PKMN.NET :: Pokemon of the Week #29 - Tyranitar :: #29 of Pokemon of the Week :: Columns
Pokemon of the Week #29 - Tyranitar by Richard and Blaziken at Sun 25 Aug 2013 04:00:00 UTC

This week, we cover one of the earliest designs in Pokemon, even though it didn't make it into the original games. It's been a polarizing Pokemon since introduction, and has been a top tier threat every generation as well. This week we discuss Tyranitar.


Take one look at Tyranitar and it's obvious, this is a beast to be feared. Tyranitar is one of those Pokemon that nearly every Trainer wants to have at some point in their life. Along with everything else it brings, infinite Sand has become synonymous with Tyranitar. With each generation, Tyranitar has only gotten better and better and I don't foresee that ever changing. This is one Pokemon that I'd recommend everyone try out at some point in their life.

Competitive Corner

With all of that said, not all is well for Tyranitar. Politoed's rain has put Tyranitar into a weather war that Tyranitar itself is on the losing side of. With a proper team surrounding it, Tyranitar can certainly keep sand on the field and emerge victorious over rain, but it cannot switch directly into Politoed. Sand has taken a bit of a hit as well, with the early loss of Excadrill (which you should all be thankful for, if you never played an OU with Excadrill in it. Stuff was broken as hell), the banning of Sand Veil, and recently Landorus genie form being banned. But Sand is still a strong weather in OU, getting Rain off the field and chipping 6% per turn off of many Pokemon, or mitigate Leftovers. With the Sp. Defense boost Sand gives to Rock types, Tyranitar can easily take many special attackers on and hit back hard with powerful STAB moves.

Like all Pokeon, Tyranitar has it's issues. Low base Speed and many common weaknesses, including a 4x weakness to Fighting, mean that he can't stay healthy forever. With Black2 and White2 distributing Superpower to many more Pokemon, as well as bringing in Landorus Therian, Tyranitar has more problems than ever before. Overall, Tyranitar is still a Pokemon that often defines a big aspect of the metagame, and it's one you should always be prepared for, even though it's no longer as good as it once was.

Tyranitar@ Choice Scarf
Sand Stream
Jolly nature (+Speed, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Attack / 6 HP
Stone Edge

Choice Scarf Tyranitar is one of the most common versions you'll see these days, and Tyranitar doesn't really like it all that much, but it has become a near necessity for him. Pursuit can put Psychic opponents in a checkmate position, hitting them hard whether they switch or not, especially if they're not Choice Scarfed themselves. Crunch is your stronger Dark STAB, for when power is more important than trapping. Stone Edge is your other STAB attack, dealing good damage to the majority of the metagame, and allowing you to outspeed and OHKO unboosted Volcarona, Salamence, Gyarados, among others, after Stealth Rock damage for some. Superpower is the best option for the last slot, as it can deal impressive damage to Steel types and Fighting types, both of which resist your STAB moves.

This set has two major problems, and they require you to have extensive knowledge of Speed tiers and risk vs. reward. First off, Tyranitar is still not incredibly fast, even with the Choice Scarf, and will be outsped by almost anything else that has a Choice Scarf. So let's break this down to make it easier to understand, alright?

Aside from basically anything with Choice Scarf, Scarf Tyranitar can be outsped by some Pokemon that don't even have a Speed boosting item or move. Anything that is base 120 Speed with a +Speed nature will outspeed this Tyranitar. This means Pokemon such as Alakazam, Jolteon and Dugtrio in OU, but make sure to know the Speed tier of all your opponents, and be careful of opposing Scarf users. As a subset of this, priority users such as Breloom, Scizor, Conkeldurr will make all your Speed useless.

The second thing you need to know about this version of Tyranitar is that it doesn't hit nearly as hard as you would like it to. I mean, yes, it hits hard... but the STAB moves are easily resisted, and Superpower will put you in a situation where you usually need to switch out immediately after using it, so you have to calculate the risk of using a certain move vs. the reward that using it will or might grant you. Always remember the opponent's team, your own team, and the biggest threats they have that Tyranitar absolutely has to deal with (if any) for you to have success. I know that sounds vague, but it's the mark of a good competitive battler, knowing when to make risky moves, and when to play it safe.

Godzilla: Destroy All Pokemon
Tyranitar@ Choice Band
Sand Stream
Adamant nature (+Attack, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 252 Attack / 180 HP / 76 Speed
Stone Edge

You might not think this deserves it's own set, given that all the moves are the same, but this Tyranitar is played very differently. Choice Band doesn't do anything for your awful Speed, but it sets Tyranitar at 604 Attack without any turns of setup. That kind of immediate power is frightening. Once again, Stone Edge is the most powerful STAB option you have, and it hits really hard. Crunch is the other STAB, while Pursuit returns to function trapping duties, and this Tyranitar has extra bulk to take hits better. This is especially useful for traping Choice Specs Latios, as it is powerful enough to 1-2HKO most of the metagame if left unchecked.

Superpower is, once again, the best coverage option, as Pokemon such as Terrakion, Lucario, and Ferrothorn that resist your STABs will all be met with a nasty surprise if they switch in on it.

Lead Set Because I'm Too Tired To Think Of A Name
Tyranitar@ Focus Sash
Sand Stream
Hasty nature (+Speed, -Defense) / Mild nature (+Sp. Attack, -Defense)
EVs: 252 Speed / 252 Sp. Attack / 6 Attack
Stealth Rock
Fire Blast / Ice Beam
Low Kick / Ice Beam

Though dedicated leads may be a relic of the past, Tyranitar can still pull it off pretty well, ensuring turn 1 Sand and Stealth Rock if you so choose. Stealth Rock is obvious, very helpful overall, never leave home without it. Crunch is good as a STAB to prevent the Magic Bounce Pokemon, Espeon and Xatu, from stopping your setup. Fire Blast is great for hitting Ferrothorn mostly, but also hits Forretress, Scizor, and other Steel types. Low Kick is useful for opposing Tyranitar, Heatran, and Terrakion. Ice Beam can be used instead of either of these moves, for hitting Gliscor, Dragonite and Garchomp.

It's important to keep note of the opponent's team and not just blindly send Tyranitar in as your lead every time. You really don't want a turn 2 ending 6-5 with you only having gotten Stealth Rock up, as that puts the opponent at a big statistical advantage, and if you can't build momentum right away, you're definitely on the losing end of that exchange. In my opinion, this set is far too gimmicky to be considered for most teams. There are better, more reliable users of Stealth Rock, and I daresay that Hippowdon is a better candidate for this sort of set. It obviously can't do everything this set does, but it can survive a hit and recover it off while being able to more reliably set Stealth Rock and still get up the Sand.

The Real Sandman
Tyranitar@ Leftovers
Sand Stream
Sassy nature (+Sp. Defense, -Speed) / Careful nature (+Sp. Defense, -Sp. Attack)
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Sp. Defense / 4 Attack
Stealth Rock
Fire Blast / Superpower / Stone Edge

This Tyranitar takes more of a defensive support approach. The Sp. Defense boost granted by the Sand makes Tyranitar a mighty tank for special attacks. Stealth Rock is obvious for team support, as this is what this set is all about. Crunch is your strongest attack on this set, while Pursuit allows you to trap that pesky Latios and take even a Draco Meteor from it if necessary, as the initial blow will deal 44-52% and is immediately followed by a 2 stage Sp. Attack reduction, so it cannot even hope to 2-3HKO.

The final slot is a toss-up. Fire Blast is great for predicting a Ferrothorn switch, but will leave you largely helpless against the likes of Terrakion, who can switch in for free and begin boosting with a Sp. Defense boost of his own from your Sand. Low Kick can smack Terrakion around if it decides to switch-in, and it still damages Ferrothorn somewhat. Stone Edge is consistant STAB, but it really narrows your coverage and begs for Ferrothorn to setup on you. The choice is a bit dependent on your team and what you fear the most.

Lastly, and this doesn't have to do with this set, but with this article in general, you may notice a lack of Dragon Dance Tyranitar. This is because Technician Breloom is so popular, as well as Conkeldurr, Landorus-T, and many other threats that just instantly make it useless and force it to switch out. It's simply not viable in the current metagame.

In-Game Information

Tyranitar is actually pretty easily obtainable in B/W and B/W2, with Pupitar appearing in the wild on Route 15, as well as a 5% chance of finding wild Tyranitar in shaking spots in that route, with them appearing around level 50-67, depending on which versions you're playing. Once obtained, it's just a matter of training them. By then you should have most TMs and such, so here's what I'd recommend for your in-game Tyranitar:


Rock Slide
Aqua Tail / Fire Punch / Fire Blast

This is pretty straightforward. Crunch and Rock Slide make up good STAB moves without too much room for error. You can use Stone Edge if you'd like, but the extra power isn't worth missing 1/5 times in-game most of the time. Earthquake hits Steel and Rock types, pretty simple stuff. Aqua Tail is a tutor move, but it helps vs. opposing Ground types. Fire Punch is also a tutor, and helps for very specific stuff like Ferrothorn, and also hits Grass types, so that's something. Fire Blast can be used if you don't want to use tutors, and it's not a terrible option on Tyranitar.

It should be noted that Larvitar can be obtained from the Dream World in Rugged Mountain, but this is only of any merit if your team doesn't love the idea of Sand. Sand helps Tyranitar greatly, giving him extra Sp. Defense that really helps him tank hits, but if you'd like to use Tyranitar without Sand, that option exists. The ability it gets is Unnerve, which is pretty much completely useless, but it doesn't summon endless Sand, so that'll be good for your skin I guess.

My Thoughts

Dear lord, that took so much time to write, you have no idea. I don't even like Tyranitar that much. I mean, it's got a pretty cool design I suppose, but it always looked like in reality, it'd be hard to move around with that massive body and those short, stubby legs. But on a deeper level, much the same as Politoed, I dislike Tyranitar for the weather wars it has imposed onto OU. With BW2 and the banning of most of Sand's best assets (Excadrill, Sand Veil), Sand has actually sort of emerged as a weather that exists just to get Rain off the field, and you know what? That's alright by me. So overall... Tyranitar's okay, but I could never see it as my kind of Pokemon. And being quad weak to Fighting? Psh, you're just ASKING for Blaziken to whoop your ass.

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Spriter on Mon 26 Aug 2013 18:18:40 UTC.
I liked reading this article! Glad that you spent so much time writing it up, as the result was great.
I personally rarely use Tyranitar, but I never run into problems against it though.
SirBlaziken on Mon 26 Aug 2013 22:30:14 UTC.
Same as you Spriter. Also, the last part with blaziken, got that right. Great job.