Scarf|
Jolly nature (+Speed, -Sp. Attack) / Hasty nature (+Speed, -Defense)
EVs: 252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 Defense
Earthquake / Ice Beam
Choice Scarf Tyranitar is an amazing trapper, due to his fantastic Attack stat and Speed granted by Scarf, allowing him to put weakened Psychic types like Starmie, Latios, into a checkmate position, outspeeding and KOing them whether they stay in or switch. Crunch is your more reliable STAB, sporting a solid base power of 80 with perfect accuracy, as well as a 20% chance to lower Defense, which can really cripple many defensive switches as well. Stone Edge is the best option for the third slot, providing a secondary STAB attack with great base 100 power that is able to outright KO many common threats like Mega Pinsir, Thundurus, and Talonflame, as well as having good coverage alongside Dark.
The last slot depends on what you value. Earthquake hits many common Pokemon Super-Effectively, such as non-Scarf Terrakion, Tyranitar, and Bisharp. Ice Beam, on the other hand, nearly OHKOs common switches to Tyranitar, namely Landorus-Therian and Gliscor, able to ensure a 2HKO on both as they switch in, given a Hasty nature. Hasty is preferred if you're running Ice Beam as it keeps the boosted Sp. Def provided by Sand intact.
This kind of Tyranitar is geared toward offensive teams that appreciate specific threats being removed. It also provides a fast, powerful Pokemon that puts offensive pressure on the field immediately upon entry, and can potentially provide a fake out about what Mega Pokemon you're using on Team Preview.
This same set can be used with Choice Band and an Adamant nature for a slower, more powerful Pursuit trapper, but is generally inferior at the current moment due to the number of fast, powerful Pokemon with Super-Effective moves that could ruin Tyranitar before it can get a hit in. It's still a solid Pokemon, and with Sticky Web support, it can be brutally powerful and difficult to stop. Even better, many Pokemon immune to Sticky Web do not want to take a Stone Edge or Crunch.
|Tyranitar@ Leftovers / Smooth Rock|
Relaxed nature (+Defense, -Speed) / Impish nature (+Defense, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Defense / 8 Sp. Defense
Crunch / Pursuit
Ice Beam / Stone Edge
Fire Blast / Earthquake
Tyranitar can make an excellent team supporter. Given his many resistances, getting Stealth Rock onto the field isn't too difficult, and Tyranitar also beats many common Defog Pokemon one-on-one. Crunch is the best option in the second slot as your most reliable attack on this set, providing great damage and coverage. Pursuit, however, can allow you to trap Latias, Starmie, and Latios that attempt to switch out of you, potentially removing or crippling their hazard remover. Ice Beam is the main option for the third slot, since it hits many common switch-ins like Landorus-Therian and Gliscor for massive damage, and also allows means that Garchomp can't switch in freely and begin to setup. Stone Edge, however, is a powerful STAB attack that can threaten common threats like Talonflame, Charizard, as well as threatening a common Defogger in Zapdos.
In the final slot, Fire Blast is the main option for nailing Pokemon like Skarmory, Ferrothorn, and Scizor on the switch. Earthquake is an option for removing Heatran, and dealing good damage to opposing Tyranitar, Terrakion, and Bisharp.
The nature gives Tyranitar as much physical bulk as possible, taking advantage of Sand to be incredibly bulky from both sides. Relaxed allows use of special attacks, while Impish is the better choice if you're not using special attacks. The item choice either gives Tyranitar more longevity, or supports the team with extended Sand, which should only be considered if you're using Sand Rush or Sand Force Pokemon.
|Tyranitar@ Assault Vest|
Sassy nature (+Sp. Defense, -Speed)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp. Defense / 4 Attack
Crunch / Fire Blast
Giving Tyranitar an Assault Vest allows it to function excellently as a dedicated counter to Latios. This might seem like it's a bit unnecessary, but AV Tyranitar is the only Pokemon in OU that can switch into Latios and not be 2HKO'd by the appropriate move on a Specs set. In my opinion, this is a statement about how broken Latios is, but unless and until it's banned, this set remains a great option for dealing with it reliably. Pursuit deals 89-100% as Latios flees, ensuring you remove Latios after accounting for the one turn of Sand damage when you switch into it. Crunch is a more reliable STAB for if trapping duties aren't needed, but this can be dropped for Fire Blast to deal reliable damage to Ferrothorn and Bisharp as they switch in. Stone Edge is used in the third slot to ensure that Tyranitar can check Choice-locked Talonflame. The last slot is given to Ice Beam for hitting Landorus-Therian and Gliscor on the switch, as well as ensuring that Garchomp can't come in freely.
This is a niche set, and should really only be considered if you're having trouble dealing with Latios, who can only deal only 37% damage to Tyranitar maximum, assuming Choice Specs and the rare Hidden Power Fighting, but more commonly will be dealing 20-24% with Life Orb Surf. Packing a bulky Ghost type may be advisable for dealing with the common Mega Medicham. For this purpose, Sableye pairs decently, though it doubles up on the Fairy weakness. Bold Jellicent is a decent partner, but it can't exactly switch into Mega Medicham (nothing really can, I can't wait for the Medichamite ban). Consider your team carefully, and whether this kind of Tyranitar is appropriate for it.
Base Stats: 100 HP / 164 Attack / 150 Defense / 95 Sp. Attack / 120 Sp. Defense / 71 Speed
Mega Tyranitar improves all of Tyranitar's stats, though it only really has one niche over normal Tyranitar: Dragon Dance. Thanks to the modest jump in Speed from 61 to 71, Mega Tyranitar is a much more capable DD sweeper than normal Tyranitar could ever hope to be. The hugely increased Defense and nice Sp. Def increase helps aid setup as well. Mega Tyranitar is a noteworthy threat in the current metagame, and you should always be prepared for it.
Sand Stream [Sand Stream]
Jolly nature (+Speed, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 252 Attack / 252 Speed / 4 Defense
Ice Punch / Fire Punch
Mega Tyranitar's Dragon Dance set is truly terrifying once it sets up a boost. Dragon Dance boosts Attack and Speed to x1.5, setting Tyranitar at high enough Speed to outspeed the majority of OU, leaving only the fastest Pokemon able to outspeed (Modest Mega Alakazam outspeeds by a single point, as something to keep in mind). Stone Edge is chosen as the most powerful STAB attack to break through defensive Pokemon, and to remove common threats in the metagame such as Mega Pinsir, Talonflame, and Mega Charizard, as well as ensuring a OHKO on physically defensive Mandibuzz at +1. Ice Punch allows TTar to deal heavy damage to Landorus-Therian, as well as OHKO Dragonite through Multiscale at +1. Fire Punch is an option for removing Scizor and Ferrothorn, but generally isn't worth the loss of more important coverage that Ice Punch provides. Earthquake is chosen in the last slot because of the fantastic coverage it provides, ensuring that you can remove Heatran, Bisharp, Lucario, etc.
Mega Tyranitar appreciates hazards a lot. Even simply having Stealth Rock support makes it much easier for it to sweep through opposing teams with little trouble. Beware of common priority in the forms of Mach Punch, Bullet Punch, and Aqua Jet ; while Tyranitar can typically tank one of these, it's not an ideal option. Be sure to do damage calcs before making a decision if you're put in this situation, and don't be afraid of switching even after a boost. It's more important to not lose a Pokemon than it is to not lose a boost.
Larvitar is a Y version exclusive, and can be found in Terminus Cave. Pupitar can be found in Terminus Cave too, as well as on Route 18 and in certain Friend Safaris. Here is what I would recommend for an in-game Tyranitar:
Ice Fang / Rock Polish
Tyranitar has a great level-up movepool, allowing it to plow through most of the in-game opponents with little trouble. Rock Slide and Crunch make up the STAB core, hitting many Pokemon at least neutrally. Earthquake damages Steel types, while Ice Fang provides excellent coverage. Rock Polish can be used here if you want to bypass the crappy Speed Tyranitar has and sweep through opponents without taking too many hits.
Tyranitar appears to be based on Godzilla, who in turn is based on dinosaurs, specifically Tyrannosaurus, Iguanodon, and Stegosaurus, as well as alligators and crocodiles. Tyranitar is described as impudent, destructive, and terrifyingly strong, all traits it shares with what inspired its creation. Tyranitar’s sheer amount of power, so much that it can topple mountains and bury rivers, completely rearranging landscapes and requiring new maps to be drawn (which keeps map makers in business, at least), is probably derived from Godzilla’s destructive power. Several of Tyranitar’s moves are likely references to Godzilla. Tyranitar’s Hyper Beam and Ice Beam are likely a reference to Godzilla’s atomic breath, Dark Pulse could be a reference to Godzilla’s Nuclear Pulse, and Surf is probably a reference to Godzilla coming from the ocean.
Tyranitar’s name likely comes from either the word ‘tyrant’ or ‘tyrannosaurus’. In Japanese its name is バンギラス Bangiras, which comes from 蛹野蛮 yaban, meaning ‘savage’, 蛮 ban, meaning ‘barbarian’, 嫌い kirai, meaning ‘hate’, Godzilla, and Angiras, which is another movie monster like similar to Godzilla. In French its name is Tyranocif, which comes from tyran, meaning ‘tyrant’, or Tyrannosaurus, and nocif, meaning ‘noxious’. In German its name is Despotar, which comes from Despot. In Korean its name is 마기라스 Magiraseu, which comes from 만 (蠻) man, meaning ‘savage’, and Angiras. It may also come from 마 (魔) ma, which means ‘evil’ which could be a reference to its dark type, especially since the Korean name for dark type is 악 Ak, which also means ‘evil’. In Mandarin Chinese, its name is班吉拉 Bānjīlā, which is a transliteration of its Japanese name, but may also come from 哥吉拉 Gējílā, which is their name for Godzilla.
I wrote Tyranitar's 5th generation PotW article almost exactly a year ago today, and my opinion of it hasn't changed much at all since then. The small limbs makes it seem sluggish and cumbersome, which would realistically force it to rely on special attacks more than physical hits. It seems like it'd be hard for it to move, and that would be easy to take advantage of, though hiding in Sand would give it a bit of an edge against most opponents. It's just not the kind of Pokemon I'd ever consider a favorite, but I think it's alright overall.
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